Marius wasn’t feeling well. He didn’t eat all day, and he slept off and on most of the morning. I put him in his crib after the other kids kept waking him up, and he stayed awake but just lay there quietly. I made sure to take him out for diaper-changing time, and then as we were waiting for bottles, he fell asleep in my arms. I tried to wake him up a little to give him his bottle, but he just shoved it away, so I put him back to bed.
We ran into some new puppies on the way to the clinic.. Sooooo cute, but not as soft as they looked. We also ran into Alexandra and an aide, who visited with one of the puppies.
I spent a good bit of time in the preschool room with the older kids. When I sat down on the floor, Maiastra caught a glimpse of the tattoo on my arm and was intrigued by it. Then she sat in my lap, took my arms, and wrapped them tightly around her. It was a nice cuddle, aside from the time when she suddenly threw her head backwards and hit my jaw. I was sure it was going to bruise, it hurt so badly, but thankfully, it didn’t.
Andrei still wasn’t feeling well, either, and after he was given his medicine, he threw it up. As a result, he had to get a shot to the butt. Poor guy. :-(
Because Saturday was Amy J.’s birthday, we had a little surprise party for her after lunch on Friday. It was a surprise to me, too, as I thought we were going to do something in the evening! It was great to see the look on her face because she didn’t have a clue that anything was going on. She looked so shocked when Bogdan brought out the birthday cake (which was very yummy)!
Today was another day of goodbyes, as the second-weekers and Terri were leaving early Saturday morning. We had a little party Friday night, involving beer and a game of “Spoons,” which I observed but did not play. It got a little vicious when Amy J. tried to bite Trent in an effort to steal his spoon. I caught that round on video, and you can watch it here. After the end of the two-hour game, we said I said my goodbyes and see-you-laters to Lila, Eve, and Trent, as well as Amy J. and Stephanie (who were going to spend the weekend in Bucharest).
I had intended to sleep in this morning but was woken up by Delta knocking on my door. She wondered if I was going to join everyone at the clinic that morning, and she went to the dining room to order breakfast for everyone while I got dressed. So we went to the clinic and fed and played with the kids. I spent most of my time in the mobile playroom—which is a horrible setting for pictures, with the red carpet and the light shining through the window. It was nice to interact more with the older kids—Ionela, Ana-Maria, Mihaela, Sami, Alexandra, Maiastra. Lea-Celine and Gabriela hung out with us, as well.
We returned to the hotel for lunch, where we ordered off the menu! I got chicken schnitzel and mashed potatoes. Yum! Then Trevor and Delta decided they were going to take a nap, and while I was also tired and intended to have a little rest, I got sidetracked (as usual) by email and such.
Around 3:00, I left with Amy D. and Becca to take the bus to Barlad. At our stop, we weren’t sure if it was the right one, so Becca asked the girl sitting next to her, “Occident Hotel?” (Not sure if I spelled that right.) The girl nodded and said this was the right stop, and as the driver began to pull away, the girl called, “English, English!” while we walked up the aisle. Everyone just laughed and accepted the explanation, and the driver let us out, with a “Thank you very much.”
We met Ciprian, who had been their team leader last year, and spent the afternoon walking around the public gardens. We also visited the zoo, which cost about 30 cents American and was unlike any other zoo I’ve ever seen. I got about a foot away from a tiger, and if I was brave—or stupid—I could’ve reached through the bars to pet him/her! They also have dogs at this zoo—a dalmatian, a boxer, an alsatian—and I cringed when I saw them, as well as the Siamese cats. It bothered me to see animals—types that are considered to be common household pets—caged up in a zoo, but then I realized, who determines what “belongs” in a zoo? People keep pot-bellied pigs and monkeys as pets, and they’re still common zoo animals. The funniest thing about the zoo was that I could easily slip my hand through the bars on the big kitties’ cages, but if I wanted to get to the dogs or the chickens, I would have had to get past bars AND chicken wire/fencing.
After the zoo visit, we went to a park bench and just chilled for a while before heading towards a restaurant for dinner. Chip told us that his girlfriend was attending a party for her god-daughter that day, and he explained the “ritual”: When a child turns a year old, part of her (or his) celebration includes being placed among a spread of various items—books, jewelry, money, lipstick, etc. The item(s) the child chooses is what she will gravitate towards in the future. Later on, her godfather(s) bathes her in a tub/basin full of spices, milk, honey, etc. He also puts some of the aforementioned items under the tub, to bless her and grant her the virtues represented by the items—books for intelligence, money for prosperity, etc.
We stopped for ice cream on the way to dinner, and when we got to the restaurant (at the Hotel Premier, I believe), lo and behold, that’s where Chip’s girlfriend was for the baby’s party! Funny stuff. The four of us went to a table in a back corner and ordered our food. I got grilled chicken and mashed potatoes (my go-to meal in this country, it seems), and Amy D. & Becca both got some kind of chicken and vegetables on a hot plate that was still sizzling halfway through the meal!
The mealtime discussion was interesting…it ranged from why Becca sings all the time to the differences between Master’s of Social Work programs in the U.S. and in Romania. Good stuff. For dessert, I got the “Sunshine” nonalcoholic cocktail (it was similar to a smoothie) with pureed green apples, pomegranate syrup, and orange juice, and the others (Amy & Becca sharing) got the Premier Dessert, was two scoops of ice cream sandwiched between cookies, drizzled with syrup and sprinkles, and garnished with a piece of starfruit.
We took a taxi back to the hotel and arrived between 10:30 and 11:00. I put on my pajamas, called home, watched an episode of True Blood online, wrote a few postcards, and went to bed.
Today was a lazy day. I didn’t get up until 11:00am. We had lunch at 1:30, then decided to play Canasta. It was a fairly easy game to learn, and we ended up playing for three hours. Amy D., Trevor, and Delta (one team) beat Becca and me (the other team). :-( After the game, I came back to my room and called Chris, tried to call Scott, and then just worked on this blog and wrote some postcards until dinner.
Stan, Carol, and Susan had returned from their weekend trips (Susan finally made it to Moldova!), and they told us about their various travels. Susan shared the wine and chocolate she had bought on her trip. I had spaghetti carbonara and French fries, and there was so much food on my massive plate, I could only eat half of it.
So here I am, finishing up my blog and waiting for Amy J. and Stephanie to get back. Kinda’ miss my roomie, even after only one night. And I told Trevor that if anyone decides to do anything tonight (more games, etc) to let me know.
Tomorrow, we’re back to the kids and starting week three.
Alexandra in a walker, just for fun
Lila & Lea-Celine
Me & Ionela
Delta & Daniela
Terri & Petre
Me & Marius, who felt miserable all day
Trevor & Big Andreea
Ion...creepy picture, yeah?
Marius, feeling slightly better
Alexandra & one of the aides...Alex isn't sure what she thinks of the little furball
Mama, can I bring him home with me?
Me & Maiastra
Amy J. & Maria
Ionela in the swing
Me & Ionela
Some pictures of the hotel:
And just because they stole my camera and took their own pictures with it...here are Amy & Trevor: