Te[am] Iubesc: Clash of the Cultures
Saturday, May 28th, 2011 : Tinca, Romania. 11:45pm
We made it. Our last full day in Romania has come to an end, and what a day it was. Saturday brought with it naps, synagogues, markets, cats, and WWII, just to name a few. Our team ventured to the great city of Oradea today, and let me tell you, what an adventure it was. The day started off as any other day. I was awakened by church bells (an alarm set on JD’s iPad) and hopped in the shower. Breakfast was eggs and ham with toast and blueberry jelly. We headed over to the Isaiah Center to get Dave and then headed to Oradea. I enjoy long car rides because it leaves plenty of time for good conversations. The first stop of the day was at Selgros, a local grocery store comparable to a Sam’s Club. We were there for over an hour going around the store and trying to decipher Romanian products. A bunch of us bought candy and Frutti Fresh. After Selgros we packed all our goodies and drove into the city of Oradea. We were able to shop at the local market there. What an experience that was! It was essentially an open air market, with everything from shirts to food. I am always amazed at how cheap everything is here. Things that would normally be $40-$50 dollars in The States are $20-$30 dollars here. I think my favorite purchase made by our team at the market was Conner. He bought some euro-undies and sported them for us later that day. What happened next no one could have expected. So generally, when we all travel together, we take a mini bus so that we can all ride together. The driver drops us off and then usually parks somewhere and takes a nap while we do our thing. Well, this time, while the driver was napping, a cat snuck in and pooped ALL over the bus. It got on backpacks, on Frutti Fresh, on clothes, everywhere. The driver cleaned it up, but our bus still smelled like used diapers doused in cleaning products. It really wasn’t a big deal to us but our driver felt so bad and kept on apologizing. That is one memory most of us will always remember from the trip.
Next on our agenda was to walk around the city and do some shopping and sight seeing. This was my favorite part of the day because we got to learn a bit about the history of Oradea. The thing that got me the most, though, was how big of a presence WWII has in Eastern Europe. Talk about culture shock. That is one thing that has been one of the biggest obstacles to overcome. Most people that go on mission trips go through a culture shock, as most places are different then America. But we had to experience 3 different cultures, that of Tinca, Romania, which is a modest town, the gypsy village, which is below the poverty line, and Oradea, which is pretty nice, but has so much history behind it. With Oradea, most of the places we went to talked about the Holocaust and the Jewish people that lived (and died) there. We went by buildings that had been bombed or burned by Nazis. One building in particular that we went to was a Jewish Synagogue where hundreds of Jews met their end when Nazis stormed in and killed them. There were monuments all over the city to people (mainly Jews) that had died there. You just don’t get to see history like that in The States. I feel like a lot of times Americans take sympathy on situations for a little bit, but then forget about the travesties that happen over seas (Haiti and Japan to name a few). Having a thing like WWI being so present and alive in Oradea was jaw dropping. The influence WWII had on Oradea literally shaped the city. The city had 30,000 Jews living in it, but now it only has 300. The trip we took made me realize that things that happen around the world don’t just last as long as the media portrays it, but that these events shape cultures, shape cities, shape nations. We need to break out of the American bubble and stay connected with things happening around the world. We Christians should never stop praying for things. It is my hope that the lessons learned here in Romania stick with the team and I, and that we do not forgot about the things, good and bad, that go on here.
(photos coming soon)