Tuesday, September 16, 2014

equal blessings

Some people might think that living in a new country would be difficult.  And indeed it can be.  No place this side of Heaven is completely perfect; there are going to be advantages and disadvantages to any place, whether city, village, one's home country, or a foreign country.  But there are a couple places that are about as close to perfect as one can get on this earth: Pittsburgh and Mosnita Veche!

Pittsburgh was my home for 16 years, and I loved it.  I have been to many places all over the world, and people would sometimes ask me which was my favorite.  And as wonderful and unique as each place was, my answer always had to be: Pittsburgh!

But this post is not about my previous home; it's about my new home in Mosnita Veche.  And while completely different in almost every aspect from Pittsburgh, it is also a wonderful place to live.

Pittsburgh was a city full of hills and mountains, rivers and forests.  The village of Mosnita is flat.  Really flat.  Farmland and fields abound.  The Timis and Bega Rivers flow by about 10 miles from here, and on a clear day you can see the Western Carpathian Mountains way off in the distance.  I miss the mountains sometimes, so am very glad for every chance to see them.  The flats, though, have their advantages, too: huge rainbows, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, and storms moving across the plains can only be seen where there is nothing to obstruct the view.  Each day brings beautiful and new sights to behold.

One of the reasons I loved Pittsburgh is because that is where my family was.  As the saying goes, there really is no place like home!  But now when I think of 'home,' our little house in Mosnita is what comes to my mind.  I do miss my family, but it is also wonderful to have my own home and family here.  And now in addition to my family in the United States, I have acquired even more family here in Romania and in other parts of Europe!

There are definite advantages to living in a city.  There were several large grocery stores all within a few minutes' drive from my home.  Here in the village there are no grocery stores.  There are a few convenience-type stores, but they rarely have anything worth buying besides perhaps bananas or a pint of fresh cream.  However, about once a week we venture into the city to do some shopping at the piata.  There we can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, raw milk, and cheese from the locals.  You can't get much better than that!

There are other things that I sometimes miss living here in Mosnita, but for each one, God has provided an equal blessing.

Some people think I'm crazy, but one thing I often miss is driving.  Driving an automatic, that is.  We don't have a car, but even if we did, it would more-than-likely be a stick shift, which I am in the process of learning how to drive (we'll see if I like it as well as driving an automatic...).  But whether I was cruising down the highway at 70 mph, or just driving around town with a nice breeze blowing in my window, I have always missed driving when I have been overseas.

But I have also enjoyed being able to use my bike more and learning to use the bus system.  On weekdays there are a number of buses back and forth to town, and it is an easy as well as very reasonable option.  Taxis and trams once in the city are also generally easy to use and are not terribly expensive.

Another thing I miss is my church.  The preaching, of course, was the best, and I loved the abundance of singing, as well as the opportunities to play for the congregational singing.  The people in my church were also my second family.  But like I said, there are equal blessings here!  While I often am unable to communicate extensively, our church people here are also becoming my family; I have enjoyed hearing the different preachers here and learning new songs; and at the Romanian church we go to on Sunday mornings, I sometimes accompany the choir, assist at their monthly practices, or play for the service if the regular pianist is not able to.  And I get to listen to my husband teach or preach each week.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Another thing that is different is, of course, the language!  While I'm far from fluent, I am enjoying finally being able to communicate on a small level with those around me.  Visiting with the neighbors, getting help from store clerks, and fellowshipping with those at church are challenging at times, but also exciting as I practice using the things I've learned.  It can be frustrating when I don't always understand what's being said around me, especially if I'm in a group of people or if there is a lot of background noise.  But those times when I'm able to communicate one-on-one with a helpful partner who's willing to speak slowly and clearly and give me assistance when I need it is, indeed, a blessing.  And to top it all off, I have a husband who speaks Romanian like a native, so I can always get any help I need from him!

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