Hi Friends and Family all over the world!
Sorry I’ve been off the blogging grid for a while! But while I’ve been away I’ve been to two countries: Romania & Germany!
You may be thinking…wait, wasn’t she JUST in Romania?! Yes. We finally had our “Fall Break” at school so I was able to jet off for an entire week to one of my favorite places in the world. It also helped this time that I had a wonderful person to meet me when I got off my plane in Bucharest. 🙂
Even though I was only there for 7 days, I was busy volunteering at the “Brasov Children’s Hospital” part-time, as well as enjoying magical Brasov. It was in a way surreal to be back in a place that I had lived in before. I felt like I was coming “home.” I knew the streets, the food, the people, the scenery. I took an early morning flight to Warsaw and then to Bucharest. I remember sitting on both flights feeling excited, anxious, restless. But it wasn’t until my second flight actually touched down in Romania that this wave of calm washed over me. It’s too expensive to fly back to the U.S.A. as much as I would love to visit home if only for a week. So landing in Romania felt like I was going home to something familiar. I had worked nonstop for weeks and now I could finally relax.
Sorin picked me up from the airport and we made our way to Brasov. But since it was a gorgeous and sunny fall day we decided to stop in Sinaia. Last time I was in Sinaia a couple of my volunteer friends and I took a train from Brasov to visit Peles Castle. If you want to read my blogpost about my time there in July you can read it here!
Sinaia is a quaint and lovely town nestled in the Carpathian mountains. It’s most notable for the forever stunning Peles Castle and the incredible scenery. I’m so glad that we had a chance to stop there to take some fun pictures and enjoy the perfect day! It was also kind of surreal being in Romania in a completely different season. When I was there in July you would have thought I was in Chicago in the middle of summer. I remember wearing shorts and a tank top to go volunteer and feeling immense dread every time I took the non air conditioned bus to the local village of Codlea. But this time it was truly the peak of fall. The leaves were all sorts of vibrant colors and there was a chill in the air. Not to mention it was right around Halloween time so it even felt a little spooky. 🙂
Me in front of Peles Castle in July and October
Brasov was just as beautiful as I remembered it to be. Lovely streets. Impressive mountains. And of course the famous “Brasov Hollywood Sign” at the top of Mount Tampa. Sorin and I walked the city center and circled around the base of the mountain to see the city from a higher point of view. I was like a kid kicking all of the fall leaves on the pathway.
In addition to visiting Brasov to relax I spent several days volunteering at the “Brasov Children’s Hospital” with “Firm Foundations Romania.” I can’t rave or speak highly enough of this magnificent organization. They work with the hospital, supplying volunteers to help assist with the babies and toddlers who are patients on different floors. For four days I was more than happy to ditch my dresses and leggings for some colorful scrubs. I wish when I was in Brasov in July that I would’ve had more time to volunteer with Firm Foundations, but I was so thankful to be able to meet some of the staff and help during this break. And here’s the best part: ANYONE can volunteer! Even if you’ve never worked in a hospital and you have little experience with children. It’s all about providing extra love and support to these babies who are either left there for long periods of time or who are regular patients. By the time I was at my last day volunteering I became so used to the routine and even attached to these babies. I joked with Sorin that I wanted to take home this beautiful little girl who was probably around 3 months old. In particular we had a little boy who was older than all of the other babies (he’s 4 years old) and he truly looked forward to seeing us every day. Four year olds should be in Preschool or playing with friends outside, they shouldn’t be in a hospital crib. So for him, the presence of a volunteer every day was something he absolutely loved. It was his time to just be a normal kid and play with all of the toys we carried in our bags. The hardest part of the time I spent there was having to leave the room with any babies or kids crying. I wish I could’ve volunteered there for weeks. I know I will absolutely be back and if you’re reading this now and you’d love to join me or learn more, feel free to let me know! Your time, care, and love can go such a long way.
The rest of my time in Brasov consisted of lots of good food (this girl loves some Romanian “Sarmale”-stuffed cabbage), more beautiful mountains, and plenty of movies. I probably watched more movies during that week than in the last 5 months. It was so hard for me to say goodbye again to somewhere that truly has such a special place in my heart. I cried plenty at the airport saying goodbye to Sorin and continued crying throughout passport control. Note to travelers: if you’re worried about being questioned at border control I highly suggest crying- you’ll be given that stamp so fast. But once I returned to Poland I felt so refreshed and re-inspiried. I had the most wonderful week, with an incredible person, in a place that’s the closest to home I’ll get here. I also had another feeling of complete reassurance that this is where I need to be in my life right now. I love traveling. I love meeting new people. I love the rush of it all. I love being able to take a 4 hour flight to another country for cheaper than a tank of gas in the USA. I love being able to give back with anything I have to give. It’s all about the journey.
All in all, Romania…it was so beyond lovely to see you again.
In the next week or so I’ll be blogging about my time in Dresden this past weekend! I had never been to Germany before and it was a much needed and great weekend away with friends! Stay tuned!
All My Love,