We’re home now…

Hey guys,

today was a sad day… I’ve become so used to Romania that I totally forgot that we had to go back eventually. Today was the day of our departure.

In the morning we went back to the school to say goodbye to everyone. Most of the Romanian students promised to come to Belgium and many of the Belgian students promised to go back to Romania. Everyone was quite emotional and we didn’t want to go home.

We have made so many beautiful memories, met so many interesting people and have gone through so many emotions. I’m happy to know each and everyone I’ve met during this adventure. I’m proud of every single thing I’ve done and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

This may feel like an end to something wonderful, but I’m sure I’ll see them again and that I’ll talk to them again. I never thought that I’d miss someone I’ve only known for two weeks but I do, I really do. I’m sure that this is just the beginning of a new chapter.

I’d really like to thank our teachers for giving us this opportunity. Keep fighting for this project because it’s worth every penny and every piece of hard work. The Humanistic Sciences has to keep this going, this has to be our signature. I can honestly say that I’ve never been so proud to be part of a group then at this exact moment thinking about what we’ve achieved.

And to all who say that this was just a fun trip, it wasn’t. What we did may have been a drop in the ocean and there still is a lot of work but when you saw their eyes lit up with joy, I swear, you felt like nothing could stop you. You felt like a superhero. Even more, in their eyes, even if it was for a short time, you were a superhero. So this is also a shout-out to my classmates: be proud. You changed lives.

I guess my part in this ride is almost over. I don’t know what I’ll do with this blog, maybe I’ll post something every now and then but maybe it’s time to pass it on to the next year…

Goodbye Romania,
I’ll miss you…

“Saying goodbye doesn’t mean anything. It’s the time spend together that matters, not how we left it.” – Trey Parker

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The undescribable…

Hey,

like I said yesterday, today was going to be a hard day. Well, I underestimated it, it wasn’t hard, it was just … indescribable

First we went to an elderly home. It was well-kept and clean. We sang some songs and played Bingo. Everyone felt alright and happy when we left.

But then the hard part came… We went to Timis. An orphanage that ,according to the government, doesn’t exist. We had been warned that it was going to be terrible but nothing could prepare us for what we saw.

On the outside it looked kind of okay, it wasn’t a ruin and it didn’t smell to bad. But on the inside… The stench was almost unbearable. And the kids, I’m sorry but just thinking of it, I don’t know how to describe it. The kids were rocking back and forth or just sitting and it was so hard to make contact. I shouldn’t say kids actually because the ones we saw were young adults.

Most of them couldn’t talk and they were influenced by medicines to keep them calm. I honestly don’t know how to put these sentences in a logic order… There were supposed to be 75 orphanages in that building but we only got to see 2 rooms. It was obvious that they had cleaned them and had put the “better” ones in those rooms.

When we left we were so down and touched that everyone was dead silent when we got on the bus. We stopped to wash our hands a bit further and while everyone got out, they bursted into tears. We sat there for a minute untill we had to go on the bus again. I’ve never seen my class so quiet…

In the afternoon we went had to divide our group into three little groups. One went to Horizon, one to Chip and the last one to Dale. In these orphanages there were only boys. We played some football and managed to push Timis to the back of our heads.

As it was our last evening in Romania, we went out for a drink with the whole group (Romanians included). As mister Broidioi had promised me to find me a Romanian boyfriend, this was his last evening. I didn’t think he’d actually do it, but he has more balls than I expected. He actually asked the number of our waiter. I died… I really don’t know what I would have done if he’d gotten the number…

After dinner me and my friends went to Kafe again to have something to drink. Then some of us decided to go back to the hotel as others wanted to drink a bit more. When we got back in the hotel we heard music playing and as we walked into the common room we saw something that we’ll never forget: AN EPIC LIPSYNCBATTLE!!
You know it’s epic when even the teachers are joining in.

I know this post is rather late, but it’s been kind of busy now. So I’ll throw in the most amazing quote ever to make it up:

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – Life itself” – Walter Anderson

Goodnight

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A different kind of happy

Hello,

today was by far the hardest day of the week and I think I speak in the name of everyone. It wasn’t only physically hard but maybe it was even harder mentally. It’s kind of depressing to realize that what we do is just one drop in the ocean. We can’t help everybody, we can’t save everybody. I guess that’s something we realized today.

This morning we went to a gipsy village with Viorel. We had brought bags with food for some families. Viorel told us that that was all we could do. He had tried to build houses for them so they could live in a better environement and he had payed for the kids to go to school. But after one or two years the houses were dirty and some older kids who had just one year of school left got pregnant. After a while Viorel stopped with this kind of help because it just didn’ matter.

After giving the bags to the families we played some games with the kids. I can’t say that they weren’t happy because they were. They had no problems with their living conditions because they didn’t know anything else.

In the afternoon we went to another orphanage, Budila. This was an all boys orphanage. We had a great time, they were full of energy and joy when they saw us comig. We had brought some white blankets, paint and footballs to play with. Eventually we ended up painting ourselfs instead of the blankets…

But during our stay at Budila everyone went in groups to another part of the city, the poor part. This came as a shock to all of us I guess. It’s something totally different to see the houses in real life and to smell the stench in the street. We went to visit a boy who lived in Patrick but had returned to his family a few years ago. We all felt a little weird standing there, not able to say anything, trying to hold our breath so we wouldn’t smell the odor. Everyone who returned to Budila felt kind of down and was really silent.

For dinner we went back to Pizza Iolo, the place we went to the first night we were here. Then we went to the city center to enjoy a walk, found Raluca and drank some delicious hot chocolate with marsmellows at Kafe. Kafe is a small café that the Romanians go to when they skip school (quote from Raluca ). It was really nice and had this chalkboard wall with inspirational quotes. It was really cozy and the hot chocolate was so delicious.

Tomorrow will be another harsh day so I’d better get some sleep. But £I won’t leave you without a quote of the day:

“It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness” – Charles Spurgeon

Sleep tight

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Disabled doesn’t mean not able

Hey guys,

today was the first day we visited an orphanage. We arrived at Patrick and Irlanda in the morning. These two orphanages take kids in who are mentally or physically disabled. Normaly kids are put into large orphanages where they have little attention for them. Patrick and Irlanda are founded by Viorel, a man who really cares about these kids and gives them all the care they need.

We started with playing some games. We played some music, kicked a ball around and danced with the kids. An older kid braided the hair of some girls and we all had a lot of fun.

In the noon we went to the Mc Donalds with those kids. They were really excited because going to the Mc Donalds was something rare and special for them. We were able to go due too the big amount of many we raised with all our events during the year.

Another thing we could pay with our funds was a trip to the zoo. You should have seen the kids, they were so excited and happy. Our teachers warned us not to expect a lot of the zoo. But I was quite surprised at the amount of animals they had. There were bears, lions, tiger and a lot more. What was a bit weird was the fact that a lot of the animals were lying down and being inactive. Maybe it was because of the heat that day or something else but they didn’t look too healthy.

After the zoo we went back to the orphanage and it was time to see what the money of last year was spend on. Viorel explained that they used the money for a kitchen for the voluntairies and the young people at the orphanage. He also told us about the problems in the other orphanages and why the Sunshine Foundation is so much better.

The kitchen is half-build, the foundations are there and a wooden frame has been placed. We decided to let him use our 2.000 euro’s to finish the house.

When we got home, my group was invited to go to Maria’s place. We laughed and told stories and ate a bit. After we ate, we decided to go home by foot as some of us were sooooooo confident that they could find the way back. It was all going well until we didn’t recognize ANYTHING anymore. We decided to walk on, as our fierce leader Karen was certain she could find the way back again. At some point we thought we knew where we were as we recognized a pizzeria, then we realised we just came back to the point where we started our heroic search. Almost drained of all our hope we carried on and decided to follow a big street. Finally we found our street again and went to bed after a really exciting excursion full of laughter.

“Lost doesn’t mean alone” – Peter Pan

Goodnight 🙂

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Projects and afterparty

Hey there!

Today was the last day that we went to the school. A part of the adventure was ending as this was the day we had to do our presentations.

So in the morning we made sure our presentations were perfect and added the final touches. After that we made another tour through Brasov. We went past the white and black tower and through a couple of gates. As we walked past these beautiful buildings I came to the realisation that no matter how many pictures we take, the light will never hit the building quite as the way we see it and no matter how many stories we’ll tell, it won’t have the rich smell and taste of the moment we’re living now. We will never be able to tell people excactly how amazing something was or how good something tasted. We will never find the words to describe this magical feeling we have had these last few days. The memories we have are ours and I guess that’s again one of the wonders of our world. We are the keepers of our own memories and they will never be the same as the ones of others.

After the walk through Brasov we got back to the school to watch a little show that was made by students of Unirea. It had singers and dancers and even a spoken word (which are my favourite kind of performances). The choir sung beautiful songs including one of Les Choristes. When the Romanian students were done they asked if some of the Belgian students wanted to do something. Laura, Megan and Valentyn decided to bring something and brought a beautiful version of 9 crimes from Damien Rice.

For lunch we went to a local bakery and bought some typical Romanian food. I ate a Mesc Nuca and a Ralunda Nuca. Both were like this sort of bread stuffed with a mixture of nuts. It wasn’t dreadfull but it wasn’t really delicious either. But we ate for about 4 lei, with is about 1 euro.

In the afternoon we did the presentations. We were told that there would be a lot of parents and press. In reality there was no press and 3 or 4 parents. That was kind of depressing but we had fun with the presentations anyway. We were told to come up with something creative, so some made a song about their topic or a poem, movie or play.

After the presentatios we went to get some food in a Irish pub, there was pizza and chicken and it was absolutely delicious. One thing that didn’t taste good was the chocolate cake. I don’t understand how you can rape a chocolate cake that much, but it was drenched in rum. You can have a little bit of rum in your cake but that much was just outrageous.

When we were so full you could roll us acrossed the floor, we went to a bar and then to a club. This club was the coolest place I’ve ever seen. When you stood in front of it it looked like a place drug addicts meet. But once you got in and went down the stairs into the basement it was like this super trendy nightclub. It was called Times. We danced and laughed and got a bit drunk but ended up safely at the hotel.

“Life is all about having a good time.” – Miley Cyrus

Sleep Tight!

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The benefits of the ball: Belgium vs. Romania

Hey there,

so day three is almost over… This morning must have been the hardest to get up, for everyone. Most of us went crazy yesterday evening with the Romanians (shopping & partying) and that walk is still haunting our legs.

After ,again, a really good breakfast it was time to go to Unirea. As usual in Romania the taxi’s weren’t quite on time so we had to wait in the pouring rain. But all was fine when we finally stepped into the taxi and discovered that our taxidriver could speak Dutch! Yes, yes, his daughter lives in Bruges! The world can be so small sometimes …

When we arrived at Unirea we were led to the town hall were we would meet the vice-mayor. She talked a while about youth and education in Brasov and the upcoming Youth Olympic Games which are possibly going to be hosted by Brasov. After that we could ask some questions for our theses about local policy.

The building was quite impressive with a special room for bridal pictures where they had birds inside. For the rest of the morning we worked on our presentations.

Of course, as you can guess: I was getting hungry by noon. So me and my friends went to this little restaurant called Ando’s. It wasn’t that delicious but cheap. The interior was really nice!

In the afternoon we had a class, boo you Broidioi, about the European Union. Okay  yes, it was interesting and listening to Broidioi’s English can make every day have a silver lining. But now we were so tired that paying attention was just too hard. But fortunately we had a little bit of free time to play some football.

To have a bit of exercise in our day we made a walk through the historical centre of Brasov. I have to say, I began to see why they call Brasov the most beautiful city of Romania. The icing on the cake was when the teachers decided to treat everyone to ice cream.

“Friendship … is not something you learn in school.But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you haven’t learned anything.” – Muhammed Ali

Goodnight!

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On top of the world

The second day we were in Romania gave us heart problems and sore feet.

After waking up and eating breakfast with amazing applejuice, we took off to Unirea. Unirea is the best language school of Brasov and also the school we’re doing this exchange project with. As soon as we arrived the boys found a ball and quickly became friends with some students as the girls sat down in the sun.

After waiting a while we followed the Romanian students into a meeting room. There the principal gave a little speech. After that it was time for us to work on our projects.

Finally it was time to eat something, as I was starting to get really hungry. We went with two Romanian students to a nice little restaurant. It was called: “La bucàtural vesel” but don’t ask me what that means… The most of us ate pasta and it was delicious. The amount was just right and it wasn’t too expensive.

In the afternoon we went to the top of the Tampa. That’s a mountain right next to Unirea. Fortunately we didn’t walk to the top as is was very steep. No, we decided to make it a bit easier to fall. So we took the lift to the top and walked all the way down.

There is one thing you can’t deny when you’re at the top of that mountain: the view is amazing! You get the feeling like you’re on top of the world as the city spreads out below you and the nature is so overwhelming it takes your breath away.

One big disadvantage were the loose stones on the paths. It was very easy to slip and fall, like I did… So after a total of spending 4 hours in the mountains we were all quite tired and could feel our feet burning.

But the girls weren’t tired enough to skip a trip to the biggest shopping mall in Brasov! It was gigantic! There were shops there that I had never even heard about. It was called Corisa and it was really modern and clean.

But now my feet are hurting soooooooooooooo much so I’m going to sleep after this quote that fits perfectly today.

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” – Jules Renard

Sleep tight!

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