All posts by Violeta

Now, THE topic.

I’ve been holding this under my hat, for weeks now.

My sister, Carmen (often assumed so literally), our roads intertwined a lot in the last eleven years. They continued to do so even after my seven year adventure abroad.

The morning I shared in church about our plans regarding Romania and adoption, I received an email from her about a computer. And that story is amazing in itself, with how perfectly things aligned. While I was going with the flow, with an impulse to serve Carmen by speaking up, she was speaking on my behalf and gathering information.

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On Tuesday we plan to take our adoption attesting papers. There is some concern regarding being bound to legally translate them into English because Conrad is not a Romanian citizen.

Her faith and enthusiasm have been an inspiration to me. We may even visit the child protection orphanage. Conrad is afraid he will fall in love with ALL the children. There are three adoptable girls under one year, though we’ve been planning to adopt a newborn. Plans are made to be thrown out the window. Yet we stay with our hearts and hands open, ready to hear, ready to listen.

The ladies who work there got all excited about our desire to adopt, and happily shared constructive information that usually it’s an ordeal to navigate. We don’t even know them.

We said we are starting an adoption process on this trip. Both of us have an unexplainable drive to finish what we start. And we feel encouraged by how natural this whole journey feels. I’ve stressed before about making choices in the grocery store. Not about this…

Cluj seems beautiful. Our retreat apartment is an oasis. People are kind, interesting, smart and genuine. I love my people.

There is a lot of unknown ahead. But we live fully, one day at a time.

Cluj – day one

Our minds are cool and clear. We spent all our emotions the weeks prior to this trip. Now we just dive in and let it all happen.

We are in Cluj. I am sipping coffee in bed, Ritual Coffee freshly brewed by Conrad. And before noon we plan to check out the few apartments we had lined up.

We made it. Actually we did more than that. While the start of our trip was a little rocky, me working till the very last minute and having no time to transition into vacation mode, rushing out the door at 6 PM to drive to SFO, it was a delightful travel time. Conrad and I always have great fun traveling together. We slept with our feet on the wall (exit row seats) enjoyed Lufthansa’s generous food and drinks servings as well as their excellent customer focus.

Our two large suitcases made it through, though they were 7-10 pounds heavier than the regular luggage limit, together the 5 computers we had in our carry-ons.

Dan picked us up from the 5 min away Cluj Airport, gave us a tour of the city at midnight (it’s his thing), and then dropped us off at the apartment we are renting for a few days.

Logistics. Bureaucracy. Processes.

Transferring money to Romania is becoming more cumbersome than it needs to be. My transfer was cancelled once, after I was called and confirmed my identity and the purpose for this transfer three times. And I was locked out of my online backing account four other times. I learned about the last lockout a few minutes before going to bed, Saturday night.

“High risk country” The bank is concerned about my being a victim of extortion, blackmail or naiveté. While I appreciate the cautiousness, I was afraid that I won’t be able to transfer our apartment funds in time, before we leave.

While I was sleeping, the account was unlocked and I regained access to my online banking. I woke up to see the wire transfer in transit.

So many things fell into place like puzzle pieces, some nice and early and others last minute. Both kinds perfectly satisfying.

Faith

I recently saw a movie. The first half of the script was played from one of the character’s perspective, and then the same story was told from the other side. Gary’s message today was confirming, encouraging and pushed me over the edge of imagination… So how about the other side of the story?

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

Somewhere, a most precious being is created. Along with this miracle, there might be pain and fear and insecurity. But somehow, Conrad and I will enter into that story and change it, and let that miracle change us.

I am at ease knowing that I am not in charge of the whole script. I learned a lot in the last seven years to let go and trust. This time I only need to play my role and walk by faith.

The anxiety due to the roller coaster we hopped on could give me an ulcer, I bet. But I take a deep breath and trust that God is in control, and that He is preparing the way for us.

My dear child, with a story unknown to me yet, you are loved, and you are wanted. I pray for your mother’s wisdom and courage to protect you while in her care. And may we be ready…

Heavy or light

I’m friends with excitement and anticipation. I welcome it as I perceive mostly the positive by default. Recently we started taking ourselves too serious and it got heavy. I just remembered a clever saying:

“Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”

Yes. This is a stressful time of anticipating crazy changes (home ownership across the world, potentially moving there within the next year, taking a sabbatical from a job I don’t want to leave, becoming parents overnight through adoption) and it would be a disservice to sweep this side of the story under the rug. It’s overwhelming. The luggage is heavy though we aim to pack light. One way I manage to detach myself from such feelings is remembering that we have nothing to lose. The race is won. Whatever happens in the present is a gift, including the experience and the ripple effect of God’s grace. We make billions of choices in a lifetime: some we will always remember, as they are of consequence, some are routine and safe, some are life changing. I can’t help but ponder the many crossroads ahead on our roadmap.

I just packed three computers in my carry-on. This is a little nuts as Conrad will carry technology in his bag as well. I packed my work badge just in case. This is the first and the last time we are doing this, at this scale. But we do it in good faith and with integrity.

Ten days to go. Two suitcases half full. And we try to remain present and engaged in our daily routine, with work and life balance.

Time stands still

It doesn’t get any better than this. Or in laymen terms: I am happy – Right here – Right now. I am grateful for friends, for the beautiful weather, wine and barbecued veggies, the Ocean and the sound of the waves, the smell of eucalyptus and I am most grateful of little boys’ kisses. IMG_6226

The wisps of clouds, the ocean breeze, the diffused white light. I am grateful for Conrad, who organized a surprise dinner with my dear friends, did all the preparations and then told me about it the morning of my birthday. This was the best birthday yet.

Santa Cruz - ocean brightness

Time stood still many times in my life. That’s why I appear young still. Time stands still in nature, in front of the fire place, on walks with mom, talking with my parents in the kitchen in Galati, and mostly when I go on adventures with Conrad.

Packing 30

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!” ~ Goethe

I love packing. It’s the anticipation of the trip, the planning, the visualizing of what’s to come. We bought new cutting sheets, we packed the crockpot, the kingsize fuzzy burgundy blanket. We bought a new set of bedsheets and we packed medicine, small gifts, computers and stuff for Zelda’s Books.

You know how sometimes you are so sure of something, that no matter how crazy the idea, you push forward, because there is no way around it. That’s how we feel about this apartment in Cluj.

Work has been wonderfully fulfilling these past few weeks. It challenges me to serve and to lead. It brings me joy and purpose. And I love working with my peers and customers. Proud and honored.

I turn 30 in 2 days. And I am getting excited about it. I’ve been making a big deal of it at work, mainly because I like the puzzled look on everyone’s face when they realize I’m not in my early 20s. I am tempted to scrutinize the lack of classic accomplishments: I have not had kids yet and I have not bought a house yet either. But I have no regrets.

A few weeks after I met Conrad, we got married just as I turned 23 and I still live life to the fullest, with my best friend. We traveled the world, starved together, walked hundreds of miles together, fought, cried, prayed, laughed, paid a lot of debt living on a tight budget and we conquered fears and dreams together.

I always say what I mean and I mean what I say. I believe. I love freely. I give wholeheartedly. I make time to read, walk and be quiet. I am stubborn but I will always listen and try to understand another’s point of view. This year mama said that I am a blessing to her, even from across the world. She never says things she doesn’t mean.

I am turning 30 and I am happy about it.

A new chapter is afoot.

Give & Take

I love the brave and wise comment and wish a friend made: may we go to Cluj not for what it has to give to us but for what we have to offer, as people and places may disappoint. I completely agree. Selflessness saves us from disappointment, much like parenting, and much like marriage. We will gladly serve and we will let ourselves be loved.

We make a living by what we get; We make a life by what we give.

Among our many reasons for reconnecting with Romania are my parents. We want to be closer to them at the drop of a hat. They are wonderful with their stubbornness, belief, kindness, resilience, humor and quirkiness…

Encouragement

Being private is comfortable and safe, but you might agree that it is also sterile. On the other hand, vulnerability is freeing and inspiring though it leaves a bitter, lonely aftertaste. We are not in need of approval, and occasionally we enjoy stirring up the air and the waters. It doesn’t take much.

Conrad expressed his gratitude for the support everyone has been showing. I concur. Thank you for your friendship and the courage to encourage us. Thank you for your words now as much as I thank you for your silence and love as we were making up our minds (mom and dad have been our best friends in this journey!)

Today I got an unexpected gift, a baby blanket with turtles holding on to flying colorful balloons. May it be wonder-full and productive trip! I rest in God’s All-knowing Almighty nature. May we keep our eyes, ears, hearts and hands open. Always.

On the same note, whenever we share that we plan to adopt, we sense a jolt of joy and excitement. The journey would just begin after we find a child, and we are aware of it. We don’t always feel compelled to talk about it. Every day a handful of people ask me if I have kids. I smile and say “not yet” and I mean it. To all well-intended but curious people out there, be gracious, be kind, be mindful of the questions you ask and the assumptions you make. I promise to be gracious back. Always.

Adventure & Dreams

“It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line.” Erma Bombeck

How do you put your dreams on the line? — Sharing them out-loud. And sharing I did last Sunday in front of hundreds of people. Thank you all for listening. I spent the whole next week drained and still.

Ironically, around the time this unexpected sharing happened, a vivid thought lingered in my mind: “I have nothing to say. I have nothing to give”.

Conrad and I stubbornly pursue our dreams, and we seek and embrace adventure in our lives. As a matter of fact, I recently declared to Conrad that I fall in love with him every time we go on an adventure.
Last year he quit his job to pursue self-employment and a long lasting passion for type design. This change got us closer to one of our oldest dreams of trying to buy an apartment in Cluj. And one of our priorities during this trip to Romania in March-April is to setup a home base there, an oasis, a place of rest and a source of blessings for us and many others. A place for life to happen.

Also, for nearly two years we have pondered adoption. It has been an internal journey of wrestling thoughts and emotions. Transparency has been our best friend in marriage, but there has been a time when we tried to protect each other of our own yearnings and pain. Eventually, with open hands, we laid things on the table and feasted together, Conrad and I. We still do. There have been tears. There has been silence. There is plenty wholehearted silly laughter.

Trying to understand the grand scheme of things is not a priority anymore, though I take great pleasure in pondering life.