Tag Archives: daily life

The Search for a PO Box

Since moving to my new place last year, I discovered quite early a need to rent a post office box.  Where I live, I don’t have an actual mailbox, so anything that comes usually ends up at some point or another at my landlord’s store across the street.  Though I haven’t seen my phone bill in about 9 months, that’s usually not a problem.  When I had to order about 30 books for our summer class, though, things got… tricky.

The post office sends a notice (called an aviz) for every single package that comes.  An aviz is small, easily-lost, barely-identifiable, and often illegible.  Sometimes they would end up in my landlord’s store…  Sometimes they would make it to me from there…  Sometimes, they would… disappear.

It doesn’t help matters when you’re ordering from Book Depository.  Book Depository is seriously awesome.  They deliver books worldwide without charging for shipping.  But… they send books out individually, one at a time.  One.  At.  A.  Time.

This doesn’t work when you’re ordering about 30 books.

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Sweet! The stains are gone!

vapoorizeDecent pants are expensive in Romania. I have a few pairs of blue jeans in various conditions, but I don’t have many pants I can wear for work at the school (i.e. not jeans). Two days ago, I found two of my pairs of pants got these big blue ink stains on them somehow. I quickly grabbed some soap and started scrubbing, but there was absolutely no change; the stain didn’t even smear.

Finally, I “prayed” something like, “Well, God, this sucks. I don’t have any money to buy more pants. I’ll get over it; they’re only pants, but still… You made the Israelites’ clothes last for 40 yeras, so you can make my clothes last, too. And they weren’t even trying to be faithful to you; I haven’t been perfect, but at least I’m headed in the right direction.”

And then I stuck them in a bucket of water, no soap, and thought to myself, “Maybe they just need to soak for a while… Maybe God will do something. And if not, I guess I’ll just have a couple pairs of shorts.”

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I’m not dead, just not posting…

And… that’s all I have to say about that.

Okay, a bit more.

We’re busily working to build the church here, and lately we’ve seen less exciting testimonies, so I really haven’t felt like posting.  I like posting when we have exciting stories.

Plus, with things getting super busy at the school where I teach English, and with starting our first semester of Scoala Biblica Piatra Vie… I’ve been on the busy side…

But I’m not dead… in case you were wondering.

I’m just boring.

Romanian Lines

In America, I could walk up to a line of cash registers, take a quick glance, and within seconds have picked out the fastest line. I wasn’t right all the time, but more often than not, I would end up with a winner and walk out of there faster than the rest.

Not so in Romania.

Here, I seem to have a nack for picking the slowest line possible.

This “gift” has rarely ever failed me.

While standing in line in America is a fairly routine, boring thing to do–you simply follow along behind the person directly in front of you–waiting in line in Romania is a bit more adventurous. Let me explain.

There seem to be four basic categories into which Romanian lines fall: (1) the Jumbled Mass, (2) the Knotted String, (3) the Secret List, and (4) the Mysterious Complication.

(Before continuing, please note that I love Romania and this is all written in good humor and, while representing my experience, may not be completely factual. In fact, there’s a good chance it’s all completely made up.)

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Concerning School, Orthodoxy, Skinny Dippers, Lucky Poop, and Missing Pants

The last two days have been interesting here in Romania.  Mostly, it’s because I started teaching in one of the many private schools Bucureşti has to offer its wealthier, busier families.  Allow me to give you a real quick look at school, orthodoxy, naked kids, lucky poop, and missing pants here in the capitol of România.

On Friday, I got a call from a woman with a thick Romanian accent saying, “Is this Ben Stimpson?  We have school on Monday, but we do not have an English teacher.  We want to know if we can meet today.  What time can you meet us?”  Forgetting my curiosity about how she got my number and why she thought I wanted to help at the school, I simply said, “Okay, I can meet between 3 and 4 this afternoon.  Will that work for you?”  And that was my introduction into the world of teaching English to Romanian elementary students.  What’s expected of me?  What lessons will I teach?  How much English do the kids understand?  What on earth have I signed up for????  I’m still not sure.  But I’m now committed to teaching English to Romanian kids from 4 to 11 years old at least until June.

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Romanian Mosquitoes…. Worse than Vampires

So, now that I’ve spent two months in Romania, I can safely do a post about the differences between Romanian and Wisconsin mosquitoes.

When I first encountered Romanian mosquitoes, I was misled by their small size.  They looked so tiny in comparison to the giant flying behemoths we harbor in Wisconsin, like defenseless little babies.  But cute and cuddly they are not.  They may be small but, believe me, they’re wiry.

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Life without a shower curtain…

Y’know, I never think I’d miss a shower curtain so much… until I didn’t have one anymore.  But it’s been a week of showers, and I think I’m getting the hang of this thing now.

Check out this blog article for a much more humorous explanation of the shower curtain phenomena than you’d ever get from me.  And if you’re lucky, I’ll include a “How To Shower in Romania” section in my next prayer letter.  🙂  It’s an adventure, certainly.

(P.S.  The above photo is not from our bathroom; as my camera was stolen, you get instead a random Romanian bathroom photo I found online.  It’s got a layout nearly identical to ours, though, so should give you a good idea of the hardships I deal with here.)