One of the blessings of our mission came this week as we welcomed to the family a new grandson, Henry Jon Ditto. He is a healthy 8 pound bouncing bundle of joy, already filling the Ditto home with excitement only a newborn can bring. Thanks to Skype, we will watch him grow and hopefully, he will know us when we come home.
As part of our responsibilities, we took a trip to Constanta, on the Black Sea coast. We rented a room in a small hotel right on the water and in the early morning hours, I looked out on this scene and emailed Julia my wishes that little Henry would be born that day. By evening, we had a baby! Call it "Grandma's Intuition" but really, the name of the coastline where we were is called "Mamaia Beach". In Romanian, "Mamaia" means "Grandma".
This is our train. The ride took 4 hours from Bucharest.
We went to meet two "NGO's" (Non-governmental Organizations) who provide assistance to needy people in Constanta. The meetings went well and we accomplished our goal which was to find a project that we could submit before year's end. Below is a picture of a new headquarters of "Holt Romania". It was built entirely from donations. The foundation's primary focus is to support disadvantaged families by providing parental counseling and education to reduce the risk of child abandonment, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. These are huge problems in Romania. If you can't afford your children, the state will take on however many you want to give up! Imagine giving away 3 of your 5 children!
This is the director giving us a tour. She explained to us that when the building was finished, they ran out of money for heating the upstairs counseling and classrooms area. It was very cold and needless to say, the area is useless in the winter.
As soon a we got back to Bucharest we wrote a project proposing to purchase and install 8 of these radiant wall heaters to keep Holt Romania busy helping families year-round.
This is another beautiful view from our room on the Black Sea. In the winter, the resort area is brutally cold and windy. The prices of the rooms are very reasonable. Ours was 50 Euros or $75 USD taxes included.
History abounds here! This is an ancient ruins site from Tomis, 400AD. Very cool!
This building is the famous seaside whatever. It is a shell of a building now but it is lit at night and it's a very famous "whatever"! It has only been enhanced by the handsome (and frozen) missionary couple.
One of the people we met with arranged for a driver to give us a tour of the city the next day. This is Sorin, a 21 year old university student. He spent 4 hours with us and then refused a tip!As you can tell, our mission is full of adventures. Last week we gave away a wheelchair and this week, we traveled to the Black Sea. We love what we do and although we crash into bed at night totally exhausted, we are falling in love with Romania and the people.
Back in Bucharest...a 10 year old boy was baptized this week by a new missionary, arriving 2 weeks ago! Elder Vasquin is from Hungary.
The Branch had a party and it was an event! The chapel doubles as the cultural hall. We drink a lot of water here! This stuff is carbonated and we're starting to develop a taste for it!
Every good meal starts with cheese, ham, olives and peppers.
Before this course was "Saramale" or "Cabbage Rolls". We didn't get a picture of it because it was so good that we forgot!
This picture shows the next course...sausage, chicken, and cabbage surprise!
Finally, the dessert round! I couldn't believe when they brought out trays of beautiful pastries. This one is a cakey thing, sliced and filled with whip cream with jelly on top. Who thinks of these things?
This dessert is a gelatin base with a tower of whip cream and fruit on top.
And this was mine...half eaten before I remembered to take a picture! Needless to say, my choice was a good one! It was a filled eclair with more whipping cream and fruit. Sinful!
This last shot is one we took today at the mission home. We were asked to help with the dinner and serve it after an Area meeting. We did a roast beef dinner for 12. On the left is Pres. Lundberg and his wife. On the right, near the back is the Area President from Germany, Elder Schutzeu, and his wife. It was a big deal and we loved it!
Oh, the experiences we're having!
Back from another day, safe and sound and happy. EVERYONE wears a scarf! It's the law!
(just kidding about the law part!)
Next week: Getting a trim at a hair salon! Don't miss it!