Turning The Corner

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This is what I looked like before. I know, there's Nick in the photo. That's how it was. We were dating and we were optimistic and utterly unprepared for what was ahead.
nick me snu.jpg

I was 24 years old but I felt much older. My 1st marriage had ended. I knew I needed something. A  wake up call, a slap in the face, a friend, a simpler atmosphere... Something. So, I boarded a plane and flew away.  
It was 20 years ago today that I got on that plane. And while it may seem like such a small thing to someone who wasn't there with me, I know it changed the course of my life. I know it still matters to me today because it still affects decisions I make from who I chose as a friend and how I make my breakfast. 

In 2001 I wrote out my Romania Story on my blog. While those words are all true at that time, even more has changed now. The lens has been altered by more travels, more people, motherhood and general experience. No more God. No more victim mentality. 

When I look back now, and I do love to look back on that first visit to Romania and Switzerland, I think of all those people who are part of the equation that altered my life. Some of them have no idea how big their contribution was to my life. They are dear to me still. So, today, on this 20 Year Anniversary of that turning point in my life, I celebrate those friends. Some, long lost, others, still present. Thank you for being there with me.

The Swansons, minus Allison. Leaving for the Philippines after having me in their home for a week. Hi Rach!

Busingen, looking like a postcard. I told my mom in a letter that the money felt like board game money in my hand, that it was like a dream.

Nick and I with Abraham, a student at ENBC who bought us 2 bags of groceries before he took us to the train bound for Romania. I will never forget his kindness.

A meal that we ate after walking through the Black Forest in Kandern, Germany. I've never forgotten that Forest or this moment.

Dorothy Tarrants tiny kitchen in her first apartment in Sighisoara. It is at this spot where I learned to be still and enjoy a simple piece of toast with coffee or tea. I learned to close my eyes and take in a morning.


Our little show at Radio Total in Bucharest where I learned to make something from nothing and never to underestimate a listeners ability to misunderstand every word I say.
Bidi and me and the spital in Sighisoara. Here I learned what real heartache is and how privileged I am.
Nicoleta, me and her brother. Her family hosted me and Mina Pak for a bit. When I think of strong women, she is one that comes to mind.
The Girls and their family. At least three of these ladies still communicate with me now. Carmen (in the red hat) is married with a baby girl of her own. Daniela and Genica live in the UK. Love you, girls!
IMG_4651.jpgThe snow! I wish I had a better photo. I wish a photo could convey the complete silence of my walks at night when the snow quieted everything. This is me, Alex and the girls.

That day that we went to the mountains and Cristi proposed to Andrea. I adore these two. Andrea, every time I cut into bread form the bakery I think of you and your family. Your apartment was the first time I ate a breakfast of fresh bread, straight from the cutting board. 
Carmen getting her nails done for the first time when David and I decided to hold a "beauty session" in his house. 
IMG_4645.jpgCafe lunch with Dorothy on the far right. She took me in. She taught me how to thoughtfully listen and tactfully change the course of a conversation. I'm not as great at it as she is, but I think of her face often when I try to be diplomatic among acquaintances. Also pictured is Tom From Maine, David Tarrant and Mina Pak.
 Veronica. I don't know where she is or how she is doing. But I still think of her from time to time and I am reminded that not every problem gets solved.
This is what I looked like when I came home. No make-up, down ten pounds and minus any hope of ever being who I was before. But it was a glorious break-down! It was a hard right turn away from what I thought my life should be and it's affected every move since. My appreciation for the people I knew then, (Like Matt & Anita Hanlon, Gabi Popa and David, pictured here from my last night before I flew home) is still strong, despite the years that have passed, regardless of the contact we do or don't have today. From them I learned what being a marriage "team" meant, how to enjoy simpler things in life, how to have an adventure instead of a "trip", what it's like to have your breath taken away and how to make turkish coffee. 
Thank you all for that time, that first trip. 20 years on, I wouldn't change a thing. 

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