Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Romania 2009: Day One (and a half)

With 25 people all wearing Houston Dynamo shirts (bright orange, really bright orange) it is hard not to stand out. As Hunter and I arrived at the airport we just headed towards the glow and found the rest of the team. I have figured out why Houston win so many soccer games – it is nothing to do with their skills but with 11 people running around in these shirts it is blinding. On the team there are 12 men and 15 women. Of the men there are three teenagers, 1 eight year old and the rest of us over 40. As such it amazes me that a few people actually ask us if we are the actual soccer team. I know given my athletic physique it would be believable but really!!
The flight has been longish and not very comfortable especially with the guy in front of me reclining his chair all the way back. So I did ask them to move me up to first. (Hence the picture – actually I only got to tour the plane and “try” first class). I did ask the flight attendant if the pilot could take a quick detour and do a fly by of my Mum’s house so I could wave to her as I hadn’t seen her for over 3 years. And of course they had to make an announcement for “Giles Britton in 36H” to the whole plane that they were swinging by in 15 minutes and the pilot had called my Mum and she would be outside waving.
Landed in Heathrow and was surrounded by a bunch of people who spoke like me. Funnily enough all of the employees spoke English as well. I am going to try and take this concept to Miami Airport when I am next there. Also met a man from Scotland who again asked if we played for the Houston Dynamo. I’m starting to think that I’m not in as bad shape as I thought I was. Mind you he did mention that the only reason he asked was because he knew the Manager of the Dynamo.
On the 3 hour flight to Bucharest I did get some sleep during the first couple of hours and then spoke to the lady next to me and that was it. I got the complete run down of her life – where she was born and raised, her move to America, her two children and their lives, and a blow by blow account of her career. The big take away from this conversation or monologue was her feelings towards Obama. As she lived in NY I assumed she would like him but it was interesting to find that she did not think he is the right person for the job and she believes that a majority of Americans fell for the smooth (yet empty) talk.
First, impressions of Romania is that it is more flat than I thought it would be, the weather is not too bad – a little on the hot side but definitely bearable – the people seem to be nice but for some reason they don’t speak much if any English. So far I have figured out that speaking in Spanish and speaking louder and slower in English do not really help the communication process. I can see that my acting skills are going to pay dividends over here.
Hotel is surprisingly nice and had a good dinner at the hotel. Ordering was a challenge as the menu was mainly in Romanian and again the pesky issue of the people not speaking English complicated things. There were a couple of dishes I was not going to order regardless of the language barrier (see the photo) – I appreciate the honesty but not sure it does much for sales.
Finally back in the room for the night now. Tomorrow we set out for Pucioasa and look to prepare our hearts for the work we have to do there. In Acts 13: 47-48 it says “For so the Lord had commanded us: I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth. Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many had been appointed to eternal life believed.” As Paul set out on his missionary journeys he spoke the gospel boldly despite the suffering he would go through. My prayer tonight is that I would be bold enough to share the gospel even in the difficult situations and as I look to serve others I too would be a light. It ultimately comes down to God’s appointing of the believers and I need to continue to be the light in my words and actions.
God bless

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