Tag Archives: volunteer

Living in Romania: Things I’ve Gotten Used To

I have been living in Iaşi, Romania for the past month and a half, which  means I’m about halfway through my internship. So hard to believe!

I have gotten used to a different lifestyle than I am used to. Here is a sampling of some of the things I have gotten used to while living here. This has become my life, and it will be weird to go back to my old ways when I get back to the United States. 

1. Walking everywhere.

I was the girl who had a car, had 3 jobs in 3 different cities (within an hour of each other, don’t worry) and drove everywhere. I am now the girl that is used to walking to get groceries, go to work, go see friends, go have fun, anything. And I love it. 

2. Only buying what I can carry home.

I was the girl who was used to shopping at Costco every other month, and driving to and from the grocery store every other week or so. I am now the girl who that is used to walking to and from the grocery store every time I need something, and carrying it home…or simply going without.

3. Running the water for 5 minutes before I can shower.

I was the girl who was spoiled by the convenience of hot water straight from the tap (okay, sometimes I had to wait, but it was always less than 1 minute). I am now the girl that knows to start the water early when I know I’ll want to shower soon.

4. Paying for drinking water.

I was the girl who was spoiled by the clean water coming through the tap whenever I was thirsty. I was the girl who always ordered water when she ate out, because that is my favorite drink. I am now the girl who is used to buying all her drinking water. I buy it at the restaurant. I buy it from the store to take home. And if I forget to bring my water bottle with me during the day, I have to buy it when I am out and about.

5. Cooking and baking without measurements.

I was the girl who was ever so precise when it came to cooking and baking. I had to measure out everything that went into the food I was making. I am now the girl who is very apprehensive to try to bake, knowing that I am guessing on how full the mug is and if I think it’s the right amount. This is something I totally still struggle with, and I can’t wait to get back to my own kitchen gadgets.  

6. Delicious chocolate.

I was the girl who enjoyed a chocolate bars when I was in the mood. Now I am the girl who is obsessed with Kinder (and Milka) chocolate at any time of day, and am convinced that American chocolate is a joke. As my friend Emily says: “The US probably has some FDA regulation about candy tasting too good.”

7. Lighting the oven and the stove.

I was the girl who was just like most Americans, with the oven and stove that starts right when you want it to. Now I am the girl who is used to making sure we always have matches so we can light the stove and the oven when we need to use them.

8. Hang drying my laundry.

I was the girl who would wait until the last minute to do her laundry, knowing that it would be good to go in less than 3 hours once I finally got around to doing it. I am now the girl who has a tiny washer and no dryer, with a balcony, a clothesline, and clothespins. It takes a few days for the clothes to dry on the balcony. Luckily, we have 7 hangers so we can hang stuff inside, and it only takes overnight to dry…usually. Then we can rotate the outside clothes to the hangers inside. I’ve gotten used to this process.

9. Volunteering all day.

I was the girl who was a full-time student, with 2, 3, or 4 part-time jobs (depending on the year), and still found time to volunteer sometimes. I am now the girl who wakes up, volunteers at an orphanage, goes home and eats lunch, volunteers at a hospital (or a Kindergarten, depending on the day), and then goes home and eats dinner. And most nights, I am on my computer becoming best friends with Boardmaker with Speaking Dynamically Pro as I make boards for the 15-year old I work with. Or, you can find me trying to think of ways to adapt games that I love to play, so that he can play them as well. And I love it.

10. Leaving the windows open.

I used to be the girl who would leave my house and not worry about if I’d remembered to leave my windows open or not. I am now the girl that has to remember to crack the windows open before I leave to avoid mold. And I must say, my roommate and I have gotten pretty good at remembering!

However, I realize that when I get back home, most of these things that I’ve gotten used to will no longer be applicable to me in America.
And that’s okay.
It is simply two different lifestyles, and I love them both.

1 Comment

Filed under Travels

The Struggle

I’m about to tie two unlikely things together – my experience working at the Deaf Center in Utah, USA and my experience living in Iasi, Romania.

I used to work at the Sanderson Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Taylorsville, Utah. Before, that, I was a volunteer there, which ended up just developing into a job! I loved it.

So many times, I would be working at an event, and there were volunteers that were ASL (American Sign Language) students. Most of them didn’t know that I’m hearing – they usually thought I was Deaf for some reason.

One particular instance illustrates this perfectly. There were two girls who were ASL students from a local college, I don’t remember which one. I could tell that they had a question for me, but weren’t sure how to ask me in ASL. I totally eavesdropped as they slowly walked up behind me…they were talking about how to sign their question. They tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around and signed “Hey, what’s up?”

They then proceeded to sign “We are here to volunteer and…” and then they looked at each other, and I could tell they didn’t know how to sign what they wanted to say next. So, I guided them through the conversation (I knew what they wanted because I heard them talking about it as they walked up to me) as I signed them in and started to tell them where they were assigned to volunteer. I could tell that they were completely lost when they kept glancing at each other and whispering the few signs they understood me signing. I could tell it wasn’t working for them, and after a little bit I ended up just saying “Or we can just talk, I am hearing.” I could see their bodies relax as they gave a nervous laugh and I began speaking to them in English, telling them were they were assigned to volunteer.

Things like that happened multiple times. Both while I was at work at the Deaf Center, and while I was the volunteer coordinator for some events for Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf. So many times.

NOW, let’s relate that to my experience here in Romania so far.

I am really trying to learn Romanian. I know I could probably devote more time to sitting down and studying the language, but I am doing what I can with the time that I have. I promise.

I was at a shop the other day and I was trying to ask an employee a question. She was watching me struggle as I used a weird mixture of Romanian, English, and gestures/ASL (sometimes I revert back to ASL when English/Romanian isn’t working out for me, and gestures when ASL isn’t working, either). She spoke Romanian back to me, and I understood some of it, but I was mostly lost, so I did my weird mixture of languages again. She sort of smiled, and then said “I speak English, what do you need?” And my body and brain totally began to relax as I asked her my question, and got an answer.

However, I do not always get that relief. Usually I just have to be left in a state of confusion.

So now, I feel that I am those ASL students that would struggle to communicate with me at the Deaf Center and other events. Except…I don’t always have the ever-so-welcome relief of someone saying “I speak English.”

The moral of the story?

When you are in a situation where you have to use the language you are learning, it’s a relief to discover that the person you are talking to speaks a language you know very well…even if they do get a little bit of pleasure out of letting you struggle for a little bit first.

It is through struggling and making mistakes that we learn.

And I love it. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Travels

Perfect Faces

All these kids and babies have beautiful eyelashes.
When I am holding them close or sitting by them and singing to them,
just smiling at them and admiring their perfect faces,
I can’t help but notice their perfect eyelashes.
Each one so delicately placed on their eyelids by God.
Whether they are blind or seeing,
cross-eyed or not,
disability or no disability,
in the orphanage or at the hospital,
they all have perfectly beautiful lashes.
And perfect smiles.
Natural beauty.
I can’t help but kiss their perfect faces. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Thoughts, Travels

Five Minutes of Fame

Please excuse me while I toot my own horn.

Early last month, someone interviewed me for an article in The Universe (BYU’s newspaper). Turns out she published it on March 15, yet I just happened to stumble across it today. So much for her letting me know when she was done! Oh well, I found it!

It’s about BYU ASL Club (which I am the president of) and some of my volunteer work.

Anyways, if you would like to read it, you can find it by clicking here

Enjoy!

Ok, now I’m done.

1 Comment

Filed under Happenings, School

Overcoming the Selfish Life

I’ve heard before that college is the most selfish time of life. I hadn‘t thought much about it until recently. Today at church someone mentioned that even though college is a selfish time of life, we need to find time to focus on serving others. So it got me thinking about my own life and whether I am spending too much time being selfish, or if I am finding time to serve others.

After having a short chat with my roommate Katrina, I have come to the conclusion that yes, college is a selfish time of life. Why? Well…I need to spend time studying for a test that I need to take so I can pass my class and get a good grade to show on my transcript so that when I finish college and I can get a good job in the future. When I go to the grocery store, I buy food for myself. When someone asks me how I am doing, I tell them about my part-time job, my classes, my homework, the students I am working with, etc. ME, ME, ME.

Personally, I think I have been able to overcome parts of the selfish life. How? Well…I tend to be good at finding opportunities to volunteer. I volunteer with SLCAD (Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf), Provo Parks and Recreation, The Sanderson Community Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, USDB (Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind), and a few others. Basically, I feel like I find time to reach out and volunteer in the community. But is it enough?

I don’t think it is. I think one of the most important ways to beat the selfish life is to serve those you associate with every day. Be it roommates, family members, classmates, professors, whatever…there is SOME way you can help. This is what I need to mostly work on. When a roommate asks me to help her out with something, I have been known to declare myself as busy and not help out with a simple ride here or there, when I know I should – especially because she has done these things for me in the past. I’m not saying that I never help, but I wish I did more. And I know I can do more. Another idea – make dinner for someone! When you cook for yourself, just double the recipe or decide to not save the leftovers and share with someone instead! I’m sure anyone will appreciate a meal cooked with love.

I am taking 17.5 credits. Next semester it will be 18 credits. I work 17.5 hours a week (from 4am-7:30am Monday through Friday). I am president of a club on campus. Next semester I will be president of two clubs on campus. I need to eat. I need to do my laundry. I need to sleep, but I only average about 5 hours of that a night. Oh, and a social life? What’s that? Basically, life is insane. But I still feel the need to reach out to others and volunteer. When?

I have decided that you just have to MAKE time. Set aside time to volunteer. Find an organization you want to volunteer with, contact them, ask what they need, make a commitment, and stick to it! I’ve found that to be the simplest way to serve. Make a commitment.

So if you’re interested in getting more involved, you kind of need to know where to look. Where? If, like me, you are a student at BYU (Brigham Young University), then your school has a service website! BYU’s website is called Y-Serve, and there you will find MANY opportunities to volunteer. For example…last week I went to the Y-Serve website. Then I clicked on “Disabilities” because I love working with people with disabilities (I’m a Special Education major). There was a list of opportunities, including Kids on the Move (interacting with special needs children while parents attend classes). I found out that they need people next Wednesday night for about 4 hours. Considering it’s during finals week and I won’t have any homework, I definitely signed up for it! It honestly is that simple.

If you are a college student and you feel like you are wrapped up in the selfish life, I encourage you to find simple ways to reach out to those around you. If it’s volunteering with an organization, that’s great. If it’s finding out the needs of those around you and trying to fulfill those needs, that’s great, too. Just make time.

And now I want to quote a great man, Henry B. Eyring: “As you keep the faith, you will find yourself invited by the Lord often to serve someone in need when it will not seem convenient. It may appear to be an unpleasant and perhaps even impossible task. When the call comes, it may seem you are not needed or that someone else could easily give the succor. Remember that when the Lord lets us encounter someone in distress, we honor the good Samaritan for what he did not do as much as for what he did. He did not pass by on the other side even though the beaten traveler on the road was a stranger and perhaps an enemy. He did what he could for the beaten man and then put in place a specific plan for others to do more. He did that because he understood that helping may require more than what one person can do.” (Click here if you want to read the rest of that.)

I encourage everyone (including myself) to do our part to help others.

I have found so much joy in my life through service to others. I hope that you, too, can find that joy.

6 Comments

Filed under Thoughts

Walk4Hearing

I volunteer with Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf  (SLCAD) and we will be at an event this Saturday! Read the letter below for more information!

Dear Friends of the Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf:

Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf (SLCAD) is a unique advocacy agency designed to meet the specific needs of Deaf, Deaf/Blind and Hard of Hearing victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault. In September 1999, domestic violence took the life of a young Deaf woman, Penny Williams. Her death shocked the entire community. As a result, the birth of SLCAD began in the spring of 2000 through a grant from the Department of Justice, “Justice for Deaf Victims,” piloted by Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services of Seattle, Washington. We serve the entire State of Utah. Our mission is to promote a safe and empowered community for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind people by providing culturally accessible services, advocacy and education. 

To help attain our mission, we are participating in the “Walk 4 Hearing” 5k walk on October 13, 2012 at the Sugar House Park to raise awareness about the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). The HLAA provides information, education, support and advocacy to enable those with hearing loss to life full and productive lives. We are asking you to sponsor the SLCAD team-“United We Walk” by donating money to support our team of walkers in this event. Our goal is to collect $1,000 for our team. In turn, we will list your company and names as our team sponsor on our team poster at the event.

It takes a community to make this happen and together we can work towards eliminating violence from our community and enabling Deaf people to lead full and productive lives. We appreciate your support for this event and our organization! If you are interested in donating to this event, please go to http://hlaa.convio.net/site/TR/Teamraiser/SaltLakeCityWalk?px=1567155&pg=personal&fr_id=1996 and click on “Donate.”

Sincerely Yours,

Chloe Palethorpe, Team Captain

Stephanie Mathis, Executive Director

2 Comments

Filed under Happenings