In Romania, it is now:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Do the Powers that Be have a sense of humor? or at least a sense of the ironic? or do They (He/She) just dislike hubris? I was telling a friend the other day how healthy and fit I've been and how successfully I've (carefully) maneuvered in all the ice and snow. Hubris! On Wednesday, hurrying to print out materials for my adult class that afternoon, alone in the media center, I used a chair to climb up to kneel on the desk in order to close a window above the computers. I've done this at least a dozen times in the past--no problem, but being in a hurry, I stepped back with my body already in motion, caught my toe in a metal loop on the side of the chair seat, and down I went--on my back...hard! I had a sense of this-just-can't-be happening, visions of my mother and her falls and the broken hips that were the beginning of the end for her. I jumped up (3-second rule?) and then the pain hit. To spare you all the details, I've been under the Peace Corps doc's instructions: massive ibuprofen, which I've gradually decreased, ice, moderate movement. My Romanian friends say palinca (the super-strong plum brandy of this region) is the best medicine, so I've taken a few doses of that, too, just to cover all bases. I'm progressing, hoping I haven't given myself any permanent injuries, feeling pretty stupid about the whole thing. Two of the other Westside vols and a visiting friend from China were here this weekend and brought me provisions and cooked. It was great to have them here in The Red House, snow outside and lively conversation and plenty of hot food inside.****Sometimes it's good to clarify our convictions. I must admit that I've wondered about my commitment from time to time. I think most of my volunteer friends would admit to this, as well. We lost another of our group two weeks ago, the second of my "buddies" from our training days. It's hard when a friend leaves. I ponder whether or not I'm just indulging a schoolgirl dream, being selfish in what I'm asking my loved ones to endure, being too ineffective to warrant staying. I question whether or not my ability to keep my spirits and body healthy will break down. But when I fell this past week, while being driven home by my principal, wondering whether or not I had cracked my pelvis, caused some damage that would be slow-to-mend and would require me to leave the corps, I felt an unequivocal "No" rising in me. I'm not ready to go. If there's a silver lining to this whole dark-cloud experience, it's that. I know.***** At the end of next week, Romanian schools close for a week for the between-semester holiday. This week teachers must write their final grades--in blue ink only and with no undocumented corrections--into a huge ledger. I feel like a monk in a monastery every time I approach it--usually with trepidation. This seems a strange time for a holiday since we are just back from Christmas break. But the time off will be nice--I'll welcome the chance to travel to Timisoara with a PC friend. Neither of us has been to this well-loved western Romanian city, the "Little Vienna" that was under Austrian rule for two centuries and boasts a vibrant cultural scene. Uh-oh...wait! Not that I'm SURE my back will be well enough for the train/bus travel, mind you. But it's only POSSIBLE (merciful God/Fate willing) that I will get my lowly self sufficiently healed to enjoy the trip.


  1. All of us who know and are following you faithfully through this passage, admire the tenacity of your commitment. I've never known you to throw in the towel to any challenge, so here's to your quick and complete recovery. The vacation probably is a blessing in disguise...stay in and stay warm.

  2. And I've sent you something else with curative powers. Check FB for some "music to heal by."

    Have thought of you lots lately, especially since your fall. Take care of yourself. We all want you out and about and fulfilling both your own dreams as well as those of others.

  3. You are such a great role model for me; just think you are representing others' dreams as well! I think there is nothing better for world peace than cultural exchange. Here's to having friends all over the world!