I Could Boast Myself that I Succeed in Adapting to Almost Anything
Chiara Louise Gosden

      Then I went to Maramureş again. I liked the children in Maramureş very much. It was at Easter and it was holiday. The children used to play in the street and when they saw a car they shouted: ?There?s a car! There?s a car!? but I, who was familiar with everything we had? I was very, very fond of them and knowing the rumors going the round ? that there were 10-20 abandoned children in each room, that they had nothing to eat - I had never seen such a report, but I had heard very many rumors with others and I told them that I wanted to come to Romania as a volunteer. That is why I had never thought of another country. And there I was. My parents agreed. I had known nothing about Romania before coming it the tenth form. I knew this country existed as I had learned at geography but I didn?t know anything else. I didn?t know anything either of Ceausescu or Eminescu. I knew of Nadia Comaneci but I didn?t associate her name with Romania but with the Olympic Games, with gymnastics, not at all with Romania. I knew about Dracula too but I didn?t know that it had something in common with Romania. I knew he was from Transylvania but I didn?t connect it with Romania.

   What made me then come to Maramureş was the meeting with that interpreter and the fact that I wanted to run away from home in that period because the Easter holiday was near and if I hadn?t run away from home I had to learn for the end of year exam and I didn?t want that. I wanted to go to my sister in England but my mother didn?t agree; I wanted to go to the seaside in Belgium, to my friend?s parents but mother didn?t agree either; I wanted to go to Paris with my friend?s parents and mother kept telling: No and no. When it was about Romania although I didn?t want to ask because I was sure she would say no again, I still asked and she said yes and then I left quickly for fear that she should change her mind. Later on I asked my mother why she had agreed and she answered that she didn?t know why. She just told me: I agree but ask your father too. Father asked me: What has your mother told you? Mother agreed. Then go. So it was coincidence or God?s will as you like it? That?s how I came to Romania when I was 18.

            I got to the children?s home in Paşcani due to some acquaintances. So I stayed in Vatra Dornei for a month, I got terribly bored and that guy knew somebody in Suceava who had somebody, who, in his turn knew somebody in this home? so from church to church. I stayed with the home in Paşcani for ten months in 2000; I graduated high-school in 2000 and I spent August in Vatra Dornei and I got to the children?s home on the 4-th of September. But what I found there disappointed me because I wanted to come to Romania to work with these children in need, children who have problems. I thought I would go to buy bananas for them because I thought they didn?t have any fruit, that I would go with them for a walk about the town, I thought they might be 20-30 in a room, I thought I would never be able to have my own room, that I would never be able to lock the door and I thought I might have things stolen, I had indulged into illusions. I thought that I wouldn?t have liked to have my passport stolen to be able to leave.

            When I got I found a Christian home. There were two children in a room, plentiful meals? It was not what I wanted, I wanted to be helpful. I taught English and French there and the children wanted that but they were rather spoiled. They wanted to learn French in the beginning but then when they understood that they had to work hard, that Chiara didn?t only do their homework and that?s all, they wouldn?t want to learn. I wanted to feel helpful but I felt useless there. I stayed, I ate their food, I used their water? I had even thought of changing the home, to go somewhere else, somewhere where I should be helpful but in the end I didn?t change it any longer. I wrote a letter to my people at home asking them what to do; they answered me to stay there where God had sent me, to stay here and learn the language and then to go to another home but only after I had been able to speak. And I learned the language quickly until Christmas. On Christmas I went to Bucharest and I had to explain something to the airport and I was alone and that lady was astonished. I was making mistakes but I could make myself understood and in my turn I could understand perfectly. Later on I improved here and there but I still don?t speak perfectly.

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