Monday, March 16, 2009

Sightseeing and back to work!

We arrived back in Bistrita around 9:30 on Sunday night from our weekend sightseeing trip. On Saturday we took a two hour bus ride to Tirgu-Mures, where a tour guide showed us around the old citadel, the cultural building, and a few of the other prominent sites in the city. We then hopped back on the bus for a one-hour ride to Sighisoara. Upon our arrival in this medieval city, the oldest in Eastern Europe that is still inhabited, we checked into our hotel and did some sightseeing on our own. We walked the streets and paths going into every cheesy Dracula-themed gift shop we passed. (Sighisoara is Dracula’s birthplace.) We gave some serious business to one particular shop across from our hotel. Every time we walked in the door (probably twenty different times), the two ladies behind the counter would smile because they knew we were buying.
We spent the night at the hotel and slept in on Sunday morning. Most of the day was spent searching for new paths we hadn’t been down the day before. We also found a cart in the street that was selling fresh bread made right in front of us. It wasn’t exactly bread loaves as much as it was a thin spiral of dough dipped in cinnamon. It was amazing though, and after eating a loaf between seven of us, we went back for two more. We also walked down into the more modern city towards the end of the day, where we explored some shoe stores and sat in the park. We found our bus driver around 6:00 p.m. and headed back to Bistrita, making one pit stop for snacks on the way.
Monday morning we split up into new groups and headed off to the hospital and the placement center. Susie, AJ, Leah, Lindsay and I went to the placement center to play with the special needs children.
Unfortunately when we got there we were informed that two of the kids were sick, so we played mainly with four of the children: Nicoletta, Vasi, Mia, and Lecree. They were all very entertaining and after our three hours with them had passed, the majority of our group took a much-needed power nap in the “playroom.”
In the afternoon our groups switched, and the group that had been going to Open Door last week stayed at the Placement Center to be with the girls in the after school program there. I was with the girls last week, so I went to Open Door today. The kids were so funny, and after we helped them with homework we played for about three hours straight. We went through multiple rounds of Uno, countless flashcards, and I even got my hair done by one of the girls, Mona. After they had taken all of our nametags, we walked the kids home. I raced some of the kids up the sidewalk and gave another boy, Adrian, a piggy-back-ride for the majority of the walk.
I can’t wait to see the kids tomorrow and pick up where I left off today.
~Alexis Antonelli

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