This Monday we finished up our homestays. Listening to everyone’s stories, it is clear that they will probably be one of the highlights of our trip for a lot of us. It is also safe to say, I think, that our host families taught us valuable lessons in hospitality. For example, some students were given the best room in the house while the families slept in the living room or crammed into one bedroom, most were not ever allowed to help with dishes or even clear the table, and we were all fed delicious Romanian food (and lots of it!!). In my case specifically, I was given my host sisters’ bed while they slept on hard couches in their living room. On my first day I mentioned that I really liked a certain type of juice they had given me. From that day on, almost everytime I sat down I was handed a full glass. I was never allowed to pay for my own drinks or taxi rides when we went out, and their was a constant stream of “do you need anything?” “do you want anything?” “if so, just ask!” I hope that one day I can offer my guests even half of the hospitality that I was shown this weekend. After all of this, imagine my surprise when my host sister Evelina offered ME a gift. We had become very close over the few day we spent together, but I was still taken aback when she told me she wanted me to have one of her scarfs and a necklace. Evelina’s gifts will be things I treasure forever, but I suspect that my homestay with her family offered me an even more important gift. Not only did it teach me clear lessons about the virtue of hospitality and offer me an inside glimpse at Romanian culture and family life, but the most important gift that I was given this weekend is the friendships that were created.
As my new sister and good friend Evelina quoted in a note to me, “Nothing makes the Earth seem so spacious as to have friendss at a distance”
Yes, I know this is a bit corny, but it's true! :)