Sorry for the delay in my posting! I am sick, sooooo sick. Until now, the past 48 hours have been spent in my bed watching Christmas movies and overdosing on tea. (Besides one big meeting with a foundation I am helping with at their Christmas party, more details on that later!) So, I would have liked to have had the energy to post, but I didn’t. Seems like I am starting to feel a tinyyyyy bit better and I have learned that I NEED to prioritize sleep in this busy month. With that being said, I should be thankful I have a warm home, comfy bed, hot running water, and anything else I need to recover, because as you’ll see in this post, not everyone has these luxuries.
I went to England a couple of weeks ago to visit some of my family. I wont be going home, or anywhere for Christmas this year so I thought I would go over while flights were cheap (round trip for 33 dollars, my biggest deal to date!) to see everyone, see Chelsea with my friends, see the tennis finals with my aunt and spend a night with my cousins and godson. When I was at my cousins we were catching up about the new things I am doing here in Bucharest. I was explaining how poor the families were, like less than poor, nothing we could ever imagine, and how little they had. My cousin’s husband immediately offered to fly me back with a checked suitcase full of their old ski clothes! Like, really nice, comfy, warm adorable clothes that their two daughters had outgrown. So the next morning we did this:
We packed every single item they had to give away and packed it into a suitcase with a limit of 32 kilos. At the airport it weighed 31.8 kilos. We are professionals. I am so thankful for their big donation, but the people who received them are even more thankful! Also, big thanks to my lifelong family friend, Roger, who drove me to the airport with this bag even though I refused to admit it was the heaviest thing I had ever traveled with!
Got back to Bucharest a couple weeks ago but finally found the time to meet up with Mike and Dana and head over to the neighborhood to donate these clothes last Friday. We knew the people would surround our cars, and grab anything they could, but also know they won’t sell these clothes because they need them, and they will share with the families in their “neighborhood.”
Here is where we took them. Yes, people live in these makeshift barracks.
And here is the quick process of giving them warm clothes that they so desperately need this time of year.
Gabi loved his new ski gloves and immediately wore them and ran away to continue playing football with his friends! He was so sweet and nice to me the second I got there. Then he opened up two minutes later about his rough family life that had my heart break so so quickly.
This short visit to Ferentari made me realize how much I have missed it! It is the first place I fell in love with when I visited Bucharest 4.5 years ago and it is still where my heart is, and always has been. I love everything about it, and not many people do, so its an honor for me to work with the people there. The families welcomed us, especially me (as the only non Romanian), with open arms, thanking us and were just so appreciative that we had thought of them. I can’t wait to go back with the gifts we are getting the kids! I got home last Friday after this with my heart so full, it is still unreal to me that this is my “job”, that I get to wake up and do this, that having relationships with these people is my “work”. Not a single day goes by that I do not appreciate my life. Its not always easy, but its always so rewarding. I love it, I seriously LOVE it. So as always, a big thank you to my family, my church in LA and my supporters all over the world who continue to support me in what I do. There is no other place I would rather be.
Thanks again to Viv, James and their two daughters for donating so many clothes that will change the way these people survive winter this year!
Check back later this week for a blog post on our big foundation launch party happening this Saturday, and the arrival of our team from the UK. I hope I have a voice by Saturday because I may or may not be speaking!