Christmas seems like a lifetime ago, how is it already February? I don’t know, but I do know that I needed a serious break from all things digital after this December so here I am with my final recap of Christmas. I had zero time, ZERO, to update throughout the month of December so I hope you’ll forgive me for the delay.
Vanessa and I ran around Bucharest for weeks collecting gifts from all the wonderful people who sponsored a child this Christmas. Along with our own project with over 125 gifts for children who live in an extremely poor village about an hour away from Iasi, we helped host the team from England (had them over for dinner a couple of nights and I am very proud to say that no one got food poisoning) attended every single Christmas party with the children, and even managed to have fun? Right, Vanessa, WE HAD FUN!!
Here are just some of the pictures I took throughout those couple of weeks.
Picking up the gifts from the US embassy: (Thank you so much to everyone who participated and especially Tiffany who organized it!)
Group of volunteers who came with us to deliver gifts to a village 2 hours away from Bucharest. We had music, a skit, and gifts for the children. We were expecting about 30-40 children and over 200 people showed up. Basically the ENTIRE village showed up- it was amazing!
One of the great changes this year was having an actual party for our “Rahova” kids. In the past few years, we would deliver the gifts to their house with a small hot meal and be so busy we couldn’t spend much time with them. This year we invited them to a restaurant that we rented out, for music, a hot meal and to receive their gifts. We all agreed it was much better. We were able to spend time with the children and eat together in a warm place. ALSO, the kids were very very well behaved so we should be invited back next year!
Sometimes we did make house calls though! Here we all our at one families home!
And of course, we delivered almost 100 gifts to my favorite area- India! I am so jaded now that these images almost seem like my new “normal” When I bring friends or new volunteers to these places I realize how brutal these conditions are.
Went live on Facebook to show people more than just photos this year! Here is me in Bucharest, a little place we called India. Some of these children have come, and will come to our camps, and we make sure to give every child here a gift every Christmas. Also, if you know anything about me its that I cannot do the simplest things on computers so I have no idea how to make the video smaller. Sorry. (Edit: I figured it out, maybe I should be in IT)
My apartment is wayyyyyy too small to hold over 120 huge gifts SO I used my friend Brad’s guest room and bathroom to store them all! A huge thank you to FitPilates, the US Embassy, parents of the British School, Grace Garden families and everyone else in between who donated these AMAZING gifts. THEY WERE HUGE! ANDDDD huge thank you to Royal Russell school in Croydon, Susan Lyon’s hair clients, The Captain’s Wheel church and all of my friends on Instagram who put up with my nagging and donated money so we could shop for the rest of the gifts! Also, for paying for the truck to take all 128 gifts 6 hours away from BUCHAREST! Without you, kids would have gone without this Christmas. I appreciate your support and love for not only the children, but me and my work. THANK YOU!
And of course, a huge thanks to Vanessa who was my right hand man throughout these few weeks! We were so proud of ourselves this morning as we loaded up the van! We had spent weeks shopping, organizing, wrapping, and today was the day we got to load the van and relax (or so we thought) ONE gift was coming from America in a friend’s luggage that morning, and well…. the luggage was lost of course. So we shopped for one final child, at 9pm 3 days before Christmas.
The next day I dropped Vanessa at the airport at 3am and started my long journey to the village to throw our final two Christmas parties. There was no way I was going to miss these two after all the work we had put into it! The 6 hour drive in the dark was dangerous and probably stupid. But I made it and it was worth it! Look at their smiles 🙂
Again, thank you so much to everyone involved. A couple years ago I could have never imagined the amount of people…. friends, family, internet strangers, expats… who would be involved to make this possible. I am so grateful for friends here who support this work and love these children. And for everyone abroad who supports these wonderful kids without ever meeting them. Thank you thank you thank you! Roll on Christmas 2018!
If you’re wondering what I did for Christmas this year, it was nothing. I did nothing. And it was amazing.
Hope everyone has had a great start to the New Year (I have!)
New blog will be posted NEXT WEEK with January’s update and 2018 resolutions that I have been actually keeping this year!
Blessings from Bucha,