This is Romania:
4 1/2 years ago the only thing I knew about Romania was that Dracula lived there and that it was somewhere in Europe. That all changed in February of 2009 when I was called to be a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After living there for two years as a missionary and living there again this Summer as a student, Romania is no longer an unknown country that makes me think of techno music; it's now a country I love...it's another home...it's a part of me.
Although the country itself is beautiful (as can be seen above), it's not the mountains, the endless fields, or the ancient castles that made me love this country. It's the people.
I love Romanians. I love how they do everything they can to make guests feel at home. I love how they make you keep eating, even if you're full. I love how they team carry big bags. I love how they use "mami" as an endearing term. I love how they learn so many different languages. I love how family is everything to them. I love how the old men and women sit on benches outside their houses in the evening. I love their sense of humor. I love their sincerity when they pray using their own words. I love how a restaurant won't kick you out if you stay for a long time talking with your friends and/or family. I love how open they are once you get to know them.
Leaving Romania after my mission was one of the hardest things I've ever done because I didn't know if I'd ever be back. I was scared this time would be the same. But it wasn't. Because I know I'll be back. My time with Romania is just starting, and I can't think of many things more exciting than that.
This Summer taught me that life gives us so many opportunities to go out and make a difference in the world. We don't always know how we're going to do it, but if we work towards something we love, we'll get there. Life is more than living each day just because that's what we've been doing as long as we can remember. Life is about finding your purpose, it's about finding how you can leave it better than you found it. Sometimes that happens by doing great and marvelous things, but most of the time it happens by talking with someone around you.