The land of music

Day 22: Friday, February 27th

Yesterday I did a Sound of Music tour through Salzburg and the mountains, and into the Lake District.





So pretty much I’m never leaving, it’s too beautiful.  I also visited Mozart’s birthplace which has been turned into a museum.  We weren’t allowed to take photographs but we got to see several replicas of some of the original operas he wrote.

We went back to the amazing Austrian restaurant for dinner again and I had these delicious spinach potato dumplings.  

This morning we went up the mountain to see the fortress. 



It’s in the mountains and used to house the army artillery and was the safe house for the royal family members.  



The rest of the day I just spent exploring the city and eating food.  We’ve discovered this bakery that grinds its own wheat to make the flour and uses a water wheel to generate the electricity to turn the dough.  It’s the most amazing bread I’ve ever had.

Tomorrow I leave for Munich, and I’m a little sad to be leaving, but looking forward to the next adventure!

On to the next

Day 20: Wednesday, February 25th

Yesterday I went to this really creepy old operating theatre in the attic of a church.  



It was super interesting!  There was a class gettin a tour so I snuck in with them and got to see a demonstration of a surgery.  The table in the picture is where they actually performed surgery starting in 1815.  It was a gallery so that surgical students could come observe procedures, but contributed to the very unsterile operating conditions.  Surgical tools were maybe rinsed with water before being put into a velvet lined black case where bacteria had perfect living conditions.  It’s an obscure museum, but it was I’ll of original surgical equipment.

Then I stumbled across the Borough Street Market…



…where I had the most delicious Indian food.  Then I stopped by a cathedral and the Tate Modern, and then…I went on a Harry Potter walking tour!!! It was wonderful, got to see lots of places where the movie was filmed and where Rowling got some of her inspiration.

Today I arrived in Salzburg, Austria.



It’s so beautiful!  Hopefully the clouds will clear tomorrow and I’ll get a better view of the mountains.  Tomorrow is the sound of music tour, can’t wait!

Westminster Abbey

Day 18: Monday, May 23rd

This morning I ventured out on a walking tour of Westminster abbey and it was fantastic!

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It’s easily the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen. Because it’s a place of worship, you’re not allowed to take pictures inside, but it was breathtaking. There are massive stained glass windows, elaborate tombs, and incredible architectural details. Words do not do it justice! The tour guide was awesome, and it’s the one place that I’ve been to that I highly recommend a guide for.

This afternoon I went to The National Gallery, and The National Portrait Gallery. They were both interesting and housed beautiful paintings, but the portrait gallery was much more interesting. Each portrait was accompanied by information about the artist and the subject of the painting.

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IMG_0899 This depicts a large congressional hearing, and the painting was massive! It took 10 years to complete, and it was incredibly detailed!

Tomorrow is another full day, starting with breakfast with Marissa! Can’t wait to see her again 🙂

Goodbye for now.

Day 15: Friday, February 20th

Today was our last day at the hospital. It was a pretty relaxed day, Delia was a little extra demanding so I’m pretty tired. I made the mistake of galloping down the hallway with her on my hip and singing. She absolutely loved it and now refers to this game as ‘bum bum bum’ (that’s how she sings along). However, it’s very exhausting so she’s not too happy when I tell her we have to be all done.

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She loves watching the physical therapy and today she kept telling me ‘do Delia, do Delia.’ So we did our own little modified physical therapy. When we left the hospital all of the children had smiles on their faces. Such a great way to end our time here!

My time here has been an absolutely fantastic experience! I have learned so much about the culture, history, and lifestyle of Romania. These children and their stories will remain forever in my heart. I highly recommend a volunteer vacation (doesn’t need to be Romania), it’s a fantastic way to experience a culture and gain incredible life experience. To anyone who is interested check out the Global Volunteers website.

Thank you to everyone who sent me messages with words of encouragement, questions, or simply followed my posts. It means so much to know that these children’s stories have been heard and that they are loved by so many people. Thank you to all of the people who donated to my fundraiser, your contributions made it possible for me to be here. Last but not least, thank you to my parents. You taught me give back to those in need and that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. How fortunate am I to have parents who have supported all of my dreams.

I will be keeping up with blog posts throughout the rest of my travels, but they will likely not be filled with adorable photos of children.

La revedere Romania

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A special outing

Day 14: Thursday, February 19th

With only 5 children, our days are becoming much less chaotic. This morning I worked with Delia for a bit, and we did some pretend play with the kitchen. Usually she just likes to move things around, but today we pretended to have a tea party complete with the imaginary cookies and cakes that we baked. She picked it up very quickly and got really into it. At snack I showed her how she could ‘hold’ the spoon to help me (she just put her little arm on the spoon and moved with it as I fed her). I’m confident that she could feed herself if we could make her a spoon that could be secured around her arm. She takes such pride in being independent and assisting people with things.

We went to the placement center this morning. We’re not allowed to take pictures, but it’s a great facility. There’s a main building with all of the therapies, and 6 houses. The houses are where the children live and each is set up like an actual home. There’s a living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The unfortunate part is that they are so understaffed that many children spend a lot of the time in their cribs. They had to close one of the houses and consolidate the children to other houses causing them to become crowded.

After our break we went to visit the high school for the second time. Mihaela’s students had so many questions the first time that they asked us to come back. They are so enthusiastic and are very curious about everything.

This afternoon I brought some slinkys to the kids and Luciana, Delia, and Ionut were pretty entertained by them.

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Delia and I walked into one of the play rooms to see a giant green teddy bear and she loved it!

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She was singing to it and danced with it a little bit. I posted a video of her.

Luciana’s walking has already improved even without her special shoes (which will hopefully be arriving within the next month). She’s getting some physical therapy, and we’re working with her to encourage her to use her legs.

Tomorrow is going to be hard. Not even bittersweet, just bitter. These children deserve all that the world has to offer, and I hope someday they get to experience it.

I’m learning to draw!

Day 13: Wednesday, February 18th

I spent the morning with Luca and Ionela, and she did pretty well, but was annoyed about the quarantine (who wouldn’t be). Because there weren’t many distractions, I was able to get her to sit for about 15 minutes and build with blocks! A big accomplishment for her. We did our final round of shaving cream and today Luca got really into it!

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They both got baths which Ionela was a little hesitant about it, but she warmed up to it after a while. Luca loves water so he was giggling and splashing around.

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They left for the placement center around 11:30. I know that the people who work there are wonderful, but Luca will very likely not receive the sensory input that he needs and regress back to intensive head banging. It’s very unfortunate because it’s such an easy fix, and the welt he had when we first came is completely gone.

Last but not least is the spectacular Coca!

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She has worked for global volunteers for about 8 years and is the most consistent person (besides Dan and Mihaela) in most of these kids lives. When there are no volunteers she does it all. She is an amazing woman and the kids are so lucky to have someone who is so dedicated and loves them unconditionally. Thank you, thank you, thank you Coca.

I was pretty bummed after this morning, but Delia brightened my day right up! She’s been working pretty hard at coloring with her toes so I decided to give it a go today…

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Hats off to her because it is incredibly difficult! Her face lit up when she realized what I was doing. It must be so difficult for her to watch all of the other kids doing things that she can’t and always having to rely on people. This is one thing that she is independent with, but has to do it a different way so she really enjoyed seeing that she wasn’t alone. After snack she even asked if we could do it again. I never thought I would get fine motor practice with my toes!

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We’re touring the placement center tomorrow so we’ll hopefully see Luca and Ionela.

Bunâ seara!