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Thursday, May 27, 2010

An Indescrible Experience

Over the weekend, I traveled by bus to the St. Ilie Monastery. The monastery is in Albac, which is an little village tucked away in the mountains. And I don't use "little" or "tucked away" very lightly. The bus ride from Oradea to Albac took about 4 1/2 hours but I really didn't mind because I got see some of the Romanian countryside. The bus was crowded and rather smelly (farmers here aren't particularly concerned with bathing) but the trip really showcased an aspect of this country that you don’t see in the city. Upon arriving in Albac, Father Dionisie picked me up and we drove up to the monastery. St. Ilie Monastery was started by Father Dionisie and his sister, Mother ­­­Meletia. It is now home to ten nuns as well as various cats, goats, and chickens. I don’t have the words, or the time, to describe the following four days. There were liturgies on Sunday and Monday morning, with evening services every night, and a regular morning service on Tuesday morning. The food there was amazing.. I felt like Heidi when she started eating fresh mountain food for the first time. The monastery was so peaceful, I could feel myself sinking into the serenity more and more as the days passed. On Sunday, after a six hour Pentecost liturgy, I went with two of the nuns on a hike into the hills. Oh glory!
The plan had been for me to return on Sunday afternoon, but I was still in church when the last bus went. Then Monday was a holiday, so no buses. Tuesday morning, the first bus just drove right past me and so I had to wait for the next one a few hours later. I took it all as a sign that God really wanted me to spend time there... which was perfectly ok with me!
Did I mention that the nasty, freezing weather we have been having broke on Saturday just as I arrived? It was outrageously beautiful for my entire visit. I took pictures and videos, and I could talk (er, type) until I was blue in the face… but it really wouldn’t give the experience justice.
(While I was there I discovered fresh, warm goat’s milk with honey. I have had store bought goat’s milk before and thought it was pretty gross. This stuff was entirely different… if I could live the rest of my life on warm goat’s milk, I would die a happy person.)

On a different note, I have almost reached the end of my visit here… only four more sleeps until I begin my journey home. To say I have mixed feelings about this would be a gross understatement. My time here feels so removed from my “old” life, I’m not sure how to fit myself back in. Well, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
My trip starts Monday night. My bus from Oradea to Budapest leaves at 1:30am, and my first flight is at 10:00am. It will be a crazy two and a half days. (The real neat part is that I’ll arrive on the same day that I leave, because I’m heading west. It’s kinda like I can travel through time… or something. :P)


  1. wow. what a deep blessing. sigh. I am so happy for you to have gotten this time. A good adjective to use for this would be 'heavenly'...

    prayers as your travel soon. (let us know if you can in this blog that you get back safely ect!)

  2. What a blessed weekend to end your stay in Romania! Have a safe journey home. When you get back, take your time to re adjust.

  3. Dear Kelsy,
    Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us all. God Bless and keep you and bring you home safely. I will join the queue at your door to hear and see more.
    Love in Christ Jesus,
    Mother Anna.