Wednesday, May 26, 2004

a bit about the family...

Sometimes I wonder why my family, instead of other families, left Romania, or in many cases, such as ours, God helped them out. My dad was not the only one to flee. He locked himself in a crate on a freight train to Germany in 1979 with one of my uncles, Traian or Tarfin--I'm not sure right now which. At present four out of seven of my mom's brothers are here (one has passed away recently), while the other three either chose to remain or were unsuccessful in their attempts to leave both legally and illegally.

Gheorghe, (the one who passed away), came with his family: his wife, Mariana, and the three kids, Carla, Flavius, and Roli. They are all grown up now, but I have not seen them--that is a different story for later on. Traian came over and went back to find a wife in the 90s after the Revolution of 1989. Victor did the same. These three ended up living in California. Tarfin came over and also went back to get a wife after the revolution. He lives in Texas. Victor's wife, Daniela, a beautiful woman, left him after about a year here. He was quite depressed and I believe still is to this point, though none of us can tell as he doesn't really want to talk to us.

On my father's side, he is the only one to have remained here permanently, though two of his four brothers go back and forth all the time as their families live in Romania. Gica, (short for George), has, at last count, twelve children! They all live in Dorohoi, or the area, at last count. I forgot the name of the other uncle on my dad's side. I have not spoken to any of them, on my dad's side since August 1995. Our family ain't the most functional in the world. My mom divorced my dad in 1987. More on that later...

In short though, about half of my grandparents' children left Romania for America. Some stayed in Germany for brief periods, but America was the final destination. That may have been typical of protestant families in Romania during Ceaucescu's reign of terror. Romania is about 78% Orthodox, about 12% Catholic, with the remaining 10% Gypsies, who do not have a defined religion of their own, and various Protestant religions, chiefly Baptists, Pentecostals, and Evangelists. Mormons did start proselytizing in Romania in 1899, but with the Iron Guard in the 30s and the Communists from the 40s on, they were not allowed in the country until 1990, and not officially until...well I think officially they still are not recognized, though they are "invited" by the Liahona Association, which is basically the same thing. Anyways, today there are probably 1500-2000 members in the country. Back to the story though...

While nearly 80% of the country was Orthodox, my entire happened to not be Orthodox. I cannot think of anybody in my family who is. Members of my family are Pentecostal, Baptist, Evangelist, even Jehovah's Witness! My grandmother on my mom's side quit religion all together after bad experiences. She is dead now, along with all three other grands. My mom seems to be following in her footsteps religion-wise, as she too has quit on organized religion. Both still believe strongly in Jesus, but both have been hurt by believers in the various organizations they went to. It is especially hurtful to me that my mom has given up on Mormonism as I strongly and firmly believe it to be true, even though, I too, have experienced a great deal of unneeded suffering at the hands of some members. More on that later though...

So anyway, my family is not the typical Romanian family.

My mom was born in Medias, as I was, though only because the hospital was there. She was raised on my grandparents' farm in Sfantu Gheorghe, a small village just outside of Iernut to the north of Medias. My grandmother hails from the Baia Mare, Satu Mare region, which is to the northwest, close to the border of Hungary. My great-grandfather's home is in a village called Barsau de Jos close to Satu Mare. That has been his home since he was born back in 1902. He saw both world wars as both had battles take place in Romania. My mother's side of the family tend to be small people, in height. They are also more softspoken, preferring a long conversation.

My dad was born in Dorohoi, which is in the northeastern part of the country, close to Suceava and the Ukrainian border in the Moldovan region. (Not the country of Moldova. Because history is how it is, there is a region called Moldova which does include the current country of Moldova. The reason the country split from the Ukraine and did not want to reunite with Romania is because about half of them speak Russian and consider themselves non-Romanians). He has four brothers--interestingly my mom has seven brothers; she had two sisters who died early. My dad's family is completely different from my mom's. They tend to be taller, and larger in stature, plus have louder voices, more boisterous. They tend to be more confrontational.

These two people met...I was going to say, fell in love, but that is a controversial statement as my mom has definitely been reconsidering that. So I won't get into that. Anyways, they got married. Two years later, I was born--in 1974. Apparently I was a pain in the...uh...um....you know....on the way out. My sister was born fifteen months later. My mom needed surgery to have her, and that stopped her having anymore kids. Plus, after the pain of the first two, why would she want to go through anymore? Plus there really wasn't any kind of sexual satisfaction from her husband, who treated her, in bed, more like an animal, according to her (not sure about accuracy as her feelings against him are strong, but it was a candid revelation that I think was somewhat clear of strong emotion. In any case, the relationship lasted 15 years, but maybe it should not have even gone that long.

Ah the what ifs...I should probably avoid them here until I get to the actual events of 1986. Terrible year it was.

Anyways, I think that's a good overview of my family as the moment comes for leaving Romania to come to the United States. I haven't said much about my sister. I'm reserving that for later.

So long.

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