One of my friends who is Romania had a baby shower and I was invited by her friends from her Romanian church. Before I went I knew that there wouldn’t be much English talking which I was cool with, as I LOVE the Romanian language and even tried learning it 12 years ago.
So I show up to the party, with gift in hand and find there are no gifts laying around. (Hmmmm, strange, maybe I was told the wrong thing, maybe it’s just a party not a baby shower.) This was a surprise shower for my friend, Melanie or Delia as her friends call her. After she showed up she sat down and talked with me a bit. She told me that in Romania they don’t have a baby shower before the baby is born and after the baby is born people come to visit and bring gifts. However since moving to Canada her Romanian friends have been switching to do some of the North American traditions. She then informed me that they usually don’t do gifts, people just bring money. And unlike the baby showers I’m use to, with games and snacks, they just bring lot and lots of food and have good conversation. I thought this was all interesting. I love learning new cultural things.
Melanie then apologized that everyone was speaking Romanian. I told her that I loved it, “it sounded like beautiful music to me”. Plus even though I didn’t now anyone there, there was always someone kind enough to come over and talk to me. I felt so loved in a room full of people I didn’t know and couldn’t understand.
When the food was already to be served everyone kept telling me to go eat and no one else had started eating. I wanted to be polite and wait but my friend said, “in Romania it is custom to make the new person feel welcomed by feeding them”. So, I went and ate, and boy was it all yummy.
A few hours into the party, I was sitting on the floor, and I was told by my friend that sitting on the floor wasn’t really normal in her culture, that in her country they don’t sit on the floor because you don’t know if it’s clean enough. Opps, on my part. I was wondering why everyone was making a fuss over me sitting on the floor, they kept trying to give up their seats and kept saying, “oh here, get up”.
Although a lot of the time I was just sitting there not understanding what was being said, I felt so much joy and love in the room. The language barrier didn’t matter, I could tell my friend was so loved and that everyone in the room was loving to each other. In fact I felt more at peace and more joy sitting in that room then I do a lot of the times when I’m in a room full of my English speaking friends.
So I learned a lot last night. I knew going to this party I was going to do things I shouldn’t, but even when I messed up people were there to laugh with me and say “oh, it’s OK”.
I would love to go to a party with my friend’s friends again. It was so much fun, I would have stayed all night.