A Travellerspoint blog

Second day - Lots of Sun and Laughs on Site


Our second day on the site started off with everyone continuing their jobs from the previous day. We had the rebar assembly line in place and my crew continued making our picnic table. Several homeowners were busy filling the foundation with rocks on the first house and Claudiu's team was prepping the second house. It was a busy morning and before we knew it - it was time for coffee break.

Michelle, Christina and Beth paused quickly in the morning for a quick photo: IMG_6741.jpg

It was so great to see everyone enthusiastically working in the hot weather to get our tasks done. But there was also time for a few laughs along the way. I was happy to catch up a bit with my good friend Claudiu on the site:

Several (if not all) my team members started excelling at their tasks at hand. Michelle, for example, found her new calling with the drill and became a pro on the worksite by lunchtime:

At lunch we were able to eat at our new picnic table. Beth had this to say about the day:
"I liked how we finished our picnic table before lunch and then peering down while eating and seeing everyone sitting at it during lunch. I enjoyed watching members of our team in such a short time come together and find a way to work together really well. When you pause and take a break, you see people helping each other, laughing and joking around, and enjoying their work. It is really amazing."

I learned a new sentence in Romanian too thanks to Mihai, my teacher: Am construit o masa si doua banci. This means "I built a table and two benches."

Here's a shot of part of our rebar team hard at work:

Overall it was another fantastic day - I can't believe how quickly this week is flying by!!!

This evening we went to the mall in Oradea and had some free time. People shopped, played billiards and went bowling. Claudio and Valer had the high scores for the Romanians while Judy took home the high score for the Americans.

What a great day!
Noapte bună

Posted by gooberkn 12:57 Archived in Romania Tagged beius habitat_for_humanity Comments (0)

First Day on Site!!!


We're finally in Romania! It is so nice to return back to my summer home and see all my friends at Habitat Beius.

We had a great day on site with building rebar and the wooden supports for the house. There were a lot of laughs and sore muscles at the end of the day.

Allen from Indiana said "today was wonderful. I think we got a lot accomplished. I cut rebar ties and helped add the wires to the rebar."

Michelle from California said "I had a lot of fun today. I learned a lot about hammering and how to use a saw. I even learned how to make a picnic table. It was a learning day and I didn't injure myself at all."

Here's our group photo:

And now I'd like to introduce my team:

Kay from Nebraska:

Sir Rodger from Nebraska: 90_16CD1C642219AC681702D3E22320B3D7.jpg

Perry from California: 90_16C042EA2219AC6817FA234CB59F0C8B.jpg

Michael from Washington: 90_16BFD5D92219AC68177F716CE5D6305C.jpg

Marie from Massachusetts: 90_16BF4FA72219AC68177CD583C8079F93.jpg

Ken from Nebraska: 90_16C1A14E2219AC6817E71A55192ED852.jpg

Bonnie from Nebraska: 90_16CD94052219AC6817377DA65FEBEAA8.jpg

Allen from Indiana: 90_IMG_6710.jpg

Christina from California:

Beth from North Carolina (and London) 90_IMG_6708.jpg

Michelle from California: 90_IMG_6709.jpg

Judy from Nebraska: 90_16CCAD802219AC6817682EB86A94EEE2.jpg

David from Massachusetts:

And the team leader Katie from Connecticut:

We're all showered and refreshed and off to dinner!

Posted by gooberkn 08:48 Archived in Romania Comments (1)

The Team is Here and We're Enjoying Budapest!


It's Sunday afternoon in Budapest right now and I have a few minutes to update you all on our trip.

Everyone arrived on Saturday throughout the day. We had a few delayed flights but nothing major. Everyone came with all their luggage - that's always a good thing!

We enjoyed a nice dinner at my favorite restaurant in the Botel area - Kiskakkuk. I could tell the food was amazing all around because the conversations quickly stopped when the food came out.


Today, the team has a free day to explore beautiful Budapest. We're meeting up at 5:00 for dinner and then our van ride to Oradea, Romania.

This morning I went to high mass at St.
Stephen's basilica with Judy. We then walked around the city and I showed her a few of my favorite spots. Others are off on bus tours as I write this and checking out the sites on their own.

I can't wait to see Emil in a few hours and head over to Romamia!!!

Here's a picture inside church this morning:

The fountains at Margaret Island:

A Holocaust memorial on the banks of the Danube:

Posted by gooberkn 05:19 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Hello Budapest!!


I arrived in Budapest on Thursday afternoon and spent a wonderful evening at Botel Fortuna - our hotel on a boat docked along the Danube River. Everything was super easy about my traveling experience - from the layover in Prague to collecting my bags in Budapest and being able to use wifi on the shuttle to the hotel!

Here's my mini airplane from Prague to Budapest:

I spent the better part of today exploring Margaret Island - something I haven't really done yet in Budapest. There's a 5K runner's path along the outside, tennis courts, water slides, huge pools and two hotels. I had no idea!

After a quick and hot two mile run, I just walked the island and stopped along the way for "water - no gas". What a beautiful morning!

This evening I am meeting up with some of my teammates who are in town early. Christina arrives this evening and I'm meeting up with Perry and Allen for dinner. I'm excited to finally meet the people I've been communicating with for the past few months.

The hotel is great, the restaurant for tomorrow night's team dinner is booked and now I just wait until the team arrives!

Here's a few more pictures:


Posted by gooberkn 06:29 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

I'm Off Today!

and ready to begin my Habitat adventures!!!

Today around 3:00pm I leave for John F. Kennedy International Airport and head to Budapest and begin my global village adventures! All the hotels are booked, the details are organized, the binder is complete, the bags are packed. Everything is done and ahead of time - which is very good for me!

I can't wait for my flight and of course I have a few nerves along the way:

  • Will my flight take off/land okay? Will I have any delays?
  • Will my teammates arrive on time? What will they be like? Will they all get along? This is my first trip in a long time where I don't know a single person going on it!
  • What will staying in Oradea be like for the entire week? I have always stayed in Beius so this is another first for me.
  • Is everything going to run smoothly during the ten days with the team?
  • Will I have any injuries? A few years ago, I sent one lady to the eye doctor with a massive infection and another with a bad cough. It's a good thing that all the doctors in the area are incredibly friendly!
  • Finally, will all my teammates enjoy their experience, work hard throughout the week, and appreciate the mission of Habitat for Humanity and want to continue its work when they arrive home?

This trip has been amazing already for me as I have been able to reflect on the last decade of my service to Habitat for Humanity. I have looked through all the photo albums, remembered all the people along the way that have joined me for a few teams or just one team, and remember all the families that have been helped along the way. Here's a collage I made of my last ten teams to Beius:


To get in the spirit of Habitat and to learn more of why I love it, here are some quotes from Habitat's magizine Habitat World that shows its impact since its founding in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller:

“Habitat gives us an opportunity which is very difficult to find: to reach out and work side by side with those who never have had a decent home—but work with them on a completely equal basis. It’s not a big-shot, little-shot relationship. It’s a sense of equality.”—former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, September 2008 issue

“No matter the location of the build site, the religion, gender or ethnicity of the homeowners or volunteers, there is a sense of authentic community that links Habitat partners. It’s exactly this kind of shared commitment that has sustained Habitat for three decades, and, similarly, it will be a renewed commitment that’s necessary to meet the challenges ahead. I don’t have to remind you that the need for decent housing is immense. Our tenacity is equally vast.”—Jonathan Reckford, Habitat CEO, June 2006 issue

“I have come to believe that I belong—which is as much a part of Habitat as the homeownership. I belong as a community member. I also have something to contribute. … Habitat for Humanity has given me the chance to feel that I have hope for the future. For the first time in my life, I have the time to stop worrying about survival long enough to plan for the future.”—SueAnn Belknap, Habitat homeowner in Corvallis, Ore., December 1995/January 1996 issue

8 hours and my next Habitat adventure begins as I celebrate my 11th team to Romania. I can't wait!!!

Posted by gooberkn 08:25 Archived in USA Tagged for habitat humanity Comments (0)

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