07 March 2006

The Strengthening Lion

"Lion" is the English word for Romania's unit of currency leu (pl. lei). Over the last year the leu has been strengthening against both the dollar and the euro.

Although the Romanian economy is still very weak, this trend is positive for anyone who makes a living within Romania, since it means that any money which they earn has a greater value in the rest of the world.

This same trend, however, is disadvantageous to anyone who lives in Romania but who earns his money elsewhere. Even though the value of the leu has gone up, prices of goods and services have remained the same (or even gone up). That means that anyone whose income is in dollars or euros has less buying power in Romania now. This has obviously affected us a little, but it's not a huge problem. Where we have seen it become a problem is for leaders in churches and other Christian organizations who receive all or most of their income from the West. This income is usually fairly low anyways ($200-$300/month), but given that the dollar has dropped in value 10% against the leu over the past year, they have been forced to make difficult financial choices. For example, should the shortfall be taken out of family expenses or ministry expenses? Some have even had to consider giving up full-time ministry in order to take a job with a salary.

04 March 2006

Calling "Mama"

Our son, who is now 13 months old, is very good at understanding things we ask him to do and he is usually good about actually doing them. He had gotten into the habit of crying every morning when he woke up until one of us went to get him. A couple of weeks ago, Raluca told him that instead of crying he should call "Mama" and she would come and get him. And that is exactly what he started to do.

It was very sweet to hear our little boy calling out "Mama" first thing in the morning (although we would have prefered that he do it at a later hour).

But now he has gotten into the habit of calling for Raluca all the time. Whenever he wants any kind of attention at all he calls out "Mama!" over and over again until he gets what he wants.

It's not so cute anymore.

We're hoping he learns some new words soon.