Buna Ziua! Said Boo-nah Zee-wah, this is our last full week to be able to say Good Day in Romanian. Well, just for now I hope… Loren and I started this week by attending Sunday service at the Segesvar Unitarian Church, in the Romanian named city of Sighisoara. Segesvar is Hungarian – we are getting used to the dual names of places here. Though we were unable to understand the Hungarian sermon, we could follow the hymns a bit and it was nice to be in community in their cheerful sanctuary.
Toward the end of the service the minister came down from the elevated pulpit, asked something in Hungarian, a congregant responded affirmatively, then came forward. This young man then translated in English that the minister had received a phone call at 9am from a couple from California and if they would like to come to the front to say a few words about themselves… which we did and the young man translated for us. As we left the sanctuary the Reverend asked us in English to come to his home afterwards. Loren and I then had a delightful visit with he and his wife, who fed us a delicious meal, and, gifted us with homemade brandy and jam, and, homegrown honey!
While his wife prepared lunch, the minister drove us to see his other church – many Unitarian ministers here serve multiple congregations. What was amazing is that we had noticed a Unitarian church when we drove around Lake Sonata last week, and, we made a photo of the prominent Unitarian motto: Egy Az Isten – said something like Edge Oz Eesh-ten, for God is One, in Hungarian. This is what distinguishes our denomination, Unitarian in questioning the Trinity over the Unity of God. It turns out that this minister had previously been the minister there for over 11 years.
He also has the distinction of being formally recognized for the erecting of three Unitarian church buildings, including this one we visited together, which is also a partner church to Princeton, New Jersey.
That evening we were invited to return to their home to meet their son, who is a Unitarian ministerial student in Kolozsvar in Hungarian or Cluj in Romanian, and his girlfriend. Together with the Rev. his son, Loren and I went to the bee farm where Loren and his son helped him feed the newer colonies. I drove and took photos. I was not allowed to share in the subsequent toast of homemade brandy with another minister who lives at the property and other ministerial friends, because, there is zero tolerance of drinking and driving here. Good idea! Remember the “Romaniac” drivers I wrote about last week that Loren had identified? And that behavior is sans alcohol use…
The gift bottle of the Rev.’s brandy was actually a blessing as Loren came down with the flu this week. It was bad enough that we had to cancel our plans to meet his son for a hike. The next day we did meet up with him – he was housesitting for his parents this week while they went to be with family in another village. We went for a walk together to the Citadel of Segesvar. But just that short hike was enough energy spent for Loren for the day. We were able to see the monument to Petöfi Sàndor, a national poet and hero who wrote the anthem for and is believed to have died in the Hungarian Revolution.
He is known for being a writer on love and freedom. I especially like this poem of his:
I’ll Be a Tree
by Sandor Petofi
I’ll be a tree, if you are its flower,Or a flower, if you are the dew-I’ll be the dew, if you are the sunbeam,Only to be united with you.My lovely girl, if you are the Heaven,I shall be a star above on high;My darling, if you are hell-fire,To unite us, damned I shall die.
The next day Loren was feeling more up for a hike to go up the hill with our new friend to see the beautiful views.
The next day Loren was nearly back to normal, so with our friend we had another hike to see more views. We enjoyed a snack at the hillside Vila Franka restaurant, walked back down, then bade our so-hope-to-see-you-again farewells. It was nice to spend this special time with him in Segesvar, hear of his studies in the travel industry, his travels, and now of some of his studies, experiences and travels as a seminarian. All best to you in your last year of school!
A friend from California recently wrote: “Of course as you know from your travels, its the people you meet along the way that are the real change agents in your life.” We find this is absolutely true, week, after week, after week, after week… and the best ones are the ones who become lifelong friends.
On the subject of weeks, this one is the nice round number of 125 since Loren and I packed up and left home. Wow! And as we packed up to leave Segesvar, I was so aware of all the zippers and snaps that Loren and I cinch up each time we leave one place for another. Fortunately all the fasteners keep cinching for us!
We rode by bus back to Cluj where we returned to the same AirBnB. This week is a big celebration called Hungarian Days here, and, with her, we saw a light show projected on the main church. When Transylvania was ruled by the Unitarian King John Sigismund in the 1500’s, this church was Unitarian. Now it is Orthodox. We have learned that each denomination here has its own different greeting. I will finish with sending out the beautiful Unitarian greeting in Hungarian: Isten áldja! similarly said something like Eesh-ten Auldio, for God bless you! On Tuesday we will head off for Croatia…
PLEASE NOTE: While this week we have good internet coverage, we may not have service in the countries we are visiting in the coming months. Please visit here, I will add my weekly post as I can.