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Old 03-24-2014, 03:22 PM   #1
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I Need Help/Advice, Please?

Mamma and Papa have made it possible for DA, Carl, Carl's Mamma (CM) and me to be accompanied by Laki and her Mamma (LM) to Romania in July. LM is so very excited and wants to go, but Laki is very afraid and doesn't want to go.

One would think it would be the opposite, yes?

We have tried everything. I have stressed the importance of seeing other countries, as I have been to so many. It's important to see other places for to gain the necessary perspectives of one's own circumstances and situation. Not everyone has these opportunities, but when one is presented by this opportunity to learn and do and see, it's important to take the full advantages of it.

They don't have to bring any money. Mamma will give them plenty of money to spend how they wish, just as they are giving Carl and CM plenty. My family is very generous to guests and we treat them as family and with great respect.

Mamma and Papa are paying for our travel, of course, and Mamma has given me her nice used Volvo for to have for my own now. She has a nice new BMW and so I can drive everyone around in nice comfort. I still have Snot, because Carl wants to drive her just once, ha!

But last night, Laki started to cry when Carl and I were speaking to her gently of going with us. She said she was afraid Romanians might hate black people and she said she and her Mamma were not in the same class as my family.

Because Papa and Mamma did things for their home and all over the holidays, Laki feels as all she does is "Take, take, take. That's all we've done." (Her words.)

That isn't true! This makes me feel so sad! They give, give, give every day of their friendship and their love for DA and me! That is a gift which money can never buy! And skin color and class has nothing to do with loving people! I told her all this, but she feels afraid still.

What can I do? I want her with us! I told her I loved her and that had never occurred to me. There is no such thing of skin color or social class when there is a sweet friendship!

How can I get her around this? I may need to involve Mamma and Papa of this, but is there something I can do to make her understand that she deserves this because she is so kind to me? I am so confused!

Why does she feel this way? Have we done something wrong? I asked her, and she said, no we didn't do anything wrong, we did everything right. What does that mean?

She will never forgive herself later if she doesn't take this chance now, I am afraid.

What can we do?

With love,
~Cat

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Old 03-24-2014, 03:46 PM   #2
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Cat, first, you have done nothing wrong. In fact, you've demonstrated to Laki what true friendship and unconditional love really is.

Perhaps there's something else that she is fearful of but is afraid/ashamed to let you know. Has she ever flown? How far from home has she traveled in her young life?

With all the news of the missing Malaysian plane and possible terrorist speculation, she may be afraid of flying.

If she is concerned about race/skin color, maybe you could find examples in Romania of multicultural life. That might help to calm her apprehension a bit.

This is just what came off the top of my head and I'm sure I'll think of more later.

I can't imagine what a wonderful adventure that she'd experience if she'd let herself. Could be the chance of a lifetime.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:32 PM   #3
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Cat, are there many blacks in Romania? If so try to point this out to her. Europe has a different attitude towards blacks than America does. So I can understand her fear. It is only since the early 60's that our attitudes toward blacks has been ever evolving. Living in the south, I am sure she has seen, heard or been a victim of some of the horrible things we as whites have done to people of her race.

If there are business that are owned by blacks, have your mother take pictures. Are there places that employ blacks? More pictures. Any black fishing folks? More pictures.

And for your part, I would suggest your head to the library and read up on the March on Selma. Ask Laki's mother to tell you some of the stories. It will help you understand Laki's fears. And possibly her mother's. That time in our history is not something we as Americans can be proud of. It all started with four black men sitting at a "white's only" counter at Woolworths. And from there became very violent for all. It is this violence that Laki fears.

Try to understand her fear by learning about it. She is not seeing this trip as an educational experience. She sees it as her safety being in jeopardy.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:37 PM   #4
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Cat,

Two things come to mind, in addition to those already mentioned.

Your friend may have some issue, in the past, that would cause problems getting a passport.

The other thing is simply that the gift is too large for her to accept.

I think it is a wonderful offer that you and your family are making, but I personally would not accept it. I would go if I could afford to do it on my own, but I would not allow someone else to pay my way, your friend may feel the same way.

I would let her know the offer still stands, be an understanding friend and allow her to make up her own mind.

Good luck!
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:01 PM   #5
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Cat, the simple answer is that you cannot make someone understand that they should see things your way. I think Aunt Bea is probably right - Laki apparently feels that you and your family have done a lot for her financially and this is just too much.

And remember that, while you're thinking her friendship is enough in exchange for the financial help, she may feel that your relationship is unbalanced because she has your friendship in addition to the financial help. I think maybe that's what she meant when she said you've done everything right. You and your family have been very generous, which is wonderful (right), but the imbalance makes her feel bad. It can become difficult to have a good friendship when one person feels indebted to the other.
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:25 PM   #6
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They already have their passports, for they went to Ecuador with their church 3 years ago to witness.

Being in debt to others only applies to immigrants like me who deserve nothing.

I thank you all, and I shall try to talk with her. This was much larger than I realized!

With love,
~Cat
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:36 PM   #7
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Cat, you have Skype. Bring Laki and her mother to your home and make a call to your parents. See if they can address her fears directly. No holds barred. Let Laki and her mother bring up any issues they may have.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:16 PM   #8
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Hi, Cat.

I wouldn't push your friend to go. It's nice that your parents offered to finance her trip, but if she is uncomfortable with it, it will only continue to make her uncomfortable by having to say 'no, thank you', over and over again. Only speaking by how I would feel if I were in that position.

July is still a while away. Things could change before then, maybe she will change her mind on her own. Or not...
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:59 PM   #9
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They already have their passports, for they went to Ecuador with their church 3 years ago to witness.

Being in debt to others only applies to immigrants like me who deserve nothing.

I thank you all, and I shall try to talk with her. This was much larger than I realized!

With love,
~Cat

Tsk! Tsk! Cat! There you go again thinking that you do not deserve what every other American takes for granted. I will reiterate what we have told you before my dear, being an immigrant does not make any difference in what you do or don't "deserve" :). Being "in debt" applies to anyone who feels that they have been given more than their fair share, and it is personal feeling, not anyone else's.
As far as Laki is concerned, she likely feels that she could never offer a similar gift to you, (even though that may not be true) I have a friend who was was very generous to me when I did not have the means to act in kind, as time went on I was able to be just as generous with her. It's all evened out in the end(not that, that should matter when you are very good friends)
Maybe give Laki some time to think things over. Good luck dear 💙
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:27 PM   #10
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There have been so very many good things said here, it is hard to see where to start.

There are black people in Romania. Most of them are from Africa and there is a thriving black neighborhood and community in Brasov. Maybe she would be interested to see how black Eastern Europeans live, yes? There is a store owned by a black family we are very close to, as they attend our church and we share dinners in each others' homes.

Maybe she feels uncomfortable, as in the "unbalanced" friendship. But that will change! She will get a good job after college. Laki is smart and tough, and we all know she'll be very successful! We could speak of this.

And her Mamma wants to go. Laki will be here after class and so we'll speak of this. I'll bring up your ideas and we shall see, yes?

With love,
~Cat
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:39 PM   #11
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Putting myself in your friend's position and being at that age, I would feel very uncomfortable accepting such a gift. So that may be all it is.

You might just have to accept that she doesn't wish to go. But I wouldn't push her too much, as it might cause a rift in your friendship.

I would just tell her that you will miss her and will see her when you get back.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:50 PM   #12
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But if she won't go, her Mamma won't go, and her Mamma is so very excited to go!

Her Mamma calls me her "other daughter." I love them both so very, very much. I cannot imagine my life without them! I was so lonely before Laki came into my life, and she brought her Mamma, and this wealth of cooking, and kindness, and love and laughter and even black and white jokes! I shall not repeat of these here, for they may be offensive, of course.

I won't push, but I will tell her of the black people in Brasov and in Constanta we know, and just gently try to spark an interest of this. I am sure one must be curious of different races in odd countries such as Romania, yes?

I love all of you. You're so very, very helpful and kind to me. I'll be gentle, but I'll put in a supply of duct tape and a large suitcase, because she is going even if she is my baggage!

I'm only joking. I make dark humor when I'm hurt or worried. Maybe Americans don't do this.

With love,
~Cat
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:18 PM   #13
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Cat, we do understand your humor. And I for one love it.

Address her fears of race before anything else. But like you said, do it gently. I would do it with her mother present. Tell her and her mother exactly what you told us. Let her know that there is a community of black people. Let her know that a lot of them are successful.

Also address any fears of flying. It is a very real fear are a lot of people.

And speaking of flying Maxine says;

somewhere over the rainbow....

… That's where the airline will find my luggage.
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Old 03-27-2014, 01:50 AM   #14
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I wrote her a letter and we talked so much tonight. I am exhausted but very happy, and now I must find my bed.

It took very much time with very gentle talk, and she has decided to go!

I thank all of you. I used many of your advice and so she will go.

I thank you all so very much! You all have saved me!

With love,
~Cat
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:34 AM   #15
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Hi Cat,
The first thing that came to my mind was that her Pride is hurt. Maybe it is hard to understand when you are trying to be so generous but that is the point you see. Sometimes someone needs to contribute and until they can they will go without. Maybe if you asked her if she could save up and pay for ,say, some petrol when you are there or cook some dinners for your family, anything really to give her back her pride. I know it isn't necessary to you and your family but it could be immense to her and her mum.
Otherwise, let her off the hook gently with maybe a promise to take her another year. Just don't force the issue or you could lose her friendship and that would be very sad.
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:54 AM   #16
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Hi Cat,
The first thing that came to my mind was that her Pride is hurt. Maybe it is hard to understand when you are trying to be so generous but that is the point you see. Sometimes someone needs to contribute and until they can they will go without. Maybe if you asked her if she could save up and pay for ,say, some petrol when you are there or cook some dinners for your family, anything really to give her back her pride. I know it isn't necessary to you and your family but it could be immense to her and her mum.
Otherwise, let her off the hook gently with maybe a promise to take her another year. Just don't force the issue or you could lose her friendship and that would be very sad.
Quite true. Another thought to go with what menumaker said. Let her pay for some things when the two of you are out shopping. If she wants to pay for the coffee, let her. If she wants to buy some thing silly for you, let her. In her own way, let her pay back what she considers a very large debt. Let her keep her pride.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:17 PM   #17
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I used that suggestion today, and she said she was saving her babysitting and lawn care money for this! She said she would feel better if she did, so I told her it was her money, and she could do with it as she wished and we wouldn't fuss about it. If she wants to pay for something, even if I think she should buy something for herself, I'll shut up and show her my respect for her this way.

They have no luggage! When they went to Ecuador, someone loaned these to them. DA came to the rescue! In the attic are four very nice suitcases and two garment bags she hasn't used since 1994!! I climbed up there, dragged them all down here, cleaned them up, sprayed them with Febreze and put them outside for to dry and freshen. They are in perfect condition, with very nice gold satin linings. I called Laki and told her of our finds, and she was so happy! One thing she does like, is to use things which other people don't need, so as not to waste of good things.

They have no cosmetic bags, so I went to the Vera Bradley website and there are some very nice ones in the discontinued patterns. I got Laki and LM each a set of three travel bags in different sizes for makeup, medicines, and toiletries. I have some nice material here, and if I buy small zippers, I can make them two nice jewelry bags!

Laki is becoming excited! Over their supper tonight, she brought her laptop to the table and she and her Mamma hunted up pictures of Romania and looked at them. I emailed a picture of a trash can and called it, "This is where I came from, Laki. Isn't it beautiful?" They laughed about that! Ha!

Now, I'm dragging four Americans over there, and I will have to educate them of traveling in Eastern Europe. There are hazards Americans don't think of, such as these:

1. Never leave a cellphone, camera, wallet, or purse unattended! It will be gone in a second. People will distract you at a restaurant with something interesting, you turn to look at it, and in a second, your things are stolen.

2. If you carry cash, for women, stick that in your bra. For men, put it inside your shoe. Never put cash in a wallet. Credit cards can be replaced, but cash is gone forever.

3. Don't worry about the stray dogs. We always have a handful of hard dog biscuits for them in a pocket or purse. Just give them a treat and pet them and go on your way.

4. Carry your passport on a short lanyard in a clear waterproof pouch around your neck. Mamma has a whole drawer full of these for us, as they entertain many business guests also from other countries. While these do target you as a tourist sometimes, no one can steal it.

5. Never give anyone your email address or phone number or anything personal. Romanian Internet is full of people looking for people from the West who may have money, and they will try to hack your information, using any information they have received from you. One of the methods to gain personal information is an offer to send you something.

There are many other things, but mostly it is just safety. Purses are important to keep safe. Always wear a crossbody purse with a zipper enclosure and use twist ties to tie the zipper to the strap, and carry it to your front, not the side.

I'm sure they will be wondering what an odd place they are visiting, but Romania is a poor country and the thieves abound and target tourists.

We won't be in any hotels, so I don't have to worry of that, thank goodness!

I wonder if Laki or LM have anything like a small tote bag or something for the carry-on items? I have a cloth sack I can use, and it will hold my Nook, puzzle book, journal, reading book, Acer computer, knitting or crocheting, Bible, and Bible study workbook. We can charge our laptops and Nooks in both homes, as there is a power converter for things of the different Hertz and voltage.

I had best call her. This will be very much time on airplanes, and it's always necessary to take things with you to keep yourself occupied. I'm sure we will talk much, according to the seating, but I'll be with DA and I'll need to keep her occupied also. I'll tell Carl and CM also.

This is going to be quite the education for them, yes? But such fun, I think!

With love,
~Cat
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:43 AM   #18
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Well Cat, sounds like you have everything under control. I know you are excited to share your world with them, but go slow. You are opening up a whole new world to them.

In reading this post of yours, I have to say, your English has improved so much from when you first joined us. You have become quite the jetsetter.
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:24 AM   #19
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Cat, I'm glad things are working out for the trip

Quote:
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4. Carry your passport on a short lanyard in a clear waterproof pouch around your neck. Mamma has a whole drawer full of these for us, as they entertain many business guests also from other countries. While these do target you as a tourist sometimes, no one can steal it.
I have a suggestion on this item: When we went to Europe, I kept my passport, credit card and cash in a pouch around my waist, under my clothes. This way, it was invisible and inaccessible to thieves
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:28 AM   #20
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I don't know about Romania, but some countries have coins that are worth several dollars. Canada has $2 coins. It can be handy to have a small coin purse easily accessible. It can have a reasonable amount of money for small purchases without exposing the "real money" to pickpockets.
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