Let me begin by apologizing for the formatting near the bottom of this post...I can't seem to dispose of those ridiculous gaps. =/
If you had told me a month ago what this Romanian adventure would hold, I would never have believed you. But now, 27 days after landing in Bucharest, I am convinced that this will be the most memorable semester of my college career.
|The Retezat Excursion!|
In the past four weeks, I have made myself at home in five locations, learned enough vocabulary to apologize and thank with some proficiency, struggled to conjugate Romanian verbs into a plethora of tenses, spent a week playing, working, learning and laughing with Romanian teenagers at Viata and backpacked the Retezat Mountains.
These experiences have been shared with a wonderful group of people, some of whom you may know: Northwestern sophomores Zachary “Hank” Hankel, Bryent “Tad” “Scrappy” Slagter, Julie Adams and Calvin College junior Kelly Larsen.
|My host home!|
As I sit in my host family’s living room at 11:49 on a Sunday morning, typing, reading assignments for tomorrow’s classes and drinking a mug of steaming coffee, I can’t help but smile over the differences I have found between this place and good old Orange City, where the clocks read 3:49 AM and you should all be sleeping.
I live just minutes down the mountain from Kelly’s host family, and from our new homes we have a lovely little jaunt—45 minutes by foot—to and from the Impact building in Lupeni where most of our classes are held. I must admit that I find it somewhat more lovely on the “to” end, when the road leads down-hill, but the view, the company and the moments of silent contemplation I have been afforded while tromping in either direction have been beautiful.
From my first month here, I have drawn out these gems of wisdom:
1. “No, thank you” is not often accepted as an actual refusal in Romania, and several more offers will inevitably ensue. Be prepared to stand firm in your refusal, or simply to accept.
|2. Romania must be home to three-fourths of the world’s canine population; there are dogs everywhere! Feed them and they will follow you indefinitely, gazing up longingly with big, irresistible puppy eyes.|
3. Ciorba (Romanian soup) is fantastic! Never miss a chance to eat homemade ciorba.
4. Microwaves are highly superfluous.
|5. Gathering plums and apples from the orchard surrounding my host home is the perfect way to spend a sunny fall day.|