Monday, December 26, 2011

Bells in the Fog.

I was walking home from the train station today and the fog was so thick I could barely see 15 feet in front of me. It was as if I was walking through the clouds, in some eerie world and on another planet. 

I was alone and the silence was defening. But as I continued on my way, I suddenly heard bells, cow bells actually. I looked around but I couldn't see anything. I kept walking and the fog broke and I finally saw what was making the noise...a herd of sheep with their shepherd in the field. Each time the sheep took a step, the bells on their collars would jingle. 

I stopped to take some pictures and then continued on my way. 

I love moments like this.

 Another blog post is coming soon, with pictures and details about my three day Christmas adventure in Caransebes with my counterpart and his family! 

Now, getting ready for a couple volunteers who are coming to visit for New Years.

Hope you all had a blessed holiday week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

tis the season.

Merry Christmas from Romania Ya'll!

photo taken by PCV Kevin DeNunzio.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Confessions Part III

I probably ate the most disgusting combination of food ever for lunch today. Now let me just say this- I've been home sick for almost 1.5 weeks now, so there isn't much left in my house and I refuse to go buy more until I get paid in a few days so I had to make do.  Think noodles, a powdered cheese packet, ketchup, french mustard, and Tabasco sauce. Oh yeah, I went there.

I used to have an albino bunny named Snowball. He was all white (clearly) with beady red eyes and I used to walk him down the sidewalk with a hot pink harness and leash...I wish I was joking.

I thought I was dying Sunday night and called my PC doctor in tears at 9:30PM.  My throat was so swollen I could barely swallow and I was convinced it was closing up and I would suffocate here alone in my apartment. In Romania. Alone. Did I mention I'm kinda a hypochondriac? 

I was cutting up bananas for my yogurt and ended up dropping a piece on the floor. I stared at it...looked around, (like someone was going to see me?!)and picked it right up off the floor and added it right back into my bowl of yogurt. Yum.

I made it to day 30 of p90x workouts and then traveled and got sick and ugh, Im trying not to feel like a big failure. I was seeing results just after a month and I cant' wait to start again as soon as I'm better.

I watched "48 Hours" for two hours yesterday and scared myself. To death. Literally couldn't fall asleep until 3:00AM because I thought that every noise was someone coming into my apartment to kill me, abduct me, etc. And when I finally DID fall asleep, it was only because I left the lights on. Yeah...

 I really, really miss Christmas shopping. I even miss fighting for a parking spot at the mall and then waiting in line forever and shoving your way through crowds...the whole damn process. 

I once choked on a spoonful of peanut butter. #overambitiouswiththepb.
I have a collection of Archie comic books. Betty, Veronica, Jughead-I have the whole gang. We're talking probably about 150 comic books...maybe more. And I still pick them up when I see them for sale. 

N*SYNC's "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" is playing on full blast at this very moment and I MIGHT be singing at the top of my lungs. You're welcome. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Weekend in Cluj in Photos.

During the Romanian National Day Parade.

The Orthodox Church in Cluj

The Theater/Opera House

The Orthodox Church again.

Taking a stroll in Cluj Napoca

One of my favorite cafes in Cluj-The Vienna Cafe. How CUTE is this?

The Vienna Cafe

Inside the Catholic Cathedral.

A night at the Opera-we saw The Barber of Seville

Megan and I at the Opera!

Opera House-gorgeous inside.

Standing outside the Opera-see all the Christmas lights?


We took a trip to Turda where we visited the famous Salt Mine...this is the entrance of the mine.
The bottom of the mine! It is AMAZING. There are boats you can row, a Ferris wheel you can ride, bowling, and more.

The bowling area.

Inside the mine.

The Ferris Wheel! An 8 minute ride inside a mine...awesome.

Just rowin' the boats in the mine.

Yeah..I was a horrible rower.
Chapel in the salt.


Can you see Jovanka and I?

In the center of Cluj.

The menu at The Vienna Cafe-so fun.

Sugary Sweet Treats-hot chocolate and cheesecake.

Christmas Lights.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ohhh This is Good.

It's day four of my knife-like throat condition, but today I woke up not feeling like complete death so I decided it was time to get out of bed and tackle some things. Like the mound of dishes that were piled in my sink. Like the laundry that was in not one but FOUR piles on the kitchen floor. (The kitchen is where my washer is). Like grading over 150 tests and homework assignments to be passed back on Monday. Yeah, hanging my head in shame...but I was sick, so that's something right? Some sort of excuse?

You see I felt the need to tackle these things because I had sort of a rough night and I needed a fresh start today. At 12:38AM I awoke to the sounds of mice scavenging around in my bathroom cabinet. At first I thought I was dreaming, but no, no they were definitely mice. (I've killed many here. I might be an expert.) So I did what any logical, level-headed Peace Corps Volunteer would do when she is doped on pain medication and can barely swallow because of extreme throat pain. I grabbed my broom, and I hit the bathroom cabinet door over and over to scare them away. I was too scared to open it. When the sound didn't go away (and I was still too scared to touch the cabinet with my bare hands) I simply sat on the cold, hard bathroom floor, exhausted. With my broom in my hands and my throat feeling like it was giving up on me, I had a good cry. Sick of being sick, and sick of these mice making absurd noises in the middle of the night, I just let it out. And you know what? It worked. 5 minutes later the sounds were gone and I went back to sleep. The broom is still on the bathroom floor.
Time to set more glue traps.


So on my list of things to try and accomplish today was putting up and decorating my Christmas tree. Now I'm going to be honest with you, because you're my loyal readers and I owe it to you to tell you the truth....I almost didn't put up my tree this year.

Yes, yes I know-WHAT'S WRONG? Well let me clear things up a bit and give you my reasoning.

  1. I'm not actually going to be here for Christmas this year-I'll be with my Romanian friends and their family celebrating in true Romanian style-pig eating, caroling, drinking and more drinking oh and eating. I can't wait.
2. I was doped up on pain medication when I thought that putting up the tree was too much work.
3. In my doped up, medicated state I thought we were already halfway through December and I had missed prime tree time. (Thanks for clearing that up mom.)
4. I was sick and on pain medication. 'Nuf said.

Luckily that feeling didn't last and today I went for it. It's 4:20PM and I can gladly say that dishes are done, laundry is going strong, and my tree is up and it makes me OH so happy. 

Merry Christmas Ya'll...mice, broomsticks, dishes and all.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I currently feel like death-meaning when I swallow I feel like tiny knives are jabbing me in the throat and this clearly is terrible. This is my 3rd day in a row home sick and I'm SICK of being sick. The tea has been non-stop, I've been sleeping for hours upon hours but I can't seem to knock this. 
The only thing I have in common with this picture is the tea...but wow-I want someone to bring me this one morning!!

I had big plans to get my Christmas tree up this week and set up some decorations...still hoping I can get to that in a few days.

Until then...tea, crackers, and rest is on the menu.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving with the Ambassador and Language Weekend.

I am currently on a 9 hour train headed back to my site after a whirlwind of a weekend in Bucuresti and Ploiesti. My journey started with an eventful night train Tuesday night and after switching to a bus and continuing on a 2 hour journey to my friend Sara’s site, I was finally in Moreni Wednesday by 1:00PM. Yes-18 hours after I left Recas I arrived across the country and to my destination. I’m exhausted just typing that.
I had decided to stay with Sara (she’s a PCV in my group) the night before Thanksgiving at the Ambassador’s house because lets face it-after all that travel I needed a good night’s sleep before dressing up and making an appearance at the ambassador’s residence. Sara lives in a beautiful town of about 20,000 called Moreni. We enjoyed catching up and she made some AMAZING chicken parm and garlic bread. Girl can cook. We picked out and finalized outfits for the Thanksgiving dinner (hey-it’s not every day we get to dress up!) and called it an early night.
Moreni-Sara's view every night.
 Everything went as planned on Thanksgiving-we took a maxi-taxi to Bucharest and got ready at the Peace Corps Headquarters. I felt almost like I was back at the dorms in college again-5 girls getting ready, curling hair and trying to iron out the wrinkles in dresses and jackets before heading out. So fun!
The Ambassador’s house was amazing. Beautiful and homey, we were welcomed with open arms by the family and given wonder foods and drinks to enjoy before being seated. Not only were PCVs invited, but there were State Department employees and even the Ambassador from Turkey was there. I ALMOST felt like I was right back in America-complete with the Ambassador’s Labrador “Buddy” strolling around like he owned the place. I can’t tell you the last time I saw a purebred dog. Ha.
Where we ate our meal. Gorgeous!

Go America! Inside the Ambassador's home
 The setting for the meal was gorgeous-tables surrounded the indoor pool which had floating thanksgiving decorations with flowers and candles. And the food-WOW. Everything I could have ever wanted for Thanksgiving and the stuffing was out of this world. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go and have that experience at the ambassador’s. Thanksgiving is always a big holiday (usually spent at the beach!) for my family and while it was sad to be away from them, it was amazing to be surrounded by my PC family and friends.
Mostly excited about the stuffing.

Sara and Tara, PCVs

Barbara, Aran, and Michael, PCVs group 28

Jessica, Sara, Tara, PCVs

The gang!

Megan and I-she got that hat for less that $2.00 at a second hand store!
 After Thankgiving I headed to Ploesti (about an hour outside of Bucharest) for a Romanian Language Learning Weekend. With 12 other volunteers, we met at Jeremy’s site for Romanian lessons with our professor from training, Simona. The theme was “Romanian Cooking” so we learned how to make 4 traditional meals and learned words such as “to strain, to peel, and to sauté” We learned how to make Sarmale (the rolled cabbage meal), ardei impluti (stuffed peppers), zacusca (an AMAZING spread consisting of eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.) and finally, vin fiert-the hot spiced wine served here all winter long.
We're learning! PCVs in Ploiesti for the Language Weekend

Sara is paying attention, as you can see. :)

Oh hey Valerie! 3rd year PCV!

Nick preparing the eggplant for Zacusca

How many PCVs does it take to DESTROY a kitchen? Sorry Jeremy. :)

Aran keeping a close eye on lunch.

Peeling peppers.

Andy making a mess.

MMM eggplant!

And some traditional clothing, because why not?
 We had a little glitch in the weekend when a fellow volunteer was bit by a stray dog at Jeremy’s site. For PCVs, when this happens it means the next few weeks you’re taking your behind to Bucharest for a lovely series of rabies shots! I believe this is the 4th volunteer I’ve heard of having to get rabies shots because of dog bites. While I never had had an issues with dogs in Recas or Timisoara, I know they are a huge issue in Bucharest and over there on the east side. Luckily Stephen was in good spirits and called the doctor right away to schedule the shot cycle. What a pain though!
This week is busy as well with 2 days of classes, then a Romanian holiday on Thursday so no school. I am traveling to the bustling city of Cluj-Napoca for my long weekend then I’m heading to training with UNICEF back in Bucharest on Monday. All the while trying to plan some Christmas activities for my kids at school such as a clothing/food drive, caroling (English AND Romanian!) and a Christmas cantata of sorts with singing and traditional dancing.
So stay tuned!