Friday, January 20, 2012

Christmas Vacation: Suceava, Ukraine, Iasi

I wrapped up my third semester teaching with a beautiful concert of carols and Christmas skits presented by my students. We also went caroling around Recas with the choir. I think I told you last year but caroling is a very different experience here. The kids were given money (a lot!) or bags of treats and food at each location. Can I bring this tradition back to America? 

My 6th grade-so cute!

I spent Christmas week with Vali, his wife Ionela, and their families in the mountain town of Caransebes. Another volunteer, Chris, came along and brought his guitar which became the hit in every home. We sang, we ate, we cooked, and we visited about three difference houses each day. I don't think I've ever eaten so much in my life. Each house had traditional foods-sausages, cheeses, salads, pork-and we were told to "eat! eat!" at each one.  We had an amazing time and I was honored to be a part of a real Romanian Christmas...but YES-I will be starting p90x again ASAP.

In Caransebes.

Just walking.
Vali, Ares and I posing by the mountains.

Decorating the tree!

Chris and I in the center of Caransebes.

Beautiful Caransebes.

traditional food-the meat platter.

traditional food-deviled eggs Romanian style.

Chris playing his guitar and singing carols.
 After Christmas I headed back to Timisoara to host some volunteer visitors! We had a lot of fun hanging out, visiting the Recas winery, exploring Timisoara, and drinking lots of vin fiert (hot wine) at the Christmas kiosks in the center. We also played countless hours of skip-bo (thanks mom!) and banangrams. For New Years we went to a concert (Beatles Tribute Band!) and watched some amazing fireworks. I can't believe it's 2012!

pigeon catching happened.

Jovanka and I in the center with the Cathedral in the background.
After New Years I traveled around Romania, visiting volunteers in the south and then traveling together to Suceava to visit the famous painted monasteries. 6 girls, 1 boy, and a lot of churches=fun for all.

Valerie and I on the train to Suceava! <3

At the famous Black Pottery Store

Suceavita Monastery

Tara inside a monastery...don't remember which one.

Me in Moldavita Monastery.

Beautiful painted walls.

No one has been able to re-create this blue color seen on the wall.
After a four day stay in Suceava, we headed to Chernivtsi, Ukraine for a short visit. The trip started out a bit rough when we couldn't find our friend's apartment and also saw a dead man on the side of the street. No joke. I think he was homeless and froze to death in the middle of the night. His face was blue and people were standing around him and it looked like they were waiting for the police. A little unsettling our first 10 mintues into the country!

We stayed with four German girls who are also volunteers-they were amazing and showed us around the city. We went to a huuuge open air market, and then walked through the city to see the university and other historic buildings. We ate traditional bors and perogies (heaven) and even met up with some Ukrainian PCVs!

Sara and I in the open market.

I should have bought this...

Come again?

5 Americans and 4 Germans.

Christmas kiosk in the center.

After Ukraine, we headed back into Romania to the university town of Iasi. We toured the city and stayed with some Romanian friends who showed us a great time. Since it was the last night we would all be together, we splurged and had dinner at the top of a gorgeous hotel which gave us a panoramic view of the city.  

The Palace

Imitating the statue. I'm on a horse.

Beautiful stained glass from the Catholic church

The largest Orthodox church in Romania!

Dinner with the panoramic view.

Beautiful Iasi.
It was a fantastic three week vacation but now I'm back at site and back to the grind! School started this week and my adult classes start next week. I'm busy developing some projects for this new semester. More to come about that in the next post because this one is entirely too long already. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!


  1. Hi Sara! Just wanted to say I enjoyed reading your blog! I'm also an American living in Romania. I've been in Cluj since June. feel free to add me on Facebook if your ever coming back up this way -

  2. I am from New York and I am looking to find a Romanian girl (ink black hear and green eyes)
    Also I would like to buy a horse drown cart to ride it from Bucharest to London.

    Anyone can help me?