I just spent the most amazing afternoon with my neighbor, Madalina. Over the last two years, dear Madalina has become a mother figure to me. She daily invites me to her house just to chat over a cappuccino, she surprises me with treats and brings me delicious meals. She has taught me how to cook Romanian food (well-all food really) and since we teach at the same school, we see each other often and she's been a constant in my life here from the start of service.
She is the sweetest woman, living alone and taking care of elderly mother while her daughter finishes a masters degree in Bucharest. She has truly taken me under her wing and made my stay here in Romania so much more enjoyable. She doesn't speak a word of English, so we communicate entirely in Romanian which has been great practice for me. She spends her summers working in Italy as a housekeeper and cook, so let me tell you-she KNOWS how to cook. Which brings me to today, Valentine's Day.
This morning she invited me over for a late lunch, and told me (in Italian) that we were making pasta with olive oil and garlic. Yum. We worked together, throwing a bit of this in, then a little of that, and together made the BEST pasta I think I've ever had-even better than what I ate when I was in Rome. She had olive oil, pasta, and pepper spices from Venice and garlic from right here in our town. She poured some homemade red wine into two wine glasses, and as we clinked glasses she said "Happy Valentine's Day!"--in English!
After we ate the amazing pasta, she brought out a homemade banana cream cake.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, she sent me home with a FULL unopened bottle of olive oil from Italy and the rest of the cake.
One of the best Valentine's Day celebrations I've ever had.
|Don't you just love this cake!?|