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May 2013

30 May: Patchy   (published in Romania)

May 30, 2013 by   Comments(0)

This morning, I dug up and cleaned a skeleton that still had hair. Not a lot of it, just a patch or two somewhere in the vicinity of the top of his skull. I named him Patchy. He even had a couple of little patches toward the front of his skull that I could pretend were eyebrows. They probably weren't, and I don't even know if they were actually close enough to his eyes because his skull was all caved in, but it worked for me and since I spent about two and a half hours working on him, I think I earned the right both to name him and to pretend he had eyebrows. It was really cool to see, since I'd never had a chance before to get a close up look at centuries-old hair. Jack says they found a woman once who had a whole plait of hair that was even still plaited. I bet that was pretty amazing. I left Patchy to go to lunch, and then when I got back Hannah and I were cleaning pottery, so I don't know what happened to him, but odds are he's already in a bag. It was still really cool, though. After work we got to hustle home for a quick change before we went in to the office for Erica's going-away dinner. Kazuki cooked, and it was absolutely delicious! It was cool to see everyone, and I even got to meet Maddie for the first time. Once we had eaten all the food, taken lots of pictures, and tried unsuccessfully to blitz-assemble a 1000-piece puzzle (with Jack and Maddie heckling our puzzle skills), we braved the torrential downpour to go to a billiards bar that had the best (and first) frappe cu ingheatata (probably sp) I have ever had. It's a good thing our host mom provides all our meals, because otherwise it would be all too easy to blow all my money on pretzels and delicious drinks, though I might still do that anyway. I have set something of a budget for myself, but even then I might still spend it all on food instead of souvenirs (speaking of which, I still need to get postcards to send home to everyone). Anyway, at the billiards bar, Claudia and I spent the better part of about two hours laughing at the 80s music videos playing silently on the tv screen on the wall. You may not have realized it, but without any context, 80s music videos are more than a little ridiculous. Hannah and I finally came home (to our host house) at about midnight, despite our intentions to leave by 10 so we could hopefully get a decent night's sleep. Oh well, the weekend's only a day away; I'm sure we'll find time to sleep then.

Thus, to conclude, I freaking love this place.

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30 May: Patchyhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/amedina/read/288079/30-may-patchy
30 May: Patchy
 

Welcome to the Days of Braşov! - The Junii Bids Thee Welcome! by Johanna Englev   (published in Romania)

May 27, 2013 by   Comments(0)

 

photo taken by Kazuki Shimada

 

Colors, parades, music, men on horses, beautiful costumes and a week full of fun, dance, shopping and nowhere near enough time to see everything! That is what was waiting for everyone in Braşov this week, whenThe Junii, The young men of Braşov, kicked of the end festival of their celebrations, in the week following the orthodox Easter.

 

The City has in this past week been packed with people! Piata Sfatului, also commonly known among the volunteers as just “The Square”, has been more than usually crowded with happy Braşovians, which says a lot considering how many people gather there on a normal week-day.

Junii Brasovuluii, the feast or festival of Braşov, takes place every year the week after Easter and culminates in a big parade and a party on Sunday. Everywhere you went this week, you would stumble across either a ritual (maybe in the manner of a dance or a song) or fair (like the flower fair on the square), or just a happy citizen taking the opportunity to promote a charity or business cause. That also including the dressed up Jack Sparrow making balloon animals with the kids on Strada Repuplicii last Friday!

Furthermore, if you wanted a nice stroll the pedestrian street, you should have chosen another week. Small parades of traditional dressed up people, advertising their various shows and smaller festival, like the medieval festival at the Citadel, walked up and down the street, playing their music and dancing their dances.

Indeed this week has not been boring!

 

The Junii, or, roughly translated to English: “The young men of Braşov” is the descendants of the old, real Romanians that lived outside the gate of Kronstadt (As the old city center was once called, when Germans inhabited these parts) in the Schei-quarter of the city. Every celebration, every ritual, every song and every dance is performed by a man (or men), whose ancestors walked among the original Romanian neighborhood outside Kronstadt’s main gate: Catherin’s Gate.

 

This Sunday, the volunteers in Braşov, along with pretty much the full population of the City, gathered to see the parade that marks the end of this week’s celebrations. The Junii celebrates, on this day, the Dacian new-year and the beginning of spring.

 

And how they do it! Horses dressed in all kinds of colors (traditional colors of course), matching the rider and his role in the parade,each outfit marking the group to which he belongs. Because the Junii, is not just a big group of dressed up people. Each man belongs to one of seven groups. One group dressing even more spectacular than the other.

From the young unmarried men, Junii Tineri who wears a simple black jacket with a red flower in the breast pocket to the sparkling older groups, which all wear impressive gowns of countless colors and fabrics.

 

Braşov is indeed a city of culture, and if you are looking for the time to really take in these still vibrating traditions, then the Days of Braşov is a perfect time to come!

I have again and again, during my time here, been surprised by the enthusiasm and involvement, that the general citizen of Brasov shows, when it comes to nursing these traditions and this week has been no exception.

Nowhere else have a seen such a joy within the people. Seeing them laugh, barter, sing, chat and dance through the chaos of this week really is what makes the entity of Braşov.

And what makes this city a very special place.

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Welcome to the Days of Braşov! - The Junii Bids Thee Welcome! by Johanna Englevhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/romania-social-manager/read/287209/welcome-to-the-days-of-braov-the-junii-bids-thee-welcome-by-johanna-englev
Welcome to the Days of Braşov! - The Junii Bids Thee Welcome! by Johanna Englev
 

Interesting Culture for a Foreigner by Kazuki Shimada   (published in Romania)

May 27, 2013 by   Comments(0)

photo taken by Kazuki Shimada

 

All of the Romanian life and culture is a novelty to me coming from Japan. 

I think Brasov is a town that has many churches, interesting cultural buildings and defensive walls. When I went around Brasov, I thought I wanted to look over the whole town, so, I walked up to the highest place. When I arrived up the hill, North-East from the central park, I could look out at the whole Brasov's scenery. To the right, I could see the traditional and colorful town that includes the Black Church and many other Romanian traditional buildings with red roofs and white walls. On the left side, a completely different overview spread out, as far as the eye could see: Modernistic and colorless high buildings standing in a line. So, I got a strange feeling. : I thought it's not the same town. I felt Brasov is a place that mixes aspects from the middle ages and modern times.

  

I arrived in Romania on the 1 of April. Romania's climate is like the Japanese weather, so Romania is a comfortable country to me. I think I came in Romania in a good season!

 

Romanian's character is very fascinating too. I really think Romanians are kind, positive and passionate people. One day for example, I admired a woman's behaviour  who positively helped another old woman getting off the bus . When I go around Brasov, many people waved their hands at me, greeting nicely My host's name is Marcela and she is positive and kind too, all the time. She talks to me every day and teaches me things about Romania. I also met her son. who greeted me with a smile and chatted with me for hours and also had dinner together on Saturday. If you visit to Romania, you will certainly meet this kind of people.

 

On the other hand, when I went around Brasov, I also saw homeless children. There are homeless people in Japan too, but I have never met children begging on the streets. Many homeless children exist all over the world, and I definitely know Romania is not an exception to.

 

Furthermore, Romanian cuisine is so curious to me. Japanese main food is rice. but this country’s main food is wheat or corn. So, they eat a lot of bread from wheat and

 'mămăligă' from corn. I also tried some other traditional Romanian foods like‘ciorbă’( sour soap ) and ‘sarmale’ ( Cabbage Meat Rolls),which have a nice taste.  Brasov has many bakeries too. I often see many people buying some bread and pastry to have a quick walking lunch. Romanian cuisine has a lot of meat dishes, but very little fish. As I often was having fish in Japan, it will be difficult for me to adapt and not having it for a while.

   

I haven't seen too much of Romania, but it's enough to realize it is a fascinating country. So, I want to know more about Romania and to discover as much as possible. 

   

 

 photo taken by Kazuki Shimada

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Interesting Culture for a Foreigner by Kazuki Shimadahttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/romania-social-manager/read/287201/interesting-culture-for-a-foreigner-by-kazuki-shimada
Interesting Culture for a Foreigner by Kazuki Shimada
 

25 May: Departure Day! Tears all around   (published in Romania)

May 26, 2013 by   Comments(1)

So here I am, sitting alone at gate A37 at DIA, waiting to board the plane that will take me to London, where I'll board another plane that will take me to Bucharest. I left my family in the passenger drop-off zone outside, and that was one of the harder things I've ever had to do. I managed not to break down weeping, though that probably just means I'll do it at some other time in the next couple days. It's strange to be here alone, but at the same time it's kind of liberating. Not just in a "woohoo I'm free from my parents, let's party"/college freshman kind of way, but also in a "wow, I think I can actually do this" kind of way. I've been preparing for this for months now, gearing up to have such a hard time here at the beginning, but so far it's not so bad. I mean, I know I'll miss my family to pieces, but I think I'm less scared now of going off on my own like this than I have been in weeks. Granted, I haven't even left the USA yet, so the odds of this just being shock or bravado or something like that are pretty high, but right now I feel okay, so I'm going to go with that. It's strange to be on my own, but not necessarily in a bad way. I think that something like this has been a long time coming, so now that it's here, I feel almost at peace. I've gotten a thousand tips and boatloads of advice, and I've braced myself to have to learn a lot as I go along. This is an enormous thing I'm doing here, and I know so many people are proud of me for having the courage to do this, and for just about the first time-- no matter how ridiculous it will seem to me later-- I know for certain that I can do this. See you on the other side (of the ocean). 

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25 May: Departure Day! Tears all aroundhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/amedina/read/287003/25-may-departure-day-tears-all-around
25 May: Departure Day! Tears all around
 

Not long now   (published in Romania)

May 24, 2013 by   Comments(0)

I have now realised that it is not long now till I leave to come to Romania. 

Everything is now coming together and I am getting very excited to experience so many new things . I already have a feeling that I  have triggered the travel bug inside . 

I am really looking forward to going to Romania and assisting the staff and children at the orphanage, I think it will one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I know I will gain such a great deal from this visit and I think it will completely change the way in which I view things once I return. 

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Not long nowhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/spearson1/read/286787/not-long-now
Not long now
 

Meeting Braşov – So far Away, yet so Close to Home (written by Johann Englev)   (published in Romania)

May 23, 2013 by   Comments(0)


When I first started telling my family and friends, that my next travels would take me to Romania, many did not understand. To them Romania was just another country in Eastern Europe and as for many westerners, the word “Romania” brings up pictures, and for some, memories of communism and poverty. Except for the vast tourism, that has brought us Dracula and stories of Transylvania’s vampires, is there not more to this overlooked and forgotten country in the east?

 

With these prejudges in mind two months ago, I boarded a plane in Copenhagen bound for Bucharest, determined to re- or de-confirm this thought. My first though when leaving the plane was the resemblance of that small little airport in Bucharest to Kastrup airport in Copenhagen. After just an hour and a half in a plane, I was still in Europe, and I have been reminded of that fact every day so far.

 

My first realization when arriving in Braşov was that this city is so much like the Western Europe I know from home. Everywhere you lookyou will see billboards, malls, McDonnalds, KFC, H&M and plenty of other food chains and clothes stores. Even the nightlife is similar to home, with StradaRepublicii’s never-ending choices of smaller and bigger bars, cafés and clubs.

 

However. During my time here, I have been lucky enough to experience pockets of the real Romania. – Hidden under all the western bits of culture you first notice when arriving in the city.

Place yourself in the center of the old German part of the city, once called Kronstadt, on PiaţaSfatului and you will see the gigantic Black Church or BisericaNeagră towering over everything. Right there in the midst of that enormous square and its numerous cafés and restaurants the church stands tall above all else. This picture is for me reflected in everything I experience in Romania. Everywhere you go on the road, you will see small crosses on the road or graves. After every corner you turn there might be a chapel for the local people, beautifully decorated, with gold, carpets and various drawings.

Even when on the bus, on your way to work, you might notices your fellow passengers making the sign of the cross when passing a church on the road. Some doing it only once and some going at least three or four times.

During the year, several festival and parades can be observed right from you bedroom window as the many parades, like in times of Easter, takes place on the bigger roads and in the center.

In addition, not only the strong sense of religion hooks your attention, when travelling in the city and beyond. On the street, a horse driven cart might trot by, right before you reach the local shepherd with his flock of sheeps. Go a little further and you might run into a pack of dogs, or just a single one, roaming the streets for food and shelter.

Already, after these small seemingly unimportant differences in the everyday life in Brasov, we are so far from what you might experience in the west. There you would never pass a trotting horse on the main road and think nothing of it.

 

Paint yourself a picture. The town of Brasov, divided into three sections, with the old Schei-quarter on one side, with its snorkeling streets and roads going up and down the hillside, reaching the gate and wall of the old German part of town, once called Kronstadt. Here the red-roofed houses cramp together in the small space, still finding room for minor gardens and terraces. On the opposite side, the city melts into the new modern era, with its big apartment blogs and factories dominating the scene. All around this lays the mountainTâmpa. A mountain surrounding the city, with its small white dots, scattered around on the mountainside, representing the remains of the old towers, placed all around the original city. Here you can experience what I have discovered to be the biggest beauty of Romania. Its nature and wildlife.

The first week I was here, the most frequent story I heard, was the story of a man being eaten by a bear, who decided to take a stroll through the city and then eat the man lying on a bench, sleeping. In addition, I was told of wolves roaming between the trees!

 

 

 

Life in Brasov has, so far, definitely been different then what I first imagined.

This city is at first sight, just another city in Romania, but get to know the people and you will discover a hidden and, to the west, completely forgotten issue. The establishment of Braşov and of Romania in general in the rest of the world. Many of the local people here lack that sense of nationality that I for instance know from my own country. Overwhelmed by the rushing development into the modern age, the old culture and traditions vanish between billboards, McDonalds and international clothing stores. Thus creating the picture of a country with no real identity.

However, look closer and you will discover what I have seen so far. The rich culture, the religion,the traditions, the nature and the wildlife and most of all; the people who still believe in a country known, not only for Dracula and Transylvania, but for its rich and flaming culture, still burning after the flood of the 21st century.

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Meeting Braşov – So far Away, yet so Close to Home (written by Johann Englev)https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/romania-social-manager/read/286706/meeting-braov-so-far-away-yet-so-close-to-home-written-by-johann-englev
Meeting Braşov – So far Away, yet so Close to Home (written by Johann Englev)
 

thuis   (published in Romania)

May 7, 2013 by   Comments(0)

Nu al weer een hele dag thuis, toch nog maar even m’n laatste blog schrijven over mn ervaringen daar nog. En blabla. Dan vergeet ik het zelf iig niet ^^ De laatste dag dat ik er was ging ik samen met een nieuwe vrijwilliger naar Tarlungeni, als afscheid had ik chocola en boekjes voor ze. En net op het moment dat ik ze wou geven  en afscheid wou nemen. Kwam ere en vrouw binnen met ene grote koffer en haalde daar allemaal cadeautjes uit. Jippie, aandacht van de kinderen was niet meer bij  mij en ze hadden alleen og voor haar cadeautjes. Toen stapte de vrouw in hara auto, ende kinderen stapten bij haar ind. En toen redden ze weg.  Dus, dat was mijn afscheid, beetje jammer. Op de weg terug in de taxi, moest hij ineens ene omweg maken i.v.m. politie en toen ginggen we plots door een sloppenwijk en ene weiland. Super cool. Mijn college haar arm zat in het verband  omdat de hond van haar host haar had gebeten, de hond wara ik niet bij in de buurt durfde te komen en toen voelde ik me een mietje.  Blijkbaar ben ik niet zo’n mietje.  Bij het afscheid heb ik allemaal coole cadeautjes gekregen, en toen ben ik met Yorick de volgende dag naar Contstanta vertrokken. Waar ik heb gedoken.. Dat was übersupervet. En ik zwom tegen een kwal op, maar het was een aardige kwal. Dus geen jeukend gebeuren enzo. Yorick vond het wat minder..  maar ik niet J. Ghe, ook nog met Yorick naar een ‘spookhuis’ geweest.. wat achteraf niet heel erg eng was, maar op dat moment heb ik mijn nagels in mijn vriendje zijn arm gezet. Wat nu nog steeds zichtbaar is. Spookhuizen zijn niet echt mij ding..

In Constatnta ook nog naar een gebied ‘mamaia’geweest, waar een soort kermis was, en  gingen we met de ‘telgondola’ (kabelbaangeval) naar ergens anders. En toen  de volgende dag gingen we naar mangalia. Waar we ziek warden en desperate housewives gingen kijken (heel stoer). En we hebben gezwommen in de zee. Terug in Nederland waardeer ik vooral het lekkere eten en het begint nu eindleijk te wennen dat iedereen nederlands praat. En nu  heb ik geen zin om te schrijven, wat vast neit te merken valt aan m’n schrijfstijl. En ik ga straks naar buiten.

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thuishttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/dvandenberg/read/283619/thuis
thuis