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Romania

Recent Blog Posts from Romania

Brasov Thoughts (article written by Sarah Westin from America)   (published in Romania)

July 11, 2017 by   Comments(0)

Who knew that there’s so much new out there?

From the moment I felt the thud of the plane landing in Bucharest, I knew this experience would be unlike any other. To Americans, Romania is not much of a thought, besides the stories of Dracula and vampires. I’d be lying if I tried to claim that my opinions prior to being here were different. Even though I’ve only been in Brasov for a just 3 and a half days, I feel like I’ve learned more than I could have ever possibly imagined while sitting at home in America booking my flights to come here. Little did I know then, that I would be immersed in a world of old and new.I had traveled to Europe before, so I thought I knew the real groove of the rest of Europe.I was pleasantly proved wrong. Each country is unique in its culture, traditions, languages, geography and much more.

Daniel was the first person I came across as soon as I exited the baggage claims area, holding up a small Projects Abroad sign. He took my heavier bag and off we went.The drive to Brasov was an experience of its own. The diversity of the land and the things among it fascinated me. One side of the road would be homes, and across the highway, there were rows and rows of tall, bright sunflowers, that seemed to go on forever. A young man carried bundle of wood that seemed too large for his small, rusty bike, as people engaged with fruit sellers on the side of the highway. Ahead of us the silhouette of the Carpathian Mountains appeared, as we passed an old, run down natural gas factory, filled with shattered windows, towering grey columns, and vast hour glass shaped tubes, which were once filled with one of earth's most precious resources. As we entered the mountain range, we climbed higher and higher into the clouds, and passed ...

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Brasov Thoughts (article written by Sarah Westin from America)https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/romania-social-manager/read/436907/brasov-thoughts-article-written-by-sarah-westin-from-america
Brasov Thoughts (article written by Sarah Westin from America)
 

Emotional Liberty: My First Impressions of Central Romania (written by Lucy Betz, USA)   (published in Romania)

November 2, 2016 by   Comments(0)

After being warned of the gloomy weather I might expect from Romania in the rainy season, I was surprised, upon leaving the airport, at how hot it was. I’d arrived on a humid afternoon in early September; in my velvet blazer and pants, I was completely overdressed. Once on the road to Brasov I threw off my coat and rolled down the car window, letting the cool air run soft across my face. From here I was able to take in the scenery - intricately decorated houses, vast farmland scooped out of the Carpathian mountains that cut through the sky like kitchen blades.

The beauty of the landscape would have been enough to keep me interested for the next three hours, but it was also offset by many odd glimpses of daily life that flashed past: young girls stood solitary in high heels and sunglasses at curbside bus stations, stray dogs sunned themselves on train tracks, dilapidated signs advertised theme parks in the language I did not yet understand. When we stopped at a traffic light, I heard an unfamiliar wailing noise, and saw a procession of men and women in dark clothes walking down a dirt road parallel to the highway. Rasvan, my driver, took one glance at my look of confusion and then at the group of people beside us. “It’s a funeral,” he said, and before I could process this, the light had changed and we were off again.

I have spent the last 19 years of my life in Westchester, New York, an area known for the guardedness of its people. Appearances are everything, from the upkeep of your lawn to the make of your shoes, and expressions of real emotion and struggle are almost taboo. Connecting with others on a deeper level is rare, and a warm welcome is hard to come by. So you can imagine how surprised I was when, upon arriving in Brasov, ...

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Emotional Liberty: My First Impressions of Central Romania (written by Lucy Betz, USA)https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/romania-social-manager/read/426949/emotional-liberty-my-first-impressions-of-central-romania-written-by-lucy-betz-usa
Emotional Liberty: My First Impressions of Central Romania (written by Lucy Betz, USA)
 

La Revedere, Romania!   (published in Romania)

October 26, 2016 by   Comments(0)

Well, this is it. I have 4 days left in Romania. Reality struck when I realized I have to start packing 3 months worth of clothes starting tomorrow-a bittersweet task in every sense of the word. I am comfortable in Cluj. I have just started to become accustomed to the dawdling public buses, the aroma of freshly baked pretzels (covrigi) mixed with cigarette smoke, the constant shift from rain to sunshine every other day. Part of me is reluctant to leave it behind, if only because of the familiarity. But I am ready to move on. It definitely hasn't been a picture perfect experience, with many idle and sometimes lonely days. The trial period of 6 weeks was just the right amount of time here. I feel like I've explored enough-in archaeology, in living alone, in finding my independence-to understand what I do and don't want after my year is over. Still, I wouldn't trade this for the world. I am sure of that. 

An update on the last 3 weeks: I am positive I have never checked the weather more times than I have here. Everything I do depends on it. Where I go, how long I stay there, what I will do the next day etc. etc. It is virtually impossible to excavate in rain, so there were many days spent in the office (sigh), drawing pottery (BIG sigh) and entering it into the database. I counted how many of them I've done-64. Believe me, that's 64 too many. The days actually on the site were far more interesting, depsite the bitter cold (correction from previous blog-winter isn't coming soon; it's here). My fourth/fifth weeks in Romania, Andreea and I traveled about an hour and a half outside of Cluj everyday to a Roman fortress called Porolissum. It is the largest fortress in all of Romania, and has an incredible view of the Transylvanian mountains and the local village once you ...

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La Revedere, Romania!https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/lanasinger18/read/426687/la-revedere-romania
La Revedere, Romania!
 

Romania: A Country of Smokers, Pigeons, and Ill-Timed Weather   (published in Romania)

October 4, 2016 by   Comments(0)

It is impossible for me to exaggerate the drastic shift of environments from my first week in Romania to my second. I have never had to adjust so quickly to two extremes in such a short amount of time. It still amazes me that I have almost reached the halfway point in my Romanian adventures, when it seems only yesterday I was stress packing back home. I hope my attempt at explaining these past couple of weeks sheds some light on my life here, and maybe will help me take stock of what I've learned.       

Week One

If you are going to a foreign country where you know nothing and/or no one, my suggestion is to bring a friend. I have never been lonelier than those first few days in Cluj, where I only had Andreea to turn to. And when she was gone, it was just my thoughts to keep me company, and nothing to distract me from the truth: I missed home. I missed my family and friends, Huey's burgers, even the mangled right side of poplar. I missed the familiarity. And I had no one to share these feelings with. Don't misunderstand me: I don't regret my decision. I never did. It was a risk I knew may be a reality, and it hit harder than I thought when it happened. But, this is an experience, and I learned early on that whatever I do next, I hope to do it surrounded by people I trust and care about. 

Cluj-Napoca

On a brighter note, I was able to explore the beautiful city of Cluj during my first week here. I visited the famous Koloszvar Fotere (St. Michael's Church), with the statue of the revered Hungarian king Matthias displayed boldly in front. Andreea also showed me his birthplace, where she explained the influence the Hungarian people have had on this particular region of Romania. We toured around the city center, and Andreea pointed out the medieval ...

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Romania: A Country of Smokers, Pigeons, and Ill-Timed Weatherhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/lanasinger18/read/425958/romania-a-country-of-smokers-pigeons-and-illtimed-weather
Romania: A Country of Smokers, Pigeons, and Ill-Timed Weather
 

Road to Romania: My First Thoughts   (published in Romania)

September 20, 2016 by   Comments(1)

I have a natural state before I am about to experience something new: anxiety. The day before a new school year starts, the night before a big presentation is made, or even on the cusp of branching away from home, I always feel a churning in the pit of my stomach that will not ease. I felt it when I decided not to go to college right after graduation. I felt it when my friends started to leave me behind, and I was wondering if I had made a mistake. I felt it whenever any of my family members inquired about my plans for the next year, why I chose Romania, how I was going to live in a country where I knew no one and could not speak the language, etc. etc. And I especially felt it when I realized that I bargained for more independence than I have ever had in my life. And then I got here. 

I have been in Romania for a grand total of 38 hours now, and to my surprise, I am as relaxed as if I were at home in my own room. I'm not sure when the churning stopped, but I believe it must have been somewhere between brisk walk around the gargantuan Frankfurt airport and my victorious pass through customs in Bucharest. It is still surreal to me, how easy it was to feel at home in a place I had never been before. Then I started to notice things about the country. Driving from the airport to my home stay in Brasov (about 3 hours), I saw how abruptly areas of agriculture and modesty evolved into quaint, thriving towns. The only dynamic that is comparable in my experience is traveling from midtown Memphis to the run-down areas in the south of the city. My driver Alex and I hit it off right away, which was a relief because (a) he spoke English and (b) I hadn't had a conversation with anyone who wasn't an airport official. We talked about music (he had classic rock blaring, so I ...

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Road to Romania: My First Thoughtshttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/lanasinger18/read/425627/road-to-romania-my-first-thoughts
Road to Romania: My First Thoughts
 

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