Category Archives: Pictures

Poiana Narciselor (Narcissus Field)



Last Sunday Teo, Loredana, Vasi, Dana, Ionel, Adela, their daughter Eliza, and I took a hike up to Poiana Narciselor. We originally headed out thinking we could get there by car but a short way up the mountain, we realized that we couldn’t. We left the jeeps and decided to hike up to the approx 1,300 meter peak. Naturally, we found the most difficult trail to hike up and after 3 hours, we made it to the narcissus field which was very pretty and dangerously steep.  Below are some pictures from the trip. For most of them, photo credit goes to Teo.

Recent Happenings


I’ve been slacking a little when it comes to blogging so I’ll recap what i’ve been up to since my last post which was Easter.

The Romanians celebrate Easter for 3 days which means the second day of Easter we didn’t have school and the third day of Easter (that Tuesday) we kinda had school. I got to school at 8am and realized that only a handful of students were present in each classroom and after seeing that most of their colleagues weren’t even at school they decided to leave after the first hour. All of the professors had planned on having a picnic after the school day had finished but since we ended up having an extra day off, we headed out to “iarba verde” a little bit earlier and spent most of our day in nature. There were about 30 of us that  set up camp and ate, drank, played soccer and frisbee, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was nice getting together with all of my fellow teachers since it’s a very rare thing.


I spent the next day at site as well and then I was off again to another training in the south of the country. This trip ended up being very interesting due to the ridiculousness that is Romanian travel. I had bought my train ticket online two days prior and when I was in the process of looking for the train that goes from my nearest train station to Bucuresti I saw that that train doesn’t exist anymore. The closest train that I could catch to Buc was about an hour’s drive away. One of my friends was nice enough to drive me to the farther train station. When we arrived at that station we were told that the train I was supposed to get on was not running due to a break in the tracks about 100km north. After the news we headed back to Singeorz and I decided to take a route through Cluj/Sibiu that left Singeorz at 5am and finally arrived to Craiova around 9pm.

The next day I met up with Madalina and Carmen, the two wonderful ladies who work at the Craiova American Corners, to deliver my training to a group of talented young adults that plan on holding their own development camps this summer for the elementary kids in their city. The rest of the day Madalina took me around the beautiful and might I add very clean city of Craiova. We finished the night off at her sister-in-law’s place where we attended a dinner party of about 8 people. It was really refreshing being with a group of Romanians close to my own age and discussing everything from their thoughts on the country, why they haven’t left, the economy, and the future of Romania.

Fast forwarding to last night-

The Balul Majoratului or Senior prom, organized by the 11th grade, took place at the Huka Club and, as always, was a great time. Those of you that know me really well know that I love large groups of people because I can wander. I love being able to hang out with many different groups all within the same environment. We had fun, danced, laughed, and even cried. A few of my friends and students made me cry throughout the night when they kept on telling me how much they are going to miss me with which they reminded me that I only have a short time left in Romania. One of my students even told me that one of the main reasons he transferred into the philology profile was because he wanted me to be his English teacher. That absolutely melted my heart and instantly made me tear up.

Thats the recap of the last two weeks.

On deck:

meeting with a group of Moldovans to talk about PC next weekend along with my first ever Romanian wedding.

Until next time, va pup!


Rompin in Romania


This past weekend I met up with a group of my fellow PCVs to cheer on 4 members from our group in the Cluj Marathon. They ran as a team so each runner took one leg which was 10k. We had a great time at the race and were very proud of our team “Rompin in Romania” when the last runner crossed the finish line with a total time of 4:17. We followed it up by divulging in none other than American style hamburgers, fries, onion rings, and liter sized beers at a local brewery.

This was the last time that I am going to see several of my closest friends in Romania which means that my waterworks were flowing quite hard. It was difficult saying bye to these people that I have such a bond with and that are the only ones that know exactly what I have been through during my service. I was even emotional most of the 4 hour ride back to site just thinking of how much has happened in the past two years and some of the crazy memories that we have made. I know that I will consider every person from my group as a lifelong friend. I’m also very jealous that many of them will be close to Washington D.C. and will still have each other while I’ll be across the ocean but I know that our paths will cross again sometime.


Spring Break


Not even a full 24 hours after I arrived home from the field trip, I was off on an overnight train and then bus ride to the small town of Tulghes which is also where the very amazing PCV Matt Paulson lives. About 8 of us PCVs and Matt’s brother, Will, met up at Matt’s site to celebrate him turning the big 30. We had a cookout with his friends from site and spent those days being bums while listening to our newest 5 favorite songs and eating plenty of cake.

After a few days at Matt’s, Megan, Meg, Kevin, and I headed up to Kevin’s site, Sarasau. Our first full day at Kevin’s we headed into the city and hung out a bit before Kevin’s friend, Maria, came to pick us up and take us to The Village Hotel in Breb. Breb is a tiny village about 25 km outside of Sighetu Marmatiei where the roads aren’t paved, tuica is drunk as medicine, and the livestock outnumber the people.

The Village Hotel is owned by an Englishman named Duncan whom I met at a hostel in Cluj during my birthday weekend. His colleague, Maria, is the one who was born and raised in Breb and is the main contact for the hotel. The hotel is made up of 2 small cottages with a few more currently being built. The cottage we were in had 3 beds and was, for a lack of better words, very quaint. It was a mix of old and new. It had all new amenities but they didn’t disrupt the olden feel of the place and just added to the charm.

The second day we were in Breb, we decided to take a walk through the village and had quite the adventure. We all put on our rubber boots to battle the muddy roads and headed out into the town. It was nice having Kevin with us because he knows some of the locals so we got to stop at a few places and talk to people. We also passed by the house that Prince Charles bought a few years ago. You know, he is part Romanian.

We ended up at the house of Ion and Maria. We randomly saw a bunch of sheep in a yard and decided to stop and take it all in when Ion came out and Kevin remembered meeting him sometime last year. Ion invited us in to hang out while he fed his animals and that was where we met his mother, Maria and where I was officially sold into marriage. Ion is about 45 and is a bachelor. Initially he mentioned how he would take any 3 of us girls as his bride but then after seeing how much the new baby calf liked me, he decided I was the one; that I was the “Romanca adevarata”. Without even having to discuss it, both Meg and Megan offered me up for two cows, one for the each of them and that was it, the deal was made and I was then officially filled in on what had just happened.

Ion and Maria invited us into their house for some carnati cu hrean (fried sausages with horseradish sauce). We hung out inside for about an hour so. Our guests told us about Ion’s recently deceased father, their British friend, William Blacker, who had spent several years in Breb and then later went on to write a book about it (Along the Enchanted Way). They also showed us many pictures including some that were taken with Prince Charles himself. After our lunch, Ion escorted us to the wooden church and that is where we parted ways with our new friend.

We headed back to Sighet after our walk and made a straight shot for the border to walk around the Ukrainian city right next to Sighet. Our final night is Sighet was spent at, in my opinion, one of the best pubs in all of Romania called “Friends”.

After a solid month of travel, I am finally back at home even if it will be only a week. This weekend I’ll be heading to Cluj to cheer on some PCVs in a marathon, celebrate Megan’s birthday, and take care of some issues with my glasses. End of service is only about 65 days away and it is closing in fast. I am staying extremely busy and have almost every weekend planned which will hopefully keep my mind off of the sadness of leaving.


Școala Altfel


This year for scoala altfel my school did the same thing as last year which was to create various weeklong workshops that the students could attend. The new one that was added this year was the “tourism” workshop, aka a 5 day field trip, which I decided to chaperone.

After arriving home from COS conference I had a day long break to detox and then had to repack my bags and head out for another week. We all met in front of the high school at 8am sharp on Monday morning where we loaded up the busses and headed to our adventure. Here is a list, by day, of all of the places we visited.

Day 1:

  • Cluj city center
  • Turda salt mine
  • Turda Canyon
  • Alba Iulia Citadel
  • Deva

Day 2:

  • Hunedoara castle
  • Prislop Monastery
  • Targu Jiu (Kissing gate, Table of Silence, Infinity Column)
  • Tismana Monastery

Day 3:

  • Drobeta Turnu Severin
  • Iron gates outside of Orsova
  • Orsova (Danube boat cruise)
  • (we also spent the night at a high school dorm in Orsova. Said dorm has a capacity of 700 students and only has 11 students currently living in it. The conditions we stayed in were laughable. Without warm water or heat, we made the most of our time there and the 40 students crowded into 3 rooms for warmth.

Day 4:

  • Resita train museum
  • Dacian/Roman museum and ruins in Sarmizegetusa
  • Densus church which was constructed in the 3rd century
  • Deva
  • (We stayed at the gymnastics high school that trains all of Romania’s gymnasts and where Nadia Comaneci trained)

Day 5:

  • Deva Citadel
  • Monastery – can’t remember the name
  • Gold Museum in Brad
  • Dinner in Cluj
  • HOME!

We encountered some pretty bad weather at times, forgot a student after a stop, froze and almost got pneumonia, but all in all it was a fun trip and i’m happy I got to have a good time with my kids.


COS Conference


COS (Close of Service) is just around the corner, 85 days away for me, and the last and final group in Peace Corps Romania got together this weekend for our very last conference during our service and the very last time to see some of our fellow volunteers.

Wednesday, Megan, Meg, and arrived in Sibiu around 5pm from Meg’s site and headed to our hotel. We unpacked, met up with a larger group and headed to dinner. Dinner was followed by drinks and a night of some pretty interesting karaoke.

Thursday and Friday we had sessions from 9-5pm. Some were very emotional and reflective which made some of us tear up and others were more administrative based discussing paperwork and various procedures. My favorite part of the conference was when the program managers gave us letters that we had written to ourselves the day before we took our oath as volunteers. I totally forgot about them and couldn’t remember what I wrote. I was so surprised to see what I wrote that I immediately teared up because I had achieved my goal that I set for myself two years prior. My letter read as follows: “I want to empower the youth of ROmania (main the girls) to be all they can be and for them to believe that anything is possible.” Our last session on Friday was held at the Astra outdoor village museum just outside of Sibiu. We danced some traditional dances, at some cozonac and got to tour the facility in horse drawn carts, bikes, or on foot.

After we got back we hung out at the hotel and slowly got ready for our dinner that staff was going to throw for us. I also took my LPI (language proficiency interview) at this time and am happy to say that I scored an Advanced High-Superior level on Romanian knowledge which lets me officially say that I am somewhat “fluent” in the language.

At the dinner we celebrated our service and were awarded superlatives both from PC Staff and a committee of PCVs chosen at random. The superlative it got from staff was “Most GLOW-ing” and the one I got from my fellow PCVs was “The Romanian Army Knife” because I apparently can do anything. There is a story behind the second superlative but we won’t go into that.The night ended in the wee hours of the morning just before sunrise. I said bye to the volunteers that I wouldn’t get to see before the end of service and went up to me room for a 3 hour nap before heading on a bus back to site.

I’m currently at site until Monday morning when I leave again, this time with my school, for a week long field trip around Romania.

Until then, Va pup!


My Birthday, Moj Rodjendan, Ziua Mea


So this post is a TAD late, considering my birthday was two weeks ago but I have been fairly busy so blame it on that if you like. My birthday tale starts on the eve of said day, November 4th. I had quite the PCRO moment when my mom and I were in the middle of baking what ended up being over 100 brownies, 50 cookies, and 50 other random food…things, my propane tank went out. It was around 1pm on a Sunday so all the normal places I would have gone to to get a new tank were closed. After about half an hour of calling around, I finally found a place that was open and a friend of mine to drive me to said place since a full tank weighs about 50lbs.

The actual day of was fun. I received lots of kisses, flowers, chocolates, and “la multi ani”s from my students and I treated them to the plethora of cookies that I had made the day prior. That night my mom, Mary, and I went out for a birthday dinner at one of the restaurants in town.

That week didn’t really entail anything else that exciting. My mom and I hung out in town and in school until Friday. Friday morning we caught the 5:30 am bus to Cluj to meet up with Meg, Megan, Nick, and Kevin to see my mom off and celebrate my birthday with my friends. The weather was pretty dreary and rainy so we didn’t get to do everything we had wanted. I had an interview with the International School in Cluj which went pretty well and that will hopefully be an option after Peace Corps. We spent the day hanging around the city center, going to the craft market and relaxing in a cafe over some vin fiert, hot chocolate and cheese plates. After the entire gang had arrived, we headed to dinner where my mom got to know some of my favorite volunteers.

Saturday morning, after seeing my mom off at the airport, the 5 of us headed out to the salt mine in Turda. If you recall from a post around this time last year, the cit of Turda, which is about 20km outside of Cluj, houses an enormous old salt mine that has been resurrected as a tourist attraction. We spent a few hours there walking around, riding the Ferris Wheel, and rowing the boats.

After getting back to Cluj, Nick told us of a microbrewery in the center that serves liter sized beers so naturally we headed there. The beer was great but what we didn’t know is that they make an amazing burger as well. As mentioned in many previous posts, beef is very hard to come by in this country, especially good quality beef, so when we bit into those burgers it was like heaven! We spent quite a time there enjoying each others’ company and finishing up our gigantic but very delicious beers.

After heading back to the hostel, we got ready, and headed to one of the many college bars in the center. To say the night was fun is an understatement. I even ended up getting to see Ioana, one of my very good friends and ex- students that is now at university in Cluj.

I’m so happy that I got to celebrate my birthday weekend with such an amazing group of people and I could not have asked for a better time. Oh, I forgot to mention, I was talked into wearing a hot pink tutu the night we went out since I was the birthday girl. It was absolutely ridiculous and all thanks to the one and only Megan.

P.S. I ended up getting ICED 4 times that weekend. For those of you who don’t know what that is, you did not attend a college in the states in the recent past. For those of you that do, this is how it happened.

1. Nick saying “LOOK! Some one shit in the plant!”…

2. Found it in my purse at 10am after a shower…ice

3. Found it in Megan’s boot…ice

4. It was in the back pocket of a random traveler that was staying in our hostel…ice

Enjoy the pictures:

The Republic of Moldova


Moldova, the country stuck in between communism and democracy, in between East and West, in between Romanian and Russian. I was lucky enough to visit this Peace Corps country these past few days. A friend and fellow volunteer that I met during the TTT conference, Theresa, invited me to Moldova to meet with the GLOW directors there and talk about the successes we have had in Romania with the program.

After my seven hour train ride from Ilva Mica to Iasi I hopped on a maxi-taxi that was headed straight for Chișinau. We entered into the country of Moldova about an hour into our drive and the only thing I noticed that was different was the age of the cars. The first handful of cars I saw after the border looked like they were taken out of the 1970’s and 80’s. During the entire ride toward the capitol, I saw mainly old, but still running cars. A short while after, I found myself in Chișinau, a big-little, not as communist looking as I had expected, city. I met up with Theresa and the first place we headed to was the PC office. It was really cool seeing how their office differs from ours in Romania. Theirs is much larger and has a much larger staff to accommodate over 3 times more volunteers. The set up of the office is pretty cool. All the volunteers have their own little lockers and the building as a whole looks a lot newer than ours but I do still prefer our volunteer lounge over theirs.

After spending a few hours in the capital and having a very tasty Greek lunch with some locally brewed Chisinau beer, we headed to the autogara to catch the bus to Theresa’s village. Shortly after we got on the bus, we were informed by the bus driver that all of the “younger” riders had to get off and wait to be picked up after the bus had left the station. I was really confused by this and Theresa explained that, to make more money in pocket, the bus drivers try to leave the station with as few people as possible because they are charged a per person fee. After picking up the bus on a remote street in the middle of the Chișinau piața, we headed off on a very interesting 1.5 hour bus ride to Fîrlădeni. I’ve always thought the roads in Romania, especially southern Romania were bad but they are amazing compared to what we drove on. The main logistical issue with Moldova is that other than the capitol, there are only two cities which means there really isn’t a need for highways so therefore most of the roads are small country roads that are filled with so many potholes one could easily mix a shake and bake chicken by just placing the bag on the seat. An hour into the ride, we turned off the “main road” and headed onto a gravel/dirt mix road that led us into the quaint town of Fîrlădeni.

Fîrlădeni is a small village with one paved road that is on the border with the rouge state of Transnistria which we unfortunately couldn’t go into unless we wanted to be kicked out of Peace Corps. I did however get a chance to walk to the border and see the crossing with some of the tanks on the Transnistrian side. The remnants of the Russian occupation in Fîrlădeni are still visible in the huge, half built, eye sore at the top of the hill that was supposed to be a high school but was never finished after the Soviet occupation. The town is very quaint and Theresa’s host family is absolutely wonderful. They are a half Moldovan half Russian, young family with 1 boy who is attending high school in Romania and two small girls, 9 and 2 who are both blonde haired and blue eyed just like their mother. I got along very well with Arina, the 2 year old girl, even though it took her a whole day to finally talk to me because she was so shy.

The day we spent in the village was packed with a very busy schedule. On October 5th, the country celebrates Ziua Profesorului “Teacher’s Day” and naturally, there were no “real” classes. Theresa’s village celebrated it in a big fashion. First thing in the morning we headed to the primary school where grades 1-4 are located and the 4th graders put on a wonderful musical program for the entire school. To add to this day, the graduating seniors also came to the primary school to relieve the teachers of their classes and taught the classes instead. I was told this was quite hilarious and the older students left the classroom with much more respect for what their teachers have to go through every day. After the event at the primary school, all the teachers headed over to the “high school” which houses grades 5-12. Since high schools in Moldova do not have specific profiles, a small village like this one is able to have a high school and, like I said earlier, since there aren’t many cities in the country, almost all villages do in fact have high schools with just one or maybe two classes in each grade.  The high school seniors and 5th graders also put on an event for all of the teachers of the town and then we were all invited to a masa (meal) in one of the classrooms to continue the celebration of teacher’s day. At the meal I not only got to know some of Theresa’s colleagues, but also got to see the typical Moldovan spread for a meal. It was so interesting to see an equal mix of Romanian and Russian food. There were stuffed peppers, smoked meats and cheeses, chicken, potatoes, various salads, crab, fish, caviar, and flaky cheese strudel pastries similar to Serbian pitas that tasted amazing.

Later on in the day, we headed for a walk around the village and ended up at Theresa’s host aunt/old counterpart’s house for yet another masa. It was very fun getting to know Oxana. She is a wonderful woman who is a nurse at the primary school. I got to know more about her and her life and she told us some hysterical stories about growing up in the village as well as life in the rouge state. Since there really aren’t any businesses in Fîrlădeni, most of its inhabitants head into Transnistria to buy/sell things or even to work. She told us how it is a very beautiful and peaceful area and suggested that we go across the border one day when we won’t have our jobs at stake. A few glasses of beer later, we bid Oxana adieu and headed back to the house to get ready for our 5am wakeup that was to start our trip back towards the capitol.

We set the alarm to go off at 5:15 so we could have plenty of time to catch the 6am bus headed towards the capitol. Lucky for me, I got drunk dialed by a friend from my town at 5:30 which woke us up since our alarm did not go off. We quickly got ready and then hustled over to the shabby hole in the wall bus station. Our bus rumbled to the station and we hurriedly got on to escape the cold. The ride was fairly standard except for about an hour in, I open my eyes and see two little puppies running around the floor of the bus and slipping and sliding in their own feces. The bus driver quickly pulled over, pulled out a bucket and wet rag out of some unbeknown place to me and made the rider, who is one of Theresa’s students, clean up his dogs’ droppings and take them outside to finish their business.

We spent the late morning in the PC office hanging out and talking GLOW. My original purpose of going to Moldova was to attend the GLOW Directors’ meeting that was to take place that day. We did get a lot of work done and the Moldova GLOW girls are really amped on getting their program back up off the ground. After the meeting and getting to know what felt like a million PCVs that were in town that weekend, we decided to head over to wine fest for the day. The national celebration of wine was held the weekend of the 5th-7th of October. If you are not aware, Moldovans LOVE their wine and most of them make it at home. Wine fest was held at the expo center and was a very large piece of land lined with at least 30 booths on each side of a grand walkway. The booths were grouped by region and in the middle of it all was a very large food tent with vendors and a performance stage. We got to sample many of the different wines and have an overall great time together.

Sunday morning, after waking up before dawn, I headed on my way back to Iasi. I finally arrived home after a 10 hour trip that actually took 16 due to some missed trains and buses not wanting to leave on time because I was the only passenger. Exhausted and starving, I passed out as soon as I got home, not wanting to start the next school week since I hadn’t prepared anything for Monday.

First Week of School


The first week of school, something that very few people are actually excited for. I, naturally, am one of those people that is always excited for school. I’ve always liked school and now, going to school as a teacher is something I never expected to do but am still enjoying nonetheless. What I dread is the lesson planning part. The part that sucks hours of my life away but is still very necessary.

This year’s school opening was the same as last years and all the other years before that. We assembled in the gym since it was raining. The priest blessed the school and the students, the director presented the new teachers and the head teachers, wished everyone a very successful school year and then we were off, to start another year of “teacher, can you let us go home early?” or “teacher, can I give you my homework tomorrow? I forgot it today.” Among the usual, there was some new as well. Two days before school started, we were notified that there was a change in our directors. Since the director and assistant director position are politically based and my director was no longer part of a political party that has an allegiance with the ruling party in town, he, and the assistant director have been replaced. We also have about 5 or 6 new teachers in the mix that I haven’t really gotten a chance to know. One of my counterpart teachers is out on medical leave and I have been covering, or trying to cover, her classes while also trying to make it to my other classes with the two other teachers that I split them with.

This year i’m in for a lot of work. I’ll be taking on a total of 9 classes ranging from 9th – 12th grade which speakers of all levels. I have 4 classes that I taught last year that I am happy to be back with and 5 new classes that I took on. This year I will be teaching 9A, 9B, 10A, 10B, 11A, 11B, 11D, 12A, 12B. The 11D class is, as a whole probably the lowest level speaking class I will be teaching and I am the most excited to work with them. I have a lot of lesson planned relating to real life situations and hope to make some headway with them. I’ve been doing get to know you exercises and a communication exercise that has gotten pretty good reviews. The unity of some classes to finish the exercise has surprised me and the fact that some classes, that I assumed would be able to finish, did not. Without any surprise, so far 12A holds the lead with finishing in 15 minutes.

For the time being, because we all know that this is probably going to change 100 more times, this is what this year’s schedule is looking like for me:


































One of my new classes 11D






9A – New Class




12 B

Around Romania in Two Weeks


Above in red, you will see the path that I have taken throughout the country since my last post which was about the All Vol on August 24th.  Within the past two weeks I have spent more time on public transportation than I care to admit but it was all worth it.

After coming back from the PC conference and repacking, I headed on my 16 hour train ride to visit Barbara’s site which is located in Drobeta-Turnu Severin. I met up with Meg and Lindsey there as well and we had fun hanging out for a few days with Babs. We walked around the town and got to see Serbia from her balcony. We bonded over homemade Mexican food and no bake cookies. I was very impressed with this city because, at that point, it was the cleanest city that I had seen in Romania. I did not see a single piece of litter anywhere on the streets and was blown away by this fact.

Two days after getting to Barbara’s, Meg and I said our goodbyes to the girls and started the 12 hour journey to her site that included 4 different trains and a taxi. Meg’s site is located in the Szekeyfold which is the Hungarian part of Romania. her city of Odorheiu Secuiesc is about 95% Hungarian. I was somewhat thrown off by this, especially since Hungarian is the main spoken language and you have to ask people to speak in Romanian to you. Meg’s city is absolutely beautiful and I fell in love with it. It is another city that is absolutely spotless and have a very quaint feel to it with local shops lining the streets and a very adorable and pedestrian friendly city center.

We hung out at Meg’s site for about 4 days and this included a lot of relaxation time which was somewhat needed. We visited the local hobby store and made jewelry, thought up ideas for our booths at the PC Gala event the Ambassador is holding for us, hung out with her counterpart and had a day trip to Corund.

Corund is a village that is located about half an hour north by bus from Odorheiu Secuiesc and is known for its gorgeous pottery. We spent a few hours in the village roaming the various shops and being blown away by how beautiful all of the handcrafted work was. We also got a chance to have a very interesting tri-lingual exchange with a local cafe owner and a young man from the village. As we were sitting in the cafe waiting for our bus back, we struck up a conversation with these two people. The young man knew Romanian, Hungarian, and decent amount of English. The cafe owner knew Hungarian and Romanian. Meg has a god grasp of Hungarian since that is all she speaks in her town, and I had my Romanian. Between the four of us, we managed to have a wonderful conversation about various topics and it was such a great experience to see how all of the different languages were mixed when we didn’t know a word in one language or another.

That Monday Meg and I made the 6 hour trip of hell from Odorhei to Bucuresti. When we got on the initial bus that was going to take us from Odorhei to Brasov, it smelled of vomit. It smelled like someone got drunk and puked over every square inch of that bus to the point of me having to breath through my mouth for the entirety of the 3 hour trip. When we got to Brasov, we missed 2 maxi taxis going to Bucuresti because they were filled. We got the last two spots on the third one and ended up in the very back corner. 1.5 hours into the ride the AC decided to stop cooling and just recirculated the hot air. By the time we were about half an our away from the city, people were starting to yell at the driver because of the heat. The thermometer that was at the front read 32 degrees which is about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the driver couldn’t do anything, he just put a piece of paper over the thermostat hoping no one would notice. Smooth.

After arriving at our hostel in Buc, we showered, changed, and headed out to the mall to meet up with Lindsey and the new PCRV Robert who lives in Bucuresti to see Batman. All I can say about that movie is WOW. It definitely did NOT disappoint. We followed up our movie night with some wine and relaxation in the old center part of the city.

The following afternoon we packed our bags once again and headed down to the seaside town of Mangalia. Mangalia is a very quaint town situated about 10km from the Bulgarian border. There really wasn’t much to see there but there was a wonderful beach that we made sure to hang out at as long as possible. The nights were spent relaxing and eating seafood meals that are so rare everyone else in the country.

The final stop of my crazy summer traveling session was the Hotel Rozmarin in Predeal. I, with 4 other PCVs went to a weekend long “job well done” conference that was put on by the Eu Sunt! Tu? campaign and members from PSI (Public Services International). PSI is worldwide NGO that focuses on various health issues such as HIV, Malaria, and reproductive health. At this conference, there were about 160 people from the LGBT community throughout all of Romania. Teams from 10 major cities within the country came to share their projects that they have put on within the past year in relation to various LGBT awareness topics.

The first day of the conference was mainly just a meet and greet. The second day, Saturday, was comprised of meetings in the morning where we put on a very education STI activity that I did at GLOW camp, and we heard about the various projects that have occurred within the past year. After lunch, the entire group got on a bus and we divided ourselves into city based teams ( Meg and I were put with team Brasov) to compete in a 4 hour long teamwork obstacle course of sorts. The various challenges we had to do were, got down on a zip line, cross a tightrope, move three metal balls from their stands onto other stands by only using rope, complete an obstacle course by moving 2 tied up bicycles through the course without touching them, and placing bowling pins on various targets while being suspended up in the air. Throughout the challenges, we got to know the various participants from the Brasov team and we instantly became friends with them. Most of the team is fairly young ranging from 18-24. They were all absolutely amazing people that were really welcoming and kind. We had a blast joking around with them and I even learned how the gay community greats each other. That night was the all white party and I can honestly say it was one of the funnest nights I’ve had in Romania. It was absolute mayhem and we ended up dancing with team Brasov until the wee hours of the morning.

Sunday many of us woke up with that awful feeling one wakes up with after a long night of fun. Not wanting to get out of bed, but knowing that checkout was in half an hour, I managed to drag myself out of bed, take a shower, and head down to the train station to wait for my train. When Meg and I got to the train station, we ran into our lovely friends from Team Brasov who ended up being my life savers. When we got off the train in Brasov, Meg had an hour long layover while I had about a 7 hour layover. A few of the guys that lived outside of the city invited me home with them so I can relax until my train back to site at 9pm. Me, Adi, Razvan, and George headed to Rasnov for the day and we ended up hanging out at George’s apartment. It was nice to hang out with these amazing and strong people for one more day before I had to say goodbye.

I arrived home today at about 5am and passed out for most of the day. I am very happy to be home but know that I have so much work ahead of me. With school starting in a week, some faculty changes, the Gala event in 2 weeks, and many other projects and travel dates coming up, i’m going to be quite the busy bee this semester.

Until next time,

Va pup

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