Tag Archives: village

Spring Break

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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.

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Back to Civilization

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So here I am, sitting at my kitchen table listening to Prince, and waiting for my pasta to boil in the apartment where I will spend the next two years of my life. Looking back on since the last time I posted, so many amazing things have happened! I left off telling you all about swear in and how fun that whole event was.  I returned to Targoviste Friday afternoon hung out, napped, and packed. I treated my host family to a goodbye and thank you dinner that night. I let them pick where they wanted to go and we went to a restaurant called Panorama which is up on very large hill that overlooks the entire city. The view was phenomenal and I felt like a local when I ran into Jeremy’s host sister who is a waitress there. When we got back, they  came into my room and gave me a goodbye present and that is when the waterworks started flowing. To think, three months ago, a family took a random American stranger into their house in hopes that she will somehow benefit their country.  During my time with the Ionescu family, I have experienced a great deal within the city and southern region of Romania. They have taught me so much and I consider them my Romanian family.

 

My host parents, Ion and Mariana dropped me off at the train station at 4am and I, along with Ester, Nick, and Jessica set out on our train ride to Ploiesti.  After about a 2 hour train ride, Ester and I got off at Ploiesti sud and there we waiting for our train that was going to take us to the GLOW camp. We had a blast riding the various trains that were constructed most likely during the 60s or 70s. After a total of 11 hours of traveling, we finally made it to Simbrea where we had Miha, one of the amazing host country nationals that organized this camp along with Gretchen, a 26er pick us up.

 

The next week was spent with some of the most amazing girls I have ever gotten the privilege to meet and work with. The girls came from all over the country and it was so refreshing to see such energy and potential in all of them. Throughout the week we worked on things one would work on in a leadership camp; girl power, communication, leadership skills, sex education, teamwork, and project development.  Sheila, our Country Director, and Libby, the U.S. Ambassador’s wife joined us for two days to work on our community project (mosaic in front of the local high school and sprucing up the main hall) and teach the girls about project development and how to implement what they have learned. By the time Friday night came around, and the girls were having to say bye to each other, everyone was sad to go, including the counselors. I am so glad to have met Gretchen and Chelsea, the group 26ers which are on their way out and wish we could have been able to work together more. I did get to know Miha, and her friend Ale which are both very creative and are the backbone of the GLOW camp. I hope to work with them so we can have a repeat next summer.

 

After another 11 hour train ride, I arrived in Ilva Mica at 4:09am where my community counterpart’s husband picked me up. As soon as my made it through my apartment door I crashed. When I woke up I started to unpack and take care of some housekeeping. I learned that I did not have a gas tank for my stove yet, and only had water in the kitchen sink. I finally found the valve for the bathroom water and as i turned it on, i heard a loud ::whoosh:: and got soaked. Apparently, the random little faucet that sticks out of the wall that was used for the previous tenants’ washing machine does not close all the way and not only did I get a surprise shower, my entire bathroom, floor to ceiling, and part of my hallway did too.  After 3 days, I finally got it fixed so i was able to take a proper shower yesterday which was the most glorious thing I have experienced in the past 2 weeks. Today I finally got someone to help me with hooking up the butane tank to my stove and I was able to cook my first real meal! No more bread and zacusca (ajvar for you serbs) for me!

 

My First Real Meal

 

I am slowly but surely starting to move get aquainted with my town. Tonight, if the rain lets up, my community counterpart, Loredana, and I have a date to take a walk around the town away from the 2 main streets that I have already learned. Below you’ll find some pictures from swear in and camp.

 

Until next time,

Va Pup!!!!

 

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