Well, here I am in Varatic. I made it! Yahoo! Swearing in was an experience, and I even got to say the same oath that the President of the United States says as he gets sworn in. The hour drive with the principal of my school and her husband, the Mayor, was rather interesting, and got spiced up when Mr Mayor got hot so pulled over to the side of the road and changed into a t-shirt and basketball shorts. But, hey, he made up for his being informal by surprising me by taking me to Pelenia for a few minutes to surprise Ross for his birthday and drop off his present. It had been 3 weeks, I missed my family in Razeni, and I was heading to a new place. That was EXACTLY what I needed. So, they got on my good side by that amazing surprise, and I got on their good side by offering them beef jerky and American gum from my care package (thanks Bette!), right? Of COURSE! 🙂
Due to the incredibly slow internet I have here, pictures will unfortunately be few and far between. I went on a walk and got some INCREDIBLE shots of Varatic- but you are going to have to wait…. so much for that “photo of the day”!
But this walk does lead me to a very funny story involving being lost in translation. So, it was a beautiful day here in Varatic. Definitely not too hot, and definitely not cold. There was a nice breeze… it felt like one of the first days of fall. Because I had some time before dinner would be ready, this seemed to be the best time for a photo walk. I tell my NTG (=New Tata Gazda) which, by the way, NTG and NMG think it is hilarious that I refer to my family in Razeni as my Mom, Dad Ion, and sisters…) that I am going for a walk, and I’ll be back in a couple of hours. His response: Alone?!
NMG’s response 2 minutes later: ALONE?!
My response: Is that okay?
Their response: no.
I guess after only being here 1 day, that isn’t a good idea because there are people in this village and there are people in this village. The people are okay to talk to, but the people are not. So, I learned that in a town of 2200 people (and people) that I should not walk around when I do not know anyone. Ok, I respect their wishes (after all, they have lived here their whole lives) and I let NTG join me in my now not so relaxing and stress-relieving stroll.
We start walking in the opposite direction of the “city center” and instead toward the next closest village. At this point I have no idea where we are going. No worries, though. He had a plan.
He took me on a trail off of the main road after walking a couple of minutes, we had a beautiful view of the river. (This is where I’d love to insert a picture if it wouldn’t take all night to upload). He then said he was going to leave me there, and I needed to be back in an hour and a half (getting me back at 7:30 for dinner). Perfect! So I walk, I explore, I take a bazillion pictures, I have some “me” time, I have some phone time, and I have a great time. I didn’t see any other people or people except for the ones swimming in the river, or paddling their boat. I’m pretty sure this is the way he wanted it.
I stop by the church, then the stadium on the way back because I heard a lot of students and figured this would be a great time to make my presence known. When I was about 1 minute from home I saw my NMG talking with some neighbors. She was holding a knife and saying a word to me that I didn’t understand (which has become a recurring theme here), and she seemed unhappy with me. She asked a neighbor to translate for me, and from what she was saying, I thought it meant “worried”, even though she didn’t know the exact word (which would have been helpful here). So I went with it- feeling really guilty. She also said she brought a knife with her because she was afraid something had happened to me and she might have needed to hurt somebody with it (at least she was looking after me!). They said NTG had gone to where I was and couldn’t find me. We went home- me feeling incredibly guilty, and her explaining that I shouldn’t have been gone so long because I don’t know anyone, even though NTG said that was the time I should be home (PS, I was arriving on time).
When I got home I sat NTG down to apologize. He seemed a bit confused as I was trying to explain why NMG had a knife. Finally we go find her. Apparently she had the knife to open the shell of fresh walnuts… not to protect me from the people in Varatic.
Joke is on me now. I have a feeling this story will never go away. I can’t wait until I can tell it in Romanian.
(PS- I also met a woman today who is 69 and both of her parents, in their 90’s, are alive. With the average age of death being 65 here, that is incredible. My NMG also has both of her grandparents still alive, in their 90’s, although her parents have passed on. I would like to know their secret).
Now it’s time for bed. Big weekend ahead to celebrate Ross’s birthday! I can’t wait to FINALLY cook something!