Thursday, July 17, 2014

Settling in and reflecting...

Yesterday was my first day home.  I came back to find alot of changes in a month, and it felt strange to be home.  First and foremost, I wanted to unpack and not even think about jet lag, but I came home to find my cat literally dying.  She became ill while I was gone, and when I arrived home on Tuesday night, she was very ill, but by yesterday morning, she was actively dying, and we had to rush her off to the emergency clinic.  Her temperature was 5 degrees lower than it should be, her heart rate barely detectable, and the vet could only tell she was still living by her gag reflex, but they saw our distress, and went to work quickly to try to stabilize her.

The doctor says she was in end stage renal failure cause unknown, since she is an indoor cat, not exposed to poisons, etc., and only 6 years old.  He says that this is unfortunately common with cats, and it could have been something congenital that "caught up" with her finally, etc., and there would not have been active symptoms until the end.  He said we should try to stabilize and recover her for 24 hours, but if she doesn't show improvement, we will need to make some "hard choices."  So, it was a somber day yesterday, although we had a little "homecoming" party for me, we were all a little quiet for it, since our kitty is in dire straits. 

So, now I'm just cleaning up the house a little, waiting for the Vet to call, making up the "to do" list for the day and week, having my coffee, and reflecting on Romania.  I have made a list of things I learned about Romania (as I usually like to do when I travel) and here are some of the things that I learned, both strange and not so unusual!

25 Things I learned about Romania

1. Romania stays light out until almost 10:30 PM in the Summer, and the sun comes up a little after 5:30 AM.  If you are one for long days and short nights, this is the place for you.  If you are like me that kind of likes the reverse, getting hit in the face with sunlight after 5 AM is disconcerting!!!

2. "Chee-nch" or "cinc" (I can't make the accents with my keyboard). "Cinc" is the number five, pronounced "chee-nch" and they seem to like this number.  Alot.  And it's derivative.  I seemed to hear it everywhere!

3. Accents over the letters change the sound of the letter.  Even though they are on the same alphabet system as us, they have many accents both over and under their letters which change the sound of that letter.  For instance, and accent under the letter s changes the sound to "shhhh"  etc.

4.  If you have allergies Stateside, you BETTER pack meds for your trip or suffer severely.  The land is sumptuous with flowers, flowering trees, etc., and even those who never had allergies had them for a week or two after we arrived.

5. Romanian bars don't close until the last patron leaves, and yes, smoking is not only allowed, it seems to be encouraged by the cigarette girls that sell (like back in the old Hollywood movies).

6. Palinka, a local drink, will knock you on your ass.  Literally.

7. There are many wild or feral dogs both in the cities and the countryside, but they are tagged and given their shots (but otherwise fend for themselves) but they are very docile for the most part, and have their own "rights" (they aren't subject to euthanasia but for a "crime").

8. Romanians seem to love American music and TV, movies, etc.  Our music and other international music plays on their radiostations very frequently, and all TV and movies are played in their native language with Romanian subtitles.  Cool.

9. Romanians love Jean Claude Van Damme and Hilary Duff.  So *that's* where they disappeared to!

10. Romanians are devoutly religious as a whole country with Orthodox as the most common religion, followed by Roman Catholicism.  There are literally icons, chaplets, and chapels all over the countryside.

11. Romanian women are very stylish!  Romanian men have roving eyes ;-)

12. Romanians drive on the right side of the road like Americans, and some drive very fast.  They also have a system of driving that makes it legal to pass anyone slow at anytime, yet despite that I only saw one accident in the 1+ month.

13. Romanians must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, and they DO!  It's disconcerting to hear brakes screeching sometimes, especially knowing in America you would just get run down.

14. Romanians value personal freedom and were in disbelief listening to "rules" Americans have regarding smoking, schools, public conduct, cameras in the streets, animals, and just about everything we have ridiculous rules regarding...

15. Romanians consider themselves apart and different from the gyspies, as do most Europeans.

16. Romanians are very proud of their Roman and German ancestries, and are still are very proud and militant people.

17. Romanians love to give and receive flowers, and their are flower stands everywhere.

18. Romanians eat a nice diet of lots of whole foods, and fresh fruits, etc.  They do like sausage (must be the German in them) and their national sausage, "mici" is not a traditional sausage in that it is pork, lamb and beef with spices that is "rolled" fresh and broiled and not encased in skin, so it is also not a preserved meat.

19. Most Romanians have (2) cell phones, one for each of the two major carriers in the country, to avoid paying the high prices of calling the wrong carrier.  Or, as we theorized, one for the wife and one for the mistress?? LOL.

20. Nearly every female name in Romania ends in the vowel "a."

21. There are tons of second hand stores throughout the country, and all of the clothes in there are in pristing condition, so you can get really great deals for little to nothing.

22. The Black Sea is certainly not black.  Just a pretty blue/green color.

23. Bran Castle ("Dracula's Castle") is really cozy and romantic versus spooky.

24. Romanian men and women are still very traditional, even the young ones, and although there are some "outward" signs of "Westernization," they still adhere to traditional roles, etc.

25. There are still orphanages and mental asylums in Romania.

Well that was just some of the things I learned, and I thought I would share just as an FYI and you ever want to travel into the country.  It was more than worthwhile, and I would certainly return given the chance.

Now, I have to go.  The Vet just called and delivered us the sad news that our kitty passed away early this morning....

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