Our visit back home was planned in a bit of a rush, with my brother deciding it was time for the twins to visit the homeland. We booked 7 flight tickets and the invasion was planned for May. The timing was a bit of a stretch for me because of a project I was working on, but I decided to take a chance and go anyway.
All my posts are retrospective and with that comes a lot of appreciation for the memories made, especially for a trip like this one. We sadly have lost two family members and this trip was the last time I saw them. There is a dedication to them at the end of the post.
Originally we thought the flights may be difficult with two almost 4 year olds. As it turns out it was quite uneventful; they coloured, watched a movie and they had no problem stretching over their parents to sleep comfortably. We had the connecting flight from hell in Frankfurt but we made it ok and our Romanian adventure kicked into full gear. While on the trip the kids were a bit shy with all the new people around them in a new language too, but they had their parents and uncle Chris to run back to and keep it familiar.
I always want to walk and discover more when I am here. I was too young when I moved to have the curiosity of a tourist about Bucharest and now every visit I want to do a couple of things to enjoy the city itself. Family and friends are the priority when we go back home and when lucky we even catchup with friends who we haven’t seen in a long time like Oana who was there at the same time. Therefore, I had a chance to see her and her beautiful kids a couple of times. One of those times was at Carturesti one of those libraries you can spend hours in. I feel very blessed to still be close to so many of the people I grew up with. Some have started families, some enjoy life in other meaningful ways, everyone has experienced joys or sorrows but it is refreshing to still be able to laugh until your belly aches when we meet. Over the course of time I realize how lucky I was to have them in my life during my teenage years and how safe I was because of them.
We walked around Romanian collections at MNaR -The National Museum of Art of Romania and it was absolutely lovely. We saw painters I kept hearing about as a kid or remember their names from stamps. As a true geek I did collect stamps growing up, that is how my wild highschool self was spending money.
We had some relaxing walks around the city, some with my Aunt around Herastrau Park, had some coffee at trendy spots where young people were buzzing around. As a coffee snob Chris appreciated that Bucharest has some good coffee. Bought my first piece of art from a Romanian artist, a sculpture which reigns supreme on our credenza.
There were quite a few evenings I had to work and we would end up at a ‘posh’ cafe close by to my cousin’s house. So here I was at midnight on a school night with a very patient husband, working while around us 20 year olds were sipping fancy coffees and flirting while pretending they are too cool to flirt, all dressed up for clubbing. This is when we heard Despacito over and over again and the latest dance music before Justin Bieber went and messed it all up.
The Romanian Peasant Museum is a favourite place to go and add to my collection of fotas. A ‘fota’ is a part of the Romanian traditional female costume and I use these to ornate our bed and couch. Also by now I have a tradition with my friend Ioana to go buy books from an used book shop she likes and I always leave there with a few goodies.
This is Marina’s homeground and it is a beautiful part of Romania. Walking around her backyard you can see the mountains and enjoy a view like no other. We stayed at a cottage where they cooked as if it was a tasting menu every night and the evenings were filled with stars. There is a lot to do in this area, such as: visiting Targu Jiu and Brancusi’s sculptures there, his first home, Manastirea Tizmana, Cheile Sohodolului, Curtea de Arges, Manastirea and Pestera Polivraci.
Moeciu is a place close my heart. Altghough very popular because of its close proximity to the capital and the location of the Bran Castle, it is still a gorgeous area to walk around and we are treated like royalty there. More friends and family joined us during this time and we also celebrated my mom’s birthday so it was a smashing success.
It was a highlight to see the kids discover family and friends back home, to be serenaded in a restaurant, to play ping pong for the first time and just have a good time.
This post is a dedication to the two women who have been special in my life and sadly we have lost.
Tanti Dorina, my great aunt, a woman who taught me many things one of them the importance of putting your best foot forward. I have known her all my life and I have only memories of her strong and enjoying life, never complaining. She raised a strong daugther and taught me a great deal about instilling strength into those close to you. She made the best chocolate meringue cake and I will miss her dearly.
Marina, my dad’s wife came into my life later on. By the time we met I was an adult(ish) and living on a different continent so there could have been just a relatively cold relationship which would activate only when we visited once a year or once every other year. I remember the first time we met and Marina as an actress (that was her profession) was more comfortable expressing emotions quicker than I would allow myself. She seemed to do everything with intense emotions, love her friends and her family, debate, support her Russian heritage. Over the years she became a constant in my life, she supported and encouraged me everytime we wanted to do somehting new or travel some place we have not been and she would nurture my love for the theatre. If I would tell her I want to go see a play while I am visiting she would send me to see five. She started battling cancer more than 10 years ago and she kept being optimistic and positive through each round. Things looked very positive for a while. Last year was the first time the word death would come up in conversation and my heart sank. I could see how slowly her positive outlook was cracking and I hid my emotions in a box of denial and wishing that somehow she will be ok this time around too. As the year passed into this summer my calls were met with a suffering voice until one day she stopped answering my messages and calls. I have not been home since and on some level I still think of her there and her booming voice and that on my next visit we will be woken up by her vacuuming.