Wednesday, September 24, 2008

an awaited visitor!

today the sun appeared.
he's been on vacation for a week and half
at least.
so i haven't felt sun on my face
since i arrived in romania.
but today i did.
ah, such sweetness!
a gift.. not to be taken lightly
a few hours without socks
or a sweater.
grateful for warmth
thanks, Papa.

Monday, September 22, 2008


sunday afternoon, i had the privilege of being invited to my romanian grandmother's house for lunch. turns out, there were 8 of us total. my 'grandmother' and her grandson, a woman who helps her out around the house, and 4 of her dear friends. all of whom she has known for at least 40 years, a couple upwards of 50.

we arrived about 1.30pm, and there was the dining room table, already set. plates around, glasses and smaller glasses (similar to shot glasses, but smaller), utensils, flowers (mostly from the guests, i believe), and the food. oh, the food .. too much to be eaten, but so lovingly prepared! what i remember being on the table for the first course included:
-- meat, cheese and olives
-- fish egg salad
-- something similar to potato salad with eggs and a few other veggies
-- veggie salad (roasted vegetables mixed and blended to be very small size)
-- small pieces of fish
-- breaded cauliflower and mushrooms
-- and bread, of course .. something that few meals are complete without!

we ate and talked, and ate and talked, and then our hostess brought out
-- mici. these are sort of like sausage, but prepared on a grill, typically. if romanians are going to a barbeque, these will always be brought along (somewhat comparable to american hamburgers in usage? and taste, although these have many more spices and are usually eaten with mustard)

a bit later, she brought out a large platter which contained
-- a cooked fish, artistically covered with a few kinds of vegetables

and then ..
-- cooked chicken
-- cabbage salad

finally, we had reached the last course. dessert.
-- yellow 2 layer cake with rich, creamy chocolate frosting

and one musn't forget the drinks. we began with some form of liquor (i'm not sure which variety, exactly) .. served in the very small glasses. we toasted the grandson because it was his birthday, and then drank. made for a nice sort of 'burning' sensation in the back of my throat. i wasn't quite sure what to expect, which didn't help. but i've been told that such drinks to help to keep one warm :) then we were offered either beer or mineral water. all but one person took the beer, which happened to go quite nicely with a number of tastes. between the fish and the chicken, we were also offered espresso, which more than half of us enjoyed.

and there's also the feast of conversation. because most of those there have known each other for years and years, there was a great freedom of topics and opinions. a few of the ideas touched upon include: tv shows, how they had met, politics, present-day education, travel, children and grandchildren, best kind of coffee, locations and how things have changed over time in this city, religions and beliefs, foreigners, telling jokes, languages (and that the most beautiful is, of course, romanian :), what i am doing here and why i was at lunch, and also many compliments about the food and a couple requests for recipes.

i was one of the first to leave, and it was almost 5 by that time. so we ate and talked together for three and a half hours. i say again.. feast!

what a gift .. to be included in such a gathering.
and even to understand most of what was said.