This week was kind of crazy, mostly because I am starting to realize how little time I have left here.
Monday was the last day of our trip in Brasov, and we ended our trip off pretty great! We had planned on hiking up to the Brasov sign, but it had been rainy and chilly pretty much the entire time we had been in Brasov and our hostel owners were worried the trail had been washed out. Instead of hiking, we ended up taking the most sketch gondola ride up the mountain. Basically you stand in a box attached to a wire, they stuff in as many people as the possibly can, then you ride up the mountain. It was so worth it though! The view from the top was so beautiful! Seriously, the countryside of Romania is so lush, green, and gorgeous. Standing up at the lookout on the top of the mountain you could see the rolling green mountains to the left, the cute city below, and the golden fields ahead. After the sign, we went and got some lunch, shopped around a little bit, and then rented some bikes to explore the city. This ended up being a little anticlimactic, particularly because I did not know how to ride a bike on tiny sidewalks and streets packed with people without being in everyone’s way, but for a buck it was definitely worth it! That night ate out at a restaurant we had liked when we first got there and watched a chick flik. Great end to a fantastic trip!
The next morning, we left at 6 am to get on a bus that would take us to the train station. We had a 2 ½ train ride from Brasov to Bucharest, and then we chilled at the McDonalds in Bucharest Train Station (because they had free wifi and bathrooms if you buy something) before we left for our 7 hour train back home to Iasi. This train was interesting. We got in to our section and realized half of the seats we had paid for did not exist. An elderly lady was in the seat by our 3 seats that did exist, and tried to help us. She couldn’t find the seats either, but made 3 of us sit down in the seats she knew we had. Kayla went to check on the other seats. Turned out the conductor had a list of seat numbers that corresponded with the numbers on our tickets, so it was good we asked him! We finally figured everything out and we were on our way! But the lady next to us didn’t leave us alone. She shut the window on the train and also covered up the air conditioning vent next to us with curtains, a hat, and her purse. She was really worried about current (moving air/ cross breeze that some Romanians believe can make you sick). She told Caroline how to sleep, where we all needed to put our bags, and grabbed my hand for help a few times. She was really sweet and meant well, but I was really hoping she wouldn’t be riding next to me the entire 7 hours. But she did. At the end of the ride, she wished us good health and we got into a taxi to go home. When I got back to my apartment, I thought how nice it was to be home. It is strange to think that for the past few months, Iasi has been my home.
The next day I got to go back to the orphanage and it was so great to see my kids again! I loved seeing their happy faces, and I was so excited to be with them. I was also really happy because I have not been able to hold one of my favorite baby girls for the last month because she cries to much when she is put down. I finally got to hold her again this week and it made me so happy. Her little muscles are so tense and tight and still very week, but she is so close to being able to roll over and sometimes can even hold up her head by herself now! Another one of my favorite little boys is so close to standing up by himself, and he has gotten so good this week at standing up while holding on to something.
On Thursday after work we put on our red white and blue and went to probably the only American Restaurant in Iasi, Little Texas. It is a tex mex place and even though it wasn’t quite American, I was so grateful for the Nachos, Chicken Strips and Peach Cobbler that I was able to enjoy there!
Saturday was Caroline’s birthday and we started out by going to a big pool in Iasi. Unfortunately, it started raining like crazy not too long after we got there, so we had to cut our pool day a little short. I was surprised at how little regulation was at the pool. It was not closed due to lightning, and there were no life guards that I saw. Not even on the 4 tall platforms at different levels (the tallest was about 30 ft) that people were jumping into the pool from.
That night we had burgers and fries for dinner, and then held a Poetry slam. We went and sat by the fountains and stairs at palace. A few times we attracted a little crowd, and that was interesting. After all the poems had been read, Caroline’s special birthday crown fell of her head and into the fountain. Attempts were made to get it back, but unfortunately it was lost to cultural palace.
Sunday was Rachel’s birthday and we attempted to make Café Rio in her honor. It actually was delicious, but unfortunately we could not find cilantro anywhere so we had to stick to regular ranch dressing. We were grateful for it though because they don’t sell it (or really any salad dressing) here. Some of the girls had the foresight to bring ranch packets with them to Romania, so that was great. For dessert we had pazookies. Cooking American food here takes some improvising, but it usually turns out pretty well!
I have 2 and a half weeks to go before I get on a plane home. I can’t believe how fast time is going. On one hand I feel like I have been here forever, and on the other I feel like I just got here yesterday. As amazing as this experience has been though, I am getting really excited to be back in America!