Home is a Taste

imaginea utilizatorului O umbrela galbena
this is not the Romania I grew up in

oranges cost about the same as apples.
i called the customer service for my internet service provider and everything was fixed in less than half an hour.
people who check your ticket on trains are really polite and do their job well.
haven’t seen one beggar yet.

* * *

Coming here I definitely expected to come home in a way, and maybe I’ve been lacking that feeling because I’m not in Timisoara but I think overall there has been too much change. It’s like meeting up with an old old friend and realizing you’ve both changed and share no interests. (Probably because when you became friends your main interest was crayons). It’s something like that. The place has changed, I’ve changed, and I actually feel like a ridiculous tourist 24/7. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing. I’m actually really enjoying it.

But, I’ve had two moments that made me feel otherwise. One was on the way from Bucharest to Galatz, where I saw a swallow flying parallel to my double-decker train. I realize this is silly, because swallows live all over the world in many many climates and countries and environments. I remember drawing that distinct fork-tail sometime in Kindergarden. I remember seeing the swallows perched on powerlines in Georgia. I know my grandmother always put emphasis on them when I was a kid. There was some song about them we used to sing … regardless. I was surprised that a bird gave me an emotional response like that, but was the first moment I felt something more than just sitting on a train.

Secondly, the first moment I really relaxed is when I ordered a Shoarma mica. But trust me it was not mica. I sort of love that even Romanians have adopted the habit of making fast food really big and that even “small” (mica = small) portions are huge. Welcome to the modern world, Romania. The Shoarma was fantastic. (I’m using that spelling because that’s how it was written on the sign where I ordered).

Somewhere between those carbohydrates and protein chains was a real taste of home. They adorably prepared this in front of me. The meat was on a spic and the veggies in a little bar type area. After they cut some meat off for me, they put it in a shoarma wrap and microwaved it for me in front of me. No Shame! But we all know most small deli places in America use microwaves too, I just found it odd that they did it all in front of you. They were really clean. The shoarma cost me 5 lei. (=$1.59) There were cheaper food options like a Chicken Sandwich for 1 leu (=32 cents) but I have been craving a shoarma for 4 years.

The kitchen was called Golden Kitchen, and it was pretty packed. The name made me chuckle because it reminded me of Chinatown type store names, Golden Dragon, etc. There was a lot of business for this place, lots of people coming in and out ordering sandwiches, burgers, schnitzele, etc. The person in front of me asked for “de toate” (‘everything’) on his sandwich and since I had no idea what to order I asked for “de toate” on my shoarma as well.



just wonderful, i really enjoy your

just wonderful, i really enjoy your short writings. i go to romania much often, like once every two years, sometimes every year and for me it didn't move so much forwards, still really dislike some things about it, especially the stray dogs and the gypsies. but anyway, i guess it's on the right path. romanians in romania are so different from the romanians in southern adn western europe, i think, because most of the lower classes left the country, so it's a pretty clean place to stay now