If it ain’t 1 thing, it’s 20…..

  So my day started off rather uneventful, apart from sibling rivalry.  Fed kids breakfast and lunch, then at about 1:30 left to go get some things from the farmer’s market, which is about a 10 min. drive.  Me and kids leave, go to the market, take another 10-15 min. to get what I need, hop back in the car, drive home.  Get home and walked across the street of apartment building to the little store, grabbed a 2.5L of Pepsi, some tomato sauce.  As I’m leaving the store, my freaky little neighbor (mighta mentioned him another post, if not I’ll extrapolate in another post why he is weird), anyway, freaky neighbor dude says something about my apartment and water.  My five year old  translates as best she could, but she’s not really paying attention.  I shuffle the kids across the  street, while toting a sack of groceries that weighs about 15 pounds, and up  2 flights of stairs.

  There’s water on the stairs, and neighbors in front of my door.  I get that water is leaking from my apartment, but I was not expecting what I found when I opened my door.  There was 3 inches or so of water all in my apartment.  It didn’t quite make it all the way into the one bedroom or the living room, but it started to.  It was all in the bathroom, kitchen and entrance & hall way.  They have shut off the water to the building.  They turn it back on, and we find that it is coming from under my kitchen sink.  I’m standing at my sink, wildly turning the knobs to the pipes to make sure my water in the kitchen is indeed off.  I didn’t leave water running either, so please save those comments!

  So there I am standing at the kitchen sink, and I  just loose it.  I just broke down crying – not hysterically or even uncontrollably, but just crying.  You know, the tears you hold back and bottle up when things go south sometimes?!?  Well the flood gates opened.  My neighbors are standing in my doorway talking to each other, trying to talk to me.  I walk to the door, there’s 2 men standing there talking to me, and I finally say, through the tears “Nu intelegti nimic!!!”  That translates, I don’t understand anything!  Then in English I just simply say “I wanna go home, I just wanna go home!”  I felt like a 5 year old, who just got their butt whooped by the school bully!  I briefly pulled it together, and found my landlord’s number in my cell phone, dialed it, handed the phone to one  of the men talking at me and said “Proprietor, explicat el” – landlord, explain it to him.

  They explain, I understand landlord is on his way.  They give me the phone back, I then call my husband, whose working in Italy – cause these neighbors are asking when my husband will be home, I try to explain he’s working in Italy – they don’t understand me.  Hubby answers the phone, I hear loud noises in the background, he’s at work, in a shipyard.  I have to yell for him to hear and understand me.  At this point I’m not crying anymore, but the moment I have to start yelling, I break again.  He in turn gets worried, tells me to calm down, asks me why I’m crying, and I let loose on him:  “I’m crying because I’m in a place where I don’t understand anyone, and they don’t understand me, and everything is backwards.  Think back to when you first came to the U.S. and no one understood you, and you didn’t understand them, and everything worked differently!”  But it was different for him, he was with a lot of other Romanians.  So he had people to talk to, I have no one, just my kids!

  Anyway, landlord arrives, they find the busted pipe/tube, whatever, we start scooping and dumping the water, take all the rugs outside.  The neighbors are helping.  My kids, especially 3 year old is trying to help, but getting in the way.  I’ve stopped crying, momentarily, and am helping rid the apartment of water.  By this time, the neighbors have figured out from my crying rant at my husband that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me!  After several hours, the water is cleaned up, the pipes/tubes are repaired, landlord is not mad at me (thank goodness), and all is right, for now.  Called hubby, and had nice, calm conversation, apologized for the tear-fest, but he understood, and is thankful for such a wonderful wife, who left all behind to follow him to keep their family together!

  Okay, now I know you are thinking, okay, it was just a busted pipe, and yeah, you’re in a different country, but there was no need to cry.  But lately, it’s been one thing after another.  About 2 months ago, my laptop, a big monster of a thing broke, wouldn’t turn on.  Turned out to be a bad motherboard, which fried one of my hard drives.  So I just spent about $4-500 fixing that.  Gas in the car, bills left and right.  A mother in law who likes to stay in everyone’s business and create drama!  No friends to talk to, a husband working in another country because this one has no work for him!  Hot weather, no air conditioning, washing clothes by hand, and 3 kids who fight with each other, don’t listen to me, and keep my house looking like the wreck of the Hesperus.  It could have been worse though, this could have happened over the weekend while I was at the beach in Constanta, 2 hours away!  So I guess in a way, I was lucky.

  Today was just the day that it became too much to deal with anymore!  Ever have one of those days, if you say no, then you are either lying to me, or to yourself; take your pick!  But what’s really bad, is after I’ve cried at my hubby, gotten all the water scooped up, I’m mopping while the neighbor is fixing the pipes, the tears slowly start falling, not out of frustration, but this time out of anger – anger at my own country for putting me in this situation.  Yes, my hubby hand a hand in it too, but we didn’t meet the burden of proof for Political Asylum.  Yes, I’m angry at the U.S. because it sent 4 of it’s own to a foreign country just to make an example out of one person, a person, who if you needed it would give you everything he had, including a kidney or liver!  But the U.S. doesn’t want people like him, they want gang-banging, drug running thugs from Mexico!

  Okay, I’m done, cause now I’m just getting myself really ticked off, and I don’t want that, right now, I just want to eat my dinner that should be done in a little while, eat and read the rest of book three of a series of 7, then go to bed!


A Ninja did it…..

   So as I was putting my kids to bed a little while ago, my 3 year old son says “Mommy!  Look!”  he is pointing to the light fixture in their room – the glass covering is missing.  He continues: 
  “Ninja did it! Nija face asa.  Kelly do’ed it cu Nija fac asa!”

To which I reply:  “Da! Stui.  Yes, I know.  Kelly did that.  It’s okay now, go to sleep.”

At first I was like a ‘Ninja’ came in here and Karate chopped the light, huh?  But then I remembered that the word for ball in romanian is “ninja”.  I know right?!?  I had to laugh at my own language learning curve, and the differences in words and their meanings in different languages.  Like in Romanian the word “Fac”, which means do, doing, etc.  is prounounced like the english word “F*ck”.  So for me, when I first met Marius and heard him speaking to other Romanians, I would blush, and look all dear caught in the headlights, I mean, this wonderful God loving man was CURSING!  After he explained it to me, I had to laugh.

  Another example is the English word “Foot”, in Romanian sounds like the RO version of  the F-Bomb!  Also the word Pull-Up sounds like the Romanian word for a man’s “member”!  So it’s kinda funny, yet embarrassing in a way, especially over here, when my kids are saying my foot hurts in public, and all the old people are looking at us horrified! 

Learning another language – it can be quite funny sometimes!!! A Ninja Did It –  Classic!!!

To Write or not??

  So a lot of people have told me I should write a book based on mine and my husband’s life experiences.  Honestly, the thought has crossed my mind before, the only problem is I don’t exactly know where to start, how the story should flow, how much should be fact, and how much should be fiction.  Should I even attempt to write about my hubby’s immigration nightmare in the U.S.?  I mean in the wild, dream scenario that the book did get published and garnered international attention, there could be drastic repercussions that we really would not want to deal with. 

  I’ve thought about just focusing on living in another country, but then you kinda have to have a reason for WHY you are living abroad, and honestly, the facts are a lot more intriguing than anything I could make up.  I’ve thought about maybe asking my cousin who has written 2 novels, one being a complete series, and the other just one, back to back, and is now waiting to hear back from agents, so she can get herself published.  But she’s got her plate full already, what with editing a local parenting magazine in Mobile, plus her writing novels, wife of busy attorney, and mom of 2 elementary aged girls!  Jeez, like she really needs more, especially from the other side of the world!  Seriously, though, you should check out her blog, she’s very funny and witty. Here blog, “That’s Write” can be found Here.

  Maybe I should just blog the book???

Parents just don’t understand, errr…speak the same language…..

  So, the major disadvantage to living in a place where you don’t speak the language is my kids.  My kids, the oldest two at least are fluent in Romanian, and I’m not.  This has become a major obstacle for me, and an easy escape for my oldest, who quickly figured out that in this case mom really doesn’t understand.  In fact, I’m quite clueless.

  She can tell me that my mother in law said one thing, when she really didn’t say anything of the kind.  Her teacher said she needs money for this, when really she doesn’t need any.  I get it, kids are sneaky, but factor in a language barrier on my part, and it’s a whole new ballgame.  I don’t know anyone who can relate to me, as everyone I know is either back home in the U.S. or they are here and speak both English and Romanian, not to mention probably one to three more languages on top of these two!

  I’m slowly getting the hang of the language.  I mean I’m getting to where I can understand it more when I hear it spoken.  Speaking it back is  a horse of a different color.  The thing is though, I still am not good enough that my kids know that they can pull the wool over my eyes in a lot of cases.

  My oldest daughter is a sweet heart, but she’s 7, and since we’ve been here she’s been give a lot of independence, and maybe that is what missing link to her behavior lately.  I won’t go into details, but it isn’t good!  Back home I would never have let her walk to the top of our neighborhood to go to the store there to buy some milk or loaf of bread.  Cause it just wasn’t safe, she could get kidnapped, hit by a car, attacked by a dog, etc. Here though, nobody messes with the kids, dogs are everywhere, and the only people they seem to attack are they gypsies, which although politically incorrect, is quite amusing!  Anyway, I can give her a few bucks and send her down the stairs, across a fairly busy street and into the store to buy me some bread or milk, or whatever I might need to finish what I’m cooking.  At her grandmother’s she can walk up the hill and across another street and go to the park.  She walks herself to and from school every day.  It takes about 5 minutes to walk there, if that gives you any ideas as to distance. 

  So is it the language barrier coupled with gotten too soon independence that is wrecking havoc in my domestic felicity, or just growing pains – part of growing up?  I think it’s the former.  In the States she was sheltered, didn’t go anywhere on her own, never out of my eye sight,  We didn’t live in a good school district, and the school she would have had to attend was a bad school, so we homeschooled.  Here she can come and go pretty much as she pleases [within reason], she goes to public school, seems to make friends easily, and makes good grades.    

  So why is this parent just not understanding???

God has taught me to hold my tongue…

  Ask anyone who knows me, I am very outspoken.  I try to temper everything that I say with love, but of course sometimes my humanity gets the better of me, and it doesn’t come out the right way.  My husband has taught me a lot about holding my tongue, about knowing when to speak and when to listen.  Knowing which battles are worth it and which aren’t.  These have been hard lessons for me to learn, mainly because I’m so hard-headed, and am very passionate.

  However, God has found a way to help me keep my mouth shut to those I feel then need to put in their place, so to speak.  He did that by moving me over 2,000 miles from my south Louisiana home to the middle of nowhere Romania, where I don’t speak the language, and where the cultural differences are HUGE. 

  For instance, my mother-in-law, whom I love, can drive me nuts.  It’s like she has this insatiable need to always have some sort of melo-drama playing out.  And it is usually instigated by my brother-in-law’s wife.  Now my MIL I can deal with, she’s being egged on by a woman with no heart or soul, who is very selfish and self-centered, so much so, she can’t even be bothered to raise her own two sons, instead her mother’s raises the oldest one – from her 1st marriage, and our MIL raises her son with my brother in law.  Did you get confused there, yeah, I know; sorry.  She has taught my middle child to curse in Romanian.  We were there when she was putting filth in my child’s mouth, and my husband stopped her, she said something to the effect of “she’ll learn it at school and from other kids”.  My hubby didn’t tell me what was going on, till several days later.  I of course hit the roof and was ready to get in the car, drive to her house, and yell at her in English – she would’ve understood me.  My hubby said, why, why do something that isn’t going to do any good?  Why get down on her level?  Just ignore her and pray for her.

  Well I pray for her, but I literally cringe when I see her.  I keep waiting for the day when she asks my why I haven’t learned Romanian yet, I’ll have a few choice words that my husband can translate or not.  I think God has slowed my learning curve down on this new language, just because of people like my sister in law.  I’ve said it before in another post, that they people here are rude.  It stems from 40+ years under communist rule, where you had to stand in line for hours for food, and then it was rationed.  You had no electricity till after the sun went down.  There is no such thing as customer service here.  Waiters, cashiers, government workers, etc. they are all rude, and impatient.  

  Two examples.  One of the grocery stores here – there are two check out lanes.  You put your items on the counter, there is someone in front of you.  Being from America, I have a concept of personal space, so I leave some room between my buggy and the person in front of me.  The people behind me have never heard of personal space, and will push you with their buggy.  If they don’t have a buggy they will literally stand right on top of you.  I want to turn around and ask them if they want to crawl up my butt, cause that’s what it feels like.  Then when all your items are rung up, they have to look to see how much you just spent.
  Second example the Post Office.  The only time I go to the PO is when I get a notice that my family or friends have mailed me a package from back home – it usually involves Hazelnut creamer, something I can’t get here.  Well you can only pick up  or send International packages on Monday’s and Thursday’s between the hours of 1 & 3.  The reason, a customs agent has to be there to inspect the contents of the package.  I tried to send a package back home to some friends of ours.  I didn’t tape up the package, cause I knew it needed to be inspected.  It was inspected, she told me I needed to tape it up, I said I didn’t have tape, and asked if they did, NU!  What kind of PO doesn’t have packaging tape?????  I was livid!  I had just stood in line for 45 minutes!!!!  I grabbed my package, and mumbled “Friggin’ Communists” as I walked out!  I KNOW, I know, not the best witness.  I repented, I feel guilty about it, but still, I mean, c’mon.  They didn’t have any tape?? I would’ve paid for it! 

  These are the kinds of things, the differences here that drive me insane!  God is smart – he knows what he’s doing, he knows, that stupidity like that will set me off, so he slowed my usually fast learning curve on this language thing.  Which is good, but it’s bad too, because I don’t understand a word being said when I want to understand – like church for example.  I don’t understand anything, and the services here are v.different than what I am used to.  I am used to more of the “charismatic” churches.  There is one baptist church in our city, and there is a lot of standing and sitting – reminds me of a Catholic church.  But I think till I learn to let things go and see people and things through Christ’s eyes, God will have a hold on my tongue!

Where’s the western influence when ya need it???

  Oy-vey!!!  So where is all that “We wanna be like America” crap when you *really* need it???  So I found what sounds like a perfectly delightful and scrumptious recipe for French Bread Dinner Rolls.  Of course, like most baking recipes that call for yeast – the call for Active Dry Yeast.  The only thing I can find here is Fresh Yeast, which is great, but kinda hard to do all the mathematical conversions of grams to tablespoons, etc.  Then trying to figure out how much of  the 25g package of fresh yeast to use for 6.5 grams!

  So I make the dough, I eye-ball the yeast.  I don’t know if it will work, maybe I used to much, maybe I didn’t use enough, I don’t know, we’ll see in about 2 hours.  Just another one of those things that makes me want to bang my head against the brick wall!

  The dough so far doesn’t look like it’s rising – of course it’s only been 10 minutes!  I can’t find measuring cups here either, I had to have a friend mail me some!!!  I’m not one of those people who can eyeball everything, unless I am making something I’ve made millions of times, or that I came up with on my own.  I need a cast iron skillet to make my cornbread for t-day, no such luck here!  However, my dad sent me and email this a.m. said he was mailing me something but wouldn’t say what!  He knows how much I love t-day and making my grandma’s dressing, so who knows.  Of course he could be sending me a coffee pot – the french drip kind that Melissa raves about.  Speaking of which, check out the rest of Melissa’s blog – she’s funny, witty, and sweet!  I’ve known her since middle school I think, not sure I just know it’s been a LONG time!!!

  I’ll let you know how the rolls come out!

You Can’t Alway Get What You Want….

But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need. The Rolling Stones obviously knew what they were singing about there. Since moving to Europe, I now understand why people nearly kill themselves, and risk everything they have to get to the U.S. It’s not for our “freedoms” – most emmigrants never vote, they could care less about politics. No, what they love about the U.S. is they fact that they can make un-godly amounts of money, own a “Big” house, a new car, have more than enough food, cheap utlitlies, and the convenience of Wal-Mart.

See here, you can’t find everything at one place – you have to literally WALK all over the city to get everything on your list. The cost of living is almost the exact same amount of your monthly income, thereby making it impossible to make a better life. House and apartments are tiny and cramped. Even the “BIG” houses here are small compared to what you find in the older average 1500 sq.ft. house back home. Yeah, my thoughts exactly. At least that is how it is in Romania. Water and electricity is outrageous. Don’t think about leaving water running even when bathing. You get in the tub, turn the water on, hose down, turn water off. Lather up, wash good! Turn water on, rinse, turn water off, get out!

Romania is one of those countries that didn’t fare well post communism. Economically it has NEVER recovered, and the fall was 20 years ago Dec. 1st of this year. There are still horse drawn carts that are used, even in the larger cities you can even see warning signs posted next to speed limit and other traffic signs. See the photo at the top of the blog.

You can buy fresh cheese, meaning, no preservatives, chemicals, colorants, etc. You can get fresh meat, from animals that were not fed chemicals. Fresh eggs, bread, sour cream yogurt, etc., etc. That is the wonderful thing about this country. The bad thing is that there is zero common sense, manners or customer service here. When standing in the checkout lane at the market, you will get pushed with the buggy of the person behind you. Or if they don’t have a buggy they stand right on top of you, and when the person in front of you moves half a step, you better moved, cause that person behind you is going to push you. It irritates the mess out me, and in these circumstances it works out well that I have a language barrier, cause otherwise I think I’d loose my Christianity! One of my pet peeves – invading personal space. The cashiers are rude, people walking on the street are rude. If you buy the wrong size of something – oh well you are stuck with it! Don’t get me started on the Post Office – that is a whole other can of worms.

The people of Romania have a giving nature when they know you, or find out your an “AMERICANO”, however the 40+ years of living under a dictator made them hard, cynical and un-trusting, and the fact that the Roma, a.k.a. Gypsies are constantly ripping people off, stealing, etc. doesn’t help matters either.

There will be many more posts about my ex-pat life in Romania soon. All in all, this is a BEAUTIFUL country, with much promise, and a lot of good hearted people. Like anything, the country and people of Romania just need a little TLC to help restore them to their former beauty!