The Freaky, Neighbor dude…..

  I mentioned in my last post (if it ain’t 1 thing it’s 20) briefly about my freaky neighbor.  I went back through my blog to see if I had ever mentioned him, I haven’t.  Well here goes.  I happened to meet him in the stairwell last year sometime.  My husband wasn’t home at the time.  My Romanian was limited to hello’s, how are you, and good bye.  So I didn’t understand much.  I understood he asked something about a computer.  I responded ‘da’, and told him to come back tomorrow to talk to my husband.  Something seemed weird about him when I met him, but I chocked it up to my lack of conversational skills. So he comes by the next day when my husband is home.  My kids are naturally affectionate, they hug everyone!  So they were talking to the new guy, he was nice with them, but something was rubbing me the wrong way.  That nagging little feeling in the back of your head that screams “Danger! Danger Will Robinson!”

   He had asked if he could use our computer, we said okay.  He started showing up when my husband wasn’t here.  The way he talked to my kids made me nauseous.  He was all of about 17 I guess, said he wanted to be come a priest in the Orthadox church.  But there was something about him.  He was an only child and his father had died when he was young, so he was raised by an overly affectionate, indulgent, or worried mother.  I blamed his weirdness on that.  One evening when he was here, he was on his phone talking to a friend, my husband said he was flirting, but he was speaking in the masculine, when if he was speaking to a girl, he should have been saying things a different way.  When he got off the phone my husband asked him flat out, “Are you gay?”  It surprised him, and he asked Marius how he knew.  Marius was like well your body language is effiminate, but the way you were talking – you were speaking masculine, when you should have been speaking with the feminine.  He said yes, he was, and begged Marius not to say anything, cause no one knew, and here where we are in Romania, that can get you beat the hell up, or worse.  Marius said he wouldn’t say a word, but he asked him how he thought he could be a priest, he said he didn’t know.  He knew it was wrong, but he couldn’t help it.

  Not long after this,  was waiting and wondering  my oldest daughter was, she had long been due back from school.  My doorbell rings, I open it, and there is freaky neighbor with  my daughter!!!!!!  He comes in – I still don’t know why he kept coming over, when I didn’t understand a word he said, and visa versa!  Anyway he comes in, he uses the bathroom.  I asked Kelly, what was going on, she said he was waiting for her at her school, and he walked her home, but not the way she normally came back home, a different route, he took her to a park and asked her if she wanted to play, she said no, I need to go home, I’m going to be in trouble if I’m late.  He stopped at a little store to buy something, and he bought her a piece of candy!  I was ready to tear this little dude a new one!  Only I didn’t have the words.  He hung around for a while, used the computer I noticed he was using it to talk to some man, who was at least my age.  He finally left.  When Marius came home I told him what had happened, it was a good thing the kid wasn’t here at the time – Marius was livid, he would’ve ripped the kids head off.  Marius is very, very SLOW to anger, but once he’s there, you need to stay away!  Kelly informed us, he was regularly at the school.  Which is weird to me.  He isn’t in that school.  Why they allow people to be on the school grounds who have no business there is beyond me.  A few days went by before we saw him again, and when we did, Marius had calmed down, he told him – what you did was wrong, you NEVER take one of my children from school unless you are asked to.  He further told him, if you wait for my kid at the school again, I will go straight to the police, and what do you think will happen will I tell them a homosexual was waiting for my kid at her school, unasked by me or my wife.  He went white and apologized profusely!  Kelly said he made her feel weird.  After that when ever he came over, she gave him a wide berth, would barely talk to him.  The way he was with my son though – ugggggg!!!!!

  Marius had told him, if I’m not home, you don’t come to my house.  It doesn’t look right, and people will talk if they see you always over here with my wife and kids when I’m  not here.  He agreed, etc.  BUT, he come over more when Marius wasn’t here, than when he was.  Marius had by that time told him, no more using the computer, you’re using to continue a homosexual relationship, and I won’t be party to that.  But still he came.  Finally around Christmas, Marius had had it, he was ALWAYS at our house.  Marius had just come home from a pitiful little job that didn’t pay that much, things were tight, and the doorbell rings.  We all stayed quiet.  We were eating dinner as a family.  We ignored it, not 5 minutes later, it rings again.  Marius gets up from the table, opens the door and says.  “Man, it’s enough.  You are always over here, even when I’m not here, which I’ve asked you NOT to do.  If you have an emergency, and we can help, we will, but other than that, I’m sorry, but I’m done.  Good night.”  and he shut the door. 

  And that is the last we’ve heard from him.  We pass him on the street or in the stairs from time to time, and he still turns my stomach, and I want to bash his head in when he leans down to talk to my son.  The girls have figured out that Mommy doesn’t like him, she thinks he’s weird or bad, or something, so they don’t say much to him.  But my 3 year old – he doesn’t get it yet!

  So anyway, that is who informed me of water in my apartment yesterday, I would rather have been possessed by Satan than have heard that from this guy.  The less contact I have with freaky neighbor dude, the better!

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!!!

Picnic Postponed, next, Beach

  So the trip to the woods for a picnic got cancelled, much to my relief.  I don’t much care for sitting in the woods trying to grill, while being eaten alive by Dracula’s minuscule cousins, commonly known as mosquitos! 

 But next weekend, I get to make the 2 hour drive to Constanta to see  my husband’s Aunt, who very desperately wants my middle child to stay with them again this summer.  I probably shouldn’t  because all sorts of hellish drama will ensue with my mother in law, who isn’t speaking to her sister, for what reason, I don’t know, and honestly don’t care.  I don’t like being put in the middle of something, especially when I don’t know what is going on – they tell me, but I don’t understand everything they say!  Why can’t this be like the Matrix, where I just jack into some computer program and download a language program to help me communicate?!?  Where is Johnny Mneumonic when ya need him???  WAIT, Keanu Reeves was lead character in that movie too, come to think of it, I think Matrix was just a better written script of that movie, which TANKED!

  Anywho, so I’m  headed to the beach next weekend, where hopefully there won’t be too many women parading around topless – one of the things that annoys me about living in Europe – they are too liberal about nudity!
 
  Fun, 2 hours with screaming kids in the back seat, on REALLY bad roads!  I kid you not there are pot holes the size of small towns over here!  The E.U. sucks monkey butt, I tell ya!  November is just around the corner people – vote the commies out, especially Pelosi & Reid.  If you can find a way to 86 Obama, get on it!  So that’s it of my political Tirade!  Will try to get some pretty shots of where I am going, which is a little town at the northern end of the coast in Constanta.  The little town is called  Eforie  Nord – reminds me a lot of Galveston, only slightly less cleaner.  Not sure why these people can’t wrap their heads around keeping the streets cleaned, and grass cut.  There is a reason the rest of Europe thinks of Romania as one huge trash heap…..But there are some really very beautiful places to be seen here.  A lot of things are still done the way they were hundreds of years ago, which is really awesome in my opinion, but hey that’s just me!  I’m not against industry and progression,  but I find it sad when we loose some of the old ways, the ways that paved the way for progress and invention!

  So if internet connection cooperates, I should be posting more photos next week, we’ll see how my candid shots of people come out.  I need to branch out to animate objects instead of focusing on the inanimate ones.  Then again there isn’t a lot of cool inanimate objects to really capture where I’m going.  Ah well, C’est la vie, eh?!? 

Living in Darkness, Dying in the Light.

 

  The title of this post is a line spoken by Ben Kingsley’s character in the 2008 movie “Transiberrian”.  He spoke this in response to Woody Harelson’s  character’s question of if he misses the dark, evil days of Communism.  Living in one of the old Eastern Bloc countries, makes this statement ring true, very loud, and long.

  Democracy and capitalism doesn’t seem to work here.  Honestly, what they run in Europe isn’t really Democracy, which never worked any,  which is why the founders of the U.S. instituted a Republic, cause history had shown repeatedly that Democracy is nothing more than mob rule.  What they have in Europe is Socialized Democracy, sure you have freedom of speech, religion, etc. but not the freedom to pursue happiness, because the people are overworked, severely underpaid, and OVERLY taxed.  I mean we have a 19% VAT – that Value Added Tax added to every purchase, that’s on top of other taxes as well.

  My husband, his friends, and the older people have told me what it was like when Nicolae Ceacescu was in power here.  Yes there was food rationing, electricity wasn’t switched on till the sun went down, and of course there was no freedom of the press, you only got a few hours of Television in a day.  People today would DIE without TV!  Books of course were censored, etc. 

   However there was positive, none of the land went to waste – every square inch of this country was plowed, seeded and harvested.  EVERYONE worked!  During Harvest the school aged kids would be sent out to the fields for a week or two to help harvest.  They were given sleeping quarters and 3 full meals a day.  At the end of the harvest, the kids were given some of the harvest to bring home to their mothers, who would then freeze it, or make juices, wines, or jams.  The company you worked for bought you an apartment when you married, as your family grew, the company bought a bigger apartment.  When the revolution happened, you had to buy the apartment from the company, which was pretty cheap, but with the value of the Romanian Leu falling, it was expensive.  My mother and father in law had a pretty hefty sum of money saved up for their retirement, after the revolution is was pretty much worthless.  they bought a new and some other things for the house.

  If you didn’t work, you went to jail, in jail you learned a skill, when you came out (it wasn’t a lengthy stay), if you couldn’t find a job, the state found one for you!  When you had a baby, you stayed home for a year, with pay, with your child.  Your job was held for you.  Kids played outside! 

  Yes, in Communism there is no God, but the people, especially the older people who were alive pre-Communism, taught their children about God.  The Orthodox church was still allowed to run, out of tradition, and of course the state used the priests as spies to inform on their parishioners who attended regularly, who questioned the state in confessionals, etc.  Yes, there were some truly despicable things that were done in the name of Communism, the late Richard Wurmbrand suffered cruelly at the hands of the Communist regime in Romania because of his faith in Christ.  He wrote a great book called “Tortured For Christ” the goes into detail about how Communism targeted the underground church.

  Despite the bad, there are people here, mainly the people my age and older who actually miss Communism, not for the oppression, but because things seemed to be better then economically, etc.  My husband has told me about when he was young he remembers when Ceasescu was coming to visit, suddenly the markets were FULL of fresh fruits, vegetables, household goods, etc., stuff that normally wasn’t found in the market.  Not because it wasn’t there, but because the farmers, or people running the markets, wouldn’t sell it normally, they hoarded it or sold it for higher prices on the black market.  Ceasescu wanted to know that the people he was governing were well, that they were living well.  In the construction industry, the large trucks, and machines were given a quota of so many gallons of diesel to use every month, if they didn’t use it all, they were in HUGE trouble.  Marius said BARRELS of Diesel were being dumped, because the workers weren’t using it all, mainly because they were loafing.  Yeah bank accounts were monitored, if you suddenly had a huge amount of money in the bank, you were investigated. 

  Communism/Socialism, it’s all great in theory, but in practice, it’s disaster for the most part.  Why???  Well because the heart of man is wicked.  Communists and Karl Marx yelled about the evils of Capitalism.  But the same thing happens in Communism, because there will always be people making those power grabs.  They get dirt, blackmail, lie, cheat, steal and even murder to get more ahead, usually financially, and when you have the financial resources, you can gain power, after all money is what makes the world go round!   Yeah it would be nice if we were all equal, that there were no social classes, but even at the height of Communism, there were still the rich, middle class, and the poor.  

  I don’t think Communism is the right answer for any country, not as long as evil runs free in the hearts and minds of men.  I believe that is why God didn’t institute a formal type government in Israel.  It was only after the cry of the Israelites begging to be like other nations that he instituted the Judges, then the Kings, and we see what happened.  Look at history, ALWAYS the wars are started over a power grab!  Money=Power, and visa versa!

Cookin’ Romanian Style

  So, there are some really AWESOME, mouth-watering traditional dishes here in Romania, all of which, I have mastered.  So today I made Sarmale, pronounced:  Saar-mall-ay.  Had a little meat left over, so I stuffed some bell peppers.  Here’s the 411 on how to make both!

 

Ingredients:

  1. 1 KG. Ground Beef
  2. 1 KG Ground Pok
  3. 1 Large Onion, chopped
  4. Salt – to taste
  5. Pepper (I prefer White) – to taste
  6. 2 bunches fresh Dill – chopped
  7. 1/2 Kilo uncooked white rice
  8. Grape Leaves*
  9. Steamed Cabbage leaves*
  10. Tony’s (if you like)
  11. Sausage, or some sort of meat on the bone – you’re choice
  12. Large Pot
  13. Bell Peppers
  14. 3-4 Tomatoes
  15. Tomato Sauce
  16. Sour Cream – for when you eat
  17. French Bread -  for when you eat

*Okay, the Grape Leaves can usually be purchased from a store that deals specifically in items from the other side of the world.  In Baton Rouge, there is a little Arabic store off of Sherwood Forest, near the Harrell’s Ferry intersection, that sells the grape leaves.  They are in a jar.  Basically they’re soaking in some sort of salt-water solution.  They might carry the cabbage leaves like this as well, you’ll have to check.  If not, the buy fresh cabbage, and steam or boil until the leaves are tender.

 

Okay, get your pot, ad place the sausage in the bottom:

DSC00202

Note – use your hands to mix

  1.   Mix meats together thoroughly
  2. Add onions, rice, dill to meat and mix well 
  3. Add salt, & pepper to taste, for a little extra something, I add a little Tony’s.
  4. Add about 2 Spoonfuls of Tomato Sauce
  5. Mix well.

 DSC00194 DSC00195DSC00201

Now your meat is ready to be rolled up.  What you want to do is place the cabbage or grape leaf in your hand like so:

DSC00205

 

Now pinch off some meat with the other hand, and make it into a small roll:

DSC00208

 

Now, start rolling it up, then tuck the ends into the roll:

DSC00209 DSC00210 DSC00206

 

Place in the pot, keep rolling and placing in the pot:

DSC00211

I used some cabbage as well as grape leaves.  I used the cabbage first, so they are in the bottom of the pot, pictured above.

Once you have exhausted either all the meat or all the leaves, chop 2 tomatoes and place on top of the rolls, spoon some more tomato sauce on top.  I sprinkle a little more Tony’s as well.  Cover with water, and place over medium low heat, and allow to boil for approx. 30 min. to 1 hour, or until the meat and rice are thoroughly cooked.

DSC00214

 

NOW, I had a bit of meat left, and lots of bell peppers, so I stuffed a few.

Wash the peppers thoroughly, and cut the tops off. To do this, insert the point of the knife in the pepper around the edge of the stem, and cut around the stem, once all the way around, pull the stem up and out:

DSC00217

DSC00218

Turn the pepper upside down and knock out as much of the seeds as you can.  Then start stuffing:

DSC00219

Once you’ve stuffed all your peppers, slice a tomato, and place over the opening Then add some water and a spoon of tomato sauce, cover and let boil till meat and rice are cooked.  Approx. 30 min.-1hour:

DSC00222

 

Now fix your plate, spoon some sour cream over your sarmale (or pepper), grab some french bread, spoon a little of the water the sarmale cooked in over your sarmale, and Bon Apetit, or as they say in Romania, Pofta Buna!

DSC00223

Forgetting English

  Okay so my middle child, the youngest girl whose name is Isabel, has been staying with her great Aunt for the last month and half in Constanta, which is about a 2 hour drive from where we live in Tulcea.  Not too bad except for the price of gas these days.  So she is learning all kinds of new things, particularly the Romanian language, which she really needs for when she starts school in September.  She is 100% fluent!  Which is awesome. 

  So my husband’s cousin (G.Aunt’s son) wanted to come to Tulcea to go fishing with Marius.  Tulcea is on the delta of the Danube River, lots and lots of fishing here.  So we asked him to bring Isabel with him, so his mom had to come to because Isabel won’t go further than the store by their house without her.  So they came in night before last.  Isabel comes home – she has forgotten English!!!  Not completely, but when I would talk to her to ask or tell her something she had this blank look on her face.  Marius would tell her what I said in Romanian, and she got it.  Talk about make a mother really upset, is realizing that her own child doesn’t fully understand what she’s saying anymore!

  She decided to go back to her great aunt’s house, and we are going to go get her in about 4 weeks, when the slaughter the pig they’ve been raising on December 21st.  Yeah, I’m hoping its slaughtered before we get there.  However Isabel has helped slaughter a duck and chicken and clean them.  I know that sounds gross, but really, she will learn things like this that she won’t be able to learn anywhere else, especially if we were still in the states. 

  I am happy that she has mastered a second language, however forgetting English kinda upsets me, I’m trying to find a balance with it in my mind, and especially my heart.  I know it will all be okay, that I’m going to have to work a little harder to help her learn to read and write in English, and comprehend the meanings of the words, I just wish she had not started to forget her first language, especially since she refused to even try to learn Romanian for the first 6 months of our being here.