The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Archive for the ‘Bucharest’ Category

Bucharest Pics

Posted by thearrow on January 23, 2012

It snowed on Friday and then was it overcast the whole weekend. Perfect weather to stay indoors and… process photos. So, a few months later, here are my pics from Bucharest:

I think this is my favorite, with the old reflected in the new:


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Two homes

Posted by thearrow on January 30, 2008

By now, I feel equally at home in Bucharest and in DC. This is not bragging, but rather just an observation. The interesting part is that, when I’m in Bucharest, DC disappears and the other way round. They are two parallel universes and I can only vaguely remember the distant one while I inhabit the other; I get too absorbed in the immediate reality. When I board the plane, particularly on the way back to DC, I feel like Harry Potter with his hand on a Portkey and a violent sensation of getting hooked by the stomach and pulled through a vortex. It’s still amazing to me how these two worlds can have nothing in common. Sometimes I think that I could perhaps use things I learned in DC if I have to return to Bucharest, but now I’ve started to doubt it. It’s not just that the countries/cultures are so distant from each other, but even I feel like two different persons, with two different sets of behavior! I think my surroundings make me become predominantly DC-like or Bucharest-like; yet, even if never 100% one way or another, it doesn’t feel like these two selves have ever made eye contact. I guess I’m some form of schizophrenic hybrid life :).

And maybe this is the only explanation I can conjure for the fact that so many things STILL haven’t changed in Romania (read “have not improved”) even though now Romanians travel, work, and live abroad in droves. You’d think people would want to bring some of the good things home, would try to make things better. But what if everybody feels just as schizophrenic? :-O

But to get back to feeling at home, the first couple of times when returned to DC I felt very lonely and out of place. Nothing of the kind this time (quite the contrary), which was going to be reinforced in the most unexpected, unassuming, and touching way. The next morning after I arrived the building manager knocks on my door. “I have some packages for you. I knew you were going to be gone and I kept them for you. Welcome home.”

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My Parents Have Aged

Posted by thearrow on January 28, 2008

[written on Jan. 23]

Nothing struck me more than seeing them diminished. While still relatively ok, it’s harder and harder for them to deal with the daily grind. What pains me more is that I probably won’t be here when they need me and the geographical distance between us is heartbreaking.

This time I felt their unwavering support more intensely than before. Perhaps because I really need it, hopefully because don’t take it for granted any more, but also because I was so touched to see how they spared no effort in doing those little things that matter so much, like baking cakes and cooking my favorite dishes. In Romania, any little thing requires a big effort; nothing is really little. So it was like chicken soup for the soul. Not that I’ve read the book, but you get the idea.

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Impressions from Bucharest

Posted by thearrow on January 28, 2008

[written on Jan. 23]

When I arrived, after the big snow melt, Bucharest was a city dripping with mud. Eleven hours on the road and I find myself in the middle of black snow dunes and a sea of people rushing to get home. It’s very hard, if not downright impossible, to feel positive about Bucharest during winter. The constant struggle to avoid patches of ice, puddles of mud, and to find your way through the snow and the potholes in the sidewalk is a perfect example of the kind of wear-and-tear this city inflicts on its population.

Yet, everything paled at the thought that I got to be with my family and friends and I could feel that I belonged as was loved. This is going to be my source of strength in the year to come. I do hope I’ll be able to visit again soon, but I’m not sure it will happen.

I feel disconnected from the otherwise sad Romanian realities. This gave me great patience with things I’d normally lose my temper for in no time. Such as customer service, which is terrible; and it doesn’t take living abroad to figure this one out. In previous visits, I was very relaxed at the beginning and, by day three, I would be tense and snap at people instantly if they gave me reason to roll my eyes. This time I felt endlessly patient. I like to think it’s because I realize and accept that it will take a very long time for things to change and losing my temper isn’t going to speed up the process.

These are just a few disjointed thoughts that I jotted down on paper; hope to come back with more.

P.S. – I don’t like this post’s title but I was too tired to think of something else :).

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