This is going to be a badly written and terribly boring post, just so you know. I am copying most of this from an email I sent someone because my internet connection is REALLY shady at the moment. I am supposed to have internet in the apartment, but I am currently stealing it from my neighbor (I think). Thank you, Lucian.
Travel was pretty good. I had to pay extra for my bags, but no biggie, I knew that was coming. The flight was delayed about 45 minutes, and we actually were seated apart. We asked someone to move, and so we ended up in the middle section- I was right in the middle and D~ was on the outside. As soon as we sat down I knew it was going to be a long flight- the seats were TERRIBLY uncomfortable- the plane was so old that there were still ashtrays in the armrests :) Poor D~ was miserable- he couldn't even rest his legs on the floor because his knees hit. We had a pretty good time, all things considered. Played a LOT of card games, talked a lot about politics and religion and everything else, and watched a REALLY terrible Queen Latifah movie called "Just Right." AWFUL.
Food was awful. I chose the beef (rather than fish) and D~ had the fish after seeing my beef- but then he ended up really sick at the end of the flight.
We were seated seperately on our flight from Rome to Bucharest, which was okay again. I ended up sleeping again for almost the entire flight- just a few hours, but really needed. When we got to Bucharest, we got a luggage cart to wait for our stuff, but it never came. All of a sudden we heard the words "Roma finished." I followed the parade of people over to the lost baggage office while D~ waited to see if it was anywhere around, and with all the carry on stuff. Everyone was yelling in Romanian and I very nearly had a breakdown. About 1.5 hours later our claim was in and we went out to meet two people from my school, and climbed in the tiny car to go to my apartment. In hindsight, it was a good thing the luggage was lost b/c there is NO way it could have fit into the car. We were met by my landlord, a parent from the school, and one of my students who brought me flowers. This was around 5:00 on Tuesday night- we were in the apartment for a while, and they showed us around. The apartment is beautiful- one main room with a tiny little kitchen and a decent sized bathroom. I have a really nice futon, two comfy chairs, a television, a few cabinets, and a really huge wardrobe. The kitchen has a fridge, sink, and range/oven, and the bathroom has a tub/shower, sink, toilet, AND... a washer/dryer!!! (This is a big deal). Oh yeah- there is an adorable little lift that works about half the time and I'm on the fourth floor- not too bad. Oh yeah- AND there is air conditioning :)
My area of the city is really nice- everything within walking distance- supermarket, post office, bank, school, and a metro station. We went to dinner right across the street on the first night (sour cream chicken and paprika potato wedges) and then grocery shopping, just for some staples like fruit, bread, milk, and cereal. We crashed pretty early the first night, and went the next day to get our luggage, spending the rest of the afternoon just hanging out in the apartment, unpacking a bit and napping some. I got a mobile phone, so I am officially connected :) We had dinner the second night with people from SOL, but I messed up on the time- we were supposed to meet the country director O~ at 5pm outside my apartment, not 6pm. We had to run out pretty quickly- D~ was still in the shower and I hadn't yet gotten in... it was pretty miserable. We ran to the Metro station and I did what I do best- fell down the steps. I messed up my foot pretty badly- I could walk with an awful limp to the restaurant, but couldn't even bear weight afterward. Dinner was great, all things considered. We were there for nearly 3.5 hours, and we ate well. I had some Romanian chicken and mashed potatoes, beef soup, and carmel custard. We talked and talked (I was quite distracted by the pain in my foot) and it was a beautiful place. Afterward, we ended up calling a taxi to get back to my apartment, because there was NO way I could have made it otherwise. I felt really bad, but I was in a tremendous amount of pain.
Bucharest is big and loud and none of the streets run straight and everything looks the same. I crave the knowledge that I will have in a month, six months, a year from now concerning this strange place. It is pretty drab for the most part- it still reeks of an oppressive Communist regime, and Ceausescu's legacy is everywhere. I'm looking forward to finding little pockets of good, but it might take some searching.
We had orientation yesterday, and it was quite interesting. We met at the British Council, and were able to meet a few other teachers here in Bucharest, which was good for me. I got pretty drugged up for the day, my foot still in a lot of pain but not NEARLY like it was the night before. We talked in the morning about school stuff- more to come in a later post (the Romanian system is quite interesting) and then went to lunch, which basically turned into a 3 hour break time. I got a library card from the British council library (!!!!) I met a man named G~ who also teaches in the city, and he mentioned a few opportunities about teaching part time at a preschool (almost every teacher has to have a second job for money purposes) AND his project this year of going to a hospital and holding babies!!!
After orientation, D~ went to buy his train ticket to Timisoara (pronounced Timmy-shwora) and then we wandered around for a bit looking for something to eat, and ending up back at the same restaurant as the first night. It seems like a decent place judging by the amount of people there, and our waiter from the first night was all smiles about us being back.
D~ left this morning, and I have three days with nothing to do. Hoping that the internet holds out, and that I get my connection fixed. I find myself missing him already- he was my last tangible link to home in this strange, bewildering place. He has been incredibly fun, wonderfully comforting, and impressively strong. I'm not sure I could have done all of this without him.
My foot is feeling a lot better- I was honestly quite worried the first night. It is still quite painful, but I can at least hobble around now. I am hoping that this sense of lonliness transforms itself into excitement, but for now I am just overwhelmed and wondering if this was the right choice. I know this will get better when I have friends and school starts and I have the opportunity to explore the city a bit more- but right now is pretty difficult.
Haha- in other news, I apologize for the spelling errors in my postings from now on. Because I am in Romania, when I click on "check spelling," about 95% of the words are highlighted. Sorry!