Tuesday, April 19, 2011


About an hour into the six-hour journey from Sighetu Marmaţiei to Cluj-Napoca, my train compartment was invaded by a few additional people. I was completely wiped out from two full days in Maramureş and little sleep the previous night, so I struggled to pull myself awake and move back to taking up just one seat on the train. Two of the people who boarded soon became my source of entertainment for the next 5 hours.

The little girl was named Gabriela, and it wasn't long before we were playing silly games, drawing, looking at pictures on my computer, and counting stickers. She charmed me like you wouldn't believe, her smile electric and her mannerisms endearing. By the end of the trip she had made her way to my lap, falling asleep against my shoulder.

There is nothing like cuddling with a toddler to make you sweaty and sticky and incredibly happy. In all of the differences I observe here and struggle with, from language to customs to culture... children are the same the world over.

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