This weekend has provided a lot of time to focus on the concept of "missing."
There are things I'm going to miss about Romania:
1. Barking dogs. I wish I was joking, but they've become like little friends that ignore me.
2. The Bucureşti Metro. This is a seriously efficient and just COOL system. Plus the cars are all open so you feel like you are inside a giant snake. Um... awesome.
3. The Schedule. I'm not going to lie... teaching as many students as I do isn't easy. Not even remotely... but there are also two days a week that I don't teach until the afternoon. Going back to a 40+ hour workweek in the States might be a challenge, especially because I think it will be more like a 70+ hour workweek.
4. Shaworma Lafa de Pui. I shouldn't like it, I know. I can't help myself.
5. The Parking. I'm sure this wouldn't be on the list of things to miss if I were a driver, but the inventive attitudes of Romanian motor operators provides daily amusement.
6. The Horse Carts. Where else in the world are there entire regions with more horse carts than cars? I'm sure you could tell me but please don't. I'm enjoying life within my bubble of misperception.
7. The Contrasts. Giant concrete buildings built during the communist era that are now covered with huge fabric billboards illustrating the struggle to commercialize. Miles of concrete that runs directly into a huge green park. People who act cold and indifferent until you ask them for help and discover a new best friend. The best margarita I've ever had at a Mexican restaurant just west of Piaţa Universitatii.
8. The Babies. I've traveled in a lot of places, and I'm probably more of an internet creeper than you realize. I've seen babies from ALL over the world, and Romanian's have cornered the market on the most beautiful ones. They just... do.
9. The Inefficiency. This has been a source of frustration but also a source of amazing stories and chuckles on an almost daily basis. They passed out uniforms at my school this past week. 7 weeks of school left, folks.
10. The Landscape. You can travel three hours from where I'm at right now and be amongst rolling hills, towering mountain peaks, widespread plains, the Black Sea Coast, or the Danube Delta. The diversity here is incredible.
11. The History. Try reading just a bit about Romania's history. Pick a city like Oradea or Cluj-Napoca, or a region like Maramureş or Transylvania. You will get lost in the history of this place, the amount of times it has changed hands. It's amazing there is even a culture in some areas at all... but it's strong.
12. The People. This goes without explanation.
These are the things I currently miss about the States:
1. Restaurants. I miss going to restaurants that don't cause me stress about telling them I speak English, or attempting to speak Romanian and having the waitstaff IMMEDIATELY switch to English. I said "potato" the right way, dangit!
2. Microwave. Seriously- living without microwave popcorn and the ability to reheat the pasta I ALWAYS cook too much of is wearing on me.
3. Drying Machines. Living in Romania will always be with me, and I'm quite sure I'll use a drying rack for some items in the future. Let's face it, it really is more efficient and better for the environment. Plus, it's probably good to get in the habit of planning and doing laundry BEFORE you have just one pair of underwear left. But washing sheets is a challenge here. And I like nice clean sheets.
4. Driving. For all the joys of public transportation and the MULTITUDE of train stories I have, there are times I miss driving. I miss getting into my cute little car and rolling the windows down and turning my music on over the stereo and just GOING.
5. English. I am starting to fall in love with the Romanian language, and I've found that in some situations I understand as much as 50% of what is being said, and even more whilst reading. However, I do miss English sometimes. I miss having conversations where I'm not thinking about every word (something you do as an elementary teacher anyway) and having easy interactions and being able to go places and read signs and know what is going on.
6. Cooking. I have a lot of recipes that I tried last year, and I started to get pretty good at cooking. I have one pot, one pan, and one skillet here. And an over the size of your toilet bowl. I miss cooking with real kitchen utensils and ingredients that I don't have to hunt down and modify, and feeling like I can do things without twice as much effort as I'm sometimes willing to exert.
7. Netflix and Hulu. I've found creative ways of watching television and movies here, but sometimes I just miss the ease of Netflix.
8. Money. I feel bad even typing this... but I miss having an income that is even slightly disposable. Scrimping and saving is good, really. It is a good life lesson, I do believe. However, I already had this, like sophomore year of college when I checed my bank account and decided I had exactly $2.50 to spend at the store. Having lived the other way for a while... it is kind of nice.
9. Cleaning... things. For a really long time I stood in about 6 inches of water every time I showered because I couldn't find drain cleaner at the store. Just today I spent about 30 minutes SWEEPING (with a broom) my 4x7' rug because I don't have a vacuum cleaner. Things that make life easier... I miss these sorts of things.
10. Relevant Information. This was much worse during the first semester at school, but there are still times when I have NO idea what is going on. Oh, there isn't class today? Oh, you only meet with form teachers on this day? Oh, you do grades in blue and then final grades in red? Oh, the little guys should get FB, not numerical grades? Oh, I can take attendance? Oh, I can't give a grade below a 9? Oh, the first grade is going on a field trip? Oh, you have to sign up to have a cupboard in the teacher's lounge? Lots and lots of stuff... At least in the States I know what I don't know. Oh, and copy machines. And schools that pay for printing.
11. Target. I won't lie. I miss Target. I miss their beauty section and their collection of discount DVDs and the electronics section. I miss wandering through the home and furniture department and even back into camping. I miss the clothing- the 75% off racks and trying on clothing you KNOW won't look good but feels good because you can afford it and it is just SO cute. I miss the cafe. And fountain pop. And their grocery section with the cool foods and their own special brand.
12. The people. This also goes without explanation.