Friday, August 31, 2007



Every once in a while I come out of the bedroom in my very small apartment, where I've been enjoying a rerun of the West Wing where CJ just became Chief of Staff because Leo is in a coma, sit down at my computer to check my email, look out the window onto the back of a small block of pre-war flats, and realize:

Omigod, I'm in Romania! Bucharest! Eastern Europe! On purpose.


I used to do the same thing in Oklahoma City.

Only in OKC, I did not have subtitles in a mystifying language that everyone said was just like Italian, and everyone was lying.

In Oklahoma City, when this happened, I almost never added the word "cool."

Omigod. I'm in Bucharest! On purpose.

Ain't life amazing.

History Lesson Pt II

...Continued (see, just like I promised)

Part II: Now

June, 2007.

My plane had just landed at Otopeni, Bucharest’s International airport. I was back.

It was a simple transatlantic call from Andreea, who had been one of my clients when I was here four years ago. We became easy friends, and, somehow, I think, she must have babysat ex-pats before, because she was a damn-site better at it than the people who’d actually brought me over to Bucharest the first time four years ago.

“What’re you doing right now?”

“Nothing much. Why?”

“Cuz, I have to go to a meeting this afternoon in Constanta and I thought you might like to go for a ride out of the city.” (Constanta is on the Black Sea along Romania’s mere 60 or so miles of coastline, about 140 miles east of Bucharest, an Eastern European summer resort destination.)


Andreea is an excellent tour guide, and seemed to know the subjects I might be interested in learning about, how to teach without preach, and when to keep quiet, how to slow down when I wanted to take a photo, all the important things. She would drop me off in some photogenic place, and then we’d meet in some prearranged coffee shop or park when she was done with her meeting. I saw a lot of Romania with her. Plus she gave me the courage to venture out on my own with my camera on the weekends when I had the red Dacia.

She’s a globally traveled Romanian, and I bet her English is better than yours. When I left Romania, she still worked for the country’s biggest telecom company, so, employee perk, every now and again I’d pick up the phone and hear that wonderful, accented, perfect English, just checking in to see how I was doing.

ANDREEEEEEA! Ce faci? (Chey fatch?) ( How ya doin'?) Give me a project so I can come see you.”

She moved on from the telecom company a couple of times. So when her last call came in, and she said, “Do you want to do a project in Romania for me? I have one that’s perfect for you.”

What could I answer but “Let-me-think-about-it-YES.”

“Great. You won’t believe how much it’s changed.”

So that’s how I got to Otopeni Airport. And got my first glimpse of how quickly things had gone from Nu (no.)(pronounced New) to Nou. (new.)(pronounced No.) (Oh, goodie, my first Bilingual Romanian word play!)

There were approximately eight million four hundred thousand six hundred and eleven cars in front of us in the parking lot trying to pay and get out. A lot more cars than I remembered, And we weren’t even out of the parking lot yet.

And not one of them was a Dacia. Andreea had a new Peugeot 407. We were drowning in a sea of other Peugeots, BMW’s, Mercedes, Toyota's, V Dubs, Renaults, Skoda’s (more about these later because I’m driving one) Fords, and all of them nou. Wow.

“What’s up with all the cars?” I asked. I don’t remember getting too clear an answer because Andreea was, I think busy communicating some loving gesture with her hands and arms at the idiots in front of us who hadn’t figured out that they were supposed to pay at a kiosk inside, then get their cars, and then drive up to the exit gate to turn their tickets in and leave. Instead they would drive up to the gate, realize their error, leave the car blocking everyone behind, run into the station and wait in line behind all the other illiterati who also didn’t read the directions. Learning new ways is hard.

Once it took me an hour to get out of the airport.These guys can't read!” she groused while executing a perfect cowboy maneuver around and ahead of a car about to use the exit gate as a rest stop. “Brava, Andreea! You go, girl!” Yee haw!

“I want to show you around the city before I take you to your hotel. I don’t think you will recognize Bucharest from before.”

Quel understatement! Was she ever right.

Besides all those things I told you about from when I was here before (oops, sorry, that just slipped out.) I didn’t tell you that the city had been crumbling. And now it wasn’t. That simple.

After the revolution in 1989 the outside of the buildings were neglected. Once the state didn’t own the bloc, individuals were allowed to buy their apartments. But since Owners Associations seemed a lot like the old overseers, nobody owned, therefore took any responsibility for, the exteriors. So they crumbled. During my first residence, though, those with enough money were buying men on scaffoldings to fix the crumble. They were everywhere. And they seemed to me to be moving slowly. And my snapshot of them shows – oh wait – I actually have the digital snapshot – I’ll post it here – was of a disintegrating city slightly beyond the verge of total deterioration. Scaffolds were as common as pizza parlors. They were gone now.

I guess you can tuck point a lot of buildings in 4 years.

I didn’t have to be in the city for an hour to feel the difference. The frustration and anger seemed evaporated. People were actually bustling. In Bucharest. I spotted some actual residents smiling. Eastern Europeans. Smiling. For no visible reason. Not at anything. Just smiling. OK, not all of them. There will always be scowlers till a few generations pass into history. But still, this was different. My cognitive dissonance antennae were twitching like crazy.

What’s the difference? Whatever it is, it’s HUGE!”

So here’s the deal, see: (I'll make this short because you've been reading too long, and even I'm getting bored with it.)

Remember that 50% income tax? It’s been cut to 16%.

More Money to take home in fatter envelopes, right?

Not necessarily.

Sure, more money. But no envelopes.

Because the banks finally decided to let people access their own money: First there were Debit Cards. No more dangerous-to-carry/would-take-an-ogre’s-mattress-to-store-it-all cash. You could put your money in the bank and take it out anytime you needed it. Or, hey, just wanted to see it. Bancomat. (ATM).

That’s not all. This cascade continues. The march of the multi-nationals finally figured out that the emerging countries were the only unexploited markets left. Romania was now an EU member. The European Union isn’t much of a big deal for you state-siders, but for previously disenfranchised Eastern and Central Europeans, being a member is like joining the same century as the rest of the world.


Multi-nationals bring jobs. EU brings start-your-own-business grants. Increasing real estate values bring - money- money-money-money.

Did I mention money?

Money to put (where else?), in the bank to get back out of a bancomat machine. Money in the bank to establish credit. Credit, by the way, was unheard of in 2003. Who would give credit to a Romanian with such a low paying (above the table) job?

So now there are debit cards, and credit cards. Now there is credit for people with high paying jobs from the multi-national companies, and the growing Romanian companies using the startup grants. And the two best things that credit buys best, precisely those things that Romanian’s have been most deprived of. (Now stop that! Not Air Jordans)

Those things you can’t ever save up enough cash for on low wages:


And cars.


And more cars.

It's a Romanian sign of the times. Cars. Cars. And more cars. If you'd been here before 2004, you wouldn't recognize the place. I wonder if my driver ever got the VW Passat he was lusting after? If so, that would be too bad. He should have dreamed bigger.

I hate history lessons. Next time I’m taking you to the bucanie (grocery store). Or we'll go for a cowboy drive on the crazy streets of Bucaresti (b-you-cuh-rest (breathe the i, don't actually pronounce it)).

To see Romania in 2003 through my eyes,
click here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

History Lesson - Pt I

PART I: Then

So let me tell you a little about Bucharest.

I hate to keep harking back to “when I was here before” like your grandmother telling you how she had to walk ten miles to school every day in the snow. Uphill. Both ways. But the contrast and amount of, well, we’ll call it “progress” for now, stands in clear relief for me because I have some comparisons. And, lucky you, there’s no way you can stop me from sharing.

As I said a few Romanian lessons ago, Romania was an all-cash society. (I don’t have to tell you that it was Communist for 45 years, or sort of Communist, with a dictator who took the Russians for all he could get, not to mention the Romanians, and built the 2nd largest building in the world, (only the Pentagon’s bigger) with the proceeds, do I?)

Well, when I was here before (2003-2004), the locals had already caught, captured, and, shall we say, er, 45-caliber aerated the man who exported all the crops to pay for his silk suits, cement mixers and megalomania. The Romanians liberated themselves and waited for the Americans to show them the fruits of democracy. <America The Beautiful with cello, harp and low-toned flute, sighing softly in the background.>

Well, here’s which Americans arrived: Mr. Coca-cola. Mr. HBO. Col. Kentucky Fried Chicken. And (don’t bother to hold your breath for this one)…The whole McDonalds family.

There was a whole country holding its breath, trying to teach itself how to be capitalists. And, trust me, without help, they weren’t very good at it.

Not that they didn't have the model. They had American TV. In every village.

Lenin had insisted that every satellite country be electrified and have hookups. It was a technologically smart way to disseminate uniform propaganda for two hours a night. So during Nicolae Ceausescu (Chow-Chess-coo)’s reign, the people saw party programs. After his exit, they got real TV. American TV. So they knew what “real” American life looked like. And they wanted it. Boy, did they ever. Just one teeny-tiny problem. They hadn’t a clue how to go about getting it.

When I was here before (sorry) the whole country, now that it was free, seemed to be waiting, like good comrades, for someone else to tell them what to do. And getting frustrated and angry in the process. You could feel it in the air. And on the streets.

What they wanted was simple. They wanted to know how to make all that rich, Western money, have a nice pair of Air Jordans, and have nice cars that were NOT Dacia’s. (A Dacia (Dat-cha) is a Romanian piece-of-shit car brand. It is not, as I'm sure you probably previously believed, a small, luxurious villa in the mountains outside Moscow where only party elite slipped away to on weekends with their mistresses. Those are Dachas. These POS cars are Dacia’s)

If you had a car at all in Romania, not a wooden wagon drawn by a walking ribcage, a Dacia is what you had.

I had two. I got the green one after I fired my driver for charging me double for everything including getting the dog groomed, then also turning the receipts into the company for reimbursement. I drove it from my apartment to the office and back again. I learned Romanian swear words driving it. It lived up to it's POS reputation. Old by any standard, it had a choke I kept forgetting to use when I was stopped for traffic. (Hey, my Mustang back home never had no stinking choke! What did I know!) It would stall all the time, and some frustrated Bucharest driver behind me would have to exit his car, scream at me, recognize that I was a just poor, helpless Amerikanca
who could maybe hire his son, and then, more kindly, remind me to pull out the choke when I tried to restart the POS. I could see the road through the hole where the clutch came up into the passenger cabin.

There were some newer Dacias around, and after a pretty big fight with management, I got one of those to drive on the weekends. It was the go-to-clients car, shiny red, new, had an automatic transmission, and you couldn’t see the gravel under your feet through the floorboard. No choke.

The company owned it. Real people couldn’t afford them unless, of course, they had been family members of former Securitate officers. Maybe.

Oh yeah, and for this history lesson, don’t let me forget to mention that most able-bodied Romanians who weren’t Gypsies (Rroma) had two or three jobs, if they could get them. So did their mother. And brother, sister, cousin, and crazy Uncle Alexandru and Aunt Bogdana. Everything went into the family survival pot during this transition time. Because, suddenly the state didn’t assign you a job any more. No job, no money. No money, no shoes, no doctor’s visit, no electricity, no dinner. Social Security for the over 60-Somethings was a comfortable seat on a concrete park bench with your upturned hand out.

But, back then, you could feel the momentum. You could feel the push and frustration. Like keeping your foot on the brake at a stoplight, and pushing your foot down hard on the gas pedal waiting for the green light. At this point in Romanian history, the light wasn't changing very fast.

Oh, yeah, and one more thing. The income tax on the over-the-table jobs was 50%!

It was a huge tax on anything your earned on the books. So while you may have collected your cash in a No. 10 envelope, the government, if they actually ever knew how much you really made, got an equal portion. (Communist ideological holdover? Possibly) (Also, possibly standard, worldwide, bureaucratic greed.)

Needless to say, a lot of jobs went, er, shall we say, unreported.

FLASH FORWARD: (Yawn. Thank God. Finally.)

To be continued…

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Second Childhood

Sunday, 20:16:13 PM

It’s nearing the end of August and the first sweet, cool rain is lifting the wool blanket we’ve all been under for weeks and weeks. It got so bad that the pharmacy chain I am consulting for put notices on all the windows of their stores inviting people who need it, to come in for a cup of water and a blood pressure check.

I’m still translating Fahrenheit to Celsius, so I never quite know exactly how hot or cold it is. As with so much else, I just watch the faces on the natives who are complaining about the weather, to determine degrees of heat stroke or relief. “Ooooh 38!” (that must be bad. Wait, I’ll go look it up for us.)

I’ve added, in my list of web favorites, to the Romanian English Online Dictionary, and the Yahoo Currency Converter, the Insta-C2F charts.

Yup. It’s bad. 100.4 degrees in real temperature.

The city is filled with green spaces everywhere. Some because it is undeveloped. Some because it is beautiful. Some because it is where you take your walks. Some because it is where you take your dogs. The leaves are edging into browns and yellows. As sure a sign of summer’s wind down as the decreasing numbers of people in any given office who have taken off to the Mountains or the Seaside for their two week allotted gambol, just when you need to ask them a critical question, or finally learned how to pronounce their last names.

Thank heavens for the dog. Because I’ve been here before, I do know a few people, and that’s been an enormous help in acclimating having a few friends to go out to dinner with. But in the day to day accommodation, without the schnauzer, I think I’d sink into a completely reverted state with my knees under my chin and my thumb in my mouth. She keeps me in present time. With a cat you can go both Zen and catatonic, no pun intended, but I don’t think that word’s derivation is accidental. With a dog, when you walk in the door, there is clearly no other human as important on the face of the earth as you are. And when she decides it is time to go outside to visit that smells-familiar part of the nearby green space, she means now, and who gives a damn if you’re reading, in a funk, making gnocchi, planning the overthrow of a global competitor, or just curled up in your bed with your knees under your chin, and your thumb in your mouth.

You see, the thing about being an expat is that it makes you an infant again. EVERYTHING is a question. Probably not as embarrassing as the one my own child asked about in the feminine hygiene aisle in a crowded US supermarket when he was five. But close. In your field, you are a genius/expert/guru. But walking through the supermarket, you are an illiterate baby.

Here’s, for example, just a partial list of things I had to, have to, or will soon figure out how to ask about. I think it’s a pretty typical ex-pat list. And it doesn’t even include “How much is that in real money?”

In no particular order:

How do you flush this toilet?
Can you make a right turn on a red light?
What kind of meat is this?
How close were the fields these vegetables were grown in to Chernobyl?
How do you take the bus? No, not take the bus AWAY, you know, TAKE the bus, er,
ah, RIDE the bus?
Do I pay for this before or after?
Is this a gift? Or will you have me arrested if I walk out of the store with it.
You pronounce that like HOW!!? You’re kidding, right? Even a lesbian’s tongue would
have trouble pronouncing that correctly.
How do you turn on the oven without blowing up the building?
What kind of cheese is that yellow one?
Don’t you people believe in elevators?
What do the funny symbols on the washing machine mean?
Is it safe to drink the water?
Where’s the dryer? You’re kidding. From the balcony? OK, if you say so.
Does the power go out like this all the time? Or was it my current converter and the
How do you make a call from a pay phone?
Which taxis is it that I’m never supposed to hail on the street?

Yeah, but is it REAL Coca-Cola?
Is this shampoo, body cream or anti-fungal plant food?

Do I love it? Every second. Well, nearly every second. And maybe by this time next year I’ll be nearly fluent, know what time it is on a 24-hour clock, and have figured out how much it all was in real money.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gas Doesn't Come By The Gallon Here.

Bucharest, Romania
Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ok, now where was I before I was so toothily interrupted?

Oh, right. I was telling you that I’m back in Bucharest.

First, let me answer the most asked question from y'all, so we can get it out of the way and get on to some good, juicy dish about people you don't even know yet.

"How much does a gallon of gas cost?"

Everyone wants to know, so here goes.

Gas in Bucharest is now about 3.3 RON per litre. Approximately 4 litres to an approximate gallon. like quarts, or bottles of Pepsi. So 3.3 times four would be 12 and 12/10ths per kililitre. Oh no. Let me see. 10 tenth’s to a RON with two left over and three times three is nine, oops, no, three times four is twelve, plus the two extra from the 12/10ths. Okay, got it. That’s 13.2 RON. RON is new Lei, which removed three zero’s from the old money, which they changed out of after I left last time. Now where was I? 13.2 RON, which as of Yahoo financial today, is worth, um, forty two cents, oh, wait, let me check again, because the RON is rising against the dollar (darn!) and every penny counts. Ok the RON is at forty one and an half cents. (Hey, I made money. Half a cent. I think. Or I lost a half. This is too confusing.) So forty one and a half cents USD times 13.2 equals …ta da!...FIVE DOLLAR$ AND FORTY-EIGHT CENT$ A GALLON. Approximately.


Welcome to my daily world.

I get to do the same math dance for every loaf of bread, can of corn and IKEA chifferobe I decide to buy.

Before, it would have cost me 132,000 (yup, thousand) Old Lei. It was mostly an all cash society when I was here in 2003-2004, with no credit cards, certainly, and absolutely no debit cards. But now Romania is part of the EU and getting ready in half a dozen years or so to switch over to the Euro, just to make poor foreigner expats like me even more confused.

When I was here before, I got paid mostly in wire transfers into the US, but still got about an inch of old Lei on payday for my everyday purchases (like expensive benzina/petrol (gas).

The people who worked for me, and didn't have a US bank account to wire transfer into, all got paid with about 3-5 inch thicknesses of money monthly. In a sealed white business envelope the likes of which you could just imagine George Raft slipping subtly into the breast pocket of his expensive suit jacket while Eliot Ness (to mix my metaphors again) looked the other way.

It was even tougher calculating the price of anything on the spot then than you just joined me doing above. But you know something? I kind of miss the old lei system.

Sure it was hard to count and looked like monopoly money to an expat. But for about thirty bucks a million, once a month, I could honestly tell my folks that I was, at last, finally, a multi-millionaire.

Today it would have cost forty-one, fifty.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Tooth Of The Matter.

Bucharest, Romania

So, my worldwide friends,

I am once again in Eastern Europe for those who didn’t already know this.

My American English has almost automatically dropped away into an old familiar cadence I call Eur-o-peen Ing…leash. No, not Brit. That’s a language and rhythm all its own, and a bit of all right it is, that, but that's not this. This is a slower, clipped language that individuates each word for listeners who know English at various levels, any of which are indeterminate, and who may or may not understand words like “individuate” and “indeterminate.” So if my words seem a bit oddly paced, it will be, I think, because now I am thinking in this rhythm and may well be typing in it as well. (But put me in the presence of another American – few and far between so far – and I fall back into our pace and jargon in a flash.)

I am struggling to learn Romanian, a language which will be of absolutely no use to me anywhere else in the world, but which, without, I am separated from a world of nuance and subtext which is critical for the work I am now doing. One of my colleagues here lovingly presented me with a Romanian dictionary for children 4 to 7 years old. She’s gotten it about right. After a thousand walks around a long Northern Virginia block before I left, much to the dog’s delight, repeating by rote 654 Romanian vocabulary words like “pasta de dinst” (toothpaste- which you will see is coming in handy right now) I can speak like a native. A native, slow 4 year old. Well, maybe not that well yet, but I have plans.

So, here I am, sitting in my car, yes I got a car immediately, in downtown Bucharest, outside of a radiology clinic for dental x-rays. It was right out of every Ami’s nightmare, (to have to have Eastern European dentistry) because I bit into a piece of crusty bread at lunch on Thursday, and heard the crack of an already fragile back tooth.

The tooth is now gone, and I have survived the myth of Olga, the supposed communist dentist, putting one foot on your mouth and, with both hands and a pliers, yanking out an offending molar. Instead, I had Dr. Mihai Mandaj, a charming gentle man who didn’t overload me with too much Novocain the way lawsuit-nervous US dentists do, and who took pains, all puns intended, to explain exactly what he was doing and going to do and did, in words I barely understood, as he relieved me of the offending, fractured fang. I don’t know what the general state of dentistry in Bucharest is, but if this nice dentist is any indication, the US practitioners could take a lesson or two.

The Romanians also don’t give you too much pain medication after an extraction. Or any, apparently. Yikes! Guess you need childbirth in this country to get good drugs. Mere dental extraction pain is expected to be tolerable, so no free codeine laced Tylenol samples or prescriptions for this sissy American. Here’s the surprise: there was very little actual pain. And most of it confirms a theory of mine that the pain in the dentistry act comes from forcing a spit-load of too much Novocain fluid into your gum with a needle meant to calm large horses. A bit of acetaminophen, which I brought with me, a touch of mind-body meditation which I carry with me internally for all occasions anyway, and I’m fine.

Now I wait for the Medident to open for my x-rays, and then Dr. Mihai will build me a bridge that will cost a few hundred dollars instead of the thousands I could expect from the practitioners in urban Virginia.

More about what I’m doing here and what a good time I’m having doing it when I come back downstairs. And less, I hope, on the joys of Eastern bloc radiation.

Oh, yeah, I’m sitting in the car typing on the company laptop war driving (“borrowing”) someone else’s wireless network. I hope that isn’t a jailable offense here.


Ok, I’m back, and in the office during a lull. And as long as we’re talkin’ teeth, here, I might as well take you up the stairs with me to the radiologie.

For those of you who are Europophiles, you already know that etaj (floor) 2 is actually on the third floor. No lift, er, sorry, went Brit there for a moment. No elevator. That’s odd for modern Bucharest, but, hey, this is an old building. So, up in the dark THREE flights of stairs, not two, in shoes not perfect for the foot that caught all the weight of the IKEA bookcase yesterday when I dropped it– well that’s another two stories, but for later.

Now this is beginning to feel like the ooh-ooh scary part of a James Bond movie about the Soviets. I hand in my form from the Dentist, which for all the world looks to me like a brochure for this place, and then realize that Dr. Mihai has scrawled something on it in that semi-Cyrillic number style we Westerners think of as out of Paris Art Nouveau. A description of what he wants 'rayed, I hope, and not an invitation to sell me into white slavery. Nah, he wouldn't do that.

The place was filling up, and three or four slim Romanian attendants dressed in angel white, but with Eastern European scowls were alternately standing on a chair flicking switches on a fuse panel and calling all the names of the people who came through the door in no particular order I could discern, pretty much using the same code as in the US. Or so I thought. Nope. On closer inspection, it turned out to be pretty much first come, first served, party order, except for exceptions like me who couldn’t speak Romanian, and who needed to wait for the Andreea/Irina who remembered enough of her party/high school English to be able tell me to start breathing through my nose, and actually get me to understand and start breathing through my nose.

Oh, boy. Dr. Mihai’s office looked like it hadn’t been re-habbed in a few decades, but this place? I think if Gorky or Trotsky had ever come for a visit and needed x-rays, THIS is the building he came to. Inside the only room that actually did have electricity – with who-knew-what-animal chasing a succulent, out of reach stack of hay around in a circle to drive a water wheel and a donkey engine – the x-ray machine glowed green and only seemed a bit overwhelmingly terrifying from the outter room!

I felt trapped between “I’m supposed to be here or I’d be somewhere else!! Ommmm.” and “Ommmm…igod, how many accidental roentgens I will be sending through my medulla oblongata for the sake of bridging over troubled orthodonture?!”

There I go again, underestimating the Romanians, and how quickly they have chosen to crawl out from under Moscow’s yoke. On the other side of the white tin paneled room out of some 1950’s anti-commie B movie was one of the best 360 degree surround x-ray machines I’ve ever seen. So maybe the sign I’d translated, as I practiced my burgeoning Romanian on every outdoor board and grocery weekly throwaway and wall sign I could find, was correct. Maybe they were “the 100% most visited dental radiologie in all of …” I ran out of translation time when they called my name, but it probably finished…”Bucharest.” Or maybe “Romania.” Could have been “most of the planet” for all I could read. Nevertheless, the “aparat” was state of the art, and didn’t I feel foolish?

So, I waited a few minutes while the next lineup of x-ray enlightenment seekers filled the side-chairs, then I was handed a 9x12 envelope and a bill for 37 RON.

That would be a full mouth x-ray in under 10 minutes for …wait for it…$15.83!

Yup. Sixteen bucks.

Wow. I hope none of these guys ever get to hear about the American Dental Association. Or any other D Association while I am still in need of friendly, low cost bridge building. I mean, hey, I’m probably going to be here for another few years or so anyway, eating the local food, right? So I might as well eat it with the same kinds of choppers the natives sport.

I’m sorry. I started to tell you that I am back in Bucharest, and I planned to tell you about my new swell job that pays well and provides my apt, car, internet, travel and lunch Monday through Friday, and to share some pithy aphorisms on how much things have changed for the better since I was here in the beginning of 2004, and, of course, invite you over for a visit.

Oh, well, I’ll save it for next time. I’m already twice or six times over the limit of the average attention span for an email. So for now, La Revedere (like the Italian Arrividerci). keep reading and I’ll have you speaking Romanian like a slow 4 year old native well before your plane lands at Otepeni Airport for your visit.

Loves n hugs,