Thursday, October 13, 2011

Plunging In

Who knew that you could find a friend while looking for a plunger? When we first moved to Pașcani, we wandered around town trying to find the things we needed for our apartment. Our toilet is pretty awful, so we went to the hardware store to find a plunger. Of course, we didn't know the Romanian word. So, like always, we started gesturing and using our limited vocabulary to explain. (Somehow these gestures seemed a little inappropriate to me, but when you have to get your point across....) The clerk engaged in our game of charades and we struck up a conversation. She was patient, kind, and interested in our story. Most importantly, we could understand her Romanian accent and she spoke slowly! Even though her store was across town, we returned to visit her each time we needed something. After going to the store three times, I asked her to be my Romanian tutor. And now we've become friends with her family. We've cooked sarmale, gone out for ice cream, visited their families in the country (which included a whirlwind tour of many of the monasteries nearby), and learned a lot of Romanian. This friendship is perhaps my proudest accomplishment of the last 5 months.

Lucia, Mădălina & Cristi at Mănăstirea Sihăstria


  1. This is really funny, I would have never thought about having to go purchase things that seem so simple and common here. What a challenge. Glad you are making some new friends.

  2. And so, what is the word for plunger anyway? I'm not visiting until you get that toilet fixed, btw. Did you start teaching?

  3. The word for plunger is pompă, but that just means "pump." So if you go into a store and ask for a pump, or even a pump for a toilet, you're still stuck making vaguely inappropriate hand gestures or describing the problem in descriptive detail that is simultaneously uncomfortable and hilarious. And, we still haven't found a decent plunger!

    Teaching has started. We're still a little shellshocked, and I'm sure we'll write about it when we have a little more perspective. At this point I'll just say that it's one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I'm starting to enjoy it more and more.