Before moving to Romanian countryside my knowledge of this country, its culture, cities, people, history and tradition were very limited. Of course, I could locate Romania on a map, name a capital city, and recall a few facts from high school history textbook about the disreputable period of Ceausescu’s regime but the picture in my mind was very vague and blurry. If I were asked to describe a typical Romanian city, I’d think of grey, socialist buildings, and if I were asked to describe a typical Romanian village, I wouldn’t have expected it to look any different then a village in my own country, Croatia. I would think of rows of small houses surrounded by big backyards with gardens organized around a village square in a labyrinth of small but neat streets. I most certainly wouldn’t think of horse carriages, of roads full of potholes, packs of stray dogs and houses without central heating and radiators.
Among all the information I received about my new environment the fact that my new home will be in a very rural area was particularly emphasized but reading a list of instructions in an email and experiencing something first hand are two completely incomparable things. To specify, I was told that I would live in a traditional mountain house, that I would have to chop wood, make a fire in a stove, and I was warned that for the most of my stay here it will be very cold. Being the person who always bragged about excellent tolerance for low temperatures, soon after my arrival I was to discover that meaning of the word winter in Romania and in Croatia is not quite the same. But underestimating the power and cruelty of the weather conditions can be very educational experience. Once a person discovers importance of the extra layers of clothes the doors to the world of the magic of winter are unlocked. One can enjoy walks with a dog in the snow, view of the fairy tale like mountains, and seeing the dance of your own breath evaporating on a cold, winter morning.
And after spending sometime enjoying the outdoor activities in the fresh air there is nothing better then to sit next to the warm stove with the cup of warm tea. That is to say, once you have made a good fire, relaxation time can begin. For people from this area the process of making a fire is everyday activity but for me it was a novelty and a source of frustration. Having seen big traditional stoves only in films, I thought that making a fire is a three minute job. When I tried it for the first time, it took me an hour and a half, only to see it completely burn out in fifteen minutes. I was very surprised, to say the least, but with the guidance of kind and patient housemates and coordinators, (This is me publicly thanking you for not letting me freeze to death!), I learnt how to arrange wood in right way, how to choose a proper size and sort of the wood, when to use pine tree branches and when the ones from the beech. After learning all the technical stuff, I could finally appreciate the warmth and the soothing sound of cracking of the burning wood.
Living in Schiulesti made me understand better the importance of patience, of flexibility, and, (I’m writing this at risk of sounding corny), of all the little wonderful little things in life that sometimes go unnoticed. Moreover, I’m starting to see the difference between being a traveler and being a tourist, how the latter makes a see things on a very superficial level and the former makes us truly understand our surrounding and, in the end, ourselves.
Hi! My name is Tea. I am from Croatia where I lived in Slakovci, a small village very similar to the Romanian villages. I am 25 years old and I studied chemistry. Some of the things I like are reading books, spending time in nature, meeting new people and animals, (I am in Romania just three days and I already made friends with two cats and two dogs!!), eating chocolate and drawing. I worked as a babysitter but I never had the opportunity to work with school aged children so I am really looking forward to that experience. I also like learning new languages so I hope by the end of my project I`ll speak at least some Romanian.
Bună! Numele meu e Tea. Sunt din Croația, unde am locuit în Slakovci, un sat mic foarte similar cu satele din România. Am 25 de ani și am studiat chimie. O parte din lucrurile care îmi plac sunt cititul cărților, petrecutul timpului în natură, întâlnitul de noi oameni și animale (sunt în România de doar trei zile și deja m-am împrietenit cu două pisici și doi câini!!), mâncatul de ciocolată și desenatul. Am lucrat ca babysitter dar nu am avut niciodată oportunitatea să lucrez cu copii de vârstă școlară, așa că aștept cu nerăbdare această experiență. De asemenea îmi place să învăț noi limbi deci sper că până la sfârșitul proiectului meu voi vorbi măcar niște română.
Tea este în România pentru o perioadă de șase luni, din decembrie 2018 până în mai 2019, în cadrul proiectului Volunteer to Grow [2017-1-HR01-KA105-035177] proiect co-finanțat de Uniunea Europeană prin Programul Erasmus+ și implementat în România de către Curba de Cultură.