Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Carpet Cleaning Romanian Style

When we decided that our two area rugs needed cleaning we called a carpet cleaning company.  The cost of them coming to our apartment was going to be about the same as buying new rugs so we looked for an alternative plan.  We noticed that there were rugs hanging on the fences and walls at many of the car washes.  I just thought they were selling rugs as well as washing cars.  But then we discovered the Romanian word for carpet and saw that they washed rugs and charged by the milimeter.  So on a beautiful fall day we borrowed the mission van, loaded up our two rugs and went to the car wash.

We were told to come back in two days and pick up our rugs.  The sun was shining, it was warm, what could possibly go wrong?

We woke up the next morning to a cold downpour.  We raced to the car wash and there were our rugs hanging on the fence in the rain.  We decided that we would take them home, turn up the heat and turn on the fan.  What could go wrong?

When we got the rugs home we put them over chairs and tables to help with the circulation.  Within minutes we had water pouring down on the floor.  We used all our towels to soak up the dripping water.  We relaxed and thought "what could go wrong now?" At first I thought the neighbors were cooking cabbage.  There is a traditional dish here that is made with cabbage that has been soaked in brine for weeks.  Then we realized that it was our rugs that had turned sour.  Happily after a week the rugs were dry and a little bit cleaner. But next time we buy new rugs!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Good to know!....or I really need to learn this language!

When we got to Bucuresti 7 months ago I was relieved to see that there was a Stomatologie doctor's office across the street from our apartment.  Because I never know when my intestinal tract will not perform as designed, it was reassuring to know we would be able to cross the street for some profressional help.
Imagine my embarrassment when I discovered this is a dentist's office!  Some words in Romanian sound like English words.  This is not one of them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oh, the joy!

(the devil)

Ingerul meu
(my angel)
When we moved into our apartment we were so delighted with the location overlooking the church, the open layout, and large bedroom, that we were determined to make the best of whatever furniture or equipment we had to work with.  I made peace with the small washing machine and learned to use the drying rack in an efficient way.  We adapted to the hard bed (very European) with a thin foam layer. We do okay with the tiny single sink since we only wash dishes for 2 (except when we cook every week for the dozen YSA we feed across the streeet).  Our couch is unfit for sitting and has become a place to stack things.  We are only reminded how bad it is when we visit one of the other missionary couples and sit on their comfortable furniture.  I've learned to recognize military time on our clocks.  But the oven was a source of stress and frustration.  We finally decided to approach our proprietar about getting a new stove and offered to pay the difference for an upgrade to an oven with a thermostat.  Two days later, we had our new stove.  We still have to use a match to light the oven but the stove top burners have a striker.  The old oven had no temperature control so we had to constantly watch the little thermometer we had hanging in the oven and keep adjusting the flame to cool it down or heat it back up while anything was baking.  After this wonderful appliance joined our family, I fixed two big batches of sugar cookies to decorate for Halloween.  They cooked beautifully and evenly.  We have certainly learned to appreciate many things that we used to take for granted.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween in Romania

Although Romania is the country of Vlad the Impaler (better known as Dracula), Halloween was pretty much a non event here in Bucuresti.  The week before the 31st we were in a large WalMart-like store and there were four small shelves with a few angel wings, pirate hats, and Scary Movie masks.  That was it!  And there weren't any huge bins or shelves of bags of candy.  But we celebrated anyway.  Thanks to our darling daughter-in-law Jennifer, who sent a large container of Halloween sprinkles, my old sugar cookie recipe that I was able to find on line at the "Betty Crocker" website, and my new oven (it even has a thermostat!!), we made and decorated several batches of sugar cookies and partied with our missionary district and the YSAs.  They all send their love and thanks to you, Jennifer.
After district meeting we had a sugar cookie fest. 

That night our YSAs discovered the joys of  decorated sugar cookies along with a few missionaries who got seconds.

Partying in the YSA Center (while eating cookies).

George with a Peep Sandwich which is a Peep between two sugar cookies.  Jennifer sent a couple of packages of Peeps which none of our Romanian friends had ever seen before.

The Sunday before Halloween we were invited to a Halloween dinner at the Farnsworth's home.  Brother Farnsworth works at the American Embassy here in Buc.  They take very good care of the missionaries, especially us senior couples.  Three of their four children go to an international school which celebrates Halloween.
Bradon and Claire in costume.

Ryan carving a pumpkin with Dad in the background.

Elder Wahlquist helping Bradon with pumpkin carving.

Bradon with finished product.
Bradon called Monday night to say that the pumpkin he and Elder Wahlquist carved won the pumpkin carving contest at school.  Pumpkins are hard to find here and tend to be long and skinny.  This one was a perfect size for carving.

Bran Castle
We hear that Bran Castle, which is promoted as Dracula's Castle, puts on a really great Halloween party for the tourists.  However, Vlad the Impaler probably never lived there and he only became famous across the world after Bram Stoker published his book "Dracula" some 200 years later.  Vlad's actual home is in ruins.