Home Is Where The Heart Is

Time has flown by literally; today marks just eighteen days until I am home. It is so crazy how much I have done and what I have seen. As I reflect on the past couple months I think back to the first full week we were in Romania. An unfamiliar environment, new people, a new language, new food, and a new chapter began in my life. To be completely honest I had no idea what to expect being here; the reason I initially came here was to full-fill my language requirements and to live outside of Orange City.


Romanian Ingredients

One thing I didn't consider thoroughly before coming to Romania was cooking. I thought about trying new foods and exploring different ingredients. It was exciting to look forward to, and it was as great as expected. Trying Romanian dishes has been one of my favorite parts of this experience. Being able to try new dishes and bond with the people who made it has been amazing. Romanian food is so good! Sarmale is this great traditional dish that's a mixture of rice, meat, and spices that's them wrapped in cabbage leaves to make little 3-inch pockets of delicious-ness.


On The Road Again

On October 29 the Romania students returned from a ten daylong fall break.  The break was full of travel and sightseeing.  While the trip was wonderful and full of amazing sights and experiences we came home exhausted and ready for some normal days again.  We had this for a week and then we were on the road again, this time for a week of learning with the organization.  While we were still a little tired we were excited for this next experience.


Exploring Breb

This last week we spent in Cluj and Maramures. We stayed a few days in the village of Breb. It is in the northern part of Romania in the Maramures county. It is a village that wasn’t affected as much by the industrialization of Communism. The village shows what the traditional Romania looked like. The town has just started a green IMPACT club. The club focuses on preserving nature and historical landmarks. We got to meet the children that are in the club; we taught them games we have in America and they taught us a Romanian game.


Traveling for Dayz

            One of the best parts about being in Romania is how easy it is to travel within Europe. Most weekends we’re traveling somewhere in Romania—from Retezat (beautiful mountains that were a serious challenge to climb) to gorgeous cities like Cluj—we are always busy and on the move. I’ve loved almost every minute of travel. Every place we go has a unique feel and something new to experience. In a recent trip we got to go to the village of Breb.


Half-Way Finished

It is crazy to think that I am already half-way finished with this semester abroad! Seems like yesterday I just got here; so much has happened the last two months. As I look back at what has happened the last few weeks I have realized that I have grown in so many ways. My comfort zone has been expanded so much; when I first came here I wasn’t comfortable with trying everything from food to meeting new people and so on.


Learn With Experience

This semester is definitely atypical compared to my past Northwestern semesters.  Most years at school I am constantly busy at school, I am working to meet deadlines and get to meetings.  I have three planners, one with my syllabus information, one with my actual assignments to currently do, and one that has my day planned out.  My weekdays follow a pretty strict schedule.


The Weekend

Host Family In RiverStaying with a host family has been so much fun.


The Host Life

When I first arrived at my host family stay, I had no idea what to expect. My host family had just gotten back from a long, busy vacation in Croatia. They were exhausted when they came to the apartment to pick me up, and I was incredibly anxious as I waited for them. Before coming to Romania, we had learned some of the customs and what to expect from our host families, but like most things in life, it is different to experience it for yourself. What would my place be in their home? Would they speak English? I was both excited and a little nervous to find out for myself.


Home Away From Home

Officially I have been here for half of a semester! Wow, time has gone so fast but the time was well spent! Over the last few weeks I have been a part of a host family and to simply say that I enjoyed my time would be a huge understatement. My host dad doesn’t speak any English but this has made the experience all the more interesting. Most of the time I have relied on Google translate to have a conversation with my host dad but this has made the experience all the more fun. As I look back on the last few weeks I think about how much I have grown and how my life has really changed.


When Parents Visit

This last week my parents could come visit me here in Romania. On their way to Lupeni, they took the same route that I did when I flew in. They stopped to see the Peles Castle, Bran Castle, and the Fagaras Citadel. They got to experience a lot of the same historical sites that I got to experience while I have been here. It has become great memories and bounding moments to talk about places that we loved to experience and see while we were all in Romania. While I was with them, we went on a day trip to Sibiu and a trip to the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara.


Climb to the Top

Before I came here I had all sorts of ideas of what this place was going to be like; it would be hard to get used to but for the most part everything would be a long vacation. When we first got here our group decided to go on a five-day hiking trip into the mountains called Retezat National Park. I’ve done tiny amounts of hiking before and my mind set was that this experience was going to be a long walk in the woods with no shower; I was wrong!