Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 38: La Tara in Romania

Friday, August 16, 2013

Today's highlights:
-Meet Gabi's family
-Taken around village to meet everyone
-Barbecue and singing

***Robbie here***  

Today was INCREDIBLE! We awoke to the sound of roosters in a beautiful cabin-home nestled in the hills of Rachitele (Ruh-keets-eh-leh). Since we arrived at 1:30 a.m., we didn't get to meet our hosts until this morning and they are the most generous, thoughtful, and fun hosts ever. They are a small, young family (Ati, Ana, and Mihai). Ati is a park ranger, Ana is a teacher, and Mihai is their cute, genius 3 year-old. They offered us some delicious salata de vinete (eggplant spread), bread, cheese, and fruit for breakfast in the usual Romanian fashion; we received the lion's share while they hardly ate, claiming they were already full from... eating in their sleep? I dunno. They are too nice. More on hospitality later. 

Later we were taken around the village to meet the rest of Gabi's extended family and neighbors. The bunici (grandparents) of the village are named Onut and Catalina, two four-foot-nothin' oldies that were so excited to meet us, show us their small home, and introduce us to their cow, pig, and chickens. 

This is Onut. Catalina was shy about being in photos, which is sad because she is the most iconic la tara grandma with no teeth. Adorbs. 

We met other family members but our favorites were Tavu and Tusi, Gabi's uncle and aunt. They were SO kind to us and kept giving us food and showing the village off with pride. Next to their home is a constantly flowing fountain of the freshest water from a mountain spring. When you normally drink water, it's almost like there is an absence of taste... because it's water. But this water was the cleanest, freshest, coldest water ever!  It somehow had this amazing taste, but Angie and I can't describe it. I bet this is where Waterboy got his magical bottle of water that he wore around his neck. Any Waterboy fans out there? Yeah, didn't think so. 

Anway, everyone in the village constantly bragged about how all of the food, water, and their way of life was purely "bio:" 100% without chemicals, preservatives, or fast food mentalities. Each home had a garden and a couple animals from which they harvested food and other necessities.

I wish these photos did this place justice, but they don't. 

We were taken to a lake next to the village, and on the way we bought the most amazing bread we have ever had. Can you tell we love this place? This bread was thick and fluffy on the inside, flaky and crispy on the outside, hot from the oven. Dang! This bread must be documented. 

The lake was gorgeous, surrounded by pine trees and dotted with homes with docks extending into the lake. We just chilled on a little beach of sand for a little while, munching on our perfect bread. This is the life!

The highlight of the day came at night. Our new friends put on this huge barbecue and music-fest for us. The food was amazing, but the singing was the best part. A family friend, Sebi, who comes often to hang out with the village, backs up his car next to the pavilion under which we had our dinner. Then he starts pumpin' the Romanian folk jams. He and Tavu sang a bunch of fun songs, one of which had some awesome lyrics. "Make sure to drink sour milk so that the devil can't take you away." While they were singing, they each had one arm around the other. In their other hands, Sebi held a glass and Tavu held a long-before-eaten watermelon slice, leaving only the rind. They were so lost in the music, that everyone around couldn't help but watch them and listen as they sang song after song. Sometimes Gabi would join in and it was so entertaining. Most of the songs were upbeat, but the last one of the night (around midnight now) was a near-and-dear one to every Romanian. As Sebi sang, Angie and I were really moved! Sebi sang with all his soul. Ati turned to us in the middle of the song and said "Sebi doesn't sing music, he lives it." True dat. It was a memory that I hope I never forget. I grew to love Romanians on my mission, but there was apparently more room in my heart--I think my heart grew three sizes that night.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post. That's really all I can say. Put a big smile on my face. What an awesome memory!