Hi ya’ll. Sorry I have slipped on the blogging. Right now, our attention has been focused on learning how to do life here in Timisoara, learning the language, and working on our permit to stay in country. It is hard to believe we have been here for 3 months!
As we figure out how to cook, clean, shop, and get around, we have learned more about the culture.
For example, we can buy bus tickets at our local small non-stop, which also sells groceries and meat. You have to put priority stamps and regular stamps on postcards, we think (we have sent some letters and cards, but nothing as arrived in the states yet). We can pay our bills at the gas station. When Romanians have a heavy bag or object they share the load, each carrying a handle down the street to share the load, which I love see. And they usually don’t care about the cents here. If you have 10/ 50 cents ok, if not, you can pay it next time…some how it all works out.
It has also been fun to talk with other Romanians about some of the things here that give us a little culture shock, and then hear their explanations for it, or their frustration with it too.
For example, there are not lines at the governmental offices we have been to but more herds. Friendly herds… and there is a polite way to herd. I was frustrated by this at first. As Americans, we are taught from kindergarten to stand in a single file line. But then our friends explained this to me…they stood in lines during communism for hours to just get half a loaf of bread…why would they ever want to stand in line again. Totally makes sense!
Also, the amount of smoking here is flabbergasting to me. It is so bad for you and all I can think when I walk is how many chemicals I am breathing in. Most restaurants don’t have separate areas for smoking and non-smoking, so you have to sit and endure it if you want to go out. Several people here have expressed the same frustrations and that it is just the way it is here.
Then there are cultural differences in values. In America, we value every second. We stay busy. In America, we like microwaves, canned biscuits, prepackaged items, and the fastest route.
“Spare time is free time.”
“If you on on time, you are late. If you are early, then you are on time.”
“Time is money.”
Here, in Timisoara, it is becoming a little more time oriented in some areas of life but usually it is about the relationship first. We make our own chicken broth, we don’t have dryers, we stay 5 hrs at someones house for lunch, we take the bus, which means we might be 20 mins late and that is ok. Neither culture is right or wrong about this value. At moments it can grind against our American cultural instincts. And we are also learning to embrace it and adjust our views on our pace of life.
So if you wondered what we have been doing in January and February: we have been building relationships and adjusting to life. And sometimes that takes just a little bit more time.