Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Activities of Daily Living

Today we go on an adventure!  We are headed to Mamaia, on the coast of the Black Sea for 5 days of rest and relaxation - this transitioning to a new culture has been hard work!  I am most looking forward to the quiet, I think, but I will be sure to let you all know in a few days with the next post.  For today, I thought I would focus on some of the basics of living...

The bathroom

I have had to get used to taking a bath instead of a shower, but it is not so bad in the luxury tub I have… (Notice also the towel warmer hanging on the wall, which at the moment of this picture was being used as a drying rack for pillow cases.)

 

The toilets are equipped with 2 flushing mechanisms: full and half flushes.  I leave the details to your imaginations…  Suffice it to say, this serves to conserve water.

The bed

Beds are made with a bottom sheet and a duvet (observed in each of the hotels and all furnished apartments I was in).  I stripped the cover off the duvet to wash it (see "laundry" below) and quickly realized I will not be washing that quite as often as I wash the bottom sheet.  Getting the duvet in and out of is cover is not an easy one-person task.



This is Amanda's room.  We bought the duvet cover and pillow cases to coordinate with the painting on her walls.

Laundry

We have a front-loading, very low water washer and no dryer.  I purchased a large drying rack from IKEA to set up in the house.  The method works fine, but is definitely not quick and so we are learning to plan ahead for getting clothes clean.

Drinking water

The water from the tap is reported to be perfectly safe and we do use it for brushing teeth, making tea, cooking food, etc.  Because of the taste I was buying bottled water, but now have a water cooler with really big bottles that get delivered.  The machine also dispenses hot water, which I am especially looking forward to in cooler weather when I drink more tea.

Doing errands

Because of reliance on walking and/or public transportation, doing errands can be quite time consuming.  Add to this that the economy is cash-based and personal transactions are the norm.  Making arrangements for our upcoming trip to the Black Sea meant two trips: on Monday, I walked to the bank (atm) to get sufficient cash then took a taxi to the travel agent (with whom Diana had already had several phone conversations on my behalf) – this took almost 2 hours total; on Tuesday, I again walked to the bank for more cash, took a taxi to the train ticketing agent, which was not where I had been told, so walked to the train station itself, purchased tickets, and returned via metro – total time about 90 minutes.  Very different from making a few clicks on my computer or picking up the telephone and paying by debit card!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, taking the recycling out means walking to these large bins that are on the streets or in parks.  I try to remember to take a few things with me when I am going that way for another errand.

 
Amanda bought something from a natural cosmetics store - this was the bag it came in.  (Sorry I couldn't get the picture to rotate.)  An amusing reminder to avoid landfills when possible.

Medical attention

For some unknown, unprovoked reason, Ralph bit one of Amanda's fingers Monday night.  I washed it and bandaged it, but decided Tuesday morning that it should be professionally examined.  I now have great empathy for immigrants and the poor in our country to have to navigate our US healthcare system!  Again, I started by calling one of my contacts – Mihai, this time – for a recommendation of where to go.  He recommended a private clinic and gave me the number to call.  During the phone call I was transferred among 3 different people and the phone call was dropped when we were part way through setting up an appointment.  When I called back, I repeatedly got a recorded message in Romanian and was unable to get through.  So we got in a taxi and just went…  When we arrived, the receptionist said, "you do not have an appointment and need to go to the hospital" (one associated with the clinic) that is about 6 blocks away.  So we went.  And then the story improves greatly…

We were seen almost immediately upon checking in at the desk.  Here are a few aspects of the interaction that I really appreciated:
·       I was told up front what the charges would be
·       The physician spoke English fairly well and was quite pleasant
·       She (the physician) paid attention to my caution about Amanda’s autism and hearing impairment
·       She also listened to my assurances that Amanda was up-to-date on tetanus and Ralph was up-to-date on rabies vaccine
·       The nurse, who did not speak English, was very gentle and patient with Amanda while cleaning the wounds
·       The wound was well cleaned and bandaged, while the physician wrote notes for what we needed to obtain from the pharmacy (antibiotic) in the same room.
·       We were in and out in half an hour with a bill of 125 lei (about $35)
The one thing I was less pleased by was that there was an assumption by the receptionist and by the physician that Amanda might need tetanus or rabies shots before we were asked her history.  However, that may have been a product of the fact there are so many stray dogs here in Romania and I suspect dog bites from them are more common than from pets.

All in all, we are still learning how to live in this new and different culture - and learning to count the blessings of our American life-style.  At the same time, there are many aspects of living here that are an improvement over the US.  My focus in these blogs is to provide my observations and perspectives...

3 comments:

  1. I'm really enjoying your posts! Thank you for filling us all in on your adventures. Have a good rest!

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  2. I haven't read far enough to know where Ralph enters the story. Will be interested to see if you brought him from home or got him once there. Shame on him for biting her finger...what are they out of milk bones over there :)

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