View from the kitchen, looking along Strada Cronicarilor. Notice the stadium lights (soccer) and the hospital in the background.
We have already made a couple of trips to Ikea to purchase things like waste baskets, shower curtain and rod (tubs, not showers, here), small shelving unit, extra towels and sheets (the landlady provided exactly two of each) and kitchen implements that were not provided. Two trips to the grocery store to begin stocking up on some of the basics are another source of money outflow, but it has been nice to start eating some meals here at home rather than at restaurants. I have been shown a natural foods store in easy walking distance in additional to the regular supermarket. As Diana, my contact at the university, tells me "Here in Romania almost all food is natural however, especially as compared to America."
Our neighborhood is not particularly upscale, as you see in the pictures, but feels safe and has all the amenities in walking distance. The house has a lovely yard in which lots of beautiful roses are blooming. The yard also includes 2 small yappy dogs that stay in a small fenced area and a play area for the owners' grandchildren. Ralph has the run of the yard as long as we are with him as Alina, the daughter, is very afraid of dogs. Alina’s son, Andre, is autistic and so we already have a common bond for discussion. There are 2 good sized parks, for longer walks and outings with Ralph, within reasonable walking distance.
I have been frustrated with the time and difficulty of getting some things accomplished. To get money for renting the apartment I had to have money wired to me from the US because I was unable to access my bank balance directly. It took me 3 days to set up a new bank account here. It is all accomplished now, but was very frustrating at the time. LESSON 1: When the Fulbright handbook says to bring cash for the first few days, it means 2-3 thousand dollars, not 2-3 hundred. That amount was needed for the first and last months’ rent, as well as commission for the rental agent. LESSON 2: Bring electrical converters from home. I finally was able to obtain a converter after a week of being here – they are not easy to find. (See related comments in previous post.)
Today's plan had originally been to walk to a different park with Ralph, but it has been a gray, rainy day. Most of our days here have been lovely and sunshiny! I am sure folks were glad to have a little rain today. So we have been relaxed and catching up on computer activities. Depending on the weather tomorrow, we will head to the new park with Ralph or downtown to see some of the historic city center.