Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Read this Book!

˝Three Cups of Tea˝ by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin. Also here is a pic of myself and Ion doing some field work...

Seroiusly Read this book, it is an important message!


Monday, July 7, 2008

"Watching the shadows of the clouds and the surface of the sea out the window of a plane..."

It is good to be home, well almost home. I am back in Romania, sitting in my favorite Internet cafe in Romania 51km from the village. After spending the last couple weeks traveling to Bucharest then to Barcelona, Spain and back again I am excited to get home. My clothes are in desperate need of a wash, my tired shoulders need to let go of my monstrous back pack and my body is in need of more than two nights sleep on the same pillow. My tanned face is a constant reminder of a my wonderful first visit to the great country of Spain. My timing could not have been better to arrive in Barcelona. Within my first three days in Spain, I was able to watch and celebrate both of Spain's victories in their semi-final and final matches making them the 2008 European Cup Championships, Viva Espana! Walking up and down La Ramblas in the Gothic District of Barcelona, drinking cans of Estrella Galacia, horns honking, Spanish flags waving and naturally crowds chanting "Ole, Ole, Ole" all night long, was pretty amazing! In between the excitement of the European Cup Semi-finals and finals, my friend Katelyn and I were able to catch Jack Johnson playing with his buddies Mason Jennings and G-Love & Special Sauce...need I saw more, it was amazing and the first time I had ever seen Jack live! Once the hangover of Spain's European Cup Championship cleared up, we left the city limits of Barcelona for a mountain town/village Montserrat. There is a very famous and beautiful Monastery that makes up Montserrat and is home to a Statue of a Black Virgin. I am not 100% sure but from what I gathered from what little I understand in Spanish and Catalan I think this statue is unique to the whole world. Montserrat was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. After leaving Montserrat we cruised up the coast of the Mediterranean to the Costa Brava region of Spain and landed in little fishing village called Tossa de Mar. Tossa was my favorite part of the trip besides the Jack Johnson concert. I think the influences living in a small village in Romania have been more profound than I realized. Beside the homey, friendly feel and amazing sea food of Tossa, the real attraction for me were their beaches. My Mom has always told me how beautiful and unique the Mediterranean is, but you can never get a grasp of it until you see, feel and taste it...I obviously need to improve my swimming skills! The water is a vivid crystal clear blue contrasting the beaches golden brown, pebbly surface. Costa Barva is known for its rough and rocky coastline and I know can understand its appeal. We spent 3 days in Tossa before having to return to Barcelona to catch our flights. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it down the south of Spain on this trip. Tourist season prices were in full effect for airlines and trains so I will just have to go back for a return visit and focus on the south of Spain and maybe even the Canary Islands! I could not believe how easy it was to get around in all the parts of Spain I visited, every where we went it was so easy to get there with signs, bus schedules and all. Also, Barcelona is a large city with a ton of tourists, but the city is unbelievably clean! Even the monday morning after Spain's victory over Germany, the streets were spotless! Lastly, the Spanish people I meet and interacted with were extremely friendly and laid back. I guess this is understandable, coming from a culture that puts up the CLOSED sign for 2-3 hours every afternoon for a siesta, why didn't Americans ever catch on to that one!? I will be honest, after the nine days that I spent in Spain I was missing Romania and specifically my village. Understandably I am very biased towards Romania because I am living here, but it really is a beautiful country with very friendly, hospitable people and culture. I remember when I first arrived in Romania one year and a couple of months ago not being able to understand and communicate with the people. It was a frustrating, exhausting feeling and one that I had not felt for awhile until I arrived in Spain. It was very nice to arrive at Bucharest's OTP International airport and be able to ask for direction to the train station in Romanian. It was even better when on the train back towards the village I was asked where I was from and I told them a small village in Maramures, Poinele Izei.

Something that has been singing in my head lately:

"Who's to say
What's impossible
Well they forgot
This world keeps spinning
And with each new day
I can feel a change in everything
And as the surface breaks reflections fade
But in some ways they remain the same
And as my mind begins to spread its wings
There's no stopping curiosity..."
- Jack Johnson