My Romanian Top Ten

My Fulbright year was full of wonderful experiences. Here are my top 10 from the year.
1. Driving the Transfagarasan road. This was a major highligh of my year. The road is amazing to drive and was in the middle of a gorgeous part of the country.

2. Celebrating May Day. I experienced two days of celebration. Both felt so authentically Romanian I was delighted to participate.

3. Hitting the send button to submit the articles I wrote for review for publication. After working hard it was great to finally usher those manuscripts out the door and have the opportunity to share the findings with the world.

4 & 5. Orientation and Fulbright Goodbye. The Romanian Fulbrighters of 2011-2012 were a delightful group of people. I enjoyed getting to know them in Bucharest in October, hearing about their experiences throughout the year, and having the chance to say goodbye to most of them in Sibiu in May.

6. Presenting at the International Social Work Conference in Petrosani. One of my fellow Fulbrighters, along with others at her university, coordinated a conference in May. She invited me to present some of the work I have done.

7. Visiting the painted monasteries of Bucovina. Despite the cold and gray November days and the interminable train ride to get there the painted monasteries in Bucovina were nothing short of amazing. My favorite among the monasteries was a small out-of-the-way place whose paintings were mostly gone but whose caretaker was so delighted by our visit he proudly showed off the bell tower and sent us on our way with walnuts.

8. Research presentation of my psychology students in Lupeni in November. Two students from Northwestern College presented the research they worked on over their semester living in Lupeni. I was so proud of them for having the courage to come to Romania to do their senior thesis work and the persistence to design and implement a study in a second language in a foreign country.

9. Sighisoara. Sighisoara is enchanting, as are the fortified churches in the area around Sighisoara. My visits to this town were delightful.

10. The wonderful Wednesday that began with the transit of Venus and ended with a viewing of Iron Sky in Piata Unirii. A great day. Despite the two major events of the day my favorite part of it was the morning cup of tea and pastry eaten with Daniela on a bench on Eroilor Blvd.

Oh dear, I’m already at 10 and I haven’t even mentioned the snowy hike I took with a Fulbright friend in Petrosani, the visits and travel with my parents and cousin, All Saint’s Day or St. Nicholas Day or Easter.  And I didn’t include simple delights like the many gustatory adventures of the year or the sheer joy I felt getting my residence permit or figuring out how to pay my monthly apartment fees. So many interesting adventures. Perhpas I should have done a top 17.

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