My departure date is getting closer, and I’m starting to gather items to pack. I’m starting to feel nostalgic even though I haven’t left yet. I guess I’m starting to say goodbye to my country and my comfort zone.
I’m worried about everything. Culture shock, mostly. I know my Romanian is going to be horrible when I arrive, and I’m afraid to offend people with my bad language skills.
I’m worried there will come a day when I’m just done with Romania, Romanian, those damn beautiful mountains, polenta, EVERYTHING – and I just curl into a ball until someone spoon feeds me a McFlurry.
I’m sure there will be a time when all I want to do is make a blanket fort that I will claim for America, and I will eat Lay’s potato chips, drink Coca-Cola, and watch ~all~ of Gone with the Wind…and I think that’s okay.
I’m confident that if I mentally prepare myself for change, it will go easier for me. Maybe.
In order to help me feel like I’m not so far from home, I’m considering bringing a suitcase just for items I won’t be able to get in Romania. I’m going to be gone a long time, and I can’t expect anyone to pay the ridiculous shipping fees (and then lose the package anyway! Here’s looking at you, United States Postal Service).
Even though I was pleasantly surprised at how many diversity they have in food at the grocery store, there are some things I just wasn’t able to find. I was kind of surprised to discover a theme amongst my items…they are all (mostly) in bottles. Strange.
Bottle #1: Bottles of Hot Sauce
I’m going to bring Sriracha, Tapatio, and Frank’s to Romania. I love hot sauce. I love spicy food. I have found neither in Romania. Well, they have hot sauce, but it’s not hot enough for me. In fact, I don’t recall eating any spicy Romanian food…ever. Does it exist? The spiciest food I had last time was at the Turkish restaurant (which was amazing).
I’m going to need to bring my own supplies if I have any hope of re-creating Mexican food in Romania. I’m going to bring an assortment of Frank’s hot sauce, well, because I put that shit on everything. They have hot sauce and wing sauce. Both are absolutely amazing.
Now, if I can just find an actual cilantro plant, I’ll be set for salsa.
Bottle #2: Bottles of Beer
I’m not a big drinker, but I will admit that I enjoy local craft beer over any other kind of alcohol. We have so many local breweries here that you would be insane to order some Budweiser (*COUGH*catpiss*COUGH) or even something like Guinness (which actually tastes good…in Ireland). The craft beer also changes by season as well. I’m not going to lie, I’ll really miss drinking a pumpkin ale on a crisp autumn night.
Bottle #3: Bottles of Fireball
Another bottle of alcohol that I’ll probably bring is Fireball. Fireball “Whiskey” is a cinnamon liqueur that tastes just like those cinnamon jawbreakers you used to get as a kid (fireball jawbreakers, hence the name). On it’s own, it’s kind of headache inducing, but you can mix it with a hard apple cider and it’s absolutely magic. It’s insanely popular here. I don’t think I’ve ever had a night at the bar where someone hasn’t (obnoxiously) called for a round of fireball shots. It’s probably what they serve in hell. Just look what it does to Christ Pratt:
I understand that it’s not sold in Europe because it has too much of a certain chemical and it doesn’t meet the standards. Maybe they’ve reformulated and it’s back out for sale, but I haven’t found it yet.
Bottle #4: …and some bottles of Georgia wine?
University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Georgia
I’m going to miss Dahlonega wine. There’s nothing like eating cheese and sipping wine looking over the blue ridges of the southern Appalachians. I went to University here for both of my degrees, and I miss the beautiful view.
The Appalachians. Be still, my heart.
:sheds a single tear for all the wine festivals that will be missed:
Amy Schumer, My Spirit Animal
Bottle#5: Stuff for S’mores (okay, I lied – S’mores are not in bottles)
(large white marshmallows, honey graham crackers, and plain Hershey’s chocolate)
Here is something really funny. Before I came to Romania, I would have never thought twice about S’mores. Maybe if you’re at a bonfire and someone brings them, and you’re like, hey – great idea! But I think most people don’t really consider smores to be worth fretting about, let alone making this big of a deal about. S’mores weren’t important to me at all until I wanted to share them with the Romanian friends. Then, they became my unicorn. My Moby Dick.
In case you were wondering how S’mores are born…
It was slightly impossible to find the ingredients for smores. I looked in several stores (actually, every grocery store we went into), and I was able to find small pink marshmallows and some other “American BBQ” style marshmallows, but nothing that would make an America-sized s’more. I also found Cookies-n-Creme Hershey’s (Ew, really?), but no plain. And forget graham crackers. The closest things I found were these kid crackers that were rectangle shaped.
So we ended up with a Frankenstein s’more. I was surprised by how not bad they were, but this Franken-s’more still wasn’t the real deal. I wanted to share my culture with my friends! How can they ever know what America tastes like if they don’t have S’MORES??!
I am still obsessed. So this time, I will bring my own supplies. Just call me Ishmael.