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?
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.
:sheds a single tear for all the wine festivals that will be missed:
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.
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.