Brasov’s Parcul Sportiv

I made it to Romania and I took the weekend to start settling in. It seems that I brought the Georgia heat with me, and it’s already starting to feel a bit like summer here. I apologize for that ­čÖé Although, knowing Brasov, in a few days it will probably be rainy and cold.20160529_115822

We┬áwent on an exploring walk today to Brasov’s Parcul Sportiv (Sports Park). I can’t believe I didn’t know about this place before today. It was beautiful. People were out enjoying the weather, gathering here and there to chat or people watch on benches. The sweet smell of freshly cut grass complemented the bright blue sky. I got a little sunburned on my shoulders. It was great.

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Afterwards, we went to Lidl for an ice cream break but ended up buying a ton of Romania fan wear for the upcoming Romania vs. France soccer game. It’s a huge deal and everyone is gearing up for it. Even Pringles (PrinGOOOOOALS) is getting me excited for this match.

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Can chicken solve an educational woe?

This is my second post on chicken in Romania. The first was the politician who bribed people with tons of chicken, and it highlighted the sad corruption that exists even in the poorest parts of Romania. At first, that story seemed kind of funny, but the more you thought about it, the sadder it was – people were so in need of food that they accepted chicken as a bribe. Not Romania’s best moment.

This story, however, I think is positive.

The gist is that KFC will give you free internet if you can answer a question from the baccalaureate test correctly.

In Romania, students who are about to graduate take the┬ábaccalaureate test. It’s similar to the graduation tests we have in America. Basically, it’s meant to show your cumulative knowledge that you (hopefully) learned in your years in Romanian schools. It is also how you gain entrance to some┬áuniversities.

Now, I know that there are some problems with the current education system in Romania. I don’t fully understand the problems, but I have heard stories of teachers beating students or verbally abusing them, and I know that the salary of a teacher is not very high. Hmm…that sounds familiar, doesn’t it, America?

Horrible teachers aside, the fact is that last year 44% of all students taking the graduation test failed – a percentage never before seen. It was┬áshocking to the general population.

KFC, one of the few American fast food places I’ve seen (besides McDonald’s), is trying to ameliorate the problem by making those who want access to their WiFi answer a question from the baccalaureate test. It’s meant to force people into practicing, and I think it’s an interesting idea.

I guess the problem I have is from my American perspective on the relationship between fast food and the general population. This is a very bright idea, and one I hope others perpetrate, but fast food has no business marketing to minors. Fast food is not a saviour. It’s what got us in trouble in America with the obesity crisis. Fast food is part of our cultural identity. Most of us have grown up with it (happy meals, y’all), and now it’s ingrained into our subconscious and our daily routines. I just don’t want to see this happen to Romania, a country that has such a rich cultural background, especially with food.

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Don’t forget your Christmas bucket!

Should students be practicing and studying more for this extremely important test?

Yes, of course. But should a fast food “restaurant” be leading this fight?

In my opinion: hell, no.

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News article in Romanian:

KFC ├«╚Ťi ofer─â internet gratuit doar dac─â po╚Ťi s─â treci examenul de Bacalaureat 2016

Carla’s Dreams

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One of my favorite bands for learning Romanian is Carla’s Dreams. I listen to a lot of pop music because the lyrics are repetitive – and while that helps me learn the language, I also get really bored with the bubble gum superficiality of the songs. Enter Carla’s Dreams. The band was formed in Moldova and the perform “in disguise” with face paint, hoodies, and sunglasses. The lead singer has a very distinct voice; it’s very low and he uses just enough vocal fry.

I’ve posted some of their songs here before (Aripile and Sub Piela Mea) because I love the flow of the melodies and the beat of the words (sorry, that’s as technical as it’s going to get, lol). The best thing about Carla’s Dreams is that many of the songs hover between pop music and spoken word poetry. In this song, you get depth and melancholy in the lyrics along with a catchy beat, the best of both worlds:

I appreciate the homage to traditional music woven subtly in the beats in Suna-ma and Ratusca:

Here is a song in English (which oddly enough, I don’t like nearly as much as the songs in Romanian – he just sounds like the guy from Creed in this one):

In Russian:

and then there’s songs that are just for┬áfun – this song in particular was very popular last summer. I think I’ve heard it a million times, but I only recently looked up the lyrics.:

 

Speaking of bands and artists that sing in Romanian, I would love any suggestions for music. Who should I be listening to? Bonus points if it’s vaguely easy to understand the words ­čÖé

…and does anyone know where I can see this band live? I know they just had a concert, but I’m hoping they’ll perform more this summer.

A Birthday Gift

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Today is my birthday.┬áCoincidentally, it┬áalso happens to be Mother’s Day in America (you’re welcome, Mom).┬áIn celebration of my glorious day of birth, I am going to give you, dear Reader, a gift.

Leo de la Strehaia. Holding puppies. #tender

 

…and last but not least, Leo de la Strehaia, the pirate. Or Napoleon. I can’t tell?

Damn, Leo. Why do you always keep me guessing?!

(Mrs. de la Strehaia is looking very lovely in her 1860s Civil War ball gown)

La Multi Ani!

Did we just become best friends?!

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Dear Romania,

I hope you enjoy the F-22 warplanes we’ve sent to you. All two of them.

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The F-22 is a really cool airplane, and the symbolism here is mega important. The gift of these two planes is a powerful sign of our alliance with Romania, and our commitment to support the region militarily. Not to mention how fitting it is to send these jets to the country that invented modern jet propulsion (thank you,┬á Henri Coand─â). [edit: I’ve been told these are not a gift – we are not even letting Romania borrow them! It seems we┬ájust wanted to park them in the joint military base we have near Constanta. Isn’t that a little like calling up your friend and asking if you can park your Lamborghini next to their Dacia in the garage? ]

Here they are landing in Romania (with our boys,Team America, at :56):

 

Here’s an video showing the F-22 doing a vertical takeoff. That’s right, vertical.

Yass, queen! That was amazing!

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If you’re ~really~ interested, here is a documentary about the technology in the airplanes:

Romania, you know what comes next right? ROAD TRIP!

Romania and America, BFF

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