When I was in grad school, I wrote a short story about an immigrant couple who moved to America. The man left his non-English speaking wife at home every day, and she became scared to venture out without him. Just a trip to the grocery was overwhelming for her. My creative writing teacher told me the story was unrealistic and cliche.
…and yet here I am, overwhelmed at the grocery store. How many kinds of sausage can there be? And yes, creative writing teacher, my eyes do glaze over (he told me this phrase was also very cliche). Granted, I am not some abandoned immigrant wife, but there is some merit to the idea of the culture shock that everyone experiences when they truly immerse in the unknown.
To help myself, I am studying the language. I work a little every day. I find Memrise is truly the most helpful app for learning Romanian. I’m focusing on one section called “Random Romanian Sentences” – seriously. I’ve learned helpful phrases like, “Do you know me?” (Ma cunosti?) and “I am so fat” (Sunt asa de grasa). Not to mention my favorite, “Mor de foamea!” (I’m dying of hunger!) – I like to add an “Doamne” to that sentence for a little drama. Imagine me lying on the couch, clutching my stomach – AYYYY Doamne, mor de foamea! Nu se poata! Sunt asa de grasa!! (translation: OMG, I’m dying of hunger! It cannot be! I am so fat!).
Anyway, the point is – I am adjusting to here and honestly, I still like it. Even though I’ve noticed something disturbing. It just sort of occurred to me the other day. There are no squirrels. Where are the squirrels?! Eaten by the street dogs? It’s not like there aren’t trees here – I just haven’t seen any of the furry tailed rats since I’ve been here. Once you notice this, it’s kind of odd. Or maybe it’s odd that I noticed. Whatever 🙂 (sunt nebuna? poate)
I’ve obviously got a long way to go, Frate. Maybe when I write my own story, I’ll include the part where my eyes glaze over…like a fresh gogosi. Or maybe my stomach will twist in knots…like a covrigi.
and on that note, I will leave you with this incredibly offense, but incredibly hilarious street “art”: