A list of things to do when you miss Romania

I’ve been very “homesick” lately for Romania. I realize that I am an American, but Romania always felt like home to me. A place that I always felt like I could spend the rest of my life. I place that I instantly recognized.

I’ve never had that feeling in the United States. I’ve been to a lot of places here, and even in the nicest cities I’ve always felt like something was missing. We’re planning a trip in June (fingers crossed!), so in the meantime, here is how I am keeping myself occupied.

Live Cameras in Romania

I just like to watch the weather mostly. It’s also fun to see people out and about having fun. Or just living life in general. Here are some of my recent favorites:

  1. Ceasu Rau in Brasov – a 360 degree view of Brasov. Zooms in and out!
  2. Strada Michael Weiss in Brasov – one of the side streets from Republicii
  3. Piata Sfatului – the historic square in Brasov
  4. Sacele Panoramic – a quiet city camera with a nice mountain view
  5. Bran Castle – “Dracula’s Castle” – always lit up and fun to see in the different seasons

Not into creeping on some city cams? Here is a great YouTube video with beautiful drone scenery of Romania with some relaxing music.

Something else you can do to create “Romania” at home: cook!

There is an amazing new cookbook called Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania. It’s not only full of delicious recipes, but it also has gorgeous photos and stories as well. The cover is absolutely beautiful – honestly I would display it if I didn’t actually use it for cooking.

carpathia-cookbook

You can also follow the author Irina Georgescu on Instagram – @irina.r.georgescu or check out her website. She posts recipes and sometimes does live cooking classes (a perfect gift for the aspiring Romanian cook in your life).

sarmale-before-and-after

We’ve made several things from this cookbook including sarmale, mamaliga, and cremsnit.

carpathia-recipes
On left – Sarmale in my instant pot; On the right – attempts at cremsnit and mamaliga

If cooking isn’t your thing, maybe look into finding an international grocery store with Romanian products. There is a fabulous one that we visit and you can buy ingredients and pre-made foods, like mici.

romance
Nothing says romance quite like mici!

Here are some of our recent hauls – naturally we eat everything in a day or two (especially the zacusca!)

products-of-Romania
I didn’t know this, but apparently the ROM bars have real alcohol in them?

And last but not least – try and find a Romanian festival! These festivals are usually held at Romanian churches for the purpose of fundraising and socializing. At the beginning of the pandemic, most of them were cancelled, but we were able to find one last fall that really boosted my spirits. The music was loud, the food was tasty, and nobody spoke to me in English. It was great! I love any chance to wear my Romanian blouse (the ie), and I also love that for a brief period of time, my son was completely immersed in the Romanian language and culture.

romanian-festival-food
Romanian Festival Food. Obviously, we enjoy the classics!

Hopefully this list helps you brainstorm some ways to experience Romania wherever you are. If you are lucky enough to take a trip (and I hope that we are!), make sure to bring some goodies back to share with your loved ones. COVID makes everything a bit more complicated, but it’s so important to my husband and I that we share Romanian culture with our son. I want him to grow up with at least some cultural cachet so that he can have a reference for when he visits. And maybe…someday we’ll move back for a time so he can get the real experience!

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