Mici Mici Mici Mici

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The secret ingredient is Ciucas beer poured over the meat while it’s on the grill

Happy 1 Mici…I mean, 1 Mai, everybody!

The first of May is a special holiday in Romania. It’s labor day, which means almost everything is closed and almost everybody gets the whole day to chill!

Appropriate trips or activities for this day include: going to the seaside, going to the mountains, or getting out into the countryside.

But above all, you must grill mici.

From this Romania Insider article:

“The…peak [of Mici sales] is recorded in the May 1 mini-break, when the Romanians eat more than 30 million mici in 2-3 days, representing 1,500 tons.”

1,500 tons of mici.

For the uninitiated, the word mici means “littles” in Romanian, so mici are (little) sausages of minced meat. This can lead to some jokes, such as the one McDonald’s made a year or so ago in this commercial:

You can see, mici are more than a little popular (ha). You can find them everywhere – some places make them not-so-mici and they end up looking more like hamburger sticks. Any way you get them, you can dip them in some muștar (mustard) and they’re pretty tasty. I didn’t like them at first, but they’ve grown on me a bit.

So I hope everyone enjoyed their day of rest. We had beautiful weather in Brasov and celebrated with a backyard grill and sitting in the sun. Everything is so green here. It smells amazing.

Bonus picture of the mici magician, whose favorite trick is making mici disappear:

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“Abra-ca-DABRAchompGHGHHHgulp lick lick lick”

First Romanian School

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Hello, beautiful weather!

Mother Nature tried her best. For a few mornings, it would spit snow, only to melt straightaway. She decided to give it up, and now we have a beautiful Spring happening in Brasov.

Boy, am I thankful. As a solar-powered person, I was seriously lacking in much needed energy. Also, I was dead sick of boots. My feet needed to BREATHE.

We’re studying some various topics in Romanian classes, one of them being the Romanian educational system. Our Professor was kind enough to arrange a field trip to the First Romanian School, happily located in Brasov (Schei neighborhood).

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We took the bus to the Piata Unirii station and met our guide outside of Biserica Sfântul Nicolae din Brașov (St. Nicolas Church).

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Our guide was just the best – he had a great sense of humor and explained everything to us in detail. It was his birthday so we sang La Multi Ani to him.

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Technology in the first Romanian school: abacus = early computer; chalk tablet = early iPad

There were many things for sale – maps and books and etc. The guide said he’s written over thirty books that no one’s read – HA.

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Costumes of the Junii Brasovului – the founding families of Brasov

The books in the museum ranged from biblical to scientific. The ones we saw were either written in Romanian Cyrillic or in Greek. Fun fact: the Romanian language was written in Cyrillic until the late 1800s. To me, visually, it’s very beautiful – but alas, totally unreadable to me.

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Many of the books were from as early as the 1500s. Lots of the them had been printed right there in the school. During Communism, all of the texts were hidden in the church. By doing this, they were able to save over 30,000 of Romania’s historical documents and books.

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The entrance price is ten lei for adults and you can easily walk there from the Black Church (Biserica Neagra) or take a quick bus (4 lei for a round trip ticket) to Piata Unirii.

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I love Romanian stoves! These are original from the 1700s.

After we toured the school, we went into Biserica Sf. Nicolae and our Professor bought us some candles to light “for our health”. Because the church is so old, they have a separate building for lighting candles. We finished our trip by taking a tour of the grounds.

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The whole experience was really great. I love books, especially old ones, so I was in hog heaven 🙂

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Protests in Romania

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The politics in the Romania government have been very interesting as of late. The Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, has spoken out publicly against the opposition party (PSD) and its party leader, Liviu Dragnea because the PSD has made some pretty shady moves this past month.

A few weeks ago, we started hearing about the new laws and changes that the PSD wanted to make in the government. Some were okay (free train tickets for students) and some were absolutely unbelievable. For example, a person working for the government can steal up to 50,000 euro without punishment. This is great news for a lot of criminals, including Mr. Dragnea, who was under investigation for stealing about 30,000 euros. The law was (obviously) wildly unpopular because it basically decriminalized corruption, which Romanians have been diligently trying to fight for years.

The law was passed in the middle of the night while we were all sleeping.

We woke up feeling outraged, like someone had stolen something from us. Pride? Dignity? A prosperous economic future in the European Union? Romania wants to enter Schengen, will they let us enter now that our country has legalized stealing?

The move by Dragnea and PSD was immediately censured by the international community. The Romanian people were also moved to action – and went to the streets.

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This doesn’t translate exactly – something like “Please, forgive us – we don’t produce as much as you steal”

This is where I chose to get involved. I am a legal, tax-paying resident of this country. I also love Romania and what it stands for – I couldn’t keep myself from joining the crowd and chanting, “Nu vrem sa fim o natie de hoti!” (We don’t want to be a nation of thieves!).

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Protests in Bucharest drew up to 250,000 people

As of right now, I have heard that the government will repeal the law, but people are still suspicious. I’ve heard others say they won’t stop protesting until the PSD government steps down. We’ll see in the next days and weeks what will happen, but I am so proud of Romania and her people. Democracy is here, alive and well.

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Teaching the next generation about the voice of the people 🙂

The protests themselves were mature, peaceful, and poignant. In Bucuresti and Brasov, people brought their children to make signs and march. It’s so important to pass on the values of democracy to the next generation.

Here is a video from the protests in Brasov (taken from a few different nights):

 

Further reading on the protests (in English):

Time Magazine (Feb. 6): Everything to Know About Romania’s Anti-Corruption Protests

Reuters (Feb. 2) – Romanian government stands ground as thousands protest 

Reuters (Feb. 5) – Video – Romania protests persist despite government climb down

New York Times (Feb. 5) – Romania Protests Simmer despite promises to back down

 

VISCOL (blizzard)

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The entire country of Romania has been hit with some pretty insane winter weather. Last week, we had a blizzard for three days. It was snowy and windy and freezing. The snow finally stopped, but the cold didn’t, and when woke up yesterday, it was -25c. I have no idea what that is in Freedom units (F), but at that temperature, I don’t think it matters. It’s COLD. Like, really, really, painfully cold.

This morning, we woke up to another blizzard. It’s only about -13c right now, but it’s not much relief. I want to do a post on how many layers of clothing I wear every day. Clau put on four (4!!!) layers today. Fleece undershirt, zip up sweater jacket thing, puffy under jacket, and outer jacket. He’s got pants under his pants and two pairs of wool socks under his winter boots. Insane.

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In fact, the weather is so bad that they cancelled school Tuesday and Wednesday. Keep in mind, Romania does not have school buses, so most kids walk. Even though most live close to school, it’s too cold to expect the kids to walk the short distances to class. They don’t cancel school for “ice” (looking at you, Georgia), but they do cancel school for a blizzard. Although the University is open today, which means *I* have to go to class. I am not walking, no way in hell. Today is an Uber day.

I am looking forward to the day that the weather is close to freezing again (ha ha).

Reuters article on our plight: HERE

Romanian newspaper article in English on the closing of schools: HERE

Want to watch the Romanian weather report? The weatherman is an institution – everyone loves him

Live Cameras of Brasov! (if you watch this today, you can observe our pain!)