Monday, May 19, 2014

Easter vacation in Romania

Ciupi the second and the two ducklings
With Ciupi the 2nd
The ducklings
For two weeks the children had their own pet lamb and two ducklings to follow them around. The ducklings were about one month old and thus big enough to not be in imminent danger from the cats. By the end of the vacation, Edward had the courage to carry one of the ducks across the garden. He felt very strong and smart every time he did it. He would thus come and remind me in the evening that we had to put the ducklings to bed. Ciupi the 2nd was just as friendly as Ciupi the 1st, which is the lamb I had when I was in highschool. We only wished we could have stayed longer.

Easter treats
With Buni Luci's chickens
Investigating baby spiders
Before we left Zurich to go on vacation, we received a package with some Easter candy and treats from Edward's grandparents and two chocolate-Easter chickens from the next door neighbour who regularly gives the children treats.

There was no time to dye or paint Easter eggs this year. When my mom and I were not driving, there was a lot of paperwork to do and people to see. However, the day we arrived in Timisoara Buni Luci (our next door neighbour) gave the children Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs. She also brought us boiled, red-dyed eggs from her chickens, and really good cakes and fresh radishes the garden, which we took back with us. We even planted a very tiny raddish outside our house in Switzerland. It must have gotten pulled out by mistake, but now it's grown quite big. The rest we ate. Mari (a very good family friend) sent us sarmale and cakes and eggs from Clopodia. Tanti Lenuta made fresh orange juice and placinta, and my brother, Mihai cooked wild boar for us. It's the first time he cooked when I was there. I guess it's better to start later than never. My cousin, Delia, also came to see us and brought us really good chocolate and T-shirts for the children, and hair-pins for me. It is always great to see her, and everyone else, of course.

The stone quarry
We visited a stone quarry! It was very exciting! The children climbed
Climbing on gravel
on various piles of gravel and splashed in the water at the bottom of the quarry. The water was much warmer than the Mures river, which flows nearby. We were told the water in the quarry was clean since it is removed every work-day. It was a little muddy. However, I think the probability of it being contaminated by radioactive elements like Uranium is fairly small, and we did not drink it anyway. The volcanic rocks, which broke easily to Edward's delight, were a little tough on our feet. There was also complicated metal machinery for extracting the stones from the mountain, and some fancy bulldozers & other things to investigate.

The run-away boat
Mihai saved a run-away boat that had been taken by the current. It was quite dramatic. The children were crying when they were watching Mihai swim after the boat because they were worried he would not make it back. It was spring and the river was carrying all sorts of trees and trash. 

Pheasants & chicks & little dogs, and wild piglets
We saw pheasants flying by the road and lots of baby chicks in all the farms we visited. One of the
children also had a tiny dog whose name was Haiduc. He had his own little house built for him with the name written on it.

With Grandma on a swing
One farmer showed us two wild piglets they had. They were raising them together with their domestic piglets. They looked stripy, but otherwise similar to the other piglets. The wild pigs can be quite a problem for crops. So, people hunt them and when left behind after the mother is killed, the piglets die if they are not adopted by people. While it is cruel to hunt wild boars when we as people have so much more than animals, it must have been how pigs were domesticated in the first place.

We saw many more birds, pheasants, deer, wolves and wild boars in Romania, Hungary and the rest of Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. This was very evident as we were driving through.  Of course, all agriculture is moving towards monocultures. But some diversity should be encouraged and supported. Otherwise, most wild life will be gone. There should be more parks and forests, and fewer zoos where wild animals are always so unhappy.

Edward's dream 
On Thursday (May 1st) Edward woke up telling me a story. He said he dreamed that all the houses were falling down, but he was not scared because all the people were dead. So, the houses were not needed any more. Instead of people there were dinosaurs and cars and tractors. The machines could all function on their own. However, the crops would run away from the tractors. Then the tractors could not harvest them. Apparently this was very funny. Even the potatoes would run away, which was good because it allowed the plants to live longer. I am not sure what the dinosaurs in Edward's dream ate, but, evidently, this was not a bad dream for him because he likes tractors, cars and dinosaurs. I guess he does not think the world needs anything else.

Dreams, spells and the Kangaru
Lugoj: with Tanti Mia and Costel
Both Edward and David have very vivid imaginations. They each own a "kangaru" in their dreams - which is a flying machine that can do any number of things. It contains a big bed where they both can sleep until late in the morning and pans for cooking pancakes, and lots of candy. And whenever there is something that they are not allowed/cannot have, they will fly with their kangaru and take it. They also pretend to be wizards and compose spells. We read a book about the Buchstabenhexe and were hooked on spells since (no Harry Potter or Wizard of Oz yet).

Since I am mentioning dreams, I should say that we went to Lugoj for a few hours and saw Tanti Mia and Nenea Costel.  They are still just as kind, charismatic and funny as they have always been (I heard how beautiful I am; I am more beautiful than the last time they saw me, and somehow I am going to become even more beautiful in the future) and it's always amazing to see them. Lugoj is still the perfect place on Earth for me and it's present in most of my dreams - although, I admit it is unlikely it will ever be important for my children.

First fine while driving in Europe
I received a fine for not having my lights on in Hungary. It was noon, and the sun was shinning brightly. I was driving slowly on a country road, when two policemen stopped me and fined me in Hungarian. They took almost an hour to write my name on a sheet of paper and then on their computer. It was clearly not because of any safety concerns - they just need money. I suppose the roads in Hungary are good enough and they are building more. So, some of my 30 Euro fine hopefully went to a good cause. However, it was annoying that Mihai had to go back to Hungary to pay it. Since it was in Hungarian, banks outside Hungary did not know what to do with it. Also, Switzerland is outside the EU.

Changing tires

Mihai and the children replaced the front tires of the car. They had fun doing it!

Changing Tires
Note: This post is both overdue and overcrowded with too many things, but it's the best I can do for now.  I am not aiming to include everything - just some fraction of what I remember. I apologize for what I forgot to mention or described too little or too much.

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