So much on the mind right now and I wouldn't even know where to begin, so with the hope of more to come later in the week, working it out into words, here's a totally unrelated post about this thing that happens to me all the time.
It's starting to get crazy. I get approached all the time here, and when I say all the time I am not exaggerating at all. Nearly every day now and it's been happening since I got here. Usually it's in the metro, sometimes on the street. And most of the time it's been people asking for directions with the exception of last week, wherein I was asked three different times if I had a lighter.
The thing is, I do not draw attention to myself when I'm out in public. I blend in really well--Romanians think I am Romanian all the time, and even one the other day thought I was even after hearing me speak (which to me suggests she didn't hear me well, but...), Americans think I'm Romanian. To be fair, if I'm hanging out with people I'm really smiley and in that way I think my American-ness shows, but if I'm going across the city by myself, I'm as subdued and in my head as anyone else. The point is, the reasons that might immediately come to mind to explain this fall through in this case.
As an example, just today I went to pick up my permis de sedere (basically this is the ID that says I'm legal here and I get it instead of a visa stamp in my passport) and while waiting at Unirii, a woman came up to me and asked for the directions to the metro. Since the metro is right there and my Romanian is to the point where I can give directions no problem, I told her the way. And she was really friendly, thanking me and calling me draga (dear), even touching my arm. And then five minutes later another woman approached me and asked if I spoke English. She was from Holland, asked me if I was a Christian. Turns out she was with some group doing an outreach thing and we talked for a while about the sort of things two Christians talk about when they meet each other on the street.
And then on the way home someone in the metro asked for directions like they always do. The truth is that I don't mind at all and in fact I like to be able to help, to try to speak the language. I'm excited that I can finally do it, language-wise. I just don't know what the heck it is that makes them always come up to me--I'm not even from here! Oh and also, I'm always listening to music when they do. Not earbuds, but real headphones. It's not convenient. They have to interrupt me to do it. Again, no problems, but it appears there is something written on my face that says I know how to get anywhere you might ever wish to go. And that I have a lighter to support your smoking habit (sorry, friends, I think smoking is gross). And! This doesn't include the sort of approaching one either ignores altogether or cuts one's eyes at. I'm telling you. You would not believe.
This one I'm leaving open-ended. Taking bets on what the next new question will be.