Well, curled in my bed eating lemons with salt to cure a sore throat and otherwise still sort of spinning from this past week at a conference in Germany. Lots of thoughts and reflections about the talks, particularly one on grace, and just how difficult it is to return to Romania after spending a week among people who do what you do, who love students and long for home too.
But that's for tomorrow. For now, the shenanigans and fun leading up to, during and after the conference.
First, I have Bucuresti to thank for being possibly the only city in which nearly getting run over by a car helps keep you from being eaten by a dog. Yeah, that happened. I was walking to the bus stop the day before I left with two big backpacks and one of the street dogs that usually hangs out in the area (and has never bothered me before) decided because I was much larger and formidable-looking than normal that it was his job to chase me out of his territory (read: the part in front of the bloc where you have to walk).
So there he was behind me, barking really loudly. Normally they don't bother me and when they I do, I talk to them. You'd be surprised but heeeei ce faci, ma? cum te cheamaaaaa? works wonders. Probably people think you're crazy and possibly the dogs do too, but it's kept me from being bitten so far and these dogs get pretty aggressive. Anyway, this dog was entirely too aggressive to converse with so I just kept walking quickly and hoped he'd stop once I got out of his territory (again, read: the street).
About a second later I noticed that there was a car coming. Split-second decision-making, pros and cons. If I stop, I will not be hit by the car but I will be eaten by a dog. If I keep walking, I might not get bit (bitten?) but I might get hit--although the dog might too. Second option: more pros. (Six months ago I would have been appalled to hear people joking about running over street dogs... turns out Bucuresti nudges you out of that sensitivity.) So! I stepped in front of the car driving toward me and all in the same second, he slams on brakes, I side-step the car (pretty spry for a kid with twenty kilos on her back), dude is laying on the horn and shouting and the dog bites my leg. Luckily it was more of a nip and I was wearing jeans. However once I was on the other side of the street I turned around and yelled:
Nu mi-e frica de tine! Which means: I'm not afraid of you. Sucker.
Just as a fun factoid, I was reading some newspaper at the conference about some people who cycled across Europe raise money to buy a minibus for a church in Romania and while in this country they reported being chased by wild dogs. Yup, sounds about right.
Second, for the fun night at the conference we got to do ceilidh dancing. Before the actual night, they called for volunteers to help demonstrate to the rest of the group and being deprived of dancing for the last six months, I decide to volunteer myself. Good fun, right? Cross-cultural jumping-in, no? Well, then. Let's just say that while, at one point in my life I could salsa like a boss, I started out less than graceful at the ceilidh dances.
Anyway, finally got the hang of it, and let me tell you, it was a blast. I love dancing anyway, and this sort involved lots of swinging around and stomping and dancing with everybody. So as not to disappoint, I even fell on my head once. Yup. Grace, too, is a gift from God.
And third, the last evening a handful of us played a pick-up game of soccer. I was barefoot and even scored one pretty baller (buh) shot. The best part about it though was that about halfway through a Ugandan guy joined us. One fast dude. When I went after him when he had the ball, I could never tell which way he was going to go. In fact, I even told him that at one point. I said, my feet get so confused when I'm in front of you, left? right? what? Without pause, in the most African way you can imagine, he says:
It is okay to do a little dance!
And one last one, one of the many gems from this weekend, our resident French girl on trying England's pork scratchins:
It is like ze food for cats!