High Five

November 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Family, Transylvania | 27 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Our five-month anniversary in this country came and went, and we didn’t even notice.

We were too busy …

Too busy scolding Lollipop and Giggles for pilfering Reese’s peanut-butter cups from our latest care package in the wee hours of the morning. Too busy stocking up on elusive bags of tortillas from the grocery store. Too busy planning a holiday getaway to Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. (I know!!)

But now it’s Monday. The older kids are at grădiniţa. Fluffy Bunny Daddy is at lucru. The nanny is aici. I’m alone with my computer and have overdosed on TripAdvisor reviews. What better time to reflect on our five months?

We’ve had quite a few “firsts” since we’ve been here: first plate of pork fat, first celebrity neighbor, first surgery in a foreign country, first steps, first snowfall. My cell phone is chock full of numbers from friends who hail from countries like Sweden and  Jordan and India. And when we eat out, we actually order the sparkling water. With no ice.

Who are we? The same family that crammed into the back two rows of a plane five months ago not realizing we were headed for a country with no Cheetos? Yes. And no.

We’re also a family that speaks another language. (Well, puţin.)

We line-dry our clothes and don’t really notice the scratchiness anymore.

We eat apples straight from the tree.

We delight over treasures like nutcrackers and crock pots when we find them in the grocery store.

We shrug our shoulders when two-way roads turn into one-ways overnight. (Asta e.)

We walk to the corner for fresh bread from the brutărie.

We order beer because it’s cheaper than a soda.

We park on the sidewalk, like everyone else.

We are grateful for homemade gifts like rose jam, currant juice, and gigantic jars of pickles.

We listen to the classic rock station that plays lots of Bon Jovi.

We know Celsius.

We don’t even blink when our pizza has corn on it.

We raise our glasses and say, “Noroc!”

But we still can’t figure out what to do with a head of cabbage. Good thing we’ve got seven months left to figure it out.

How do you adapt to new places? What would you miss most if you were away from your home for a while? And do you have any good cabbage recipes??

+++

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  1. Beer, pizza, and Bon Jovi? Sounds like college.

    As always, amazing pic.

  2. I have the recipe of sarmale, if you want to try that out! In Belgium we make it with a white, bechamel saus and eat it with sausages.
    I had a very good cabbage/carrot salad in Bistro Tamas in Savadisla. A place you should definitly go to once! Is closer than Budapest,…. :-)
    I love your blog! Maybe beacuse it is soo recognizable! I hope you still enjoy your time in Cluj! xxx

  3. Whaaa? No Cheetos? The horror!

    Pizza with corn on it has to be wrong…although I know they do it in Australia, too.

    But cheap beer almost makes it worth it, right?

  4. line drying with scratchiness? I’ve live on line dry clothes all my life, I don’t notice a difference at all. wow really? you notice a difference?

    • Ours are definitely crunchy. I tried every tip I could find online (use less detergent, add vinegar to the rinse, wash inside out, etc.), and none of it made much of a difference. But now we’re used to it. Maybe it’s the chemical make-up of the water? How do you do yours?

  5. A head of cabbage. My dad quarters them and has them for snacks. Shredded into salads or slaws. A usefull ingredient for an endless variety of soups. Use as a substitue for celery in dishes. Or carrots. I hate cooked carrots but love cooked cabbage.

    • Quartered? Wow. We have tried it in slaw, casseroles, and countless soups. We like it best in soup, but it never gets soft enough for us. Any tips?

      • I don’t think it really ever gets ‘soft’. I use it to replace other crunchy foods I don’t like. But for soups, I do slice it very thing and even grating it with a cheese grater will really break it down into really fine shaved pieces that will probably be less cruchy once cooked.

  6. Great post. Sounds like you guys have really enjoyed living abroad. Do they have red cabbage? I could get you some recipes for that…my mother-in-law makes delicious red cabbage.

    • They do! Send on those recipes, if your mother-in-law doesn’t mind sharing!

  7. Like some of my fellow commenters, the cabbage line caught my eye too. For some reason I remembered stumbling upon this:http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/series/recipes_for_health/cabbage/index.html (I’m no cabbage fan, but maybe Mark Bittman can help?) :)

    • Jackpot! Even if we don’t like any of them, at least after this we can honestly say we tried. And, more likely, we’ll find a winner. =>

  8. It always seems to me that the people who write Trip Advisor reviews are cranky. Or maybe I’m just easy to please.
    Either way – I hope you have an amazing trip! (How soon? How mobile will you be?)

  9. I am so jealous of your travels!!

  10. Quite the five months – may the next seven bring less trauma, but good cabbage (sounds like you have a few leads) and I wonder if water softener would help with the laundry? I know I can tell the difference whatever I do here, but since the dryer is here, I haven’t tried much.

  11. I’d say you have quite an awesome, yet sorta normal life. Good for you to adapt so well! My fav thing with cabbage is to steam it with some beef sausage links. Red cabbage is what I use but maybe green would be just as good. Also, shread it up, add graded carrots or even apples:), maybe some pineapple and raisins? Then fold in some salad dressing and sugar to taste….

    Enjoy your next trip:)

  12. Love it. I was nodding along right up to the ‘corn on pizza’ bit. The horror!

    All I know how to make with cabbage is coleslaw… but this awesome website may help: http://taste.com.au

  13. Two quinky dinks today – First, we both wrote about an anniversary. And second, cabbage is on the menu for dinner tonight! We just stir-fry ours with some mustard seeds, garlic and turmeric to eat with our curried fish.

    I love reading about your firsts and adventures in a new country. I hope my girls will get to experience it themselves someday.

  14. I love the picture and a great refreshing post :)

  15. In Sicily, the put scrambled eggs and hot dogs on top of the pizza. Sounds weird, but was okay to me. Cannot believe beer cheaper than soda, wow! You must be getting drunk quite often!! (your adoration of DP.) I can’t believe 5 months already….whew. Time flies. Hope your recovering well, my friend!
    As always, your writing is beautiful!!!!!!

  16. Okay – love that you order beer because it’s cheaper than soda. Also, for cabbage, I have it with corned beef and boil it. Just plain – yum.

    I love reading your posts, love that you are learning the language and learning the culture. Our family came so close to moving to Zurich we actually went house hunting. Alas the deal feel through but it’s given me a fever. I know I’ll live out of country some day. Your tales keep the dream alive.

  17. It sounds like this has been exactly the adventure and experience you were looking for. And Beer is cheaper than soda?? My kind of place.

  18. Braising makes everything taste better, right? How about this for cabbage:

    http://orangette.blogspot.com/2005/01/outline-of-theory-of-cabbage.html

    Wow! All the ways you’ve changed. Imagine what else you’ll notice once you’re home and can really do the comparison thing. Amazing stuff.

    • “Cabbage must be defended!” I love it. And braising sounds like my kind of cooking technique … no crunchiness! =>

  19. Beer cheaper than soda? Man. My husband is living in the wrong country.

    Happy Anniversary!

  20. I can’t believe it has been five months. I know I owe you some recipes. Coming soon! Maybe they will make the next seven months more bearable. xoxo

  21. Congratulations! It sounds like you have done great so far. I had to laugh when I got to the Celsius and pizza and corn part. That was part of my acculturation to Japan too – corn and mayo on pizza and sub sandwiches! I wonder if you’ve developed any of the local mannerisms yet?

    A cabbage recipe I picked up in Japan – cabbage, carrots, onion, sausage and a soup with bouillon cube. Very common recipe maybe though…am no cook so I wouldn’t know!


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