Spelling It OutFebruary 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Me, Transylvania | 18 Comments
Tags: Challenges, Expats, Family, Harry Potter, Magic, Personal, Perspectives, Relationships, Romania, Winter
I’m late posting today. Instead of sitting down to dash something out while the baby coughed and napped and coughed some more, I curled up on the couch with my grandmother’s afghan and my Kindle. I devoured the last 15 percent of the seventh Harry Potter book, something I’d been trying to do all weekend.
I knew how it ends. I’d read it before.
Still, I needed to see all set right in that world. Harry wins. Voldemort loses. Snape is vindicated, and Ron and Hermione finally get together. I clicked to the last page. Sated. Satisfied. Done.
But everything else? Here in Romania? Undone.
It’s still snowing. The heater in the kids’ room is still broken. And our search for decent orange juice and a few measly leaves of spinach continues.
We are still Red-Rovering our way through bureaucratic and corporate red tape, trying to figure out what to do about our improperly processed visas … and whether, if given the choice, we will stay or go. We want to stay. The painted churches, the ice hotel, Euro Disney — there’s so much still to see. But sometimes (and more often lately, if I’m honest) the lure of home calls as clearly as a good, old-fashioned land line.
Frozen waffles. Dryer sheets. Kindergarten registration. Dr. Pepper. These are the things that await us at home, not to mention family, friends, pets, and a frozen margarita or two.
Here, all that’s frozen is our windshield wipers. And the cuffs of our snow-caked jeans as we try, almost daily, to dig our car out of a new white trench.
Yesterday, it happened again. I got behind the wheel to steer as my husband pushed and cursed and sweated in the still-falling snow. The old man who takes care of our building saw me. He shouted and gestured, assuming I’d run us into the bushes.
Me, the woman, the one who’s supposed to work a stove, not a clutch.
It could have been me. Easily. But this time? It wasn’t.
And I yearned desperately for the words to tell him so. For a society where gender expectations are slightly murkier. For, at the very least, a driveway not perpetually covered in layers of ice, frozen dog poop, and slick snow.
I think, like Harry Potter, I need a few good spells to help me prevail through this last stretch of cultural and climatic cold. I could point my wand — 13 inches, cherry, with a core of unicorn hair, probably — at the stuck car and wingardium-leviosa it right out. I could accio some dill pickles and a pack of pre-Easter Cadburys. And I could toss up some floo powder and appear, instantly, at the side of a friend who I am desperate to hug and share pancakes with.
Instead, I’m wandless. Spell-less. Still trying to learn the magic, both light and dark, of this strange place.
What Harry Potter spells would you find most useful? What would your wand be made of? And how do you reconcile the good and the bad of the place you call home?