About four months ago, we returned from spending 15 days in Romania. My sister and her family still live there, along with all my relatives except for my parents. My father passed away almost two years ago. My mother lives in Spain. She came over to Romania while we were there and this whole trip felt more like a family reunion than anything else.
Not that we did not see things. We acted like tourists by renting a nine-passenger automatic Mercedes van and traveled through 10 cities. We did not stay anywhere longer than three days. It was a fast pace, but we had much to see and many relatives to visit.
However, I think that next time I should like to just go home – where I grew up, in Slatina – and take daily walks, to show my children the places that meant everything to me growing up.
We saw my high school English teacher, several friends from grade school and high school, and many of my cousins. It was all fast, short and sweet. After being away for 10 years, it was hard to recap everything that happened to us, but some tried and succeeded to bring me up to speed. I really appreciated their opening their hearts to me. I felt connected all over again, in ways that one can only feel after one has turned 40.
There was something very therapeutic in watching my sister interact with my children. I don’t get to see that very often. She took them to a bakery to get cookies and cakes. She loved on them. She talked with them and marveled at their personalities. Only an immigrant understands how special such interactions are when they finally happen.
We took lots of pictures but, apparently, not enough. We have several memories without pictures to show for it. I like it though. It shows that we were so much in the moment, we were not self-conscious. Also, it shows that we are not obsessed with social media to the point where we must record every single interaction in our lives and share it with others.
The best part for me, besides meeting friends and family, was to watch my children use their Romanian more and more. If we stayed there for one month, I think they would start conversing in Romanian. As it was, after 15 days, they were already using Romanian words with each other. There’s nothing like immersion to stimulate language usage.