Monday, May 14, 2007

First Week in Cluj-Napoca

Well, here I am in Cluj-Napoca, my new home town. I have been here for one very eventful week in the historic capital of Transylvania. (I just discovered, by the way, that this city is mentioned on the first page of Dracula by Bram Stoker, only then it was a German city called Claussenberg - cool huh?) I have been meeting new people pretty much every day and getting to know the city. It is a big city, the third biggest in the country, and a very important city on Romania. It is also the best and most fun city in the country, in my humble opinion - but don't trust me - ask around and people will say the same thing. I think it has something to do with the huge college scene here and all the fun things to do. Robert Kaplan says in Balkan Ghosts that "There is no city in all of the Balkans quite so entrancing as Cluj". Anyway, enough hyping of the city. I moved here last Sunday from Ploiesti with all of my stuff along with five other Peace Corps volunteers (in the same compartment, no less). I moved in with my second host family, and I then spent the week getting to know some of the other volunteers here, several members of my organization, and just generally getting to know the city. So far, I love it. It may just be the most fun city I have ever lived in, which is saying something because Fort Collins was pretty awesome. However, there is three times as many college students here and an old-world European atmosphere that just can't be compared to anything in the states. Anyway, here are some pictures from the train ride and from around Cluj.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

It's Official!

I am now an official Peace Corps volunteer. We ended our ten week training period yesterday and rasied our right hand to take the oath as volunteers. It was very impressive with a ceremony at a theatre here in Ploiesti. Our country director was there along with the mayor of Ploiesti and the American ambassador to Romania. The ambassador did the swearing in, and then we had a reception afterwards. So, now the training is done, time to get to work! We had a big celebratory party last night, our last time all together for the next six months. It was all a lot of fun. So tomorrow, I will hop on a train with all of my stuff and move to Cluj. There, I will live with another host family for one month, and then move into my own place. I will just be happy when I can stop having to pack all of my stuff up and move it every few weeks! It is odd, there is not much exciting about Ploiesti, but now it feels like home. We know where everything is, and we can get around well. I didn't think I would be sad to leave it, but I kind of am. Of course, I will miss my current host parents a lot as well, so I will have to come back and visit before to long. It is such an odd experience though, that we all go through in the Peace Corps. We met a new group of friends ten weeks ago, spent every day with them since, bonded, got really close, and now we are going to be spread all across this relatively large country. So, we are left to start all over getting to know a new city, develop a new group of friends, and try to figure out what is happening around us. It is just kind of hard to describe stuff like this to anyone unless they have been through a similar experience of rapid change in their life. Anyway, asta este. I need to pack all of my stuff up (again) and get ready to go. Cluj-Napoca awaits!