Yikes! I leave for Romania one month from today and my mile-long to-do list is overwhelming. It’s been challenging (under-statement) to stay motivated and focused in doing freelance writing from home, and I find that periodic deadlines spur me on and give me a reference point to direct my aim. Everything in my life right now is defined as Before Romania or After Romania. Some are essential and others fall more into the category of wish lists or prayer requests. One of those hoped-for items is to find someone with whom I can speak Romanian. I mean, it’s been five years since I last visited and 15 years since I lived there, for goodness’ sake. I put no stock in my language ability, elementary in its zenith.
So you might be able to imagine my surprise when I heard Romanian being spoken the other day. I had zipped over to Kohl’s for a huge early morning sale and taken a bundle of clothes into the dressing room to try on. "Cit costa?" came from the stall next to me. I froze. All my senses went into hyper-alert. Did that person ask how much in Romanian? No, maybe it was Italian or Spanish.
"Paisprezece si cincizeci." The answer was $14.50. And it was Romanian.
I listened in as the mother and two daughters talked, wanting to blurt out the old opening line we used with strangers. "Please don’t be angry with me, but are you speaking Romanian?" However, I prefer to meet new people when I’m clothed, and besides, I didn’t want to admit I’d been eavesdropping, so I hurried with the hope of talking outside the dressing room. (I chuckled to myself and flashbacked to about 1993 in one of the brand-new boutique stores that had appeared in Bucharest. Everyone in the store was herded into the same pantry-sized dressing room; they just kept adding more people. I think the total was seven by the time I escaped.)
This time, I thought, how hard can it be to find three Romanians in a department store? Apparently, harder than I thought. I never found them. But I did find a renewed hope that God will answer my wish-list prayer request. After all, there’s a still a month left.