If Peace Corps has taught me one thing so far, it’s to learn to appreciate the little things.
Are you still with me? I was afraid an opening line so nauseatingly cliché might have incited a stampede for the exit. However, I didn’t know how to start this post without sprinkling at least a hint of it, so I figured I’d just dump the whole bottle.
In no particular order, these are a few of the little things that make my life here a little brighter.
- Dear Orville Redenbacher, your business is a sham. Due to this country’s lack of widespread microwave usage, I’ve been reintroduced to making popcorn on the stovetop. It’s cheaper, quicker and much more fun – You get to watch those little fellas bounce around in there. Never again will I allow that action to take place behind closed doors.
- Dear Tapatio, you complete me.
- I just had a ham and egg sandwich. For dinner. It was delicious.
- The light in my bathroom has been out now for what’s approaching four months. I’ve yet to replace it partly because apparently Gheorghe Mureșan was the architect, but also partly because I kind of like it. Essentially, anything with precision must be done by daylight. Anything that takes place after dark must be done by candlelight. That includes bathing, brushing and flossing, and even the occasional shave. There has been little bloodshed, and I’ve sincerely enjoyed this self-inflicted return to rusticity.
- I found some cheese in the fridge the other day that I had bought a few days earlier and had forgotten about. It made my week and will surely remain high in the running for making my month.
- Said an eighth grader the other day after a class about “Dreams”: “That was a really good hour.” Boom.
- We only get hot water about four hours a day: two in the morning, two at night. Now, it goes without saying that in a place with winters akin to Minnesota, I quickly adapted a schedule to allow myself to shower during these periods. In fact, I’ve become pretty adept at the phrase, “Trebuie să plec pentru că vreau să prind apă caldă.” (I have to leave because I want to catch the hot water.) However, I’ve recently discovered that doing dishes with water that isn’t bone-chilling can lead to a markedly better psyche. Who knew? Probably all of you.
- I’ve become a master nose blower. The teachers in most of my five kindergarten classes have transitioned from helping me teach, to just watching, to taking a breather in the other room when I come. I’m totally fine with this, as it’s something of a complement on both my teaching and language skills, and I know how exhausting 25 minutes is with the little ones, so if anyone deserves a break, it’s their teachers. But what comes with this is the often – read “everyday” – runny nose. Domnul Profesor de Engleza to the rescue: “Suflă. Mai tare. Bravo."
- So apparently the dryers in Romania are hiding somewhere along with the microwaves, but I can’t say I miss them all that much. The convenience is indisputable, but there’s something sweet about picking laundry off the line that’s been dried by summer air.
- And finally, some underwear magic. My bathroom has a heater that’s warmed by hot water as opposed to anything flammable. I know what you’re thinking. “Matt, put your underwear on that thing before you get in the shower, and it’ll vastly improve your disposition in the morning.” Well, I did. And it did. And does. Every day.
These are my little things. Appreciate yours.