Monday, April 29, 2013

Back Home Again

And suddenly, here I am, back in our living room with the dog rolling around on the carpet and my coffee beside me, in my Starbucks "Tampa" mug. It seems like I never left, and yet it seems like we've been gone for weeks.

Olga is none the worse for wear. She came back yesterday evening from her holiday in the country, happy but gray and stinky. I guess that's to be expected after keeping close quarters with multitudes of other dogs. We promptly bathed her, and thank goodness Dave was here to make it a two-man operation. Now every time I look at her, clean and white and well-fed, I think how much easier her life is than the lives of all those Bucharest street dogs.

Our flight back was uneventful. Early yesterday morning we collected Dave's eight kids at the school and hopped a bus for the airport, herded everyone through security and passport control and lounged around a bit with time to spare. I switch into Chaperone Mode whenever I'm around students, obsessively counting to make sure everyone is there. Dave, having chaperoned countless groups over the years, seems much less uptight about it than I am. And I can never get used to being called "Mr. Reed." I think, who is Mr. Reed?

I used my time on the plane to hack my way through a chunk of "The Golden Notebook." I am in the home stretch. So far, I am not greatly illumined. It's a much angrier book than I expected, and the characters communicate and behave in ways that seem unnecessarily harsh and frankly unbelievable. Every man in the book is a pig. Every single one. Except the gay characters, whom the author happily disparages for being "not real men."

I asked one of the teachers at the Bucharest school what the gay scene is like in Romania. He told me it's very underground, like the U.S. in the 1960s. From what I could tell there are no gay bars, and though I saw several sex shops, I didn't see any that advertised gay content. (I didn't go in and peruse the shelves, but usually they'll tack a little sign outside that says they've got it.) I suppose some of that social conservatism stems from the years under communism and the Orthodox church, but it struck me as very unusual for Europe -- and markedly different from Prague, for example.

(Photo: A sidewalk cafe in Bucharest, describing my attitude exactly.)


  1. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you've been gone for a long time but yet then it feels like you never left. Especially when you take a trip that completely removes you from your element.

    Hah, I would be counting heads too, worrying if they were all there. Mr. Reed indeed! I don't like being called "Mrs. Robinson" for obvious reasons. Good thing for me the young men of today have never seen "The Graduate." My neighbors' sons were teenagers when we moved here and I asked them to just call me Lynne, thank you very much.

    I still get coo-coo-ca-choo's from people. It happened two weeks ago in Home Depot when the clerk asked for my name to hold our cabana until we could come pick it up.

    It always feels good to come home to the familiar routine. Almost as good as it does to get a break from it.

    Love the photo! How perfect!

  2. Ah. Home again. It's generally nice to be home. Enjoy the comfort of it.

  3. Thank you for taking me to Bucharest and showing me the sights! And welcome home. I love that photo up there. Off to go and take its advice this morning! I know Olga is happy to see you.

  4. How nice to live so close to so many unique places.

  5. Welcome home! I'm sure Olga was overjoyed to see you.

    Loved the stories and pictures.

  6. Enjoyed your trip photos and commentary. Give Dave and Olga my best.