Sunday, 11 October 2009

Week 6 - The Pursuit of Happiness...

... was not only the name of a book I read here in Transylvania the first time I was here, but is a theme that has been churning over in my head recently. I also read a book called the 'Geography of Bliss' which also had an interesting theme... finding the world's 'happiest' places, food for thought!
As this blog is certainly not a book review, I'll return to more relevant matters, though I will give just one more review... It's the review of the idiot sat in front of me right now! He is clearly using either skype or some similar programme to talk with a friend, using a web camera and microphone. I have had to endure over 30 minutes of him 'attempting' to sing, dance (whilst sitting down), and show various picutres of women on his phone, to the person at the other end of the line, through the web camera. Now I know I am quite English in my thinking, but surely, unless this is his one and only ever 'X-Factor' audition, and therefore his only chance for a better life, via the net, then there really is no excuse for such behaviour in public!

The thought of starting a journey home, through the cities of Brasov and Bucharest, Warsaw, Berlin, Hamburg and London is exciting without question, though the idea is tinged with sadness as this journey signals my departure from Tarnaveni, and the hospital. Seven more days just does not seem enough time for me to do all the things I want to do, and I have found myself starting to find fault with the Romanian way of life. For example I have spent long periods of time enjoying the lack of planning and free thinking of the people here, though I have begun to get frustrated with the fact that should I want to make a specific plan, especially with time running out, things don't happen or no one will stick to arrangements. This is not a new sensation for me, I have often found myself considering the perceived negative aspects of life shortly before I am due to leave, I think it may well be a kind of defence mechanism to ensure I feel ready to depart. Excuse the very reflective tone of this week's blog, but this is every bit a part of this kind of travelling than the funny events that randomly happen each week.

The theme of the week has been change. Change in the volunteer team and therefore the house, change with hospital management, and changes within the mebers of the Hadnagy family, as Csilla and Joseph, have swapped with Judith and Szilard & Judith (with baby). The change in the volunteer team is certainly a positive one, as Me and Ali have been joined by Victoria. Victoria is full of life, and settled easily into life here after just a few days. We headed off to Cluj on Wednesday to meet Victoria off the plane, and were soon on a 2.5 hour bus journey home. Victoria has been recovering from a cold but this didn't phase here from having a go at speaking with the patients and learning basic words from day one. The dynamics within the team have definately changed too, as you'd expect, and during a fun weekend trip to Targu-Mures, (and the annual wine festival), topics of conversation included, word-association games, love, illness, & personal quirks! Quite the ice breakers! I was also fortunate enough to meet a former colleague (Lia) from the hospital at the wine festival who I will be catching up with on Tuesday night. Pictures from the trip to Targu-Mures and the wine festival are below.
The changes in the Hadnagy family led to another trip to the local disco 'Infinity', with Judith and Sari last night, which ended a late night, late for me anyway ending at 0300! I look forward to having a beer with Szilard and Judith, who were so welcoming to me last time by inviting me to their wedding after knowing them for just two rounds of beer!

Just one more note for the week, and no it's not to comment upon why Rio Ferdinand should not be wearing an England shirt. I received a text today from a friend in Vietnam, asking if I was free to chat. I headed off to the internet cafe and 20 mintues later I was beginning an hour long conversation with my good friend Phuong on skype. I love technology which lets me have a face to face converation with someone so many thousands of miles away. Just the idea that the world is small enough to let any two people, (who are sat at computuers) to communicate and laugh as though they were sat next to each other in a pub, is just fantastic! Ok, so it sounds like I may be going a little crazy mentioning something that may seem so mundane to you, but for just one moment the thought that I was sat in a tiny town in Transylvania, having a conversation with a friend in a bustling Vietnamese city, reminded me how weird and unexpected life can be sometimes!

Oh and for those of you wondering what the picture at the start of this week's blog, it's a rich gypsy house just outside of Turda!

Ok, thanks for reading, and drop me an email, remember, life is short and the world is small!
Regards from Romania

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