Turda: Town & Saltmine

Earlier this week, I visited nearby Turda to visit the town and historic salt mine. Reaching the town is simple: a FANY (public) bus runs from Cluj several times each hour, takes 30-45 minutes depending on traffic, and costs only 7 RON (less than $2) each way. Once in Turda, you must hail a taxi…

New Term Begins

Term II finally began this past week at Babeș-Bolyai University  in Cluj, and I am delighted to have something productive to do again. As it stands now… I will teach all of the graduating English minors in the Faculty of Letters in a Seminar in Modern American Drama. My roster lists 138 students who have been divided…

From B to C

Two days after I returned from Jerusalem, I moved to Cluj-Napoca, the largest city in Transylvania. Located 280 miles (450 km) northwest of Bucharest, Cluj is 8+ hours on the train or less than an hour by air, which proved an easy choice for me. Given the huge expense of additional luggage, though, I shipped…

Jerusalem

The day after my final class in Bucharest, I headed to Israel for a long weekend. There are direct flights from Bucharest (and Cluj) to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. Flight time is less than 2 ½ hours, and my roundtrip aboard discount carrier Blue Carrier cost $140. No visa is required for Americans; however, passport control…

Zăpadă

Zăpadă is the word that I learned this morning, as it dominated everything said and seen on the television. We had a lot of zăpadă this week, particularly last night—enough that flights were delayed and cancelled, streetcars bogged down, and taxis careened into each other. No doubt other Romanian rarities occurred, but these are what struck me…

Selection Committee

For the past two days, I’ve had the honor of serving on the Commission’s Selection Committee, which determines which senior scholars Romania will send to the U.S. during the upcoming academic year. Our committee was comprised of four voting members: two Romanian Fulbright alums (one from the arts/letters and the other from the sciences), a Romanian staff…

I Go, Yugo

For my two-week Christmas break, I spent the first back home in Georgia (USA) and the second visiting three former Yugoslavian countries: Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. My primary reason was that I had served for three years on a national Fulbright selection committee for the Balkans, yet I hadn’t visited all of my assigned…

Home for the Holidays

To celebrate the holidays, I returned to the U.S. for one week, which I spent in its entirety with my family at our farm near Augusta, Georgia. At this stage in life, family reunions always are bittersweet: the grandkids no longer are kids, and my parents are so fragile that I never know if this…

Moldova

For my last weekend before Christmas break, I visited Chișinău, the capital of Moldova. My interest in this country stems from its relationship with Romania, with which it shares both language and history, and from the fact (?) that it usually is reported as the poorest European country. For much of my life, I knew Moldova (aka Moldavia)…

Reconvening

The U.S. Fulbrighters reconvened in Bucharest for two days, December 8-9. The purpose was touch base with each other and to let the Commission know what we had done during our first two months in Romania. We each spoke for about five minutes and, overall, were quite impressed with how much had been accomplished in such…

Wanderlust

My sister Linda, who now lives and teaches in Albania, once explained to me that there are two types of people: small world people and big world people. The smalls are content to live and remain in a particular place (be it a locality, state, or perhaps region), while the bigs must go beyond and experience more of the…

Mid-Term

I am almost a week overdue and still reluctant to share this. This past week, I met with both of my liaisons/supervisors at both of my host universities to report my concern that a sizable percentage of my students—all Masters level, mind you—was in danger of failing my courses due to lack of attendance and/or…