|A road sign near my apartment: Please no horse-pulled wagons or trucks!|
Saturday was a bit of a lazy day. Mihaela showed me how to get to the mall using the bus, and I shopped around for a few hours. I ate lunch at the food court there and tried mici for the first time. Mici are basically little sausages without the casings. They were delicious, although the french fries with them were sub-par and soggy. I ended up buying a "travelling scarf" that will be making its rounds 'round the globe among some of my girl friends from CUA. I also bought a big, fluffy bath towel and a few extra kitchen items, such as serrated knife and a vegetable peeler. It was a nice day out, so I decided to walk home. It took a half hour, but it was very refreshing.
|Are you sure this isn't the US?|
|The Mici and Some Soggy Fries|
|A church at the edge of Lake Tabacaniei, viewed from behind the mall.|
|Lake Tabacaniei, behind the mall|
On Sunday I woke up early to attend mass at Constanta's Roman Catholic Church. It is only two blocks from Mihaela's apartment, so she gave me a ride. One of the great things about being Roman Catholic is attending mass in many different countries and having the celebration have the same format. I may not have understood the vast majority of the prayers or readings, but because I am familiar with the mass in English, I knew what was happening at every step. I was really pleased with the church and the Catholic Community here in Constanta.
After mass, I walked with Mihaela to her apartment where she was preparing a Romanian lunch. She needed a few ingredients, so I went to the piate with her. We returned to the same piata as before and also to a new piata, where Mihaela bought a type of semi-soft sheep cheese, called urda. The closest thing it is like in the US is ricotta, but with less moisture.
|They just slice off a piece of cheese from the whole lump.|
|Other types of cheese.|
|An indoor piata.|
|Some very spicy peppers from Bulgaria.|
|Constanta has this one mosque.|
|That tower belongs to the Catholic Church, which is on the other side of the block, out of sight.|
|The front of the Romanian Orthodox Church|
|Inside the Orthodox church, where a baptism is being celebrated|
|Outside the church are these boxes with lit candles|
|Candles here are lit in prayer for the dead.|
|and these are for the living.|
We visited several other places as well, but I'll let the pictures tell that story.
|Constanta is the oldest city in Romania; here I am in front of some ruins from the days of the Roman Empire.|
|The Constanta Shipyard|
|The Casino is now out of use, but it is still iconic of Constanta.|
|Me and Flori|
|Those giant cement jacks were placed all along the coast of the city to prevent erosion from the sea.|
|A statue of Mihai Eminescu, Romanian's most-famous poet.|
|We found an ice cream truck.|
|Here is Ovid, the Roman poet who was exiled here to the Roman outpost of Tomis (now Constanta).|
Today was the opening of Ovidius University for the academic year. At 11:00 there was an assembly outdoors with the president of the university giving a speech I didn't understand in the slightest. Then there was some sort of religious ceremony and blessing by clergy of the Romanian Orthodox Church (one of whom I think is a bishop). It was really interesting to see, since I've never attended an Orthodox ceremony before, with the exception of the baptism I briefly observed yesterday.
|There were a lot of students there..not all were paying attention.|
|I'll be teaching in this building.|
|I will not be teaching in this nicer building.|
After the welcome ceremony I stopped by the English and German office and got the keys to open the office and the classroom in which I'll be teaching. At 1:00 there was a meeting for all the new students studying English in one capacity or another.
Afterwards I returned to my apartment for a short while. Then Mihaela stopped by and took me to the bank to open an account. It was really fortuitous that I had Mihaela to translate for me, because it would have been nigh impossible for me to open the account without a translator.