Friday, November 16, 2007


So, next Thursday I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with a number of 'west-side' PCVs in Arad. It should be a good time. I'm thinking I'd like to take a salad or something. If any of you out there have suggestions or recipes, please send them along!

So I've started writing short articles for the local newspaper here in Lugoj, "Redesteptarea" (which I suppose would loosely translate as 'The Awakener'). My first piece, on being thankful, was published this week. I wrote it in English, emailed it to them and they translated it. I read it today, and the translation seems pretty close to what I wrote. However, they left out one very important thing. I described the typical Thanksgiving feast, with Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc. The copied everything I said word for word. Everything, that is, except they completely left out any mention of stuffing! Alas, perhaps they didn't bother with it because there isn't any Romanian equivalent. Nevertheless, that well-loved, inimitable bread-based substance is a rather big part of the Thanksgiving feast and I think it deserves mention. I will do my best to start up a stuffing awareness campaign.

Here's what I wrote:

November is here, which for me means it is time to give thanks. On the 22nd of November, my family and friends back home will be celebrating Thanksgiving. As the name of the holiday implies, it is a day when Americans show gratitude for the blessings in their life. Families typically gather together for a giant feast that usually consists of a large turkey, a seasoned bread-based substance we call “stuffing,” mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and, for desert, pumpkin pie (my favorite!). In my family the meal is a big tradition. My mother works in the kitchen for days preparing everything. My relatives come to our home and stay for a few days, traveling from localities as distant as Maine, Pennsylvania and Chicago. I have always enjoyed the food and vibrant company. I especially enjoy my cousin Beth’s delicious pumpkin cheesecake, which is best with lots of whipped cream.

This will be my first Thanksgiving away from home. Of course I will miss my mom’s cooking, and I will certainly miss my family. However, even if I am in Romania and cannot be with those dearest to me, I can still celebrate the basic spirit of Thanksgiving. I have many reasons to be thankful. Being in this country offers me many wonderful opportunities. First of all, working at Brediceanu has given me the chance to develop my professional teaching experience. I am very lucky to be working with such intelligent students and accomplished staff. I am also very thankful to be in such a great town, with such hospitable people. Romania itself is a beautiful country, and I appreciate the rich cultural history and many natural wonders that it has to offer. I might add that Romanian food is simply amazing! I love it (sorry mom, I love your food too). Lastly, and above all, I am thankful for the chance to learn about the Romanian way of life. My time here will not only teach me about the Romanian people and their country--thereby expanding my own worldly understanding-- but, I will also be able to teach Romanians something about what Americans are really like. For this reason I cherish all the friendships I am making. In the spirit of Thanksgiving I encourage everyone to think seriously about his or her blessings, however big or small, and perhaps find a way to say ‘thank-you.’

The translated version of the article can be found here


Jack Nork said...

Happy Thanksgiving Mike. We'll certainly miss you this year! I guess I'll have to eat an extra piece of Beth's pumpkin cheese cake for you. ;-)

Rachel said...

I can't believe you forgot to mention Rosebud Frozen Peas -- an indispensable part of any American Thanksgiving!

Haha... actually, I think the real irony is that they left out the part about stuffing, after you went to all that trouble to describe it. I bet they would have left it in if you described stuffing as "squishy crumbly." :P

Cameron Wright said...

Why don't they have gravy in this country? Gravy over mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce (on accident)

Ahhh something that I miss for sure.

vali_nash said...

> ...they completely left out any mention of stuffing! Alas, perhaps they didn't bother with it because there isn't any Romanian equivalent.

But there is! How about "umplutura"? And, let's be fair, they did write "curcan umplut", which translates into "stuffed turkey". Okay, it's not as if they had explained the "stuffing" term, but they did mention it... :)

I love your blog. Vali

anda middleton said...

hi mike,i`ve been enjoying your blogs. i`m actually born and raised in Lugoj but an American now (and proud of it). I lived down the road from the theater, on Eminescu street(went to Hasdeu,not Bredi,for high-school). Is mihaela bogdan still teaching at Brediceanu? she was in my generation (the only person i could think of mentioning that you might have met too). I applaud you for taking it all in so easily, I went back to Romania in 2004 and it was a shock. Most of us don`t realize how good we have it here in the good old US of A,email me when you get a chance, would love to chat about places and people over