Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I just found out about the recent death of Iosif Constantin Dragan--Romania's wealthiest man. He was born in Lugoj, and studied in Bucharest. He moved to Italy after the Communists rose to power. Not only was he a businessman, but he also wrote some controversial historical works. His legacy includes a University in Lugoj, several newspapers and the gas distribution company Butan Gas.

I happened to stumble upon his obituary, "
Romanian Billionaire Buried in Transylvania," while reading through google news articles about Romania. (despite what the article indicates, Lugoj is not technically in Transylvania, nor is it even remotely close to central Romania).

Time Flies

The past month has been a blur. It seems like most of it was spent traveling or hosting people, and my bank account certainly shows it. But, the highlight of it all was my family’s visit, even if it was too short. My mother, brother and nephew arrived in Budapest on the 16th. It had been over a year since I’d seen them. It was comforting to see that little has changed (except, of course, my nephew Evan had grown quite a bit. I’m proud of how brave he was and how well he handled the experience).

After their arrival, we hung out in Budapest for a day and a half, and were given a high-speed, super-condensed tour of the city by a local American ex-pat that happened to make Jack’s acquaintance. After Budapest, we took a train to Timisoara, went out to dinner with a few of the local PCVs and stayed the night. Next, it was on to Lugoj, our final destination. I introduced my family to some of my local friends (at least the ones who weren’t away on vacation). We were treated to typical Romanian hospitality (which is never short of amazing) and had several wonderful meals.

We spent a few days in Lugoj, cozily crammed into my apartment, after which we had to head back to Budapest. Their flight back home was on the 23rd, so we went back to Budapest on the 22nd, stayed the night and caught a little more sight-seeing in the morning with the same guy that had showed us around the first time. Then I went with them to the airport and said goodbye.

It’s too bad I didn’t get to show them more of Romania; they were here for such a brief visit. But, at least they did get to see the important parts—my stomping grounds, my everyday life. In any case, it was just nice spending time with them.