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The Blog is Dead

2011 to 2021. Ten years during which it barely limped along there in the end. Even now I remember my enthusiasm starting it up; I was still in Toronto, inside my tiny mid-town apartment surrounded by boxes, trying to decide what's going to cross the ocean and what's staying behind. I left so many things. I didn't fully believe in the permanence of the move, no expat does. Immigrants do. And I remember thinking about how interesting it would be to document the details of my move to Romania in blog form. I chose the name expatro  because I was an expat in everything but nationality. I had some family here and spoke the language, badly, but you're not anywhere close to native until you clash, repeatedly, against the new system, adapt to its rules, and blend into the tapestry by adopting local mannerisms.  My return to Romania, though expatriate in form, was at its core a repatriation. The motherland reclaiming a long lost son, that kind of thing. But these technicalities a
Recent posts

An Average Day in Romania - Noon

Let's say you've been working all day, ever since your cozo/milk/coffee and cigarette breakfast (the real breakfast of champions). You've been sitting at home in meetings, coding, clicking around, being somewhat productive (let's not get too carried away) and before you know it, a thought starts to poke its way in, interrupting your fourth coffee break of the day. Admittedly this is now a major issue all over the world, but I'm going to write about it because it's important to point out that Romania is not immune to the, what are we having for lunch  dilemma.  In some cases, it's an actual question; money's tight and maybe you had to decide between paying the heating and electricity or buying groceries. Research shows that about 50% of Romanians were unable to pay at least part of their monthly bills in 2020. Meanwhile, eighty million Europeans live below the poverty line. Times are dire. But still, for those of us in the Big Tech bubble, the lawyers, th

An Average Day in Romania - Morning

In Romania, nobody is immune from life's minor inconveniences, and your day could even start with one. Say you get up and you're looking forward to a glass of cold milk with last night's fresh baked cozonac , but you're all out of milk. That is   inconvenient, but what is convenient is that little ABC in your neighbourhood .   This Romanian miracle of ultra-convenience is no more than a five minute walk from just about anywhere.  If you're a fat North American like me you might choose to drive, it's like 30 seconds away and you won't find parking anywhere except on a sidewalk, if you're lucky. This parking spot hunt would be your day's second inconvenience, but probably the fourth or fifth for the hapless mom who comes across your car while taking the baby for a stroll. No, the scribbled phone number on your dash won't make it any more convenient for her when she needs to get the stroller out on the road to get around, but what do you care, you c

I Read 'The Satanic Verses' So You Don't Have To

Earlier this year I finished reading Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and wrote myself a "little" review on it. When I came up on it again a few days ago it dawned on me that it might be useful to anyone who, like myself, was wondering what all the hubbub was about and is considering picking it up. Don't take this post's title too seriously, any book you want to read you should read, but if you just wanted to know what all the brouhaha was for, back when it was published, then my Rushdian review, below, should help answer the question. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Where do I begin? With the intro, where Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, dropping out of the sky, the lone survivors of the bombing of the hijacked airliner, Bostan , sing a tune - I forgot which -  while free-falling so that they may begin to fly rather than drop like stones into the waters off the English coast; where a lonely old lady with a storied

A Simple Truth: The American Election, Civil War, and How We're Steps Away From World War III

I woke up on Saturday thinking about the US election. These thoughts poked at odd angles inside my head and needed a bit of arranging, so I started writing. The first five points or so were pretty straightforward and mostly based on general consensus, media punditry, and plain old observation. The rest sort of unfolded organically, rolling off of each other in keeping with the theme: The reality of our world's geopolitics in a scenario where the United States withdraws from the international stage to focus on internal strife.  By the time I got to the end I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry. There is, in global conflict - especially the apocalyptical kind - a type of absurdity that is in some ways comical, much in the way Dr. Strangelove was a comedy while accurately reflecting the lunacy that was Cold War MADness.  The below list is hardly detailed. There is much to say for each particular point, but more importantly, there is far more to be said for the roots of this

The Coronavirus Diaries - Freedom Day and Beyond

Freedom Day (F-Day) was officially on Friday, the 15th of May. The term is relative of course, but the knowledge you can leave your house anytime, without a declaration subject to verification by police or military officials, does feel like a type of freedom. I just couldn't take it anymore, the daily number of cases, the deaths, the drama, let alone write about it. I thought it would be interesting to sort of document how it all went down, but after about a couple of weeks all I wanted to do was work, cook, eat, sleep, repeat without thinking of the virus. Incidentally that is exactly what I did, and that wasn't worth writing about either. Still, it was a definite reminder that watching the news is a terrible pastime. Personally I don't believe there was anything resembling a pandemic, at least not in Cluj. But okay, we had to make sure and be 'safe'. I'm sure someday we'll get to a place, as a civilization, where being locked in a cage inside a larger cage

The Coronavirus Diaries - Days 19 to 24

Wednesday - 8 April, 2020 I've lost some steam here, it's not at all surprising though, is it? On one hand, I have plenty of time to write an update a day, but on the other hand I don't want to make this a personal diary where I just talk about how I mowed the lawn, stepped out to the corner store for a liter of milk, or saw somebody other than my wife when I picked up a delivery. Or that I work longer hours now and after hours I share memes on What'sApp. And that I cook all the time. I could probably write a cooking blog now that I cook 3-4 times a week, which is a solid 300-400% increase in cooking output. On Monday I made a rabbit stew, of which there are still two portions left. That rabbit was in the freezer since sometime in the fall, maybe longer. In the meantime the cases are still piling up in Romania, but not in a dramatic Italy or Spain style fashion. The prediction is we're going to see our peak sometime in early May and the current emergency measu