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10 Things Romania Does (A Bit) Differently - Part 2

Most lists don't begin at number 6, so if you want to start at the beginning, head over to Part 1.


6.  The Clothes Dryer
The mighty clothes dryer, a staple appliance in just about every North American home, is essentially non-existent in Romania. While it isn't suspiciously regarded as a harbinger of death, as is the A/C unit, it takes up a lot of space and consumes plenty of energy, both of which come in short supply relative to Romanian preferences. Besides, if everyone had a dryer, then balconies, clothes lines, and drying racks would take up space for no good reason, and doing the laundry would be an all too efficient endeavour (generally considered bad taste in our neck of the woods).  Of course dryers do exist, usually on a steam-drying system, sometimes in a 2-in-1 washer/dryer combination (which requires no external vent or filters), but it's nonetheless a long-forgotten luxury for many a nostalgic expat.


7. Sidewalk Parking
I could write several blog posts about pa…

10 Things Romania Does (A Bit) Differently - Part 1

A few days ago, after walking into a grocery store, I couldn't help noticing I was in a state of trepidation. The reason? I'd walked in with my gym bag, purposely avoiding the security guy at the entrance. I felt his eyes must be following me and that a loud, "Hey, you!" would ring out the moment I turned into an aisle.

It turns out that the longer you live somewhere, the more you get used to it. A truism, of course. What is not immediately apparent is that this isn't necessarily a good thing, especially when you find that you've become used to something you may have found, at some point in the past, in another place, entirely unacceptable.

This is why, now that I've crossed over the honeymoon period of my move to Romania, I find my enthusiasm for life here wanes when, for the 286th time, I  am forced to walk into a supermarket through the designated entrance point, even if an empty checkout is much closer and no less accessible. Then, upon entry, a grump…

All Souls Day at The Jewish Cemetery in Cluj

Cemeteries have never bothered me. I think this applies to most Romanians who grew up celebrating October 31st with a visit to the final resting place of friends and family members. It's probably the same for Mexicans.

I've already written about All Souls' Day, and shared the requisite images of the event, so I won't go into it here, but I'm always impressed by the bustle of activity around cemeteries on this day. Small businesses pop-up as flower and candle sellers line the roads leading to the entrance, while the cars parked on either side inevitably take up the sidewalk. In spite of the bazaar-like character, it is still a solemn and subdued event by Romanian standards.

On my way from an unrelated errand today, I passed the Jewish cemetery, tucked off to the side of a small dead-end road. It's relatively easy to miss, though easy enough to identify once you're standing in front of the wrought iron gate.


I'd been curious about the place for years, ha…