"Life is a journey, not a destination." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
The first leg of our journey is finally over. Life is settling down, and we are trying to adjust to all the strange, yet familiar things around us.
Romania is a land of contrasts: the old mixed with the new, the liberal with conservative. A cold wind sweeps across our little city, bringing with it dark clouds and an increase in activity. Everyone must get something done before winter sets in. For the men outside our house, it is to finish replacing the road they started too long ago. For others, it is to gather the last of their crops or gardens. Me? I'm just hoping the boxes come.
Which encourages me to recount our little journey, starting with the boxes.
Boxes, bags, containers, oh my! They were everywhere. We took over the living room. Boxes and bags of Alyssa's things, bags of mine, boxes of our parents'. We took those little containers and relocated their contents to four larger boxes. Yes, we did manage to cram almost all of our stuff we were bringing into those four 18 x 24 x 24 cardboard boxes. They all weighed over 60 pounds (mine being around 72). And yes, it was quite interesting trying to weigh those things on a bathroom scale. I think Alyssa and a friend of ours nearly got hernias while I (smart as I am :)) stood there and checked the numbers.
Finally, after around four days of stuffing, sealing, taking things back out and rearranging them (see picture above), we were ready to ship. A simple sounding word, but the task did not turn out so simple. You see, our shipping agency was in Chicago! A mere 6 hours or so away..... But what must be done, must be done. We hitched up our trousers and, after having finagled a very gracious and wonderful friend of the family to drive us, made the trip.
Chicago is... a busy city with narrow streets that people park on, making them even narrower. Vans have a difficult time navigating these streets and an even harder task parking on them. But we made it without incident to our destination. Unfortunately, we were unsure if it actually was our destination. The name of both the shipping company and the charity next to it had changed! After much debate, we finally decided they were one in the same. That was a relief. The times of operation, however made our hearts sink. We had arrived in the Windy City at around 1:00 PM. The business opened at 5:00. We had hoped to be home around 7:00. What were we to do? The only thing that could help this situation was....
Pizza! And not just any pizza- Chicago Pizza. A big, deep dish pie as tall as your finger, dripping with cheese and sauce and laced with sausage and mushrooms. As gooey cheese dripped down my chin, the strains of Dean Martin's That's Amore flitted through my mind: "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!" Dino certainly knew what he was talking about.
The next few hours were spent over pizza, Starbucks coffee, and good conversation. Suddenly, the wait didn't seem so bad.
When 5:00 finally rolled around, we dropped off the boxes and started on our way home (Alyssa nearly had a heart attack at how our poor possessions were thrown about without ever having left the office!). The Romanian man who was our shipping agent gave us simple directions to avoid the rush hour traffic that was just starting, so after getting turned around at least once, we finally made it onto Lake Shore Drive. Have you ever driven Lake Shore Drive at night? (Continued in part 2)