Day 2 in Romania. I had a bit of a slow morning just sitting and writing in the garden of my host family’s house (which is beautiful). These are some photos you can click through to get a feel for where I live. It is gorgeous- the pictures don’t do it justice:
My first adventure of the day was buying a ticket and heading to the office by bus for a meeting to go over my assignments this month. I’m here to explore and learn, yes, but I’m also covering a few events and have some really cool interviews and workshops lining up, which I’ll talk about more in a future post.
After the meeting, I had free time to explore the city on my own. I headed out with my camera and, instead of taking the bus, I decided to walk. I’m horrible at directions but one of the best things about Brasov is that its sign is way up on top of Mt. Tampa and pretty much directly above my house. If I’m ever lost, I just look up and head toward the (giant and Hollywood-esque) Brasov sign. Even without the sign I felt pretty confident that I could get back to my home so I took time to wander and to snap some pictures along the way.
I spent a bunch of time just wandering and writing, but one thing on my list to explore was the Black Church in the Council Square. This church is HUGE. The size was actually a symbol of political and economic power when it was built. The reason it is called the Black Church is because a fire in 1689 destroyed a lot of the town and left the church walls blackened. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of the inside, but it was very ornate and large. You almost feel like you are getting swallowed when you go inside.
While I was in the Black Church I got a phone call saying that I had to go to a building across from the bus stop and wait beside the statue outside of that building. Apparently someone was going to meet me there and take me to some sort of workshop in five minutes. I had no idea that this was even happening but I was super curious so I ran down to the bus stop and waited by the statue.
A man eventually met me along with two Romanian students to take me to my journalism workshop. It was more like a journalism club, actually, full of Romanian students and then little old Canadian me. It was really interesting, though. We talked about conducting good interviews, and confidence, and I got two small assignments, one of which requires me to talk to three people I don’t know and get them to answer questions Humans of New York style (a challenge for me because I don’t know the Romanian language, but easy because I’ve been talking to strangers basically this whole trip, and I’ve done this kind of exercise for school at Sheridan many times).
The workshop was fun and I loved getting an inside peek at Romanian culture from the student’s point of view. Since I have to write about this country for the magazine, I’m really trying (as quickly as possible) to separate assumptions about what I see and what the true culture and spirit here is. It really is my job to understand what is going on here, culturally, and write about it both intelligently and correctly. As I explore, I observe things, but I am also reading and asking tons of questions to people who know Brasov to fill in the gaps to create a whole picture.
Finally, just a few more pictures of my travels through town today (Piata Sfatului), and a little bookstore I went to because I couldn’t resist.
One final thought. I had a conversation today about the concept of “safe,” and I’ve been thinking about it all day. To tell you the truth, I was kind of nervous before I came here because I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know if something would happen to me along the way. Here is the thing, though: as soon as I started the trip, all of my nervousness melted away into excitement because I was actually in the situation. There wasn’t room to overthink or worry about what “might” happen, because I was living it.
Here’s the other thing: I’m completely ok.
You need to obviously be smart when you’re going into new and unfamiliar situations, but at the same time, you can’t let fear of the unknown or fear of what may not be “safe” paralyze you from trying things. I’m both safe and not safe right now- just like I am in Canada. Yes, something could potentially happen to me here, but as long as I’m smart and careful, it will probably be fine. In Canada, something could potentially happen to me as well (car accident, freak accident, etc.) What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t decide not to do something just because it might have the potential of being “unsafe.” Sometimes “unsafe” is just “unknown.”
You plan, you stay smart and aware, and then you trust.
Don’t let worry about the unknown rob you of what could be the coolest adventure you’ve ever been on.