Thursday, February 15, 2007

Awww, the humanity!

First, let me preface this by telling you a few things about me or at least reminding you if you already know them!

1 - I am an only child.
2 - I grew up on a farm with lots of land space.
3 - I was the only child on our road until 5th grade.
4 - I liked the above three things about my life!

Now, picture me, here in Bucharest. First it is a very populated large city. Second, this culture doesn't require much "personal" space.

In the morning as I wash my face I can hear our next door neighbor hacking up his "old man stuff" out of his throat. I can hear our other neighbor in the kitchen when she washes her dishes. We can hear the squeaky door of the apartment above us. I can hear the toilet water go down the wall from the floors above us. You get the idea right? So let's just say I NEVER really feel alone.

Anyway, all this is common but this week it just really bugged me. Yesterday, we got on the bus to go to gymnastics. At the first stop this woman got on and she must have run to catch it. She ends up standing facing my side while I was seated. And she literally, BREATHED DOWN MY NECK, for the rest of the ride. I not a "germ-a-phobe" but the fact that I could feel her hot breath going down my collar drove me insane!

Then on the tram it was tight to say the least. By the time we got to our stop I could feel, no joke, 5 people touching me. Granted, one was Maria but then there was a person on each side bumping me and someone behind me with his belly pressed into my back. Then an arm was over me head holding the pole and his elbow kept tapping my head. It was simply too...much...TOUCHING!

And to top off the morning as we rounded the corner into the gym driveway there was a man turned 90 degrees to the sidewalk tinkling! Here as long as the "anatomy" is hidden then it is irrelevant that EVERYONE knows you are standing there tinkling. Then he finishes and turns just as we pass him - literally three feet away. What am I supposed to do? Politely look away? Wrinkle up my nose to his face (which is what I was doing)? Or say Buna Dimineata (Good Morning)? My Southern hospitality won out and I wished the man Good Morning. He responded with the Romanian greeting for ladies which translates, "I kiss the hand". I was thinking you're getting nowhere close to my hands - I KNOW where yours have been!

So tonight I opted out of the skating rink to spend a few quiet moments alone in the apartment. I can still hear the neighbors and the traffic outside but at least I can't see them and more importantly...they can't touch me!

We also had some interesting days at gymnastics this week. I'll try to post about that this weekend. Let's just say I was even on the floor more than once this week and the coaches were actually yelling at ME!