I know when it hit me. “It” being the fact that I am living in Romania. Not just visiting for a week or a month, but living here for seven whole months. In the grand scheme of things, that is a blink of an eye, but from this end of things it seems quite long. It hit me when I walked into the baggage claim area of the Bucharest airport and signs hanging from the ceiling greeted me “WELCOME TO ROMANIA!” Welcome, indeed. But the weird thing is that it didn’t feel all that foreign. The mere fact that the sign was in English felt like, well, I was in America. Perhaps in the Romania section of Epcot center? And I have yet to come into contact with someone who does not speak at least a little English. Because I certainly have to ask questions. And given that my current Romanian knowledge encompasses all of 25 words, half of which I interchange with their Spanish counterparts in the invariably flustered state that takes over when I try to find Romanian words, I need people who speak English. So there I was, welcomed into Romania in my mother tongue, looking around the airport at faces that could mirror those on a subway ride in a boro of NYC. Which is not to say that there won’t be plenty that seems foreign and strange and odd to me as I continue. But now that I’m here, it seems way less abstract, even just the literal act of actually BEING here makes it so. Here I will stay in my new home, through frigid winter to boiling summer, potatoes and bread and all. Surely my next blog (and many thereafter) will be about all the new and unusual places and people and things I encounter, but for now, Welcome.