What Is and What Should Never Be

That title is more of a personal question than a statement. Also, a pretty awesome Led Zeppelin song. Of course, one thing that should never be easily comes to mind: this godforsaken Chromebook. I know, I know. I’ve already bitched about it before. But since then I’ve discovered even more shortcomings that just should not happen in this age of advanced computing. I can’t even use Skype on this unholy piece of equipment. I was trying to attend an online interview for an English teaching position, and suffice it to say that it did not end well. I use this term so rarely that it actually has quite a bit of meaning for me – but I HATE this thing. Did I mention that I can’t even open executable files? Sweet zombie Jesus.

Okay, okay, I’ll try to move on. I finally had to throw away the last of my protein bars today. They were getting a bit past their prime. For those of you who don’t recall the story, I began this trip with about 40 of these large, fairly expensive apple pie-flavored protein bars. Those things really got me through some tough times, mostly on the plethora of international trains and buses I have had to book. They are delicious, and just one of them (and a bottle of water) will keep the hunger pangs away for up to eight hours. I realize this sounds like a commercial, and the thought occurs of seeking sponsorship, but until that day comes I will offer my sales tactics free of charge. I had five left this evening when I went through my backpack. They were probably hard enough to chip a tooth by this point, so I shed a tear and threw them in the garbage.

Alright, traveling tips time! First on the list: cell phones and apps. Before this trip my friends and family were kind enough to gift me the Google Nexus 6P, simply so I would be able to use the Google Project Fi international calling plan. Thus far, I have had about as much luck as I did last year with my standard T-Mobile service (although Fi is comparatively cheaper). I actually didn’t have any trouble with service this trip until I arrived in Macedonia. Since then I have visited several countries where the service was hit-or-miss, but mostly it seems to be working. Even here in Cluj I had a bit of trouble for the the first few weeks, but oddly that doesn’t seem to be (much) of an issue anymore. I believe I mentioned this in the last post, but I kept my Samsung Galaxy 4 so that I could install a local SIM card and get a Romanian phone number. This, actually, turned out to be quite a necessity when it came time for job-hunting.

There are several phone applications that I could simply not live without (a bit of an overstatement, really). The typical apps are for lodging, such as Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Booking.com, and Hostelworld. Additionally, XE Currency Exchange has been quite invaluable. I also found a unit conversion application, simply called “Unit Conversion,” that has saved me several times (especially when cooking). Then there are the usual “interesting location” apps such as Foursquare, Waze, and World Explorer that point out local sights and restaurants. I believe last time I mentioned the Cluj bus schedule application that is invaluable for public transportation in the city. It seems they recently updated it, and it is now immensely LESS helpful than before. They removed the maps section, so I now have no way of figuring out just where each of the buses stop. Without that information, it has almost become useless. After about two months in the city, though, I have learned most of the bus numbers that I need to get my way around Grigorescu. Regardless, sometimes I find myself on the other side of town and now it is infinitely more difficult to return.

Speaking of Grigorescu, I came upon a revelation the other day while searching for one of the city’s only two Subways. That’s Subway the restaurant, not Subway the underground railroad. It took me quite a hike (still worth it) and I had to travel to a mystical land called Zorilor. It turns out the districts of Cluj sound like they came right out of Middle Earth. Zorilor is my favorite, but some of the others are Manastur, Buna Ziua, Marasti, Someseni, and Gheorgheni. Of course, there are some non-English letters in there that alter the pronunciations just a bit, but sometimes when I’m heading to a place I feel like I may encounter dragons and elves. It’s the little things, I guess.

Speaking of the little things, I have decided to become a weekday pescatarian. For much of the past month, I have had no meat during the week. This rule excludes fish, because, come on, sushi. I don’t ever foresee myself not eating sushi if the chance arises. Even on the weekends, though, I am trying to healthier. I don’t try to eat red meat, but possibly a bit of chicken though. I feel this is a nice trade-off of which my sister would approve as an admirable first step. Surprisingly, it has not been the slightest bit difficult to cut meats out of my weekdays. Hell, the vegetable lasagna I made two weeks ago was the tastiest meal I’ve cooked in quite some time. It was not nearly as delicious as my mother’s lasagna, but I’ll take what I can get halfway across the world.

I am frighteningly behind on the list of tasks and errands I need to accomplish. I have just a few weeks left to get a Romanian visa or risk being kicked out of my current home. I actually haven’t had much of a list of stuff I needed to accomplish in the past six months; just little things here and there. Recently, though, because I have decided to settle down for a bit, the list has expanded exponentially. It seems there aren’t enough hours in the day – mostly because I rarely get enough sleep at night and therefor have no energy while the sun is up. I have a current project I’m working on for my sister (also unbeknownst to my sister) that I need to outsource due to a personal lack of artistic abilities. I desperately need to find a job, having but one month or so left of backup savings. It’s not just the financial aspects, though. I want to have a job so I have something to do during the day. Also, I need to get an apartment. I’m still living in a hostel, and the lack of privacy is starting to take its toll. Call me crazy, but some nights I just don’t care to sleep in a dorm room with several other random people. And really, who lives in a hostel? I like this one, but a month is enough.

Surprisingly, I do miss home sometimes. Obviously I miss my friends and family, but there is more to it than that. Recently I have missed the Arizona weather quite a bit, but there’s even more to it than that. I think it’s just a traveler’s lag. I’m quite hoping that once I find employment and get my own apartment I’ll be able to get settled in have a little more room and personal space. Dear god, I miss having a dresser and a closet. I am sick of living out of a backpack. Some days get a bit lonely, yes, but I’ve grown mostly accustomed to this. Again, hopefully once I get settled I’ll start making friends here. Friends with whom I can meet up with later this month and cook a massive Thanksgiving dinner. I miss the holiday traditions from America. Not so much the holidays themselves, but the traditions were always fun. Thankfully I was able to meet a friend a few days ago and carve some pumpkins for Halloween. It’s a start!

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Well, I guess that is about all I have to say this evening. I know, these posts have become horribly boring since I decided to stay in one place for awhile. I can only assume that I am still writing them more for myself to read many years down the road than for all my adoring fans. Free time permitting, in the near future I am hoping to start writing short stories again. Those won’t be posted on this blog, but I’m sure I will find some way to reference their location in case the boredom of life drives you to take an extra few minutes from your busy schedule to read my ramblings. Time will tell. Until then, cheers!

Brian Cosey

This blog: briancosey.com

Email: bcosey@asu.edu

Facebook: facebook.com/cosey

Travel photos: flickr.com/briancosey

United States: +17173723307

Romania: +40731573081

Couchsurfing: https://www.couchsurfing.com/people/keeleon

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