Teaching, travelling and enjoying Romania by CI Chinese teachers – Peng Dan

Name: 彭丹(PENG DAN)
Age: 26
Hometown: Si Chuan, China
University: Zhejiang University of Science and Technology
Teaching town: Baia Mare, Romania

It has been a couple of months since I came to Romania. Let me tell you about what I see and feel here. From Shanghai to Istanbul in Turkey and then to Cluj in Romania, everything is so fresh and exciting – it was the first time that I went abroad. After a few days of pre-job training, I was assigned to Baia Mare with two other partners, and the new semester began.

First of all, I want to talk about the food here. I heard that predecessors said that this is a paradise for meat eaters. It’s absolutely right. In the restaurant, a large sparerib with potatoes and dipping sauce came to the stage. The pig elbow, which is as thick as the calf, lay in the plate quietly, leaving us stunned and not knowing how to start with the knives and forks. Grilled chicken breast, steak, fish steak, all kinds of kebabs are the main dishes of each restaurant. But when we first came here, we didn’t adapt to the food here. Because when we went to the restaurant to order food, we couldn’t understand Romanian characters. We could only guess at random. At last, many dishes were not as good as we expected, and the price was not cheap, so we could only spend our money with sorrow. We were determined to go home and make Chinese food by ourselves, as every time we ordered dishes became a gamble game, that ended with making us feel really helpless. Later, through the translation app and the recommendation of the shop assistant, the order became safe. As for the price, the price of Baia Mare is cheaper than most of other cities. A common meat dish is about 20-35lei, which is about 34-60 yuan per dish. It’s affordable for students.

When it comes to food, let’s talk about our daily meals in Romania. Basically, we cook by ourselves. The school where we stay has a public kitchen. We usually go to the supermarket to buy vegetables and meat. There are few varieties of vegetables. Beef is cheaper than that in China. The marinated steak is only a few yuan a piece. The pork is converted into about 30 yuan and 1kg. Compared with the current meat price in China, it is much cheaper. The vegetables in the supermarket are very expensive. The Chinese cabbage costs more than ten yuan which in China is only 3-5yuan. The local people basically make green vegetables into salads, so some of the vegetables sold in the supermarket are packaged into salads. However, unlike the regular three meals a day in China, because the school is closed at two o’clock in the afternoon, so basically we don’t have time to have lunch. Therefore, there are only two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. At noon, we can bring our own snacks to the school if it is necessary. The same for the local teachers. A few of them will order takeout form food-Panda at noon. As for seasoning, there is no Chinese supermarket in our city, so our soy sauce, vinegar, cooking wine and other Chinese seasoning are bought in the capital. So later volunteers can bring their own seasonings from China. There are various kinds of sweets, such as cakes, chocolate and various kinds of fruit juice. They are cheap and delicious. The packaging of chocolate is also very good-looking, so I’m going to bring some chocolates back home to give to people. It’s cheap, good-looking and delicious. It’s great. Romania is rich in wine, so it’s worth trying all kinds of prices of wine and wine in the supermarket.

About traffic, it really gives me a headache. The way to travel is usually by train, bus and self driving. Most of the railway stations here are very simple, and the railway station is not very clean. The toilets are charged, for entering and leaving the station, there is no check-in window or luggage security device. The train is really slow. There is no high-speed railway. It takes 13 hours for 600 kilometers. You need to make your own bed to buy a sleeper. So I miss domestic high-speed rail. However, the ticket price is reasonable and not expensive. You can order by phone, log in the website and order by window. Bus is the same way to buy tickets. You need to take good care of your bus company and choose the appropriate bus. Big cities, such as the capital city, will have subways, which is not bad, only for big cities. Usually, you can take the bus. The bus needs to buy tickets at the platform in advance, and then get on the bus with tickets. Taking a taxi is different from that in China. It will not stop when you wave you hand or do some gestures. We need to go to a special taxi parking to get on, so it’s very inconvenient. Some cities can use Uber taxi, some can only choose to go to the taxi parking lot. In the capital Bucharest, taxis need to be priced in advance, so that drivers are not likely to take the opportunity to collect more money. Most of us are walking in Baia Mare, because the city is really small, and the distance between several schools is not very far. Generally, we walk for 20 minutes and we arrive at our destination.

As for shopping, there will be one or two shopping malls in every small city here. You can buy clothes and daily necessities here. The big and small shops will be on sale during Black Friday and Christmas, so we are very happy about this. There are also many second-hand clothes stores here. We appreciate this recycling method. Some daily necessities are very expensive, such as needles and threads. You can buy more than ten needles for 2 yuan in China, and threads are also very cheap. Here, more than ten lei for only have a few needles. And batteries and so on are much more expensive than in China. For girls, cosmetics are not indispensable. There are many cosmetics stores in the capital, but there are few in other cities, and the brand types are also scarce. When we get to the store, it is difficult to select products suitable for our Asians and intermediate skin. The price of big brands is also more expensive than that of domestic brands, unless there is a discount. Therefore, those who dare not buy cheap cosmetics can only buy expensive cosmetics of large brands. But the domestic brand of hyaluronic acid here is really easy to use and not expensive, which is also one of the items we want to bring back to China for gifts. There are online shopping, too, but people don’t use it very often, and the mailing time is very slow. Clothes, books and so on all need more than two weeks. I miss Alibaba’s Taobao very much.

Speaking of the daily consumption, let’s talk about the scenery here. We had three weeks of Christmas vacation that let us enjoy travelling around Romania. The buildings here really have their own characteristics. The houses with eyes in Sibiu, the different but magnificent castles in Hunedoara, Brasov and Sinaia, the rural museums with traditional characteristics and the Folk Museum make us linger. During the trip, we lived in the local homestay. The interior decoration of these homestays is very unique. We like them very much. I want to live forever in the Winter season because of the hot red wine in the Christmas market of Brasov. The snow mountain in Sinaia brings us to a world of ice and snow fairy tales. A small waterfall at the foot of the unknown mountain makes us feel relaxed and happy. The spring water is also very sweet. It’s the best water for making tea and coffee. Pigeons are everywhere in every city competing for bread in the square, fruits on trees in the streets and alleys, while the purple and black grapes in people’s yards make us salivate. Cattle and sheep eat grass leisurely in the back of the yard. Horses carriages jingle on the road. It’s a rare sight in China, and we enjoy it.

Finally, let’s talk about the Romanians we meet every day. People here live a leisurely life, they are very concerned about their lives, pay attention to the quality of life, their wages are not high, young people are full of energy (in addition to school time), adult gentleman, elegant, old people leisurely and carefree, you can often see the old lady in the street wearing a western style suit. They work until in the afternoon, so after work, they have time to gather in cafes, bars, or at parties to chat. Their attitude towards life is serious. So, whenever we have difficulties, no matter strangers or acquaintances, they will always be patient and will help us solve them. They are not afraid to delay their time. The Chinese are too busy, sometimes ignoring their daily life. In Baia Mare, except for Gypsies, people choose to be honest and trust each other. Once I left my mobile phone in a hotel for nearly two months, then I went to find it and the person in charge gave it back directly. A geography teacher I met in class, worried that I was not familiar with Romanian life, would take me to listen to music, eat dessert, eat Romanian food and share the natural eggs her rural mother brought her in the weekend. Every time, my heart was really moved. But it takes a long time to make an appointment for a job, and many days to deal with it. Many of the Romanians rely on manual rather than Internet technology. For example, they need to go to school in person, find the names of the students on the roster, and write the final scores one by one. For Romanian students and Chinese students, Romanian children have many opportunities for extracurricular time, which is conducive to their comprehensive development. But kids also use a lot of tricks, for example when they are in class, sometimes they are not very focused, and sometimes they might even skip some classes. Teachers need to take many measures to attract students and make them succeed. Class will not be as neat as Chinese primary and secondary school children, China students have a fixed position, in Romania they can choose their own. In China, students respect teachers very much. In Romania, students and teachers tend to be more equal.

All in all, I am happy here, and I also appreciate the opportunity to accumulate teaching experience and experience the life here.