This is (more than two weeks) earlier than my birthday, but there are a few reasons why we ended up celebrating it today. Khaleh Ziba wanted to celebrate Sara and Sina’s birthday in her backyard. To make sure the weather would cooperate, she decided to organize everything earlier rather than later. She graciously suggested that I would celebrate my birthday together with Sara and Sina to give mommy and daddy time to focus on our big move to the East Coast. The theme of our birthday was Mickey/Minnie Mouse and we all got to wear mouse ears during the party. Here are a few pictures of me partying as hard as I usually do:
Of course, we spent a lot of time taking group pictures:
This evening we had dinner at a restaurant (whose name is something like “The Dacs’ Inn”) and tried out some authentic Romanian food. Their menu was so thick that I spent hours flipping through it. Ok, I exaggerated a little bit here, but their menu was like a book and I flipped through it until they brought the food out. Here are some pictures of people and people with their food:
One thing I learned at the restaurant was how to shrug my shoulders. People were pretty amused by my new talent, so I kept shrugging my shoulder to their delight. These adults are so easy to entertain!
Before going back to US, daddy wanted to take mommy to Cheile Turzii (Turda’s Canyon), a slot canyon pretty close to Cluj-Napoca. I took my second nap of the day on our way there and I kept sleeping while others were hiking. Because I haven’t actually been in the canyon, I can only imagine how it was by looking at the pictures. Below are a few highlights of the hike.
Because the canyon is so very narrow, not many pictures show bot the bottom of the canyon and the tall peaks. Here are a few pictures of the peaks surrounding the cannyon:
Now a few more pictures with the people who enjoyed this adventure:
Today we drove all the way to Sibiu to visit a few more of daddy’s relatives. The first one I met was daddy’s buni (or – if you prefer – buni’s mommy): we stopped at the church to pick her up on our way. Then my daddy’s aunt and uncle (my buni’s brother) took us all the way to their cabin along the Lotrioara river. It was a fun afternoon with steaks and little ones (mici) for dinner. Here are a few pictures:
Today I met daddy’s godmother (who happens to be bunu’s sister) and I designed for her a personal routine to keep her fit and active. The pictures below show us going down the stairs with me in the lead. Her position may seem a little uncomfortable, but it definitely relieves pressure points in the lower back.
The other half of the routine involves going up the stairs (still with me in the lead) and looks a little bit more comfortable, but it wonderfully works out the arms and shoulders muscles (not to mention the legs muscles). To understand how effective this workout was, imagine repeating the routine over and over again until the subject is completely tired while I am still ready to go. I used these routine on everybody who was willing to assist me in going up and down the stairs.
The place where we spent the night was not a bed-and-breakfast because the breakfast was not included. And it was too small to be considered a motel; we are still looking for the proper English word that would describe the Romanian “pensiune”. Anyway: we woke up, we checked out the grounds, we played with puppies, we ate breakfast, we picked some plums, then we took off. Here are a few pictures:
Today we drove on a new highway built along an old Roman route going through a mountain pass. I was asleep most of the time, but everybody seemed to have enjoyed the trip. Here are a few pictures of the nature in the area:
Now a few pictures with the people who joined me in this adventure:
The pictures below are representative for our stops: once on our way to Balea Lake, at Balea Lake, after the tunnel, at the Vidraru Dam, and at a restaurant overlooked by the Poienari Fortress.
During the first stop I ate my pear while the grown-ups wanted to take a bunch of pictures. The latter seemed pretty pointless, so I complained a lot and I did not want to cooperate (especially when mommy or daddy were not holding me).
We eventually made it up to Balea Lake, where we stopped for lunch. First thing we did was to dress up in warm clothes because it was very cold. Then the grown-ups ate all kind of goodies that I have not seen in my life while they only fed me biscuits. Of course they had to take some more pictures, this time with the lake in the background.
This was the longest drive of my life and I spent a lot of it in my car seat. Most of the time I was busy playing, but I also napped from time to time (I even missed the stop at the Vidraru Dam for this reason). Anyway, interactions with others helped me stay sane. As usual, I was quite excited to meet other kids and I met a few during our last stop. That last stop was also the point where I refused to sit in my car seat any longer. To keep me happy, my aunt Raluca gave me a real cellphone that she allowed me to conduct business with. Not only that I got the cellphone (have I mentioned it was a REAL one?), but I also got plenty of calls on it. That kept me busy until we arrived at our hostel.
The first stop on our road trip was in Sibiu, where we only had a few hours to eat and explore the city. Here are a few pictures with people who joined me in this adventure.
First of all we stopped to eat something at a restaurant on Balcescu Blvd. This is where I tried very hard to put caps back on the corresponding water bottles. Based on the number of pictures only, this activity must have been the most memorable during the day.
After we ate, I played with the birds in the Large Square, then we crossed into the Small Square to cross the Liars Bridge. The bridge is supposed to collapse when a liar crosses over. It looks like nobody in our party ever lied because the bridge was just fine after we crossed it. Later I relaxed to the point where I fell asleep while everybody else was having goodies at a cafe back on Balcescu Blvd. Here are a few pictures:
Maman-bozorg, baba-bozorg, and khaleh Vida will not be with me when I turn one (three months from now). This is why they decided to celebrate my nine-month birthday with cake and gifts. Here are a few pictures with family and cake.
After all those formal pictures, we started opening gifts. Khaleh Vida gave me a house that makes all kind of noises, plus some people around the house who introduce themselves. From maman-bozorg and baba-bozorg I got this musical table that also makes all kind of noises and plays different songs.
This morning felt special because my parents dressed me up in an elf outfit that mommy got for my first Christmas. This outfit was celebrated by a long photo session, which included mommy, daddy, buni and our Christmas tree. Along with some milk before and after, this pretty much sums up what happened between two sleep sessions. Enjoy the pictures!