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Published: June 13th 2007
I spend three months in Romania with Raluca in the summer of 2004. I missed my connecting flight in Boston on my to Bucharest, so I had to spend the night there. Boston turned out to be much nicer than I thought. In fact, it was so nice that I took Raluca there for a trip after we got married. She loved it too. A year later (in 2006), we ended up moving to Boston and that's where I'm typing from now. All because of a missed flight! I was rerouted through Frankfurt and got to spend a few hours there while waiting for my Bucharest flight.
We spent most ofthe summer in Iasi, but we got out of the city a few times. She met me at the airport in Bucharest and we went immediately to Sighisoara, the town where we first met, for a few days. She then went back to Iasi to study for her final exams. I went to Turkey and took in Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Konya. It was a country full of good food and good music. It was also the first Muslim country I ever visited. My mom offered me $100 to not go to Turkey for this reason. I turned her down and had a great time.
I went back to Iasi to take Raluca to her prom. After that, she resumed her studies and I went to Belgrade, Sarajevo, and Budapest. But when I returned to Iasi this time, she had graduated and we would not be separated again all summer.
We went to Romania's Black Sea coast for a week of relaxation. Then we did something a little bigger. Raluca's dream was to go to Egypt so I took her there. The cheapest way to get there was through a package deal for air and hotel to Hurghada. We took that and spent half our time by the Red Sea, and half the time in Cairo, the city where time has stopped. The Pyramids were spectacular, but my favorite part of Cairo was the area called "Islamic Cairo", a labyrinth of alleys opening to bazaars, medressas, gates, mosques, and even a caravanserais or two. This was some of the most exciting exploring I've ever done. There were traders everywhere. We tried exotic fruits, smoked a sheesha (veeery dizzy) and drank coffee at a cafe, and relaxed on the cool, marble floors of a mosque. Our camel ride around the pyramids paled in comparison.
Our last major excursion of the summer involved traveling Rome for a week to visit Raluca's brother who was working there illegally. We saw the sites, swam in Mediterranean, and had atmosperic dinners at outdoor cafes around Piazza Navona. It was a special time.
Back in Romania, we went to the US Embassy in Bucharest for Raluca's Fiance Visa interview, the day before I went back to Ohio. She got the visa. I went home the next day. Raluca came two weeks later. We were married in November of 2004 and were lucky enough to be able to have her parents flown in for the wedding. Life was good. Moving out of my parents house and supporting ourselves meant less travel, but we were ok with that for awhile. I wouldn't travel overseas again for a year and half, though. In November of 2005, I would accomplish one of my lifetime goals, China.
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