Hosting my Mom and Pop in Bucharest: Lessons learned

I was a bit nervous introducing Romania to my parents. Would they like it? Would they understand it? What would they think?


Cismigu with Mom

Unfortunately, our final moments on bus 780 from Otopeni -> Gara de Nord were interrupted by the almost-always-abrasive fare checker folk who ruefully/gleefully announced that I needed to pay them 100 lei – 50 lei per parent because I’d messed up the tourist-trap bus card scanning system and only payed for one person.

The horror.

I couldn’t believe it, I had really tried my best to pay for three people, and even solicited help from some Romanians on the bus before leaving the airport.
Screen shot 2014-04-28 at 12.28.07 PMOne longish multi-language argument with three (good cop, bad cop, neutral cop) bus checkers later, my dad was already at the point of “Remind me never to come back to Romania.”

It didn’t get any better when I told him that they had to stop using their money belts so that they wouldn’t attract attention (and actually, maybe I should just handle the money because of the Romanian thing about needing correct change).

MANY better moments were to be had…
at the historic restaurant Caru cu Bere,
the beautiful Ateneul concert hall,
my dear Cismigu Park,
on a mother-daughter trip to Sinaia,
and just eating the awesome pastries from every shop in Bucharest (Dad... ;).


Dad goes shopping for a “snack.”

I loved showing them my every day life here, even if some of it is a little bit crazy.

Screen shot 2014-04-28 at 12.24.35 PM

Facebook post from April 26th

My mom called my life-style “camping in an apartment” which is pretty accurate since I’m not here long term and haven’t bothered to buy some things. 😛

On Saturday they came with me to see my squirly class of little girls learning English at the Camin. We did Head-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toes, my dad sang an Easter song (to which the girls replied in-kind with their own made-up, chaotic layers of repeating Hallelujahs), my mom read them an ESL version of Goldilocks, and we ate German gummy bears while we talked about the 5 senses. Eyes see! Ears hear! The usual adorable class hugs and hubbub.

The camin tutor who sat in on part of the class congratulated my parents on making it though the class “without needing a smoke break,” which was pretty funny.

Over all, I loved showing my parents “my” Romania and I think they ended their first trip together through Europe on a good note…I can only say that if they would make the express bus trips 780/783 a little easier on tourists, people will love Romania even more. 😉




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7 Responses to Hosting my Mom and Pop in Bucharest: Lessons learned

  1. the mom says:

    Thanks for hosting us and sharing your life in Bucharest. We loved being with you and learning about your life in Romania.

  2. Jim Sherod says:

    Bucharest is a nice city. Yes, their bus system leaves a little to be desired – scam, scam. But the Athenaeum ( is first class (concert hall with marvelous mural showing Romanian flow of history), and the Palace of the Parliament was quite the building. Now that I know Bucharest is compared with Budapest and Vienna, I’d like to see what those cities are like as well. The Peasant Museum was also interesting. Very nice parks also! I’m glad you had the time to show us around and we had a chance to see where you live and work.

  3. Rae says:

    Me and a friend just returned from a visit to Romania and had the same awful experience with bus 780. Do you mind if I refer to your blog here, since I too am writing about this incident? I really think it’s something that people should be made aware of. Thanks!

    • I liked your blog! I really wish that the 780 was more friendly, because Romania is amazing and should not be defined by that bus… 😛

      • Rae says:

        Oh wow, I’m sort of surprised that you managed to find it 😛 I like your blog as well! It was very comforting when we headed back to the hostel and we found that we were not the only people who had this unfortunate encounter.
        Haha, well since you read through my blog (just finished all Romania entries) I guess you can see that there are parts of Romania that I love, and parts that I were not so keen on. Are you still in Romania? I’d actually love to talk with you more about this intriguing country 🙂

      • I’ve just moved back to the States, I guess I need to write a wrap-up post on my time in Romania, but feel free to scan through the blog for my good times and occasional strange times in Romania and I’ll answer any questions you might have about my impressions 🙂

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