Bucharest – 24th – 28th March

Previous post in this series – The First Days in Bucharest

It’s the evening of Saturday, 28th March as I’m writing this. In another 5 hours we’ll have been here for 7 days. It seems so long ago that we arrived with just our suitcases and couldn’t find our hotel! What a nightmare!

I said to Olivier yesterday, that if I was reading about this, and it wasn’t my story, I would be so sorry and so sad for the writer! But it’s ok! I’ve stopped crying! No need to feel sorry for me at all.

So, what have we been doing in the past few days, since my last post? Not much!

Daily Routine

We have developed a kind of routine in the past few days. We’re allowing our natural ‘body clocks’ to dictate our sleeping time. Fortunately we’re synchronised. And we sleep a lot!

We wake up at about 11.00 – 11.30am. It takes a while to really wake up enough to get out of bed, so we finally get out of bed at around 12.00. We usually shower before drinking a tea, although today I decided to have my tea first, just to break the boredom of the routine.

Plus, today I decided to wash my hair! Another boredom breaker, because the shower is impossible to operate at one temperature, and you’re never sure if it’s going to turn cold, or hot, in a fraction of a second. Very exciting! I felt like such a risk taker pointing the shower head to the top of my head, not knowing if it was going to scald me or freeze me!

So, after showering and having a cup of tea, we both jump on the laptops to check for emails, messages, and news.

Olivier usually eats a small breakfast, yoghurt and fruit, but I prefer just a tea.

Then, after an hour or so online, we start thinking about lunch. Without even discussing it, we’ve developed a pattern of taking it in turns to cook lunch.

And here’s a sample of what we’ve been eating this week. We’ve still got some cabbage in the fridge after eating it for about 3 days in a row!

Today, it was Olivier’s turn and he cooked a really nice piece of pork with some roasted vegetables. It was superb!

born in a car roast pork and vegetables
Roast pork and vegetables

So, after eating lunch, we’re back on the laptops, checking things, connecting with people and just trying to be entertained a little.

Or, we have a little nap, or watch TV a bit.

We’re doing some small exercises, almost everyday. Nothing too strenuous, just kind of stretching to keep our bodies limber. It’s fun and it’s something that we can do together after being separated by our technology for most of the day.

In the evening we eat either what’s leftover from lunch, or ham, salami, cheese, salad, or whatever we can find in the fridge.

Then it’s back online for a few hours, and then we fall into bed, not exhausted but just tired of the routine, at about 12.00 – 1.00am.

Yes, I know that means we’re in bed for about 10 – 11 hours each night!

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Martial Law

On Tuesday 24th March, after I finished writing my previous post, the president of Romania declared martial law. It means that the recommendations to stay inside were now law.

It means that we can only go out with a ‘permission slip’, generated online or handwritten, stating who we are, where we live, and where we’re going, dated and signed. Beginning that night.

It means that the streets are ruled by the army and the police.

So, we decided to take another quick trip to the supermarket, not really knowing if there would be a problem in the coming days to go outside. We always wear our masks when we’re outside, but not everyone does. The supermarket was quiet, calm, and there were no problems in the street.

born in a car Bucharest old town street
The old town – empty streets

We went past the building of our friend, the concierge, who had helped us when we were looking for our apartment. He was there, so we went inside and told him thank you once again. We offered him a couple of small souvenirs, a pen from Australia and an Eiffel Tower key ring, but he refused to take them. He also refused our offer of food and he pointed to what was probably the kitchen, and told us that he had food.

He needed nothing from us, and in fact, he was probably a bit scared for his health. And I don’t blame him for that. We kept our distance while talking to him.

Connecting with People

I’m not the most social person I know. In fact, over the years I’ve become a bit of a hermit, and much prefer my own company and I stay at home a lot while Olivier goes out with friends.

But, this week I needed some moral support, and so I reached out in several FB groups and have connected with some very nice people. They can’t physically help me, and some of them are not in Bucharest or even Romania, but we all have the need to be heard by someone. It’s a very nice feeling to be able to give support, even just a few messages each day, as well as receive it.

It’s my hope that after this is all over, we’ll be able to meet some of these lovely women who are lending their support while their own lives are just as, or more, difficult as ours.

Shopping Again

Yesterday, after I’d managed to get all the information I needed about what kind of ‘permission slip’ we had to have to be able to go outside to the shops, we decided to test the system out.

We had our forms downloaded onto our tablet, as well as a handwritten one just in case. We were ready for action.

So off we went, strolling through the empty old town. There were a few people out, and the foreign exchange was open too, so we changed some euros to the local currency, the ‘Leu’, currency symbol is ‘Lei’ and the currency code is RON.

There was also a kebab/sharwarma place open on the corner, which we’ll try another time. It smelt good!

So we walked to Carrefour again, no control of documents and we didn’t see any army personnel or vehicles. I saw a few policemen at different places, but none were near us.

There was no queue this time, we walked straight into the supermarket. Not a lot of people inside, but plenty of food, just like the other 2 times we had been there.

We bought what we needed, and now we have enough food for about a week (that’s according to me. According to Olivier, it will last less than a week).

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Our Apartment

We originally booked this apartment for 2 weeks, ending on 4th April. It seems that we won’t be able to move far on the 4th, so we’ve asked the agent to let us stay longer, another month.

We’re waiting for his reply right now. And we’re hoping that if he says yes, that the price won’t have jumped up too much. We’re comfortable here, and would prefer not to have to pack up all our stuff and haul it across town to an unknown place.

And now

And now, feeling settled, the tears no longer flow so easily. I’ve been reading the stories of many, many other people and feel grateful that I have Olivier, my health, fresh water and clean air, food, and the means to maintain these things for the time being.

Not knowing what the future holds is the most difficult thing for someone who likes to be in control.

And, how are you going? Do you have what you need? Is your family together, or are you trying to manage being separated during this already difficult time? If you need help, reach out – to me, or to someone you know. Just don’t be alone. Let’s all help each other now when we need it the most.

~ Cheryl

Next post in this Bucharest series – The Last Days of March in Bucharest

Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

6 thoughts on “Bucharest – 24th – 28th March”

  1. Hi Cheryl – glad to see you’re all settled in and have food and wifi (two essentials!) Now you just need consistent hot showers and life would be pretty good indeed. Hopefully you’re booking can get extended and you’ll feel safe and settled for the next few weeks.
    Things in Oz are pretty good. They’ve brought in “zones” now that you won’t be able to cross (except for work etc) – so no travel to Perth from the SW. I guess it doesn’t really matter while we’re all being good and staying at home. I’m so relieved that we’re still allowed out to walk and get some exercise – maybe martial law will be the next step? Who knows – the situation seems to change daily.
    Stay safe and thanks for the little glimpse into your new world x

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    1. Hi Leanne, it worries me about all these little changes – having zones and restrictions. I worry that it may carry on into the future. But I’m a pessimist anyway, so it’s not surprising. We can also go out for a little walk, as long as we’ve got the ‘permission slip’ saying so. We can’t go far from home, but we’re allowed out for personal exercise. There was a small family outside our window today in the pedestrian zone, with a little toddler on his bike – it was a strange site. Let’s hope this is over soon and we can get back to normal. 🙂 xx

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  2. Hi Cheryl. It’s always a comfort reading one of your posts. You are so down to earth, and I can tell you are a very caring person. I do hope we get to meet in the near future. There have been no big changes here in Chiatura. Now and again, someone drives by in a truck and shout s something in Georgian over a loudspeaker. according to our translator, It’s just a reminder that there are to be no social gatherings and it’s recommended that we stay inside our homes. Grocery stores remain open with a limited number of people being allowed to enter at a time. Stay well! I’ll chat with you soon.

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    1. Hi Christina, thanks for your support, I feel good when I see your name, either here or in Messages. 🙂 It’s interesting seeing how different countries/cities/people are dealing with the situation. Olivier saw a police car cruise past our window today, so that was exciting! (not much happening here otherwise!). I’ve opened a program for learning Romanian, let’s see how much I can manage while we’re here! Take care and love to you both. xx

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  3. Hi Cheryl,
    Great to hear that you feel better now. No matter where you live on this planet at the moment, it is a very scary feeling. We have never ever had this kind of situation before. Well maybe in some areas during the Black Plague.
    Luckily I can really enjoy being by myself. And I never get bored. I have lots of hobbies.

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    1. Hi Katja, it’s great to have hobbies, isn’t it? I love reading, I have some books with me (although I left my favourites in Moscow 😦 ), and I love writing for my blog. And for the last years I’ve felt good being at home, alone or with my husband, Olivier. I try not to complain, I have no small children to worry about, or old grandparents living with me, and we have what we need right now. We’re in a good position compared to a lot of other people. Thanks again for reading, see you again! 🙂 x

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