How did we ever get to this day? Is this really the last day in our two-week class already? Impossible. But here we are, at the Senate Hall, almost a déjà vu of the first day. This time, each student is asked to share our thoughts on our experiences. Each faculty member also says a few words, then Rector Folcut hands out the certificates and shakes each student’s hand. We go outdoors to take pictures with everyone.
Before dinner Alexandra promises to take us to a store where she purchased her traditional Romanian shirt. Becca, Molly, Randi, Emily, Ami, and I go there and ransack the place as if we found a New York City closeout sale. All of the prices are the most reasonable I saw compared to those in the shopping districts. I find a red traditional dress modeled by the mannequin in the front window; it fits perfectly! I find a few other shirts keeping in mind of the women in my family. While Alex tries on a shirt and a dress, Emily and I purchase it for her in thankfulness. We look at a few more stores around the area, and even a shoe store with every different color combination in every style you can fathom: teal and purple, red and green, blue and black – unreal for westerners, but very normal for Romanians.
I return to RAU with my new goodies and other students who did not go inquire about my purchases. I show them my dress, and they collectively determine that I MUST wear it for tonight’s dinner. I grimace in reply but do so anyways. As a person who likes to wear only one outfit for the day (and jeans and a t-shirt is my favorite go-to outfit), prior to this dress, I already changed my wardrobe twice and am lazy when it comes to “gussying up” for an occasion.
We head to the 18 Restaurant, located at a tall building near the university. And as its name denotes, it is on the 18th floor. There is a marvelous view, but like all places of Romania and because it is located at the top, it is a tad warm for me. We take pictures like fiends loving the paparazzi, and enjoy ordered drinks and the buffet style dinner. There is mention of possible dancing here, but the dinner ends before it ever starts. The professors speak to one another, and so do the students. We get a chance to say goodbye to one another, but none of the students want to leave. Horia suggests and organizes to go to a pub/restaurant for more refreshments that he claims is nearby. I have been on this trip for 14 days, and know a European’s definition of nearby is not the same as the Americans. However, myself, and the others with uncomfortable shoe wear, grin our teeth and bear it for the sake of the group. Part of me hopes it translates to mean a five minute walk. This walk is twenty, in the deep nested areas of the park. Once we arrive, we sit and do our best to cool and not get stung by more mosquitoes. I turn on the anti-mosquito fan I carry everywhere after bitten students ask me to. Then I order a delicious juice of apple, lime, and caramel. It is sweet and I reminisce nostalgically of my childhood schooldays licking caramel apple lollipops.
When we finish, there are those who decide to keep the night alive further. The time approaches 2300, Ami and I are fatigued. Because she has a flight to make waking her at 0400 and I have not yet packed, both of us return to the school together. All of us say our goodbyes, hug and kiss (in the European fashion) one another, and promise to keep in touch. Although I am most sad of this moment and it is the end of our two weeks, I am confident we will keep in touch. I am also very grateful for this experience and though I miss it all, I really just see this as the beginning…
Here is a pic of Ana Maria and I on the last day.