Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

Archive for November, 2006

Boldog Nevnapom

Posted by Andy Hockley on 30 November, 2006

Or should that be Nevnapomot?

Anyway, today is my “name day”, a fact which passes me by everywhere else but here, where these things are paid attention to. I did actually know that November 30th was St Andrew’s day, but only because he’s the patron saint of Scotland, and not because there is any connection between him and me.

Nobody’s wished me Happy Name Day yet, so I’m doing it here to myself, in some kind of sad self-pitying way. In a minute I’ll have to go and get myself a bunch of flowers (the usual nevnap present). I suppose I could combine the twin St Andrew concepts and have some whisky instead, which might be more suitable and actually does sound quite appealing.

(This post sounds terribly pathetic, so I feel I ought to point out that I am perfectly well and happy and writing this with a (small) smile on my face, so don’t feel you need to email me with name day greetings to cheer me up. Not that you would anyway, since you all just don’t care.)

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Boldog Nevnapom

Posted by Andy Hockley on 30 November, 2006

Or should that be Nevnapomot?

Anyway, today is my “name day”, a fact which passes me by everywhere else but here, where these things are paid attention to. I did actually know that November 30th was St Andrew’s day, but only because he’s the patron saint of Scotland, and not because there is any connection between him and me.

Nobody’s wished me Happy Name Day yet, so I’m doing it here to myself, in some kind of sad self-pitying way. In a minute I’ll have to go and get myself a bunch of flowers (the usual nevnap present). I suppose I could combine the twin St Andrew concepts and have some whisky instead, which might be more suitable and actually does sound quite appealing.

(This post sounds terribly pathetic, so I feel I ought to point out that I am perfectly well and happy and writing this with a (small) smile on my face, so don’t feel you need to email me with name day greetings to cheer me up. Not that you would anyway, since you all just don’t care.)

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

I’m still here

Posted by Andy Hockley on 29 November, 2006

Apologies for the huge lack of activity here of late. Been pretty busy writing stuff, driving back and forth to Cluj (for some reason the November has been marked by various unrelated meetings in Cluj), looking for work, and generally non-blog-friendly activities.

I’m hoping to make a triumphant comeback on Friday since it’s December 1st and I seemingly make all my most controversial posts on that date, and I feel that it’s a tradition that needs to be maintained. As an appetite whetter, I have just learned that the Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc vs Steaua Bucharest ice hockey match scheduled for Friday may be postponed until the weekend so as not to have it potentially stirring up trouble (It – the fixture mentioned – is basically the only semi-major sporting forum for inter-ethnic rivalry within Romanian sport. Obviously it’s not exactly Dinamo Zagreb vs Red Star Belgrade, but you know there’s no point giving people an excuse to start something)

Our new apartment overlooks the main square in the town and so this year, should I so desire, I can watch the exciting military parade from the balcony. But, on the other hand, I could do something infinitely more interesting and pressing like reading an article on performance management or watching some beans soak. I’ve heard that people in Alba Iulia who have apartments overlooking the square actually rent out their balconies for people to watch from. I’d like to try the same here, but cannot possibly imagine anyone being interested. Especially now tomato season is over.

Posted in csikszereda, ice hockey | 2 Comments »

I’m still here

Posted by Andy Hockley on 29 November, 2006

Apologies for the huge lack of activity here of late. Been pretty busy writing stuff, driving back and forth to Cluj (for some reason the November has been marked by various unrelated meetings in Cluj), looking for work, and generally non-blog-friendly activities.

I’m hoping to make a triumphant comeback on Friday since it’s December 1st and I seemingly make all my most controversial posts on that date, and I feel that it’s a tradition that needs to be maintained. As an appetite whetter, I have just learned that the Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc vs Steaua Bucharest ice hockey match scheduled for Friday may be postponed until the weekend so as not to have it potentially stirring up trouble (It – the fixture mentioned – is basically the only semi-major sporting forum for inter-ethnic rivalry within Romanian sport. Obviously it’s not exactly Dinamo Zagreb vs Red Star Belgrade, but you know there’s no point giving people an excuse to start something)

Our new apartment overlooks the main square in the town and so this year, should I so desire, I can watch the exciting military parade from the balcony. But, on the other hand, I could do something infinitely more interesting and pressing like reading an article on performance management or watching some beans soak. I’ve heard that people in Alba Iulia who have apartments overlooking the square actually rent out their balconies for people to watch from. I’d like to try the same here, but cannot possibly imagine anyone being interested. Especially now tomato season is over.

Posted in csikszereda, ice hockey | 2 Comments »

Most famous Hungarian dies

Posted by Andy Hockley on 17 November, 2006

RIP Puskás Ferenc. To most non-Hungarians I know, Puskás was almost synonymous with the nation, and for most outsiders (from footballing nations – ie most of them) he would be the first person they would mention if asked to name a famous Hungarian.

Nothing much more to add. Here’s his Wiki-entry

Posted in football, news | 1 Comment »

Most famous Hungarian dies

Posted by Andy Hockley on 17 November, 2006

RIP Puskás Ferenc. To most non-Hungarians I know, Puskás was almost synonymous with the nation, and for most outsiders (from footballing nations – ie most of them) he would be the first person they would mention if asked to name a famous Hungarian.

Nothing much more to add. Here’s his Wiki-entry

Posted in football, news | 1 Comment »

Ardeal Meals

Posted by Andy Hockley on 14 November, 2006

I am seized by a hunger to post about food and drink here, and so to kick off I thought I’d do a little bit about meals and what they involve. As ever, I am not 100% sure if my cultural commentary is on Hungarian, Romanian, or just Transylvanian norms, so it may be up to my commenters to fill in some of the details.

Before actually getting to the food itself, then, the first thing the foreigner notices (or the first thing this foreigner noticed, to be honest), is the meal times themselves. The day begins early (at least on work days) and many people start work at 7 or at the latest 8. So breakfast is an early affair, and seemingly not very important. Many people seem not to eat it at all, and instead have a coffee and a pastry at work at sometime during the morning. The meal (really the only substantial meal of the day) is lunch.

Lunch involves soup and a main course. Always. OK, maybe not for everyone, but for most people, and for many people if it doesn’t involve soup and a main course they haven’t actually had lunch. My father-in-law definitely needs to have both of those two elements in order to feel like he’s eaten, and not to react like Shirley Valentine’s husband does in the first half of that film. It also involves palinka as a kind of appetite inducer, or something (I suspect it’s just an excuse to drink palinka since there’s no actual need to induce an appetite by the time lunch comes around). The other thing the outsider needs to know about lunch is that it doesn’t really get eaten until 3pm. Occasionally you’ll see lightweights having it at 2, but anytime before 3 is really a little bit fainthearted. This makes it apparent why the workday starts so early – you see most people actually work something like 7-3 and then go home for lunch and be done for the day. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I actually like it a lot now. In fact, I’ve started wondering why nobody else has come up with this excellent work-day-system.

So, there is this late lunch, and then the rest of the day is free (or you know, you fill it with the other chores of everyday life, so it’s not free in the sense of you get to do whatever the hell you want, but it’s not sold to the man). Dinner, such as it is, tends to be a light snack at around 8pm, just to keep the wolf from the door. This snack is usually zsiros kenyer and red onions. Zsiros kenyer is what used to be called “bread and dripping” when I was growing up, and is now almost certainly consigned to the memories of the elderly (like me) as a cholesterol cluster bomb. In short it is bread (sometimes toasted) spread with animal fat, and then sprinkled with paprika (the red powder not the peppers themselves). The red onion is peeled and chopped and the diners take bits of it, dip it in salt and eat it. It’s very good, but you have to check with your partner as to whether any kissing might be on the menu for the later evening before you tuck in, as either you both eat the onion, or neither of you, or the kissing opportunity is lost.

And there you have it – basically one big meal a day and two lightish snacks. It makes me wonder how I’ve ended up putting on weight here.

Some of the actual foods served for lunch will follow in a later post, when I can be arsed writing it. (Tad busy at the mo’ so blogging is liable to be light for the next couple fo weeks)

Posted in context, food | Leave a Comment »

Ardeal Meals

Posted by Andy Hockley on 14 November, 2006

I am seized by a hunger to post about food and drink here, and so to kick off I thought I’d do a little bit about meals and what they involve. As ever, I am not 100% sure if my cultural commentary is on Hungarian, Romanian, or just Transylvanian norms, so it may be up to my commenters to fill in some of the details.

Before actually getting to the food itself, then, the first thing the foreigner notices (or the first thing this foreigner noticed, to be honest), is the meal times themselves. The day begins early (at least on work days) and many people start work at 7 or at the latest 8. So breakfast is an early affair, and seemingly not very important. Many people seem not to eat it at all, and instead have a coffee and a pastry at work at sometime during the morning. The meal (really the only substantial meal of the day) is lunch.

Lunch involves soup and a main course. Always. OK, maybe not for everyone, but for most people, and for many people if it doesn’t involve soup and a main course they haven’t actually had lunch. My father-in-law definitely needs to have both of those two elements in order to feel like he’s eaten, and not to react like Shirley Valentine’s husband does in the first half of that film. It also involves palinka as a kind of appetite inducer, or something (I suspect it’s just an excuse to drink palinka since there’s no actual need to induce an appetite by the time lunch comes around). The other thing the outsider needs to know about lunch is that it doesn’t really get eaten until 3pm. Occasionally you’ll see lightweights having it at 2, but anytime before 3 is really a little bit fainthearted. This makes it apparent why the workday starts so early – you see most people actually work something like 7-3 and then go home for lunch and be done for the day. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I actually like it a lot now. In fact, I’ve started wondering why nobody else has come up with this excellent work-day-system.

So, there is this late lunch, and then the rest of the day is free (or you know, you fill it with the other chores of everyday life, so it’s not free in the sense of you get to do whatever the hell you want, but it’s not sold to the man). Dinner, such as it is, tends to be a light snack at around 8pm, just to keep the wolf from the door. This snack is usually zsiros kenyer and red onions. Zsiros kenyer is what used to be called “bread and dripping” when I was growing up, and is now almost certainly consigned to the memories of the elderly (like me) as a cholesterol cluster bomb. In short it is bread (sometimes toasted) spread with animal fat, and then sprinkled with paprika (the red powder not the peppers themselves). The red onion is peeled and chopped and the diners take bits of it, dip it in salt and eat it. It’s very good, but you have to check with your partner as to whether any kissing might be on the menu for the later evening before you tuck in, as either you both eat the onion, or neither of you, or the kissing opportunity is lost.

And there you have it – basically one big meal a day and two lightish snacks. It makes me wonder how I’ve ended up putting on weight here.

Some of the actual foods served for lunch will follow in a later post, when I can be arsed writing it. (Tad busy at the mo’ so blogging is liable to be light for the next couple fo weeks)

Posted in context, food | Leave a Comment »

See that hole in the middle?

Posted by Andy Hockley on 10 November, 2006

While looking for some info on this Romanian Academy yesterday, I came across the following photo, which shows the regions where Romania is the first language and divides them up into dialect. I’m posting it here because it is one of the clearest maps I’ve seen which shows exactly where I live – that bit in the middle which is left uncoloured.

(It came from the Wikipedia page on Romanian Language).

Posted in csikszereda, pictures, romania | 6 Comments »

See that hole in the middle?

Posted by Andy Hockley on 10 November, 2006

While looking for some info on this Romanian Academy yesterday, I came across the following photo, which shows the regions where Romania is the first language and divides them up into dialect. I’m posting it here because it is one of the clearest maps I’ve seen which shows exactly where I live – that bit in the middle which is left uncoloured.

(It came from the Wikipedia page on Romanian Language).

Posted in csikszereda, pictures, romania | 5 Comments »