Friday, November 28, 2008

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

During our stint in Romania with IICS in 2004 blogs did not exist or were not that popular, and even if they were, internet access was another subject in itself. What I did keep was a daily journal of this memorable journey. I never had much use for the journal other than our monthly newsletters; however, with my new blog I’ve decided to post once a week on our journey. I hope you do not mind.


RONALD IS MY FRIEND

Reflecting back on my journal has been reinvigorating (probably more for me than you). Though 2004 was not that long ago, the reflection has been like discovering a childhood time capsule you buried in your back yard. It’s like reading an old diary! Oh, the memories. Some were definitely meant to be forgotten; others I’ve enjoyed remembering. As I strolled down memory lane this week, I could not help but notice how much we ate at McDonalds.

This is somewhat ironic considering the fact that Romania did not have a McDonalds until June 1996. At the time of our move in 2004, Timisoara actually had two; one of which was conveniently a few blocks from our flat. But why the long wait? It is a well known fact that Americans are time oriented, while many Eastern Europeans, especially Romanians, are event oriented. This is extremely noticeable in the number of fast food chains we have in America and the number in Romania. Hence the reason McDonalds was not that popular in Romania until an influx of Western Culture. McDonalds has provided Romanians with a component previously not present with their event oriented culture; the availability for speed as it related to food service. But, for us, McDonalds provided much more.

President Reagan once said, “When we are cut down by adversity and suffering, a hope springs forth borne of our trust in God.” There was just something about those “golden arches” that resembled a spring of hope on a day filled with culture shock!

I’m definitely not an expert traveler; however, over the past 10 years we have been blessed to have visited a number of countries. In my experience there are very few consistencies one might find in traveling the world. However, McDonalds seems to be one of those constants. Who hasn’t heard of McDonalds (48% of the people of India were aware of McDonald's before it opened its first restaurant in the late 90s). I was amazed to learn that McDonald's feeds 47 million customers each day through 31,000 restaurants in 119 countries (wikipedia).

According to CJ Online “Americans eat 90 meals a month. The average American, who has 900,000 restaurants from which to choose, eats three of those meals at McDonald's. McDonald's core customers eat there 50 times a year.” I firmly believe Kacee and I exceeded all of those numbers during our stint in Romania, sometimes even eating two meals a day from the famed fast food chain (if only they would have served breakfast). There was just something about a Double Cheeseburger, McDonald’s French fries, hot apple pies, and ice cream cones that made us feel right at home.

We found ourselves eating there for two reasons. The first was the convenience. The other was familiarity. Maybe it was the familiarity in McDonalds’ food or maybe it was the familiarity with the speed and convenience. Either way, we did our part in 2004 to keep Ronald smiling (If they just would have served T-bone steaks and Dr. Pepper)!

Happy Thanksgiving! Aspire to new heights.

1 comment:

todd long said...

.....and now we even have Burger King!