Some of my most memorable moments in Romania were in the villages, most notably Susani. Susani was our home away from home. I don’t have an exact population count on Susani and I’m pretty sure the census won’t make it over, but my best estimate is approximately 300 residents. I haven’t been able to find a good source of information on Susani on the internet. Let’s just say Bing, Google, and Wikipedia do not recognize this little village. However, I’ve been told a number of stories that I’m sure have been passed down from generation to generation. If my memory serves me right artifacts have been found that date back to 25 B.C. I’m not sure we truly know what history is!
As I’ve said before, this village is home to two of my closest friends Daniel Olariu and Ovidiu Patrick. Daniel is a local farmer, business man, and jack of all trades. Ovidiu is the local pastor. Visiting Susani is like taking a step back in time. There is not a single paved road in the village. Residents live in small homes with a large garden out back. The coolest thing is seeing the livestock grazing in the fields nearby, open range. I promise you it is one of the prettiest sights you will ever see.I still remember spending a few days in Susani during our first winter in Romania. Traditionally Romanians return to their family roots in the village following the first freeze to process meat for the coming year. We processed the animals the old fashioned way. I will save you the details (and pictures) but it pretty much involves an axe, knife, a tree and rope. At the end of the day they have a bucket full of meat to either be smoked or salted that will last the year.Romanians are event oriented and this is definitely an event for the ages. Everyone returns to the villages and they have a large feast. Kacee and I were fortunate enough to “enjoy” this feast. We had pan fried liver and lungs, brain, pork, bread, and pickles. Kacee and I mostly had pork and bread. I did try the lungs and liver but I have had brain before and I chose not to try it again. This is where I tell you that it is offensive in most cultures if you refuse to eat food they’ve prepared!Most people would get wrapped up in this process and how archaic or uncivil it is, as well as how unpleasant the brains, liver, and lungs were. But if you truly look beyond what we would consider different you find yourself a culture steeped with tradition and appreciation for quality time together. This was one of the first things I grew to appreciate about Romania and still miss to this day. All too often I find myself consumed with speed and productivity. We miss so many opportunities in life for fellowship and relationship building.
No doubt one does not have to travel to a village half-way around the world to experience these things. But a quick visit is refreshing and reminds me of how important quality time with friends and family should be. I hope you will enjoy this quality time as well. Aspire to new heights.