"A hope for rural life", youth exchange in Romania

From 3rd to 11th November (2017) in Romania, Poiana Negrii, took place an Erasmus+ youth exchange with the topic of “A hope for a rural life”. In the project participated partners from 5 European countries: Spain, Lithuania, Romania, Italy and last but not least - us, Estonia. Every country had 9 participants. We shared our knowledge, ideas and points of view related to the development of rural environment and important challenges that rural lifefaces in today’s complex society.. *blablabla* You think that too, that it does not sound interesting at all, right? But in reality, it was fking amazeballz cool. And we would like to show you that. So here we go.

Here is a haiku for you. Because as Estonians, we speak as little as possible.

Poiana Negrii -

amazing, if not so, then
Pálinka it is!
And yeah, that is it. Thank you for your attention.

Okay, not really. But before we go on, we have a disclaimer for you: If you expect to read a

normal story of our time spent in Poiana Negrii, you should stop now and save yourself
before it is too late.

Anyone else willing to take a risk, please, do read on.
Once upon a time, in the beginning of the November in 2017, nine bold and beautiful Estonians got ready for the adventure of their lifetime. So, what happened, you may ask? Well, I’m going to tell you the story. Just be patient and make yourself comfortable, and maybe, when you are in Estonia, you might even need a cup of tea, or even better - a coffee, because “♩♪baby, it’s cold outside♩♪”. And if you happen to be in Romania, palinka is your best friend!
But let’s get back to the story.
First stop - Budapest. You know, the capital of Romania. Oh no, not again. Well, acutally, we found ourselves in Bucharest - in the city called The Little Paris? Why so, you might be interested? Probably because it’s full of patisseries which offer any type of bread you can think of. White bread, white bread and white bread. Sorry, I did not mean to sound like a bread racist, but I must admit - as Estonians, we do prefer black bread over white. Anyways, the one of a kind city left a mark on our souls, but let’s get back to it later. 
Second stop - Poiana Negrii. The small village in northern Romania. Full of magical mountains and kindest human beings you could ever meet. But hey, now you might be wondering, why on Earth did we go on a such a weird place that has the same temperature as Estonia, instead of going somewhere sunny to reload our vitamin D deficit? I will tell you why. First of all, we are so used to having no vitamin D on our blood system, because it was while ago when we had a sunny day and that is why we have almost forgotten the meaning of the word “sun”. Maybe my grandmother’s mother’s mother knew, what a strange thing it was. And this actually leads us to a second reason - we, Estonians, are probably part-time draculas. Oh yes, Romanians, you have competitors over here. But what happened next? No one could ever predict it. Instead of finding some vampires waiting for us, we actually met around fifty beautiful souls from four different countries: always smiling Italians, always positive Spanish, always brave Lithuanians and of course, the only ones, who actually got our jokes (our at least act like they did) - Romanians.

Adventure nr 1. Name games. Oh Lord, slow as we, Estonians, are, it was hard for us to understand and remember all these difficulty strange names, but we gave our best and surprisingly it turned out quite well.

Adventure nr 2. Locating the market. 
*Spy mode on* Mission completed and workout done, because climbing up from the hill is not easy, unless you are an alpine ibex (you know, the weird type of goat who chills and lives in the mountains).

Adventure nr 3. Romanian feast. 

As they said, it was a traditional Saturday night in the village, when anything is possible. Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Adventure nr 4. Paperclip challenge. 

Of course, we did not end up with a house. But let’s be honest here, we only had a day to get something for that bloody paperclip. Some of us ended up with a glass filled with fresh cow’s milk. Some came back with a bag full of different things, as if they had gone shopping. But in the end, all of us, met some interesting characters along the way, let them be convicted criminals living in a small cottage, people celebrating Sunday night in a bar, or men closing the shops.

 Adventure nr 5. Roadtrip to Vatra Dornei = the horror night. 

So we had a chance to visit this cute little city, named after its river and famous for amazing mineral water: “Dorna water - if you drink it, you will become dracula!” So, obviously, many of us could not resist the temptation to take a zip from this water and then, later on that day, after the sunset, some horrific things started to happen…

Adventure nr 6. O.S.C.A.R.S! 

Only some characters are really sublime. As the culmination of the week spent in Poiana Negrii, there was the Oscars night. All day, we were running on a tight schedule - brainstorming, filming, improvising, following the moto “Fake it, ‘til you make it!” As the evening arrived, are dues were payed.

And then, after surviving the week in the northest north In Romania, in a small village surrounded by mountains, called Poiana Negrii, it was time to pack our bags and return to the civilization, if you would ever say something like that about Bucharest (not Budapest, I repeat - not Budapest!) Okay, just kidding. Bucharest might just need a little more colour and lustiness. P.S! If you are planning to travel to Poiana Negrii, do not use a bus. From Bucharest to Poiana Negrii - 12h. NOT RECOMMEND! Just walk.

So, I owe you guys an explanation. Why did Bucharest leave a mark on our souls? The answer is * drumroll*, because this city was too dirty. Okay, here we go again - Estonians and their god damn dark sense of humour and black, frozen souls. Actually, the reason was that we had to say goodbye to all of these wonderful, beautiful and extraordinary people. And yes, even Estonians were a bit sadder than usually and might have felt some emotions.

All in all, this youth exchange was once in a lifetime experience. The people we met, connections we made, fun we had, smiles we shared - these are memories we will cherish.We would like to thank all of you, who made this happen. Aitäh! Grazie! Gracias! Ačiū! Спасибо! Mulţumesc!


Estonians without the hugs and kisses, because we are Estonians. Like, duh!


Written by Viola Kasak and Piret Oja


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