Monday, January 12, 2009


On a very rare ocassion, Lisa and I slip out unnoticed without girls in tow. One such event happened several years ago when we made it as far as a neighborhood pizza joint. We went in, sat down and found what we wanted. It's important to note that pizzas are often ordered by number, not content. A few joints even have creative names, like Laura or Angie or Bermuda or South America (but there is no connection). If you want pepperoni, mushroom and tomoato sauce (sauce is not guarenteed to be on it), you'd order maybe #8. Or, if you want this without the sauce, that might be #7. Or, maybe with onion, maybe #9. You have to find the pizza (with maybe 100 types to choose from) that has the exact ingredients you want. You get the picture. There is no "I want a pepperoni with mushrooms, onions and olives." On a side note, we realized a long time ago we rarely ever get exactly what we think we're ordering at any place, language proficiency or not. A #18 isn't always the same each time at the same place.... confused yet?

We settled on #5... I remember because that number becomes pivotal later on in the story and probably because it came early in the list. It arrived, we began to eat and all was good. Somewhere along the way we decided to order one #5 to go (or as we say here, "la pachet") to feed the girls and Andreea, the babysitter, back home. So, we told the waitress we needed "one number five to go" in Romanian. She looked at us funny, be we were fairly accustomed to being looked at funny so it meant very little. She asked, "Cinci?" (five) "Da," (Yes) confidently we moved on. We all held up 5 fingers (waitress included), just to be sure.

After a longer-than-anticipated wait, she returned with five #5's, all boxed and ready to go! Fortunately, we had extra cash on hand and a willingness to realize it was the norm for life in a foreign land. We took them, thanked her and allowed her to assume we were nuts for needing them all after we'd just eaten. On the way home, we gave one to a homeless man, several to neighbors in our apartment building and then the remainder to their intended receipients!

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