Bluebirds on the Ground. Laura in Romania.
Report on the Ground – Laura_s_world from Romania
Today, January the 20th, 2023 is the 331st day of war in Ukraine.
I am living in a small town on the Romanian border with Ukraine and from my office window I can see over the railway and Tisa river the houses from the other country. Starting with NATO and American soldiers in my country, the bug out bags ready to leave at the door and in the cellar in the first days of war, more than 3 million Ukrainian refugees crossing our border, almost daily alarm sirens screaming in the air and very often border surveillance flights by helicopters, these days NATO deploys AWACS airplane radars guarding the Black Sea and monitor Russian military activity.
Russia continues to threaten our country and other European countries. 2023 is a big year, if the war does not end in 2023, Putin will have a significant advantage. Because of the war all the prices are high, food, energy, utilities, etc. And because of the war, as a second and somewhat unexpected problem, almost daily, ATMs at banks are out of money – the town is full with Ukrainians and they withdraw money – periodically there is a queue in front of banks. So I always have cash on me when shopping and cash in the house for whatever emergency.
Today, January the 20th, 2023, minimum wage in Romania is 3000 lei gross/ 1898 lei net salary/a month. (which is EUR 609/385, American Dollar 659 /417, Australian Dollar 957/605). The price of living is higher than that so everybody needs to do a side hustle or work overtime, or go in other countries searching for work and a better life. The alternative is poverty and it is harder for elderly or ill people, as disability income or retirement income is lower than that. Not everybody is on minimum wage but more than half of the population.
Prices - Economists say Inflation is 8% but it feels higher. For example, heating gas increased by 35%, electricity by 45%, sugar by 65%, butter by 60%, potatoes, cooking oil, eggs have increased by 30-50%. The supermarkets are well enough supplied but either with the above mentioned scary prices or with the same price but smaller packages or *buy one- the second % less* but it is a scam usually. Our car is a big part of our budget. Diesel is 7,5 lei / liter, car insurance is 20% higher, it is a big sum for us, for what we try and put some money aside in advance. Also, many times in good weather I use my beautiful Bordeaux bicycle or walk to work and back – it is a 20 minute trip.
What we do to ease the pill – for heating gas or electricity, for example, we pay the same amount of money for 12 months (or add to that whenever we can) so if in the summer we consume way less and have less to pay it adds up for the winter bills and we don*t feel such a big pressure. Not to mention we use all of utilities with great attention.
Buying food is a constant game that I play well. I have learned from the best – my Mother. Living in the communism era on one income the two of us had to make do with what we had. But there were good life lessons!
Thank God for the local market where I can buy fresh and affordable vegetables, fruits, dairy products, etc. and I am happy to pay for their honest work. From the supermarkets I hunt the yellow stickers, the no brand names, I buy what I know I will need way before – for example for autumn season, which means canning, pickles, vinegar, sugar, jar lids, etc I start buying from now if the price is right. I do the same for Christmas or birthdays.
Also, a bit of a barter is always welcome – I have found a few colleagues with whom I swap fruits or flowers, or seeds…You have to ask around and don*t care what others think. Hard work is good work.
I don*t menu plan, I cook from scratch whatever I have on hands – harvest from the garden, shopping on discount, pull out from the refrigerator or brought up from the cellar. I do a monthly inventory of my pantry so I know what I have and what I need. Animal food is very important, so I am vigilant to always have on hand. I love them and they are important
Corn flour polenta with leftover cheeses, leftover meat/ham/sausage, and homemade cucumber pickles.
I hope to beat inflation – by gardening, preparing ahead, raising chickens.
Following Annabel and this wonderful community helped me, encouraged me and made me buy and use a lot a dehydrator, an air fryer machine and 4 chickens, my golden ladies, in the last months. I consider all of them an investment and for sure we do not buy what is not useful or a necessity. (I considered an investment my bicycle and my sewing machine when I bought them).
Today, January the 20th, 2023, the weather is unusually warm – is it the hottest January that we had – but we have rain a lot in my part of the country (north-west). These days I start planning the garden, inventorying the seeds I managed to save from my plants, swap or buy when on good price. I am so glad I have the home grown tomatoes seeds – imagine the flavors of a juicy tomato fresh from the vine, seeds squirting every direction and dripping down your chin… I will try and use a bigger part of the garden planting more, add to the fruit trees as we do every year and buy some more chickens – they are so friendly and easy to care after – nothing beats the joy to find an egg in the nest or the taste of it. I swear by it!
You know about my side hustle – not big but constant these last months. My knitted cardigans, jumpers and vests, or the crocheted baby blankets and baby clothes are a hit so I will continue to do that – every penny counts and I do this in the evenings while relaxing (I work from 8-17 every day in the office). Although I am thinking to level up and maybe do some courses to teach others to knit, crochet, sew, embroider – it is a plan, will see.
Since last year I have started working for an on-line shop for a few hours a week, that sells meat produce all over the country and my payment is a package of 2 killos of meat at my choice every week – it is a true win for me with prices skyrocketing.
Because I know 2023 will be a hard year and because I do not want to be scared by it I am watching everything carefully, I listen and read all your comments and try to do my best. I am lucky I have my husband on board and always there to support me and together we try to teach our teenager boy to know how to live on the good side of life.
Thank you Annabel and good wishes to everybody from my part of the world,
Laura_s_world from Romania
Thank you so much Laura! We are learning so much! You are working hard and doing so well! I am praying for your safety and for your family and the world. xxx
Thank you for such an informative report Laura. I knew you were close to Ukraine but I hadnt realised you just looked out your window and could see Ukraine.ReplyDelete
Your golden girls are quite beautiful. Having them is such a blessing as from your photos the cost of eggs is very high. The price rises you are suffering really would be making it difficult to make ends meet. I hope that your garden is really successful this year, to help you keep affordable food on the table. I will be praying that the war ends soon and does not expand into Romania. Stay safe.
Thank you, Jane, for your prayers. They mean a lot to me!Delete
Thank you, Annabel, for your prayers, for this opportunity to say a few words about my world and to get to know the reality we all live in around the world. You had a Great Idea! Laura_s_world in RomaniaReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your post, it seems that food prices are much higher in Romania and I so much respect for you. It would be easy for you to say I can’t cope, but you just get on with it and look after your family.ReplyDelete
I have a lot to learn from you. Denise U.K.
Thank you, Denise. Life is beautiful, no matter how hard it is. And my family and fur babies rely on me.Delete
Thank you so much for your extremely informative post, Laura. Your crochet work is beautiful. I hope that your garden is very successful this year and that you and your family will continue to do well. I hope that your garden is very successful this year and provides you with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. We pray that the war ends soon and that it does not extend into Romania. CookieReplyDelete
Thank you, Cookie, for your prayers. It is terrifying how Russian televisions talk about a new WW 3.Delete
Laura your post is so helpful to us all over the world. Your posts always bring me a smile. As a young woman I was a student in Germany and in language school I sat next to a sweet girl from Romania! She was intrigued by me, a red headed American, and I by her. She had no English and I no Romanian. But we made do in bits of German. I don't remember her name but I remember her face and your posts have brought her back to my memory. I have such a heart for Europe so many thanks for sharing. You are obviously a wonderful woman who is blessing her family so very well! Praying for you.ReplyDelete
Love from Jesse in Pennsylvania
Thank you, Jesse. I feel so welcomed in this beautiful community and learn a lot from every Bluebird.Delete
Thank you for sharing what you are going through Laura. You inspire me and you and your country as well as the people of Ukraine are in my prayers.ReplyDelete
Thank you very much for your prayersDelete
Thank you for this post Laura, your determination and thoughtfulness through such a difficult time is amazing.ReplyDelete
Your crochet is lovely! I’m pleased
You are able to make some money off this. I hope your garden does well this year and you’re able to continue to find people to barter with.
All the best
Kia Ora - thank you Jane. I love New ZeelandDelete
Your handwork is beautiful! Thank you for your report. You have to be very brave to live where you do so close to the war. I am glad to hear of your resourcefulness and diligence to save and provide for your family. I will remember to pray for your safety now when I see your comments here.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Lana, for your prayers. The street were I work literally ends at the custom point to Ukraine. It is a bridge over Tisa River, where you can cross by foot or by car. Many people from the villages along the both side of the border are families.Delete
thanks for your inspiring post. I think of you many times and wonder how you manage.
I too grew up under a communist regime and I really understand you. War is indeed nasty thing, fortunately our war lasted only 10 days, but our neighbours Croatians had to fight 10 long years. My mother in law and father in law lived there at that time.
I admire your positivity and your wonderful skills and will be praying for you and your family. Keep your loved ones safe and thanks to you too, Annabell. Greetings from Slovenia, Alenka
Thank you Alenka. I often have been thinking of you, too, your posts about your days were so familiar to me, living in the same space. I remember the news about the war in your country - it was terribly atrocious. Growing up under the communist regime means you have to survive and live the best possible life. I think we both know to cherish life and liberty. Much love to you - have a wonderful week ahead. LauraDelete
Thank you for your post. I was very interesting to know how life in your region is managed! You are very wise to live as you do! Stay safe, healthy, and prepared.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the report Laura.ReplyDelete
Thank you Jackie. Have a nice week. Laura_worldDelete
Hi,Laura, your sewing & knitting work is just beautiful I admire your courage & strength to survive in such hard times in your home country,, I not dare to complain for anything !! stay safe & sending prayers to an end to this dreadful warReplyDelete
Thank you Melissa, for your kind words. Big hugs from Laura_s_world from RomaniaDelete
Laura, I enjoyed every word of your report and thank you for sharing your life and experiences. I read most of it to my husband. I look forward to your comments each week. You and Annabel are the most industrious people I "know".ReplyDelete
Oops, that was meDelete
--Maxine aka mikemax
Dear Maxine, I have been thinking many times of you. You are the one who kept asking me about a blog with my stories. I have written here after Annabel' s great ideea but with many emotions - my English is what it is. Thank you very much for your words and also, say hello to your husband. With love, Laura_s_world from RomaniaDelete
Laura, what a beautiful soul you have. It comes through in your writing. Your report was very informational and gives those of us, far away from the war, a close-up reality. Thank you for sharing with us the high cost of food, utilities and petrol in Romania. Your crochet is lovely.ReplyDelete
May God bless you abundantly,
Thank you Glenda for your kind words.Delete
Laura, thank you so much for sharing how you live and manage. I think your mom was a wonderful teacher, with all the creative ways you shop, cook, barter, and craft. Your knitted and crocheted items are so beautiful, and I loved seeing your chickens. I hope the spring and summer gardening season goes well for you, with lots of lovely fruits and vegetables - especially those luscious tomatoes! I had no idea you were so close to Ukraine, Laura. Please know that I am keeping you and your family in thoughts and prayers. Best wishes, Jill in Wisconsin,US.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Jill for the prayers and beautiful words. I can*t wait for Spring to come, we have snow and freezing temperatures now. Yes, My Mother was the Best! I miss her everyday, she would have helped me so much in these hard times. Best wishes to youDelete
Hi Laura I too read your report to my husband . It keeps us on our toes with what others are going through . You are a strong resilient lady under challenging circumstances. Your crocheting in beautiful as are your gorgeous hens . Keep smiling and I send you strength and calm and prayersReplyDelete
That you all come through this safely .
With love and hugs Maria xx
Thank you very much Maria. Hugs from far away. Laura_s_worldDelete
Dear Laura, I am humbled. To hear first hand what you are going through makes me think I have no problems to complain about.ReplyDelete
Your food and energy price increases are huge and you are doing the most wonderful job providing meals and caring for your family. Your full time job and side hustles would keep you super busy and I so admire your attitude and all the ways you make ends meet.
It was such a heartfelt report on the horrors facing you and your countrymen and Europe. The number of refugees is staggering.
Thank god for all you’ve learned to survive through your childhood with your Mum. My heart goes out to her for having to face this life again.
I will pray for you and your family and that this war will stop. Sending love brave lady, Lorraine.
Ps: Thankyou so much Annabel for bringing us all this information from sources around the world - the humble truth. We really need to know this xxx
Dear Lorraine, I am humbled about your words. Thank you for the prayers - I think we need many of those to make war end. It is a tragedy for the people, civilians and military of both parts.Delete
laura, thank you so much for the report you gave us on life in romania, it was very eye opening. i was wondering, how hard is it for you to purchase yarns for your projects? is it expensive over there ?would it be hard to send you some packages of yarn? the reason i ask is because we have thrift shops here and they always have an excess of yarns and they are always very low in price. it would be great if i could get some to you. my granddaughter crochets little hats for an orphanage in romania and sometimes i get yarn for her too. bonnieReplyDelete
Thank you Bonnie, for thinking of me. How lovely your granddaughter crochet for an orphanage. God bless her!Delete
I can get yarn but at high prices and almost the same category - every thing you buy have a much bigger price than before. I don*t know how much the postage would be for a parcel but if you find some good yarn and you tell me the cost I am happy to pay for it. What you have seen on the crocheted blanket, the animals are all made from leftover yarn from other projects. I can use up everything, even old jumpers I used to unmade and reuse the yarn if in good condition. Thank you and let me know. With love, Laura
laura how would i get a package to you? what is your address?Delete
Dear Bonnie, my adress is Szilagyi Istvan street, nr 14, Sighetu Marmatiei, 435500, Maramures county, Romania. Let me know about the postage cost and thank you for thinking of me.Delete
Thank you for this informative and interesting report. My heart is with you and I pray for you and your family. How wonderfully well you are doing with your hens, cooking, planning ahead, resourcefulness, and your beautiful crochet work. You provide an amazing and humbling example.
Thank you, KathyDelete
Thank you so much for sharing with us all. What a blessing you are. A great and godly attitude. I gleaned so much from your post. You and your family are in my prayers as you continue to weather the storms of war.
Thank you for your prayers LeslieDelete
Thank you for the insight into daily life for you and your countrymen. I can’t even begin to image your life in Romania so close to war, it makes me feels so much gratitude to live in Australia.ReplyDelete
Your cost of living is huge! You are working so hard and so smart to stay abreast of the inflation, you are definitely an inspiration.
I hope and pray the war ends soon, and I pray for your safety.
Thank you, Cheryl, for the prayersDelete
Laura thank you so much for sharing the way things are for you in Romania. Life must feel rather scary at the moment and I admire your fortitude tremendously. As you say being prepared and watchful can help reduce anxiety and I think we can all apply this wherever we are in the world. Your handwork is lovely. Praying for your safety.ReplyDelete
Thank ypu Penny, for your kind wordsDelete
Laura, this is a very informative post...such a great peak into life in Romania! I have to admit that I know virtually nothing about your country, so it's wonderful to get a glimpse. I love how your ingenuity and hard work have seen you thru so many hard times. It's important that you keep reminding us about life under communism (which you have lived), as it seems that the West either has no idea or is quickly forgetting!!! xx Jen in NSReplyDelete
Hello Jen. Life is hard but very beautiful all over the world. It is a great comunnity here and I will keep posting. Have a nice eeekend. Laura_s_worldDelete
Thank-you for sharing about your life in Romania and how you are coping! It is a good lesson for all of us! The future is looking more bleak as time goes on and we don’t know what is ahead for us, even here in the USA. We are retired, on a good income, but prices are rising every month here. We plant a garden every year and grow fruit trees but don’t have chickens or other animals. I keep the pantry stocked as well as I can and cook from scratch. Your post reminded me of the Proverbs 31 woman in the Bible! Keep up the good work! Prayers for you and your family!ReplyDelete
Laura C. (Your namesake from the other side of the world!)
Thank you lady Laura C, I think we learn from each other. Because we have an open mind and open eyes. Have a nice weekendDelete
Thank you Laura. I pray you and your family stay safe and that we will see an end to the war very soon. You are an inspiration to us over her on the other side of the world.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for you insightful report into your life in Romania. Your knitted and crocheted items are so lovely. I hope it continues to be a great side hustle for you. Your chickens are gorgeous! I grew up with chickens and miss having some right now. I hope you have successful garden this year. Thanks for your insight on Putin-it is truly scary. I will keep you, your family, Romanian and Ukrainian people all in my prayers. I hope there will be swift end to this war.
Julie from Wisconsin
Thank you so much Julie. Hugs from far away, Laura_s_worldDelete