Happy Easter!

Ah yes, Happy Easter! Paste Fericit to my Romanian readers and Kellemes Húsvéti Ünnepeket to my Hungarian friends.

For the next week or so, the following is mandatory with literally everyone you know in Romania, even that sour-faced old man who lives in your bloc and always stares at you with his mouth hanging open:

Person 1: Hristos a inviat!
Person 2: Adeverat ca a inviat!

Which in English would be (literal in parenthesis):

Person 1: Christ has risen (been resurrected)!
Person 2: He has risen indeed (it’s true he has been resurrected)!

Literally this is how you’re supposed to go around greeting people – no more buna ziua or nothing.

Hungarian version:

Person 1: Krisztus feltámadt!
Person 2: Valóban, feltámadt!

And please don’t ask me to write that out in phonetic English. Thank you!

If you’re a cheeky person and meeting one of your friends, you can do this:

Person 1: Hristos a inviat!
Person 2: Adeverat ca esti beat (it’s true you’re drunk)!

Never fails to get a laugh ;)

Besides all the bell ringing and spectacular ceremonies, and seeing all the neighbors in their fancy clothes, a Double Easter in Romania is easily my favorite day of the year. A “Double Easter” is when the Orthodox calendar and the other Christian calendars coincide so that everyone is celebrating Easter on the same day, like this year.

Why is this my favorite day? Well most of Romania’s big holidays are in December (1, 25, 31) and are bitterly cold. A Double Easter, including this year, is on a warm, gorgeous spring day where the sun is shining and the birds are singing. And the best part is that almost nobody is driving anywhere. Yes! Blessed silence. This city is about 500 times more enjoyable when it’s quiet. It’s like the apocalypse has happened, only the good kind of apocalypse where the people are all gone but the butterflies and bees are unaffected and a person can take a nice walk in peace and quiet and enjoy all of the blessings of the natural world. And those #!@!$!! cars are shut down and parked on sidewalks somewhere and the only sounds you hear are of cows lowing in the distance. So nice… Makes me want to run for mayor and impose cruel and excessive taxation on urban vehicular traffic just so we don’t have to wait a few years for another Double Easter before we can get another day of peace and quiet. It truly does.

True story: the other day I was riding in a taxi and the driver and I were chuckling over one of those funny disputes you sometimes hear on their taxi radio between the dispatcher and a quarrelsome driver and it reminded me of a story from my old life.

Many, many moons ago I was working as a courier, as in a person who drives all over town delivering packages. The company I worked for was owned by an Iranian guy. His son was usually the dispatcher as he spoke perfect English but occasionally the “old man” would have to get on the radio. God bless him but the guy had an incredibly thick accent and was difficult to understand sometimes.

One street we often got dispatched to was named East Street. And this poor old Iranian guy just could not pronounce “East Street”. Every time he tried to say it, he would say, “East-uh Street”. To amuse myself and my fellow couriers, this is what used to happen over the radio:

Iranian Guy: Driver 13, pick up a package on East-uh Street.
Me: 13 to Headquarters, 10-4. Heading to Easter Street right now.
Iranian Guy: No! Not Easter Street. East-uh Street.
Me: 10-4 boss, Easter Street.
Iranian Guy: No, Driver 13. East-uh Street.
Me: Right boss. Just like the holiday. Jesus dies and comes back to life. The heavy stone was rolled away and the women are crying. Got it.
Iranian Guy: No! East… uh Street.
Me: Jellybeans and colored eggs. I’m on it, boss.
Iranian Guy: Aaaaaaargh! *has yet another fit of apoplexy*
Another Driver: *chuckling* Uh, 13 I think he means East Street, as in the direction.
Iranian Guy: Yes! East-uh Street.
Me: Ooooh. Well why didn’t you say so in the first place? Heading there now.

LOL… good times. By the way, “10-4” in Romanian can be either “bine” or “receptionat” depending on usage. For some reason even though we were just a little courier company they liked to make us use police style radio lingo.