Wow! We made it. Can you believe it? Sometimes it seems like the whole year slipped by in the blink of an eye.
DJ, you want to cue us up a song?
I’m currently investigating exactly what happened in Chisinau in 1919 (when (eastern) Moldova joined the union of (western) Moldova, Wallachia, and Transylvania), and my wife has been digging through stacks of old newspapers in the National Library for me, but that article won’t get written until 2016.
In the meantime, let’s see what happened this past year. Let’s dance!
In The Curious Case of the Half Ambassador, I wrote about James Pettit, one of the few American government officials to impress me, and a guy I’m going to meet in person next month.
After 10 years of exploring Romania, I finally got a chance to visit the lost city of Cernauti, the Jewel of Bucovina.
On January 7, I got my first chance to experience an Orthodox Christmas (which uses a different calendar than in Romania), as detailed in A Moldovan Christmas.
I now live just a few miles from the border of Transnistria, a country that exists in every practical sense, just not “officially”.
After learning of this “controversy”, I explored whether Romania or Moldova is the elder nation in Big Brother.
In a playful article, I explored the ongoing situation in neighboring Ukraine in my article Dill Heads. Months later I went to Odessa, where I saw that there’s now an official political party in Ukraine named “Dill”, although honestly my logo is far better :)
A lot of Romanians sneer at Moldovans because they speak Russian, but in Double Tongued I investigated the many benefits of being bilingual.
After a long absence, I let forth a torrent of opinions and facts about everything from Victor Ponta to Russian propaganda in Him se yldesta andswarode, “Werodes Wisa, Wordhord Onleac”.
I also revealed for the first time the role that Liviu Alexa played in getting me exiled from Romania in A Sad and Pathetic Little Man.
And, last but not least, I explored how the refugee influx into Europe was going to be the story of the year far before most mainstream media outlets understood its significance in A Rising Tide of Misery.
The wedding went superbly, easily the happiest day of my life, and I was happy to post plenty of pictures of the blessed event.
I also took the time to explain in detail just how stupid, immoral, and ludicrously anachronistic restrictions on immigration are in Eugenics, Apartheid, and Immigration Laws.
I followed that with a super long guide about how to protect yourself from the most corrupt department in the government in An Exhaustive Guide to Immigration in Romania and the Republic of Moldova.
October was a slower month for output on the blog, but I finally got to make a dream come true when I got the chance to rode a train in this country, as detailed in Choo-Choo! Riding the Rails Moldova Style.
After a fatal fire led to the fall of the much-hated Victor Ponta, I analyzed the situation in Blowing Smoke, accurately predicting that not much would change despite the brief outpouring of civic participation.
When a commenter disputed an element of my travel post about going to Odessa, it led to a panoramic analysis of Romania’s history of occupying parts of neighboring Ukraine, as detailed in The Odessa Tales and The Odessa Tales, Part 2.
I also took a fun opportunity to describe why I love the food in this part of the world so much in The Good, the Delicious, and the Ugly.
After riot police began attacking unarmed shepherds with tear gas, I explored the true nature of the “reformed” Romanian parliament in Let Slip the Dogs of Protest.
When I kept hearing about tourists getting robbed by police in Romania’s capital, I revealed their dirty tricks in The Bucharest Jaywalking Scam. I’ve seen heard back from SEVERAL people who told me they’d also been victims of this despicable scam.
And last, but most definitely not least, I revealed how this blog is about to get a complete make-over in Roata Schimba Soarta.
Who knows what a new year will bring? I sure don’t, but I definitely am excited about it.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you one and all for joining me on this amazing adventure. When I first moved to Romania more than a decade ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or that I’d ever get to experience so many crazy and wonderful adventures. I’ve had my ups and downs, with plenty of tough times, but in the end what matters is that I survived… with a smile.
Wherever you are, whomever you are with, I wish you nothing but the best for this year to come.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!!