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July 18, 2002

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Ed works for the Peace Corps and we imagine he lives like an ascetic monk helping the poor. The truth is: Ed lives like a country gentleman in Romania. He spends his days in a comfortable house, the home of a man who owns the best pastry shop in Sebes (Yes, Ed enjoys free pastries). A short walk away (everything is a short walk away in Sebes) lives Ed's boss, Miss Buta. She may be over fifty, but she's tough enough to be a Marine Corps sergeant. She doesn't speak English; she commands with a hard stare and voice tones which leave no doubt who's in charge. She stuffs us with a traditional Romanian breakfast of sausages, fried chicken livers, cheese, and bread. The rest of the morning Miss Buta tells us, through an interpreter, about her work. She and Ed help underprivileged Romanian children with food, free education, and housing. They plan to build a large boarding school for the kids, but only the foundations have been laid. The project languishes half-built because the money supply dried out. That's why the Peace Corps sent Ed to save the situation.

Ed's host owns the best pastry shop in Sebes.
Sebes, Ed's hometown in Romania. Look like a place that needs the Peace Corps? Where are the grass huts and drought-ridden fields?
Dracula freak? Sighisoara is his birthplace. It's a perfect setting for a vampire (or impaler): a monastery and its cemetery overlook the town, fortifications and towers mark the boundaries, medieval houses line cobblestone streets and tight alleyways that carry the echoes of footsteps. Tonight a lightning storm completed the full effect.
Ed's bachelor pad.