John Wayne, an American Icon. The John Wayne I know was the tall heroic cowboy type in those western films that I grew up watching from time to time. What does this have to do with being in Romania?
My infatuation with the west started back at Corning Community College when I took my first History of the American West course. Not only did we learn both sides of the story but the last few weeks of class were dedicated to western films, John Wayne being an actor of interest. Later on at SUNY Cortland I had the option to take an elective and I chose the only Grad class that I now have under my belt, Issues of the American West. This class forced us to dive into several novels about the west as well as western films. The summer following that class I got a job working for security at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, daily exposure to life in the West. Soon after that job ended another job began, a job in which brought me to California. I found myself living in the West and loving it. My pre-Romanian American west exposure ended with me finishing the first season of Deadwood the week before departing for Romania.
In Romania I have picked back up on Deadwood, finishing the second season last week. About a month before that I had finished my first book in Romania, the western, Appaloosa which I followed with the movie. My Colorado native site-mate tells me that the mountains here remind him of home, in the west. Now that snowboarding season is coming around I have been thinking a lot about my time in California, and I have been watching snowboard videos largely set out west. In addition, I have been mesmerized by photos of various excursions in America's National Parks posted on facebook by friends. Another sign supporting this infatuation popped out at me when I was browsing through a second-hand two days ago.
Here is where I give some background on second-hand shopping. I started second-hand shopping in the states when I wanted a cheap, easy, and sometimes comedic way to dress up for celebrations (e.g. New Years Eve, St. Patty's). My second-hand shopping has reached a whole new level in Romania. Right now I can think of 9 second-hand shops in Petrosani and I'm pretty sure I don't know about all of them yet. Most of these shops get their stock imported from other European countries and if you are there at the right time you can catch a great deal on some great clothes. Two days ago, it wasn't a piece of clothing that caught my eye.
I think it's a table cloth. Either way, when I first spotted it folded on the shelf, all that I could really make out was the desert mountain landscape in the background. I immediately unfolded it and smiling up at me was one of my childhood heroes, John Wayne. What a find. I didn't have the money for it right there and closing time was approaching so all I could do was hope that the next day I would see it right there where I had let it down. The next day school ended and I started walking to the other side of town where that particular second-hand was located. Sure enough it was sitting right there and luckily for me, it was 25% off. Now its hanging on my wall.