It's Monday morning and and tears fill my eyes as I engage this darling place that I believe to be one of my genetic homelands. Perhaps it's a figment of my imagination...but it feels true. I'm staying in a nice hotel with non-stop wifi, a comfortable room with a very quiet air conditioner adjacent to the Iasi main square. It feels safe and sweet...kind of like I'm in a dream. I wander downstairs to the hotel breakfast room and am told I can order anything on the menu and that it's all included. I try out fried cheese, served with sliced tomatoes and rolls along with a small cup of strong coffee and fresh orange juice. If I had more room in my stomach I could have had the creme brulee as well:) Then I breeze by the hotel reception desk and asked if I can stay an additional night and they readily smile, "of course."
Part of me knows that this is an imagined Iasi. Iasi while once a major center of Jewish culture which spawned my grandparents' generation and many before them is no longer. While my grandparents fled as young people in the mid-1890s, much of the remainder of Iasi's Jews were obliterated during WWII. (Just 10,000 Jews live in Romania today.) Then the country was pounded into darkness and poverty by Nicolae Ceausescu from 1965 - 1989 and only in very recent years have places like Iasi become sweet places.
It's almost like I've been spirited here in a dream--with soft evening air, gorgeous people who all look like me and a delicious breakfast.