My first Romanian experience consisted of eight hours of gallivanting around Bucharest’s Old Town. My husband and I had arrived in Romania a week before our Romanian language program was to start in Brasov and were staying one short night in the capital before we jetted off to Istanbul for a 5-day trip, a mini-vacation before we immersed ourselves in a language in which we had no previous knowledge. My first experience in Romania was also my first experience in Eastern Europe, as I continuously reminded myself while we took in the sights and sounds of the city. “You’re really in Eastern Europe, this is really Eastern Europe,” I thought to myself repeatedly in disbelief that we had actually made it there, fulfilling a lifelong goal of mine. We lost ourselves in the bustle of the popular downtown district – the street violinists, fashionable women, and lack of English speakers. We did our best to soak in the surroundings in an attempt to understand the new culture we would soon find ourselves studying intensely. It wasn’t long before wandering the streets led us to the steps of the National History Museum and we were faced with a, somewhat disturbing, tangible example of Romanian nationalism.