My Romantic, Dystopian Romanian Vacation

A few weeks after Ben and I first met at a bar in Manhattan, I told him I was leaving for Belarus. “On vacation,” I explained, and he gave me a look that said, “Why?”

Later he told me he had thought I was kidding.

Let’s just say that Ben had a very different idea of a getaway than I did. He’d taken Italian and studied abroad in Florence, the art lover’s paradise. I’d studied Russian in college and dreamed of endless borscht and black bread.

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