acasa. home.

For this post I wanted to tell you about where I am, because I get the idea that people think I'm living in a grass hut somewhere.

Population of Lugoj: 37,321
Area of Lugoj: 88.05 sq. km, or 34 sq. miles

Population of my Hometown: 5,990
Area of my Hometown: 5.7 sq. miles
Population of my Home County: 21,921

As you can see, there are more people in the city of Lugoj than in the entire county where I grew up. In addition to the people who live here, there are also a lot of people who commute to work in factories, which raises the population to around 60,000 on work days. Still, it doesn't feel too big to me, and it's considered by local people as a small town. 

Lugoj has a diverse population, including Romanian, Hungarian, German, Roma, and Ukrainian people. Because of this, there are many churches from the respective Orthodox traditions and also different Protestant denominations, but unlike in many other cities, the different churches get along without much conflict. The Baptist church here is called Harul, which means Grace, and this is the church that owns the property where Grace School is located.

Music and the arts are very important to the people of Lugoj, and some well-known musicians are from here. There is a theatre here, which many cities do not have, and also a city choir which many of the local church members are part of. Bela Lugosi, who played Count Dracula, also hails from Lugoj. 

Once upon a time, when the city was under Austro-Hungarian rule, the TimiČ™ river divided the city between the Austro-Hungarian people and the Romanian people who lived here. The Romanian side was generally poor, while the Austro-Hungarians had larger, nicer buildings and were more prosperous. Crossing the iron bridge to the other side of the river was like passing through a border to another country and required people to present identification, etc. 
The Iron Bridge, with a former guard shack (now a dime store) in the center of the picture.
I live in an apartment with a Romanian friend, on the Romanian side of the river, and have a nice view of the courthouse from my bedroom. From our front balcony we can watch people walking downtown or sitting together on the benches along the river. We have two grocery stores within walking distance of our apartment, and we're only a few blocks from downtown with shops and places to eat. 

Sunset over the TimiČ™ River as seen from our front balcony.
So, there you have it, a little bit about the city that will be my home for the next year!

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