Monday, 15 April 2013

25 reasons why I love living in Romania, in no particular order

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Romanians. Clearly the people are the main reason for liking any country, though the countryside and the crumbling inner city of Bucharest come close behind.

Romanians are Latins surrounded by Hungarians and Slavs, marooned in the wrong part of Europe where they endure with surprise each year the bitterly cold winters. Though theirs is a comparatively poor country the people seem happier than in most countries. They are open, friendly, warm, always human, usually emotional. 


Everything about Romanians seems to be paradoxical. Romanians are very human and see everything in human, not in abstract terms, but when they write about ideas they always start from abstract and sometimes cloudy first principles. They are the warmest, the most generous and kindest of people, but can be astonishingly cruel and very malicious. Someone told me when I came here that ‘Romanians have no gratitude and no mercy’ and that is certainly true of very many, though by no means all. They are very mystical yet have their feet on the ground. They are very other-worldly but are often materialistic.

They are very romantic yet brutally unromantic. They try very hard to be cynical. They are very suspicious and live in an atmosphere of fear. Romanians are very much friendlier than the English but much, much more formal. Respect is terribly important – because power is terribly important. This is the Middle East, dreaming that it is France.

Romanians love visiting their countryside – all but a few pretentious ones – love eating Romanian food in restaurants – same caveat – and love hiking and camping, all of which was how it was in England in the 1950s. They tend to be conventional and conformist but my friends are not. You can be eccentric in Romania and bohemian, but it takes more courage than in England, where eccentrics are not tolerated but admired. Non-comformist is a word that often means a woman who takes many lovers.

In Romania under Communism television only broadcast for two hours a day meant until the Revolution the Romanians were spared a huge amount of idiocy and had time instead for reading, conversation, drinking wine, and the national sport, seducing one another. I suppose that was how it was in Victorian England too, except with less wine. Romanians who were twenty or so in 1989 are usually much better read than the English. Those who are not well read nevertheless have a surprisingly large amount of information about their medieval history and take pride in it. Only a minority of people in England, I was shocked to discover recently, know who were Hengist and Horsa, the first Englishmen recorded by history and our Burebistas. Even a highly intelligent history graduate from Cambridge did not. In any case, the English have been taught to think that history is simply the chronicle of oppression. The Romanians who were continuously oppressed by their rulers and foreigners take pride in their kings.

Romania has so far escaped the worldwide cultural revolution – not Mao’s one, but the one that happened in the capitalist world starting in the 1960s and which is showing no signs of abating. One of the great charms of Romania is that the 1960s did not happen in here. The EU will change that, but not quite yet. There was never what in the 1960s was called the generation gap. Adulthood as perpetual adolescence, unlike in Anglo-Saxon countries, is not an idea which has reached here. People become adults when they start work, just like in England until the 1950s. But if feminism and political correctness have not arrived, two even more important legacies of the 1960s in the West, consumerism and celebrity culture, are here and Romania has a tabloid press like everywhere else. It has idiotic television too and rock music though old fashioned 1930s Romanian music is still hugely popular among young and old.

Romania is not at all cool, is utterly uncool, thank God, and yet in its own un-self-conscious way the broken streets and beautiful women of Bucharest are as cool as it gets. And if Bucharest may not be cool it is very glamorous in a tropical, Latin American way. I do not like nightclubs (you must never use that word with Romanians because they think it means something improper) but the fashionable nightclubs have a chic of their own.

Romanians are genteel. A notorious American womaniser said, in the late 1990s, that dating Romanian women was like dating gorgeous 24 year old versions of your mother’s friends. Romanian women and men are still like that.

Romanians expect the worst but always contrive to be shocked that things are even worse than they imagined.
 People tut-tut about scandals and are easily scandalised, even though Bucharest in many ways is Babylon. Is anyone in England ever scandalised anymore?

Romania felt about 1952 here when I arrived. Now it feels about 1964.

Romanians esteem brains and learning – in England it is more admirable to be good at games or was before the Palaeolithic Age, when I lived there.  Here class is about grammar and educational qualifications, rather than about accent or clothes (Romanian rich men dress appallingly, though their wives are learning) or money. They also know that physical good looks are very very important and discuss other people’s appearances with penetration and complete absence of charity. They are more profound than the English, who think it is superficial to talk about other people’s looks.

Romanian taxi drivers. They form the chorus in the Greek drama (it’s a comedy, not a tragedy) of my life here. Like in every country, the people who really know how to run things are too busy driving cabs or cutting hair. Taxi drivers become very dull when they talk about the political class in general (we know they are thieves and bandits) but they have much to say that is very interesting about God, how things were in the old days, love and death. Taxi drivers and barbers know everything. So do illiterates, but that is another story.

The parties. Romanians GIVE GREAT ONES.

The lack of diversity, although things become more pluralistic. Despite the terrible damage that Communism did to this country, which it maimed, there is still a tremendous sense of cohesion and common values. People are assumed to be Orthodox, unless proven otherwise. Catholics are considered odd but are regarded as slightly grand – but Adventists, Baptists and adherents to other sects are not considered true Romanians at all. I like this very much. I only wish this cohesiveness went with a sense of public spirit, but this seems to be absent in all the Orthodox as well as all the post-Communist countries.

I believe the wine is wonderful. So Claudia Pendred says and she is an expert, but I usually drink plonk. I do however love the only grape which is unique to this part of the world, Feteasca Neagra. They do very good roses too.

Bucharest, the European Havana, is still probably the most interesting capital city in many ways in Europe. Living in Bucharest is like living in a film noir full of gangsters, corrupt officials, femmes fatales, old men in hats. The town has so very much energy. It is a twenty-one year old – London and Paris are in their fifties. Most of all the broken run-down streets of Bucharest. Until about seven years ago the slummy Old Town in Bucharest, where I live, which is now a sea of wine-bars and restaurants. But let us enjoy the new rather than regret the past: the old town makes people happy and there are three or four good restaurants there (Sindbad, St George, Lacrimi si Sfinti and Charme since you ask). The new old town annoys me but it has a buzz and is a lot of fun. If only it had not descended from the sky almost overnight, but I rejoice that it came, like many things in Romania, much later than you would have expected. A lot better than the sanitised, well-behaved old towns of other capital cities. It certainly beats Covent Garden. And I have it on my doorstep which is convenient. 

In Romania, everything is difficult but after a while you get used to it or you go mad. Every day is completely different from the one before. These two points are less true than they were five or ten years ago, however.

Romanians believe in God. Also horoscopes, magic, fortune tellers
Most people tend to take the existence of God for granted, like the sun rising each morning and setting each evening. I love Romanian folk religion and the sense that the other world is close to hand. England would have been a somewhat like this before the Reformation. As an English friend of mine, Nick Brind, said to me:


You know you have been in Romania too long when you can tell someone's star sign from their birthday and throw yourself into an animated discussion about it.

I am not there yet.

The jokes. Romanians 
have a wonderful sense of humour, rather similar to the English sense of humour: very ironic, very black. 

The parties. Oh, I said that before.

The second hand booksellers. Second hand booksellers are, of course, the cream of every nation.

The wartime egalitarianism – people who sleep rough sit watching open air film shows without exciting the disdain that their counterparts would do in Western Europe

So-called 'popular music' from before the war (still played very widely) and 'Manele' – a kind of gypsy pop music which everyone claims to hate but which sells very well - and indigenous Romanian pop music. I also like Nightlosers. I love 
Ozana Barabancea, an opera singer turned jazz singer, who sings like Marilyn Monroe would have sung had she been a first class jazz singer. When she was blonde, Ozana even looked a little like Monroe.

The old-fashioned terraces where one can get a bottle of wine and a Bulgarian salad for a song. These are being replaced by pretentious, more expensive places unfortunately.

Not the food particularly, although it is all right. This is the one area where Romania’s neighbours the Bulgarians and the Hungarians beat them. But tocanita with mamaliga is a very fine dish and, even though I do not much love fish, salau tastes very good. Two of the best dishes here are called Russian salad and Bulgarian salad but I am not sure they are truly Romanian. Anyhow, there is a lot of pork. If you like pork very much you may well like Romanian food. The poet Mircea Dinescu's restaurant, Lacrimi si Sfinti, in the old town in Bucharest, has reinvented Romanian cuisine rather excitingly.

The churches and monasteries, especially, but not only, the painted monasteries in the Bucovina and the fortified churches of Transylvania. Bucharest is full of wonderful, obscure churches. No-one seems to have heard of some of the best.

Lack of violent crime, but this is not nearly as true as it was. Crime rates are very low in Romania, except for white collar crimes, where the rates are very high.

The serendipity.

I’ve told everyone to come to Romania but I am very glad that nobody follows my advice. I remember in my first week living in Romania in 1998, an Englishman living here said to me:



You know what’s the best thing about living in Romania?’ 

‘No?’

‘It’s thinking about your friends back in England that are feeling sorry for you.’ 

And that was true then. Now, instead of inspiring horror when you mention the place in England, it inspires indifference. It’s just an East European country that competes in the Eurovision Song Contest. A few people say it sounds fascinating. Most people simply say it sounds obscure. Most Americans probably do not know where it is.

307 comments:

  1. To be or not to be (TRUTH), that is the question?

    All the best and have fun,
    Mika Pettersson

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  3. I've visited Romania 5 or 6 times in the last 3 years and I'm completely hooked. I'm currently living in Berlin, and the only thing that's keeping me here, is that I don't think that I could be able to get a proper salary in Bucharest. Your article made me smile, a lot : )

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    1. For me it was the other way around, the salary offered in Berlin couldn't get me out from Romania - the difference was almost invisible compared to the monthly expenses. Maybe a closer look is advisable ;). Or better still...why not start something new...Romania is still affordable from this perspective.

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  4. Sounding obscure seems pretty good to me.

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  5. It is an Harmonious mixture of smile and sadness!

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  6. It is a magnificent style of your post on a true reality of Bucharest - coming from a Romanian point of view -)))

    Cristian

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  7. Thank you so much for this! I am a Romanian studying in Western Europe trying to decide whether to go home or not. This definitely helps.

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    1. I made the same mistake five years ago and soon realised I had a romanticised view of Romania, much like the one described here above. Hope this helps re-adjusting your view.

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    2. absolutely true! i subscribe to getting your view readjusted after spending 2 weeks in Ro (esp. if looking for a job). think twice! :)

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    3. You'll never have abroad the fun you'll find coming back in Romania.
      Here the life is bubbling.
      All the rest of Europe is clean, is nice… is boring.
      I’m working/travelling a lot abroad and all what I can see is that the perfect place is not yet invented.
      Interesting point of view about your new country-I am wondering why you’re there- but at least is an honest one assumption about Romania-I appreciate this.

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  8. Thank you, spot on, indeed! And a compliment for Romania.

    All the best, Anamaria

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  9. "and the national sport, seducing one another" :))
    Original post

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  10. Oops, I did it again!

    1. “Romanians have no gratitude and no mercy”. Like the servants. Or better still, like the foreigners who chose to live in Romania. Even the Jews who were not much liked by Romanians and who were only in passing in Romania showed their gratitude towards Romania in a famous klezmer song.

    2. “This is the Middle East dreaming that it is France.” Strange sense of geography. I thought Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Stamford Hill is the "Middle East".

    3. “In Romania under Communism television only broadcast for two hours a day…”
    Have you heard of the “golden age of TVR” under the directorship of Tudor Vornicu? I bet you didn’t.

    4. “…the national sport, seducing one another.” Poor Gauguin. He should have chosen Romania instead of the disappointing Tahiti.

    5. “Those who are not well read nevertheless have a surprisingly large amount of information about their medieval history and take pride in it.” Yes, from the films of the late film
    director Sergiu Nicolaescu. (Accomplished Romanian this Sergiu Nicolaescu, btw.)

    6. “The Romanians who were continuously oppressed by their rulers and foreigners take pride in their kings.” And why not. Romanian principalities managed to preserve their state of (semi-)independence from their foundation until the creation of modern Romania. An achievement that
    other, more “prestigious”, nations such as the Greeks, Serbs, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Poles, Czechoslovakians, Scots, Irish, Basques and Finns failed to accomplish.

    7. “People become adults when they start work, just like in England until the 1960s.” Really? Just like this? If true Romanians must be great then. As for me, I realized that I have not
    changed at all since my first childhood memories. I only know more things and my skin is flabbier.

    8. “Here class is about grammar and educational qualifications, rather than about accent or clothes.” You must be confusing Romanians with a different nation.

    9. “They also know that physical good looks are very very important and discuss other people’s appearances with penetration and complete absence of charity.” Oh, my gosh. Such untruthfulness. Everywhere, among Homo sapiens, the kind ape, Mr. Wood, good looks are of
    paramount importance. Except of course in the hypocritical England.

    10. “The lack of diversity, although things become more pluralistic.” Are you talking about Romania at large or Bucharest only?

    11. “Most people tend to take the existence of God for granted.” Yes, that is true because Romanians barely managed to comprehend Saint Anselm ontological argument and could not
    advance yet to Hume’s more sophisticated critique of natural religion or Kant’s forbidding critique of the transcendental ideal of pure reason. But give them time...

    12. “The folk religion, the belief in magic, the fortune tellers, the sense that the other world is close to hand.” The western pharmaceutical industry is cashing in big time on people’s innate belief in the effectiveness of magical potions. Fortunetellers are innocuous compared with
    the shrinks and as effective. The only difference is that the former are preferred by the stupid stupid people and that the latter by the stupid smart ones.

    13. “Crime rates are very low in Romania except for white collar crimes, where the rates are very high.” Yes, that is true, but it does not compare with the crimes committed by the Anglo-Saxon banksters who caused this mammoth crisis.

    14. “A few people say Romania sounds fascinating. Most people simply say it sounds obscure.” I agree, we Romanians should kill ourselves for such a monumental failure of impressing the English. Or better still, learn or rather unlearn not to give a damn on what foreigners think about us.

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    1. Even though, I will agree with you on some aspects that you have mentioned in your comment, this post presents the insight a foreigner has about Romania, and I feel you took offense at what he said. You should not. Firstly, because most are true, and he is not saying it's worse or better than England. He is just stating his remarks.
      And secondly, instead of telling people we don't care what they think of us, we should try to take this criticism and try to improve our image.
      It's just one personal opinion, and I think he is pretty accurate, this coming from a Romanian living abroad, and bring friends from all over Europe to visit Romania.

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    2. True. The antagonistic response seems misplaced. The article is relatively accurate and where not accurate it's funny.

      I'm also a Romanian living in England and I would say that there is a fair amount of discrimination against Romanians here, but that is a whole nother matter. This article is written in good humor.

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    3. Thank you but please tell me where I was not inaccurate. I wish to be better informed!

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    4. "Please tell me where I WAS NOT INACCURATE"? Has someone forgotten to speak an "accurate English"?
      I really like the list of comments this anonymus (I wish they had a name!) posted here as a response of the article. They are very funny too! And accurate.
      Why don't you see, Romanian people, the humor and irony in this anonymus' response too? "don't get offended, the man is right! you've definitely got it wrong...he's just objective with an incredible sense of humor!"
      Well, mister PVE Wood, it really must feel great living in a country where its inhabitants are so amused by your article because it's signed by you, and not by one of their own...Why don't you put this reason on your short list of reasons "Why I love living in Romania" too? Few other countries in this world give such loyal unconditional "servants" to foreigners as Romania does...
      I wonder myself, sometimes, how it feels to have the (unjustified) perception of superiority just because you were born in one of the Western countries? And please don't tell me I misunderstood your article or your "English" sense of humor...I'm getting tired of it...

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    5. I think on the contrary that Romanians are very over-sensitive about anything said about them by foreigners, even a eulogy like mine. I agree with the Emperor Francis Joseph: 'Romania is not barbaric. It's too civilised. That's the trouble.'Or at least I think that Romanians are in quite a lot of respects more civilised than Anglo-Saxons are nowadays. The subject for another piece.

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    6. You seem to be in a minority among these comments though.

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    7. Unfortunately I am (in a minority).
      You start seeing things diferently when you invest almost all your live in education and you see you can't access to the same working conditions just because you come from Romania, even if you have the same (or better) qualification. Do you know how this feels Mr PVE Wood? Try to put yourself in my shoes. And then read your article again. You won't find it so funny, but rather (I'm sorry for this) arrogant.
      When I visited Anna Franck's house I found incredibly ironic to see people from countries like UK, France, etc, with tears in their eyes...I was probably (in that moment) the only one there who really knew how it feels to be descriminate.
      The Romanian people's attitude doesn't help either. For me it's difficult to understand the pleasure they have to constantly ridicule their own country and conationals (or to accept to be ridiculed by you), like they are hopping to win a prize for it! Romanian people, don't be naif, nobody we'll give you any prize for this... you should have realized it yet!
      Are we (some of us) really over-sensitive when someone writes an entire article about us presenting Romania like "Middle East dreaming it is France", etc? What about you and your "English" food? I have an English friend; when I want to tease him, I start talking about food. You should see his face! This is what I call to be "over-sensitive".

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    8. No harm in being in a minority but I was not ridiculing Romania. I like English food.

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    9. Nothing wrong with the Middle East either, though I was exaggerating for literary effect. Romania is the Near East rather, like Greece or Albania, but belongs to the Byzantine Ottoman cultural sphere. A Romanian friend said to me 'People should not compare us to France - people should compare us to Syria. If you compare us to Syria we are not doing badly.' This was ten years ago, long before the crucifixion of poor Syria.

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    10. Mr. Wood, as much as you liked the idea, you're not Orwell in Burma (I'm sorry I have to wake you up to reallity). Trying to place Romania to the East, as far as you can, doesn't help you with it.
      Nowdays we belong to the European Union, not to the Byzantine Ottoman cultural sphere. People are so hooked with the "western" mirage, that they forget who they are and their values. At least when we were under Ottoman empire threat we tried to mantain our integrity. Now we just "offer" ourselves to people who don't even know (as you say) we exist, and when they know, they are mocking of us. There must be always someone, isn't it? What is going on? You can't say now anything about jews, black people, working class, women, or gays, but luckily you have found a people who offer theyselves unconditionally to play the role for you. I'm not so pissed off with you, as I am with my people!
      Look Mr Wood, I'm a doctor. I had an English patient once, who had been trying to get a diagnostic (in your country) for three years, without any success. It was me who solved it. So try to learn where those East European countries are...you might need a good specialist someday!

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    11. I was not mocking Romania. You read as ironic what was written from my heart. Are you living abroad?

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    12. On the subject of how Eastern the Balkans are, this is wise and worth reading: http://spectator.org/archives/2011/09/19/the-importance-of-culture

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    13. Yes, I am living abroad. Your insight amazes me, Mr Bond!

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    14. I would advise you not to buy into that victimisation obsession in the West or the morbid obsession with discrimination. Foreign immigrants always face obstacles and disadvantages (although admittedly not in the case of Westerners in Romania perhaps). Jews faced discrimination in the UK and USA but did not complain and did very well. In Europe too until the 20th century.

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    15. Finally, I see (at least)two Romanians - THE Anonymous and Cristina, who pick up on subtleties of sugar-coated messages with double meanings.
      As a foreigner (not a UK national) living in Romania for about 8 years, I keep wondering: 1) why certain individuals feel obliged to mock Romania and Romanians and 2) why Romanians themselves contribute to such attitude and perception of themselves and of their country.
      Starting the with the latter, I agree with Cristina on "it's difficult to understand the pleasure they [Romanians] have to constantly ridicule their own country and conationals (or to accept to be ridiculed by you), like they are hopping to win a prize for it!". By no means trying to generalize, it seems that some Romanians have tendencies to feel inferior before other nationalities and therefore contribute to the unbecoming image of their own country. I guess, they do that in the hope that they will be considered [by foreigners]as exceptional and "advanced and more sophisticated" Romanians. Meanwhile, they obviously do not realize (or care the least about)that their contributions and "submissions" are most probably used by the "mockers" (to cherish their own inferior feelings). I am not suggesting that one should pursue delusional self-perception, but if those Romanians developed more self-confidence, they wouldn't be causing so much damage to themselves and to other Romanians. Healthy self-confidence would also help them combating "the defensive stand" on almost everything.
      As for the former question of mine... I am at a loss ... the only reason I can think of, seeing more and more "negative interest" towards Romania, is that those investing in "putting Romania/Romanians down" ... feel intimidated? ...

      Apologies if it sounded too straight forward and harsh.

      Romanians and non-Romanian, have a nice day!

      Daffy

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    16. Jews didn't do so well, just visit their museum in Berlin.There they present all their history from the XVI century to the holocaust. Not even those who changed their names to German ones,in the XVIII-XIX centuries just to have the same rights as the local population.
      I am not buying the victimisation obsession or the morbid obsession with discrimination. I have to work more, to fight more, but finally I always get what I want,so don't worry for me. I'm just fighting for a cause and as I told you before, I'm more pissed off with Romanians, than with you. I wish they have more pride.
      And I'm sure you understand it. You are a pride people, we both know this.

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    17. Daffy, I totally agree with you. This is my explanation for the Romanians' behaviour too, and this was exactly my point. You don't get anywhere by being the first who "exposes" yourself to the others (or your conationals), hopping you'll pass as the smarter of the group. I'm living abroad, but every time I'm asked where I'm from, or people ask me questions about my country, I am trying to give all the explanations they want, decently and objectively defending my country and my conationals (I guess I was just exaggerating a bit before in this post for a more literary effect). People respect me here (so I'm not over-sensitive, neither morbidly obsessed). I just hope more Romanian people do the same.

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    18. Cristina, having this kind of healthy perception of oneself and others would definitely benefit many people here. Any relations should be based on a mutual respect and no patronizing message falls under the definition of “respect”. It’s encouraging to see that more and more people see that difference.

      Daffy

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    19. Thanks Daffy for your comments. I strongly believe in what one of Dostoyevski's characters says: "if you say someone he's a fool, they start acting like one". I think Romanians have heard too much that they are poor, corrupted, thieves, beggars, exploited and abused to the point that, even the middle class, pretty well educated people actually, have started to bite these slogans and act (in certain ways) like fools... I hope this mentality we'll change (and I'll try to do the best I can to change it).
      Thanks again for your support and have a nice and enjoyable stay in Romania.

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    20. I remember publishing online an article on the Future Romania and getting slammed by comments on contributors.ro
      :)
      I think this is a very witty article, well written and fun and Paul should write more using his Romanian- English hybrid personality. I fail to understand the acidity in Cristina's comments, the man was actually positive about your country (not a lot of those positive comments generally by foreigners, except Paul is now more or less naturalised ;)
      Keep up the good work Paul! Jolly good! :)

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    21. Cristina, you project your feelings on Paul, as you are a Romanian living abroad. You look jealous on his social perception in comparison with yours. What Paul thinks and feels is not a subject of your appreciation, you cannot change or correct anyone of them, as nobody can change yours. Actually you judged Paul for being superior only because he is English. Or American, or German, or French, Austrian and so on... Dig?
      You want Paul to feel in Romania as he would in England? Really? Why don,t You come over? :)
      Cristina, Cioran said once: Orgoliul unui om născut într-o cultură mică este totdeauna rănit. I do not dare to translate this, but i am sure that most of expats will easily understand. As in many aspects about Romania, Cioran was absolutely correct.
      Cristina, i fail to understand your appreciation about Dostoevsky and labeling, did you know that in Romanian Parliament were elected convicted individuals? Do you know that one minister is on trial? This means that Romanians did not heard too much about corrupted, beggars, thieves and so on, they behave as they don,t care. And they don,t! You thins that is mentality? Well, it is not, it,s just how the things are. You cannot change this, is spite of your efforts. But the time will succeed. In between, people like Paul will be amazed to witness the process, as they are so lucky.We should thank to Paul for being so nice with Romanians in his appreciation. Judging my English everyone will get that i,m a Romanian, living in Romania. Be cool, have fun.

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    22. Agree with pont 1-14.
      Bucharest is just a shithole. The fact that you have a few exceptions or that as foreigner you can afford to live big style it is not an excuse for the hypocrisy and low level romanina culture.
      Ther eis a saying - "The Romanians are born delivents". The rest is just BS. The fact that you can find all kind of prositutes that will smile at you because you are a foreigner and you are perceived as beeing a looser with money does ot mean romanina women are greta. Roamanian women are crap. They are cows. Just as Russian. They look good just because they did not have oney to eat in the past - and because they are desperate to sell themselfs to someone to "take care of her" ..
      Romania has already become the worst of both eastern and eatsrn world.
      And compared with UK any country in the world has better women.

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    23. Can I ask you where you are from?If you are a man you really must be very deluded of everything. Is a shame to hear that men are still discriminating women around the world no matter what their origin, country or social culture.
      First off all females are much kinder,easily warmer, loveable and caring, predominantly better influences in any given time in history and also potentially growing better wisely and are not strikingly violent or evil wrong doing like the general men who only search into condemning. men create war machines, famine,destroy our goodness and are suppressing the whole of humanity, manipulating, abusing, intentionally rejecting females from growing economically and refusing to form equality... men are taking part in wrong doings for the sake of accumulating power for satisfying their own ego unconsciously indulging in abusing rituals and shockingly committing and ordering murderous exterminations and constantly battling with their fellow brothers. Majority of men are followed by blindness and always ignoring to ever accept any women's potential. Never allowing them in taking part in any upper higher jobs in society apart but supporting them on being sexually exposed.
      Is this is the simple difference that man simply refuses to admit?? That our man encounters are at most of journeys preoccupied which such mindless operations
      There for let's also not forget that a women is your mother, and it could be your sister, and maybe the mother of your babies - in fact a creation itself. Females are enlightened beings that gives us light, forgiveness and peace into this planet. Why Women have always been refused and intimidated from participating in any socially transformation decision making around the globe since first century?? Even then when they where times when women had did managed to achieve any scientific inventory it has apparently rapidly been deleted from our history or either easily forgotten, ignored or silenced and that only because our suppressing evil doings that create constant fear with their ferocious attitude they obviously made sure to quickly get the whole credit for everything. Again ego bits over any justice....


      Don't call any female a prostitute, first learn to see for your self what is causing the root of all problems and issues in our society and maybe try to fix them and maybe start to recognise more love then evil.
      I 'm not confirming but alluringly you might be a bigger prostitute then any Romanian you laughing at and not even knowing it...

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    24. What are you on about ? I don't get your point and I suspect nobody gets it.

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    25. Mr. Wood,

      I can tell you that your image of Romania does not correspond with the one that i remember. And I have lived there for almost 32 years.
      Can I ask you for how long have you been living in Romania? And what is your occupation, if you work in Romania? And if you do work, do you work on local rates or are you an expat?
      Judging by the way you write, you are not living in the Romania that I used to know, just 6 months ago.
      Romania can be a beautiful country. But unfortunately only for a handful of people,usually politicians or foreigners.
      For most of the locals, Romania can be quite a difficult place to live at times. Or at least for my and many f te people I knew from my generation (33 years).
      A good way to see how good a country is to live in, is by trying to start from scratch. Did you start from scratch in Romania?
      Do you know what is like to try to find a decent job (one to cover rent, food, and the other living expenses, without having to work 12 hour/day, 6 days/week sometimes), after you studied hard, but unfortunately for you, you come from a low-class working family?
      Or do you know what is like to be born in the countryside and have limited access to education?
      Or to have an accident, and go to a public hospital, with no money for "oiling" the system?
      Or to live in a block of flats, where you get chased by stray dogs every morning, because one of the neighbours, is taking care of 20+ dogs and cats? And your only fault is that you're riding a bicycle, that making you a "bad person".
      There are lots of questions I could ask, that I bet you don't know the answer. Your writing is full of cliches, as in Why life is good in a third world country for a western born citizen. It's not your fault being born in UK, but please don't take too much credit on it either.
      ...
      Romanians esteem brains and learning :-)
      You are right here. About maybe 5%-10% of the population; is that segment of the population that wants to migrate usually :-)
      Me personally I have a much better life on the other side of the world, cutting leafs for dogs, instead of having a white collar job in a multinational company from Romania; and it even pays better :-)
      ...
      I am happy for you if you enjoy the country I grew up into. But I am asking you before issuing general opinions about any country, give it a bit of time, travel a bit, see things from several perspectives, etc..

      Cheers!

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    26. I am well aware, though not as well aware as Romanians, of the problems and hardships here but my article was about why I love it here.

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    27. Dear Mr. Wood

      Thank you for the article. It describes Romania the way it is, with good and bad things. And it is because of these good and bad things that I love Romania, too. That's why I have chosen to live 6 months abroad and 6 months in Romania. No place in the world is perfect, and I am not sure that I would love to live in a perfect world. Who is so perfect to pretend to live there? Maybe the above Romanian commenters :)
      Anyway, you are right about everything, but food. As you prefer English food it is normal to not like the Romanian food, but you must admit that in Romania the food (still) tastes like food and not like plastic.

      All the best,

      Mihaela

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    28. Oh very true - Romanian food is wonderful quality although fruit and vegetables were more wonderful ten years ago.

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  11. "Crime rates are very low in Romania except for white collar crimes, where the rates are very high."

    eh, almost everything is illegal in Romania ... you're alive = you're breaking some law

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  12. All except for romanian parties. I have been to a lot of really dire romanian parties that didn't get off the ground and usually everyone sat around looking at each other all night.
    Mike brown

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  13. Fantastic writing, indeed. Surreal..

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  14. Very interesting Paul, I agree with you on most aspects, but I am living in California for ten years already, so your information is much better than mine...

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  15. But I might be thinking of ten years ago?

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  16. Is it true that Romanian is the only European language admitting 5-word vowel-only sentences: "Oaia aia e a ei" (That sheep is hers).?

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    1. yes, that's true

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    2. so what about this?? If you think you know already something about "Romania", there is still a lot more
      Iia aia au e a ei, au e a oii ei (That blouse is either hers or it's her sheep's)

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    3. The answer to the question is: o iei au o iau eu?

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  17. I like the taxi driver - chorus analogy.

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  18. Laura Gabriela P.16 April 2013 at 21:16

    Thank you :) You put a smile on my face :)
    I don't care how historically accurate you are - I care that you shared YOUR feelings and YOUR beliefs. I care that you shared how YOU see Romania, Romanians and Bucharest - seen through your own eyes and living there for so long.

    I live "back" in your beloved home country :) Portsmouth at the moment, with a view to move out when I finish Uni. I've been living here for 5 years and I have 6 years of UK in total (1 of Wales. Pfff, yeah, I know, right??!! :) ). However, I do not think I could describe your country as nice as you described mine. So thank you very much for that. Hope you enjoy every day spent there :)

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    1. This is rather hypocritical; why choose to live in England when you in fact think so nice of Romania, and you cannot for the love of God find any good points about the country you live in?!

      Alexandra, Romanian

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    2. Alexandra, this is no hypocrisy. Sometimes you simply have a good enough reason to live for a while in a place you simply don't enjoy. For example a job, a PhD, a marriage, etc.

      In any case, Paul's article is sublime ! And it is not the only one.

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  19. ”They also know that physical good looks are very very important and discuss other people’s appearances with penetration and complete absence of charity. They are more profound than the English, who think it is superficial to talk about other people’s looks.” Made me laugh to tears!

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  20. We're too smart to start bashing heads for a few bills...

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  21. Hi Paul,
    Just love your comment
    You know what’s the best thing about living in Romania?’


    ‘No?’


    ‘It’s thinking about your friends back in England that are feeling sorry for you.’

    So true so true!

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  22. Do they still feel sorry for us? I would not think so at all. But you lived over there recently. What image do the English have of Romania, if any?

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  23. Even a Romanian couldn't have said better. In total ernesty, that helps raise the national feeling. Thank you! :)

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  24. Oliver Meister is the man who said You know what’s the best thing about living in Romania?
    It’s thinking about your friends back in England that are feeling sorry for you.’

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  25. Talk about a view through rose-tinted spectacles! I too am a long-time English resident of Bucharest, but my view of this country is decidedly different. I don't argue with most of what Paul says. I entirely agree that there is much in Romania to enjoy, admire, indeed even to delight in. But Paul's paean largely, if not studiously, ignores the many defects that disfugure and damage this wonderful country. Think of the sordid self-interest and ineffable mendacity of most of the ruling class; the incompetent governments (I believe Boc was an unrecognised exception - Ungureanu might have been, but was unproven); the rampant venality of the justice system; the bloated bureacracy; the abject and brutalising poverty that afflicts so much of the populace, and the many vile deeds that result from that condition; the simmering Secui resentment and separatist urges; the defilement of the magnificent countryside by the wanton scattering of garbage - should there not also be mention of these to provide a balanced view? Perhaps the saddest thing about Romania is the striking lack of idealism - the prevailing attitude is "Oh well, this is Romania - what can you expect?" - but then, idealism is probably a luxury of more prosperous societies ... Of course, all countries suffer to some extent from similar afflictions, but the these problems seem to be far more deep-rooted here than in most others. No, Paul, I am concerned that yours is a view from a position of pampered privilege, divorced from the dire realities of present-day Romania - a country I fight to defend almost every day of my life ...!

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    1. It's true. The political class is so corrupt it's infuriating and eventually disheartening. Hoping with all my heart things will change somehow.

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    2. Nobody pampers me - I wish they did. But of course all we foreigners have advantages in this country so long as we have come from developed countries and usually enjoy a much higher standard of living than the average. I think you are missing the point of my article, though. It was a list of 25 reasons I love living here. I could have written 100. Balance does not come into it. I am not the BBC.

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    3. Dear Frank,
      Loved your honest, emotion-free and analytical comment!

      Daffy

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  26. I remember an Englishman in the 90's that was loving Romania because of the incredible low price of tap beer. Every time he was coming here he was spending time in an incredibly "low profile" pub for this particular reason. Second reason for coming here was "nice girls"... of course! I can understand the reason why many foreigners, saying that they love being here, are staying in Romania, what I cannot understand is why the ones saying they hate this place with a vengeance, are doing the same thing... why they do not get away? I would!

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  27. you really made my day, I wish all foreigners were as open minded and open hearted as you are!

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  28. Great article! It truly describes Romania as is.
    You could have mentioned it's far more sunnier than the UK.

    Will follow with interest further posts.

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  29. Great article! It truly describes Romania as is; will follow with interest further posts.

    You could have mentioned the weather being much more sunnier.

    All the best.

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  30. You pretty much hit the nail on the head. You are so intuitive.
    "This is the Middle East, dreaming that it is France." What a dream... For good and for bad.

    A Romanian living in Romania

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  31. You seem to have experienced Romania and especially Bucharest the same way I did, wholeheartedly. I didn’t believe someone could put it in words so well. Thank you, but I hate you, for feeding the homesickness I battle with every day. (Currently studying in the UK as so many other bright and modest young Romanians)

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  32. Thank you very much and sorry.

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  33. Paul, I do understand your position, and of course I would never expect you to ape the BBC! You are right - a list of reasons for loving Romania is unlikely to include any of the negative aspects that I mentioned - blame my obsession with objectivity and balance! And those negative aspects are just the reverse side of this fascinating coin called Romania ...

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  34. romania through the eyes of a foreigner, I like the article, it is described very good

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  35. "Everything about Romanians seems to be paradoxical." ... according to what standards? I'm sure the English are perfect.

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    Replies
    1. By my standards. I like paradoxes. I am very paradoxical myself.

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    2. Let us take the definition from logic for paradox and leave the others out of it :)

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  36. A very well written piece. I wish it was me the one who wrote it.

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  37. Wonderfully written. I wish it was me the author.

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  38. A very well written piece. I wish it was me the one who wrote it.

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  39. Thank you for saying that. Someone else told me 'You are wasting your time here. Go home' which I would have published had he not then followed with a string of obscenities. What lives of despair some people lead.

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  40. No doubt, your article is establishing its value in very short time. To my concern, no criticism I can address to any of your descriptions. Your evaluations are a sincere expression of your filings after experiences of everyday life there. Obviously you see and experience the life through the filter built by your personal educational background and your previously experiences which got to be different of any other individual. What I appreciate most is the response your article sparks. You are not the only one OWNING memories and life experiences living in Bucharest or Romania, you are one of the one to start the debate. As a native Romanian living abroad for the last 33 years, I experienced as well, just like you, my life on the one of the most cosmopolitan places on earth: New York. Here everything is business. I observed the behavior and the way every different nation individual responds to similar challenges. My conclusion: no other nation is capable to offer their hart on the plate the way the Romanians do. And the reason for this is because they are so poor, so long exploited and abused by anyone around including their own government, that they do not even realize the value of their blood. I feel guilty because I still spend my time here. I will never forget the comment written buy a girl time ago:
    I LOVE EVEN THE DUST FROM THERE.
    Here everything (or almost) is done. The only remaining thing for me is to go shopping, and pay taxes.
    So, I will see you all there soon. So many orphans need help.

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  41. I strongly like and agree with this and would not like to live in the USA. I love Romania with all my heart. The difference between us is that you love her like a mother, I like a mistress.

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    1. Mr Wood: If you love her like a mistress do your best. You can never lose a mother...not the same with the mistresses.

      Emil: people in Romania, nowdays, are not exactly poor. One thing Romanian people don't know to appreciate is that they have properties. They start having their own flats from a pretty young age (which is not so easy in the Western Europe, even if wages are bigger-people normally rent flats; I don't know about USA). The health system is free, which you surely can't say about USA (I know the comments around the subject, but despite those comments, being seen by a specialist, the same or the next day you need them, you won't find in other countries, and if you really need or want an imediate consultation, you have to go to private clinics and PAY). And you should see their cars.
      I don't say Romania is a rich country, but Romanians are not so poor, it's just a nice "tactic"... stop buying it!

      Mr Wood, I would really like to read an article written by you which, at the end, instead of comments like "well, I didn't know very well what to do, to come back to Romania, or to stay abroad, but your article helped me to choose the second option" to read "after reading your article I made up my mind and I decided to return home".

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    2. What the h*** is wrong with Otilia or Traian or the other names? So what they might have a historical meaning, too? Maybe you should focus your study on all of the Williams, Elisabeths, Victorias, Georges etc etc in UK/England. You are going too far with this one. Sorry for my tone, but this one got me really pissed off...

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  42. Mr. Wood, it is a common mistake among foreingers: you try to understand romanian people. How can you, when they can't understand themselves? Along their long existence in the area, romanians have been turned over by many civilisations and philosofies so that they remained confused about their value, their identity to the point they denigrate their own existence.But do not be fooled by aparacies.Altough I can see the funny side of your coments.

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  43. The food is actually great!

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  44. Indeed I like Romanian food too, cooked well. Mr Rusu in Varma, Bucovina prepares food for the Gods.

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  45. nice to see other opinion about us than the ones we basically use to have: first that we are the best and second that we are the worst people on this earth. I guess this is the right one

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  46. Very interesting! The last year I was in Romania and I kept a very wird impression, difficult to explain it. For some reason I guess you give hope to try again. It does not mean I have a bad souvenir I will say almost the opposite but still I did not have "le coup de foudre". I was not looking for that either. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

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  47. One thing you might have mentioned in your article as a reason for loving Romania is the names. Romanians have such grand names: Romulus, Traian, Decebal, Laurentius - I even made the acquaintance of an Ottilia recently; names full of historical connections, used quite unselfconsciously - a subject worthy of study in its own right.

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    1. Mr. Fisher, what the h*** is wrong with Otilia or Traian or any of those names? I actually liked some of your comments, but this one got me really pissed off. Why don't you go and make a study on the millions of Victorias, Elisabeths, Georges, Williams, Marys etc etc in England? Or maybe it is not really necessary because English people get their names very selfconsciously, whatever that means...

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  48. Frank, you forgot to put on your list the name of Jeanne d'Arc; I'm sure you've met it too in Romania, haven't you? [It's more frequent than Decebal, to the best of my knowledge.] As a mystical people with a middle age mentality we really like this one, it's quite inspiring. Sometimes people respond unselfconsciously quite well to inspiring things, and you should know it from your history.
    Mr Wood will say that I'm "morbidly obsessed" with his post; behind the computer it's pretty hard to guess the feelings, but I'm actually amused. I know you English people have a soft corner in your heart despite your composed, cool, "superior" attitude. It is worth studing it.
    Well, don't forget to use a control group when you do this "name" study. What about using English people, and their names, as a control group?

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    Replies
    1. I highly recommend Jerome K Jerome, if not, try some yoga. Both cure the morbidity ...

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  49. A good article as far as I am concerned. I am living and working in China for the past 2 and a half years, and since I got here I felt the need of a good critical view of my native Romania through the eyes of expats living there. As for expats in China there's a lot of them who hate it, some who go with it and a few who love it. It depends on your personality, patience and upbringing. I got a lot of positive discrimination as well as (probably) a lot of (hidden) negative discrimination. And I do my best in being objective when I talk about the country I live in even though it drives me mad every once in a while.

    I saw a bunch of people felt offended by the article, and this only strengthens my view that the chinese and romanians are not as different as both people thought. Chinese also search for hidden double meanings in all of the foreigners' texts in order to victimize themselves just because they all met or think they know at least one foreigner (probably tourist) that was utterly unimpressed by their country. And, just as romanians, they feel both inferior and superior to the foreigners they feel obliged to be polite to.

    I am not going to go on with this because it would turn into a wall text. Long story short, nice article, made me miss home.

    All the best :)

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  50. I am very flattered that almost all the comments were very positive, I think three people or was it four who commented were offended?

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  51. Feteasca Neagra the only unique grape variety? I suggest you should dig alittleinto that. They are at least 5 other national grape varieties.

    Nevertheless, a very good article.

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  52. Feteasca Neagra, the only unique grape variety? I suggest to dig a bit into that. There ought to be at least 5 more national unique, grape varieties.

    Nevertheless, a great article!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks and excuse my appalling ignorance - what are the names of the others?

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    2. Negru de Dragasani? (prefiloxeric?)

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    3. Babeasca, Galbena, Mustoasa, Francusa, Zghihara, Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, and also some more

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  53. David, if you think English people don't talk with double meaning is because you probably don't know them. It's not that they can't be sincere, it's more like a game, riddle, sharade (thay like this stuff, and Mr Wood knows what I'm talking about). And they are proud of it. You are straightforward (you're one of the few who has written the entire name), and you think all the rest are like you.
    As far as I know, there are 2 kind of people in this world who talk with double meaning: English men, and women in general. If you don't catch the double meaning in an English man's sentence, I wonder how you do with women? [Don't answer, it wasn't actually a question! Got it? If you didn't, start reading "Alice's adventures in wonderworld"]
    PS: if you have doubts, I'm not offended.

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    1. I'm sad to hear an englishman broke your heart.

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    2. David, come and live in Europe.
      Sometimes I wish all the Romanians had the experience of living abroad at least for 2 or 3 years. You learn a lot of things while living abroad (no matter where) and you have a special experience living in Western Europe. You learn that nobodie takes for granted money, work, health or a place to live just because they live in a "wealthy country". That if you have a serious reason to live abroad, do it, but don't take this decision just because your country is "utterly uncool". [It's a very superficial, unhealthy way to take this decision.]
      I've met some Romanians here, and they are quite hardworking, honest people. Each one of them has their reasons to live abroad (like you, Mr Wood, Frank, etc,) the main difference is that they suffer from negative discrimination (I'm glad to here in China you enjoy in general a positive one). Most of them instantly start to cry and tell me their stories when they hear I'm from Romania too. This is quite a paradox, because I've never seen people in Romania crying because they are living in Romania, despite the general discontent and criticism.
      So try not to judge things just from a personal point of view.
      I wish Romanians criticized less and did more, if we all agree (from each one point of view) things are not going in the right direction.
      As for me, I try, in my way, to help.
      PS: I'm not living in the UK (just in case you, Mr Wood or somebody else is curious about it).

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    3. Cristina, I totally love your comments and I agree with your's and Anonymous's! Negative discrimination, English double meaning talking (sorry, not Romanians coined the phrase "la perfide Albion" :) ), the slightly masked superiority and positive discrimination of foreigners in Romania, all get a tick from me. I would really talk to you and hear your stories.

      A Romanian in exil in UK

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  54. Mr. Wood,

    I want to thank you for your comprehensive and culturally sensitive exposé on Romania's bright side, a much appreciated (and needed) perspective these days when the country's getting such bad press in Western Europe. Some of the points you mentioned I had taken for granted (as one usually does with one's country), and others I confess to not having been able to understand fully because of my young age. However, I would like to add/rectify a couple of things and I apologise in advance if they have been said before (as the comment thread is rather long I didn't read all the entries).

    #1 - “People [here] become adults when they start work, just like in England until the 1960s.”
    Personally I think that Romania, like any country where a sizeable part of youth pursues a higher education degree, suffers as much from the "adulthood as perpetual adolescence" phenomenon. Add to that the infantilising pop culture and decreasing quality of the education system, and the cry/laugh joke of "you're only young once but you can be immature forever" will seem just as applicable to Romanian youth as it does to British/American/French etc.

    Besides, the phenomenon that you're referring to is probably not new in terms of people's lived experience of adulthood. It's just that it became more salient in sociology/psychology in the past few decades, with the unravelling of nationalism, class, gender (the grand narratives). For instance, if you read Edith Wharton's "Age of Innocence" (1921) you'll see that the protagonists, young adults themselves, are probably as immature at 24-25 as they must have been 10 years earlier. The only thing that disguises this situation is their unwavering respect for the rigid customs characteristic of their class, which, as you probably can agree, is not a form of personal responsibility but merely of conformism.

    #2 - "Romania has so far escaped the worldwide cultural revolution."
    I will not pick on the particular style of this phrase, which makes Romania sound culturally backwards (it is not). But I do think it's an inaccurate statement.

    Tune into any radio channel or music channel. What do you hear? American and British music mostly, with the occasional French song to discontinue the monotony. Go into a shopping mall (in Bucharest there are probably more square meters of shopping mall per capita than of green space per capita). How many Romanian brands do you see there? Talk to teenagers and ask them: how many Romanian books have you read this year compared to American/British, or French or Spanish books? How many Romanian movies or TV series have you watched compared to American or British movies and series? How much of your music is NOT American or British? I bet they will all say the same thing: Romanian cultural products make up a negligible part of their cultural diet.

    Ask them about values. Do you think their values are aligned with the supposedly Orthodox (that's just a facade, by the way), community-oriented character of "Romanianness"? No such thing. They can probably regurgitate more globalised, 'American' values than 'Romanian' values (if indeed there was ever such a thing). Not to mention that if Romanians had missed the cultural revolution train that Western youth have been on since the 60s there wouldn't be 8,000 Romanian students in British universities and many other thousands eager to emigrate. Emigration in this case is not based only on financial necessity, but also on the attractiveness of the "worldwide culture" (strongly skewed in favour of Anglo-Saxon culture) we’ve grown up with/in.

    Romania has not “escaped the worldwide cultural revolution”. It simply didn’t have the chance to stake any claim in this “revolution” because it emerged from communism when the cards were already dealt.

    (I'll continue in a different comment because of the space limit)

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  55. #3: “Here class is about grammar and educational qualifications, rather than about accent or clothes.”
    In this case I feel you live in a different Romania than the one I know. I mean, we’re talking about a country whose “opinion leaders’” (the quotation marks aren’t big enough to underline the irony behind this appellative) public statements massacre the Romanian language so horrifically that one cannot help but wonder whether they started skipping grammar in primary school. Also, the “class” that you belong to is usually determined precisely by your clothes/how much money you have, and certainly not by your academic credentials (especially because a Baccalaureate and B.A. diploma can be bought all too easily).

    Also, I think that the category of “class” is not nearly as relevant in Romania as it is in the UK because the Romanian middle class was virtually eradicated throughout the 50s. What commands respect in Romania is money, and people with money are really easy to spot because they flaunt their wealth with an ostentation that is two-parts cruel and one-part ridiculous (a phenomenon otherwise found in most of the former communist states in Eastern Europe).

    This being said, I enjoyed reading your take on living in Romania (the taxi drivers-as-Greek-tragedy-chorus metaphor was a really nice touch) and am really glad that you are enjoying the country. Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion with the world!

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    1. U tell them gurl!!! (from somebody infected by western culture)

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    2. I disagree with you and stand behind Mr. Wood choice of wording. "Class" was used, not "boss". In my entire life in this country, most of the time I recognized respect in others' eyes for a brain based success, rather than just a semi-legal or illegal deal. But it is true that the wealth is admired, regardless of how it was produced.

      But, going back to "class", let's not forget that in the popularity polls, Mr. Isarescu, chairman of BNR, inspires class to common people. That means: wisdom, perceived competency, moral conduct.

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  56. Thank you Cristian, though I still feel completely English. I think ones race or nation does not change unless one moves country while a child. I think Cristina should be happy and grateful about living and working in England rather than complain about discrimination. I am happy and grateful every day to be in Romania. As for class, Ruxandra, class is not the same thing as power. No one thinks Mr Vanghelie has class or Gigi Becali.I wonder if you are my friend Ruxandra.

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  57. Congratulations on a phenomenally well written piece. In all honesty I'm jealous because I don't think I'd be capable of producing something of this caliber any time soon. I've only recently come across your blog and this article in particular. It was forwarded to me by my employer and very good friend who happens to be an Irishman living in Bucharest since 2008. Since then I've also shared it with another close friend, a Serbian who's been living in Romania for about 5 years now. We absolutely love it! Your insight into Romanian society, while I would argue that it's not exactly spot-on in some instances, is simply delightful! I've been living in Bucharest for the better part of 4 years now and I must admit that, even as a Romanian, this city never ceases to amaze me. There are one or two things that I would have added to your article though. I do appreciate the fact that you've probably spent the vast majority of your time in the city and I have no way of knowing if you have in fact spoken or got to know people, like myself, who were born and raised in one of the provinces and were then uprooted and settled down here. I believe you'll be surprised hearing the things they have to say. While I do appreciate the fact that this article is about 25 things you like about this country, I would be very interested in reading about what you dislike about our little piece of heaven. There is a side to Romania that (in this article, in any case, frankly I've only just started reading through your blog) you seem to avoid, namely the dark, twisted, vicious and hypocritical Romania that acts as its own worst enemy, a divided Romania, home to a divided people who over the decades were haphazardly thrown together and made to get along and the dual nature of most Romanians who laugh out of one side of their face and cry out of the other, who would rather see themselves burn as long as they can drag you into the fire with them than see you succeed, who suffer from what we jokingly refer to as "the neighbour's goat" syndrome and who discriminate against each other for the most mundane and idiotic of reasons yet at the same time allow others to trample all over them for reasons that would cause uprisings in other nations. Then again, I'm as cynical as they come. In any case, I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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  58. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  59. Thank you very much indeed for those words. Please tell me where I was ' not spot on' and what things you would add. For many years I found I focused only on the very many good things here - like many foreigners to whom I have spoken I felt euphoric about this country. But when I write about the place, even though I love it, I get very fiercely attacked for criticisms that I make. I meant for 15 years to write about what I love about the place but even this does not prevent my being attacked hard by some readers. You can't win.

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    1. Believe me, I know the feeling of not being able to please everyone. When you raise a point, you offend someone. When you don't, you offend someone else because you kept your mouth shut when you should have said something. I'm fascinated by your experiences and what stories you could tell, primarily because I've already heard some good ones from my other foreign friends. I'm conducting my own little social experiment, if you will, and I believe you'd have plenty of useful input if I was given the chance to pick your brain. For the moment it's just a side-project (for when I'll have the time to actually put pen to paper and write about it), but hopefully it'll turn into something bigger.

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  60. Excellent! Why not writing a book on Romanians in the series of The Xenophobe's Guide: The Romanians. I am sure it will be true to the bone,helpful and full of humour! Thanks. I really enjoyed it as well as other writings of your blog.

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    1. Thank you very much - a book is in progress!

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  61. http://www.xenophobes.com/

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  62. Cristina, I totally love your comments and I agree with your's and Anonymous's! Negative discrimination, English double meaning talking (sorry, not Romanians coined the phrase "la perfide Albion" :) ), the slightly masked superiority and positive discrimination of foreigners in Romania, all get a tick from me. I would really talk to you and hear your stories.

    A Romanian in exil in UK

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  63. Hi Paul,

    I met you long, long time ago and you seemed to me the kind of foreigner who would remain in Romania, continuously complaining about it. It looks like I was right. I would also want to ask you how good your Romanian is. If you are really trying to understand a people, you should speak its language. It´s a matter of respect. But I guess you missed that class, too. Do not try to play the cultural anthropologist. You are not one, never shall be. It takes brains, education and a sense of humor for this. Which, again, you seem to lack.

    All the best,
    A Romanian you once met

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    Replies
    1. I wonder if you are that rather unhappy man who wanted to teach me Romanian and periodically sends me mails in this sort of vein - Acela?

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    2. In any case, all the best to you too.

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  64. Three things strike me when reading this article:

    1. The self-righteous and superior attitude that you--and many Englishmen--project and insult without even realizing it. You glibly judge the intelligence and opinions of others in a snobby English, condescending manner. Its no wonder the English are hated by so many.

    2. You completely ignore the beauty, sadness, and role of the Rroma people.

    3. You seem to live in a world blindly populated by Christians and Christian thinking.

    This article is far less about Romania, than it is about you (and how you are coping with living outside of merry old England...).

    Cheerio, old chap.

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    Replies
    1. 'For he himself has said it, / And it's greatly to his credit, / That he is an Englishman!'

      I should have mentioned the gypsies perhaps. When I feel most love for Romania there are usually gypsies in sight. What do you think I should have said about them?

      What do you mean about Christian thinking?

      Interesting that you think I am being autobiographical. I am happy if it is so.

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  65. On the MONNNNNEY Paul. Very funny and very insightful. I will steal with pride and post this link to my blog if you don't mind?

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  66. Luke, please do. Why not put a link to my blog on the home page of your blog?

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  67. Well that certainly got a good response Paul!! Cristina has a chip on her shoulder!
    I am tempted to contribute and mention that the Government has retained about E5million of vat for about a year which would drive any business away from Bucharest, or the inability of the water, electricity, sewerage companies to give a simple permit to assist projects that provide well needed jobs, constant changes in accounting law. A lot of people i know have tried to do business in Bucharest and left having lost money, completely disillusioned.
    I could go on but I also somehow like Bucharest.
    Happy Easter, Robert.

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  68. Excellent post. I really enjoyed it.

    Alina Florea

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  69. I really liked your article! Do you speak/read Romanian also? If yes, did you have a chance to read Lucian Boia's "De ce este Romania altfel"?
    Best thoughts,
    Dana Costache

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  70. Yes I do speak/read Romanian and love Boia's Romania. I intend to read his new one as soon as I have finished volume 1 of Charles Moore's life of M Thatcher. Thank you for reminding me.

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  71. I loved this piece and have sent it to friends who have got to know the country in the recent years; you are an extremely sensitive and respectful contributor to anything which is to do with insight on Romania. Superb!
    Daniela Florea

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  72. This country has a lot to offer to all those ready to receive everything
    with a pure heart and truly open mind.You are obviously a lucky
    professional enriching your environment significantly no matter where you were, are and will be..

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  73. I love this blog post! Very funny and very true :-)

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  74. It’s always fascinating to get the reflection in a mirror through other people’s eyes

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  75. I truly love your article.
    I know many has read it and many adored it too.

    So keep up the spirit, it is really a beautifull piece you have written, that in many ways
    captures the soul of Romania.

    Big hug
    Eleonore

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  76. It was not pleasant for me to read your blog post because I truly believe that nobody has the right to judge other human beings. To the core, we are all the same, no matter that we live in Bucharest, London or somewhere else in the world. Luminita.

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  77. deci acest articol este o expresie a recunostintei ce o ai fata de aceasta tara ?
    :)

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  78. For an Englishman, this is not too bad :). I was born in Romania and lived in many places but finally settled in Switzerland. Well done-this is what the country needs, more publicity and yes, I can recognize so many truths in your blog.

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  79. You missed to say the 26th reason for loving Romania and probably the most important to you: Money! Even if your comments are fair or not, it is not nice of you to make fun of the country that feeds you and your family. you are like any other opportunistic foreigner that comes to make business in a developing country to take personal advantage of the economical situation and critisizes the country.

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    1. Money? You must be joking. Money had nothing to do with my coming here and I was poor for years because there was so little money to be made here. I came here because I wanted very much to live here. But though there is nothing wrong with criticising the country, a very useful thing to do, I don't think I did. I thought I was writing a eulogy. If you want to see how people talk about Romania who do not love the place like I do please see my latest blog post: http://pvewood.blogspot.ro/2013/05/may-day-in-bucharest.html

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  80. E bine scris, mi-a placut.

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  81. Paul,
    realy nice reading your thoughts about Romania.
    I had no idea about your blog, but will try to watch it constantly from now on. Very interesting your posts and maybe you will think develop these into a book. :)
    Regards from Bordeaux,
    Catalin

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  82. I liked the way you described Romania, I think that some part of your heart now is almost Romanian :).

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  83. Some surprisingly liberal sentiments. I hope you can read that without running a mile. Ben Williams

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  84. Hi Paul,

    I must admit I had a nice read of your blog, and this article in particular. Witty and charming, and true.

    I enjoyed also reading the comments, some people understood and enjoyed the article, some took it to another dimension (demention, I might say, wow). I hope you just ignore the weird ones.
    Anyway, I will follow your blog, as it is a good read for a foreigner like me in another country. I am following your churches articles now.

    You’re an Englishman in Bucharest (better than Sting’s Englishman in New York). Take it from a Romanian, you are now (at least) 10% Romanian! (one of my friends, a Scotsman, is about 35% Romanian, only because he married a Romanian lady).

    Have fun and keep on writing!

    Magda Popescu

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  85. Read it with a smile. Guys, stop being so uptight. Only the fact that Paul took the trouble to write all this shows something inside him was definitely moved. And yes, he is ironical, cynical at times, but also warm and true, and I could almost see the smile in the corner of his mouth and the twinkle in his eyes. One thing for you, Paul. Keep searching. Your journey into the Romanian soul and way of life is only at the beginning. The big revelations are still to come :))

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  86. Thank you. I know that I know nothing about Romania, which is the beginning of wisdom.

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  87. This is not how Romanians see themselves, which does not mean it is not true.

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    Replies
    1. So true, this why we are in deep shit, we do not see how we are, we are angry when somebody gives his view on us and we are definitely not searching for the truth, but for a comfortable view. I used to live in Switzerland at time when only Albanians surpassed Romanians as top robbers in that country and have to say that I did not feel ANY malice about my origin, I think I knew more jokes on Romanian thieves that they did anyway. On the other hand when you think about somebody running in less than 60s with a 800kg bank safe you might view them as performers - even the Swiss were amazed by this technical skill, perhaps that was driving the respect I felt everywhere I went :)

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  88. I want to express my gratitude because you are a wonderful “spokesmen” for Romania.

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  89. there are so many things to say but trust me on the crime rates. as someone spending fair amounts of time in the a&e i've seen weirder and more sadistic crimes than you'd see in any hollywood movie. but it's true... they usually happen in the countryside. because wine is good. and cheap and they have endless amounts of it. so you're a bit safer in the city.

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  90. Sherlock Holmes said "the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside."

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    Replies
    1. and truer words haven't been spoken! :) *(I love Sherlock Holmes, that quote made my day)

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  91. Paul: Romania you are wonderful and you fascinate me endlessly.

    Reader: Why do you hate us and insult us, you ungrateful and avaricious foreigner? go back to Britain etc etc

    Some readers need their heads seeing to, unless they are just doing a wind-up, in which case, find something more valuable to do.

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  92. I know where Bucuresti is and know one of Buc's leading Expat Bohemians. if you dig hard you may little interviews with pw that other gems of perspective about Romania since the revolution...


    cheers PW


    ex-expat in America JF

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  93. I love Ozana Barabancea ... ha ha ha ha....you are sweet. I like the article, really.
    Someone from Romania.
    )

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    Replies
    1. In the late 90s when she was blonde and singing Marilyn Monroe songs in that wonderful, smokey voice!

      Delete
  94. Everything you wrote as some sort of a praise as you say, to me it sounded as making fun of Romanians or like criticism. Which was funny because I hate them, probably because I live among them all the time and I guess that when you don't have your nose in the pot, you can see things from a different perspective. Some of the things are spot on, like the fact that they're extremely conventional, or mystical but materialistic at the same time, but others are way off. About politeness, they're only polite to foreigners or rich people and that comes out of neediness. But there's plenty of cruelty to balance it out, isn't it?
    I've noticed that a lot of foreigners seem to like it here. Maybe you guys can't handle progress and you have nostalgia for the past so you come here to taste the good life. I hope it's not because your nobodies in your own countries and feel good here because Romanians are the number one nation in the world when it comes to kissing ass. Or maybe you just like coming to Romanica Zoo, where you get to see wild animals behind bars so it's convenient that people are too numb too kill each other hence the safety aspect. Don't get me wrong I'm thankful for that and I do try to avoid danger when dealing with drunken idiots, as drinking is the real national sport and Romanians are only overtaken by your fellow Irishmen in this endeavor. Or so the myth goes... All in all, everyone drinks and smokes here, so it's like, f*** the establishment. And it goes hand in hand with God, who's been dead in the rest of the world so here, you can go back to your roots and ignore the supremacy of science.
    Moreover, this so called dystopia, it's only the politicians fault; even though, most Romanians, to be in a position of power, would steal just as much. What else? Everyone has annoyed me today so I just rant and rant. Maybe I'm having a bad day because I just got my paycheck from an American Corporation. Hurray! Anyways, the Middle East France bit was quite funny. I saw an image of a hot girl's ass with the world map painted on it. Guess where our beautiful country was? Yes it is beautiful...
    It was just above the asshole. We made it out!

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    Replies
    1. bravoooo!you got your prize?...what a "gap"of self-confidence!

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  95. Relatively accurate piece. I'd add that Romanians are probably as a whole, the most immature people I have ever seen. It is like living in a land of children. Get out your kid gloves. You will need them.

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    1. You might like a piece I wrote many years ago on this subject:


      Romania the eternal (and fascinating) adolescent

      The psychology of nations is not intellectually out of fashion in Romania in the way that it has been for the last sixty years in the West, at least since the British army entered Belsen. Romanians, usually their own severest critics, talk at length and often with cruel accuracy about their national character and question the reasons why so much of Romanian society appears to be dysfunctional. On the other hand, foreigners who have the luck to live and work in Romania are often enchanted and exasperated in turn, or simultaneously, by what seems to them a curiously childlike quality in Romanians (in common with other central and eastern Europeans but to a more pronounced degree), even when they are taking part in activities that are far from innocent.

      In a superficial sense adolescence is over much more quickly in Romania than in the Anglo-Saxon world where babyboomers squeeze themselves into jeans at sixty. At twenty or twenty-one the Romanian is a young adult earning his living, even if still at university, and surviving in a tough and dangerous world. Older people are treated with respect in a part of the world where the generation gap was never heard of and each generation follows fairly closely in the path of its parents. Important figures in business and politics seem rarely to talk to people under fifty. Yet at a deeper level Romanians seem, at least to outsiders, in some ways children of a larger growth.

      One reason is that life in the West changed out of all recognition under the impact of sudden and unprecedented economic growth and technological advance in the fifty year period in which Romania was frozen in time under communism. Life in the West was once much less pressured, slower, simpler, more human and more innocent. Watch a British film from the 1930s or 40s and you will recognise a lot. Bolshevism’s final achievement, while destroying so much that was priceless, was to act as the only conservative force strong enough to put a brake on progress and preserve a traditional way of life which with astonishing rapidity was destroyed forever in the market economies.

      But another reason is that for fifty years initiative and freedom of thought in Romania was crushed. And the Communists were only the last and worst in a long line of bad rulers. The Communist tyranny, bear in mind, extended from the central committee to every factory and office in the country. In psychological terms the result is comparable to the trauma inflicted on a child who is not allowed to detach himself from his abusive parents and to mature. He remains a perpetual adolescent. In Jungian terms we can speak of the phenomenon of the puer aeternus, the eternal boy, of whom the classic literary example is Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up.

      Delete
    2. The whole article is here:

      http://pvewood.blogspot.ro/2012/02/romania-eternal-and-fascinating.html

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  96. In my last trip to Romania I met a lady.She is my girlfriend now.At list that's what I think.
    I will go back to her soon.

    By the way she has deep black hear and green eyes.
    That's my angel.
    Hell yes

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    Replies
    1. Great. I have also met a Romanian girl on Facebook and I will visit her. She is a gipsy but an educated and very nice girl. :)

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  97. I know this is not really related to your post but I want to ask what you think of Romanian folk/traditional music (muzica populara)? Folk/traditional music seems to be more popular in Romania than in any other European country.

    And another question: Why did you choose Romania and not any other country in this part of the world (or another part of the world for that matter) which has not been 'touched' by globalization and modernization yet?

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  98. Great post...I was there in January and met a girl, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and so down to earth... It looks like I will be making a more permanent move there soon.

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    Replies
    1. Romanian women might be sexy at least in the westernized version of a 'sexy female', but will strip you of all your assets.

      Romanian women are expert in manipulating fat/semi-fat/ugly/semi-ugly/rich/semi-rich/ westerners that find it impossible to get laid in their 'developed' countries.


      If you come to Romania just because you've met some woman, at least make a will. You will probably commit suicide.

      Delete
  99. Romanian here living outside of Romania.

    My take is that I agree with some you wrote and with some I believe it is outdated.
    The younger generation even speak rominglish.
    Always mixing romanian words with english ones. So the globalization/Hollywoodization/Internet 'revolution' definitely affected them.

    Also the use of english is on the rise in business. Everyone I know has a job title in English. 'Human Resources' it's HR in romanian firms, not 'Resurse Umane'.
    Everyone is analyst/manager/accountant/counselor/CEO and not analist/coordonator/contabil/consultant/director general/..

    Romania has changed and is changing. The biggest mistake Romania did was entering the EU.

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  100. To everyone entertaining the ideea of visiting Romania I advise to forget it.

    I hear that Czech prostitutes are 'blondier' and the 'bestest whitest' than in Romania.

    Don't waste the paper you print ad infinitum and back with the Pentagon/MI6 in Romania.

    As for the author I'm sure he is having fun. He's probably one of those westerners that is a risk takers.

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  101. The best thing about Romania is the fact that very few foreigners from 'rich and developed' (aka high cost of ownership and living) know that Romania exists.

    The bad thing about Romania is that this situation is changing, even though for the moment 'bad' publicity is the change factor.

    All publicity is good publicity in the end, some foreigners are probably entertaining the ideea to visit Romania, even if it's for being a safo-maso fetish. And that will make everything expensive for the Romanians.

    Something similar happens to the West, except that it's with wages. Ridiculous high numbers of immigrants drive wages low, put high pressure on social benefits, increase crime, make rents climb up, and in general fu $#$$ things up for the 'natives'

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  102. hi. i'm a romanian journalist student and i want to write an article about the big fuss about romanians coming to uk and workng legaly. i would like to ask you some questions and use some quotes in my article for school if you'd like to help me with this i'l leave you my e-mail adress. anca.precub@yahoo.com
    looking forward to hear from you.

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  103. I LOVED the article!!! I'm Romanian. Had it been written by a Romanian, it would have only made me laugh. But as it comes from a foreigner, it also makes me cry. But you know what is awesome about this? That this kind foreigner -who chooses to live here, among the wretched- understands my sufferings and cries along with me. Oh, thanks for posting this! And mostly thanks for caring for us! Who knows, maybe some day you'll speak for us, too. :)

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  104. You're making me want to visit. The only time I was ever there was for 12 hours in 1989 on a layover en route to Istanbul. It was quite surreal. People were afraid to talk to us, except for drunks and swindlers. I wandered into an out-of-bounds area near the palace and was chased off by a florid-faced guard who looked like the Good Soldier Svejk, dressed in a uniform that surely dated from WWII. The official exchange rate was, I believe, 7 lei to the dollar. We got something like 300 from a waiter, but not without an obligatory attempt to swindle us. When night fell, the side streets were unlit. It felt like a Bogart movie. I'd enjoy seeing it under less sweaty, anxious conditions. Robert Dunlap

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    Replies
    1. You were so very very lucky. Nothing now will be nearly as interesting as then. I spent 24 hours in Bucharest in 1990 and remember no street lighting at all. The whole city was the most vivid extraordinary place I had ever seen or have seen since but the Cold War was over then.

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  105. i love your blog and writing style ' I love Ozana Barabancea, an opera singer turned jazz singer, who sings like Marilyn Monroe would have sung had she been a first class jazz singer.'
    Barbara

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  106. Hm... the food . You should really visit Transilvania ! Our food here is awesome !

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  107. Hm... The food eh? You should really visit Transilvania ! Our food here is awesome!

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  108. Very nice article. I feel proud to be a Romanian! Thank you!

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  109. Thank you very much for this article, very interesting and refreshing perspective on Romania!

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  110. Actually homeless people watching open air film shows do excite disdain but nobody dares to confront them (it's a lawless country and the police doesn't care).

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  111. I do not agree that Romania is a pour country. It has many ressources (raw materials, people, everything you want), but those are not used in an efficient way. Especially the people. With the rest of the article, I agree more or less - this depends on the persons that you have met here.

    I appreciated that you did not mentionned the fact that, in general, romanians are complaining about everything, but they are not doing anything to improve their situation. They are very affraid of changes and challenges. And that they are attached too much of the past, and they are affraid to let this past behind them. This is the most important thing that I really do not like and I hope that my generation to change this in the next years.

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  112. It's great to see how much you love Romania, I can't comment on the Bucarest culture because I'm more involved with Transylvania and I believe there is a difference so I will share a couple of adjectives about what I feel when I'm in Romania.

    Warm (people and the summer weather), Caring (the people when they take you in their heart), Joyful (when partying), Tasty (their food, their wine), Generous (in the way they live, eat, drink, party, love, work) and finally Passionate (in all they do when they like it).

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  113. It's great to see how much you love Romania, I can't comment on the Bucarest culture because I'm more involved with Transylvania and I believe there is a difference so I will share a couple of adjectives about what I feel when I'm in Romania.

    Warm (people and the summer weather), Caring (the people when they take you in their heart), Joyful (when partying), Tasty (their food, their wine), Generous (in the way they live, eat, drink, party, love, work) and finally Passionate (in all they do when they like it).

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  114. It's always a pleasure to meet nice friends of Paul Wood...:)

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  115. An interesting report and I also enjoyed reading the comments. One or two very sensitive Romanians just didn't get it.

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  116. Exceeded the character count limit so continuation from separate comment – grumpytyke
    -
    Romanians for the most part know their history well, but to say it's learned from films is ridiculous. My primary school pupils generally knew more of their history than GCSE students here know of UK history and Romanian high school pupils certainly knew more of world history. They learned it in school, from parents and by avid reading and might well intelligently question history as portrayed in films.
    To finish, just one reason to go to Romania - music. I was lucky enough to twice experience all the Beethoven string quartets performed by the Voces quartet in the then run-down Filarmonica concert hall in Iasi, now magnificently restored. Voces performed the quartets over several weeks once every five years; I don't know whether it is still done but if so I hope to experience it once more. But the 'musica populara' should not be dismissed though perhaps it cannot be appreciated if you retain a western mindset; the women performers in Moldova and the Bucovina excel but in Transylvania and Maramures it is the men who are outstanding. This reflects the respective matriarchal and patriarchal cultures of the regions.
    Of course I recognise, as was admitted, that much of this blog post was written for 'literary effect". It may be a true refection of life for an Englishman in Bucharest, but it is not a true reflection of Romania and Romanians. Walter Wartenwiller's "couple" of adjectives give a truer picture.
    grumpytyke

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  117. Clearly the view of an Westerner living in Bucharest, not a citizen of the world living in Romania. Bucharest is in Romania, but it is not Romania. Also, clearly the view of someone from the legal profession (or the financial profession), surely the two most corrupt - the only change since Dickens 'exposed' them is that they have become ever more powerful. I will not attempt to comment on all the 25 reasons,some of which have some truth, but here are some thoughts of mine.
    I cannot match the 33 years of one of your commentators but I did live in Romania for 11.1/2 years and although I visited Bucharest on many occasions much of that time was spent outside of major cities. I even, much to the consternation of Romanian friends and colleagues, cycled across Romania alone from Sighet to Suceava in 1994.
    I was usually living on something near to a Romanian salary, or below, although I often had the major advantage of free accommodation (eg in a school hostel). So I very rarely visited the slick restaurants of Bucharest or anywhere else; the best tochitura I had was in the canteen of an agricultural high school where I taught for a while and, having eaten in quite a few of the world's best restaurants in a former life, I can say categorically that Romanian food at its best is as good as any but I doubt you'll find it in a restaurant. Pork is superb - it's been very difficult to find something which comes close in the UK - but beef is to be avoided.
    I'm not surprised that the only fish you recommend is the 'posh' restaurant one - Salau. Crap - carp - straight from the Prut is extraordinarily good and somn - ugly old catfish - is a revelation; neither of them farmed.
    It was in the agricultural high school that, as the only English speaker, I learned something more than 'practical' Romanian and began to understand Miorita. With a few more years associating with Romanians (and avoiding westerners) I maintain that if you understand Miorita you will understand Romanians and their history. I liken them to Kelly dolls - survivors - along with their beautiful language.
    I can well believe medic Cristina's comment about making a diagnosis. A debilitating condition of my mother which remained undiagnosed in the UK for 10 years was spotted in me, without knowing anything about me or my family, by a Romanian doctor in 10 minutes as something inherited. Still on the daily medication he prescribed more than 15 years later, I've never had a problem with it since. Yes, you need some financial "oil" to be comfortable in hospital in Romania, but if I was seriously ill I'd far rather be under a Romanian doctor than one in the UK.
    I've visited more than 40 countries and lived for a while in some of them; Romania is the one I would choose to return to definitively and may well do it, but it would almost certainly be to northern Moldova or more likely the Bucovina, and not only because the women there are truly beautiful, not just astoundingly physically so.
    As a stereotypical Yorkshireman, hence the 'user name', it was a surprise to me to discover there is some unique 'spirituality' evident in Romania but I doubt it will be discovered in Bucharest; I first experienced it near to the village of Sadova, close to Campulung Moldovenesc, in 1993 and later recognised it many times as I walked in the countryside. I later experienced it in two monasteries, Moldovita and Varatec.
    I know much has changed since I left Romania in 2004 as I visit regularly (and will next in 2015 as next year I will have Romanian visitors here in Yorkshire) and I don't expect any more to be able to stop almost any student on the street who, asked to quote a little Eminescu, Labis, Blaga, Cosbuc or Shakespeare, will deliver something substantial and word perfect for all. They'll probably still manage the Romanians.
    -
    Exceeded the character count limit so continued in separate comment – grumpytyke

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  118. This is such a wonderful post, I really love it. Currently living in the NL as an international student I became more aware of the cultural particularities of my own country (I am Romanian) and I actually started appreciating it more.

    It's really nice to read this article and get a snapshot of the way foreign people perceive our culture from the inside. I believe that for many people from abroad Romania is some sort of a mystery still. And worse, with all the negative campaigns in the British media lately, people tend to get a negative view of how Romanians are really like. So thank you for posting this, maybe it will help others understand Romania better.

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    1. Hi .totally agree with you .Have been living in UK and the best thing about my move is......I like Romania even more .What a revelation ,we are not bad after all, we are even better than most people I 've met in the ,,civilised'' world. ! Almost everybody criticises Romania in newspapers ,on TV but I wish they solve their own (bigger) problems first ,then criticise Romania. Wish them all the best .

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    2. You have discovered what I knew all along. I completely agree - the problems of England are so big - in many ways much bigger than Romania's.

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  119. This is stupid and opinionated

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  120. Hi Paul ,love it ,hope more people like you explore Romania ,move in and tell as what they think . Even if I know it won't appeal to many ,I can't believe how lucky we are ! Interesting how Romania is in the eyes of others but not the Daily Mail readers .Hope not like Spain , Bulgaria or France ,not like UK . Romania stays Romania ,we can only win if we don't change much . Thanks Paul
    A Romanian in UK

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  121. “you must never use that word with Romanians because they think it means something improper”

    When you say “Nightclub” Romanians would think of striptease bar. Better say dance club or simply, a club.

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