Well, I guess I should start off by saying hello to everyone and welcome to my first article giving you a flavour and insight into life for us expats living and working in Romania.
I can’t believe it’s over 3 years now since I moved here as I can remember my first ever visit like it was yesterday. I quickly realised that the combination of challenge number one: many beautiful ladies and challenge number two: many holes in the road and walkways is not a good one. I think I fell in a hole within three hours of getting here and the beautiful woman who caused my mishap simply smiled sympathetically. After I had retrieved my dignity I embarked on number four challenge, which was our dear friend the taxi driver!
Here again, I had the challenge combination issue as number five on my list is the Romanian language having too many vowels in it and it was just my luck that I had to go to Tineretului. “Tineretoolooooeeee” I announced whilst nearly swallowing my own tongue. “Ugh, Poftim?” was my received response. End of conversation, time for plan B, write it on a piece of paper. “Ah, Tineretului” he proudly and somewhat sarcastically revealed to the humbled Englishman.
Actually, I have to add, one of the great similarities between the Romanians and Brits is the sarcastic humour although we are more fun sarcastic whilst my Romanian friends are a little more deep and psychological in the sarcasm but the end result is, more or less, the same.
For those of you concentrating here you will have observed that I missed out challenge number three. Well, this prime slot belongs to poor customer service that drives me absolutely nuts virtually every day! However, as a business trainer it provides a nice opportunity for me and I hope that I can contribute to making Romania become recognised as the gem of a country that it is and that everyone gets the welcome and experience we want them to have.
And that’s it! ….that is the extend of my “not likes” and over the next few weeks I will be sharing many, many experiences with you and help everyone to understand the reason why so, so many expats settle here and treat it as a true home from home and just to get it started, here is a one key reason why the English love it.
The first thing that struck me about being in Romania was the memory jogging similarities between my childhood and this strange, faraway place I had, for some reason, chosen to be my new home.
If I was to compare Romania with England 30 years ago most people would think I’m a bit crazy particularly Romanians who always seem to repeat my complementary phrases a little like a poor Australian impersonator simply turning the last word into a question.
“I love living here”.
“You love living here?”
“Yes, its a great country”.
“Its a great country?” and so on and so on until I had to nearly scream “YES, Romania is a great place to be!!!”
OK, time to explain the link to England in the early 80’s I guess. Well, for those of you old enough, remember the times when you couldn’t buy anything on a Sunday, remember the times when the family sat down regularly for meals, remember the time when you came home from school to a meal. It’s obvious at this stage some people will be reading this and saying “its getting like that here” and they would be right.
The incredible acceleration of technology coupled with Thatcher’s new Britain and the Americanization of English culture inspired the people of the 80’s to become instant materialistic competitors of a new modern world governed by commercialism and led by the emperor Ronald McDonald. Those kids who swarmed in their thousands for a McBurger soon forgot and, indeed, rejected the family values and family food very quickly and, frighteningly true, was the fact that these kids would be parents themselves within a few years and there goes generations of traditions all in one hand-over from parent to child. Somebody once said about healthy eating “don’t eat anything that your Grandmother wouldn’t recognise”……. Will Romania be able to hang on to its traditional ways? …I really do hope so!
Thanks for reading and I look forward to being back very soon.