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The amazing life of a Romanian simpleton

Eastern Europe is a land of mistery for most foreigners – nobody knows what actually happes here, but everybody has some dreadful hypotheses. Well, for me, Romania is an everyday experience of life, so allow me to shed some light on your doubtful guesses.
Most foreigners I met have the impression that Eastern Europe is some sort of post-communist jungle, where thieves and robbers walk free in the streets and people are as dumb as rocks and they’re so poor they eat from the floor. An American asked me once if people have sex in Romania. I was very tempted to reply that we’re so advanced we make children just by thinking about them. Well, I can safely say that we have succesfully climbed down from the trees and discovered fire only a few years ago. Why, some of us even have cars. They look like this:



Romanians are rather poor compared to other EU citizens. That’s one of the reasons why everything is so ridiculously cheap here. But we have a rather unique way of enjoying life. Self irony is so common, babies learn it as a first form of speech. Even amidst the hardships of the crisis, unemployed people prefer to laugh about the president’s bald spot, rather than kill themselves. And you could find more wisdom in a genuine peasant with no education than in a PhD student. In fact you could find more wisdom in a slimy snail than in a PhD student. Education is open to anyone here. And I mean anyone. You could be half retarded and you could get into our universities. I often saw education as a thriving assembly line of idiots with diplomas.
In fact, in Romania you find people of all walks of life. Here you have a genuine peasant – the kind with straw hats, knotty hands, and a horse and cart, that lives in the same house with his extended family and possibly some domestic animals, and a few towns over you have a creative businessman, ready to make a con out of empty paperbags. 
 




On the one hand you have revolutionary youngsters ready to slap injustice in the face with their intellectual discourses (yes, sometimes our universities breed some of these. We call them manufacture errors), on the other you have materialistic capitalists who live only to consume. On TV you have illiterate, scantily-dressed but spunky actresses, and in real life you have independent women striving for their carreer. We like to keep it extreme, so we dwell in the area of either very rich or very poor. Middle class is not a viable option.
Now, another national trait is lazyness – they say. But I might disagree with that. Because in Romania you have to work twice as hard for half the salary of say, Germany. And while some accept this situation as a natural fact of life, others tend to put their foot down and say „Go fuck yourself, Romania! I’m outta here!”. No no, we’re not lazy. We just like to work in other countries rather that in our own (such as Spain or Italy). In reality, our passive nature is a bit of „what the fuck” towards our unpleasant state situation (us being economically bankrupt and what not, with a bunch of corrupt state leaders who coudn’t recognise an efficient amendment if it danced naked in front if them ). We are not lazy, we are calm in front of what seems to be the social, cultural, political and economical downfall of a nation. One sign of this is our deep-rooted hatred for bureaucracy. We hate state bureaucracy so much, we avoid any contact with the state whatsoever. Self-destruction is our protest against inneficiency. For instance, the average Romanian would rather drop dead in his own house than go to the doctor regularly (even though medical services are free). In fact, to renew your health insurance you should take a week off from work, just so you can sit in line for hours and argue with various rather incompetent and always bitchy office clerks. In addition, several institutions must attest the very same aspect of your existence in different forms. And you must wait a few days for each and every one of these useless documents/receipts/deposit slips/confirmation notes, in order to gather them all up and go to the last frontier of your bureaucratic journey: the insurance itself. An example of how things work – this lovely commercial showing a man who has all the necessary documents for a new licence plate. However, the clerk tells him that he doesn’t have stamps on the postmarks:

www.youtube.com/watch

Our civil sense is just as strong as our love for bureaucrats. One seldom compains to authorities about neighborohood issues: littering, noise, illegal sellers in the street. Romanians invented the „Live and let live” phylosophy. We let live so much, we don’t even notice when a fellow citizen is snatching the purse from another fellow citizen. In truth, we have an ingrown fear of authority dating fron communist times. You see, in the old days, our parents would secretly hate authority just as much as they openly hate it now, because they represented everything wrong and unfair in the world. But alas, live and let live.

In all seriousness, Romania is a lovely country to visit if you’re a tourist. We’ve got all sorts of natural landscapes, from beaches, to glaciers and from deltas and rural landscapes to ancient roman ruins and beautiful classical architecture. And I can safely say it’s quite ok to live in, too. While the text may seem self-criticising, I don’t intend it like that. I only try to show that Eastern Europe is not so different from other corners of the world. I’m sure corrupt politicians weren’t invented by us, or irritating bureaucracy or stupid people . I’m sure you’ve all felt pissed watching TV and realising how dumb people acted at least once in your life. Maybe we have more of it than others, but we also have some character to retaliate all the bad things that are pinned on our poor little country.
 

NOTE: The second picture is a traditional Romanian music singer, dressed in a traditional costume for an event. The second picture is an old traditional house, from the outdoors Peasant Museum in Bucharest. 

The girl and the Sun

 The moon was shining bright over her dark hair. She panted heavily as she tried to climb the high mountain. The wind was blowing straight in her face and the snow was slowing her down, but the more she climbed, the happier she was. From time to time, she raised her eyes, so that she could see up ahead, to see how much closer she was to her goal. But there was nothing but snow lighted by the moon.

Then , out of nowhere, a grave voice demanded: “Ahoy, stranger! What brings you to this unfriendly land?”

She quickly raised her head and she was more than surprised to see in front of her a small, bearded old man with a red face and cunning eyes.

“I want to get to the Sun!” she almost screamed with dignity and pride.

The man looked at her a bit puzzled and then broke in a heartily laughter. “Well, then you’re going the wrong way, there’s nothing but darkness up ahead.”

The girl’s fierce eyes widened in fear. “You lie! The darkness is all that I left behind.”

“You really think that?” he asked innocently. “You truly believe that all life is darkness?”

She didn’t answer, she didn’t like to think about that. Instead she said “We abandon ourselves to petty pleasures until we die…Or maybe it’s all in my head.”

“And you don’t enjoy petty pleasures? What do you ask of the Sun?”

She was not so sure of herself now, her heart was beating with fear and a sense of loneliness took over her mind. Life is ridiculous and mundane, she thought. And people do nothing but hurt themselves.

“I believe it is all in your head. But, you know, you can never run away from your head.”

The girl sighed looking down, but when she raised her eyes again , the man was nowhere to be seen.

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Dear virtual world,

 Thank you for welcoming me into your everlasting swamp of rather crazy information, for accepting me as the slug that I am and for providing endless opportunities to waste time. I want to repay you now, by sharing with you some of my very own ramblings (which may not be many, as I am true to my lazy nature).

Yours, 

bored out of my wits, 

Allie