Hey there and greetings from Bacău!
In this post I decided to write in English about the reasons I like Romania, my home country, so much. So here it goes!
Arriving home I got to meet a good part of my friends and it felt wonderful. Being able to express yourself without the boundaries of the foreign language, of gestures and foreign customs was translated into freedom for me. I also met some nice new people just on those 4 short days that I spent in Bucharest.
Walking through the city I noticed the buzzing of the people, going up and down the main street, I noticed the tourists with their slow pace, trying to digest the overwhelming atmosphere and of course the students with their lively movement and lack of patience. The people in Romania may not smile everyday but when they do it's that genuine smile that you will simply love.
During these days I had the pleasure of attending two parties and rejoice the Romanian way of having a whale of a time. Good music, dance floor, delicious booze, space to have a talk and friendly atmosphere. Going back home at 5 a.m. reminded me of the good old days :))
Back in Bacău I was welcomed by my family in the usual caring and loving way that means so much to me. And they were, of course, accompanied by the other relatives and friends of our family.
Credits: Mihai Nic
One element that Romania has and brings me pride is the unaltered nature, especially the mountains. There are of course some places where mass tourism was established and the environment is affected, but not so many. Like last year, I'm going to spend the New Year's Celebration high up into the mountains alongside some good friends, enjoying the fresh cold air, the great views and the miracles of nature.
On the territory of this country one can find 14 national parks and 17 natural parks each one with their specificity. Besides the mountains in Romania you can find the best preserved European delta: Danube's Delta. It is both a national park and a biosphere protected area being part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Two summers ago I had the chance to go hiking with a local guide through the woods of my home county and I discovered a beautiful world 50 km away from the big city. I tasted the delicious blackberries and cranberries directly from the source (aka bushes), I drank the pure water that springs from the cliffs and saw fresh marks of wild boars, wolfs and wild roosters. At the end of the day I felt good that we still have places where the wildlife can live in peace.
3. The organized chaos
I admit that Romania is not the most organized country in Europe and you can see that especially in traffic. While in Germany the cars will stop if you walk near a pedestrian crossing, even if you don't intend to go on the other side, in Romania you can get run over if you cross on the green light. I'm joking, or not... But there's a bright side to all of this: It trains your survival skills. You learn to take care of yourself, to trust you own instincts and to become more independent. It's not really like in Ethiopia, but you get the picture.
Credits: Silviu Pop
You can notice this behavior also in the business area. The people from Romania have an acumen in entrepreneurship. They can go beyond their specialization and try to solve problems that concern other areas. This tactic may not always work but at least we try to see the bigger picture and not get lost in details. To other this may seem chaos but actually it's organized chaos. Yum!
4. The goodies
Mmmm. Maybe I'm being bias, but the Romanian food and beverages are simply delicious. Starting from the freshly baked bread, continuing with the sour soups, struggling to have another bite of the main course and finishing strong with a sweet desert is the route to follow here, back home. After a while you can try the various types of cheese, meat, salads and vegetables. When it comes to drinking, wine is my favorite. My parents produce a small amount of wine every year and we also have a little secret. Immediately after crushing the grapes you can put the grape juice (must) into the freezer and savoir it a few months later. In the summer time beer is also a good choice, but if you prefer the strong drinks you can try the pălincă/țuică/rachiu, or the fruity versions for ladies.
While I was in Germany I had the chance to cook with some home ingredients to various friends from other countries. And in the top you can find the following dishes: sarmale, mămăliga cu brânză și smântână, borș de cartofi, zacuscă, cornulețe cu gem, pasca cu brânză și cea cu smântână, pâinea de casă and let's not forget about the afinată and the wine.
The weather is an important mood element for me. In Romania you have diversity, or at least we used to have it. The four seasons come with their own ups and downs. The winter is really cold and snowy. In the eastern part, where I live, you can feel the cold Russian winds that lower the temperature under -15° C. On the other side, the summer is really hot with temperatures up to 35-40° C. Sometimes you can experience a thunderstorm that soaks you and lasts for only 10 min. The spring is usually sunny and mild, while the autumn is a bit rainy, or a bit more and foggy. So you never get bored with the same weather. :D
6. The culture - language, art, traditions
Having the communist past behind us, we are now finding our own way of expressing what we represent. In terms of tradition in the 90' the young generation moved away from the old ways and embraced the western culture. Nowadays more and more people turn back to the roots and appreciate the things that make us unique in Europe and in the world. In terms of art we now have all the styles, thanks to the freedom of expression.
When it comes to language I feel proud. Romanian belongs to the latin languages like italian, spanish, french, portuguese but it has it's own tweaks. That means that you can understand parts of what other are saying, especially in italian and spanish but they don't have a clue of what you are saying. Hi hi hi
7. Internet Almighty
Welcome to the machine! Romania may not have the industry of Germany or the agriculture of the United Stated or the tourism of Costa Rica, but Romania has Internet. Fast Internet. According to netindex, my country has the third best internet speed in the world after Hong Kong and Singapore. A lot of investment was brought into this sector and the infrastructure is brand new, state of the art. We have to thank the passionate young people that made this possible and also ourselves for keeping an open mind and supporting their growth.
8. Room for improvement
Even after 25 years from the Romanian revolution there is still room for improvement. There are lots of branches where SMEs have introduced new concepts and there is more to come. So, from this point of view, Romania is a dynamic country, you rarely get bored and if you really want it you can fulfill you own entrepreneurial dream here. (if you survive the politics & bureaucracy)
When it comes to prices, the mean is lower than in the west of Europe. But it also depends on the place where you do your shopping. You can choose a traditional market or you can go to a supermarket. The prices in the supermarkets are about the same as in Germany, but when it comes to going out, Romania becomes more affordable. :D
If you know where to search you can find bio products that are cheaper and more fresh than those in the supermarket and you can also have a chat with the producers.
10. The humor
Eastern-Europeans usually have an other way of thinking and seeing the world and when it comes to humor we are totally different. One factor could be the communist regime. During those years one had to be very careful with what he said, because one could get in trouble with the state police very fast. So people developed subtle ways of making fun of the regime without being too blunt and this element was passed on through generations. Irony combined with humor can be a very powerful weapon, but can also bond friendships and make a delightful atmosphere.
So this is in short the list of reasons why I like Romania. I hope I made you a little bit curious and intrigued (and other 3 words that have the same meaning :P ). Now I'll go and enjoy home while I still can.
Radu Cristian Elisei
Homecomer în România după 4 ani de locuit, studiat și lucrat în Germania cu opriri la Köln și Frankfurt am Main.