People Tell the Story: Romania

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in People Tell the Story, Romania | 0 comments

We were only in Romania for four days so we really didn’t have a ton of interaction with locals. But, what we did experience was an eagerness to be helpful, plenty of smiles and people who either spoke relatively good English or who had the patience to deal with my “Spatalian”. Our first interaction was upon arrival into the Suceava (border town from Ukraine) bus station. The woman at the ticket counter spoke perfect English, helped redirect our plan so that we could arrive to Brasov sooner, and escorted us to the bus driver (who spoke no English) to explain where we were going and to get us on the right bus. This was an indication of the kindness and hospitality that we would experience during our short time in Romania.
Name: Florin
Age: 31
Occupation: Photographer
Hometown: Roman – once a flowering town in the medieval times, an industrial town in communist times, now just a small town with lots of churches located in central Moldova, northeast of Romania.
Florin and his wife, Christina, hosted us in their Bucharest apartment for one night before our flight to Italy. We arrived late and were leaving at noon the next day so our visit was brief. Our friendly hosts stayed up late to discuss our travels, their city, their country and America. Florin even walked us around to some popular restaurant and bar spots at 11:00pm to help us get the most out of our 12-hour visit. He took a lot of pride and is extremely insightful in describing Romania and it’s people. Read below to see what Florin has to say.
1. What three words best describe the people of Romania? 
  1. Warm/good hearted – from the countryside to the city, even though the typical urban, speedy, corporate, individually oriented, competitive, European capital-like life in Bucharest (for example) leaves little space for this.
  2. Poets – there is a self ironic saying here that “all Romanians are born poets” (and philosophers I might add.) One thing is for sure: it’s a common feature in this part of Europe and Romanians have no lack of sensitivity.
  3. Contradictory – You can see it all here, often in the same person. The highly rational with the poet’s heart, the corporate artist, the peasant philosopher, etc. With the western love for order and logic, over the Asian spirituality layer and the Slavic longing for wide horizons, or vice versa.
2. What three words best describe Romania?
  1. Traditional
  2. Open
  3. Changing
3. What is the top priority for the people of Romania? 
To remember that change comes from within and not from outside (my subjective view). We have a natural care for family, with a still growing tendency towards carrier and money. In a nutshell, lets say that Romania is on it’s way to becoming a (more or less) standard European country, but unfortunately willing to follow the exact steps and mistakes in the course of development. There is a lot to discuss on this subject.
4. How do people typically make a living?
There is no typical job for Romanians. Yes there is a lot of farming, there is almost zero mining (a lot happens these days regarding this), corporations are very present in the big cities (for the 30 years old generation). Almost all of the former industries are dead, so our parents’ generation was/is pretty lost. A lot of Romanians work in the west (construction work, home care, fruit picking, etc). The subject is vast, and complex. Romanians do whatever you can think of for a living, exactly because things have been in a changing state for the last 20 years.
5. What is your favorite place to visit in Romania? 
Anywhere deep in the countryside, specifically the regions of Moldova, Transylvania, Dobrogea, and Maramures. I read your Ukraine interview and almost anything that was said there about the countryside, the old customs, the holidays and the way that thousands of years old customs and beliefs are intertwined with Christianity and all that comes with it, can be said about Romania also.  We still have unspoiled nature all over (but less and less in the process), the Carpathians and the Danube Delta and all in between.

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