“I am writing you concerning your initiative about Romanians –and Romanians living abroad as I am one of them and i decided to write you as i believe many of us abroad have too much of a dark perspective…
I have left Romania in 2007 right after I have finished University. Yes I have left because there was nothing to work there and I felt there is much more to explore “outside”. So I did. But I chose to do it in a smart way I would say, I have chosen an exchange program with Aiesec (never thought I could have done a better choice, for those who dont know what aiesec is :).
I have lived three years in Budapest – many would say: yes big change as, you have switched apples with pears(or the other way around), but it was! It was a great change, and I’ve learned to love Hungarians and their small amazing country. After that I have left to Belgium for a master program so here I am, two years later, I have finished my studies and still living in this country and learning how to deal with the western European lifestyle and with the standard of a city that you would say it must be Europe’s capital. (It isn’t it; believe me as I would know).
During last years I have came across a lot of Romanians living abroad and had different experiences with foreigners about us as a nation. I will never forget my first experience with a French guy traveling to Romania (I was on a train from Budapest to Timisoara) – so this guy was so in loved with Romania that immediately made me wonder why I am not so much in love with my own country. He was going to explore the land where the legend has born – following the steps of Brancusi and to see all his work of art that still live in our beloved country and to meet one of (Romanian) biographers that he could disclose him more about Brancusi.. In 3 hours i have find out more about Brancusi and his life story that i have known or could learn on my own as at that point i had other interests.
So my first contact with a foreigner about Romania was extremely positive. But it didn’t ended there…No, in the coming years I have met different other nationalities and having tons of positive energy and love (yes I dare to say love) for our country and culture… Don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe about myself being a nationalist and nor the other way around. I have had as well less positive experiences for example when a girl from Kazakhstan (!) asked me if we have toilets in Romania or if it’s not dangerous to go there as bears are wandering around..I have patiently explained that yes – we do have toilets (tough in the countryside we are the population with the most undeveloped system amongst European countries and only 30% have a toilet INSIDE, I didn’t mentioned this to her!) and yes sometimes during winter bears are coming out from the forests to search for food but most of the times are harmless and she shouldn’t be worried about that cause it’s not that often she will meet a bear in our country.
All in all I dare to say that we don’t have SUCH a bad image: I have really good friends all over the world: US, Asia, Latin America and most important a lot of different European nationalities: French, Belgian, Czech, Polish, German, Dutch and the list could go on… they have all of them a good image about us and I say that wasn’t because of me, but because they have met other Romanians before and/or have visited our country and have loved it instantly..
And I meet all the time Romanians that are educated, tolerant, open minded, speaking several languages, having high jobs in different organizations all over and eager to share the world about us with enthusiasm and positive energy. And I’ve learned to love back my country even though it’s fucking hard sometimes and I have felt in the beginning when I left that I was chased somehow. I would always come back and learn to be Romanian again as I am not ashamed of my roots and what we are. We are not better or worse than any other nation and we have to learn to love ourselves just the way we are, sure that’s always room for improvement but we are only humans trying to learn capitalism that is overwhelming and is not easy to adopt after such long dark times…
To end up in a positive note I wish you to find your path and to be successful in Romania and abroad like so many of us (yes I am sure you will succeed and yes consider myself successful:) ) and don’t give up because at some point you will forget the difficult part and you will be grateful for that as it made you who you are.
Sincerely with love and positive energy,