Warning and disclaimer: I am Romanian, therefore all of the below might contain a shred of subjectivity!
If I would be to describe Romania in just a few words, I would probably be predictable and say something like: surprising, a place of contrasts, a must-see, hidden gem of Europe …
While all of this are true, neither one manages to capture completely the true soul of this part of the world. It’s not because we’re complicated or so special, but because we were born and raised at the crossroad of empires and civilizations, which impacted our becoming. Romania is a combination, a mixture of cultures, languages, landforms, physical appearance types …. Our lows are really low and our heights are really high – that applying to everything from geography to IQ levels.
With this being said, let’s try to draw a few general traits about Romanians!
1. Sense of humor
Yes, we make fun of everything, from politics, to our mother-in-law, the communist period or death. It’s vital for our mental hygiene and it’s probably our most reliable moral compass. To treat the daily hassles and life’s ironies in a funny way is a national hobby. No wonder we have the only happy cemetery in the world Sapanta Merry Cemetery or that even when we protest against government we use humor as a weapon Romanian creativity
2. Tolerance and diversity
I don’t think many Romanians would describe themselves as tolerant, but let’s put it this way: in a country where 89,4% of the people are ethnic Romanians and 80% are of Orthodox religion, with the majority embracing the values of the traditional family, we’ve elected a president of German ethnicity, who’s a Lutheran and doesn’t have children.
Before World War II, minorities represented more than 28% of the total population, so you can see why we’re used with ethnic diversity. In a way, for us it’s normality to have Hungarians, Germans, Roma or Turks among us and to have next door neighbors speaking a different language than the national one. Yes, there are some frictions, but I would say there are more present in the news than in reality.
Romanians love the good life and know how to enjoy it. At pretty much any time in the day, the coffee places will be full of people, talk and energy. The same with the bars and clubs in the evening. We love to eat, drink and party. Music and dance are a big part of our culture …. just come to one of our weddings and you will see exactly what I mean.
I know you’ve probably heard it before, but I have to reconfirm it because we are indeed very hospitable. We’re always going to offer our guests drinks and food, and please make sure you are going to accept them, otherwise you are hurting our feelings. We might even offer you our own bed if it’s the most comfortable in the house. Again, please don’t say no, it makes us happy if you’re happy!
Yep, we are some big whiners. It’s our other national hobby :). The subjects we complain about range from how bad the roads are and the lack of highways to how crappy we are as a nation. It might sound unbelievable for a stranger, but we manage to put ourselves down more than any enemy could do it. And please don’t try to contradict us and say good things about us, we will fight you on that!
Trying to extract a conclusion, I would say come and meet us and see for yourself!
And if you fall in love with Romania and decide to stay, read my article in relocating Expat life – beginners guide to relocation
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/JPZnmuZQcVc