Vineri, August 10, 2007, 02:07 AM 

FAQ - Romania
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Wow, you are the first Romanian I have ever met! Well, this is usually the first reaction of everybody on the island when I introduce myself. It is quite normal as the Romanian exodus does exceed neither the western coast of Ireland nor the eastern coast of Canada. I guess that nobody would have thought that a heartless girl would determine a broken-hearted to move on a small island surrounded by ocean.

Well, I am the first Romanian here, but I am certainly not the first non-local. In fact, all the guys (both boys and girls) are not from the island. They are from Jamaica, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, Sweden and UK. Of course, they are all curios about things going on in Romania. Sometimes even I am :) I will list below the most frequently questions I was asked together with my answers. This will be quite a good starting point for both foreigners but also for some Romanians. PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG

Q: Where is Romania? It is somewhere in Asia, isn’t it?
A: No. Actually it is in Europe, on the eastern border of Hungary, which is on the eastern border with Austria, which is on the eastern border with Germany, which is on the eastern border with Belgium, which is a few km east to UK.

Q: Is Romania a EU country?
A:Yes, Romania is an EU member starting with 1 January 2007. However, Romanian citizens still do not have the same rights to work as other EU citizens. Very often, a work permit and even housing license are required in order to work in other EU countries.

Q: Is the official currency EUR?
A: The official currency is still RON, the Romanian Leu (plural Lei), with a FX rate of 3.2 RON for 1 EUR. Romania is expected to adopt EUR as its currency in the next 5 years.
There are no other currencies accepted for payment beside RON. However, some small stores use the Orbit pill or aspirins as 0.20 lei equivalents :)

Q: What is the official language? Is your language similar with any other languages?
A: The official language is Romanian. This is a Latin language that is very similar with Italian and it has some similarities with French. It is a quite difficult language with many rules but it is not mandatory to speak it accurately if you are football club owner, a district mayor or a political party leader :)

Q: What other languages are spoken? Is it Russian one of them?
A: If you are not amongst the three categories mentioned above, you are expected to speak very well English and to be able to make a conversation in French, German or Spanish. Foreign languages are mandatory in schools for the children aged 8 to 19. Russian is not studied in schools since the 70s.

Q: I had a client with current accounts opened with Romanian Banks. However, I could not obtain Bank’s confirmations because nobody from the Bank speaks English. Why?
A:Well, I guess you were pretty lucky that the Customers Support lady did not yell at you. There are indeed, in all entities that were privatized at a certain point in time, some crazy, old, fat vipers and shrews whose main target is to make you run away and leave them alone to drink their coffee. I guess that all we can do is to wait for their retirement.
(In fact, I tried to help the lad to obtain the confirmation. Unfortunately, there were many other extremely-familiar habits I noticed that couldn’t guide the poor Island’s inhabitant to the right person not in a million years: The Bank’s branch phone number was not the correct one, the Bank’s internet site was not updated with the contacts for all the branches, the contact person usually moves from one department to another in a very short time, the contact person is not aware of the confirmation request that we sent (which reminds me of ‘ California Dreamin ’ scene with the fax from the Ministry) etc.

Q: Was Romania one of the Soviet Republics?
A: Yes, it was. Hopefully, this happened only in Stalin’s dreams However, after the WW II, Romania was under the Soviet influence following the Yalta’s agreement. This meant communism, loss of properties, brainwashing, lack of liberty and democracy, connections lost with the outside world.

Q: Who was Ceausescu? Was he Romanian?
A: Ceausescu was a crazy old man that proclaimed himself as the first President of Romania. At the beginning, his intentions were good, trying to make Romania a totally independent country from the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, this meant diverting almost the entire domestic production to Far East countries and limiting at a maximum any importation. This meant consuming only poor quality food, waiting for years on long lists in order to buy a TV set, waiting for more than 24 hours at kilometric queues for changing the gas cylinder etc.

Q: Was there also a king there?
A: Well, Romania is a republic and technically speaking it cannot have one king also. However, the last King of Romania is still alive. He was two times the King, and the first time he was just a kid, under the custody of his mother. Unfortunately, my history teacher from the highschool was an idiot and his stupidity made me hating history. Therefore, if you’re interested, you may google “Mihai de Hohenzollern”

Q: What are the places to visit in Romania? Can you visit Dracula castle?
A: In Bucharest, you will enjoy the out-door pubs with that unique music called “manea” (plural: “manele”) broadcasted as loud as possible. You will enjoy driving so fast, slaloming through cars, horning and hitting the break within 10 meters before the traffic light. You will impress your friends by shouting at a young female crossing the street on the zebra in front of your car Faa, asta calca nu fute! (EN: Hey, the car will strike you, but it won’t fuck you!)
However, (this is for real) you can spend a good holiday on the beautiful landscapes of the northern part of Moldova region, you can visit Bran Castle (aka Dracula Castle which is not at all what you might think) and the beautiful resorts nearby, or you can enjoy the annual medieval festival from Sighisoara.
You will have good roaming wherever you go, so you won’t lose the contact with dear ones from home. However, if you have a number ending in 5290 and if your nose won’t grow for the lies told, you may experience some signal problems in Branesti, a village located 5 km east from Bucharest

Q: You mentioned something about Moldova, as a region of Romania. I have a client from Moldova, but I know that this is a different country from Romania. Is it something similar with Macedonia?
A:Yes, it seems it is. In the past, Moldova used to be a sovereign princedom for centuries including the actual Romanian region, the actual Republic of Moldova and a part of the actual Ukraine. In 1859, Moldova unified with Walachia, forming Romania, which gained its independence in 1877. After the Ribentrop-Molotov Treaty from 1939 (or later, I hate history, remember?) the county between Nistru and Prut rivers was incorporated in USSR and became a Soviet Republic. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova proclaimed its independence on 27 August 1991.
Keep in mind that I wrote the text above without searching the internet or opening an encyclopedia. It is what I know from the secondary school and from my friends from Moldova.

Q: Are the girls pretty in Romania?
A: Yes, they are amongst the most beautiful girls in Europe. However, they are quite unpredictable. You may meet someone like Spotless Girl or The Love from Tei Neighborhood that will continuously play games with your heart before striking you from the back.

Q: After all, why did you leave?
A: I had a good “impresario” (HR counselor) from an UK recruitment agency. Should I tell what he trained me to say? Ok, I will.
1. I really want to achieve international experience
2. I need to improve my English and this is the best way.
It may be true, but is it all?
If you are a non-Romanian language speaker you could study the English section of this blog.
If you know Romanian and you are familiar with my blog, I should perhaps tell only some tags (which represent kind the same things like the oligarchs to the President Basescu): Neprihanita, Dragostea din Tei , Hitler fixistul, K-telu, Gigi etc.


  1. outwest

    :) Ehei, taica, in tineretile mele (in '90 incepeam clasa a cincea) am cam studiat rusa - pare-se ca scoala noastra nu auzise ca anii '70 se-ncheiasera. "Rusa intensiv" - sase ore pe saptamana, nenicule, intr-o scoala normala, cu profesori normali care aveau, carevasazica, slujbe normale... :d

  2. outwest

    Pardon (varsta isi spune cuvantul), e mai rau de atat - '91, nu '90...

  3. pic cea veche

    f fain postu'. din nou, congrats :)

    p.s. blogu' ala s-a inchis asa ca nu ti-am mai trimis mail...

  4. Strider

    Super fain postul :) Si extrem de util :)

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