Romania (in English and Romanian)

Note: This is the third and final essay in a three part series inspired by a book on Romania that I discussed briefly last month. All three essays were published on, a web site I used to run a few years ago. The first two essays (here and here) are in Romanian, but I did a quick translation of the third one as you can see below. The Romanian version (scroll down to read it) was published in a dbrom special called “What is wrong in Romania?” that ran in the summer of 2003. Some references in the essay are not relevant anymore, but the spirit is. It is only fitting that I use this as a preview of my three-months trip home, which will be chronicled on this blog beginning mid-July. Stick around. It will be a fun discovery.

>>> Romania (in English) <<<

Romania is a former communist country that continues to shelter thousands of nostalgics. They live in studios and are called pensioners. In Romania there are people under the age of 25 who have worn a red scarf. Some were class leaders or troop leaders. (Note to foreign readers: these were designation for children during communist times). In Romania the predominant discourse is that of the past. “Do you remember?”

In Romania there are open-air markets and “people doing the market.” As a kid you’re always told Romania is a country that doesn’t rise to its potential.

In Romania there is Costinesti and its particular smell, 2 Mai, Vama Veche and chocolate orned with drawings from Little Red Riding Hood. There is Predeal, Sinaia, rooms for 150.000 lei a night and agro-tourism. In Romania eternity was born in the country side, the craddle of the Romanian, who in turn was born a poet. A poet of poking fun at tragedy. Romanians poke fun at tragedy because that’s what they understand by “being pro-active.”

In Romania there is a monopoly on telephony, restrictions on common decency and censorship on vision. There are pretzels, donuts, merdenele, suberek, langos, strudel, bucta, corn or chec. Here, Orange has the more orange commercials in a market dominated by Connex and a verbal slip-up called “Dialog.”

Romania imports bananas. It doesn’t grow them. It also imports grain because it wants to be an industrial nation. There are mobile phones, televisions, mp3 players, computers and hands-free gear. There’s a subway, pot holes customized for every car and road maps. There are highways, train stations and buses chock-full of comuters who smell of cheese, onions and pig fat.

There are peasants. And urban dwellers. Many of the urban dwellers are peasants living in apartment buildings. In Romania there are the seven years from home. Which are lived on the street. There are many corrupt individuals and they should be left alone. Exterminating them would ruin the suprise.

Romania is the country in which it is said that in the past 13 years it has only felt joy because of soccer. That is because Brancusi, the 1920s generation, Stefan cel Mare, the historians and Ion Creanga are dead. Romanians are incapable of exploiting their dead. With the exception of Dracula. Romania is Dracula, Nadia, Transylvania or Hagi. We suggest adding Ion Iliescu to the list on the merits of immortality.

Romania is a country sung in songs, verses and ghetto-rhymes. It is the center of the universe for Pavel Corut and sacred Earth to the history of humanity.

I like Romania because I know how she looks like and how she likes to be touched. That’s why I wrote about her. What’s wrong with Romania? The fact that not enough people write about her…

>>> Romania (in Romana) <<<

romania e o fosta tara comunista care adaposteste inca mii de nostalgici. ei locuiesc in garsoniere si se numesc pensionari. aici exista oameni sub 25 de ani care au purtat cravata de pionier. unii au fost sefi de clasa sau comandanti de detasament. in romania discursul predominant e cel al trecutului. “tii minte?”.

in romania exista piete si “oameni care fac piete”. romania e tara despre care ti se spune de mic copil ca are un potential neexploatat.

in romania exista costinesti si mirosul sau specific, 2 mai, vama veche si ciocolata cu personajele din scufita rosie. exista predeal, sinaia, gazdele de 150 de mii pe noapte si agroturism. in romania vesnicia s-a nascut la sat, locul de obarsie al romanului. care l-a randul sau s-a nascut poet. un poet al hazului de necaz. romanii fac haz de necaz pentru ca asta e perceptia lor aupra atitudinii active.

in romania exista monopol pe telefonie, restrictii pe bun simt si cenzura pe viziune. exista covrigi, gogosi, merdenele, suberek, langos, strudel, trigon, bucta, corn sau chec. aici orange are cele mai portocalii reclame pe o piata dominata de connex si ticul verbal numit dialog.

romania importa banane. nu le creste. importa si grau pentru ca vrea sa se industrializeze. exista telefoane mobile, televizoare, mp3 playere, computere si sisteme hands free. exista metrou, gropi adaptabile marcii masinii si ghiduri rutiere. exista autostrazi, gari si autobuze de navetisti care miros in ordine a branza, ceapa si slanina.

exista tarani. si oraseni. multi dintre oraseni sunt tarani cu apartamente. in romania exista cei sapte ani de acasa. care se fac pe drumuri. exista coruptii si e normal sa fie lasati in pace. ar strica supriza daca ar fi exterminati.

romania e tara care spune ca in ultimii 13 ani a trait bucurii doar datorita fotbalului. asta pentru ca brancusi, generatia ’20, stefan cel mare, cronicarii si ion creanga sunt morti. romanii nu stiu sa-si exploateze mortii. cu exceptia lui dracula. romania e dracula, nadia, transilvania sau hagi. propunem alaturarea la aceasta lista a lui ion iliescu pe criteriul eternitatii.

romania e o tara cantata in sonete, versete, cantonete sau rime de cartier. e buricul pamantului pentru pavel corut si pamant sfant pentru istoria umanitatii.

imi place romania pentru ca stiu cum arata si cum ii place sa fie atinsa. de aceea am scris despre ea. ce e prost in romania? ca nu scrie lumea destul despre ea…

4 Responses to “Romania (in English and Romanian)”

  1. Great ending.

  2. Nu mai exista monopol pe telefonie, iar Costinestiul nu mai miroase deloc de la inundatiile de anul trecut.

  3. Stim bine ca in America mancati numai rahat reciclat, asa ca intelegem perfect de ce debitati “rahaturi”!V-ati carat in America si de-acolo latrati!Cu ce va platesc aia de vorbiti asa de Romania?

  4. Eh, cu dolari, cu mancare, cu ce exista.

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