What foreigners think about Romania/romanians

 The weirdest experience I had happened three years ago. I met a foreigner who came to Fagaras in order to find a job. I think he was actually an entrepreneur but I don’t know the details. The funny/sad part came on the way to Otopeni airport (Bucuresti) from Fagaras.

                  On our way to Bucuresti I could observe a constant change in his behavior which, even if it was very stiff at the beginning, through the various discussions had along the way, his face started to loosen up slowly, and he became more relaxed, even friendly.

                  By talking with him, I couldn’t find out his reason for staying in Fagaras, it was kinda mysterious, but that wasn’t what interested me, what I actually wanted to know is why he was so stiff. I started to talk freely with him and even being friendly, and so he opened up. By askind how he found his stay, if it was his first time coming to Romania and other things, I found out that it was indeed his first time coming and he was actually somewhat scared because he didn’t hear many good things about Romania and his inhabitants.

                  He told me how he left home his watch, his jewelry and other valuables and wore a worse suit, and did anything in order not to stand out, because he thought everyone was going to jump on him taking turns on who should steal his watch, since who ever saw a moving ‘line’ in a circle under some glass? Or jewelry? Or an expensive suit and people with shoes? No no, we don’t have things like these here, or at least we didn’t have them three years ago. We keep track of the time by the position of the sun, by hearing the roosters sing and other old methods.

                  I was intrigues to find out how degraded some people’s opinion of this country is, but I tried to calm down so as to tell him what beautiful things we have in this country and that we romanians aren’t exactly as behind in time as some foreigners think, we even have, y’know, computers and stuff, even Macbooks, for instance!

                  “Wow… reallyy?” he said.
                  “Yes, yes” I say, “that ‘thing’ with a monitor and keyboard which you can recognise easily by the bitten apple from Snow White but which leveled up and now can’t be poisoned by any witch”
                  “Exactly! Yes yes… that ‘thing’ called computer or PC or laptop, however you want to call it, which, they say, can’t catch viruses” I said, being a little ironic.
                  “Aha!” said the entrepreneur in search of opportunities in Romania, the country filled by helpless people…

                  Do you know what the next step was? What do you think? He took his laptop out of his bag, “wow” I think… how brave, this man… guess what happened next, no, I didn’t stop the car and stole it… can you believe it? Such a good opportunity and I missed it. I could’ve made history by being the first romanian to ever use a bitten apple on another form than the original one, that is, the fruit.

                  Ok. After I told him that, y’know, I too use a macbook, he stopped using it. I didn’t mean it as a form of bragging, but to make him realize that there’s no need to exaggerate; that the opinion he had because of different factors is, at least from my point of view, negatively surprising.

                  Being a travelling enthusiast, we started to talk about where he had been. From his stories I could understand that his income wasn’t to be laughed at, apparently he had a holiday house in the Maldives and one somewhere in Bali, no big deal. The next step towards making the mystical tourist, never heard or seen in Romania, was seeing him smile when I told him of how I saw Egypt, a considerable number of places in Europa, etc. but not much in comparison to where he was. He took out his laptop and started to show me where he went, he started to tell me about his fiancee, which ring he bought her, etc.

                  Nearing the end, getting closer and gloser to the Henri Coanda Airport, he started to tell me what he had thought Romania was like. He truly believed that we’ll steal everything he had as soon as he set foot in this country. He told me about how he thought he should defend himself by ‘camouflaging’ (wearing the worst and oldest suit he had) or how he thought about buying a paralyzing spray.

                  And, in the end, he told me that the most surprising thing was, guess what?! The people, the romanians; he was surprised by how friendly and kind the people he met were, for him, who wasn’t expecting this at all, it was the most surprising thing since the beginning of times.

                  Based on a true story,






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