English: Stamp of Moldova; Ion Luca Caragiale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Doesn’t it feel strange to easily find words in English compared to your native language? It feels even weirder to admit this to strangers …although I’m sure I’m not unique in that…
Yet some weeks ago I was browsing the library’s shelves and as all good things in life, I found – and read by now – an interesting book on the psychology of Romanian people – and it was painfully true! (I recognized myself in most of the descriptions)
I was surprised when other people of my ethnicity knew Greek or French much better than Romanian in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a natural side effect of getting your education in a foreign language when your native one is not that used in some areas of knowledge…
Although it was written in 1904 (by D. Draghicescu) – the book is just as actual today as it was then.
Any foreigner visiting Bucharest (or any other city/town/village of Romania) will be perplexed by the lack of unity of its architecture – no wonder, in a country whose people are so obsessed by freedom that nobody can truly rule them and so uncertain on their future that they don’t build anything lasting.
English people are just as individualistic, but they never had to fight for their freedom – their country is an island surrounded by waters – so giving that their property rights were respected by natural borders, they could use this freedom on the long-term.
Yet when you’re always threatened with extinction, you won’t bother to work that much – “dolce far niente” could be said by Romanians just as well” – and cheating and lying became important skills for survival.
I was always amazed how come Romania turned out to be the most religious country in the European Union, yet it’s also one of the most corrupted! Now I get it – religion here is mostly about ritual – whose purpose is to have the “good connections” for the afterlife:)
Just like Egyptian pharaohs built pyramids for their own soul, so did Romanian rulers built monasteries and churches in which they were buried.
What is the favorite word of Romanians? Liberty – promise that and you gain political power;)
I was amused by the critical depictions of fatalism – that’s so Romanian – yet if there’s anything we are good at that’s sarcasm and critiquing – as an example, check out Ion Luca Caragiale – I don’t know how he sounds in English, but in original, he’s damn funny and painfully true at the same time!
Oh – and for the curious ones – here is the original book on psychology (in Romanian).