Romanian Living Blog
An expats working, socialising and living blog of thoughts and adventures delved within Bucharest and further afield in this alluring yet often baffling country.
RLB 1: Working Here and Why
Romania; a country I have had previous adventures volunteering and travelling in before. It is a remarkable country with intriguing history, breathtakingly beautiful countryside and an abundance of beautiful girls mixed with a cohort of characters.
It is a country going through a transformation, from the ashes of communism and previous mind-sets and mentalities a new generation is paving its way creating new history.
However communist days were not expelled from this country so long ago leaving a whole generation who grew up with this way of life, another generation who partly experienced these times and those too little to remember but the impact may still be prevalent for them.
This leaves multiple generations who experienced history in various ways intermixing, socialising, working and living together; with so many personalities carved by history a cauldron of thoughts, opinions and ways of working would appear to coexist in today’s modern Romania.
Does this mean they coexist naturally and without disparities? Certainly not, every country in the world, even those highly developed in the West share discrepancies amongst its citizens.
An outcome from this then is Romania makes for an interesting place to live, socialise and work; being here seeing, hearing and experiencing the changes taking place in this evolving country for oneself adds to the excitement, fear and reality of working abroad in a foreign country.
Even though I had travelled, volunteered and have fond memories of previous times in Romania did this lead to me wanting to work and live here, actually no but these previous volunteer experiences laid the foundations of how I was to arrive within this country.
Although I never pictured seeing myself working in Romania I did have dreams of working further afield from England’s tiny shores, though usually these dreams took place in Western Europe.
I therefore never envisioned myself working In Romania’s capital city Bucharest, more scarcely did I believe I would be a teacher, the thought of being a teacher anywhere in the world not just in Romania had never cropped up on my radar before.
How then did a boy from England with little desire to be a teacher, a dream of working abroad though not In Romania end up in this Eastern European country as a teacher. My father often uses the expression “You never know which way the dice will role”.
I believe the meaning of this expression is certainly true for myself, you can and may plan in your mind a certain route you wish to follow but life’s journey is opaque and hazy at best. Life’s journey is unexpected, adventurous, often terrifying with a few tears and sad moments along the way but certainly it should be enjoyed with endless amounts of fun, laughs and good times enjoyed upon this whirlwind voyage.
Life is unpredictable then, this still does not give me a poignant reason for being in Romania though; for this another expression springs to the mind, “It is not what you know but who you know”.
A month or so prior to summer 2015 I was in a very different place, two of life’s chapters were closing there pages for me. One chapter was of University, not the easiest of times for me, I didn’t particularly enjoy studying but alas this is a different story, the second chapter closing was of a relationship, I guess more significantly the girl was Romanian living in Bucharest, this is again another story to be elaborated at another time.
For now though these two chapters had been completed, my thoughts at this time were unclear, the comfort of three years at university and knowing the following academic year studies would resume were over, now the future was highly uncertain. Unquestionably at the time though there was a strong desire to leave England and work on pastures new, Germany was the centrepiece of this desire and it almost came to fruition.
Time from these chapters closing had passed, now somewhere at the start of the 2015 summer I knew what I knew and was on my way even if the path ahead was an ambiguous one. What was the who then that paved the way in bringing me to a teaching position in Romania. By chance a former colleague from my volunteering days from prior journeys in Romania had posted an enticing job position on social media.
The position was to teach English in a Romanian state school, the offer of an apartment was also convenient. Therefore my options seemed either to soar aimlessly in Germany or to plunge myself into this intriguing position Romania offered at the time; the lure of the position was added by three things that were escaping me post university, a job, an income and my own residence.
Subconsciously although I tried not to let it impact my decision there was the former Romanian relationship and thoughts of “What if” flew around erratically in my mind creating a mixture of varying thoughts, ideas and opinions about the decision to come. Ultimately the outcome of my choice was a complex and thought provoking one; as I am writing about Romania though the result should be clear.
Upon reflection nearly 16 months later from this life changing moment both the former relationship and the attraction of the benefits the job offered definitely bared fruit in my choice to come. Although the truth of what the job offered and the realities of what transpired are another story, maybe another post will reveal this but for now they are secrets stored away in the minds vault.
As time surpasses it is hard to say what factor was more pivotal in me coming but the viewpoint of the decision often changes as I review and reflect. There is also another ingredient to the cake of the decision making process. It is hard to describe but there seems to be a special appeal about Romania, the news of what you hear via media often scares visitors away but upon visiting this country it takes a hold of you, it grips you, it fascinates you, it sometimes disgusts and frightens me but there seems to be some deep ancient mystical charm to this country.
A year on from arriving in Romania this writing ensues, why start writing now and not a year ago. Well the 1st year flew by with many alterations and new opportunities taking place, now seems an ideal time to reflect upon and begin writing. I also feel a year ago I was not in the right frame of mind and position to write so openly, at present I believe I am a different person to the one who arrived in Romania, mostly I hope for the better.
As the 1st year rolls away I enter teaching year number two, not in the same teaching place I started but for me a better more cherish-able teaching arena.
This last/1st teaching year saw numerous revisions for me in terms of jobs, apartments, socially and most fundamentally within myself. I’ve learnt much about myself, being so far away from home in a contrasting and highly differing environment often does this to a person.
From the quaint and silent English countryside to becoming a city dweller the changes are not always easy, I am certainly not a city boy so adopting and adapting to the mechanisms of a city is often a turbulent learning experience. Living in a city, especially one such as Bucharest challenges and pushes me beyond my comfort zone and at times all I can do is take things with a pinch of salt.
This last year there have naturally been highs and lows, jobs have come and gone, some regrettably and some more happily. Friends have been made and lost, some have simply faded away into the winds of working life or disappeared due to them fighting their own demons, whilst others have unfortunately gone due to slight discrepancies boiled over by added fuel to the fire.
Experiences have been undertaken and regrettably also not taken; sad moments have occurred, flits of anger have been displayed, wondrous moments have been enjoyed, laughs have echoed into silence and varying forms of smiles have been presented.
I shan’t rant on about how I am at ease with everything or that all my days are filled with internal rays of hope and sunshine and that I have overcome all my fears as well as achieving everything I wanted to by coming to Romania. I also can’t state I am fully content or in a place where I want to be intrinsically and externally.
To say this after a year or even ever would be quite preposterous, it is not that I don’t believe it is achievable yet I feel we should never stop the pursuit of overcoming and achieving new goals whilst also continuously trying to improve our selves to be better at whatever we pursue or who we desire to be.
What I can disclose though from being in a highly unfavourable position last Christmas/Early 2016 and to ever so nearly not returning to work in Romania I returned to new opportunities with a renewed fighting spirit and sense of enthusiasm plus hope for the upcoming months.
Currently I am content with the journey undertaken so far but I have much to overcome in myself and many more goals I wish to achieve. I am intrigued and excited to see where this next year takes me and what new experiences shall be had.
Do I regret coming despite my trepidation’s of coming and also my reasons for arriving upon this journey, most definitely not. If I regretted it probably I wouldn’t be entering year number two. Life is very much an unexpected adventure unbeknown to us in where it will take us next.
Now I am here though a question I constantly find fired at me is “How Long will you be here?”. This for me is an unanswerable question, considering I never truly planned on coming and when I did make the choice to come I thought a year at most and then I would leave, now however I enter year 2 and I somewhat have my mind on year 3 so it is hard, almost impossible to answer.
Since I am staying a further year though I want to make better use of my time, seeking new opportunities and stories, meeting new people and trying new things.
For now I am Romania bound but Who knows what mysterious opportunities will lead me elsewhere unexpectedly.