Lately I had a lot of questions from friends and acquaintances asking me ‘Hey, Bogdan – what it really means to be a Romanian? What do you need to do to be a Romanian?’ and other questions as such; so I decided to answer in today’s post. A post about Romania, and the pride of being Romanian.
Attention – if you are easily offended and can’t take a joke – please do yourself a favour – do not to go on and read this.
However – if you decided to go and read – good for you! Here goes:
Romanians and History
First and foremost you have to understand that we, Romanians, are very proud of our Latin heritage – but we are mostly proud of our traco-dacian heritage. You probably never heard of the dacians – but know that we are quite fond of those guys and especially one of their king, namely Decebal – who was a tough guy and won a few battles against the Romans. At the end he lost the war – and had to commit suicide, but he is sort of a national hero – even now, after more than 1900 years since it happened. We also worship a good number of kings that won a number of battles mainly against the Turks and a bunch of other people. They are all kings with strange funny names – like Steven the Big (short guy really), Michael the Brave (had a beard and looked awesome), Mircea the Old (can’t translate his name – but he won a battle against Hungarians – so we pretty much look up to him), Alexander the Good (not much to say about him – he was just father of tiny Steven the Big) – and obviously Vlad the Impaler (but I will dedicate for this a whole passage). We also had a few German kings ruling over Romania – not interesting names, however they seems to have performed so well – that in our recent history we decided to elect a German President.
We also have a number of smaller heroes – who are mainly known for conduction rebellions against Hungarians. Ah – you don’t know that, but the region Transylvania was under Hungarian rule for about 400 years. (If we would just had waited a few more years Transilvania would have been in the EU for more than 15 years already – and wouldn’t have requested a visa for US and Canada). But… back to the rebellious heroes: they are George Doja (it’s almost like the Japanese Dojo) who ended up fried, then there is Dance, Hen and Crisan – nice fellows, killed a bunch of Hungarians then also got fried – and the last worth mentioning is Abraham Iancu – who is like the Abraham Lincoln for the Romanians, because he tried to free Transylvania form the Hungarians. This guy died of old age, and not shot as you might have expected. So basically – you can easily guess that we are proud of our historical heritage.
Romanians and Culture
You must know that we, Romanians, are a highly cultured people. We have many names that had made interplanetary recognition – great names such as John Branch, Camel Rockescu and the very prince of romantic poetry – Michael ‘Morning Star’ Eminescu (sounds like a professional wrestler name – but he actually was a poet). Most of the Romanian culture is built upon a series of classics that actually helped shape the modern Romanian language. By tradition – all Romanian kids boastly learn thousands of thick ‘literary comments’ in school which tell you what the poet actually meant – and it’s a good thing too, because as a boy when I read a poetry about swans floating on a river I was just too dumb to understand that the poet actually was talking about the implacable passing of time.
But don’t think we only do boring poetry! No – we can also do a good drama, and the reason you still haven’t heard about John Luke as Ragiale is because this evangelist of the Romanian comedy only appears on the Romanian RON. Had he been the face of the EUR banknote, it would’ve been different – and you would have just ask ‘Shakespeare who?’.
Wait – there is more! We are also famous in the world of culture – if not for anything, at least for the fact that Constantin Brancusi is probably the most expensive modern art sculptor in the world. We don’t really understand much of his work – it’s pretty strange actually, all sort of kissing doors and infinity stuff, and some birds and a lady… I am no expert – but if everyone says the things are brilliant they must be! And all these guys make us really proud!
Romanians and Geography
It might strike you as unusual – but our country is in fact a lot larger, longer and bigger than it actually looks on map. Nobody really knows the size of it, because we believe that Romania lives in our heart – and that is really a huge place if you think about it. Thus – we can flee the country light-hearted as long as we take a small bag of holy dirt which will constantly remind us of the place we come from. And in terms of getting along with other people – well, this is quite delicate. You know how every nation has some sort of natural enemy that just cannot get along with? Well in our case – we hate everybody! We hate Hungarians because they are our neighbours, we hate Americans because they deserted us back in 1945, we hate Russians because their communism let us down, we hate the French because they can’t accept we are their brothers, we hate the Italians because they claim they invented pizza when in fact it’s just toast bread with ‘zacusca’ and ‘telemea’ all over it, we hate the British because they just can’t speak the proper English we learnt from Justin Bieber, we hate the Chinese because their 777 batteries wear off so fast, we hate the Portuguese because they sponsored Columbus who discovered the hatred America, we hate the Germans because they pretend their lousy cars are a match to our fearless Duster…and I can go on and on. Oh, and we hate other Romanians because they are not from our own region! Should you speak with three Romanians from three different regions – they will all tell you the other two are just nitwits – and are not even real true-blue Romanians in the first place.
But still – all in all we are really proud of Romania – whilst hating the population!
Romanians and Inventions
This is a very delicate matter for us, because there are a few vital Romanian inventions that are lost in the track of time – unjustly so, because it was actually a Romanian that invented the wheel, the chair, the bottom of the bottle, the barbecue and (most importantly) the peeling of the potato. Can you imagine a world where you would just have to eat unpeeled fries (fish and chips if you are from England)? You cannot drive anywhere since your car has no wheels? You couldn’t drink anything because your bottle had no bottom – and you would just spill your water all over you? You would have to stand in front of the computer – because you would have no chair… Horrible, right? Well not anymore – thanks to us, the Romanians! But the unjust arm of history decided not to credit us for all those inventions – and I think it is the Illuminati who did that to us. Or someone else – belonging to some big masonic gang, unwilling to admit the greatness of the Romanian people. (Most probably Hungarians. Or Americans).
Either way – and we also had a number of less important inventions, such as the pen (well thank you Romania! – says no schoolkid from all over the word), the air-jet engine, the first monoplane (almost a plane), the eject seat (yes, in Romania we dream about flying a lot), cybernetics, biospeology – but you can google all of that. Unfortunately we did not have any contribution to bite-coins or such, but it is a well-known fact that when Alexander Bell invented the phone – in Romania the wifi technology already existed as there were absolutely no electrical wires in Romania at that time! So you can really guess how proud we are of that!
Romanians and Sports
We are a sporty bunch – and we do have a national sport which is called ‘oina’ (very similar to baseball or cricket, only with a lot less fans). But we really made an impact in other sports, that nobody would have thought we would be capable of.
Nadia Comaneci, to start with, was the first athlete in the world to receive a full 10 at Gymnastics Olympics – back in 1976 – and we live on that performance ever since. We don’t mind 45+ years of communism – we have Nadia. Our health system is a mess, we have no doctors and no medicine – but it’s ok, we have Nadia! Most of the members of the Romanian ruling party are either behind bars or under trial – but we keep voting for them, because we have Nadia. Romanian schools are a joke, no sanitary systems, crowded classrooms and about as much illiteracy as in a 3rd world country – but we have Nadia. Our road system is a big fail, one could hardly see the asphalt from the holes – but it’s fine – we have Nadia! We have absolutely no local industry left, we do mostly imports and our currency can as well be expressed in corn bags – but boy do we have Nadia!
And if you think Nadia is the only one we have – you are so wrong! We still have the Hagi (used to play football and made Romania spectator famous for not rampaging the streets); Ilie Nastase (tennis player – mostly known for his foul language), Ivan Patzaichin (comes from the Danube Delta – so he basically only knows how to swim and sail), Gheorghe Muresan (played in the NBA but most importantly starred in a Hollywood movie) and recently we have the wonder of feminine tennis – Simona Halep (first Romanian athlete to be no 1 in the WTA ranking). Startling guys really, making us feel proud to be Romanians!
Romanians and Politics
We have a saying – everyone in Romania knows football and politics. Well let me just tell you – it’s not completely wrong, except the football part, where we pretty much suck. But politics – oh dear, I can’t even begin to explain just how much we love it and how good we are at it. In fact we are so good at it, that we allow literally everyone to be a member of the Romanian Parliament. We do not care about the person’s past – was he a criminal? a crook? was he ever involved in illegal activities? did he serve time in jail? did he ever stole money form a public institution? – you see all of this does not matter to us, that’s just how democratic we are! We have a firm belief in a person’s potential – so we choose carefully when we vote a candidate and unless the guy served a minimum 3 years in a correctional institute – we do not find him worthy of being a senator and represent us! We take democracy really serious – and firmly believe in the German model (remember the German kings and our current president) but a kind of German model adapted to our needs – so we would like to become rich and have all sort of nice laws, and in order to do that we require a bunch of politicians who know a lot about laws. And what better way to know about laws unless you were convicted yourself? See where I am going? See just how smart we are? So yesss – we are proud of our politicians!
Romanians and Dracula
Kept the best for the last! I think everyone in his lifetime heard at least once the story of Dracula. The legend of Vlad the Impaler – who turned himself in a blood-thirsty vampire and co-starred in big movies together with Keanu and Peach. This horrid creature lives hidden in the steep mountains of Transylvania, eats little children, lives in a castle that has no Internet conexion, is afraid of garlic and all other vegan food and ca be tackled with a cross, a pack of chewing gum and a chopstick. Well in all honesty – if you want to make a Romanian really mad – just ask him if Dracula was real, or if he ever visited the castle. You might not learn much about Dracula – but for sure you will learn a valuable number of Romanian cuss words – amongst which ‘idiot’ would be the nicest thing you would hear – but mostly you would get some really not-so-true-yet-quite-inappropriate things about your mother. So my advice – do not use the D word.
Spoiler: Vlad the Impaler really did exist. Was sort of a hero – he killed a bunch of Turks in a very unorthodox manner: shoved a huge pole up their behind. It gave him a pretty good name around Romanians, and to this day we are mad with the UN for banning this nice way of dealing with foreign officials we do not want in our country. And of course – we are really proud of Vlad. The Impaler, not the Dracula!
I hope you made yourself a pretty accurate idea of what being a Romanian really means – and if you ever like to try it, you are most welcome, but let me tell – a Romanian is not made, he is born!