A year ago I re-discovered Romania.
Re-discovered , because I was there in 1985 and never came back again until September 2011. In 1985 I was 13 years old and Romania was under Communism. It’s different now. However, Romania is still a challenged-filled place in many ways, but also a warm, dynamic amazing place to be.
Since September 2011 I ’ve visited Romania 7 times and I ’m now writing a book about the country and one Romanian’s life story.
I ’d like to share with you what the re-discovering of Romania did to me.
To put it into perspective. I’m 40 years old and grew up in the very north of Sweden. I lived abroad for 12 years, purely out of lust for traveling and curiosity to meet people from other cultures. I am the ”village girl” who lived and assimilated to life equally well on a tropical island in the Indian Ocean, as well as in cosmopolitan London and in French Provence.
Romania, however, is not like anything else.
I thought it was. In the beginning I thought I could compare it to France or Italy. But no. Romania is truly something else. Romania reminds me a bit about life in southern Europe. The food, the wine, the sunshine, some of the architecture, the temperament, the style of driving the car. However, Romania is its’ own special, eclectic , unique ”being”.
I don’t know why I am so fascinated by this place ?!? Maybe because it’s a country that has been ”hidden ” for so long?
The re-discovering of this amazing country and the meetings with the people living there reminded me of some important things.
To touch base with my core values. What is important to me , to the core, when all packaging is gone and there is only the pure truth left, how hard it may be.
Human touch rather than focusing on using and trusting technicalities ”all the time”. Focusing on calling people and hearing people’s voices instead of texting and emailing. A big step for me, coming from technocratic Scandinavia where we, for example, are starting to see banks that only handle money on the net and not in the banks. Yes, Scandinavia is very efficient in many ways. However, I hope people here will not get swept away with technology. Loosing the human touch.
Appreciation in general. In Romania people struggle with average salaries of 2-300 euros per month ! They struggle with a government that is constantly disappointing its’ inhabitants and Romania is EU’s second poorest country. – How is it that people there still smile at me , party well and are so incredible hospitable ?
Waste less. Consume less. Reflect on my every day usage of things. Calculate more.
Questioning common media. As a digging journalist asking myself what it is that I am actually reading in the press and seeing in the news. Whose press is it and what interests do the media I consume represent ? In short, Romania is a place where there is a lot of mistrust, for obvious reasons. Scandinavia is a place completely the opposite, we trust the world around us. Sometimes too much, I think. Sometimes to the extent of being naive, because the place we grew up in treated us so well. It’s indeed a strength to have trust. I just added some streetwise attitude to it after being in Romania.
Seeing strength coming from inside, with no need of the constant ”Facebook-praise”. I ’ve seen many Romanians having this inner strength , no need of a flash light. Just do it. Just pick yourself up and do it. I admire them as a people. For their strength and endurance. I’m talking about the older generation and my generation. They just have it all. The knowledge any leadership trainer in the world ( me included ! ) is teaching managers and employees. Those Romanians have it , because their lives required all these tools.
Less complaining, thinking : if those Romanian women could live and thrive under really challenging times, then I should be able to do that too, today, when days are easier. I am also thinking of my own grand parents, especially my mum’s mother, who had 7 children in cold, northern Sweden 50-60 years ago. Yes, I don’t complain.
Friends on Facebook. I decided to change my Facebook usage. On my private page now are only personal friends, people I admire and /or have worked with. The page the Bucharest Lounge is made out of passion for Romania, with a mission to spread positive , beautiful and meaningful posts about the country. To add some coolness to it! The distinction between a private page and an official page was important to me.
Actions speak. I can talk a lot. I love words. Written. Verbal. However, I have practiced choosing them more specifically since my year in Romania.
The most important thing, for me personally has been not to rush things, go slower, keep things simple and keep on doing the things I do with my soul….