In 2011 I started The Bucharest Lounge because I wanted to rebrand Romania. I thought it was a huge discrepancy of what Romania really is and what Swedish press focus to write about. Actually, most western press has, unfortunately, its negative dramaturgy set for Romania and Romanians. I wish to change that.
Before starting the page I was thinking carefully what I wanted with the page and blog, what the keywords and purpose of the page would be. I was also thinking of how to use my talents in the best way on a page like this. Two words that came to me, and they were “beauty” and “meaning”. I love beauty around me, be it a rose, the smile of a child, a harmonious landscape or as friendship. I also try to live life from a sense of meaning, like living true to my values and have integrity. It is not so easy all the time, but it is very important, for my motivation, to find meaning in the things I do.
I created the name “The Bucharest Lounge”, as I thought it was about time to put Bucharest, as a European capital, on the map. “Lounge” I chose because in a lounge we are relaxed, we are with friends and the big ideas can flow freely in an open environment.
It can be challenging, at times, to be a foreigner and write about Romania. There are times when I have the feeling I am walking on a minefield and I have made a lot of mistakes. However, I am learning by the day, about Romania and the way the people think and act here. I learn from people, like you, who come to this page and share your opinions and thoughts.
The more Romania unfolds for me, the more I love to be here. It feels like home. I can’t explain why. A priest told me last week, that “my star is here“. That’s why I keep coming back.
The most valuable times for me are always the ones which I spend together with people. This year I enjoyed spending Christmas in Romania. I was at the Petru Voda Monastery in Neamt County, between 23-24 December attending the midnight mass there. It was a quiet and serene experience. Exactly what I needed after an autumn of intense work.
After Petru Voda I went to dear friends in Fagaras and Bucium. On Christmas Eve I was enjoying the food at Casa Terra, where Dana is making food from her heart and soul. She is one of the best cooks I know. Eating there, at her restaurant, together with friends, was a unforgettable experience. It made me feel a bit better, as Christmas Eve is the day where we celebrate Christmas in Sweden and it was a bit odd, for me, not to celebrate it on that day. Dana’s food soothed my moment of confusion.
On Christmas Day I was in Bucium, at the Parish House and enjoyed the “colinde”, delicious food again, friendship, interesting talks about orthodoxy with Father Marius and his wife, Natalia. Their home was warm and welcoming. In Bucium people are wearing the traditional clothes when they go to church. It’s beautiful to see and it makes my heart dance. I also met with a common friend, Ioana Hasu, whose grandfather was one of the men in the resistance group in the Fagaras mountains, during communism, and who was executed by that regime. I learn a lot from her stories, about the pain of the Romanians, and the heeling process that the Romanians are experiencing now.
The last part of this week’s journey was to Targoviste and meeting up with historian Vasile Lupasc and his girlfriend Bianca. I can sit for hours and listen to the stories that Vasile tells about the Romanian history. Targoviste is a good place to learn.
Now I am back in Bucharest and I will spend New Year’s Eve here, at a friend’s restaurant.
I hope that you will have a fantastic, glittering and fun evening !
I hope that 2015 will be a sparkling year, that you will be courageous, healthy and happy. I hope that we will succeed, together, in letting the world see more of the beauty and meaning of Romania. With endurance, will power and some great actions things can change. It is people like you and I who change things.
Never give up on people and things that are important to you !
La multi ani ! Happy New Year ! Gott Nytt År !
Founder of the Bucharest Lounge