For many years I have felt like an outsider in my own country, Romania. I do not think like most Romanians do, I have different perspectives, I enjoy other things and I have very different priorities. Despite all this, I have found several people who are much like me, considered different and odd, too nerdy and old-fashioned for the new generation of Romanians.
For a while, I thought I was abnormal and I hated myself for that, but having traveled more to Western countries, I realized there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. The society I come from tends to be an ultra-religious one, with world views that belong to the Medieval Ages, with young generations who have no other purpose than ‘mastering’ their own lives, totally oblivious to anything outside the bubble they live in.
I couldn’t identify myself with a society that doesn’t strive for more and that’s so intolerant even with its own people. I couldn’t find myself in the style of living that appeals to so many younger Romanians: fancy cars, a zillion boyfriends or girlfriends, posh attitudes, or clothing that would look better on someone who frequents nightclubs and makes a living out of it, but that is what they consider ‘modern’ and ‘fashionable’. Apart from that, so many people aren’t aware of the social, political, or religious issues from countries around the world, they do not possess general knowledge of any kind, but they love gossip and hate talk.
Even within my family, there are so many people who in gatherings discuss other people and nothing more, therefore I stopped altogether attending such meetings that don’t fulfill my intellectual needs. I love talking about science, politics, religion, human & animal rights, and I have no interest in talking about what my neighbor did or how much he paid for his new kitchen.
Some people find me arrogant and that is fine with me. I know I am not and that is all that matters. I am only very careful what and who I surround myself with and what people I allow to influence me. In Romania, as in many other countries, being different is very hard, especially during high school, when most of my colleagues had their own group that used to make fun of students and professors without reservations, and whoever didn’t do that was basically treated as a lowly human. But I stood strong and knew that preserving my dignity and being true to myself would one day be worth it, despite having been ignored and made fun of by the more popular students.
The older I get the more I realize how little this country wants to be helped and nurtured. Corruption makes it virtually impossible to get a very good job without bribes or relationships, though things started to slowly change in recent years. Corruption doesn’t give a chance to bright students to become excellent professionals who can change the country for the better, but instead they’re driven towards Western countries, where their talents and hard work are properly appreciated and rewarded. Such people were driven away by their own motherland, yet some Romanians dare call them ‘traitors’ without understanding how bad it feels to have big dreams crushed in the dance of corruption and greed in our own country. I do not understand what made the Romanian soul so hateful and vengeful, forgetting to enjoy the small things life has to offer. The country has incredible landscapes and history, with a huge touristic potential, yet all is ignored by those whose sole concern is money – civilians and politicians alike.
I chose to leave as well and the main reason is because I don’t want to have my dreams crushed and trampled by those who know and care so little about what dreams are. I don’t feel integrated in this kind of society where appearance is valued above the true self, or where beauty and stupidity are far more rewarded than talent and intelligence. Why don’t Romanians stop caring solely about their own litter and understand that we can progress only if we work together? When have we become so hypnotized with the ephemeral things? When will we learn that talk shows don’t make us better people, yet they distract us from doing so? When will we realize that how we make others feel is what people will remember and not our shoes or designer bags?
I wish I could say I’m proud of my country, but I’m not. What I can say is that I am very proud of those Romanians who, despite being held back by the system in here, have managed to show the world that even though Romania doesn’t love its children, they still proudly wave its tricolor flag around the globe.
Romanians tend to feel very offended by the truth and I apologize for making anyone feel bad, but these thoughts reflect my experiences and how I see the Romanian society. Despite the great majority having their head buried in the sand, as I have said before, there are many other people in Romania who can proudly call themselves citizens of the modern world.