Friday, February 22, 2008

La ordinea zilei

Este un grup pe facebook cu o lista de cerinte pe care le indeplinesti cand studiezi la UCU. Una dintre ele suna asa: "You know you're studying at UC when... you never realized there are so many people smarter than you". Urmatoarea cerinta spune "You know you're studying at UC when... you never realized there are so many people dumber than you". Ultima mi s-a confirmat azi.

Eram la cursul de drept si discutam cazul The Crown vs. Dudley and Stevenson. In acest caz cei doi il mancasera pe un al treilea cetatean al Imperiului Britanic, in timp ce erau pe o pluta in mijlocul oceanului, fiind infometati. In mijlocul discutiei o domnisoara draguta, de felul ei, ridica mana in mijlocul sedintei si spune consternata "But who's to say that Dudley's and Stevenson's lives are more important than the Crown's?". Te provoc, raspunde intrebarii.

In alta ordine de idei, s-a intamplat incredibilul azi. La pranz, la masa internationala, doua romance converseaza cu lumea. La un moment dat incep sa vorbeasca una cu alta. Dupa cateva minute de discutie se intorc amandoua spre bulgaroaicele de la masa si realizeaza ca vorbisera una cu alta in engleza timp de cateva minute bune fara sa isi dea seama ca impart mai mult de o limba comuna.

Gotta love foreign schooling. If I won't be able to speak proper Romanian in the summer, I'm suing them.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Intr-un final glorios am dat de un articol in presa romaneasca care sa prezinte o bucatica de realitate. Realitate, acel concept greu de prins din blocurile galagioase si murdare din sud, in aceeasi masura ca din masini luxoase cu soferi badarani. In fine, o gura de aer curat. Nu mi se pare real, dupa cati bucuresteni au incercat sa ma convinga de cat de oprimata eram atunci cand locuiam in Ardeal. E greu de explicat cum aproape orice ardelean rade spontan la afirmatia "Te simti oprimat in comunitatea ta?". E o stare de fapt pe care o accepta oricine se naste intr-o societate cu mai mult de doua etnii.

Parerile tarancelor din articol sunt poate cea mai relevanta parte. E ca si cum mi-as fi auzit toate rudele vorbind, de la bunica din zona sasilor la matusi din zona ungurilor la fini din Cluj. Hai sa fim seriosi.

“Dar cine sint eu?”, se intreaba Zsoldos Gyorgy, ”parintii mei or fost unul german, unul maghiar si bunica romanca. Eu ce-s? Al cui sint? Ca daca vor sa se separe unii de altii, eu unde ma duc? In sat sint patru biserici: romana, catolica, reformata si capela pentru martori. Ce facem? Daca vreau sa aprind lumanari pentru stramosi trebuie sa trec pe la toate bisericile! "

Nu exista romani, unguri sau sasi in Ardeal decat dupa limba si uneori(!) cultura. O voi cita pe matusa mea de la Dej cu ceea ce mi-a spus dupa un ras copios la intrebarea mea "Noi suntem romani de-a binelea?". Mi-a raspuns "Ioana, nu sint romani pe-aici. Tata lumea-i corcita. "

Cum as putea sa-i urasc pe unguri?
Sa fim seriosi, neintelegeri intre oameni vor exista intotdeauna indiferent de etnia lor. In cel mai rau caz poate fi folosita drept scuza, dar niciodata drept motiv. In plus, pretextele politice nu merg la tara.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Insight into a Friday night

Aseara, la o petrecere pe jumatate goala, in campus, ma intalnesc cu un tip pe care n-as fi crezut sa-l vad band vodca vreodata. Am avut doua cursuri cu el pana acum si intotdeauna, fara exceptie, vine la ora pregatit, cu mapa si cu notitele la zi, cu articolele citite, chit ca e 8 dimineata (ora considerata devreme pentru rasfatatii de noi de la UC). Oricum, il vad venind spre mine zambitor si imi cere un foc. Se cuvine sa schimbam cateva vorbe, mai ales la cat de bine se simtea. Daca e un sacrilegiu in campus, e acela de a strica buna dispozitie cuiva intr-o vineri seara. Asadar, purced spre a-l intreba zambind:
- You smoke?!
- No, just pot and at parties.
- What?
- Pot!
- Oh, ok.
- And at parties!
- You know, I don't see you at parties that much.
- Nah, I enjoy chilling with friends more. (in traducere directa, prefera sa fumeze iarba cu prietenii pe canapele in sufragerie decat sa mearga la petreceri)
- Yeah, I know what you mean.
- Do you wanna smoke up? (pentru neinitiati, to smoke up = a fuma iarba)
- Thanks, I don't smoke pot.
- Oh, okay.
- I need another drink, spun eu cu intentia de a explica motivul pentru care ma indepartez.
- Me too actually, spune venind si el spre bar. (Vorba vine - bar - e masa cu multa multa bautura si in jurul careia se formeaza o balta de alcool in jurul orei 2 a.m. Dar noua ne place sa dam denumiri pompoase - e o chestie UC. Spre exemplu, pentru petrecerea de vinerea viitoare, intitulata Eeastern European Party, ne-am adunat organizatorii sa discutam situatia alcoolului, asa ca intalnirea a fost marcata printr-un sms prin care se anunta Eastern European Party Alcohol Committee Meeting Friday at 7 p.m. Mai ca oricine s-ar prezenta, nu? Revenind...)
- I wouldn't have thought you smoked anything, to be honest.
- Really? Why's that?
- I don't know, you seem so organized, I presumed you don't like losing control.
- Well, if something makes you feel good, just do it. Don't think about it too much. If you like it, it's good for you. (Eu fac ochii cat cepele. E ca si cum as fi auzit ca nimeni n-a gandit de fapt nici un program de sofware, ci totul s-a intamplat cand un cimpanzeu a fost lasat intr-o camera cu o tastatura. )
- But, you know, smoking does kill you. Zambeste, se uita la mine fix si fara a lua vreo pauza de gandire zice :
- Life kills you.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Politically Correct O laie

Revin la pasiunea mea pentru vocabular si legatura cu valorile culturale.
Sa mai zici ca romanii nu sunt "rasisti".

Jidan - termen peiorativ pentru 'evreu'.
Jidanie - termen peiorativ pentru 'animal'. Daca ar fi sa incep sa explic problema acestei similitudini probabil as purcede spre a spune ca, in ciuda posibilitatii existentei unei coincidente, inclin spre neincredere in afirmatia anterioara si concluzionez prin afirmatia : sa fim seriosi. Cuvantul implica scarba.

Halal - termen ce desemneaza ceea ce e permis in Islam. Foarte des e folosit pentru a identifica mancarurile acceptabile.
Halal (in romana) - pentru a cita inca un clasic - "Tu-ti dai seama ca inseamna rahat?"
Exemplificare: Halal cina, a fost naspa.

Dar ce bine stam noi la nivel european :)).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Good perfume comes in small bottles

Why is it that every time I try to write about a certain place, I end up focusing on why Romania is, well, nothing like that certain place?
I recently saw Sex, Drugs and Democracy. Just like good perfumes, Dutch values are as subtle as they are pleasant. Not violent. Not loud. They don't shout to be heard.
I've been meaning to write about my admiration for this country for quite some time, but I was waiting for the right time and the right pretext. I have yet to find the right words.

It's really quite difficult to explain how living in such a liberal, yet extremely organized environment changes your perception. I have never been a homophobe, I've always stood against discrimination and all of it mainly in theory. See, in Romania it's easy to say you abide by all those politically correct statements like "We should all have the same opportunities". But you are not really doing that. This is not to say you are doing the opposite, but the specific culture and the standard of fixed normality forces unconscious acceptance of double standards, hypocrisy, discrimination, evading the truth and postponing action. It might sound a bit harsh, but I reserve the right to criticize the country dearest to me.

When I went back on winter break I found myself in a bit of a puzzle. Should I laugh at jokes about women? They've never offended me before. I knew I could learn how to change a tire and drive a car sensibly. Should I go on saying "it's their own damn fault" about gypsies? After all, it is the way in which everyone around me thought. What about prostitutes and women in short skirts relying on sugar daddies? What the fuck about blatant corruption?
All of a sudden, free from exams and intense "I miss my home!!" feelings, question started coming at me out of nowhere. I'd never asked them before. I couldn't believe that either.

Aah, but the beginning. I can still remember it crystal clear. January, Bucharest, snowy, warm and scented rooms. Soft music in the background, lounging on sofas, drinking cocktails and talking to newly introduced people. Very relaxing. Ultimately comfortable. And then he says "It's okay that you don't know much about cell phones. You're a girl."

Why was I shocked by something like that? It's a pretty acceptable remark for a chilled party in Bucharest, especially as it was meant as a joke.
A year ago that would have been borderline between normal and a challenge. You know, it's quite easy to be extraordinary in Romania, don't you think? You've so many stereotypes to defy. An intelligent and witty young woman in Bucharest finds a strong contrast pretty much everywhere, from bimbo secretaries in her office to gypsy flower girls to idle housewives. So why shouldn't there be a stereotype? It's that much more fun to break it.

But in that moment, holding a glass of Bailey's and hearing something of the likes of which I had not heard in months, it wasn't fun anymore. At all. It was actually very dry.

Funnily, I did not have such a culture shock coming here as I did going back. Holland just kind of sneaks up on you. You don't notice it because it's not brutal. You're not forced to do anything and nothing is forced on you. The actual freedom is what I found to be confusing. You are in most ways free to do whatever you want about your present and your future. If you want them, you can find opportunities. Black men, white men, colored, chinese, mexican, indian, moroccan. It's all good. Pot is not a tabu. As bullshit as that sounds, it actually, for the life of me, isn't. I could go on for a while. But the paradise isn't for free.
More is expected of you, very true. Much more. No more hiding behind stereotypes, no more falling back on general intellectual idleness, no more shrugging off a disagreement, no more lack of responsibility for opinions. It's the real deal. I do agree with those who say that an overly authoritarian state turns responsible citizens into children. A whole lot of Romanians are kids at heart. Sure, it's sounds cool and makes for good poetry and a spicy, absurd, sarcastic and absolutely delicious sense of humor, but... no. Just no.

Romania, I love you, baby, but this isn't working out. You need to stop being so needy. Get off your ass and stop being such a baby about it.

(For me all of this coincided with the end of my adolescence and starting school at a pretty awesome university. Interferences with that may be observed.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

66th post!

Some celebrate their first, some the 100th, some the end. I celebrate an interesting number :)
Si din seria "sunt intr-o dispozitie prea buna pentru lumea in care traiesc" vine urmatorul link si cititul pentru drept maine. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Perle de UC

In acest rai al vorbirii in romana fara ca cei din jur sa ne inteleaga, ne petreceam noi doua o dupa-masa studiind la olandeza cu un american. Din motive bine intemeiate, o intreb despre acest domn in timp ce el s-a ridicat sa-si ia apa:
- Auzi, tipul e gay?
- Poate. E posibil.
- Dar a sunat asa de homofob.
- Da, stiu.
- Poate e genul care.. uh. nu a iesit inca din closet.