I often think about the fact that, since I have been born and raised in Romania, I might not have the best opinions and advice for people coming in from abroad. I basically lived and breathed Romania all of my life, so maybe I’m not the best at giving advice.
Some things that really upset me might be no big deals for others, while other things that don’t bother me could be game changers for foreigners who are used with a different way.
But an article that was posted on Facebook a while ago might help you see what others think about the country. In this case, we’re talking about a Brazilian that spent quite some time in Romania and decided to share his findings.
Fernando Castilho Cintra is his name and he decided to create a well written and funny list of 60 things that he learned from living in Romania. Check them out below:
1 – Dracula is a vampire outside Romania. (read more about vampires in Romania here)
2 – The same dude, Vlad Tepes, is a national hero.
3 – While vampires drink blood, the real red thing I loved to drink was Visinata. (my note: a home made alcoholic drink made from sour cherries)
4 – Another devilish drink is Tuica. Hungarians call it palinka, but it is the same thing.
5 – Most Moldavians, Muntenians and others have no idea what happens with Hungarians in Ardeal.
6 – Romanians smoke an absurd amount of cigarettes. They smoke inside their houses, restaurants, and even shopping malls.
7 – Romanians always take off their shoes when entering home.
8 – I believe Romanians prefer to keep their floor clean rather than their lungs.
9 – Traveling in Romania is one of the best memories I have. Rivers, canyons, hills, mountains… They have it all.
10 – While traveling in Romania you will go through Romanian roads. They are in good condition, but they have an absurd amount of curves.
11 – Also when traveling in Romania, you might want to pee. But worry not; there are so many houses by the side of the roads that it’s easier to end up in a bathroom than behind some bushes.
12 – Maramures is a happy place. Happy people, happy costumes, happy colors, even happy cemetery.
13 – The only thing that isn’t happy in Maramures are shepherd dogs. They are not happy. They don’t like you. Run.
14 – In fact, unless you are inside a city, whenever you see a dog in Romania, run. (my note: While stray dogs are not as big of a problem, they still exist).
15 – Another tactic is to always carry mici with you. As I’m vegetarian, I wouldn’t mind giving mici to dogs.
16 – As a matter of fact, as a vegetarian in Romanian I can definitely say: Romanians love meat
17 – Sarmale, tocanita, slanina, carnati… you have it all, meat eaters. (my note: check out some amazing Romanian traditional foods)
18 – Romanians have soup every single day of their lives.
19 – Taxis in Romania are ridiculously cheap. In Bucharest they can cost as low as 1,29 per km. (my note: that’s lei, which is about $0.30)
20 – Another extremely easy way to go around is Hitchhiking. Romanians do it, and give it in return.
21 – Romanians also expect you to pay for giving you a ride. You can, of course say “nu am bani” (I don’t have money) before hopping in, but you can get a frustrated driver to shout “INCHIDE USA” (CLOSE THE DOOR!) at your sorry moneyless face. (true story)
22 – My favorite mean of transportation though was by inter-regio train. They are cheap, comfortable, on time and often not crowded. Read all about trains in Romania here.
23 – However, you can end up inside a 12 hours train trip from Suceava to Mures back from New Year’s holiday. Then you will know what “crowded” really means. (true story)
24 – Romanians love skiing.
25 – Skiing in Romania is absurdly cheap.
26 – It took me 3 full days to be taught how to ski. Skiing is not for Brazilians or tropical countries inhabitants.
27 – Once you learn, though, you will love it and open another door to my favorite part of Romania: Mountains
28 – Romania has the most beautiful sceneries I’ve seen so far in my life. All of them from mountain tops.
29 – Romanian mountains have incredibly well signed paths for hikers, cabanas for travelers to stay overnight and places for the more audacious to camp.
30 – By now you should have guessed that doing such a trip will be absurdly cheap.
31 – Interesting though is that many Romanians have never been to such mountains.
32 – Even more interesting is that Romanians will often overestimate some rather average places (e.g. Mamaia or Bucovina Monasteries) and underestimate awesome places (e.g. Bucharest).
33 – Bucharest is a great city. Sure it has no such architecture as Budapest, Krakow or other eastern European cities, but it has the museums, parks and nightlife that few others have
34 – People say there are many stray dogs in Bucharest.
35 – I had more dogs chasing me in any given day by bike that I had during a week in Bucharest.
36 – Truly, I didn’t see stray dogs in Bucharest.
37 – Romanian language is beautiful. It sounds beautiful and is achievable for Brazilians to learn
38 – “Cu carne de vaca nu se moare de foame”… And my Google chrome translator thought I was writing in Portuguese. (my note: that means “You won’t die of hunger eating beef”)
39 – However, the most obscure part or Romanian language is Dativ.
40 – AHHHHHH DAAAATIIIIV!!!!
41 – You can say “mi-e foame” “mi-e sete” “mi-e somn”… but you can’t say “mi-e oboseala”. (ny note: you can say “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I’m sleepy, but not “I’m tired”. Not that crazy if you really want to learn the language, though).
42 – AAAAHHH DATIIIIIV!!!!
43 – Romanians talk with their shoulders. Observe it! When someone says “pai, nu stiu”. (well, I don’t know)
44 – Follow the same exercise mentioned above and observe their mouths and the chin.
45 – Hungarians won’t admit, but they have THE Romanian accent. The way of saying “nu stiu” is the same of saying “nem tudom”
46 – My preferred way of practicing Romanian is with drivers that have me a ride by the road.
47 – They would often say what the hell am I doing in such a country if am Brazlian.
48 – These drivers didn’t know that Romanian healthcare system is great, it has a lower murder rate than Norway and is the fastest growing economy from eastern European countries.
49 – Generally Romanians complain about Romania. They will find a way to complain about it. Politics, economy, society…
50 – They are wrong.
51 – I learned what 4 seasons mean: Hot summers, cool autumns, cold winters and fresh springs.
52 – Romania has all the 4 seasons with two huge advantages from northern countries: In winters they have sun. In summer it’s not cloudy.
53 – Romania has a nice wildlife: Dears can be seen frequently, black goats can be seen on occasion (been there done that), bears and wolves are invisible
54 – The closest we’ve been to a bear was its footprints
55 – Romanians are Latin in language, but not as Latin in blood.
56 – When you enter an office, you have to shake hands with the men but you just wave to the women.
57 – Romanians expected that me as a Brazilian would play football really well… Terrible mistake
58 – For months after the world cup I would hear “so, do you like Germany” from people. Go to hell…
59 – Most Romanians at their 18’s have two dreams in mind: 1 – Moving to the UK. 2- Moving to any other country that isn’t Romania.
60 – While Romanians dream to leave, I dream once I will come back.
I really liked the “lessons” he learned from Romania and probably the last one should say a lot to all those interested in coming here…
If you have additional “lessons” you have learned from your previous (or current) stays in Romania, don’t hesitate to share them with all of us in the comments section below.
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9 thoughts on “60 Things a Foreigner Learned by Living in Romania (You Might Find Them Helpful!)”
Aaahh! They say the grass is greener on the other side.. I think it’s human nature to always want to leave where you grew up because you think it’s good elsewhere. I like his observations, especially about Dracula and the stray dogs. I just run the other way myself when l see strays. They scare me, despite having dogs. My experience with skiing was similar to wife Romanian, once..and never again as the instructor patted me on the back after the class, and l just took off. I finally fell. I am too afraid now , too afraid, and as you said..l like my bones. 🙂
It might be the novelty factor that also matters… living somewhere else is new, different and usually nicer 🙂 Or at least so it seems.
The old tradition of kissing a woman’s hand (Sarut mâna!) has finally fallen by the wayside? I always thought Romanian datives and genitives were cool, although it is hard to remember to use them in conversation.
Yes, kissing a woman’s hand is no longer done, although the greeting itself (“sarut mana” which could translate as “kiss your hand”) still remains and is widely used.
Still a good read. Having now visited Romania, I nodded at a lot more things…like the cigarettes and the ridiculously cheap Uber rides :-).
Yes, this is exactly why I decided to update the article and not change any of the impressions. Not a lot has changed in the past few years 🙂
Do they smoke even when in front of strangers? Do they respect non-smokers? Thanks C!
Yes, people usually smoke in front of stranger if they are smokers. Most would probably not understand that it’s annoying…
48, Lol. The way this one is worded it sounds like the Romanian Healthcare system deliberately murders people. But a great list and lots of things to consider.