jump to navigation

Rezervatia unicornilor – First impressions 23/08/2015

Posted by allthingsro in books, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

It’s part three of the trilogy Sânge satanic (Satanic Blood) by Cristina Nemerovschi, and M. is weary. Weary of the commercialism and general crapness that is Romania. And, perhaps, weary of being “the most amazing being that has ever existed”.
To recap, M. introduces himself thus:

I listen to black metal; I’m an atheist; everybody thinks I’m a Satanist; I’m bisexual, a misanthropist, sometimes just a misogynist; I’m writing a book; I drink every day, and do drugs every week. How does that sound as the start of a CV?

But M. has a way out. He has a deal. Correction: M. has a F**kin’ Deal. A F**kin’ Deal that will take him to the far north of Europe to deal drugs and escape Romania.

He planned to use his sojourn in Scandinavia for self-reflection. To work out where he was going and who he was. But that was before his drinking and drugs buddy A. wanted to come too. And as an added bonus, Tara, the dominatrix from Pervertirea and now A.’s girlfriend, decided to join them.

A. didn’t make much of an impression on me in Sânge satanic. It’s in the second part of the trilogy that he comes into his own as the most heterosexual and the unlucky one in the M.’s crowd. He somehow always seems to end up being chased by stray dogs on the outskirts of Bucharest or abandoned at the side of the road due to a marijuana-induced attack of diarrhoea. He is invariably in good spirits and in the mood to party.

With A. and Tara along for the ride – with some illegal drugs stashed in vibrators for good measure – anything could happen. I’m only just starting Part 2, with the flight north and A. worrying about his bowel movements in polar night and worrying even more about the aforementioned stash of drugs. Already windows have been broken, a shoe collection vomited on, items disposed of from balconies, and not one but two women have been left on the floor unconscious or possibly no longer breathing.

In short, we’re in for a riot.

Rezervaţia unicornilor is published by Herg Benet.


Fish & chips does not equal sarmale 09/06/2015

Posted by allthingsro in food.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

If a Romanian treats you to fish & chips, what do you owe them, in Romanian cuisine?

This is not a purely abstract question of food equations. A Romanian once served me fish & chips. When I reported this to another Romanian (I collect them), he said, “Well, I guess you owe him sarmale.”

To which I say, no way, José. Fish & chips does not equal sarmale. What is the Romanian equivalent of fish & chips

Under the Bridge 02/03/2015

Posted by allthingsro in quirks.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

One of the things that surprised me about Romanians was how little interest they showed in their relatives who were working abroad to support them.

“He’s working in London? Whereabouts?”

“In London.”

This could be typically Romanian reticence, but I saw the same thing on Channel 4’s The Romanians Are Coming. Asked about where her husband was living in the UK, the lady from Lupeni replied with a smile: “He has a house, it’s nice.”

In reality, her husband was living under a bridge, cooking meals on a tiny camping stove and keeping his food in a plastic bag suspended from a hook to keep it away from the rats. He sent nearly all his wages from the car wash home, and he never told his family that he was living under a bridge.

His mother sensed something was wrong. “He has a secret. He avoids talking about his house. I don’t think it’s very nice,” she said as her eyes misted over.

In the UK, finding somewhere to live is no easy matter, especially in London. Alex, another character from The Romanians Are Coming, had a plan: he’d get a job and then he’d get a flat with his friends. In London, if you find a job, you can look for a room in a shared flat. And if your job is minimum wage, you can look for a shared room in a shared flat.

Farewell, Basescu! 25/01/2015

Posted by allthingsro in politics.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Basescu has left office. The former President of Romania was with us for a good while. During his office, Romania joined the EU and fought off a financial crisis, and Basescu was suspended from office not once but twice. It can only be a matter of time before charges are brought against him, so it seemed like the moment to take stock and see what Romanians search for when they Google their former president.

This study was conducted completely unscientifically on 1 January 2015: I went to www.google.ro, switched the language to Romanian, entered Basescu followed by random letters and noted the search suggestions and the number of hits.

And what do the results tell us? Well, this being 2014, Russia and the Ukraine featured among the top search suggestions, accompanied by the ice bucket challenge and Romanian tennis sensation Simona Halep. Read more of the Basescu Google searches study

A Romanian want ad 21/11/2014

Posted by allthingsro in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

The psyche of a nation is revealed in its want ads – I hate to think what UK personals say about my country. In any case, here is an ad, posted on 20 November 2014 on a Romanian forum.
I’m looking for somebody
Hi my names XXX im looking for looking for a girl who doesnt have anywhere to live to live with me she wont have to pay rent or anything else I want from her just somebody to talk to and to help me a bit
Sound too good to be true?

A Romanian want ad

Want ad

Learning Romanian with Candy 02/11/2014

Posted by allthingsro in language, music.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Pop songs are a great way to start learning a language. Angry pop songs are even better. Let’s get down to telling that special someone what they really need to hear, with the help of girl group Candy.

Start learning Romanian with Candy.

Today’s Top Tip for Learning Romanian 02/05/2014

Posted by allthingsro in language.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Discover the power of să
As an undergraduate student, my German lecturer gave me a very useful piece of advice: when you’re trying to get to grips with a new word, try to work out first of all what part of speech it is.
Parts of speech include categories such as noun, verb, pronoun, adjective and adverb. But don’t worry – I’m not going to turn this into a grammar lesson.
A Romanian once gave me a top tip when I started learning Romanian: if you read , you’ll find a verb after it. And it’s going to appear quite soon after it.
is conjunction, and it can be very roughly translated as “to/that/for/so that”. The ă in is pronounced a little bit like the final sound in teacher.
If you want to talk about what you want to do, what you must do, what you are trying to do or why you’re trying to do it, you’ll probably need to use . Here are some examples:
Vreau să vă explic că… (I want to explain to you that…)
Trebuie să plecăm (We have to leave)
Încercăm să facem un copil (We’re trying for a baby; literally: we’re trying to make a baby)
Mi-aș dori să dau timpul înapoi (I’d like to turn back time)
In case you were wondering, the last two examples are top hits in Google searches.

The Cult of Elena Ceausescu 20/04/2014

Posted by allthingsro in history, politics.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

Historical studies have often overlooked Elena Ceausescu. Her limited education made it easy to dismiss her as too ordinary or too stupid. But Cristina Liana Olteanu argues that she is worthy of examination.
This post summarises Olteanu’s study and presents snapshots from the phases that she identified in the development of the cult around Elena Ceausescu.
Phase 1: Wife and mother
In January 1973 Nicolae Ceausescu’s birthday was celebrated publicly on a large scale for the first time. Elena was only mentioned in passing in tributes, although her birthday fell in the same month as his. (more…)

INNA ain’t it – DJ Project is 17/04/2014

Posted by allthingsro in music, translations.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

True to my vocation of liking all things Romanian, I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to like INNA. The cute Romanian singer looks amazing, her outfits are fantastic, but her songs feel too robotic. However, she doesn’t sing (much) in Romanian, and she’s actually a bigger star both on social media and in real life outside Romania.
I much prefer the Romanian dance group DJ Project. Their songs (more…)

Threat Assessment 06/03/2014

Posted by allthingsro in Uncategorized.
add a comment

All Things Romania

Duane C. Butcher - photo courtesy of American Embassy in Bucharest Duane C. Butcher – photo courtesy of American Embassy in Bucharest

Although there’s zero mention of it on the American Embassy’s website, the American charge d’affairs, Duane C. Butcher, made a quick little stopover in Cluj yesterday to visit long-time embassy snitch Emil Boc.

The only reason we know about it is because he gave a brief statement to the local Realitatea and Digi24 crews (video at the link). The article caught the Unsleeping Eye’s attention because it was entitled “You should be worried about the crisis in Ukraine!”

Really? I thought I already dispensed with that bullshit. Of course Russia isn’t going to invade Romania! Why would they? And it’s not like the Romanian economy is going to be affected as there is almost zero trade with Ukraine. The Ukrainian currency is in the toilet and, exactly as I predicted, Ukrainian grain futures are plummeting, but…

View original post 867 more words