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Under the Bridge 02/03/2015

Posted by allthingsro in quirks.
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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.

A Romanian want ad 21/11/2014

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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

Brutal Simplicity of Advertising 05/02/2014

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M&C Saatchi describe their approach as “Brutal Simplicity of Thought”. Maybe they could learn a thing or two from Prahova, one of the Romanian shops in Kingsbury, north-west London.

The store is packed full of Romanian produce. Behind the till you might spot a handwritten sign on cut-out stars: “Cash only” and the like. But occasionally the advertising is quite simply brutal simplicity distilled.

Avem palinca

This translates as “We have brandy.” Tuica is strong brandy, generally made with plums and frequently home brewed, but palinca, that’s the really strong stuff, double-distilled.

To that Romanian student who calls herself Romanian Princess 08/09/2013

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An open letter from a Romanian student in London caused a sensation on Romanian social media in July 2013. “God has been killed in the West,” it read, and it went on to attack the UK’s liberalism, feminism and multiculturalism. Here is Nadia Barbu’s response:

…Then a letter has appeared on Facebook: somewhat ungrammatical but full of the feeling, from the self-styled Romanian Princess aka Cristiana Marcus, only to reappear from a host of directions today. As a Romanian who has been living in London for almost three years, I feel the need to write my very own letter to this disoriented young woman, who won’t read it, but isn’t it a fine rhetorical device and very much on trend to write open letters to figurative recipients?
So, dear girl. I could wonder, as so many people who have posted the article on Facebook have done, how a young person so close-minded could have secured a place at a prestigious London university. But these people for the most part are resident in Romania. I have seen countless times Romanians in the West for a holiday or to study who, although they would like Romania to be like the West, turn up their nose again and again: “So many niggers on the street! So many Arabs! So many Indians! Oh my god, two men holding hands! On my word, women dressed in comfortable clothing, not all dressed up to the nines to please my eyes!” I’ve got used to it. And I know that UK universities will take just about anyone who has the money to pay (and the girl in question is the daughter of a wealthy man and occasional protagonist in the Romanian tabloids). So this doesn’t surprise me. Read Nadia Barbu’s response to the Romanian student