An Englishman in Romania: a journey that changed my life

After walking down revolution square in Bucharest two days after the resignation of the Romanian government led by Victor Ponta, the feeling in the air was palpable. Although the square was surrounded by police and the protests had largely died away, there was still a strong palpable feeling of triumph in the air. Ordinary Romanians were singing and waving their national flags with utter determination, I have never seen anything like it. Over 20,000 Romanians came out onto the street as a result of a night club fire that killed 63 people. This terrible human tragedy led, which was the result of sinister corrupt, is certainly a dark moment in Romania’s modern history.

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I could not help but feel swept away by the staggering energy and determination of the protestors, I could not help but feel sheer admiration. What I felt most of all however was a real warmth in my heart, something really special that cannot be easily described. From that moment on I always feel a real sense of warmth, love and a strong connection with Romanians. This feeling did not start with the protests, it started much earlier than that.

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Over the last six months I have traveled to Romania twice, both journeys have left a big impression on me. Working with the United Nations Youth Romania group, I was welcomed as a panelist and as a student at two of their events. I must say I was impressed,  these hard working and dedicated individuals really made the experience a truly memorable one. I was welcomed as if I was one of their own, there is nothing quite like the feeling of being welcomed in a foreign country despite not knowing the language or the local customs.

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The friends I met in Romania will be my friends for the rest of my life,. I am truly honored to call them my friends.  I say friends, I now consider them part of my family. On top of such a welcoming and friendly culture, my new found friends in Romania showed me around their great country. From the magnificent parliament building to the traditional Romanian restaurants I visited, everything about Bucharest told me a story of a unique history with a proud people. The food was absolutely sublime, sorry to people back home, Romania beats British food hands down!

So that is my experience of Romania, the wonderful determined people who will always stand up for what is right and always be wonderful hosts to strangers from foreign lands. I leave you with a picture of a very special gift given to me by my friends Razvan and Elena, a calendar which is full of Romanian jokes, all written in Romanian, so I have to call them every month to ask them what it means.

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