The missionary adventures of the Stimpson family

You Know You’re In Romania When…

I’ve been thinking of some of the funny / frustrating aspects of living in Romania lately, so I present to you a tongue-in-cheek list of 25 ways you can tell you’re in this country.  You know, just in case you wake up some morning in a drugged state, in some foreign country, and you’re not sure where you are.

You know you’re in Romania when…

1) nasty-looking stray dogs surround you outside the mall, but no one seems worried

2) a gas station worker wearing stilettos and a miniskirt is standing precariously high on the dairy shelf, reaching for the top shelf of milk

3) you see a man sitting at a bus stop with his shirt rolled halfway up his chest

4) you can buy a bottle of beer for less than a bottle of water (this is not a guarantee; you might also be in Bulgaria)

5) the milk expires a week early, but you can still eat Communist snacks (pufuleti) that expired five months ago

6) women dress up to go grocery shopping

7) people complain about it being too hot and seriously ask, “Was it even close to this hot when you were in Africa?”

8) people seem really surprised that you’d want to live here

9) cars speed around you and drive so close they almost hit you, but you don’t feel nervous because you know they’re actually paying attention

10) you see a ticked off woman glare at a busy road and just walk right into traffic, forcing everyone to stop and let her cross

11) you can’t find a single pickup truck (OK, I’ve seen 2)

12) the old woman who lives down the hall does her Saturday cleaning to the sounds of techno and jungle music

13) random men in blue suits load box after box onto the subway, and no one assumes it’s a terrorist attack

14) in a crowd of walkers, one man pulls to the side, unzips, and pees against a wall, without anyone batting an eye

15) a random stranger asks you how much money you make

16) you see more men than women wearing pink

17) you’d swear the “faux-hawk” was the national symbol of the country, judging by how many guys sport one

18) your cabbie comments that it’s too expensive to have more than one kid because he can’t afford Nike and Addidas for all of them

19) you can buy stolen electronics at most intersections, for very reasonable prices

20) you see two guys get in an argument at the mall over something trivial, soon they’re yelling, then they’re punching, then they hug, kiss each others’ cheeks, and sit down for some drinks

21) 10 in the morning seems like a perfectly normal time to see drunk guys stumbling around Lipscani

22) political campaigns consist primarily of falsified statistics, giant billboards of candidates’ faces, and allegations that the other candidate routinely hires prostitutes for 1000 euros a night

23) the power goes out while you’re at the immigration office, but everyone just keeps on working

24) a mom with 2 kids walks confidently through the middle of a construction zone, men with blowtorches and jackhammers working busily around her

25) no one speaks Romanian to you

There you have it, 25 ways you can tell if you’re in Romania.  I love this country.  I don’t know if I’ll ever understand it, but I love it.  Life is anything but boring here.  🙂


3 responses

  1. As for the shirt rolled half-way up thing…I’ve seen that at work…in Burger King…

    August 6, 2012 at 3:31 am

  2. Ruxandra

    those are some really mean bullet points and i think you’re misleading strangers tot think that Romania is some awful place full of peasants that don’t know how to behave properly. Also, i strongly believe that some of the items in your list, you only saw once, so they are not valid. Really, a man randomly peeing?An old lady listening to jungle music?Stolen electronics in every intersection? These are things I’m sure you only saw once and they can be seen elsewhere in the world, stop making them seem like typical Romanian – situations.I’ve lived all my life in Romania (22) and haven’t seen half of the things you state to be true.
    Wouldn’t it be funnier to actually make a list of actually funny stuff? Not mean random things you’ve seen.
    I’ve discovered this article while looking for what strangers think of Romania, i’ve seen funny articles that are not degrading. Yours is not one of them.\
    It’s articles like this and people like you who make this country seem 200 years behind, not the people in it.

    July 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

  3. I don’t think he’s making fun of it at all. We could come up with a list like this for America as well…or any other country of the world, for that matter. And while maybe one or two we have seen once or twice, the rest of them are regular occurrences for us. I’ve seen someone peeing on the side of the street or in a park a LOT. The jungle music lady was our neighbor in the bloc we lived in, and given the fact that electronic/dance music is everywhere, it’s not an insult to her that we acknowledge her listening to it. These aren’t mean at all, and these are just observations on how life here is different than our home country. Different is not bad, just different. Everyone’s gotta learn to not take themselves and others so seriously.

    July 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

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