Message in a Bottle

Hey folks, I know I haven’t been writing here on the blog much over the past six months or so, but that doesn’t mean I have been writing, including a whole lot of correspondence via email.

Every week, I get several letters (via email) from people who want to learn more about Romania, or to be more specific, want to become Romanians by going through the crazy citizenship process.

Considering that Romania is rapidly running out of people due to large-scale emigration, I believe that the idea of wanting to become Romanian is…. well, beautiful.

Somehow, my original post on getting a Romanian passport has now been shared and reposted all over the internet, so sometimes I get some rather comical messages from people who clearly have no idea who I am or even that my website exists. But most of the stories are one of heartbreak, tragedy, and historical injustices.

I’ve heard from people from all over the world, including so-called “rich” countries like the United States, Australia, Canada, and Singapore, who want to reconnect to or re-establish their Romanian heritage, culture, and identity.

I’ve spoken to people whose family history involves harrowing tales of escaping pogroms, wars, poverty, and political repression. In short, the history of Romania and the Romanian-speaking areas of Eastern Europe is a rather bitter one.

I don’t know how much help I offered to all of these people who wrote me such heartbreaking emails, but I’m honored to have contributed, even if was just a little.

I definitely heard some happy stories as well, including one of my favorites when a Serbian citizen of Romanian heritage successfully got all of his papers processed and became a full-fledged Romanian citizen. Awesome!

Raise Your Glass

Now, not all of the letters I get are about citizenship. I also hear from all kinds of interesting people, including the eternal offers to “buy me a beer” the next time I’m in Bucharest.

That’s a very thoughtful and generous sentiment, and I’d be happy to enjoy a glass of wine (not much of a beer guy, sorry!) with you, but I honestly don’t know when the next time I’ll be in Bucharest will be. Currently, I split my time between Chisinau and Tiraspol which are both pretty far off most reader’s paths.

However, one of my favorite kinds of letters is when I hear from people about whom I’ve written on the blog. This summer, I was incredibly surprised and happy to receive a lovely message from Stephanie Roth, the woman who pretty much single-handedly got the ball rolling on protecting Rosia Montana.

You can read the entire story at the link above, but Rosia Montana has always been a curious case. A Romanian emigree who long since forgot about his native land tried to arrange a business deal in which a historic site would be destroyed in order to dig up a few kilos of gold. Locals protested, but the deal went through regardless. That is until Stephanie Roth got involved. Fast forward a few years, and Rosia Montana is the ultimate triumph story of love over greed.

Well, more or less. Rosia Montana’s fate is still uncertain as the current Romanian government under PM Dancila has refused to confirm it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can’t mine there, but the government is too afraid to declare it permanently off-limits as doing so will risk paying 4.4 billion dollars. Ouch!

Anyway, it’ll probably be 2020 or even later before the case of Rosia Montana gets permanently settled one way or another. But I’ve been impressed for years by Roth’s grit and determination to save Rosia Montana, and it was a really special treat for me to be able to exchange a few emails with her and thank her personally for everything that she’s done.

Good n’ Plenty

From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every person who shared their story with me. If you have a question, concern, or just a story you’d like to share, you can reach me at the “Contact” page (link is at the top of every page).

Thank you!!

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