Collect them all!
1) The Junior American
You speak Romanian and thinks this makes you Romanian, but your life is pretty much modeled on the Great American Dream.
You learned English as young as humanly possible, probably from watching MTV and/or cartoons. You gravitate towards all things American, including music, movies, and pop culture. You love to speak English as much as possible.
Your speech is riddled with English words, which is why you go to printez a document for your team-building-ul. In fact, your Romanian is so “Americanized” that you can barely hold a complete conversation in Romanian without resorting to some English words like “okay” or “cool”.
You think American products and brands are the absolute best in the world. You believe that people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are “geniuses.” Your favorite shows are all from America, and you amuse yourself and your friends by repeating quotes from them.
The best jobs are all American ones, whether it’s being a computer programmer, celebrity, or CEO of a “start-up.” You believe the finest meal in town is at a restaurant, and you regularly track new openings. The best dates on the calendar all revolve around food festivals.
At home, your “go-to” meal is a sandwich. You eat traditional Romanian foods very rarely, but consider yourself extremely proud to be Romanian nonetheless. You’d rather die than eat sunflower seeds in public.
When you turn on the television, it seems custom-made just for you. Conveniently, American programs are subtitled instead of being dubbed. The products advertised on TV appeal to you. And all the heartburn and constipation medicines shown on the ads are definitely something that you’ve purchased before.
Therefore, when contestants in TV shows like “X Factor Romania” or “Vocea Romaniei” win by perfectly mimicking American singers (Beyonce and Michael Jackson, respectively), you’re thrilled.
Your biggest gripe is about the condition of the roads in Romania, which are never fast enough or good enough. In your mind, development is identical to building roads. And the ultimate goal for the country is to “increase prosperity.” To that end, foreign investment, the IMF, World Bank, EU, and America are all “agents of good.”
You believe that Romania has a “special relationship” with America, and it’s a relationship between equals, not master and slave. You believe that Americans always want to do good. And even if they occasionally slip up, it’s because Americans are human, not deliberately cruel and callous.
It doesn’t bother you that American soldiers are permanently stationed on Romanian soil. In fact, it’s great! It means that America is protecting you from evil Russia.
And Russia is always evil. Always. Every single person who speaks Russian is a secret agent of Vladimir Putin, who is the anti-Christ. The nation of Russia is identical to the Soviet Union, and Romania has always been humiliated, mistreated, and abused by Russia (and the Soviet Union). If Romania stands down her guard for even a single second, Russia is definitely going to invade.
Your greatest goal is to own a nice car, have a big TV, fly to somewhere for your vacation, and find the perfect “gastropub” in town that serves up fusion cuisine that’s cool and retro at the same time.
2) The Western European
Whether due to family tradition or just your keen desire, you’ve mastered a Western European language like French or German. You love speaking these languages, listening to music in these languages, and traditional culture from the lands where these languages are the majority.
You may have a desire to move to a Western European country or have moved there already for work, school, or love. You enjoy snacking on Western European treats and watching movies from those countries. If there’s a cultural center in your hometown in Romania, you go there frequently.
You’re a fervent supporter of the EU. It makes you proud to be Romanian because Romania is a member of the EU. You believe in EU ideals like freedom of movement, tolerance, and diversity. You’ve traveled as much as possible across the EU and love meeting EU foreigners in Romania. You support LGBTQI and minority rights.
You’re quiet, clean, hard-working, and fastidious. You love to read books and poetry. You know that geography shows that Romania is located between Hungary and Ukraine, but in your heart, you believe that Romania is actually located somewhere in the Alps between Germany, France, and Italy.
You rarely vote, only doing so when the situation seems dire or some lunatic is in danger of winning.
3) The Fascist
Although every Romanian believes their language is “unique” and superior to all others, you take everything a step further.
You believe in a “Greater Romania” that goes far beyond even the 1920 Trianon Treaty (although you, of course, date it from December 1, 1918). You believe a restored Romania should include far-off lands like “Podelia” and “Valea Timocului” and “Cetatea Alba” that few people could find on a map. And anyone who doesn’t support “Reunification” can go straight to hell!
You believe Romania is ONLY for Romanians, and everyone else is an interloper. You have a sneaking suspicion that government officials in Hungary are secretly planning to invade Romania one day. And Szeklers are the dirtiest minority of all. Szeklers are traitorous, uppity bastards who should be deported, jailed, or shot.
You believe that literally everything in Romania should be done in the Romanian language, and you don’t care if “minorities” disagree or suffer because of it.
You believe that LGBTQI people are either a “conspiracy” or deluded people engaged in “subhuman” behavior. And the only acceptable definition of marriage is a heterosexual, monogamous man with a heterosexual, monogamous woman whose union is blessed in an Orthodox church.
You are Orthodox, too. Not just on rare occasions or the big holidays, but seven days a week. You’ve definitely donated money to the church. You’ve paid for things like prayers and holy water. You believe angels exist and regularly intervene in human lives. And you firmly believe that a Romania without the Orthodox church is a country that will descend into lawlessness, anarchy, and homosexual behavior.
December 1, 1918, was the greatest day in all of Romanian history. And speaking of history, Romanians instantly appeared 2,000 years ago when Emperor Trajan invaded the country and have been here ever since. Everyone else is just a dirty immigrant.
4) The Manelist
You don’t speak any foreign languages. You think, breathe, and speak Romanian. And because of that, the only people you know are Romanian speakers, i.e. no foreigners at all.
You listen to manele music, not just at weddings, not just when you’re drunk, and not just at 3:00 a.m. when the DJ decides to “go wild.” You listen to manele because it’s in your language, and it speaks to you about a life that you can understand – working abroad for less money than you were promised, being separated from your friends and family, and losing your parents to ill health.
You probably live in a small town or city. You’ve done manual labor, whether in Romania or abroad. You are or know people who “get their hands dirty” and know how to do things like cook, sew, clean, repair engines, and dig a ditch.
You love Romanian food, as in LOVE it. In fact, pizza and Chinese food is very weird to you. And no holiday is complete without a huge feast of Romanian food and drink. The finest snack in the world is sunflower seeds.
Your greatest goal in life is to have a big house, a spouse and several children, a fancy car, good standing with the local priest, and enough material goods that your neighbors are jealous. Showing off your wealth is ideal rather than minimizing or trying to hide your success.
You have at least one enemy. And if you don’t have any enemies, it’s because you’re poor. After all, everyone knows that, if you have money, you’ll soon acquire enemies.
You may have traveled a bit abroad, but you never learned their language or culture and thought that everyone was weird and strange. And you avoid any restaurant, bar, or business with an English name because you’ll feel out of place and possibly embarrassed there.
You love Romania, and you vote whenever you can and always attend parades and free music concerts and shows put on by the government.
5) The Minority
On paper, you’re a citizen of Romania. Your family has been here for centuries, if not millennia. But because you’re not an “ethnic” Romanian, you are in a perpetual state of internal conflict.
Should you embrace your version of Romania and continue to live in your ancestral home? Or should you move to another country where people like you are in the majority?
But even finding solidarity with the people from abroad is problematic as you may not like their politics or government or laws or practices. And sometimes, those ethnic “brothers” treat you as second-class simply because you have a “Romanian” accent.
You speak Romanian, whether well or just a little, but it always feels weird coming out of your mouth. You’re appreciative of the token measures of respect from the community like festivals and special days honoring your culture, but deep down, there’s always a part of you that will never fully trust (ethnic) Romanians.
And many times, you see your culture being erased or appropriated. Your traditional foods are simplified and given a Romanian nickname. It’s hard to find books in your language. Studying in your language at school is always problematic. And you can never, ever, EVER wave a flag other than Romania’s because your neighbors will go ballistic.
What do you do? Do you go full-on patriotic in your identity and thus face the wrath of Romanians or hide your identity, blend in, and hope for the best? It’s an eternal question that never has a clear answer.
6) The Villager
You may not always realize it, but millions of urban-dwelling Romanians cherish you for your “authentic” lifestyle.
You’re poor. You may not have running water and/or electricity. You grow the majority of your food and drink or get it from someone you know personally, often a neighbor. You always have plants growing inside your house or in your garden. If you feel unwell or get injured, you prefer a traditional remedy over some fancy pharmacy pill.
You only speak Romanian. Watching TV is an important part of your day, but images of modern, big houses with apple-cheeked children ecstatic about Hochland “cheese” and concepts such as “Black Friday feel like scenes from another planet even if the text and dubbing are in Romanian.
Folk songs, sayings, and traditional dances aren’t just curious relics of the past but part of your everyday life. You know hundreds of jokes and amusing stories, including ones about talking animals, magical spirits, and curses.
Your vote is heavily swayed by material gifts of food and basic supplies from political parties. You don’t have a passport, and you’ve rarely, if ever, visited another country.
Your biggest gripe is that politicians are stealing and you’re not, or at least not enough. And you look back to Communism with a bit of fondness because hey, in those days, everyone could steal a little, and it never harmed anyone.
7) The Self-Hating Moldovan
Whether or not you’re an actual citizen of Romania and/or live inside the present-day borders of Romania, you know that you’ll never be a “real” Romanian. No matter how hard you work, you’ll always be considered as a second-class type of Romanian.
“Real” Romanians laugh at your accent, vocabulary, and traditions. They call your sisters and mothers whores and sluts. Your favorite foods are dismissed as “boring” or “tasteless.”
The way you learned to speak at home and how your relatives speak is garbage and embarrassing. You believe in a concept of a “pure” Romanian language that is decided by a handful of academics and intellectuals in Bucharest.
Your only choice is to try to scrub away all traces of your Moldovan identity. You spend countless hours learning to speak “pure” Romanian. But even when you speak it better and more clearly than a “real” Romanian, you still feel a niggling sense of self-doubt.
You avidly consume television, news, and entertainment from Romania as it’s coming from the “motherland.” And you think of Romania this way because Moldova is eternally the “child.” You also learn to adapt the way you dress, act, write, sing, and behave in order to conform to the expectations of “real” Romanians.
You’re always somewhat confused because part of you is proud of your Moldovan identity, but yet at the same time, you’ve learned that anything Moldovan is inferior to something that is Romanian. You strongly believe that “Greater Romania” should once again be a thing but you have no earthly idea about the practicalities of that happening.
You always vote in Romanian elections despite the fact that Moldovans haven’t had any significant political power since the days of A.I. Cuza. You’re proud that Romanians have adopted Stefan cel Mare as one of their own. And you’re also proud when a Moldovan does well, especially if “does well” means gaining success and respect in Romania.
Speaking Russian or appreciating Russian culture is something shameful, even if you don’t understand why. You like Russian movies and old Soviet cartoons, but you never tell anyone.
You probably don’t travel abroad too much, but if you do, you usually tell people you’re Romanian instead of Moldovan. You don’t really give a shit about France, Germany, or the EU except when it directly profits you.
At the end of the day, you’re never quite sure who you are. But you never, ever blame “real” Romanians for making you feel bad about yourself because it’s always your own stupid fault for not being Romanian enough.