Four Eyes

When I was a kid, we considered it the height of hilarity to refer to someone as “four eyes”. In modern terms, we thought this was a “sick burn,” but all it means it that the person wears glasses (spectacles). Not all that original, I know. In Romanian, however, saying ochii-n patru means something completely…

Loitering

Anyone who has ever learned (or attempted to learn) another language knows that there are always some words and phrases that can never be translated properly. The Portuguese word saudade is a classic example, having much more depth of meaning and sadness than English words like “longing” or “melancholy” can adequately portray. Today’s word, loitering…

The Net Bag Mini Sack Pack

Following up on my post A Refreshing Drink of Sweet Water Juice, I thought I’d explore some other common words in the Romanian language which have a number of common variants. When I first moved to Cluj-Napoca and I’d go to the grocery store, the clerk would ask me if I wanted a punga. This…

A Refreshing Drink of Sweet Water Juice

The other day, a friend of mine posted a rather humorous breakdown of the differences between some words used in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. One of them, in particular, made me smile, as I remember learning all three versions during the course of my adventures in learning the language. Making the issue even…

If I were the ambassador…

I have to admit that I was initially quite happily surprised to see the latest letter published in the Huffington Post (UK edition) from Doctor Ion “Two Sheeps” Jinga because I thought that perhaps the same ghost writer who recently wrote on behalf of Crin Antonescu had helped the good “doctor” sound somewhat intelligent and…

More Gooder Relations with the English

Anyone living here for any amount of time knows that Romania is a comedy of errors, where even the most routine things get cocked up (as British people say). A case in point is a screencap I took of the welcome message of the official website of the Romanian embassy in Britain: Seriously, you’d think…

Murder in Piata Unirii

On a bitterly cold and dark morning last week, long after the last club goers had staggered home and before the commuters began heading to work, I saw a murder right in the center of Piata Unirii, the main square in downtown Cluj-Napoca. It was a brazen thing, committed right in the center of the…