DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?

by Viviana on February 28, 2010

in ROMANIA

I like to consider myself a fair person. In fairness to my country, I need to mention 3 positive things that  have happened this weekend.

  1. On Friday evening I noticed I could not connect to the Internet anymore. No idea what happened. I called RDS (my Internet provider) on Friday night, they said someone would fix it the next day, I did not believe that. Cause you never trust anyone in this country. That’s something I have to start working on very soon. Good lesson this weekend! So I called again Saturday morning. And they said again someone would come. 2 hours later, on Saturday, someone came to fix it. It took hours until the guy figured out what was wrong. And it was our fault (too many cables and routers, etc). He was also very polite.
  2. I ordered Chinese from Hua Long on the phone. I apologized to the lady because I could not tell her quickly what I wanted, as our Internet connection was down and I could not scroll in the list of items on their website. She was an angel. She even recommended stuff (oh, then you should get this or that…) and she wished us Pofta buna wholeheartedly in the end.
  3. My Grandma suddenly got sick yesterday. Really sick. I tried to help her as I could, and I also called the public ambulance service (thinking they would never arrive). In fact I called 112 and they connected me to the ambulance service. The doctor came in 2 hours (so Romanians should stop saying that the ambulance never comes to old people! My Grandma still looks good, but she is almost 90 for Christ’s sake!). The doctor (lady doctor) was polite, nice and very helpful. She gave Grannie a shot and told us what to do.

I know that most of my readers from W countries think that all this sounds like stating facts about normal every day life. Why would anyone be thrilled that a receptionist is polite, or that a cable guy goes the extra mile to fix something? Or that the paramedics come when you call them? Well, we only experienced the lack of services in Romania for 45 years (communist period), and another 20 since our so called revolution. Things are changing slowly, but changing! I will keep you posted on what is really special in our country, or simply, the things that become normal. I guess it’s true what Ambassador Jim Rosapepe told me when I was younger: “you, Romanians, still have a lot to discover, and that makes your life even more interesting.”

In 1999 (I think), I was visiting Casa Poporului with the American Ambassador to Romania and his friend, the American Ambassador to Great Britain. I was acting as a guide/translator for them and their spouses and children. As we were walking through that horrible building, I mentioned to the Ambassador to England that “I am still nicely surprised when there is hot water and I can take a shower”. He asked me why. And I told him that for us, Romanians, hot water, meat, electricity, bananas, oranges, chocolate and many other things where luxury items in communism. And sometimes, because we lived for so long depraved of all these things, without even realizing it, we are happy that we have them now. To my surprise, the Ambassador stopped, called his children, and had me tell the stories from my childhood again. Stories about sitting and doing my homework in the dark, candles on the table, my hands freezing and wearing a hat outside and inside as well, eating terrible food, TV for 2 hours in the evening (and every minute of it about Ceausescu and his great deeds), no hot water, etc. When I finished, the Ambassador turned to his children (2 beautiful blonde American  9 and 14 year olds) and said: “now, do you understand how lucky you are?”

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