What is a Romanian? A joke.
I sure took my time in writing about my first impressions here. Looking back on how “humble” I tried to be about my acceptance letter, I realized I did not know what exactly I was going in for. My ears were solid shut and I did not want to hear about other’s people confrontations with the Americans – after all, I did spend most of my life speaking American English, watching American movies, falling in love with American writers and all that. It was safe to assume that I was an American myself, not by birth right, but by assimilation. Another thing I have to be ponderly cautious about here, the land of so-called advertised freedom – not of speech, for that matter. Funny, I just studied the Bill of Rights and the first Amendment punches me right in the throat. Or any viable US citiezen for that matter.
Ok, ok! I will get down to the funny business. And in doing that, I will try as much as possible not to offend anybody. I promised a satire on people’s reaction to me being Romanian, because what is funnier than a private, prestigious college girl who prides herself on being at Wellesley and not being able to recognize my country’s language? I mean, I can name a few things, but let us just imagine this is the funniest thing you will read today.
Besides the common “wow” and “that must be nice”, which are lazy and predictable, I have made a top of my favourite so far. I do have to admit, before this, as I keep mentioning on my website that I am no hypocrite and I will do my best to stay that way, that I cried my eyes out for one week straight before getting adjusted to people responding this way. And disclaimer: no, it wasn’t just Americans who proved to be completely ignorant of my home culture. We can throw in the other continents, as well, since I do not feel particularly nice this cold evening.
- Is that near Venezuela? (Asian)
- Is she from Romania-Romania? (Asian)
- What other language do you speak besides Russsian? (Asian) At no point in the conversation did I mention that I speak Russian. But thanks for assuming I am so trilingual or whatever you smart, linguistic people call it.
- Wow, I have friends in Poland/Bulgaria/Ukraine/whatever country they remember from that forgotten part of the world. I have to nod, smile, and pretend I am familiar with every person in that region. (Every freaking American)
- Wait, is Romanian even a thing? I assume it is, since I have been speaking it for the past 19 years. Ok, maybe 17. But at least we have an official language. (American)
- Wow, she’s actually smart. (I heard you.)
- Do you have many gypsies there? After I freeze like in The Office zoom-in on my face and try to find a somewhat normal response to this, she continues: All the gypsies are from Romania. Good to know. (For goodness sake, the bank teller)
I had saved up a few harsher ones, but I am afraid I might have no friends after this and I really just stopped intensively crying. It is a satire, a joke, nothing more, nothing less. If I could put up with all of these responses, you could put up with mine.
But I also want to thank the rest of the people who emphatized, aggressively hugged me, and tried their best to integrate me in this new culture. I truly appreciate that. At the end of the day, I am finally proud to say I am Romanian. It counts for something in a majority of Americans. Hai, v-am pupat!