Christmas & New Years in Bucharest

As everyone is waiting for the clock to tick down to 12 midnight. Another new year approaches and for certain there will be lots of new years kisses, glasses been raised for a toast, family, and friends celebrating the new and the old. For me this year it will be different from previous years. I’m living in a different country from my own.ie Ireland. Like anyone who lives abroad, over the Christmas and new years period you miss your family and friends back home etc. But when I look back and reflect on things past and present I’m happy to be where I am, Ireland has been my home for a long time, but that home will always be there and now I have a new home. Let’s face it I don’t think a whole lot has have changed in the time that I’ve gone. I’m pretty sure everyone is doing pretty much the same as always, some will have kids, got new jobs, went out and did the same routine as normal etc. Life goes on. “Such is life” as a wise man once said.

In Romania  Dec 31 – Jan 1 means the burial of the old year and the birth of the new one, and it is called the old year before and the new year, after that midnight. St. Basil is the first of the holidays celebrating the important saints of the Romanian religious calendar. St. Basil is celebrated every year on January 1, as a joyful young man who likes love and fun. (dont we all)

Christmas in Romania has been pretty different in a lot of ways from back home. Some similarities to be fair, but different never the less. Romania has a lot of traditions in so many ways, no matter what time of the year it is. We had people coming to the apartment complex and outside the block singing their hearts out with some lovely Christmas melodies, (pity I wasn’t fluent in the language to really take it all in) charming nevertheless… a group of people cracking whips as they walk by the blocks, not to sure about that one, the cutting/killing of the pig for the feast, the boiled wine in the Christmas market on a cold winter’s night as it snows around you. As I am but a student of this land, I let it all soak in; where ever possible.With any big city, you have lots of Christmas lights and Bucharest is no exception. I didn’t get to see all that i would have liked but there is always next year. From what I did see I was impressed.

This is my first Christmas in Romania and also as a daddy, when I think back on the year I have had, it has been one of the best as I got to welcome into the world a beautiful little lady, and as Christmas is a time for giving, my fiance gave me the best gift of all. The gift of life. For that, I will always be eternally grateful to her; and I would like take this time to tell her I love her very much. Christmas without having a kid or kids, has never meant that much to me, but its kids/family and friends who make Christmas. So to all my family and friends and whoever reads this blog. I wish you all the best for the new year ahead and I hope it brings you as much joy as I have had this year.

If you got this far, thanks for reading. Please like/follow/share or leave a comment. Feed back in always welcome.

Some nice pics below

 

5 Things I have noticed since moving to Bucharest, Romania…

As you can imagine living in Ireland, we are some what way out of the distance of central Europe. As once described by Roddy Doyle in “The Commitments” the Irish are “the blacks of Europe” 🙂 Every country you go visit or live in has its differences, Ireland like many other countries is no exception. The way we talk, act,carry on and so forth. As a people we are hard-working when we need to be and very laid back also, never short of a joke or a good story. All work and no play makes for a very dull day. We like to have “the craic” where ever and how ever we can. Today I was thinking about some of the difference that I have seen since I came to live in Romania. Just little things, but I’m sure a few Romanians might agree with what I write about here today.

The local bus

Everyday Mon/Friday I get up to go to work, I get the 355,or 330 to where I work. It takes maybe 25/30 mins at most to get there. In this time, I have noticed that no matter how hot it is outside; and no matter how hot it is inside? The windows for the most part are always closed, very rarely do I see a window open, no matter how many people are in the bus. If you are brave enough to open a window, then be ready for someone to close it just as quick. For some reason, I don’t know why. But the older generation of Romanians in particular, think the cold will hurt them in someway or that they will get sick. Sometimes its like a tin of sardines on the bus, there are so many people packed into it. If you’re a claustrophobic person, please take the metro!! If not, for sure you will have a panic attack on the bus and die during rush hour 🙂 (don’t say I didn’t warn you)

The local bus conductors,

For sure it you are a foreigner they will see it and they will approach you looking for your card, to see did you pay before getting on or if the card is valid. I’ve had one or two run ins with these guys. If it was legal to hit them by all means I would love too, as would many other Romanians. Quite simply put, there assholes. Maybe not all of them but the ones I had dealings with. They took me off the bus one day and tried to scam me out of 50 Lei, I payed my card before getting on the bus. They came and checked it. For sure they switched the card and then said, no money off, off. So I got off, they threatened me with the police. Then wanted me to pay 50 lei fine, I called their bluff and said ring them. When they seen they weren’t getting anywhere, they gave me back my card and told me to go in a not so polite way. So I obliged and got the next bus.

Old women in the supermarket,

The first time I ever went to the supermarket it was an eye opener. In Ireland we are very relaxed when we go grocery shopping, in Romania however it’s a different story altogether. Think of it like, formula one driving meets destruction derby!!! The old women and gentlemen think it’s a race, they are very fast and eager to get their shopping done, so much so that when you are weighing your fruit or vegetables, personal space goes out the window. They will be almost be humping you from behind to get in next to weigh their groceries. Space can also be another issue if there coming down your aisle, be sure to get out of their way or use your trolley like a shield and attack their trolley till you can push your way through. I’ve had a few stair downs with some old ladies but I stood my ground. Luckily enough I have a bit of fight in me. As for the trolley, it never fully recovered and had to be put down… dame you old lady!!!

(Ps…. I have nothing  against old people)

Men going around with their T-shirts above there belly’s like tank tops,

Not to sure what to say about this, but yes its true? Its seems like its fashionable here, Men of all shapes and sizes, young and old. On a hot day for some reason lift their t-shirts above there belly’s and let it all hang out, as the air works its wonders around said area. I’m not criticizing, its just an observation. Each to their own as they say. If you did this in Ireland, a few eyebrows would be raised.

The traffic and crazy driving,

I’ve read a few articles about Romanians driving, as in any big city people are always in a rush. My father is from Dublin so when visiting relatives in Dublin I got a good feel for this their also. Bucharest is no exception!!! The traffic lights can go from red to orange and for 0.5seconds later when it turns green you better be driving off or you will hear the beeps from the cars behind you. It’s good my Romanian is not so good, I can’t understand if there swearing at me and my fiancée or not? I just smile and wave goodbye. But for sure if your driving here, it wont be long till you learn how to swear in Romanian 🙂 While also becoming an unqualified rally car driver.

This article is just a little look at some of the things I noticed here, please rest assured no trolleys or old ladies died in the production of this article…

If you like what you see here please feel free to share, comment or like the article. Any feedback is always welcome.

Anthony