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Why Did I Come Back? ( Part 1 )

I've been asked many times why I moved back to Romania, because apparently I don't look like the crazy person one has in mind when they think "Guy who left AMERICA to move back to Romania."

In large part, that's why I moved back.

But to give a proper answer, I first have to answer the question Why Did I Leave?

'America' (and Canada is generally just lumped into this word), is really not Heaven, Nirvana, The Land of Milk and Honey, or any other whimsical place that describe blissful afterlife or the ideal state of contentment that we like to dream of when things are going Pete Tong. Canada is a country, like any other, with many many people who, unlike many others, put careers, financial gain, and selfish desires above things like relationships, family, and morality. These people aren't monsters by any means, like it or not I'm no different, but I believe in introspection at all levels; I judge the place of which I'm a product while I judge myself.

The thing about living there is you feel like you're riding a wave, or rather, a tsunami whose whitecaps consist of political correctness, superficial relationships, and boredom. You're swept and tossed to the whims of a society whose individualism is no more individualistic than that of Orwellian automatons. Here is a story about the smartest question I ever heard, and the answer serves well to illustrate my point:

It was during the only Philosophy course I ever took in university, and the discussion was centered around ancient Athenian society, when one of the students observed that a paragraph from Plato's Republic specifically showed that "they were open-minded".
"What is it to be 'open-minded'?" The professor asked.
"Umm, well, like being willing to try new things..?"
"Anyone else?" he asked us.
I have to say that I've possibly never paid more attention in a class than at that moment. There was something about the term 'open-minded' that has always bothered me. When the majority of people use it, it's as a self-righteous euphemism for sexual openness, or the way they feel about trying exotic food. I didn't have the answer, but I always knew that wasn't it.
The girl seemed bummed out at our professor's dissatisfaction as he kept looking for hands -or an answer. We were all stumped. What else could "open-minded" mean? Sure, it's a bit of an esoteric term, but isn't it about embracing new things, being tolerant, open to all people and experiences? Isn't it about showing how wise and savvy, and modern you are?
A guy in the front piped up, "It's a way of life guided by tolerance." He thought he was smart and that he nailed it, but he was ignored, too.
"Nobody else?" Asked the prof. Crickets were heard.
"You're all thinking along the same lines," he told us, "but being open-minded is not an attitude." Just like that, it hit me. Of course! It's not what being open-minded is that concerns people, but if they are it. But how can you be something you know nothing about? I will let our professor continue.
"You are open minded when you are an expert on a subject, when you have exhausted all authority on the subject and when you can clearly discern the differences of opinion between all the thinking that takes place around that subject." Amen.
And with that I defy you, dear reader, to find out of the tens of millions of 'open-minded' North Americans, a hundred who fit Professor Boda's true meaning of open-minded people. I'll sooner find the fountain of youth.

In Romania, I've yet to meet somebody whose defining characteristic is 'open-minded'. I think that's extremely refreshing. My Canadian sensibilities were shocked when, during a seemingly normal conversation, a guy told me, "I don't like how black people look, they should just go back to Africa." When I questioned him he didn't back down, he said it was his opinion and that's that. Though I can't understand it, it showed me that it's not about whether I agree or not, but about being around people who truly say what they think. I can't count the number of "Nigger" jokes I heard while living in Toronto, sometimes told and often laughed at by 'open-minded' people. I don't consider myself  'open minded',  so that gives me the freedom to write this paragraph not with just with honesty, but with sincerity, because it's really what I think. I don't know about you, but I like saying what I think (with tact preferably), and if not, I feel like my job, my house, car, bank account, vacations, and outings with friends don't make up for the ever increasing society-regulated and self-imposed censorship regime in the West.

This brings me back to where I started and where I was going. I think  I have trouble answering the grand question because the simple, "why did you come back to Romania?" is never what people really mean to ask. What everybody really means to ask me is, "Why did you leave a place where money grows on trees, where you can get anything you ever dreamed of, to a place where the roads are shitty and the government is corrupt?"
I think I'd easier set the record straight if I had to answer this implicit question instead of the simplified version.

First of all, maybe I don't like money trees. They have all kinds of spindly thorns, sticky sap, and you need really stinky fertilizer to keep them growing. If you want to spend your life tending to a money tree, you're going to be bruised, dirty, and you'll stink (I have the luxury of seeing this from my ivory tower). Then there's the issue of government corruption, and to that I have to ask, what kind of politics would there be without a healthy dose of corruption? A political machine is intrinsically corrupt, or maybe it's just Power that is. Regardless, the difference between the West and Romania in this regard is that wherever there are more money trees the better they hide the corruption. We are all people, people! A man is not more righteous because his name ends in 'son' instead of 'escu'.


  1. I bet you don't earn 175 euros a month (the minimum salary) - its easy to live here with a blue passport that literally allows you to move freely throughout the entire universe.
    At least I can admit that's why I love living here so much. Eleven years and counting!

  2. AnonymousJuly 16, 2015

    I bet he didn't earn 10 bucks an hour in Canada either....


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