1. You’re genetically programmed to recognize a Renault 12 from miles away.
In France, the production of the Renault 12, first released in 1969 and ceased in 1980. In Romania, though, the model was produced and sold well into the 21st century, under the local brand name “Dacia.” For decades, the vast majority of the vehicles on the country’s roads were Dacias. Result? It’s in our DNA to spot one anywhere.
2. Smoked pig fat with onion sounds like an amazing and healthy breakfast.
It does consist of two types of vegetables after all: pork and onions.
3. You have a love/hate relationship with Romania’s national holiday.
Yes, it’s an important day with fireworks and celebrations, and everybody gets a day off so you could, in theory, turn the whole thing into something fun — except that it’s on the 1st of December! Why on earth did they decide to set the national holiday in the greyest, dullest, rainiest season of the year?
4. Count Dracula is not a vampire to you, he’s a national hero.
You learned about Count Dracula in your school’s history class, not literature class. He wasn’t “Count Dracula” but “Vlad the Impaler” — ruler of, not Transylvania, but another Romanian province. And most importantly, he was a good guy, fighting for justice in his own wicked and medieval way. And speaking of that…
5. You’re not scared of Transylvania.
It’s a safe region in a generally safe country. You’ve been there.
6. You’ve become immune to homemade plum brandy.
Also known as țuică and the national drink, the strong variants can have up to 60% of alcohol or more — but you’re still not impressed. You’ve even had it before 9am once and survived. You smirk at foreigners who get tipsy after just one shot.
7. Fried fish is tasteless without a sauce made of crushed garlic and water.
8. You speak three or four languages at a decent level.
You learnt English and French (or German) at school, you picked up Italian from cartoons, and Spanish from songs and TV. You can actually sustain a conversation in all of them.
9. Soup is what you have at lunch for the first course, not when you’re sick.
10. You seriously consider fleeing the country every year in December.
You feel the need to escape the media avalanche of Christmas carols sung by a certain middle-aged balding guy with blonde hair. His name shall not be mentioned. If you were raised in Romania, you know it.
11. A wedding is not a wedding without sarmale (cabagge rolls) with cream.
12. You don’t play an instrument; you tell jokes.
You know at least one from all the categories of Romanian jokes and you tell them spontaneously in conversation. At a party, you and your friends tell joke after joke for 40 minutes in a row, while the guitar and bongo drum collects dust in the corner.
13. You’re in a shopping frenzy every year from the last week of February until the 8th of March.
Valentine’s Day (definitely not a Romanian holiday, despite the heavy marketing) is not the end of it — it’s the beginning. There’s the 1st of March, when you buy around 20 little jewels tied with a white and red thread to give to your friends. Then the 8th of March, when you give gifts to your mother, sister, significant other, friends, colleagues, and just about every female living thing that you come across in your day-to-day life.
Photo: Daniel Hoherd