More About Our Trip to Romania

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About four months ago, we returned from spending 15 days in Romania. My sister and her family still live there, along with all my relatives except for my parents. My father passed away almost two years ago. My mother lives in Spain. She came over to Romania while we were there and this whole trip felt more like a family reunion than anything else.

Aunt with nephew niece inside a Bucharest mall

My sister with my children inside a mall in Bucharest

Not that we did not see things. We acted like tourists by renting a nine-passenger automatic Mercedes van and traveled through 10 cities. We did not stay anywhere longer than three days. It was a fast pace, but we had much to see and many relatives to visit.  Continue reading »

Our Trip to Romania

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More than a month after our return, I finally have the chance to write about it. I have had so much other homeschooling matter to deal with on the blog, it has been hard to squeeze the trip about Romania in here.

Hunedoara Castle in Romania

The four of us at Hunedoara Castle, on a cold and rainy April day. Universal was filming Dragonheart 4 there, but most of the castle was open.

We had so much fun and covered so much territory, literally and symbolically, that it has been hard to express it all in one post. A series of posts will do, but for now, just an overall post should take care of business. Continue reading »

Where Am I From? Romania

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I place a strong emphasis on foreign languages in our homeschool because I am a European. More precisely, I am from Romania. I learned French and English in school like most Romanian kids. Two foreign languages were mandatory school subjects grades 5-12. I am not sure what they do now, but I expect they still do two languages. We also took one year of Latin in the eighth grade. That’s when we learned “Gaudeamus Igitur” by heart.

Romania used to be a Roman province – hence the name and the strong presence of Latin words in our language.

Latin poet Ovid was exiled to Tomis (modern day Constanta, Romania, a Black Sea port). Back then, he complained nobody spoke Latin. Little did he know how much the local language would be influenced by Latin over the centuries.

Statue of Roman poet Ovid in Constanta, Romania - about two blocks from where I used to spend my summer holidays

Statue of Roman poet Ovid in Constanta, Romania – about two blocks from where I used to spend my summer holidays

Indeed, the Romanian language finds itself in the same group as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French – the Romance languages of the world.

Just to give you a glimpse into the similarities… We say “casa de moda” – like in Spanish, “fashion house.” We say “merci” like in French for “thank you.” We say “noi” for “we,” just like in Italian.

We do have some Slavic words, naturally. We are surrounded by Slavic nations: Bulgaria to the south, former Yougoslavia to the southwest, Ukraine to the North and the Republic of Moldova (a bit of Russia) to the East. But we use the Roman alphabet and have been called an island of Latinity in a Sea of Slavic Languages.

No wonder Romania is part of the francophone world and even hosted one of their summits a few years ago. Here’s a map of the Francophone countries of the world:

Map of francophone countries, with Romania being one of them

Map of francophone countries, with Romania being one of them

My husband (who is American) jokes that we Romanians like to get in the news about once a week and, alas, he is right. Sometimes it’s good news. Most of the time, it’s not. Ever since we started dating, he noticed that American media reports on at least one weekly incident involving Romanians. You watch and tell me if it’s true.

They say there are a lot of Romanians working for Microsoft in Seattle. In fact, they say Romanian is the second most spoken language in those offices – after English. That’s according to this youtube video which extols some other great facts about my country. A world without Romania would be, well, not exactly what we have today. You will have to watch to believe. (Viewer discretion advised for some references to alcohol and a short provocative collage of Romanian fashion models.)

If you want to listen to some of Romanian pop/folk music, just youtube names like Angela Similea, Gabriel Cotabita, Mircea Baniciu and Tudor Gheorghe – these are some of my favorites from the 80s. I left Romania in 1993 and have returned several times, but have lost touch with most of the culture. For traditional Romanian music, look for names like Ion Dolanescu and Maria Ciobanu. I have never been a fan, but my mom loves it.

I am proud of my heritage – for the most part – and want to pass on to my children some of the things that made me “me”. Recently, my son told me, “Mommy, I wish I had been with you in Romania when you were growing up.” He is six.

This post is part of a Multilingual Kids Blog carnival, hosted this month my Stephen of Head of the Heard.