I recently saw a campaign organized by Yvette Larson from Bucharest Lounge: why I love Romania. Of course, it provoked me to ask myself the same question. I realized that I cannot say why I love Romania. I just do. I do not think Romania is more special than other countries, but it is special to me.
Romania is the warmth of my grandmother’s, mama mare‘s, apple pie, the taste of apples with cinnamon. It is the sweat of my mother staying an entire day in the kitchen to make gurite. It is my dad’s listening to Radio Free Europe, putting the pillow on the phone because of the fear to not be heard by the Securitate, the secret police.
Romania brings back the beauty of early mornings during Holy Week, when we woke up at 6:00 am or even earlier to go to a priest in one of the villages, so that we would make our confession before Pascha (Easter) (going to church during Communism could bring upon one’s family the wrath of the Party, so my parents avoided to go to church in our own town). It is the walking home during the night of the Resurrection, with lit candles.
Romania is also the nights when mama mare took my cold feet between her legs so that I warm up. It is her gesture of lighting the candle or of making the sign of the cross, staying peacefully on her old, beautiful knees. Or it is her showing me how to sew a button (mama-mpunge si eu trag, ce frumoasa haina-mi fac).
Romania is also my tata mare, laughing like a kid when he was jumping with a sleigh over a bench. It is his love for muzica populara, folklore, and his playing the flute although he had no idea how to do it.
Romania is also the sound of toaca when we went to monasteries.
Romania is the one teaspoon of heavenly sherbet that mother Epraxia, one of the nuns at Agapia, offered each one of us when we visited her.
Romania is so many other things. But I do not love Romania because of them. Romania is made in me out of them. Unique relationships that contribute to my person. I do not love Romania against any other countries just as I do not love my mom or my wife against any other women. Each one of them is part of me in her own way.
For me, there is no choice. I do not love Romania because of something. I just do.