Before I left Romania, I considered myself a citizen of the world. Once I left, I became the guy from Fagaras, my hometown. I’m not talking about how other people saw me, but rather about how I saw myself.
I live in the world and rejoice at its beauties, but I still bear the scars of my people. I bear their joys and sorrows. And I bear their history. My blood still boils when I remember Nusfalau, Treznea, or Fantana Alba (for those unfamiliar with the history of Romania, these are places where Romanians were massacred by neighboring armies). It’s just a fact. It is as if I am these pains, even prior to being this traveler that I currently am. I’m not saying that my people are greater than others, but there is no place in the whole world where my heart aches more; where my heart lives more.
At times, people tell me that I have no contact with reality. That Romania has become for me some sort of icon, and so I don’t perceive the real Romania, the one in which persons are treated by their governments as numbers (and, unfortunately, we got used to treating one another as numbers as well). And I think they are right: Romania has become an icon for me, but in a different sense: just like an icon makes the Kingdom somehow present, this icon makes me present. It connects me with myself.
I am in an airport, getting ready to leave again. In some sense, to live my earthly life. And still, why does it feel that I’m dying? Every time.