Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu

Day 48 – Romania versus Italy (bureaucracy, parenthood, travelling and some society related stuff)

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I’ve been meaning to write this article for a long time but I was delayed by my kind nature. Today I am going to put that aside and speak exactly what I think. So, Italy versus Romania: society stuff, parenthood, bureaucracy and travelling.

  1. Bureaucracy

Ever since I got here I‘ve heard people complaining about the Italian system. I was amazed of that because the system we have back home is no system at all.

Romania – You sit in lines. Huge lines for everything you can think of. You have to push and create an elbow war just to get at the front desk where you will find the sour face of someone who is not even willing to listen to your problem before they send you to another desk with an even bigger line. Peachy. Nobody salutes you, nobody gives a fuck and at some point if you get cocky they will just talk trash back at you because they are superior. They work for the state and you need them. The same thing happens in banks. Romanians have bad manners when it comes to the public system (sorry, no manners at all).

Italy – You go into an office. You get a number. You look at a giant board. You get a little anxious because you can’t find your letter or category or whatever. You sit down. You look around. People are not pushing but they are definitely talking trash about their system (this is the part where I start to smile thinking that they have no idea). You are the next person. You go to the desk. Someone greets you. They sometimes have candy on their desk and I wonder if anyone takes it. You tell them your problem. This is when I start getting mad. You realize they don’t know how to use the computer properly. They don’t know what printer printed your stuff. You stay there for a long time. Sometimes the problem is solved, most of the times they send you to another place with other numbers and boards. They smile and salute when you go. Italians are polite.

  1. Parenthood.

This will be very interesting and dangerous but I will take my chances. Hahaha.

Romania – The option of natural birth is limited and very dangerous. There is almost no information about pregnancy or birth in the state hospitals. You have to pay a lot of money for every service they provide you and have a lot of extra money to put in their pockets when you are giving birth. You are treated poorly and you should keep your mouth shut if you want to get out of there alive. When a newborn comes into this world the mother and the father are not important. They have no space because of all the family members who literally sit on their heads. Usually the mother in-laws are always present and give you advice, there are some cases where they don’t advice they just do it for you. Another funny thing is that from the old days there is this tradition not to take the child or the mother out of the house for 6 weeks. Apparently in English the phenomenon is called confinement (resonant). There are many explanations for why they were doing it back then (there aren’t for why they keep doing it). There were religious reasons and also the mother was living in the country side, pouring out babies like a baby factory and never had the time to rest. She had to work hard around the house, feed the animals, work the garden, take care of the children and so on; so the least they could do was to make her rest for those six weeks. That didn’t meant that the child was not allowed to breathe fresh air or see the sunlight and I am sure that they took the child outside in their yard, but our people still take this tradition ad literam so some mothers stay inside the house until the baby is baptized or six weeks old (creepy huh?the ones who don’t comply are considered bad mothers). Romanians encourage their kids to be independent, to walk by themselves, to have fun, to have friends, to learn new things and they are extremely protective of their children. Don’t joke around a Romanian about his/her kids; he/she will kick your ass no matter who you are (that one kind of goes for me too).

Italy – When you give birth you are aided in every aspect, question or problem you may have. You don’t pay anything throughout the pregnancy or the birthing process. C-section is not an option here unless you actually have a problem and you need one, otherwise natural birth is encouraged and assisted most of the times by beautiful, experienced people. The mother is very important here and her contact with her child and her husband. You don’t neglect your husband in any way (that’s what they teach, not what they do). They don’t encourage other members of the family to be around you that much when you have a newborn. Harmony, tranquility and as much time together as a new family as possible is what they promote and teach you in Italy. Italians keep their children in strollers sometimes until the age of 6. You can often see six years olds in strollers and with tablets in their hands, playing. Pacifiers are something very common and natural until at least five years old and also they are in diapers until four. They sometimes leave their toddlers in the car while they are shopping (this is something I have seen up front). Some encourage their children to be independent by completely abandoning them in public gardens while they sit and watch their phone on a bench nearby. Italians are also extremely protective, but they will curse and say bad words in front of their children just to show how much they love them.

  1. Travelling

This is an easy and short one and I will limit myself only to trains.

Romania – You go to the train station. You sit in a humongous line. You book your ticket. You search your platform number. You sit and wait for the train to appear. The train will be late. The train is always late, whether it is because the gypsies stole a part of the tracks or because of bad weather (either rain, too hot, too cold, snow). The train arrives. You get on the train. You find your seat. The train leaves. He charges like a mad man on the tracks for about half an hour and then it stops and goes like a snail; you could almost pass him by walking (I told you stolen tracks or bad weather). There is nothing nice I can say about train travelling in Romania.

Italy – You go to the train station. You have automatic machines to book your ticket avoiding the lines. You book the ticket. You watch a huge board which tells you what trains and when are they leaving. You can’t see your train. Your train leaves in 20 minutes. You can’t see your train on the board. You panic. Your train leaves in 15 minutes. You can’t see your train on the board. You are mad right now. You have 10 minutes left before your train leaves. The train appears on the board. You start running. Usually the seat you booked is at the end of the platform (at least I am always  that lucky). You get on the train. You find your seat. A beautiful journey begins.

  1. Some society stuff.

Romania – You can smoke inside everywhere. There are some old pastry shops where you can’t because they are dedicated to children only. People are very welcoming and nice and if you are a foreigner they will treat you like royalty (seriously they do). They feed you like no one has fed you before – and food means quantity over quality (this applies only for some regions). Breakfast is a serious thing. You have to eat healthy and a lot in the morning (healthy meaning also a lot). Coffee is an extension of time (as I was saying here). Romanians are bad-ass drivers and their car is their treasure. Don’t touch their car and don’t park yours too close to theirs, otherwise you may find some broken shields when you come back. Romanians laugh a lot. They can make a joke out of everything, death, poverty, trauma and all that shit that other people go to the psychiatrist for. Romanians will stand by you and hold your hand or wipe your tears, but if you don’t get your shit together fast, you will be considered weak, useless and a little too American (sorry friends, it’s because they watch too many American movies).

Italy – You can’t smoke anywhere inside and because of that, children are most welcomed into bars. Actually bars are like Romanian pastry shops. Breakfast means usually a roll or something like that and coffee. They stand while having breakfast. They drink their coffee in two seconds. Italians are very dramatic and repetitive. Either they forget or they just don’t pay attention. Family is everything and food is a tradition. The food quality is very important and meals are extremely cherished. They are also bad-ass drivers only more chaotic. I don’t think they even know how to signal because they never use it and their parking is impeccable. Of course, they can touch your car while parking, but why waste the space? Italians enjoy other people’s drama just so they can have a fun subject they can share afterwards. They will too hold your hand and wipe your tears but as I said before they will ask you over and over why do you need that because they forgot or didn’t pay attention.

 

Those are just a few things that I wanted to outline but there are many, many more. Maybe I should dedicate a weekly article and make this a more elaborate subject. And please treat this article as it is: a funny article about some personal opinions. Over and out!

About the author

Ela Vasilescu

I’m a writer based in Florence, Italy.

Human nature inspires me, different cultures, traditions, folk stories and the differences which make us unique. Documenting stories is a privilege, a glimpse into humanity, an unforgettable experience, one which I embrace and honour every day.

If you have a story twitching in the back of your pocket, one that is ready to be told, shared and heard, chances are I will be ready to listen; so don’t hesitate to send me an email.

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Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu