I’ve grown used to being the only Romanian in the room.
I know most people I meet in these windowless offices have no clue as to where Romania is on the map or whether we’ve got working electricity, and I am more than willing to educate them on all things Romanian whether they ask for it or not.
They are, of course, selective in what they like to hear stories about, even when it comes to super duper exciting Romania, and who am I to deny them what they want. So you’ll find me yapping along about Communism, Dracula, Nadia Comaneci and the Romanian Gipsies, while armies of tea sipping Brits devour my every word. Eastern Europe is the new exotic place, perhaps not to visit, but definitely to talk about on your coffee break. And then, there’s the imminent Romanian invasion everybody feels the need to prepare for.
What, have you not heard about the Imminent Romanian Invasion? What planet have you been living on? It’s been in all the papers for as long as I can remember. They are coming. On January 1st, 2014, the moment UK lifts their visa restrictions for Romanians, they’ll be storming in to steal everybody’s jobs. Be. Afraid.
Joking aside, I am worried. My Romanian exoticism is pretty much the only thing I’ve got going for myself at the moment. I am her. The Romanian. The one to be seen with. The one to be discreetly checking for vampire bite marks. And soon, if the Daily Mail is to be trusted, there’s going to be a million of us. A million different Dracula stories to compete with. A million brand new, cute, Russian-like accents just like mine. My fifteen minutes of fame, gone in a flash.
Today was a bad day. I’ve just met my first Romanian colleague. We’d been working a couple of desks apart for a week or two, but had no idea about each other. Or at least I, I had no idea. He probably knew, and used the upper hand to study me from afar. He’s learnt all my jokes, he’s figured out all my weaknesses. Then waited for the perfect moment to strike. To let me know he’s here and he’ll be putting up a fight.
– Hi, I’m Bogdan. They say you’re from Romania too?
He really has got Dracula stories of his own. Lucky me.