Old Country #atozchallenge


The desire to be from somewhere often leads us on a quest to retrace our steps to the old country. A quest for an authentic identity, perhaps.

Irish-Americans trace their roots to an Ireland their ancestors were forced to leave. African-Americans look to West Africa. 

Well, for me it’s easy. While I was born in the capital of Romania, Bucharest, my entire family came from a village named Gradistea outside Ploiesti — a major Romanian city. 




Gradistea Village

I lived in Romania until the age of twenty, when a combination of family, school, and resume-building brought me to California. I’ve shared volumes about Romania on this blog, so I’ll keep it short this time — four quick facts about my old country. Feel free to comment and/or share yours:

1.  Romanian is the only Romance language in Eastern Europe. Unlike Slavic, spoken all around, Romanian is Latin-derived — closely related to Italian, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. A snapshot below. 


2.  Bucharest houses Europe’s largest administrative building. Historically, not a source of pride as it was built by a paranoid dictator as his home.


3.  In 2002, a cave full of human bones and skeletons was discovered in Southern Romania. Research shows the bones were almost 40,000 years old, providing a large amount of data on human history.


4.  My favorite part of Romania is Transylvania for its breathtaking scenery, castles, and clean air.  

brasov-tour-best-of-transylvania-tour lonely-planet-best-in-travel-transylvania-1024x576


romtv.com, mastersportal.com,readytravel.com

34 responses to “Old Country #atozchallenge

  1. Informative .Will definitely read the other details on Romania that you have written…

  2. Lovely and interesting, reading about a place one has never been to.

  3. A lovely post with great pictures. A team from the company where I work has been to Ploiesti.

  4. Thanks for the tour. I know very little about Romania (but I know a little bit more today than I did).

  5. I love the Romanian quotes. You come from a fascinating country. Do you miss home at all? The history of Europe is so incredible. My one trip there was eye opening to me as then the history I studied meant so much more to me as then I realized it was real. My dad’s family was from Wales and I did travel there. My mom’s father’s family came from Germany. I only briefly was in Germany so I didn’t see where my family of origin came from. In fact I didn’t know about mom’s family until years later.

    Thanks for your beautiful post.

    • Gwynn, I’ve lived in CA longer than in Romania, so in many ways this is now home. But I know what you mean. I do miss the memories of my childhood and teenage years, a place that no longer exists, even though there were plenty reasons to rebel against much going on in the country at that time. Glad you got to go to Germany, even for a short time. Thank you.

  6. It sounds like a beautiful country, with a lot of beautiful riches. I got interested in Queen Marie of Romania last year, since she was part of the extended Russian Imperial Family, and love how she adapted so well to her new homeland. Not every foreign-born queen would’ve bothered, for example, learning the people’s language or wearing their native costumes.

    One of the posts in my sporadic “A Primer on __________ Names” series was on Romanian names, and it was fascinating to see the different types of names in the language.

  7. Loved these facts which you have mentioned about Romania. The third one is quite interesting. Its always nice to know facts about a new place :)

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  8. So, your “old country” isn’t so old, really.

  9. Loved knowing more about your country of origin. It is amazing how knowing about our ancestors and the old country puts a number of things in perspective :)

    • Yes, thank you. I joke with my husband, whose ancestry is from all over the world, and in some cases it would require going way back to trace it, that mine — going back several hundred years — points to one small part of E. Europe. At least as far as I was told, my great great parents lived there as well.

  10. That’s intriguing my friend. Thank you for your feedback on my post. I look forward to reading more of your writing. Grace and peace dear lady.

  11. My best friend here in the UK is Romanian. We’ve been friends for 10 years now. :)

  12. The pictures of Transylvania are so gorgeous. It seems a pity that that area has been consigned over to vampires so much in literature. It deserves a better fate. :-)
    And I can understand the longing for an “old country;” when one has been American for forever, there can still be a longing to find what nation and culture (European or otherwise) that one’s ancestors came from, just to connect with a distinct, older culture. America has been such a melting pot that we rather lack things like native costume (tee shirts and jeans?), traditional dance (jive or hip hop, maybe?) or native music. Our traditions just don’t feel old enough, and so those of us who love history want to connect with something older.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Andrea, Bram Stoker went to Transylvania in the late 1800 and ruined it for everyone by taking a local legend and writing its main character into a vampire. Then Hollywood made it famous. :) There was a time that annoyed me, but I got over it. And you’re right, we long for a place of belonging. Thank you.

  13. Great pictures and family/homeland history. I like the direct English translations to the idioms. My heritage goes back to Norway and Sweden.

  14. My father was Italian ancestry and my mother German and Irish. I have to say I love the Italian culture and relate most to that. I’ve been to Italy, but would like to see Germany and Ireland someday! Thanks for your post about Romania!

    • I feel a close relation to Italy as well — so many similarities between Italy and Romania. Germany is beautiful, albeit very different form Italy. Have never been to Ireland. I hear it’s really nice. Thanks, Linda.

  15. I think when we Americans think of Romania we mostly think of Transylvania and the Count Dracula accent. This is fascinating. Thanks for showing us a bit of Romania, Silvia.

    Most of my family are Americans from way back. I do have one great grandmother from Switzerland, Swiss German; and another set of great grandparents from Lancashire, England. They were in textiles.

    Only recently did I learn in researching my family tree that I have great-great grandparents from Ireland. That makes a lot of sense to me, answers questions about who I am, why I do what I do: I love the Irish poets and writers, including the Irish Americans — I love their lyrical prose, which I study and do my best to emulate. It sounds like music. I could listen to Bono say anything — even in his speech he sounds like he’s singing. That my half sister and I have the same father and from the side of the family with Irish ancestry makes sense since we’re both writers and our favorite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    But, mostly because my mother’s maternal grandparents came from England, I had a typically English upbringing. I’ve never been overseas, though. Maybe one day.

    • Interesting, Samantha — learning about your great-grandparents. Yes, Irish lyrical prose is unique. If you get a chance to go overseas, I think you’d enjoy it, but … Europe is no longer the place it used to be, no longer a collection of distinct countries. The EU changed that and the politics didn’t help.
      Transylvania is nothing like Hollywood portrays it. Vlad Tepes, who Count Dracula was modeled after — Romanian Prince –, is a hero there. Whatta you gonna do … as they say. Leave it to Hollywood. Thank you.

  16. My family history is all Scottish / English (for the last 150 years or so, which is all I know) so I’m not far from my roots and I can enjoy occasional visits to places I grew up in. I’ve never been to Romania – in fact, we neglect mainland Europe in favour of North America these days so perhaps we need to review our vacation policy!

    • Mainland Europe retains a certain appeal to me, but every time I go — and it’s been a while now — I’m taken aback by the dramatic, and not for good, changes. So … maybe your vacation policy is fine. :) We’re going next year — Italy, Germany, Romania. Thank you, Anabel.

  17. Wow wonderful pics👌👍

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