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.
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.