Today, I was yelled at by a Romanian man.
I was in this well-known situation in which my car's all-fired-up turn signal was showing without a doubt my intention to take a parking place as soon as thirty-six cars would have passed in between the said parking place and my car. But yes, of course, a thirty-seventh car arrived …
I thus went out of my car and knocked on the window of that car in question … “Aaah, you frightened me ! I'm on the phone, can't you see !?”, told me the Romanian man of the thirty-seventh, looking at me angrily. He in fact didn't see me coming so occupied that he was holding his phone (it was a mobile, yes) in one hand and turning his wheel with the other. Taken aback by his reaction, I replied in a playful, friendly tone (especially so since I was standing in the pouring rain) : “- Ooh, phone at the wheel …”
But at the same time I was saying that (and that's where my story differs from the usual one), I had the pleasant surprise to see the face of my interlocutor change completely. For his part, he had pretended to be furious and I didn't even have a lot of babbling to do so that he would accept to give me back the parking place he had just taken from me !
Have you guessed ? No ? Well then, let me tell you : the subsection under which this article found its own parking place is from now on called ‘Borders and languages' ! Before, it was ‘A Frenchie in Spain', but I moved to Romania, I said Adiós amigos ! to the Spanish peninsula and its palm trees and I now say Bună ziua ! to Romania every morning (which by the way celebrates its 100 years this year).
Reasons for my change of place on Earth
I found in Spain what I went to look for there : smiling people and a sunny but not too sunny weather (I was in the north).
Smiling people made me feel quite good. In fact, they made me become more assertive. By dint of hearing “Tranquila, tranquila, no pasa nada …” (‘Don't worry, don't worry, nothing is happening …'), very simply, mechanically, I started to be less afraid to be yelled at at any time. (Yes, indeed, I lived in France before …)
In a second step however, I experienced the difficulty of feeling a negative emotion in the midst of people who don't seem to know what that may be. Spaniards apparently don't take many “bad-mood pauses”. It's smiling time all the time and one shouldn't waste the good ambiance. Difficult task for a French woman indeed however nice she is otherwise …
I encountered another quite insurmountable difficulty in day-to-day life : the lack of professionals who do their job. In France, when I called a plumber, I was wondering if he was going to be nice. I never thought about the fact that he could not solve the problem. In Spain, I gave up after two plumbers and four electricians. As for accountants, I eventually found one after five tries. I am not talking about the internet service providers' support. And of course, nobody ever says sorry.
So voilà, after five years in Spain, I still think smiles are nice but I am not looking for them as much as before. I'm even wary of them and it's now the gruffy people who make me raise my eyebrows with interest.
With respect to language, my accent in Spanish has always been terrible. Staying twenty years in Spain wouldn't change a thing. Which is not a problem of course. On the contrary, an accent is, before anything else, the proof of the efforts a person has made to learn a language. It's beautiful. But in my particular case, it also means that in Spain, I would always be at best la francesa and in supermarkets, the cashiers would always regularly answer to me in English, convinced that I can only be a tourist.
My beginnings in Romania
As for the Romanian language, I hopefully already spoke it well enough before arriving. It helped me enormously, especially so since that all that is administrative is to be done just then, when one is not yet completely at ease with the language. To tell you everything, I am now in between the official transcription of the translation of my birth certificate and the change of my car's license plate number … It's a hassle for sure, but it helps to get to know the country and to start to speak !
As far as the weather is concerned, I have for now only tested (but like many of you I think this summer) the heat wave interspersed with thunderstorms. It isn't especially funny to be looking for a waste collection center where to get rid of an old, rusty fridge under 100 Farenheit degrees (especially since dumps don't seem to exist here) and I dread the -70 Farenheit degrees and the big snowfalls of the Romanian winter, but I've eventually found again the precious treasure I lost when leaving Normandy five years ago : I feel again at home where I've just set down my suitcases …