My daughter got married at eighteen with an Italian boy and of course that they went to live there. I felt embarrassed to say this at work, because everybody was narrow-minded and they would ask me how I could let my child leave the country, because it was a shame and that real Romanians didn?t leave their countries. (woman, 42, designer)
So, in my case, I very strongly registered this change that occurred by means of a, let?s say, liberalization. Before, there was no discussion about going abroad, to communicate with other people, so you were very restrained. In what regards work, I used to work before, that is projects for the Institute were many as well and from this point of view that was a big change. After the ?90s there appeared the visits abroad, business trips, of course. I travelled more or less all around the world: Europe, America, Asia. It was a time when I used to travel three times a year to three different places: Switzerland, America and Japan. (man, 50, physicist)
The first thing that put a mark on me after the opening of the borders was that my cousins from Kiev, Germany and America popped up. They came to see how ?we were hanging on?. And I tried, at my turn, to leave but I didn?t get the US visa. I had been invited there but I just didn?t get the visa.
Anyway, then you could openly state that you had relatives and friends abroad, without any impact on your profession, without staining your file or things like that. So I could overtly and without fear admit that I had relatives in the States, relatives in Germany, friends in France, that is everywhere. I got rid of a huge stress. (woman, 48, lawyer)
Those working for a private company, for a boss, had always earned more than those working for the state. And of course that people, seeing this situation, considered that working for a private company was more appealing than working for the state because it was better to graduate from high school and to get a job at a company right away than to go to university.
This is on the one hand. On the other hand, I know people who, lacking certainty in a company, being afraid of it getting closed down or Heaven knows why, still preferred to work for the state. (man, 50, physicist)
After the 90?s or so a significant accent has been placed strictly on the economic, material, practical side, such as Law, Business and things like that, to the detriment of Humanities, therefore to the detriment of those who want to become teachers or men of letters or? everybody has to do many things at the same time in order to pay for maintenance, food or who knows what other things. In a way, you are forced to undertake intellectual prostitution or something along the line.
You can?t do the things you really enjoy because you can?t support yourself financially. You end up working for all kinds of companies which are far from your professional background. Listen, for example I met a taxi driver who attended various faculties but who couldn?t support himself, so he somehow decided to go for such a job. (woman, student)
Along the fourth grade my parents bought themselves a car, because after the Revolution it was easier. Before that, not everybody had a car. Of course we are talking about a Dacia which made me really proud! It seemed the coolest car on earth to me so I became a car driver more or less around ten: I used to drive the Dacia through the orchard dragging the tow away after me! I was a real slick. (man, 23, student)
I recall the college years, this being around 1999-2000, when I used to stay in a hostel which belonged to the Business University, near Obor and I discovered that in a students? hostel you could make money out of anything: it was important to have imagination! For example, my roommates and I had learnt from the elder students how to cash in on Romtelecom telephone cards!
We used to gather money and buy four or five telephone cards worth one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand lei and, because there was a public telephone in the hostel, we used to rent them!
And the business really worked because many people needed the phone, but, out of various reasons, they thought that a phone card wasn?t that necessary since they weren?t using it all the time!
So, those who wanted to use the phone and had no card would rent one from us, as follows: paying for the conversation, plus half the amount extra. And with the money gathered by the end of the month we used to buy goods necessary for everyday living like soap, detergents, juices, cakes etc., and the rest we would share between us! There weren?t big amounts but we used to get the double or triple of the sum invested by each of us! (woman, 25, euro-councillor)
I also remember a different type of business also unfold in the student hostel and which had to do with the one-cent-per-minute-week-end Connex subscription! The persons who owned such a subscription would play their minutes for all their worth: and if you wanted to talk to somebody on Connex and you had no mobile phone or you were on a different network, you would go and pay 3000 lei per minute and you would thus speak your lungs out. Well, on certain limits, because the number of minutes of the cent-Connex subscription owners wasn?t limitless, they had only about 500 per month!
Another business which used to run pretty well but only during certain times of the year, more precisely during the summer when the hot water used to be cut off for the three-week revision, was that with the electric boiler.
We had a mate who got the brilliant idea of investing in a boiler and who got pretty nice money out of it!! 10 minutes of hot shower would cost 30000-40000 lei but I can say that people were queuing for his boiler!