It was very difficult at the beginning of our marriage. The first 2-3 months were the most difficult, but I don?t know now because I passed over difficulties and solved them. I have told you about those who lasted longer; we have been married for two years and four months. The first three months were terrifying for me. I would cry every evening, every day, it was very difficult, but I don?t remember them now; football was one of them.
Cătălin: Friends, I had a lot of friends and she was alone.
Chiara: I had nobody except her sister. He would call on Adi, he went to play football or to meet somebody while I had nobody, I didn?t have anywhere to go, and I had no friends. I think we would have divorced in the first three months if we hadn?t been Christians. My mother had told me that the first three months of her marriage were superb and after that it went from top to lower and I asked myself, that if those were the superb months, how low could I go after that? It seems it is the other way round with us.
A real problem for me was the fact that the people in Cătălin?s family would eat when they were hungry. As they passed through the kitchen they ate, taking what they could from the table. Why? I would ask. Well, I have just passed through the kitchen and I was hungry or I felt like eating or? We have breakfast at 7, a little chocolate or a biscuit and a cup or two of tea at about ten ? you can have tea as much as you like, but only a biscuit or two, depending on the size of the biscuit, if it was big or small- we have lunch at about 12:30 or 13:30; we have tea and a biscuit at about 4:00 p.m. and we have dinner at 5:30 p.m. or 6:00 p.m., and that?s all. When Cătălin went to the kitchen he ate something; when thinking: What shall I do now? Oh, I am hungry; he ate something? Haven?t I given you to eat, don?t you have food? Yes, I do, but I?m hungry! Well, eat something of that dish! Well, but I don?t want that dish; I would like to eat something else! How?s that, you haven?t finished your plate of pasta, yet and you don?t want pasta any more?? Now we have turned to the Romanian style of eating, that is, when I see him eating I eat too, just to be together.
Cătălin: We were a lot in the family, we were five brothers and mother would make a pot of broth which would finish in no time, or French fries which had the same fate. She had to prepare something else too, for us to be satisfied. We would never eat the same thing twice. When you entered the kitchen two hours later mother was already preparing something else. If we ate a little we would feel hungry quickly and we entered the kitchen again; so we ate a little but several times a day. There was always something to do and we could never gather at a certain time to have a meal. We ate when we could. It was only on Sunday that we gathered and had lunch together.
Chiara: I was amazed by their punctuality.
Cătălin: I couldn?t understand in the beginning why I had to be punctual, why I had to be at a certain time, why I had to tell where I went and when I came back, I couldn?t?
Chiara: Mother would ask me: when do you leave, where do you go, what time do you come back? ...write down in the note book when you leave and what time you come back. When you come back you tell me: I have come back; when leaving you tell me: I have left, I am getting out. It seemed to me strange too in the beginning, I could say: I?m leaving at two, and to have left at two, but she said: no, you come and tell me I have left, I have come, you come and tell me: I have just entered. What?s the use of it, I asked? If the house is on fire and I don?t know who is in the house. I go to the third floor to save you and you are somewhere else. And being used like that, when I leave, I say where I go. But Cătălin went to play football: When do you come back? I don?t know. Well, you play football from four till when? I don?t know. When do you come back? He came back at about 9 p.m. Have you played football from four to nine? No, I haven?t. I went to drink a beer with the boys. Well, but I was at home. Or to say: I will be back by seven and to come back at 11:00 p.m. Haven?t you told me that you will come back at seven? I had prepared dinner by 7.00, a hot dish nicely arranged, when I saw that he hadn?t come back by 9.00, I put the food in the fridge and I went to bed. He came back at eleven and asked: have you prepared anything? Should I get up and warm up the food? Look for something in the fridge. Punctuality is still a problem.
Cătălin: What still astonishes me is the fact that she won?t stop until not finishing what she has thought of doing; I do something, I rest a little, I resume, I rest a little?
Chiara: I was astonished by the fact that he sleeps at noon. Mother told me even when I was at the kindergarten: you shall not sleep at noon. I came home exhausted; I went to bed at seven and slept till the next day at 6.00. Some other children used to sleep at noon but mother told me: Chiara goes out into the courtyard and plays with the other children. Only babies have to sleep at noon. After having married Cătălin, I saw that he would go to bed at 2 p.m. What are you doing? I?m going to bed. How can you sleep at 2 p.m.? Why not? It?s our habit. But what do you do if your program is from 9 a.m. till 7 p.m.? Where do you sleep? Do you sleep on a desk?
Cătălin: I still remember that my grandpa in the country would sleep between 1-3 p.m.
Chiara: Money administrating is another problem. We have a budget and a certain amount of money assigned for each sort of expenses. The idea of having a budget for income and expenses was my father?s. Ever since attending the faculty, father told me: I will give you ?600 a month, school costs?, the youth hostel costs?, clothes, transport, food, pocket money. Now you divide. In fact, the addition was only for him, to know how much he should give me. If I told him that there wasn?t enough for something and I didn?t have where to take from the other chapters he would give me. He checked if I had told the truth and he would send me. I would like Cătălin to be as disciplined as I am.
Interview by Dana Lungu and Dan Lungu
Translated by Mihaela Georgescu