I had no contact with friends for at least 5 years; I keep wanting to and I keep saying I?m not and I will do; family is very, very different in England as to the family here so here the family is very close; you have to speak to your mother at least 3 times a day. I speak to my mother about once every 2-3 months and she?s aged, she?s old. My father?s very old. I try at least once a month. There?s all superficial is ?how are you dear, how you?re getting on, what?s the weather like?, whatever. There?s all bloody superficial but then one has to accept it?s another generation, it?s not only English but it?s a generation who were born 70 years ago for God sake. I was looking particularly through that book on the 80 and I can understand some of the things there because I actually inflicted ? that was happening in my country as well. Perhaps not so hard or in another context but I actually identify. Here, my understanding is 99.9 % of Romanians ? just want out. Just want to get out into Europe, into the world and live a wonderful life.
The fallacy is of course, there is not a wonderful life; it is bloody hard, there are mortgages to be paid, there?s the cost of living which are much, much greater than her, a lot a of problems, and whatever. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Inversely, for me it has been paradise. I have actually come to one of the most beautiful country on earth and I lived in Kenya and that is the most beautiful country on earth, but I?ve actually lived in the second most beautiful country on earth and in relation to my pension, my pension from the police, my income, I would live far more comfortably than I ever dreamed of in the U.K.; I?m not a rich man in the U.K. Not anymore, that?s another story to my five bedroom house and whatever. That all went.
I understand the Romanians. They?ve got the political system so they?ve got the bureaucracy, so they?ve got the apartment blocks which they can?t escape from, they?ve got ideals which are just so bloody difficult to move from one village to another or from one city...... They?ve got all these obstacles and obstacles. I can understand all of that. But you have one of the most beautiful countries on earth in which to live and that means nothing because is not materialism, you don?t get paid enough to get you go out and see it and whatever and all that.
What can I say? I?m advantaged; I know I?m advantaged. I?m not disabled. I?m enabled. But I?m only enabled because Romania in it?s country and it?s people have seduced me, whatever it is to say ? I want to be here. I want to spend the rest of my life here and I?m comfortable here and so I?m not a perfect Romanian speaker but wherever I go I can make myself understood.
I live in a city I never ever felt threatened. Never ever felt threatened. And I can?t say that about London, Paris or other cities. I can?t say that. It?s just an extraordinary thing that I can. I think we have a special privilege because we are foreigners and so the local gangsters don?t actually pick on us with physical violence because we?re foreigners and they know that if they do that they gonna be locked up for lots of years. So I suppose, I don?t know. The irony of the whole thing is I?m married to a Romanian who lives in Brussels, who doesn?t want to come back. And I want to stay and it?s a tension. Not a big tension, but there is a tension. And I can?t blame her for one moment for wanting to get out. I really can?t. How I see it ? the normal Romanians ? when you look around you go ?wow this are normal Romanians they got cars on the street, they now have mobile telephones, this is a country in poverty ? ok, this is Bucureşti, so I understand that but I have to make this differentials. Young kid, dressed very well, is not homeless, he lives in a family and he?s got begging to go on tonight and he?s begging.
Everywhere! My most favorite place ? I?ve got so many favorite places in Romania ? is Săpânţa ? is gorgeous. The road between Braşov and Piteşti so you?ve got Bran, that road..We were there some time ago when we went to Vama Veche. I was in Vama Veche when it was Vama Veche, not it is now. So I was there in?first I was in Vama Veche was in ?94 and only place you had was Scoica on the main road.There was only one in those days - nothing on the beach except us, nudies in tents ? they sometimes have tents. So I mean Baia Mare, Suceava, Buzău, Iaşi, Tulcea, Galaţi.
We were there some time ago when we went to Vama Veche. I was in Vama Veche when it was Vama Veche, not what it is now. So I was there in? first I was in Vama Veche was 94 and the only place you had was Scoica on the main road. There was only one in those days ? nothing on the beach except us, nudies in tents ? they sometimes have tents.
So I mean Baia Mare, Suceava, Buzău, Iaşi, Tulcea, Galaţi.
Interview done by Claudia Cîrlig and Mirela Florian
and transcripted by Monica Pepine