My name is Chiara Louise Gosden, and I was born in Italy in 1982 ? my father was working there in those days. My parents are English; my father worked in Italy for two years and after two years we left for England again where we stayed two years too. When I was four, his company opened a branch in Belgium and my father was sent there; so we joined him. His job was in Brussels and we stayed in a village in the beginning, somewhere at the outskirts of the city; it was called Omless and it was in the Flemish side of Brussels. Then he was made redundant but he didn?t want to go back to England because my parents were very fond of Belgium ? they were fond of the Belgium way of being and also of the city and decided to rest there. I have an elder sister and two younger ones. We are four sisters. So we rested there?
I attended a school in French, I spoke English at home and I learned Dutch Flemish which I have been learning since the third grade. It was a state school, and I got accustomed well because I had been there since I was four and my sister since she was seven. We stayed in Brussels until the age of eighteen, which is all my life? I think I am more Belgium than English. In fact I really don?t know what it means to be English. They say that the English are very proud for being English; it doesn?t matter what I really am. I don?t know if I start now to feel I am Romanian but I like eating polenta with cheese? (She is laughing). I feel well in the country too, I have no problems? I don?t have that feeling of patriotism, that I am English or something else? But if I were, as they say, to give up my life for my country ,although I don?t think it is worth giving your life for any country, I think I ought to give my life for England because I am English legally and that?s written in my passport.
I attended primary school for six years and then I attended high-school for some other six years and then I came in Romania for a year. After graduating high-school I interrupted my studies for one year, coming to Paşcani, Romania and I worked as a volunteer with a children?s home. So I came to Romania when I was eighteen. I stayed here at Agape, a children?s home which is in a way connected to the church of Christians according to the Gospel, in Paşcani. My purpose was to teach English to the children and learn Romanian because I wanted to continue my education learning Romanian perfectly and then to come and work with homeless children, to work here after graduating. I could have chosen another place but? In 1994, I think, my grandfather died and we went to his funeral in England and there I met a Romanian, pastor Ioan and his interpreter who was speaking both English and French. I and my sister started to speak with him and we kept in touch, we wrote to each other? The pastor did not know French but he was sitting a faculty exam in English and French and he needed help so we wrote to each other.
Once, on Easter Day, I was in the tenth form, I had the chance of coming to Maramureş, Romania. There was a close friendship between that village in Maramureş and us: we brought them notebooks, ballpoint-pens, coffee, T-shirts? So, the very first time when I came to Dragomireşti, Romania I was in the tenth form. Dragomireşti was a very, very small village which had established a close friendship with Nivelles, a little town near Brussels and I had heard by chance, at church, that there was one place left, as there was somebody who couldn?t come any longer - it had been postponed because of this ? just enough time to get my visa, because you needed a visa then to visit Romania. I remember having stayed for ten days that is I stayed in Maramureş for a week, then I left for Vatra Dornei and I went to the parents of the boy who had been the interpreter of the Baptist Church pastor in England. I met their pastor who was from Vatra Dornei again and I stayed there for three days, enjoying every minute of it.