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From Romania to Italy to the UK: While I breathe, I hope

07 January, 2019 08:32  Erin Erin

While I breathe, I hope My name is Cristina G. (G. comes from Gherghel). I was born and raised in Romania during the Ceausescu’s communist regime. I lived in Italy for 10 years. At present, I live in the UK.

1.    Why did you move abroad?
I first left my country in 2000 and moved to Italy to learn the language and to escape a sealed destiny.
In 2014, I moved to the UK to improve my English.

2.    How do you make a living?
While in Italy, I have had many jobs: waitress, factory worker, office employee, assistant to director.
In the UK, for almost four years (the first years), I worked as a trilingual call analyst. In March 2018, I resigned from this job to follow my childhood dream which is becoming an author.
Now I am a full-time writer, although I cannot say that I earn a living from my books yet. To sustain myself and keep pursuing my dream, I do casual work for various companies.  

3.    How often do you communicate with home and how?
With my mother, I speak every Monday of every week through Skype, Messenger or WhatsApp. With my siblings, I communicate almost daily through WhatsApp and Facebook.

4.    What's your favorite thing about being an expat in the UK?
The food, the long beaches, and the weather, of course. These are the…

Wait. What? Sorry. I thought I was speaking about Italy.

In the UK I love the fact that people smile like they have no worries in the world. I love their living in the moment.

5.    What’s the worst thing about being an expat in the UK?
They told me that I was fantastic. In the beginning, I thought I was in heaven. For the first time in my life, it seemed that an entire society was seeing and appreciating me. However, many companies in the UK tell all their employees that they are fantastic even if they are not. Now I am very confused about me being fantastic. For them, I am as fantastic as anyone else.

6.    What do you miss most?
The snow and my family.

7.    What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
In my first year in the UK, I used to go out almost every evening with my colleagues and friends. However, I am used with bars where you can have a hot drink instead of a beer, so I decided to give parties instead. So, I cooked for hours and invited friends over quite often. That until I started writing. Now I am a hermit, but I still have loads of friends who have not given up asking me when I’ll come back to living among humans.

I think they miss my cooking.

Besides that, I partner with people to raise money for charities and I do several other activities that make me meet new people and socialize.

8.    What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Wearing sandals and very short or light tops in December (winter generally).

You should see me dressed like an Eskimo (fur coat, fur boots, fur gloves, etc.) and still trembling like a leaf in the wind, while they, especially teenagers (girls), wearing a miniskirt with no tights and a sleeveless top (or a sleeveless minidress) with sandals, of course, like it was summer. The boys wear t-shirts.

9.    What is a myth about your adopted country?
That is rains every day. That’s utterly false!

What happens is that you can have four seasons – or even five – in less than one hour in random days.
When you must go out, you look out the window and it’s sunny, so you dress accordingly. As soon as you step outside, it starts raining. The wind makes you feel like flying and all of a sudden, it’s sunny again.

Or vice versa. It’s dark (although it’s only 10 am) and it’s raining, so you put on your yellow rainy coat, your fancy wellingtons, and arm yourself with a grim face. As soon as you are outside, it’s sunnier than in Hawaii but you are late to your appointment (job, courses, etc.), so you move on with the same grim face imprinted on your soul.
No. It doesn’t always rain in the UK. Sometimes it snows too. In July.

10.    Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The cost of living is higher than in Italy, that’s for sure, but believe it or not, grocery shopping could be more expensive in my country (Romania). I know it sounds absurd and many are outraged. However, in Romania, if you want the same quality as in the UK, you have to pay a similar price.

It made no difference in my life as I am as poor as I was when I left my country.

However, in my country, I used to work 20 hours a day for 7 days a week for the same money. Because of that, I didn’t have time to dream. So, from this point of view, being an expat has changed my destiny.

11.    What advice would you give other expats?
Don’t despise and don’t deride anyone and anything that’s different from what you know. Love the people and the country you are in. Be grateful for the opportunity to learn a new language, a new skill, a new way of doing things. Embrace the new culture. Respect the natives’ traditions and don’t impose yours. You’re a guest, act like one, but remain faithful to your origins. You will never be anything else than whatever said on your first passport. Your country is the one you were born in, even if you don’t fit in anymore.

While I breathe, I hope 12.    When and why did you start your blog?
I started blogging in 2012, 2 years after I moved back to my country after 10 years in Italy. I didn’t even know what blogging was back then. My youngest brother came with the idea.  

We live in a world of racism without racists. The ten years spent in Italy left deep scars and open wounds on my soul and mind. I had to overcome them, and writing is a very effective therapy. That’s why I started blogging. I stand for equality, freedom to love and dream, human and animal rights.  I fight against discrimination, injustice, and abuse.

I always wanted to write, but my self-esteem and confidence were inexistent. Blogging seemed to be a great solution as I never thought anyone would read.

I now own and write on more than 15 blogs. Please, feel free to visit them and follow my writing career.  

It seems that it’s way easier to attract enemies than friends and supporters when you fight for justice and love.
We are all humans. There are no inferior or superior nationalities. We shouldn’t be prisoners of geography and pay for others’ signs. Each of us is responsible for their actions only.

 

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