The average Romanian is a friendly and helpful person. Hospitable and curious. Questions like ‘how old are you?’ or ‘what do you earn?’ are very common. And almost always you can spend the night with them and probably you will sleep in a room with the image of Jesus or Mary in bright colors hanging on the wall. In most houses there is no shower, the toilet is in the garden and you must pay them first or otherwise they can’t serve you breakfast, apart from their own eggs and milk. Romanian people, especially on the countryside, are very relaxed. They don’t bother so much and their labour productivity is quite low, but they are used to working many hours a day. They have an explanation for their attitude: ‘As long as the boss thinks he is paying, I think I am working’.
I a country where there is so much poverty and everyone controls everyone, it wasn’t possible to survive without any innovativeness. In this country people have an attitude ‘if I can help you now, maybe you can help me some other time’. A service for a service. People help each other, because you never know if you ever need any help your self. Unselfish friendships emerge only after many years of faithful behavior. This is a remnant from the Ceauşescu time and the Securitate, his communist Security Service. The whole country, families and so called friendships were percolated through with distrust and fear.
Despite the reputation of Romanians, Romania is a safe country. There is not much crime, apart from the usual pickpockets in the big cities and some theft of small things. This sometimes causes funny situations. Once we were in Mamaia, the touristic centre of Romania on the Black Sea and someone tried to rob Huib’s purse. Huib pushed his bottom against the car as hard as he could and the man screamed from pain. We had a little conversation with him and the man said ‘Sorry sir, it wasn’t personal’, and at the end they shacked hands.
Romanians feel very much ashamed about their reputation abroad. They say Romanian criminals in foreign countries are either gypsies or Maffia, and maybe they are not wrong about that. In the Romanian parliament there have been proposals to call the Roma Gypsies because the word Roma has to much resemblance with ‘Romanians’. Non of these proposals turned into a law.
You see a lot of police in the streets. In earlier days a police officer would wear his suit to earn money on people who drive to fast, even when he was not on duty. Nowadays you can’t negotiate anymore with the police, because of the use of computers. Fortunately, that same officer will try to find the shepherd who’s herd has been grazing on your land.