[warning]Disclaimer: This is a personal rant, it’s strictly my opinion based on my experiences here.[/warning]
Found this article today and was expecting to read some patriotic propaganda, but after reading it twice, it kinda conveys similar feelings to my own about this country: it’s a soulless, consumer driven, mishmash of everything bad (and good, don’t get me wrong, but I’ll explain what I mean later on) countries around the world have to offer. I kind of disagree with the slight homophobic tone and I’m not that interested in the religious aspect, but the cultural points touched by it are, to some extent, spot on.
[important] BTW, it was a Facebook status, posted from a phone, so give the girl some slack, ok?[/important]
I’ll start from the most simplest examples leading up to the entire “gypsies in Park Lane” fiasco.
The guy running a convenience store down the street doesn’t even speak English (he’s Indian, I believe). Geo (my gf, who lived in the UK for the past 2 years and now works here) was trying to top-up a broken electronic key at the guy’s PayPoint machine, and it failed, obviously. We were unaware the key was broken, but that wasn’t an issue (they’re cheap); the guy’s response was the thing that bugged the both of us: “Key no work. No good.” Yet he can work anywhere in this country without restrictions, and the best that I got, was:
During the past 4 months, I’ve met a few actual British folk and trying to be friendly and chatty with them is utterly useless. They don’t give a fuck about anything unless it concerns them directly. Finding things to talk about, anything, be it politics, the weather, cars, is really hard. Soccer works, but that’s about it. Most of them don’t even bother saying goodbye when they have to leave. They just get up and walk away. Maybe they don’t like Romanians but are too well-mannered to say it. That’s just been my opinion about them so far. It’s much easier to make friends in Romania than in England, and I do consider myself somewhat of a social person. But most people I meet are descendents of either immigrants from the past decades or immigrants themselves. Most immigrants are really nice. Especially the Polish. (I really like Poland, but that’s a different subject).
The women are as bad as the media makes them out to be. Skanks everywhere, drunk out of their minds, humping and throwing up in public places, most of them unable to even fit inside a cab. I can confirm most of what this site posts: http://embarrassingnightclubphotos.com ,but yet, Eastern Europeans are the “savages”. Not all of them are like that, most are quite respectable, but walking down a busy street on a Friday or Saturday night really makes you wanna go home as soon as possible. I really don’t understand why girls, most under 20, and good deal of those over 35 would really throw away every ounce of self-respect for some “fun” (being sick and passed out on the sidewalk doesn’t seem fun) when most guys are so drunk, they don’t even care or notice.
I’ve been asked quite a lot if I would like to return to Romania or stay in Britain. My initial impression was already posted on this blog, but after 2 months, my answer turned into an immediate “I’ll take Romania over the UK any day. I only came here because you pay more”. The faces they make when you tell them that are priceless. “Why would anyone want to live in Romania?”. Trying to explain how we are actually more friendly, or that we have a nicer landscape or even that we have a lower apparent crime rate in urban areas (Bucharest is one of the safest European capitals. And no, it’s not because all of our criminals moved to the U.K.) results in some awkward silence and a quick change of topic so I usually just reply with “English culture is almost appalling”.
What’s actually bad about Romania besides the salary rates? Well, beggars, right? England has a lot more per ft². Every underpass, bridge, park, etc. has a beggar, usually a national (as in, proper British), asking for change. Although I don’t like beggars, period, and blame the government for poor social aid, I do at least appreciate that they still say “Bless you!” even though you didn’t give them anything. Most of them are young, under 40, playing guitar for money, and drinking it away at night with a nice 2.5L bottle of cider. What else? The so called “cocalari” then? The English version are far far worse. Moved in from Pakistan / Iran / whatever, really bad english skills, convertible BMWs, driving in front of clubs so that everyone can see their cool shades (i.e. sunglasses) at night, with the sound system screaming for mercy, both due to the volume level and the “music” it has to play.
Cocalari and beggars are more annoying in England, but let’s just call it a draw for the sake of argument. Petty theft … You can’t leave a bike in front of a shop in Romania, ’cause someone will probably nick it. Guess what? Same thing happens here. If something can be removed from somewhere, it will be. People steal, people destroy public property, people start beating up other people on the street for no good reason at all. Guess that’s just human nature, so stop calling Eastern European countries as dangerous thieving dwellings of all things evil.
The only good things about the United Kingdom, that I really like, are:
1) the heritage: all that history does show, and most cities are impressive if you are a history buff.
2) public services: things get repaired over night, buildings are protected, cars are lifted if they are parked illegally, etc.
3) the career opportunities: If a company exists, it surely has an office in England.
Now, the first point isn’t that important for me, because Romania is also impressive from a historic standpoint. I’d take Brasov over Bristol or Cluj over Birmingham any day.
The second point clearly FAILS if you know how to push it over the edge. Those gypsies should be removed from the park by the police. Not because they are gypsies but because it is ILLEGAL. They are littering, drinking, pissing and shitting in public places, harassing the locals and so on. I don’t care if you are from Romania, England, ‘Murica, Germany; if you do stuff like that, you should be arrested and fined a good deal.
(Geo’s theory: they are allowed to stay there, in a posh area of London, so that the media can complain more, and some political parties have solid arguments for various immigration policies they want to push)
The last point is the only thing that will make me return here next year. Geo has a great job, and programmers are in great demand and very well payed (if you have a work permit, that is). But as soon as we have some money saved up, we’ll probably start searching for a more decent country until we can afford to move back in Ro. Austria, maybe? :-”