The last bits of my trip to Romania are these photos and notes taken in Bucharest. Funny how the impressions I got when I arrived are so different from the ones before departure. I’ll just call it the Romania effect.
(Credits for the photo of me: Sebastian Moise)
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August 6th, 2018, Bucharest
I did not find comfort in Bucharest. In fact, I have never felt more alien in my hometown as in the past couple of days since I am here. There is nothing in Bucharest to make my heart beat faster. Not the streets, not the hot summer days, not the people, not even the most beautiful of buildings.
And then I met Dragoș for a drink. We haven’t been together in Bucharest in a long time. Just like when we first met, in 2004, I waited for him in front of Unirii metro stop. We walked up to Universitate, on the same route we had taken back then. We did not go to La Motoare this time because La Motoare no longer exists. Instead, we stopped for a drink in the garden at Dianei 4. He looked handsome. He was going on a date afterwards. With him, I felt as if coming back to myself. Everything suddenly felt better, as if feels when people open up to me and I open up to them.
When we hugged goodbye in front of the National Theatre – a long, warm hug – I felt drunk. It was not the alcohol – I only had one beer. It was happiness. The city itself seemed to open up to me again, and walking down to Unirii with music in my ears, I felt connected to everything and everyone around me. I thought of Dragoș, ready to love someone new. I thought of me, so different than the old, Bucharest version of myself.
Walking back home that evening, I realized home was nothing but a feeling. Home for me were the people I could talk to, whether in Bucharest, Amsterdam, or elsewhere. And home was where I wanted to be.
August 13th, 2018, Bucharest
I am tired, but I almost don’t want to go to sleep. Tonight is my last night in Bucharest and in Romania for this year. It is also the end of the summer holiday, and it feels like the end of summer, too. So it’s not easy to go back. Back to work, back to responsibilities, back to real life.
I came here two weeks ago and felt depressed, unable to find a connection with my hometown. Romania is like this. It shocks you, disappoints you, and then something strange happens. You realize it is not wrong to live like this. It is just another way of doing things. And it works. Now I feel at peace with my home country, happy to have seen family and friends. I am happy to have been to the Black Sea.
It has been a strange holiday because strange thoughts populated my mind. I was here and in my head at the same time. I will remember this.