I'm her grandson, taking questions and transcribing here :)

Proof on Instagram story: https://www.instagram.com/expatro.

Edit: Twitter proof https://twitter.com/RoExpat/status/1132287624385843200.

Obligatory 'OMG this blew up' edit: Only posting this because I told my grandma that millions of people might've now heard of her. She just crossed herself and said she feels like she's finally reached an "I'm living in the future moment."

Edit 3: I honestly find it hard to believe how much exposure this got, and great questions too. Bica (from 'bunica' - grandma - in Romanian) was tired and left about an hour ago, she doesn't really understand the significance of a front page thread, but we're having a lunch tomorrow and more questions will be answered. I'm going to answer some of the more general questions, but will preface with (m). Thanks everyone, this was a fun Saturday. PS: Any Romanians (and Europeans) in here, Grandma is voting tomorrow, you should too!

Final Edit: Thank you everyone for the questions, comments, and overall amazing discussion (also thanks for the platinum, gold, and silver. I'm like a pirate now -but will spread the bounty). Bica was overwhelmed by the response and couldn't take very many questions today. She found this whole thing hard to understand and the pace and volume of questions tired her out. But -true to her faith - said she would pray 'for all those young people.' I'm going to continue going through the comments and provide answers where I can.

If you're interested in Romanian culture, history, or politcs keep in touch on my blog, Instagram, or twitter for more.

Comments: 5028 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

pyriphlegeton2742 karma

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

roexpat4773 karma

Lots! Young people make many mistakes.
I'd say "be wise" but that's hard to do at 20. Still that would be the best thing...but also be grateful. You always have something to be grateful for.

polarinc2252 karma

Hello Grandma! Can you recommend me a cooking recipe of yours that you had for each of those time periods?

roexpat3562 karma

I've always loved sarmale (cabbage rolls) doesn't matter the period.
Also the "Bombe"(Bombs): Chocolate or cocoa, sugar, butter and water, which I heated. Then I added crushed biscuits to the mix and rolled it around alcoholized sour cherries. At the end we covered these round 'bombs' in crushed walnuts. Delicious.

Reekisonreddit2214 karma

Who was your best friend in life and can you say a few words about him or her?

roexpat4269 karma

My friend Ana who I've known since I was 15. She's two years older and very sick now...

She was always very gentle and kind, unlike me, so I always appreciated seeing her qualities and the way people were drawn to her.

MadTouretter2037 karma

Would you rather fight one horse sized duck, or 100 duck sized horses?

roexpat1640 karma

What can I say? I've always loved horses and even rode a horse. As for ducks, I remember stuffing them (with food) - I now realize it's such a barbarian practice, but we didn't think much of it then.

So probably the duck just because I like horses more.

TheLonelyScientist488 karma

This...should have been part of the Game of Thrones finale.

roexpat349 karma

Grandma force-feeding a duck? It was indeed a sight to behold (grandson here)

Wisgood1797 karma

Can we see a pic of Great Grandma?!

roexpat1240 karma

Added to post edit!

closedsidewalk1584 karma

Aside from your family, what are you most thankful for in your life?

roexpat2684 karma

I don't know, aside from family. I'd say the church and God.

SoH--CaH--ToA1516 karma

What’s your fondest memory?

roexpat4211 karma

I wouldn't necessarily say memories from my youth are the fondest. But if I had to pick one I'd say it was the birth of my first child, my daughter. I saw her and I said, "she's got big lips like me, I know she's mine".

Back then there was a big media story about a midwife at a hospital who switched a baby on a woman's request because she (the mother) had four kids who she considered to be ugly and so asked the midwife to give her a better looking one.
This is why I was happy to know for sure she was my baby.

TheWhiteEvil5021698 karma

back when there was a big media story about a midwife at hospital who switched a baby on a woman's request because they were ugly


roexpat87 karma

(m) I said the same thing. As she remembers, it was quite the scandal. Turns out the woman's husband was a communist party member so charges were dropped eventually. I tried finding the story online but no luck yet.

Kshaft131114 karma

What social policy or technological advance has brought the biggest change you've seen in your life? What made you think 'wow I'm in the future now'

roexpat3091 karma

I never thought 'Im in the future now" but I was very impressed by Canada when I visited. Everything seemed shiny and clean... I was surprised at how much of an impression it made on me because I expected to be impressed. But it was such a dramatic difference from Romania.

I do remember the first radio we ever got. My dad brought a box and said, in here you could hear people talking all the way from Bucharest. I was six and didn't believe him. I remember they had a "recipe of the day" segment and my mom was making something that wasnt coming out right. So my dad 'talks' to the radio and says 'give her the recipe' right when the announcer comes on with that segment. He starts listing all the ingredients but he gives the southern version of the recipe, which had all types of things we don't use here (Transylvania). My dad said, "shut that off and nevermind, this guy's stupid"

amanyggvv1026 karma

What was the scariest thing you lived through?

roexpat2076 karma

The '77 earthquake. Usually we don't feel earthquakes in that part of the country (used to live in Transylvania then).
I remember how the phone cord was swaying back and forth and I came out of the house (we had a homestead with animals in the yard) they were all noisy, baying, barking, panicked. And you could hear the earthquake, it was like grinding machinery. All that noise is what made it so scary.

ColonelMatt88979 karma

Thank you for offering to do an AMA from someone with such a wealth of experience.

In times of war and famine, how did the people and society change and adapt as food and other necessities became scarce?

Similarly, how have values changed over the years?

roexpat1298 karma

I can say that values have gone downhill. Mostly because I can't see anything that suggests they've improved. People seem lost nowadays. But also it's hard to see or know what others are doing, so it's difficult to judge.

autisticathene873 karma

what foods bring you the most nostalgia and why?

roexpat1388 karma

Chicken noodle soup. Have always liked it and reminds me of childhood.
Also lamb stew made from short ribs, cooked until the bones come right off.

TechnicalEgg8868 karma

Which period of time was best for Romania?

roexpat3027 karma

When I went to technical school at 19 (studiying topometry). I wasn't allowed into university because my family had owned land (this was already under communism). Many of my classmates weren't very hard-working, but I did very well.

(She hesitates here and when I prod, says she doesn't want to show off... then tells this story)

I was the only girl in the class, and at some point all the guys were showing off what they knew (math equations). At some point they got stuck on one particular problem. I went in and filled the entire blackboard. A senior student came in and saw then solved equation and later told my brother he didn't want to continue since he could never do what I did.

Edit: I either tapped on the wrong question or misread this one and took it to mean 'what was your favourite period to live in' and she said she remembers her time at school fondly. Answered the actual question elsewhere (she thinks now is pretty good except she's old).

frantichalibut1711 karma

You flex grandma, flex that knowledge

roexpat964 karma

Grandma was flexin' on dem boyz

whiskerbiscuit1773 karma

So was not going to university like a punishment because your family owned land?

roexpat180 karma

Exactly. They'd been branded 'enemies of the people'.
At least they didn't kill them.

wes_t1860 karma

Hi! I’m also Romanian and have asked my grandma this question as well!

How did Chernobyl affect you?

roexpat1561 karma

Actually we had a victim in our family. My brother loved gardening and he continued planting even right after the fallout. We all suspected it was the reason he died so soon after.

nilslorand853 karma

What are your thoughts on people defending communism today?

roexpat2321 karma

I dont think anything good about them. I'm assuming they're just ignorant or don't know any better.

minimagess795 karma

What are your most memorable memories of your grandparents or great grandparents?

roexpat1189 karma

My grandfather, on my father's side, worked alongside one of Romania's prime ministers (Iuliu Maniu).

anarrogantworm584 karma

What was your experience during the reign of Ceaușescu?

What do you remember from the time when his regime came to an end?

roexpat1043 karma

Life was hard. I remember the tired faces of moms bringing kids to daycare at 6:30am so they could be at work by 7. I guess I was one of them myself.
Ceaușescu didn't seem too bad at the beginning, but eventually (when he started paying off all the IMF loans) we had a lot of trouble finding food in stores, my daughter (my mom) was harassed by state police because she refused to join the communist party. We didn't have a church anymore (She is Greek Catholic), and you couldn't trust anyone with your opinions.

I was happy and hopeful for my grandkids future when the regime ended.

Edit (m- grandson): A while back I wrote about the days at the end if the regime as I remember them

Pressburger465 karma

Which of the periods you've lived through do you rank the highest? And bonus: what do you think of the Romanian Slovaks? :)

roexpat803 karma

The recent period. I like to see my kids and grandkids are free to travel anywhere and that they can live without worrying about life's basics.

I knew a Romanian-Slovak lady, she was a distant relative on my aunt's side. She spoke German and her Romanian had a German accent.

JWARD1112416 karma

Why is their such hatred and discrimination between the Romanians and Roma?

roexpat504 karma

The perception that Gypsies in general are not dependable people. That has everything to do with it.

newera14415 karma

Were there any aspects under communist rule that you miss?

roexpat1156 karma

Grandma does not remember anything positive...will edit if she changes her mind. (My uncle, who's also with us wanted to add something: "that image of people going to work in the morning, towards their places of work, in factories, which which have now disappeared completely")

SokratisTheLazy368 karma

What do you think about young romanians leaving your country in masses to other european nations?

roexpat703 karma

They're doing the right thing.

MyNameIsTheLetter4239 karma

Sad to hear from an old Romanian

takoshi106 karma

Yeah, the only thing in this thread that actually made me react audibly. I said "shit.." under my breath. That's really sad to hear.

roexpat242 karma

(m) yeah, I hated typing this answer. In Romanian she said, sunt oameni deștepți (they're smart people) but don't think it makes as much sense in English given the context.

Rgraff58339 karma

Grandma which was worse: the Nazis or the Communists? Did you or your family have to deal with any of them directly?

roexpat1029 karma

Didn't like any of them. But the Germans were more civilized. They were all the same though, fixed ideas that ruined innocent people's lives.

I remember when the Russians came to our town, we were kicked out of our home. They used it as a headquarters for about 10 days and moved on. But then they came back (after the war ended). They shot all the dogs in the neighborhood, I remember the smell of rotting flesh. I got very sick.

wouldeye327 karma

How did you feel about the show-trial and execution of the Ceaušescus?

roexpat613 karma

He made the stupid mistake of believing that people loved him too much for that to ever happen to him.

elpierce322 karma

What is your definition of freedom?

roexpat640 karma

To worship in my own church. (The Greek Catholic - aka Uniate Catholic - church was banned during communism and driven underground)

NightStu311 karma

Did you like Queen Marie of Romania? I live in Washington state and she left a ton of jewelry and religious artifacts to a small museum called the Maryhill museum.

roexpat566 karma

Somebody once said, "In Romania there's just one real man: Queen Mary".
(She can't remember where she heard it, but she thinks it was accurate. She was instrumental in Romania's 1918 unification).

CementAggregate296 karma

Hello great-grandma!

Other than tobacco and alcohol, what drugs did people use back in the day?
Did you know what cannabis was in your youth?

roexpat466 karma

I didn't know about any other drugs, not even cannabis.

pyriphlegeton253 karma

What do you think of capitalism?

roexpat461 karma

Not good, it's pretty bad too. (Compared to communism)

for_a_reason203 karma

Buna ziua doamna, si multumesc în advance! I’m better at English - what’s your take on the Magyars? My Dad is one and I’ve heard the family story on the issue, but I would like to know another side

roexpat333 karma

They're very proud people. They're Attila's descendants and like to remind others about it.

Epicalyx246184 karma

Great Grandma how do I get real friends and be more confident in myself?

roexpat427 karma

How can I answer if I don't have much confidence in myself either (she laughs)

RegnarDd165 karma

If you’ve still got your Romanian citizenship, will you please vote tomorrow for the European elections and the referendum (that will condemn severe acts of corruption)? (P.S. I’ve read most of this thread and it’s pretty awesome! Lots of love from Romania!)

roexpat259 karma

Everyone in this family is voting :)

TylerSpicknell161 karma

What’s it like being under a monarchy?

roexpat372 karma

I think it's good. At least those leaders were all highly educated unlike those leading the other regimes.

JoeParrish151 karma

Who was worse: the Nazis or the Red Army?

roexpat351 karma

Didn't like any of them. But the Germans were more civilized. They were all the same though, fixed ideas that ruined innocent people's lives.

Knives4Bullets137 karma

What has been the best book you’ve read? The best movie you’ve seen?

Thank you for doing this!

roexpat195 karma

Book: The Robe.

Any film with Alida Valli. I remember liking her films very much.

OJSimpsons69 karma

How do you think the buffalo bills will do this year in the NFL?

roexpat250 karma

I translated this word for word and she said, "Whats an enefel?"

dantheman424268 karma

What's your earliest memory?

roexpat45 karma

(Posted this on the original r/ama thread at the beginning and thought it was a duplicate. She remembers her early childhood home very fondly, I'll edit with earliest memory too - m).

I grew up in a house that had a massive garden surrounded by a forest. I used to like going to the forest. They called me "the forest girl". I liked to yell and hear my echo...but as far as monarchy or communism, I remember the picture of King Michael at school. We liked looking at his picture in the morning, all the girls liked him because he was very young and handsome.

As for a comparison (between different political systems), let's say the system has changed, but the scoundrels stayed the same.

Edit, earliest memory: At my parents farm, where I grew up, we had four dogs who didn't recognize people when they wore different clothes.
It was my birthday, I couldn't have been older than five, and I wore a new dress. The dogs started nipping at it and one of them snagged it and dragged me down. Then another one grabbed the dress and pulled. It was like they were playing football (soccer) with me.
My mom heard the commotion and chased them off. I wasn't hurt but my dress was torn.

AirJumpman2361 karma

Last meal ever what are you cooking ?

roexpat72 karma

bigzij56 karma

I’m a Singaporean male, 25M and I have visited your country twice, falling in love with it on my first visit.

  1. Where would you recommend someone traveling solo to visit in your beautiful country? I have been to Brasov and Bucuresti, and I am planning to hit both places again and more places.

  2. When I was in Bucharest, I fell in awe of all the gigantic buildings (the Parliament House) and from what I’ve heard, part of the reason is because one of your dictator was a egomaniac and wanted everything to be big for some narcissistic reason. What are your views on his regime?

  3. I think you Romanians (or at least the younger generation) holds education in very high esteem and are generally very educated/progressive. What are your thoughts on your country’s youth?

  4. I’m really in awe of Romania, and my end goal in life is to retire into the Swiss alps (I did a 6 mo internship in Switzerland and fell in love with Europe’s multi culture and diversity) or a cottage/countryside in Romania. What tips do you have for someone trying to pick up Romanian soon? (Trying to be satisfied with my level of Russian at the moment so I don’t want to start on Romanian yet)

roexpat69 karma

(Grandson here, but any Romanian should pitch in and answer)

(1) Visit Maramures, it's magical. Bucovina in the north-east as well. If you get a chance to visit the Danube delta, take it. I'd stay out of the cities in general. It's harder but worth it.

(2) Answered several versions of this, basically it was a bad time for all Romanians. And most Romanians dislike that monstrosity of a building. It destroyed a beautiful part of old Bucharest.

(3) I think grandma would say they're not in a good place given the state of the country, but at least there are opportunities. My opinion is similar, there is no place to go but up, but people have to keep their heads up, work for it, and not give up on their own country.

(4) For any language, the secret is immersion, hear it and practice it whenever possible. Focus on vocabulary, don't worry about technical stuff like grammar.

By the way, I find it incredible that people fall in love with this country. Not because you shouldn't but because we're going through an exodus. Romanians can't get out fast enough. It's such a shame because the potential is definitely here. It's just hard to live with the people running the show....