First off, for those of you wondering, OZB stands for O Zi Buna which means “have a good day” in Romanian. It’s a quintessentially and ubiquitous Romanian phrase and rather a lovely one I feel and, forgive the cheese, but I hope you are having a good day.

By Douglas Williams

With the publication of this magazine, the growing affection I’ve been feeling towards Romania has blossomed into something approaching love – with the place, with the people and even, it has to be said, with Bucharest.

It wasn’t always this way.

Our arrival almost two years ago was challenging, things didn’t bode well. There was the missed connection and a night at a dismal Heathrow hotel. The kids couldn’t understand why we’d left our Malaysian paradise and the Inside Out movie had planted huffy thoughts in their heads. We got to Bucharest a day late, our luggage arrived some days after that. Venturing out in our rental car (different side of the road for us) we discovered that the school run involved a Strada Iancu Nicolae in a state of viscous and chaotic disrepair; Pipera Tunari was even worse – like the school run needed complicating. The junction between the two was like something out of Delhi but with less rickshaws and more X5s.

Still it was hot and sunny. Even grizzly, elderly cabbies spoke English and a big glass of frothy beer was refreshingly cheap. We went into the city. Wow, gorgeous classical French architecture interspersed with a hotch-potch of Soviet era solemnity and bad graffiti: charm personified and uber-cool. Then we went to the mountains – double wow! And reasonably smoothly we figured the driving and the shopping, loving the Mega, and some pals and all the other daily necessities.

But I kept missing events like free music concerts in the parks, gastronomic festivals, rural celebrations and a whole raft of others. How do I find out about these events? No one knew and there was no magazine akin to those I’d worked on in East Asia to help. The more I asked about, the clearer it became that there was a need for an English language, cultural, lifestyle, events magazine/website/media platform that would serve the international community living here in Romania and so the germ of OZB was sown.

We hope the magazine can be a celebration of modern Romania but at the same time we won’t shy away from constructive criticism, as you’ll see within. Most importantly we want to become your go-to reference point for finding out about what’s on.

About a year ago I began working on this project but it wasn’t until I was introduced to co-owner Marcel and his wife Fulvia, owners of No Borders Communications, about six months ago that it became clear that OZB would fly. After Marcel and Fulvia had helped me fine-tune the story commercial partners got on board and here we are.

So Marcel and I are co-owners but the magazine is yours and it needs to be fit for purpose, it needs to serve your needs and for that we need your help. We need you to tell us what you’d like to see here in OZB. And we quite possibly want to tell readers about you – are you part of an organisation, a club, a class, a school; do you have a story? Do you meet with others and do stuff? Would you like others to join you? Do you know of something coming up that might be of interest to our readers? Then get in touch.

Email us your address and we’ll mail the next issues to your home or office directly.  Our next issue will be July/August but thereafter we will be monthly.

We have some really good people involved in OZB and I thank them all. I really hope you enjoy the articles, the photography and Ada’s design.

Please tell all your friends about us and visit www.ozb.ro

Romania has exceeded my expectations on a number of levels, I hope OZB exceeds yours.      

O zi buna.

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