By Dean Edgar
Romania, for all its ups and downs, is the place I have called home for the last 11 years. When telling this to the students I teach conversational English to, at a local state college, they look at me as though I am a complete loony. Most want to travel and leave the country at the first chance, they don’t see a future here, hopefully they will return after making their fortunes. I am concerned about the “Brain Drain” and the consequences for Romania, especially the doctors and nurses leaving for Western Europe. Having had two major operations here, whilst the facilities do leave a lot to be desired, the medical staff were exceptional and to lose highly qualified staff basically due to lack of a decent salary is harming this country grievously.
Romania has many positives and many negatives, some of the negatives I have used to my advantage by creating a business that helps newcomers to the country with the bureaucratic nightmares of setting up a company, registering a car, applying for a residence permit or work permit. Business and investment would grow much faster if the petty rules and regulations were scrapped and a more transparent tax system was introduced and maintained. The positives are why I am here, the beautiful countryside, the traditional way of life, nowhere near as much “health and safety” as there is in much of Western Europe, where everyone is wrapped up in cotton wool and of course, cheap beer!
I am seeing a lot more foreigners coming here that are not here due to a company relocation. More and more entrepreneurs, teachers, retirees, all moving here to have a better life, or at least a different life. Many are choosing to live in the centre of town, and not the gated communities of Pipera and Baneasa, and that is also a good thing. Despite the best actions of the mayor, Gabriela Firea, Bucharest city centre is improving. There is still lots to do regarding cars and parking, public transport, renovation of buildings in the Old Town, a general “tarting up” as someone once said. Restaurants are improving, service is getting better, by and large, change is happening, albeit slowly.
Christmas is coming and Romania fully embraces this time of the year. If you are new to town, Christmas markets in Bucharest, opposite the People’s Palace, Sibiu and Brașov add to the fun of the season. The Old Town will be full of Christmas parties, all in all, a great deal of fun will be had. I am waiting to see how kitsch the mayor will make the Bucharest market this year. I read that she visited a factory in Mizil that makes the figures and decorations that were used at Easter time, which were hilarious. Unfortunately she didn’t see the joke.
I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a great New Year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, have fun whatever you are doing.
Dean Edgar has been living the expat dream here in Romania for 11 years. He is General Manager of Moorcroft Services, a company dedicated to assisting foreigners to settle in Romania. They can help with visas, permits, company set-ups, car registration, house hunting, insurance, orientation tours and basically anything that a newcomer to Romania might need see www.moorcroft.ro for further details.