A Trip to My Own Soul

Taking a Piece of Romania to Spain

December 15, 2014  |  By Anca Coman, Romania

A Trip to My Own Soul

The elections of the Romanian president in 2014 have ended. No one could have missed the huge scandal concerning the vote in diaspora. How many Romanian people voted outside the boundaries? I don't know for sure. But I can recall the moment when I put my foot on Spanish land and I met incredible Romanian people with different perspectives on life.

In November I had the great opportunity to be part of a project entitled Traditional Romanian Costumes which was held in Madrid. Together with my classmates and teachers, I represented a little piece of the puzzle that reminded my dearest Romanian citizens, who had gone to work abroad, of our country and the magic that surrounds it. This project included information about geographical, historical and religious aspects, the main elements of the traditional costume and a deep research on what the symbols and motifs of these costumes represent from religious and philosophical points of view.

Done with the theoretical part! What about the practical one? How to impress an audience that left its native country and which misses every little part of it? We selected videos and photos from all over the country and the first tear that I saw from an old woman was born from watching a video with various places from Romania. That was the reaction I was ready for. Those sensitive people who sat on their chairs and didn't move at all were the people I was expecting I was going to meet. The tiny smile on their faces and the thought that maybe one day, someday, they would be returning to their beloved country was indeed touching.

However, this wasn't the only reaction we received. It was interesting to see that other people weren't that keen on Romanian traditions and that they were almost considering themselves Spanish citizens. They were a little bit bored and truly not passionate about our story, and sincerely admitted that they were not going to vote in the presidential elections because they didn't have access to information regarding Romanian society. Even though in Spain there are over 250.000 Romanians, one of the ladies in the public confessed to me with regret that there was not a single TV Romanian channel and that had kept them away from what happened in our country. These people were a broken page from an enormous novel. They were left outside the action from the book. These actions started to make them feel lonely and felt that they didn't make part of the Romanian society anymore.

Not being sure if I was right about this feeling that was haunting me, I asked my classmate, Maria, who indeed shared the same sensation as I did: ''The audience was basically open-minded and profoundly interested in finding out what our project is about. For instance, there were people that added some information and started a little debate on various aspects in our presentation. However, I didn't see only bright faces, but also bored ones and totally out of the context. I am little bit disappointed that I didn't have the chance to present our work in front of a more active public.''

Although the project was described as a real success, I had the feeling that something was done wrong. But what? Everything seemed perfect, but some of our public was really not interested in what we were talking about. Definitely shocking! They were totally transferred into another world that didn't have anything to do with the beauty of Romania.

Maria tried to see the bright side and to be grateful that our work led to a brilliant project that few teenagers have the opportunity to work on: ''I consider that this trip had more positive aspects than negative ones. I was deeply impressed by the imperial character of Madrid and by our accompanying teachers, who became like parents to us. I remember Madrid as a much more imposing 'home' where I can't wait to return.''

In one of Mika's songs, a powerful lyric says ''this is a happy ending.'' I have brilliant memories from this trip which was indeed a trip to my own soul, to my own person. In other words, it was a trailblazer to maturity. The tiny fail was a clear sign that the world, my dears, is not perfect and that impediments are standing in the middle of our way. This was not an ordinary funny trip. This was life in its own form which gives us reasons to struggle and to find the strength to cross the bridge with pride.

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