Expat in Romania - Joseph Long (US): Romania has brought me good food and great people
We're inviting our readers to share their stories and tell the world what Romania means to them. Joseph (Joe) Long, an American who moved to Romania about eight months ago, has decided to join our campaign and fill in the questionnaire here. Below is his Romanian story.
Joe Long arrived in Romania in March this year to take over his new job as general manager for an aviation manufacturing company.
Although he found Romania a bit intimidating at first, mainly due to the heavy Bucharest traffic and the strange atmosphere created by the COVID-19 restrictions, he got to know the people and the local culture better in the months that followed. "Romania has brought me good food and great people. My job has been a fulfilling learning experience," he told Romania-insider.com.
Joe Long likes the architecture because it reminds him of Paris, the friendly people, and the Romanian food, with the mititei (more commonly known as mici - short sausages without casings that never miss from barbecues) being at the top of his list.
What is your name, and where are you from, originally?
Joseph (Joe) Long.
Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, US.
How long have you been in Romania, and what brought you here? What is your main activity here?
I've been in Romania for 8 months, work brought me here. I am a General Manager for an Aviation manufacturing company.
Please describe your first encounter with Romania.
My first encounter was when I arrived in March for my initial visit. I noticed the beautiful architecture and busy city. I was a bit overwhelmed by the traffic. However, the people were friendly and accommodating. The COVID restrictions with public mask requirements along with the curfew made it difficult to see the city and experience the culture.
What was your main challenge when arriving in Romania? How did you overcome it?
My main challenge is the traffic. I had a driver for the first week to take me back and forth to work. I started driving over the weekend then hit the road early Monday morning. I overcame the traffic by leaving early in the morning and being patient.
What has Romania brought to your life?
Romania has brought me good food and great people. My job has been a fulfilling learning experience.
While Romania is a country full of opportunities, it makes me appreciate the opportunities in the US. Everything from the availability of restaurants to ordering anything I need from Amazon. It has also given me the cultural experience I need to see things in a different light. I can appreciate my opportunities in the US and appreciate different opportunities in Romania.
How has Romania changed since you first arrived?
When I first arrived, the COVID restrictions were strong. Curfews, public mask wearing etc. Now the restrictions have lightened, which provides a more relaxing public atmosphere.
Initially, Romania was intimidating. I didn't know the area or the people. Now I can move around freely without worry whether I am at Herastrau or the Old Town. The people are friendly and very welcoming of Americans to their country.
What are the three things you like most about Romania and why?
I like the architecture because it reminds me of Paris. I spent 2.5 years in Paris, France, and I love that city.
I like the food in Romania. Most of the food I've tried is similar to the US. I do miss Buffalo wings, though.
The mountains in Romania are beautiful. I spent time in Sinaia to visit Peles castle. The town had a festival that weekend which was wonderful.
What don't you like in Romania?
The traffic is what I like the least. Too many cars and lack of traffic laws make the traffic even worse.
What is your favorite place in Romania and why?
My favorite place so far is Sinaia. Very relaxing with friendly people. I was born and raised a country boy, which has made me an avid outdoorsman. The mountain view and cool air from the hillsides relax my body and mind.
What is your favorite Romanian food?
My favorite Romanian foot is mititei dipped in mustard. As a red blooded American, we like our red meat and outdoor grilling. Mititei provides that outlet for me.
(Photo source: courtesy of Joseph Long)