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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Romanian Minister of Defence in Krakow

Dear friends,

Being part of the expat community means also that sometimes you will miss dearly speaking your own language, meeting with people from your country, reading books in your native language and tasting the yummy treats, sweets and traditional food of your homeland. Being part of the expat community means also that you will try to make bonds with people from your country, living in the same country/city you live at that moment. If means being a part of the larger community of people who followed similar paths as yours. The Romanian community in Poland is not as big as the Ukrainean or the Russian one, yet it's still quite significant and visible. The Embassy of Romania can be found in Warsaw and I'm dearly wishing for a consulate in Krakow. Somehow I feel the community of expats in Warsaw is stronger. Here, in Krakow, we do have ocasional meetings and events - on important dates like Easter or Mother's Day (8th of March) - but somehow it feels as if everyone is in for themselves, not looking at the bigger picture of life, not looking forward to sharing. 
Maybe it's the Latin blood, boiling in us, unable to let us rest and maintain regular like behaviour. Maybe we've developed trust issues, or maybe it's just the mentality of the grass being greener on the other side and the cow/sheep of the neighbour does look better and produces more milk and we are too upset about that and we just wish to kill it. Or... Maybe it's just something personal some people have... don't make connections with fellow countrymen - you never know what you get yourself into! Yet I prefer to keep an open mind and an open heart - even after many broken pieces fell off. Everyone is entitled to the benefit of the doubt, until they are proven otherwise. 
***
A few days back, on Thursday 19th of October (2017, of course), I went to one such Romanian meeting in Krakow. The event took place at 7 pm at the Public Library on Rajska 1. The special guests were the Ambasador of Romania in Poland and the Minister of Defence (Mihai Fifor). The Minister of Defence came to Krakow to be part of the opening of the NATO Excellency Centre for Military Counterinformation. The visit was part of a series of bilateral meetings between the Ministry of Defence in Romania and the one in Poland and Slovakia - Antoni Macierewicz and Peter Gajdo.  The next day after our meeting, Friday the 20th of October, Mihai Fifor was scheduled for a ceremony (bringing flowers and paying his respects) to the Memorial Complex at Lambinowice, where 2602 Romanian heroes from the First World War lay to rest.
Also part of his visit was a tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau where he also payed his respects, light up a candle at the death wall in Auschwitz and wrote in the first book - Mihai Fifor posted some of the pictures from his trip to Auschwitz and shared his thoughts upon the subject. We must always remember, never forget, lest we will do this again... The meeting on Thursday evening, 19th of October, was quite intimate and warm. It was at the Public Library on Rajska 1, close to the city centre. There were Romanian expats living in Krakow, there were Romanian students from the Jagiellonian University, Polish students from the Jagiellonian University that study Romanian language, but also regular Polish people in love with the Romanian language and it's culture. The meeting with Mihai Fifor was presided by Ignat Timar, the President of the Romanian Community in Krakow. The Ambasador of Romania (from Warsaw) was also present and the Minister came along with several army staff. There was of course the secret service and dogs sniffing around for bombs and other threats but hey! It's Poland! The coast is clear and all is safe  :) There was a very nice free glow of conversation  between Mihai Fifor and the other participants and the meeting lasted about an hour before the Ministerhad to dash away. 
Mihai Fifor was not the first time in Krakow, he had studied a semester in his first year at the Jagiellonian University! And he feels a strong connection to the city and Poland. He believes that Romania has much to learn from Poland in terms of continuity, accessing European funds and developing economically. Truer words have never been said... 

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug 🐞