Imigrant. La egal cu ‘inca unul’?

Imigrantul bun, imigrantul rau‘ – e jocul asta de adulti in deplasare pe care de mai bine de vreo trei ani incoace, ma tot chinui sa-i dau de capat. E cu fente, cu penalty-uri, cu tot felul de cartonase, cu antrenamente si stat mult pe banca de rezerve, iar antrenamente, cu aplauze, cu rasu-plansu si mai ales, cu multa, dar multa disciplina. Aia in care te-aliniezi, cu tot poporul, la marginea terenului si te uiti dreapta-stanga, evaluand pe unde esti: mai la-nceput, mai la coada…? Mai la… coada cozii? Evaluarea incepe cam asa:

  • nationalitate. Mmm… Est-European. Si mai bine, romanca.
  • accent. Bai, nu prea bine. Ca te-ncurci mereu la ‘curtain’, la ‘cucumber’, adica acolo unde-s multi de ‘r’. Adica i-am pierdut in limba mea si-acum sunt peltica. Peltica de limba sunt si in engleza. Deci traiesc mai mereu in afara lui ‘R’, de la Romania.
  • studii. Am ceva. Dar nu din cale-afara.
  • clasa. Nu-s nici lower, nici middle, nicicum upper… sunt de la mama si de la tata. Esti doar ‘imigranta’, deci un soi de struto-camila care se-amesteca pe oriunde, dar nu apartine pe nicaieri si e de responsabilitatea stimabilei sa isi faca naturalizarea.
  • etnicitiate. ‘White. Other.’

Si uite-aici te loveste. ‘Other’. Iar in engleza, mai ales in Marea Britanie, o sa auzi tot mai des in ultima vreme de ‘other-ising‘ – adica procesul de izolare a comunitatilor care nu sunt ca majoritatea. Adica ‘white British’, aia nascuti si facuti in UK. Adica: tu da, tu ba, tu mmmmda, tu… poate nu… Si tot asa.

  • Lui ‘tu, da!‘ – i se mai zice si integrare. Adica te-au acceptat in tribul lor.
  • Uneori, ‘tu, da!‘ vine si pe fondul unui disperat strigat de ‘vreau si euuuu!‘, dar atunci e mai degraba, asa zisul proces de ‘asimilare’. Atunci cand ‘altul’ si ‘celalalt’ devin ‘acelasi‘. Prozaic.

Va asigur, ca in totul timpul asta, nu prea ai vreme de lamentari. Ori de patetisme: treaba aia cu ‘romanul e buricul pamantului, stramos al lui…’ sau ‘romanul hot si necioplit’. Pe scurt, din pozitia de privilegiat indigen te retrogradezi la statutul de ‘imigrant’. Asa ca iti tai motul de ‘copil ales’ al lui Decebal. Imigrant. ‘Foreigner’. Expat, daca esti norocos sa te gasesti intr-0 tara cu putini ‘others’. Migrant, daca cineva e foarte ales in exprimare. Sau in fine, ‘cetatean de mana a doua’ sau mai destept, ‘cetatean universal.’

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Oricum ai da-o, e tot aia. Esti scos la careul asta de tot felul de nationalitati care s-au lepadat de cuvantul scris in limba lor nativa. Si e iad. Dar e iadul ala care te exorcizeaza de toate supra-proclamatiile de desteptaciune. Sau de toate privilegiile inchipuite.

Cum sa explic mai usor? Asadar… exemplu de schimb de putere: cred ca cel mai tare rad la gandul ala ca acasa, in Romania, mi se spunea ca ‘vorbesc frumos’ (orice ar mai insemna asta!), ca azi sa stiu ca sochez de cate ori vorbesc! Din cauza accentului. In Londra, mi se spune ca am un fel ‘jucaus’ de a ma exprima. Ei bine, nu chiar – improvizez. Cu ce am, cu cat am. Ceea ce suna inovativ. Dar e de fapt o nevoie. Numele. Cel mai banal in Romania. Incredibil de dubios in Londra.

Ori Doamne, cum scriam eu la fel de ‘frumos’ in romana, ca acum sa ma sperie de moarte ideea de a pune pe hartie un ‘script.’ Cred ca cel mai mare adevar l-a zis Cristina Hermeziu cand a incetatenit pentru non-residenti ideea de ‘a trai in afara limbii’. Da, traim in afara zonei de comfort cand fiecare gand, fiecare cuvant rostit, e trecut prin filtre de tot felul: suna prea direct, too rude, prea abrut? Incorect? Bai, a fost aia un ‘conditional’ gresit? Sa zic… nu, mai bine nu zic. Lejeritatea de a fi tu e de fapt, usurinta cuvintelor… De unde si greutatea de a-ti ramane fidela intr-o lume in care semnificatiile sunt straine de sinele tau.

Revenind la exercitiul de imaginatie cu acel careu. Aici esti goala-pusca, despuiata de tot ce stiai despre tine, si totusi… mergem cu totii demni, de parca am purta o haina Max Mara si trei diplome Oxford. Fake it, until you make it, ha? Si pui rand pe rand, o minte tot mai deschisa, niste haine care nu mai inseamna la fel de mult, scopuri tot mai inalte si sentimentul ala ca ‘orice e posibil/anything can happen.’ Plus, determinare. Si ardoare.

Iti dai seama, ca nu te mai ingroapa primul refuz. Nici al doilea. Da’ nici al treilea. Spre deosebire de nativii din jurul tau, tu ai acum taria aia de caracter sa infrunti lumea… goala. La primul esec nu te mai ascunzi, nu te mai faci una cu pamantul, ori cauti iesirea de urgenta. Ori fugi acasa la parinti.

Iar fiecare reusita  a ta inseamna uimire – pentru ca da, tu esti un ‘other’ asumat, dar cum se face ca ai iesit la joc? Nu mai esti pe banca de rezerva? Nu, nu, nu… avantajul de a fi printre ‘others’ e ca stii ca nimic nu vine de-a gata. Si da, nu e mit: muncesti de trei ori mai mult decat un nativ. Poate de patru ori. Cine mai tine cont? Nu te cheama nimeni pe teren, asa ca iti faci loc. Te antrenezi mereu. Si dimineata. Si seara. Si la pranz. Nu te superi ca nu primesti. Nici nu astepti. Nu te frustrezi ca e mai greu decat la altii, si ce? Sa vezi recompensa! Nu iti iese? Macar ai incercat. 1 data. De 2 ori. 3, 4… Pana iese.

Si cand iti iese stii ca dupa aia, urmatorului ii va fi si mai usor. Caci pana mai ieri parea ‘imposibilul’… Si ‘inca unul’ isi face loc. Si inca unul.

Inca unul ca tine. Adica dintre aia insetati, care stiu ca privilegiile vin din a sfida ceea ce ‘ti se da’, ceea ce ‘ti se cuvine’ si ceea ce ‘se asteapta’ de la tine. Ca imigrant. Si sincer, etichetele astea, poti sa faci ceva pe ele, doar daca esti loser te-mpiedici de ele. Pe teren, conteaza doar cum sutezi. Doar nu ai uitat, nu, ca tot noi, astia cu spirit de ‘imigranti’ traim in afara granitelor, a limbii, dar  mai ales, in afara limitelor?

Cu drag,

Oana (‘Wanna’)

PS. Nici nu mai stiu de unde mi-a venit a scrie. Poate doar de dorul de a fi nativa. Iar.

The journey to ‘Maidan Generation – Six of the stories’

Russian-English dictionary… Ukrainian audio app? Ticked. Tripod? Fits perfectly the 25-kilo luggage. Extra batteries? Ticked. Camera, adaptor, headphones, cards, cassettes, umbrella, list of contacts, passport, custom-papers… Yes, it seems that everything is there.

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I only had a to-do list of six A4 pages before my leaving to Kyiv, Ukraine. Yes, Ukraine. And yes, I was to be filming there by myself a 15-minute documentary. Yes, I know I am short and on top of it, a woman. How will I manage? Oh well, we’ll just have to see when I come back.

London-Kyiv flight. The only non-speaking Russian passenger. Out of 8 of us flying to Ukraine.

First lesson: Don’t use ‘spasiba‘ (Russian for ‘Thank you’)!

‘Spasiba!’, I said when I got my 400 Hryvnia for 20 pounds in the airport exchange. It’s a lot of money. Maybe half of the salary of the woman working for the office there. Her name is Liuba. Liuba just stared at me while counting the money in Ukrainian. Spasiba, again. No answer, again.

 

Shuttle bus. Sitting on a pile of duvets and people speaking to me in their native language misled by my father’s Ukrainian genes. I only reply with ‘spasiba’ from time to time. They laugh and turn their back.

Tube. Three lines and a speedy escalator. No standing on the right or left, just mind your own business and… survive.

Helpful Babylonian crowd to get to Pivdenna Station. Me and a Japonese. ‘Spasiba!’, I say on my way out.

Coffee and a delicious home-made cheesecake bought from the back of a car. ‘Spasiba!’ Vladimir, the barrister, looks at me and says: ‘No spasiba. You say: dyakuyu! Dya-ku-yu! No russian!’ (n.b. Ukrainian ‘thank you!’).

Maidan. ‘It smells like… death.’

So I took my 25-killo luggage, camera and backpack to Maidan Nezalezhnosti tube station.

IMG_9477We finally meet. Me and the Independence Square in Kyiv. Before seeing Oksana, the girl I knew almost nothing about who was to host me for five days, I wanted to meet… Maidan.

At the tube exit, I stumbled on something. Looked down. It was a candle. A burnt candle. Next to a plastic red-carnation. Looked around.

Army-tents were still watching over the place. As if the protests stopped the day before. This is the story of Maidan, six months after.


 

 

 

 

 

 

We should meet up for a coffee these days! A Creative Coffee.

I’m very picky with my coffee – it needs to be Kenyan with the strong and spicy Equatorial taste. Memorable, energising and above all, I appreciate a good foam of… conversation. Yes, conversation. You don’t get that from the coffee machine. But you do get it from the Creative Coffee International machine, an international event where you get to have espresso, networking and inspiration in the same cup. Liverpool, July the 15th. Baristas?

Adriana Ursache, previously a TEDx speaker, a globe-trotter entrepreneur passionate about building creative communities who’s been travelling the world with her start-up Worksurfers. Back from Silicon Valley, she’ll be in Liverpool in mid-July to become an inspirational ‘angel’ for all of us.

Continue reading “We should meet up for a coffee these days! A Creative Coffee.”

Thousands of students protest in London

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#copsoffcampus – the hashtag for the nationwide students movement

Thousands of students took the streets of central London to rally against the  presence of police in the university campuses. Protesters used the hashtag #copsoffcampus to organise the march on social media, after officers made 41 arrests during a student demonstration last week. 

The meeting point was the University of London Union (ULU) in Euston Square where protesters gathered in samba-dancing moves. They held banners with messages: ‘No to police brutality’ or ‘make love not student debts’. Continue reading “Thousands of students protest in London”

‘From’ means Home

I am from a part of the world called the last frontier of the European Union. I come from Romania, North-Eastern part. I am from a region called Moldova. If you were from my country you would smile. We have tingling words, a weird accent and most of the time, we’re poor. Enough reasons to come the UK in January, right?

I was asked so many times about the ‘exodus’ of the Romanians in Great Britain, I had so many answers to give.

In the end, it all comes down to this video. This is my ‘from’.  So, why would you leave your country (easily!) when it looks this amazing?

The Lone, the Happy

When you cover yourself in that rough, bitter blanket of unhappiness, loneliness slowly lays her pillow next to you. That’s what they say, right? That ‘feeling alone’ status of your inside social media comes with misery, right? That moment we all know, we feel it coming, we see it from the window of our inner penthouse.

Suddenly, you become the only tenant of a  Tokyo skyscraper, you crush on to the stairs, shout at some neighbours for help. Abandoned bedrooms. No furniture. You look on the window. Empty streets. Just the enormous toneless view of a once lively, never sleeping city.

Image Continue reading “The Lone, the Happy”

I was taught this easy ecuation: over 18 – go to college, You still get a daughter allowence. Graduate, over 21, oak-healthy, got to work and earn money. Still our daughter. A cheaper one. Simple as that. The moment your life starts chasing the “in order to get” something followed by “You have to”.

e.g. Get a job in order to pay rent in order to Leave your Pink and sparklingroom in parents’s house in order to learn how to cook pork ribs in order to cook for your man in order to make him your well fed husband in order to have one of a kind curly daughter in order to repeat life’s good manners of the in order to.

Wait! Where do I fit the “in order to make a difference”? Well, I know it’s not many of us choosing a job that will only pay your coffees in order to make a difference. Plumbers, drivers, presidents, teachers, designers, hair-stylists, activists, journalists?

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All of them. Especially journalists. When starting this Masters we were doing the small talk and asked the classical: “Why do You want to be a reporter?”. 8 out of 10 answers: to make a tiny difference in the world. And no, no one is competing for a beauty contest.

My mother had no strategy for the “in order to make a difference”, so I had to just improvise.

  • Fight for your job in order
  • to get the story in order
  • to storytell it in order
  • to make a diference

A hell of a journey of “in order to”-s! Only jounalists will be happy to not stick to mother’s life plans: having their own place, not-cooking, sacrficing the “well-Fed” (stick to the man), getting older for the same reason: the 25 working-hour day, sleepless nights and still, not complaining about it. Everything in order to make a difference.