How to tell if you're Oltenian

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If you're Oltenian...

  • You believe you live in the most beautiful country on the face of the earth. The mountains, the trees, the fantastic architecture. You say you don't mind not having a coast.
  • You know how football and rugby are played. You can argue intricate points about their rules. You might've heard the word "soccer" but you're unfamiliar with what it is, precisely. Not that you care.
  • You know how to play chess. It is a point of pride with you, and gambling on local chess matches is something you've probably done.
  • You count yourself fortunate if you get two weeks of vacation a year. If possible you will spend it on the shore of a lake.
  • You go to church every week, or at least once a month. Despite being Catholic you probably own an icon or two. They were gifts from your family.
  • You celebrate your naming day, not your birthday.
  • There is a small town or village that your family calls home. It has some kind of local festival you've heard about, maybe even seen.
  • You do not name children after their parents or grandparents. Uncles, aunts and cousins--yes. Saints and famous people from history, yes.
  • You were probably delivered by a midwife. Your own children might be delivered by a midwife or by a OB-GYN.

If you died tonight...

  • You believe in God and his Saints. More, you believe in Satan and his countless servants. You say you don't believe in ghosts but you know a lot of places that are in fact haunted.
  • You have heard of Creationism. It is associated with the Pavelists.
  • You would most likely be cremated, and the ashes buried in a family plot. Somebody in your family might keep some of them in a tiny remembrance urn.
  • You think of pizza and gyros as cheap food.
  • You own either a telephone or a TV, but probably not both. Your place is heated in the winter (usually) and has its own bathroom. You do your laundry in a machine (unless your mother does it). You don't kill your own food but you probably know someone who has. You don't have a dirt floor. You eat at a table, sitting on chairs.
  • You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food. Eating a bat would actually shock you.
  • A bathroom has a bathtub or shower in it, usually both-in-one. Toilets are in the water closet.
  • It seems natural to you that the telephone system, railroads, airlines, and power companies are publicly run. You are beginning to be comfortable with the idea of them being private, but you haven't made up your mind.
  • You expect, as a matter of course, that the phones will work. Getting a new phone is something of a big deal.
  • The train system varies quite a bit. The national system works fairly well (is rarely very late), but the local lines can be good or terrible or anything in between.
  • There's a new system people are talking about, of electric buses. You're looking forward to finding out what that is like.
  • You find a system with three major parties increasingly natural. It was what you wanted, after all, even if it is confusing sometimes.
  • You are a nationalist. Of course you are! But that doesn't mean you hate other countries (except maybe Hungary, Russia or Turkey).
  • "Black" and "white" are races to you, but the former is something you've heard about rather than seen. When you think of race, you think more along lines of nationality.
  • You think most problems could be solved if only people found the right leaders. Specifically, if you could figure out who the right leaders are. You're not terribly optimistic about that, though.
  • You take a strong court system for granted, even if you don't use it. You know that if you went into business and had trouble with a customer, partner, or supplier, you could take him or her to court. But you don't understand the courts, so you'd try to find some other solution.
  • You respect someone who speaks Brithenig, French, German, Japanese, Russian or Wenedyk - but you very likely don't speak them well enough yourself to communicate with a monolingual foreigner. You don't like Hungarian but you can make yourself understood in it.
  • You think a tax level of 50% is scandalously high, but on the other hand folks who pay that much still have more than you do.
  • School is free through 12th grade (at least, it's an option, even if you went to private school); they are usually run by or with either the Catholic or Orthodox Church. Universities aren't free, unless you get a scholarship.
  • University study is (normally, and excluding post-graduate courses) five to six years long.
  • Trade Academies are more common than Universities.

Everybody knows that...

  • Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in jars. Milk comes in bottles.
  • Dates are normally day/month/year (16/03/72), except in scientific notation (1989-03-16) - and you know what happened on that date.
  • The decimal point is a dot.
  • A billion is a million millions.
  • The Second Great War was a total disaster, in which Oltenia was betrayed by its allies, twice.
  • You expect marriages to be made for love, but families or third parties can arrange things for people who have trouble managing things for themselves. Getting married by a judge is an option, but probably happens in a church and is then recognized by the state. You have a best man and a maid or matron of honour at the wedding - a friend or a sibling. And, naturally, a man gets only one wife at a time.
  • If a man has sex with another man, he's a homosexual. If he's on top this is at least manly but if he's on bottom he's a pervert. Not a major pervert, but still.
  • If a woman has sex with another woman, she's probably a homosexual or perhaps a whore. You say you disapprove but you'd like to watch.
  • Once you're introduced to someone (besides the Prince, a Boyar, a Priest or some lofty personage), you can call him or her by his or her first name. It is more polite to wait until you've known them for a time, though.
  • If you're a woman, you don't normally go to the beach topless.
  • A hotel room has a private bath. If it is a good hotel.
  • You'd rather have a film be dubbed than subtitled.
  • You seriously expect to be able to transact business, or deal with the government, without paying bribes. You do expect to smooth things over by calling in favors from family and friends (and vice versa).
  • If a politician has been cheating on his wife, you would not question his ability to govern. If he were caught cheating on his wife, you might question his ability to govern.
  • If a man found out his wife was cheating on him, and he killed her, you would expect him to be punished. If he killed the man, you would expect him not to be, but more usually the husband will simply put that man in the hospital.
  • Just about any large store will take your ATM card.
  • A company can fire just about anybody it wants, but can get into trouble if they fire a union member. They still try sometimes, though.
  • Wine goes with every meal. Local wines, of course.
  • Meat (especially lamb) and cheese are something you eat every week. In good times, every day.
  • Bread comes in a wide variety of forms, tastes and textures.
  • Greek, Russian and Hungarian foods are foreign, but easy enough to find. French, Italian or Turkish food is impossible to find outside of the major cities, but easy inside. You have heard of "sushi" but never tried it.
  • Labour Day is on the First of May.

World civilization?

  • You've probably seen War in the Heavens, Casablanca and Snow White (and others by Ditzenø). If you're under forty, add Amalia of Castreleon, Gigantic! and Kawars. You've seen (and are amused by) Subterranea and its sequel.
  • You know NoMoreEagleZ and ABBA, especially the former.
  • You count on adequate medical treatment, but expect to wait a long time unless it is an emergency. You know you're not going to die of cholera or other tropical diseases. You expect very strong measures to be taken to save very ill babies or people in their eighties. You think dying at 65 would be a tragedy.
  • You went over Oltenian and Balkan history in school, as well as some European and American. Not much Asian or African history, though.
  • You expect the military to defend the country, and to support the government but not to get too directly involved in politics. You probably can name the head of at least one of the Armed Forces (almost certainly the Oltenian Air Corps.
  • Your country has been conquered by three nations (Byzantium doesn't count): The Turks (who were very bad, then good, then bad again), the Hungarians (who were good, then bad) and the Russians (who were the worst). Keeping that from happening again is fairly high on your priorities for the nation.
  • You're used to a some variety of choices for most things you buy.
  • You measure things in feet, pounds, and ounces, and don't understand the reason for the "decimal system".
  • Comics basically come in three varieties: newspaper comics, magazines (pretty much all featuring foreign superheroes) and books (original stories or adaptations of classics).
  • The people who appear on popular television programmes are mostly entertainers, politicians, teachers, authors and composers.
  • You drive on the left side of the road. You stop at red lights if someone is around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them.
  • You think of Hungary as a country of nice enough folks with a bad habit of interfering in Oltenian affairs. You think of other Romanians as slightly troublesome family. You think of Russians as bad people (although maybe that was just their government). You think of Westerners (as in Western Europe and America) as spoiled and lucky, but nice enough.
  • The police are armed, sometimes with submachine guns. Except for the ceremonial guards, who carry sabers.
  • If a woman is plumper than the average, it doesn't improve her looks but it doesn't take a lot away.
  • The biggest meal of the day is in the evening, except on weekends when it is in the late morning.
  • The nationalities people most often make jokes about are the crazy Muntenians and every crazier Moldovans. And Hungarians, of course.
  • There are parts of the large cities you definitely want to avoid at night. Or during the day, for that matter (like jail). Some parts of the forests too (see Satan above).

Things Could Be Worse

  • You feel that your kind of people isn't being listened to enough in Timişoara.
  • You hope not see both inflation and unemployment to be very high (say, over 25%) at the same time.
  • You care very much what family someone comes from.
  • The normal thing, when a couple dies, is for their estate to be divided equally between their children.
  • You think of opera and ballet as rather elite entertainments. But it's likely you go to see five to ten plays a year. Maybe more.
  • Coffee shops and cafes are a favorite place to relax with friends. Bars are only in cities and for pretentious young people or foreigners.
  • Christmas is in the winter. Unless you're Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan or Rationalist, you spend it with your family and friends, have at least one large feast, give presents, and put up a tree.
  • You are used to having a state religion, but are content enough for the Church to be losing some of its political influence.
  • You'd be hard pressed to name the capitals or the leaders of all the nations of Europe.
  • You have heard of Henry Portman, Tintin and the works of Tolkien, even if you haven't read them yourself. But you have read at least some Inspector Watson stories. Books by Artvir Klaric and Thorsten, and the Moxisei series, are too far out for you.
  • You've left a message at the beep.
  • Taxis are generally operated by Hungarians or students. The former are better drivers.
  • You are in favor of welfare and unemployment payments. These have increased lately, and overall you think that is a Good Thing. You would hope never to need either one yourself, because it would be humiliating.
  • If you want to be a doctor, you need to get a master's first.
  • There sure are a lot of politicians.

Space and time

  • If you have an appointment, you'll offer an apology if you're up to ten minutes late, and apologise profusely if it is more than that.
  • If you're talking to someone, you do not get uncomfortable if he or she gets within two feet of you. They should only touch you (save for handshakes) if you are friends, however.
  • Aboard public transport, you expect to be crowded.
  • Showing up precisely on time for something is slightly bizarre.
  • You expect to bargain for anything, except in large shops or when buying from a corporation or the government. Haggling is largely a matter of finding the seller's lowest acceptable price.
  • You are allowed to simply show up at someone's place when it's a friendly acquaintence. Do not stay long, however, unless they offer you refreshment. People do not have to invite each other over - except if a principal meal is involved. If you invite others to visit you, then you are expected to offer food and wine. It is polite if they bring something but they are under no obligation to do so.
  • When you negotiate, you probably play a part because that helps grease the social machinery. Increasingly some people just get straight to the point and that is somewhat rude.
  • If you have a business appointment or interview with someone, you expect to have that person to yourself , and the business shouldn't take more than an hour or so.
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