5 Romanian etiquette rules

In my previous post I mentioned I would make an entry related to etiquette in Romania. So, here it is! These are stuff I either saw myself or was told.

1. Shoes – on or off?

In Romania, you take your shoes off when entering your own home, or the home of those close to you – friends and family, unless told otherwise. It helps with keeping the house clean(er).

You keep your shoes on when you go visit people you’re not very close to – say, if you meet the parents of your partner for the first time. Some of these people you don’t know very well, might ask you to take your shoes off when entering their home.

  • why should I take my shoes off? If it rained, chances are your shoes are dirty and your host doesn’t want their floors or carpets to get dirty, especially if the house looks as clean as a 5 star hotel room.

2. Bring something when you visit someone

In the past, when paying a visit, it was a sign of good manners not to go empty handed. People were usually bringing something symbolic, like flowers, something sweet, or something to drink. The “something sweet” was something home made, but bought stuff were also OK. A casserole of home cooked food also works well – remember this is something symbolic. If the younger generations do this these days, it must be because they grew up seeing their parents do it.

While this habit might seem weird for some, consider that Romania used to be a communist country and during the regime the living conditions were harsh. For some people it would have been a financial burden to receive and entertain guests, so the guests were considerate towards this effort by bringing something to the “party.”

3. Greet your neighbors when meeting them

This applies for when meeting them in the common areas of the apartment building, as many Romanians still live in apartment buildings. If you happen to meet any of your neighbors, they will say “hello” and the polite thing to do is to reply. Easy, right?

When visiting friends, you might encounter their neighbors and they might say “hello” even if they don’t know you. It costs nothing to reply back with a “hello.” Greeting random people they see waiting around their building is not that weird since many Romanians are renting out their apartments. Your friend’s neighbors might think you’re renting a place there and you’re new.

4. Greet your cashier

All cashiers I went to, would say “hello” to all their customers, me included. They would also say “bye bye” after giving them their change and receipt. The client is supposed to answer to both greetings. This gesture sure doesn’t cost nor time nor money. I generally say “thanks” before leaving. I sometimes add “have a nice day” as well.

5. Speaking of the change… Don’t expect it full

Let’ assume you’re supposed to receive 7.37 … well, let’s just say you’ll receive 7.35 instead, and demanding the extra 0.02 is nowadays considered a bit weird, if not quite rude. The cases when you’ll receive your full change is rare (I only saw it happening at one supermarket- Kaufland) The coins of the 0.01 value (1 ban) are generally disregarded by most people. I don’t think the 0.05 coins (5 bani) are too popular either.

Don’t ask me how much money I lost this way. However, you’ll be surprised to learn or see just how many Romanians simply leave all the coins in their change to the cashier. They might take the 0.5 coin (50 bani) but not the 0.1 coins (10 bani).


disclaimer: i don’t own the pictures in this post, they belong to their respective creators. i just found them online.

©2013-2017 TheOwnerTravelsTo. All rights reserved.

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Please think twice before adopting a pet!

This is not a sad story, but rather one that might make your blood boil to the point where you want to smash something. But let’s start with the beginning.

Back in November I was coming back from buying some groceries. As I was opening the door to the apartment building where I live, this little [mostly black] cat dashed right in with me. I have no idea where it came from, but it sure wasn’t shy. This little fellow simply followed me home. So I took her in… Lucky that my two 7 and 6 year old male cats didn’t try to kill her, but she wasn’t happy with their presence either.

In the end, it all worked out just fine. see below:

This black furry thing wasn’t shy nor scared of being touched or even handled. I quickly discovered this was a female cat. “Sweet! I never had a female cat before” I thought to myself. Of course, I talked to my friend about it, and we decided to keep her for a while, until we find a more suitable furrever home. The little cat went in heat in about 2 – 3 weeks after finding her. Her screaming sounded as if someone was torturing her to death. I waited till it passed, and then got her spayed. Quietness returned.

There are more reasons I need a new home for Milky – this is what I named her. Ironic given her color, right? but it’s mostly because she likes to nurse on tshirts and pants of a certain texture. She also LOVES milk, so now the name seems more fitting.. The most important reason is that we will be leaving the country this year [hopefully soon], and there is no way to accommodate 3 cat at the new place [with some relatives until we find a job, and a place of our own].

So we posted a few “up for adoption ads” for Milky.  A few nights ago I received this phone call from an older lady showing interest in Milky [the female cat]. We decided to meet the next day, with me bringing the cat to her place. Said and done.

I wrapped the cat in a blanket as there was no need for a cat carrier, and off we went to meet the lady. Luckily, she lived some 3 bus stops away, and this means easily reachable by foot as well. As soon as the lady saw the cat, she melted -“a good sign” I thought to myself.

She led us to her place – some 5 minutes by foot away from the bus stop, on a quiet street. When we entered, I was requested to take off my shoes. She had a good point for it: that place was SO clean and everything nicely arranged. [I will most likely address etiquette rules regarding wearing shoes indoors, in the next post. Let’s just say it is not really polite to ask your quests to remove them.]

I told the lady everything she needed to know about the cat, I showed the cat where the litter was, and I was ready to leave. Right before leaving, the lady informed me it is customary to give a little something in exchange for the cat, so she had prepared some bananas and a box of chocolates.  I took that, my blanket, and I returned home.

Later in the evening, she called however I couldn’t pick up the phone. I called her back the next morning… The lady informed me she wanted to return the cat! Yes, you read that right – to return the cat after she promised she would take good care of her and all! She complained that Milky cried, that she went on the opened window, and that the cat wanted to suck her pajamas at night. Apparently she couldn’t sleep because of all these! Other than the clothes sucking, all the cats go on open windows and cry in a new house!

  • if you’re going to adopt a cat, expect her to cry at least the first night if she’s sociable, or to hide if she’s less sociable. dogs and puppies also cry the first night or two.
  • your new cat or dog is an ALIVE CREATURE! it is definitely NOT a toy, piece of clothing or some other thing you can just return the next day because you changed your mind!
  • having a pet is NEARLY identical to having a human baby! it requires your attention and it needs you!

Do expect your new companion to give you some headaches, but seriously, children are no different.

Milky literally LOVES knocking things over because they stand in her way… or in what he thinks is HER place.

Dragobete – Romanian Valentine’s Day

Hello World~~~

Everyone is searching for love. We all need more love in our lives. Love is celebrated in many different ways around the world, however one day in particular stands out: lover’s day.

This day may or may not be celebrated everywhere. Lover’s day may not be observed on the same day all over the world. For instance, USA has the famous Valentine’s Day on February 14th. Similarly South Korea recently marked November 11th as Pepero Day, when people gift Pepero snacks to their loved ones as a symbol of affection.  Japan has transformed Christmas into a holiday dedicated to couples.

image [hopefully] belongs to bartonarboretum.org
Romanians also have a holiday dedicated to love and couples. This is the Dragobete on February 24th. I will not copy and paste anything in my post, you can read the short Wikipage about it.

The article says that we should go collect snowdrops flowers and to give them to the person we love. Luckily, these days, if we want to do this, all we have to do is to buy them from people selling them on the streets. Walking through Downtown Bucharest is very easy to see old ladies selling snowdrops planted in tiny baskets.

What I would like to point out is the fact that this is a very old tradition, of about 2000 years. This aspect makes me think that humanity was always in search for true and long lasting romantic love. This thought of mine is reinforced by the many legends from various nations involving lovers who have to pass through some tests to prove their love.

What are your thoughts on love? should we all have a single day in which to show and reinforce our feelings for a special someone, or is it better to have different days spread throughout the year for more love in the year?

See ya!~~~