I am very proud to introduce to you Laura Gorun, the Romanian that has traveled the world since she was a young girl, working as a model and studying between universities in Bucharest, Paris and in Sydney.
She is also a music video director and producer, who is now working on her first feature film. One of her first music videos, Flight facilities “Foreign Language” was nominated for the UK Music Video Awards and Triple J Awards… Oh, and she speaks 4 languages..
Laura travels most of the time and is currently in Los Angeles.
She was thrilled when I asked her to be my guest and here she is talking about herself and how it feels to be an xpat.
“When I was 14 years old I could have very easily spent a day telling you how I was going to be a surgeon, and a good one too, most probably find the man of my life by the 2nd year of university and have a family by the end of it. None of that happened. Instead I moved around.”
Where have you lived?
“A few years in Paris, a few months in Barcelona and London. Lots of traveling and the doubtful changing eight years in Oz Land. That would be Australia. I am getting closer to having spent half of my life somewhere different to where I was born”.
Have you ever felt different just because you’re an expatriate?
“I went back to my home city in Romania after an absence of 3 years and I felt a slight unease covered up by a nostalgic patriotism. See, I am not the same person that left but not quite the people at the destination. Confusing as it might sound, I am probably in the position of many others that left their birth countries. I don’t fit anywhere but I can adjust. Different customs, different beliefs, opinions etc.. The other day, someone asked me what is my favorite place. I couldn’t answer that anymore. It’s about the people and the experiences. Places are all just the same; some are sunnier, some are colder, some more violent, and some more peaceful.
People make the difference.
But sometimes being away from home does leave an empty space.. The most, I miss the typical Romanian family unity and traditions. I have learnt instead to achieve a sense of independence and freedom of thought paid with the price of distance from the dear ones.”
And when we talk street fashion, Laura says, “Paris feels classy. People wear nice casual clothes and dress with style without showing it off. Australia feels like the 70 s in California. In Bondi you can wear Scooby Doo short pants with a T-shirt. It’s all allowed and never badly looked upon but still well researched out of golden hippie times. I am still watching the Los Angelenos :)”
What was your biggest shock – cultural differences wise?
“I cannot say I had one shock. The first one felt like a tsunami: a giant wave with floating cows and houses and broken trees. I do have to mention my first international outing happened at a time when Romania was still very backwards.
Between all the places I went to, I realized I didn’t really have to please anyone anymore and that I could choose to do with my life. That led to the horrifying question: What did I really want to do with myself?
Some smaller waves followed the big cultural tidal one: I don’t have to be a lawyer, doctor, and engineer? I don’t have to marry to have a fulfilled life? I can be an artist? Wow”
What was the funniest/weirdest/scariest experience you had in the new country?
“The first time I left the country it was for a modeling competition in China. Of course it was also the first time I had taken the plane, the first time in a country where people didn’t speak my language and the first time I had to take care of a younger, Russian, non English and non Romanian speaking model. Hmmm. During the stopover in Amsterdam, I panicked trying to find the new departure gate, tried to keep my protégée away from lots of men unable to resist her charm and also tried to use the restroom. I’m not sure if you remember the communist toilet system, the one with the water tank attached high up on the wall and triggered by pulling a chain, but I sure do. Especially because after I relieved myself in this fine Amsterdam restroom, I shockingly could not figure out how to flush the bloody thing.
I looked everywhere; no buttons, nothing to pull, nothing but the toilet in itself. My embarrassment would not allow me to leave the toilet and I frantically looked for something to push or pull for half an hour whilst I could hear the other toilets mocking me by constantly flushing. After a while I realized I was going to miss my flight and some men might have kidnapped my Russian beauty that I was in charge of so I begged forgiveness to my mother for disrespecting the education she gave me and left the cubical. It automatically flushed. ”
What are the “must see/must do” things in all the countries that you lived in?
“I realized that to really see a place you have to “hang out” its people. They will give you the right experiences and understanding of the culture.”