I moved to…Bucharest, Romania.
Before that I lived in…London, UK.
The reason for moving here was…to get out of a rut and start afresh.
If I were to describe my current city in one word, that would be (And why?)…Romantic, because of the lovely parks filled with couples strolling hand-in-hand (and the beautiful customs such as martisoare)
The first thing a new expat needs to know when moving here is…Step on the manhole covers in the pavements or roads at your peril!
The language issue…I took lessons when I first arrived but it was easy for me to be lazy and not learn because most people here speak English. If you already speak Italian, French or Spanish then you have a head start and of course, like most places, the locals love it when you make an effort.
Since I moved here I stopped…cycling to work because I value my life and public transport is so cheap! The tram tracks and street dogs make cycling hazardous and the drivers are not used to contending with cyclists so they don’t think to look out for bikes.
Since I moved here the new thing I started doing is…living life to the full – each weekend I am either hiking in the mountains, snowboarding or heading to the beach on the Black Sea coast – all within easy reach
My biggest lesson learnt was…that life is so much more fun when you say “Yes” to everything (within reason)
Some weird habits of the locals…always saying that their holiday has been too short even when they’ve been away for a month!
My biggest cultural shock was…feeling so safe on the streets and metro – I haven’t felt threatened and I’m worried that I’ll be complacent when I move to the next place.
My funniest / weirdest / scariest experience was…participating in a reality TV show “Pasaport de Romania” where foreigners are put through their paces in the Romanian countryside in an attempt to be awarded a “passport” to Romania. I had to sing and dance whilst dressed in a traditional outfit. I was extremely confused one morning when a woman burst into my room in a wild rage at 3am looking for her teenage daughter and I was terrified when the producer screamed at me for not reacting to the surprises in the way she’d wanted me to.
What I miss the most from home is…British cheese and smoke-free bars and restaurants.
I go home as often as…my friends get married (which is becoming less frequent as I grow older).
I keep in contact with my friends and family…Mainly via Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp and email.
My favorite dish/local food is…chicken schnitzel with country style potatoes (cartofi taranesti)
I get around the city by…metro, bus, tram and on foot.
Street fashion? Women always look fantastic and make an effort – it doesn’t have to be a special occasion. They will wear beautiful dresses, high-heeled shoes, have painted nails and styled hair.
My view on people: Many of the Romanians I’ve met have had tough lives but they are strong and resilient.
Being an expat…gives me an energy I don’t have when I’m at home – it must be all the stimulation from new experiences and meeting new people – I’d hate to miss out on anything!
In 5 years, I see myself living in…Costa Rica, or maybe Kuala Lumpur, or maybe San Francisco……who knows? A lot can happen in 5 years!!