American Celbrates Life ... in Romania
I was born in Los Angeles and lived the typical southern California suburban life of isolation. Being a child from divorced parents, I learned early on what America meant. Something always bothered me about the society in which I lived and where as when I was younger I couldn't quite define it, as I grew older it became more and more clear that modern American Society had an overlaying artificialness to it. I got the impression that I was living in some kind of experiment and that everything was temporary in nature and not intended to be lasting like the civilizations of the past.
I remember how I loved to watch Little House on the Prairie and feeling such an attraction to that family. I wondered why it was so different from what were claimed to be families all around me. Almost all kids at school came from divorced families and many were also victims of abuse. It seemed that most women with which I came into contact with growing up in America were hostile and belligerent and Southern California was probably the capital of alternative lifestyles and divorce and the traditional family life was viewed as the enemy. My only contact with traditional family values as a child growing up in America was again, Little House on the Prairie.
Observing these traits in society, I naturally began to associate America with them. America to me meant, divorce, abuse, fighting, neglect and above all, isolation. In fact, as I got older, I came to notice that the situation was more like a lack of society rather than a bad society. What do I mean? Well, first of all, there was no contact between people. There was no walking in the streets and no open markets and stores. People simply entered their cars from the garage attached to their house, opened the garage door and drove to the store or work and never came into contact with another human being. Where was society? What is the definition of society? I detected something very wrong with America and the endless uniformity and dullness of Southern Californian suburbs seemed to be the chief example of this fact. No matter how many times we visited the same grocery store, the employees there never would recognize us. Years would go by without a single word being exchange with a neighbor. My female teachers hated my mother. Even my cub scout troop was dissolved because one of the mothers sued after a fall in the snow on our first field trip. Every little girl who lived on my street was sexually abused and their stories horrified me. Between experiencing these things I also got to enjoy the constant fighting between my parents over child support checks and who's turn it was keep me on the week end. O how I longed for Little House on the Prairie where everybody worked together, went to church together and helped and supported each other through hardships, harvests and barn raising. This was the America I thought must have been just an invented myth.
Due to my mother's line of work, I was exposed to many emigrants from a wide variety of places such as Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Argentina, Vietnam and India. There was something special about these people and I noticed it even as a child. What was it about them that attracted me? Why did they seem to be so content and hardworking? They seemed to benefit from a force or energy that I could see was totally lacking in the society in which I lived. What was it? The answer was FAMILY in the traditional sense. Though they were living in America like me, they had transferred their sense of family and society from their country and were still enjoying the benefits while being surrounded by the social misery. Somehow they lived unscathed in pockets of healthy family lives they themselves emitted. For me, happiness was being around these people and I would enjoy pretending that I was a part of their family as well. I would learn everything I could about their countries, cultures and foods and they would be so pleased to see my interest. The highlight of my childhood was when my mother would be invited to one of their homes for one of their holidays and I'd get to bask in the light of family life such as being seated at the dinner table together and listening to people actually talking to each other relating stories and experiences of the old country. I could see that the hardships and poverty they went through actually strengthened them and was the source of their great work ethic and family values.
I remember one girl from Romania who worked with my mother. She had swam across the Danube to escape from communism and tyranny and somehow made it to America. She came with just the shirt on her back and immediately started working with house cleaning and taking night classes in English. Her strong faith in God and her exceptional morals and ethics allowed her to flourish and reap the benefit of the opportunities in America. The same opportunities that Americans seemed to be unable to benefit from. Could a lack of traditional family values and morals be a factor? Why was it that emigrants always seemed to find success while native born Americans drowned in debt and misery?
She worked hard and worked her way up to becoming a manager. Eventually she got a degree and opened her own business. Only after years of work and after the fall of communism did she go back to Romania and get married to a Romanian man then returned.
Seeing her wonderful value as a beautiful, feminine and traditional women, I fell in love with Romania and wanted to get to know as much as possible about this country. Something about modern American women repulsed me and I absolutely refused to have a girlfriend or anything to do with them while in high school. Based on my experience as child growing up in America, I could not separate divorce with the American women. The two things seemed to go hand in hand. I remember making the concrete decision as a teenager that I would never marry a girl from a divorced family and that I had to marry a foreign girl no matter what. I started corresponding with girls as pen pals from Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Russia. There were no proms, dances or parties for me. I was attracted to everything that was traditional, religious and moral. Though it was sometimes lonely, I knew I was holding out for something of value and meaning. One girl in Romania particularly caught my attention by her femininity, shyness and goodness and we wrote to each other for two years. After two years of junior college, I decided to go to Romania to meet her in person and she was everything I imagined. We were married after spending six months as a guest of her family. I was 20 and she was 18 and we were both virgins. Sixteen years later, we're still married and have a beautiful family.
We did eventually come back to America where she, independently of my own opinion, noticed the same flaws in American society as I. She didn't like it and couldn't quite adjust to it. Living several years in California refusing to go into debt and fall into the "American Trap", we lived very simply but never flourished. As I grew in knowledge and understanding, I could see the writing on the wall that the American system was not sustainable. I could see that economic collapse was inevitable and soon all the debt, credit cards, stock market casinos, leases, and housing speculation would all come crashing down. The wars pretty much sealed the fate of America and I knew that we could not continue to be a part of it and incur the consequences of a system we never supported. I did not want my children growing up in such a system nor did I want them to reap what American foreign policy would shortly bring to the homeland. I could just sense that something dark was coming and on August 11, 2001 we moved to Romania.
We bought a beautiful apartment in downtown Bucharest for $19,000, bought a used car for $300 and a fertile piece of land with a peasant house fifty kilometers outside of Bucharest for $15,000 and now live completely debt free. How many Americans live debt free? The taxes on our house is about $30!! In the city we live in a normal urban setting where there is contact with other people in the streets, the markets and the people in stores know us personally and greet us. We're on friendly terms with our neighbors and visit each other. We have very efficient public transportation in the form of subways, trams and buses. We have our children's school right next door and have one of the biggest public parks and youth centers within walking distance. The Christian religion is taught in the public schools and our children are taken to church for communion. A priest comes to teach them about morals and ethics. There is even a civics class where the children learn the value of honesty, altruism, helping the needy, forgiveness and overall good social ethics. I can detect no dark or perverse agendas being forced on our children and being an American, I logically would be a good judge of this.
On the land we have in the country; together with my wife's family, we grow all our own food. We have fruit trees, grape vines and a yearly garden that provides all the family's needs through the winter. Making preserves in jars basically makes us independent. Having chickens provides us with a steady supply of natural eggs as well. The country house has its own deep well and so its independent of municipal water and the heating is wood burning. It's a great satisfaction for a product of an American suburb like myself to have gone back to a natural lifestyle with an intimate relationship with nature and the traditional way of life. Most of the villagers still go around with horse drawn wagons so in a way, I did eventually find my very own "Little House in the Prairie".
In closing, I'd like to encourage any Americans who are not satisfied with the society they live in to take the necessary courage and try moving to a place where they can find a simpler, more natural way of living, free of debt and free from the consequences of a diabolical foreign policy and a collapsing economy. It doesn't cost as much as you might think and it all starts with a dream. Hold your ideal in your mind at all times and eventually you will manifest this ideal in your own life. Never accept anything that does not reflect your ideal and it will never touch you. There is no utopia and every place has its own unique problems but never underestimate the power of your own ideas and dreams. The Kingdom is within you and you can live it in the place of your choosing. Spiritually speaking, we're all citizens of that Kingdom and we're all linked together in this shared principle of family, morals, Love, Truth and goodness. Simplicity is the key and the simpler you live your life, the more you will enjoy it. If you don't fear evil, you render it powerless against you and it disappears as darkness disappears when you turn on the light switch. Cultivate your spirituality and your ideal and you will find your very own promised land; your very own "Little House on the Prairie" no matter what you've been through. Now go find it!!