Tell a Romania that a breeze can’t make him sick.
We Romanians are so convinced that a cool breeze or draft of air can make you sick that we even have an expression for it: Te trage curentul. (“You’ll be pulled by the draft.”) Take the bus on a hot summer day, and you’ll probably see the windows open on only one side of the vehicle, or not at all. Craving a breath of fresh air, you move your hand in the direction of the window. But even before you touch the handle, you’ll hear a panicked voice say, “Are you trying to get us all sick?”
To anyone else, this doesn’t make sense, but the logic behind this Romanian belief goes like this: The current of cool air will make your ears hurt and your nose run. Don’t even try to argue about this. You’ll only make yourself hotter.
20 funny Romanian expressions and how to use them
1. A Romanian won’t “fool you”. Instead, she’ll “throw vapors at you.” (Te aburește) 2. Romanians won’t say, “He finally got the idea.” He will say, “The coin drops.” (Îi pică fisa) 3. When a Romania has been “scammed”, she will say that she, “got into a spike.” (A luat țeapă)
4. A Romanian won’t tell you that, “You are fooling yourself.” He will say, “You are getting drunk with cold water.” (Te îmbeți cu apă rece)
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5. When a Romanian likes something, she won’t say, “It’s cool.” She will say, “It’s concrete.” (E beton) 6. When a Romanian “plucks up the courage” to do something, he’ll say, “His heart is in his teeth.” (Își ia inima-n dinți) 7. When a Romanian is “surprised”, he will say that, “His face has fallen off.” (I-a picat fața)
8. A Romanian won’t refer to someone as “crazy,” Instead, he is “gone with the raft.” (Dus cu pluta) 9. When somebody is “confused,”, a Romanian will say, “She stares like a cat at a calendar.” (Se uită ca pisica în calendar) 10. You won’t make a Romanian “angry,” instead, you will “Take him out of his watermelons.” (Îl scoți din pepeni)
11. When a Romanian is “exhausted,” he will say that he is a “cabbage.” (Sunt varză)
12. For a Romanian, when something is completely “useless,” she will consider that thing, “as useful as a rub on a wooden leg.” (Frecție la picior de lemn) 13. When a Romanian gets very angry, “Her mustard will jump off.” (Îi sare muștarul) 14. Romanians don’t have “unusual ideas,” they have a “curly mind.” (Mintea creață)
15. A Romanian won’t lie to you, she will “sell you doughnuts.” (Îți vinde gogoși)
16. A Romanian won’t say that he “keeps quiet,” he will say that “he is silent like a pig in a corn field.” (Tace ca porcul în păpușoi) 17. A Romanian won’t say that “She is wrong.” She will say that “She throws his snot into the beans.” (Dă cu mucii în fasole)
18. When a Romanian has to “learn something by heart”, she will have to, “know it like the Lord’s Prayer.” (Să știe ca pe Tatăl Nostru) 19. If a Romanian thinks that a certain thing “will never happen”, he will say that it will happen, “at the horse’s Easter.” (La Paștele cailor) 20. A lazy Romanian person does not move slowly…she moves “like a dead person’s eye.” (Se mișcă ca ochiul mortului).
Mistake Bucharest for Budapest.
Never ask a Romanian if he lives in Budapest. That’s the capital sin, the perfect way to end a potentially interesting conversation. Yes, Budapest is a capital city, and there’s a big chance you’ll nail it with this guess — but only if you’re speaking to a Hungarian! We’re so tired of hearing, “Good evening, Budapest!” every time an international act has a concert in Bucharest. Metallica did it, Lenny Kravitz did it. And many others. But they had bodyguards.
You, on the other hand, will be alone in front of an outburst of anger.
Ask us about vampires.
In 1897, the Irish writer Bram Stoker published a Gothic novel entitled Dracula. His story made Transylvania more famous than any tourism promotion campaign ever could. By using some historical facts, he linked Vlad Tepes, the Voivode of Wallachia, to his main character, Count Dracula, the vampire.
Unfortunately, that means foolish tourists now come to Transylvania expecting to see garlic hanging by doors or people walking around with wooden stakes in their pockets. Transylvania is a peaceful, hilly area with many traditional houses and fortified churches. The real threat back then wasn’t exsanguination, but impalement — the Voivode Vlad’s favorite method of execution. And that isn’t fiction.
Leave food on your plate.
Mark my words: If invited to a Romanian’s home for lunch or dinner, fast for a day or two before the visit. We are known for being a welcoming nation, and one of our favorite ways of showing it is through food.
Here are a few appetizers so you don’t starve before the first course is ready. Some eggplant salad, salted roe, homemade smoked bacon with onions, and stuffed boiled eggs with mayo. Come on, try them all! Do you like the smell of our meatball soup? Here comes the clay pot full of sarmale, next to a steaming polenta and a jar of cream. You have to taste this! It’s our traditional course. You’ve finished everything? Don’t worry, there’s plenty more! The pork roast seasoned with garlic is almost ready.
Show any signs of slowing down and your host will say, “Whaaat, you don’t like my food?” You might think, Jeez, I’m eating like a maniac — what’s this woman talking about?! And then comes the explanation from the genuinely upset cook: “I can see a tiny bit of sarmale left on your plate.”
Confuse Romanians with Gypsies.
The official name of the Gypsy ethnic group is Romani, and even though Wikipedia states they are “not to be confused with Romanians, an unrelated ethnic group and nation,” misplaced associations are still often made. There are Gypsies all over the world — one million in the United States, 800,000 in Brazil, and many others in Europe, including Romania. They originated in India and left sometime between the sixth and eleventh centuries. Confusing Romanians with Romanis only makes you sound ignorant. (matadornetwork.com)