I can’t properly start this project without writing about how it even came to life.
Earlier this year, I moved to a new country, The Netherlands, after spending the past 6 and a half years of my life in Vienna, Austria. It was a big step to take, as meantime Austria became my home, my other home besides the Romanian one, but as equally important. It felt right to leave though and joining my Austrian partner in The Hague played an essential role in my decision.
Going through the accommodation process and basically having plenty of time for myself, I started to explore the issues of identity particularly how mine has been shaped through the years as a result of living in two different countries and interacting with people from different cultures. At that point I had no idea that I was slowly starting to build the basis for this project.
Few months later, during a summer holiday trip to Vienna, I had one of the most bizarre conversations in German with a Serbian taxi driver. The talk, a completely comic malentendu, not only made me feel like we were characters in a Woody Allen twisted film, but it also got me thinking: here there are two members of two different ethnic groups who live in a country that is not of their origin (every time I go back to Austria it feels like I still live there) and try to communicate in a different language from their own. And they somehow fail to pass the right messages, but this doesn’t stop them to have a polite conversation and laugh together. The story still hunts me with questions on inter-cultural communication and inter-cultural sensitivity, and I will dedicate a separate post to it, as it rightfully deserves so.
This particular experience, which happened few hours after I met an old friend of mine who was encouraging me to start writing about my migrant experiences in Austria while exploring essential issues that come with it, was the final confirmation that the time has come to start a project. So, I am ready and I expect this will be quite a ride!