I grew up in post-communism in a fractured generation. Each with its own bubble.


Unicorns!! Image credit: a facebook group (to be id)

Hi! Every time at Edgeryders we start a new project or build a new community I am digging into my life story from a new angle. I am Noemi, a longtime member and co-founder of Edgeryders back in the days. I will keep this version short: at 30 I walked straight into a personal life crisis and found myself in a systematic process of understanding where I come from.

I relocated to Brussels two years ago, and for the longest time I had been adamant about staying and possibly working in my own country. I was one of the last “Romanian patriots”, @alberto used to joke. Member of the struggling middle class and living in one of the most developed cities, I and my bubble of peers build ourselves fairly good lives and many of them are successfully perpetuating them in very traditional values - marriage, job, house (and loan!) by the time we are 30. Yet there is erosion happening - every day media and forums go crazy about yet another political threat to democracy and human rights; every day we are confronted with other bubbles - more mainstream - of hyper conservative values (i.e. “filthy Roma people do not deserve housing”). Surprise: they come from places where you least expected, and sometimes even friends of friends let it slip that their true opinions are the opposite of progress and a shared future. It is shocking because in Romania we’ve been used to politicians lying ever since forever (we called it “politicianism”), but new flavours in the past ten years or so are going left and right and politicianism became populism - a boat which captures many souls looking for quick solutions and intellectual shortcuts. When people you know who are part of new generations become conservative, you realise that politics is down in your house now. and Education will not solve conflicting ideas. Note that this is just my interpretation.

On the positive side, you can rejoice having escaped those through the privilege of good upbringing. (self-)Discipline and progressive family values (thanks mom and dad!) make one want to open horizons and look beyond the scarce value offer nationally: unfortunately it often entails getting out.

The quest of overcoming what your society nurtures is generalized and massive: in the early nineties people were flooding out for the “western mirage” in search of better lives. 3.4 millions left in just the last 10 years, with around 5 million emmigrants out of a country population of 22 million after the Revolution. 400 000 live only in the UK and are now facing new potential for being pushed away by politics gone wrong: messaging and campaigning to break communities and cohesion, and making it into national and nationalistic policy (to put it mildly).

The way out is sometimes mentally healthier than staying. The fight remains though, but you do it from a “sunnier” place. Uhm, yes, Brussels.