Cold War Child
Born in 1970 in Romania, I grew up on the border between Communism and Capitalism. My mother's father was a staunch Communist, although I always suspected he did it because it was the only opportunity for a poor peasant, who despite being intelligent and well-read, only managed to graduate only the primary 4 grades. Follow my Youtube channel for war stories I inherited from him.
In the opposite corner, wearing red speedos, my father, (The Professor as his wrestling name would be) worked with computers and was enthralled by The West, United States and the amazing technologies coming from there. I grew up in their shadow, listening to their conversations and illegal radio stations like "Voice of America" or "Free Europe". And despite being a dangerous thing to do this, my parents talked in front of me of the woes of Communism.
It was the best of time and then it was the worst of times... I was born in a decent standard of living but witnessed as a child and then as a teenager and as a young adult the decline of standards of living under Communists. The Dictator, who like to be called Father of The Country, visited North Korea and China and liked what he saw. By 1982 this standard was in decline and it quickly got worse: no food, random electricity or hot water, 120 min of TV programming per day out of which 90 were about The Party and its Secretary General. Even so, I was one of the lucky ones - living in a middle-class family which insured me a half-decent life. Cracks me up (in a sad way) people playing victims in 1st World for some petty things.
1989 Revolution. Hope and Dispair
Just a year after I was released from the mandatory military training, The Romanian Revolution happened. Cannot describe the fear followed by elation and hope that ordinary people, myself included, felt. Yes, people died but Communism was vanquished. The Dictator and his wife were killed following a kangaroo trial but did it matter? We can surely build a new world with old behaviour, isn't it?
Not really. Year after year our hopes were dashed. Old Communists or their children have re-emerged as Social-Democrats. We witnessed weath quickly building in the hands of the few, with proper connections. They were giving, though, bananas and oranges and fun shows on TV, and beatings when we did not agree or when we looked like trouble-makers (long hair, glasses etc.). We waited because surely when The Opposition will take the power they will fix this. And then, in 1996, The Opposition took the power. Things got worse. They started enriching themselves and by doing this killing the promise of a New World. Obi-Wan was dead, our only hope died.
In 1997 my wife and I submitted our papers for Canada. It took us 3 years of getting here. I came first and my then-wife and my son followed me after 2 months. The feeling was... as if, after 30 years of exile, I returned home. Finally I felt home - and everything I believed is the normalcy was indeed that here. Gone was the feeling of crocodile in desert, gone was the idea that there was something wrong with me for not taking bribes, for being honest and direct. I have finally arrived in a place where I could be me and that would be enough for a good life. In 2 weeks I had a job paying 58,000$/yr (over 85K adjusted for inflation).
Things went only up for me, despite going through many layoffs of the crazy dotcom/telecom bust years. I worked for all sorts of companies, big or small, startups and giants like Marconi Communications, Adobe Systems Inc, Wells Fargo or government. I got certifications and changed cities - from Vancouver, where I landed, to Ottawa, to Phoenix, back to Ottawa. It was tiresome, exasperating sometimes, it destroyed my marriage, but I made it. For some while I work for the government, as a contractor, and I hate every minute of it. And I have seen the wonderful, the great country Canada changing and I hate everything they (we'll talk sometime who are THEY) are doing to it.