Building our home in Bucharest #1

Building your home – a house – is a big achievement in life: you have to struggle in order to push your organizational and financial boundaries. You find yourself entangled in legal problems you never thought about… It is a long story!

Anyway, as almost every story we started in our existence, the first move was an emotional one, a strong “emotion” that put everything “in motion”…

As we came back from Iran after months of tasting and living the lack of occidental freedom of opinion and clothing (mostly for my wife Cristina), coming back to Romania was a great relief, indeed. We saw this east-European country were we lived four years a few months before with completely different eyes: even if in some extents Romania is medieval and sanctimonious, it is still a free country where you can dress and express yourself as you want.

But “throwing away” a career in diplomacy was something inconceivable for my parents-in-law. They did not understand why on earth I decided to quit – to save the happiness of my family – and did not manage to stay quiet there in Tehran or whatever, waiting for my contract to come to its end, waiting for the war in neighboring Irak to end, also…

Well, I think they are right in some extent, but that’s it: sometimes you have to make tough decisions – even if your family is not OK with its causes or consequences – because every apparent successful life has its price, and I was definitively not ready to sacrifice my marriage, the health of our small child, to a big salary which I thought I did not deserve for the kind of job they were asking me over there. Well, I do not make the rules, and that is the price for keeping people for years living in an Islamic Republic, but I was largely “used” under my competences and possibilities in this job…

Anyway, my parents-in-law were unpleased by this big decision and slowly – but surely – began to show their discontent and, as we bought a flat near theirs before leaving to Iran (as a “B plan” which was activated in the end), life with them became something boring, with resentful remarks and sulky behavior. Cristina and I felt that it was time to move somewhere else in Bucharest, as we already launched our first team-building company and did not want – for the time being – to get back to France.

So in the beginning of the year 2004 we began to search for an affordable house and visited dozens of ruins and old buildings in the Romanian capital. After a while, it was clear to us that we could never have “exactly” what we wanted and needed to make a compromise and maximize the different required parameters: number of rooms, a small garden, access to public transportation…

Nevertheless on January 13th 2004, we found what we were looking for, a small old house with a little garden, not so far from the French school (for Marc), at least by the subway (which is very OK in Bucharest, really). It was a bold move for us because it was the biggest transaction until then in our existence, and it had to be made cash – so wanted the owner.

After a few days of intense preparation, sudation, and a big cash withdrawal at the bank (like in the mafia movies !!) the house became ours. We left it “untouched” as it was for several months, beginning to figure out what we would do as improvements, imagining our future family life there and preparing our plans…

But this is another story which I will tell in the upcoming weeks. Keep posted 🙂


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