duminică, 21 iunie 2009

Big fishes in the little pond

Csíkszereda is quite a little town, but still, it has it's own celebrities. In the following few lines I'll present some of them. I hope there's no misunderstanding: I'm not going to present scientists, great thinkers and so on, because I'm not good at this. Instead I'll present some people, who are generally known in the circles I'm in.
Let's start with some athletes.
As far as I know, our town is proud to be the hometown of the best winter sport athlete in the whole country, Tófalvi Éva. Her successes in biathlon are truly great, but sadly underestimated in the country, and as far as I can see, even in Csíkszereda.
Although football is not that popular in our town, we have a football player, who's pretty well known in our country for his hard work and leadership skills, Ilyés Róbert. In his career in the first league of Romania he played more than 280 matches and scored more than 50 goals, but most importantly he inspired and helped other talented young players over the years.
One of my favorite athlete born here is called Novák Ede Eduárd. The cyclist who has just won in Beijing a silver medal at the Paralympics is the living statue of the székely stereotypical strong will. He didn't give up after his accident, but he kept on working, so now he's not only the best paralympic biker in the country, but he usually beats his healthy opponents too.
Of course, I would be the biggest traitor of my town if wouldn't mention hockey. So here it is, the oldest and the best (or maybe not:P ) player who's still playing here, Elekes Levente.

Enough of sports! Let's see just a few of the town's living legends, like Gaál László, a physics teacher from the Márton Áron High School. He earned his reputation by being a severe teacher, whom everybody is afraid in the freshman and sophomore years, but after that people start to like him better and better, not to mention that their physics knowledge gets much above the average. Just mention his name to any student, and they'll have tons of stories to tell.
An other person, who's always a good topic to speak about in is our mayor, Ráduly Róbert. People always like to speak about politicians, especially in a small town like this where almost everyone knows some gossips about him (see the previous post for more about gossips). As a matter of fact he tends to feed the need for gossips with his sometimes not really diplomat-like attitude. I'm not trying to judge him here, because it's not my job: I'm just saying, that it's a fact that by asking anyone about him, you'll get a hands full of gossips. To be correct I have to tell you, that he's been elected for the second time , se the bigger part of the people think, that he does his job.
An other person who's known by 99% of the town's residents is the actor Kozma Attila. He's not only known for his acting in the theater, but mostly for his commercials in the radio , and his co production with an other actor, Lung László Zsolt. Both productions use stereotypical székely accent and behavioral models, creating a type of humor, that is hard to understand for anyone not form this region (though they seem to have success with their CD on the other side of the border, in Hungary too).

Let's mention the younger generation too: here you have a video, made by three students from Csíkszereda. I think this is the most viewed video on youtube, made be people from our town. And it's funny too:).

This time I'd like YOU, my dear reader (if you even exist:P) to complete this post, by adding comments with other well known persons:). I hope I'll hear from you real soon!

duminică, 14 iunie 2009

Solving problems

This weekend I’ve realized something I’ve already known. Sounds strange? Let me tell you about it. On Saturday somebody pointed out for me, that every time when some problem arises, that is a bit out reach (and it is somehow related to the town), for example I need some footage made at a festival in the town, my first task to do, is to check my phone book. Seems strange? I guess, that for some it does.
If I want to generalize, the fact, that I call a friend, or at least someone whom I know if I have a problem that I can’t resolve, tells two things: first that I have lots of names in my phone book, and second, that those people are usually ready to help. I know that this is not that specific to our region, but the number of problems solved with this method is.
This is how people usually proceed: they realized that they don’t know what to do. Their first task is usually to search in their heads for a person, who they know, and who had the same problem, and they usually find one! Not necessarily because the town is small, and everyone knows everyone: I think that the more important factor is that our people love to know everything about everyone, in other words, we love to gossip. You can’t imagine how funny it sounds, when one old women says to the other: “Have you heard that XY doctors brothers mothers sisters mother in laws second cousins son is cheating on his wife?”, and the other one understands it, and has even other stories with that man, even though they don’t even greet each other on the street. They just know who is who’s who :).
So they have found someone with the given problem. Then it’s even more simple to find someone who knows, how they resolved it, or in the worst case, they get the number of the one with the respective problem. If they have to call him, he won’t wonder how they know about his personal life: he’ll know very well how fast gossips spread.
One may ask, why to get involved with others life if you can resolve it yourself. Well, the fact is that sometimes it’s almost impossible to do this. For example sometimes bureaucracy is so complicated, that you get lost between the tons of papers.
Anyway, I like the fact, that people here tend to help each other. Sometimes not, and sometimes they seem uninterested, but they often find a way to surprise you positively. So the moral is: in this region, you’ll find your answers faster by asking somebody, than searching in some book.

marți, 9 iunie 2009

Summer dreams

Although there are a few days left from the school, not to mention the examination period at the universities, but my spies, including myself :P, have informed me that in our little town, the summer atmosphere is already spreading. If you are not yet in the “Summer-mood” then check out this video. This track has almost everything that summer holds for me. But that’s an other topic. So just check it out!

So now you’re in the mood…Than you may be interested, what the students, the young people usually do summertime in the town.
First of all swimming. Summer means warm weather, warm weather means bathing! In the town you’ll find three places where you can refresh yourself. It’s funny that although you can choose from three different locations, none of them is not even near perfection. Don’t even dream of slides or even regular sized pools: all of them are smaller and shallower than regular size, not to mention that one may complain about the cleanness of the water. But still, all of these pools are crowded if the weather is fine. No wonder, because although you can’t practice for swimming competitions there, with a bunch of friends, and some extra stuff like a ball you can have a great time while in the open. Not to mention that the water in the pools is mineral water, which is very healthy (though it smells funny). Of course there are lots of other possibilities to refresh yourself while swimming, if you have a more time to spend. My favorite destination is the Saint Ana Lake. This lake is the only one placed in a volcanic crater in Eastern Europe. Though it’s a nature reserve, and it’s one of the main tourist attractions of the region, it’s still not too crowded. You can reach it with car, but where’s the fun in that? It’s more interesting, if you approach it on foot. There are several trails that lead there, from which I’ve tried two: the one from Tusnádfürdő and the one from Bükszád. The first one is more like a challenge: it’s the shortest, but the sheerest trail. You can choose to go straight, or to follow a serpentine, but either ways you’ll reach the lake in less than two hours. The other trail, from Bükszád is more like a friendly trip, first of all because you’ll have to walk in the woods for a short period, so you can admire the beautiful hills of the Olt’s depression, you can have a glimpse on the village, on its narrow streets, with the unmistakable signs of cows passing by, and you can taste the mineral water spring, and at last, but not least this trail is not too sheer, so even little children will reach the lake without getting too tired.
Besides swimming other sports come to life too, so the basketball courts are full with streetballers, it’s almost impossible to find a free football court, and the main square (“Liberty square”) becomes the host of many extreme sports fans, most of them bikers and skaters.
As night falls, and all the sports fans get a shower :P, the terraces of the Petőfi street get full. Usually people have a drink, and nice talk there, but the parties don’t take place here, but in the discos around the town. Of course summer means festival time! So at almost every week, there’s something happening in the area. I’d mention the Peninsula Festival at Marosvásárhely, which is one of the biggest musical events of Romania, and the Tusványos, which is not exactly a festival, and my personal; favorite, the Dob-ban rhythm-festival, hosted by our town.
If you are still bored, there are like hundreds of destinations for shorter and longer trips. In fact it doesn’t really matter which way you go, as you leave the town the view will be breathtakingly beautiful.
Of course, I’ve only scratched the surface what the summer holds…But at this moments, these are the things I miss most from the summer. And still, four exams to go…

luni, 25 mai 2009

The Bahia effect

Once upon a time, when in our little town was even less decent place to go out, drink something, have a talk with your friends, and occasionally party, someone realized that there’s a pretty thick layer of students who don’t have a steady place to go, because they don’t share the same taste with the other locals frequenters. At that time you could go the Tilos (“Not allowed”) which was usually crowded with drunk people, although it was absolutely possible to have a good conversation here, because along the drunk rockers most of the customers were intellectuals, you could often meet your teachers here. Tilos had its own unique atmosphere, with its metal and rock music, with its cheap, strong and not too sophisticated drinks, whit its late closing hour (I know a few people who sometimes went to the Tilos one day, and they went to school from there the other morning) loved by so many people, appreciated by even more, but still, it wasn’t for everyone. If you want to read more about the Tilos, visit my friends blog at ikarosz.blogspot.com. Outside the Tilos, you could go to some restaurants, where you could eat pizza and stuff, but because they closed at around 12 PM they were not ideal for nightlife. Of course there were some discos, with their house, trance and dance music which where popular among those who like this type of music.

So Bahia opened, more precisely Bahia Blue Tea House. It is true, that Bahia became great because of its frequents, but it assured the right conditions for those people: it had four big rooms, one after the other in a row. You entered at one end, where the bar was, and you could get deeper and deeper. The end of the “cave”, the last room, with leather couches, and with pretty few lights was reserved for the owner and his close circle (you were the biggest “Bahia-man” if you spent your time on the tiny balcony where you could go from the last room). The walls were usually decorated by friends of the owner with some abstract paintings which fitted the places atmosphere very well. The furniture wasn’t to expensive, in fact it was the cheapest possible: old round tables and simple chairs made of wood. Although they weren’t expensive, at some nights it was the biggest luxury to sit on a chair. At the bar you could get yourself the usual not too expensive drinks, like beer, whine, shots of strong spirits, and they even made cocktails, if you told them how to do it :). Its name being Tea House, they also served tea here: you could taste around 25 different types of tea, all of them original, not from teabags, and all of them at a really really low price. No miracle that after a few hours there you spent as much many, as you would have in a restaurant by buying a beer. If you wanted to make friends, or to do something else than talk, you went to the foosball tables (if you have no idea what that is then: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foosball ). As far as I know the Bahia was the first place in town where you could play this game, and it made its effect: those who went to the Bahia from the beginnings are among the best foosball players in the word. The fact that almost everyone played the game who went there gave Csíkszereda a funny reputation: stereotypically if you are from the town, you are pretty good at this game. Of course, this may be due to that here in almost every pub you can find a foosball table, but in other towns, at least where I have been it's pretty hard to find a good one.

So what made this place so great, that even now, when like three years passed since it closed, everyone still knows where it was, even if he or she was has never been there, and no pub managed to be as popular as Bahia was. First of all, like I mentioned it was the people who went there. The pub with its alternative and drum & bass music was the home of the forming alternative people, who stereotypically listened to the music genres mentioned above, went to the Márton Áron theoretic high school or to the Nagy István arts school, practiced extreme sports (the owner was among the first to practice an x-sport) and well, smoked weed. Of course this is a stupid characterisation, there were really few who actually did all those, but it gives you and idea of the people who went there. Csíkszereda being a small town, you could be sure, that if you went there, you found someone to have a drink with (I did not say someone who you know, because you knew almost everyone), so when you had a little free time, you didn’t have to arrange anything, you just went there and had fun. In every Monday, the second and the third room was host to folk dance events, where people who knew these dances and who wanted to learn them could participate. And every now and then there was a Bahia-party. A Bahia-party is characterized by a huge crowd, you can barely move, by smoke so thick that you can feel it from the street, even see it coming out of the windows, drum & bass music and a feeling like no other. My university student sisters told me, that it was so great because when these were organized in holidays when those who studied in other towns came home, so it was again something that didn’t had to be arranged: you knew that you’ll meet all your friends there. Although officially everyone had the right to enter, there was an unwritten rule that if you weren’t a high school student you were not allowed there (of course there were some exceptions, usually little sisters and brothers, like myself), so Bahia became a symbol of maturity.

Due to financial reasons Bahia got closed. That was the time, when everyone realized truly how great place it was. Even now, after seeing fine places of bigger towns, like Temesvár, Kolozsvár, Marosvásárhely or Budapest I still say: if they’d reestablish this place in Csíkszereda, this would be my favorite pub in the whole world.

marți, 19 mai 2009

“We will meet again!” – by any captured villain

This weekend our town was the host of my favorite sports event of the region: the 24 hour basketball marathon! The idea is simple: take a ball, lots of basketball-loving people formed into teams, a clock to count down from 24, a basketball court and there you go! Of course some lights for the night games and some music can also come handy :).

I really like this event, because it brings together all the players from our region, usually from towns like Szentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe), Gyergyószentmiklós (Gheorgheni), Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureş), Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc). Between your matches there’s plenty of time to talk to some people who you know, but don’t see too often. As a matter of fact, most of them you know because last year, at this event at 6AM you had a talk about poems/girls/boys/goals in life while watching some teams play. This event generates an atmosphere that is almost impossible to reproduce in any other way that I experienced.

This year, because I had no team to play in, I went to the Days of the Students to some other town. Although it’s a totally different thing it slightly reminded me to the feeling of the marathon. Once again I felt, that people of my age have come together to „refresh” old friendships, to form new ones and to have fun. I felt that the youth of this region has a very special characteristic: it has the best of fun if it is together.

So why are these events so unique? I guess that this is a mix of the facts like :

-> the hometowns of the people participating are relatively small, so people coming from there usually know each other

->events so original and fun, and only for Hungarians from Romania are not that common, so when there is one, everyone participates

->the distance between these towns is relatively small, so friends can easily visit each other even in working days, they can easily participate in events organised by others, so it works like that: you met someone from somewhere, you change numbers, and when they organize something they ask you to come too, your chances of actually going there being extremly high, again because the small distances

Bouncing back to my original topic: I’m glad that Csíkszereda is the home and the founder of such a great event, and I hope that next year I’ll be there again to meet some basketball folks. For those who have never been to this event (not necessarily to play, but to support his or her team or just to catch the feeling) I strongly recommend to come, and for those who have already been there: see you next year!

More about youth events and ties with other towns of the region coming soon!

miercuri, 13 mai 2009

Nationality Geographically Channel?

Csíkszereda is populated mostly by székely’s. Who are they? They are the people who speak Hungarian in this region of Romania . Is that so simple? Can you describe these people just by the geographical region where they live? Of course not. This is a topic way over my head, and I really do not want to discuss it into its full depths. My goal is to mention some of the things that influence the people of the town.
The first thing: is it possible to be székely and Hungarian in the same time? Yes it is. For those unfamiliar with the situation, here’s a little history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Trianon .
Before Treaty of Trianon (ToT) it was easy to identify your nationality: you were a Hungarian citizen, and you belonged to the székely ethnical group, and you were proud of both (or maybe not:P, but for as much as I have heard, nationality was not a topic too often discussed, because it was obvious). Not to mention that Transylvania had its own history, with its own lords, own wars and own intrigues. Often Transylvania walked its separate ways from Hungary , like a little brother, who may do whatever he wants, but he’s always part of the family. After ToT you became a Romanian citizen, so you were Romanian, but still, you were still a Hungarian, who lived across the borders, and of course you were still székely. Which one is more important? It depends on the situation. As time went by, the communist regime came, and left. Then people did not cry for their rights as a minority, because they had other things to think about, like food or electricity. The Hungarian minority had some rights, like Hungarian schools and a few others, but when one was taken away, then there was nothing to do, so everyone just tried to live to the next day. Step by step, communism took away so many things, that people just fled, most of them to Hungary or to even farther, but always to the west. It’s easy to understand them: the paranoid dictatorship thought, that the Hungarians had one more reason not to be loyal, so they were threated with extra „care”. I don’t want to go deeper into this, you get the idea. The result was, that those who stayed had to endure terrible things, the worst thing being, that you could not trust anyone, you never knew who’s reporting on you.
Then democracy came, and with it, other kinds of problems. Suddenly you woke up, and you could not say anything right. If you said you are Hungarian, then the radical groups called you a traitor, for not sharing their fate, or for not being true székely, because a true székely, from their point of view wears traditional clothes when it celebrates something, even if his or her ancestors did not wear traditional clothes for that occasion (for example graduation from high school) and so on. Moreover, as a Hungarian, you were associated with Hungary, the country populated by people who speak your mother tongue, the country that has influence on you, but who you can not influence. From here, Romania you can not vote, but the ones that win elections there will feel free to decide about you, to stand for your matters when negotiating with the Romanian politicians. But what if they do something stupid? They did it for you...but you had nothing to do with it. What if you say „I’m székely!”? This is also a tricky situation. For example on the last census made in Romania, Hungarian and székely were two different options. This was a technique of the Romanian politicians to count less hungarians, so they can cut on some founds destinated for the major minority. The other problem with this is, that if you are asked by someone not from Romania or Hungary about your nationality, and you respond that you are székely, than you are going to spend your next half an hour explaining yourself.

I could go on with this all day long. The main idea is that if you live in Csíkszereda, and you’r not Romanian, then you’ll probably have trouble defining your nationality in a few words. But this is not our problem. We all know and feel what we are. It’s just the outsiders who can’t understand it, sometimes no matter how long you try to explain.
But in my opinion it’s a great thing to be székely. It’s nice to have cultural diversity (the words so often said when the topic is the EU) in a single person, or all around you. It makes you more tolerant and more understanding in the topics of ethnicity. For people with a more radical thinking, this is a soil to breed on, a way do define themselves. Wrong or right? Who cares! It is a good thing…

marți, 12 mai 2009


Csixereda is not a town. More precisely, it’s not the little town in the middle of Romania , in Transylvania , in its original Hungarian name Csíkszereda, in its Romanian name Miercurea Ciuc. But Csixereda is pronounced just like Csíkszereda. So what’s the difference? The difference is that while the one written with “ksz” is the name of the town, the one written with x is a feeling, a feeling that everyone who lives or lived there knows well. Of course they call it a thousand ways. I call it Csixereda, because it has a certain x factor. No, it’s not dangerous or anything but its aspects are as a matter of fact unknown, and unknowns are usually denoted with x. They are unknown but in the same time known by everyone. In this blog I will try to make clear some aspects of it by writing down my thoughts. Of course my goal is not to make it general. These are my thoughts, my feelings, and I do keep up the right to talk about anything else, if I want to.

I do not posses a too unique viewpoint, but the fact that I spent eighteen years in the town and recently went away to college gave me lots of new ideas about things in my hometown. With me leaving, some strings connecting me there were cut, but some were straightened, and on the twelve hours long train rides to home, or to Temesvár (where I’m in college) I had plenty of time to think about how it feels to leave and return to my hometown.

I hope that if someone from Csíkszereda reads it, he or she will recognize some of the things described, and if someone who never even heard of the town reads it will get a better idea about it, than by reading a guidebook. Of course if you never ever heard of Csíkszereda then check out this site for the basic things about the town: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Csikszereda.

And I do hope that you’ll form your opinion on my entries in form of comments.