Easter in Romania – Joint email 2005

Anca Tanasescu wrote:

Please forward to anyone else whose email address is not above

Dear All,
It’s a verrrry long time since I haven’t heard from you. Faithful Emma who has really become part of our family, is with us and I’ve tried to catch up with news about you but she doesn’ know very much either.
Hey, people, you’ve had pancakes at my place, and spaghetti too, and did the washing up and slept on my floors and Josh and Peter had a survey of doughnut places in Bucharest,(Peter, I still have the broken tape recorder you left behind, I had it repaired and my granddaughter Mara listens to her music & stories on it, thank you) and Milla and Ruth went to the painted monasteries with us, and Richard was on TV teaching English and doing the frog song, and Matt’s pupils were eating out of his hands as Chris Baines told us, and Nobby recited all the counties in Ireland , and Chris recited all the army ranks, and we did not see Helena too often just because she was’busy’ elsewhere and Holly came and cooked some banana thing for Emma who was almost starving because my poor cooking, and Oonagh who got chicken pox exactly after you had all been together spending the night on my floors and then nobody knowing if he/she had had it or not and worrying (just a bit!) and Andrew who would go and get ‘MERDENELE’ , those cheese pies if you remember, at very late hours, like midnight , for example, and the wonderfully sarcastic letter you wrote to Emma’s ( the one from Jersey) parents in response to a nasty letter they had written to Milla after their daughter ran away.
You surely have many more things to add to my list. I do not think it had been a bad time for you.And you adapted amazingly well and quickly to all the cultural differences. As for myself, I think it definitely was my best GAP experience and I would love to know how you are getting on in life.
I stopped my GAP work last year (it was high time for me to do so ; I was absolutely fed up). Very few Brits are coming out nowadays; we have mostly Aussies and New Zelanders. The generation gap between the new ones and myself had got more and more difficult to bridge up and I kept comparing every group with your group which to me had been very special, something that was much to their disadvantage.
I do not want to get very emotional about it all so I will stop here wishing you all the best in the world.

I would like to add a few sentences seeing as this was meant to be a “joint email”! Time goes by so quickly it is frankly scary. I am not sure how many times I have returned to Anca and Bucharest and each time it is the same. Some things do change though, there are an amazingly large number of BMW’s around the place, the price of beer and cigarettes has gone up (well the price of everything has gone up not surprisingly!) Of course Lili’s daughter Mara who will be 4 on the 19th of May gets more endeering the more time I spend with her. She does not understand a word I say nor I her but still she is absoloutly adorable. If any of you were lucky enough to see pictures of Lili when she was younger you would be amazed at how alike they look!

Anca however is not in the best of health. Having retired (being of the age!) last July she is enjoying an easy life. Whilst I was here though she has been diagnosed with skin condition on her face and has undergone an operation today to have it removed. whilst is not too serious it could have disfigured her face if not removed. She is undergoing radio therapy for the next 8 days and is also on pills. I think it has helped me being here as it has rather taken thier mind off it but still Anca will not sit still, I think I need to invest in some string and tie her to a chair! As I was saying, some things never change! I have yet to find her watching MTV on her own though, its usually cartoons as Mara is around! I brought out my playstation for Mara and I can see that Anca and Lili are going to get quite annoyed with it as it is quite addictive!

Anyway enough from me, Lili tells me that they might all be coming over soon, I would simply love to get some of us all together again if they do.

Take care and hope to hear from you soon,

From: Chris Connolly
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 12:48 AM
To: Anca Tanasescu
Subject: Re: Greetings 1998 January Gappers!

My dearest, darling Anca and Emma,
At last you have managed to prick my conscience sufficiently to make me get up off my arse (or to be more precise, sit down on it) and write the two of you a long overdue email.  I must also apologise to Emma for a lack of response and reciprocation to her Christmas cards, which wasn’t anything personal, just a reflection of the fact that I haven’t got around to sending any postcards for about 4 years now; although I did always tell myself that I really should sit down and write her an email, but, as you will have observed, I never really quite got around to it.
Oh – so many memories you have brought back Anca that I had completely forgotten about!  In fact, I was thinking about you on Saturday night as I was talking to a Romanian girl (from Galati) at a party and I was telling her how I couldn’t quite believe how the time has flown by and that I haven’t been back.  It is still a plan though… we’ll see when it comes to fruition!  She was also amused at my proficiency in swearing in Romanian – about the only bit of the language that I haven’t forgotten!
So, as for me, I am currently in the third year of my PhD at the London School of Economics (LSE) researching “Richard Nixon’s opening to China and its effects on Sino-Vietnamese relations, 1968-1973” (in case you are interested), and I live in Chiswick with a certain Mr. Perry.  I was away for most of last year doing research in Washington D.C. and Beijing which was very nice, and while in America I met my boyfriend, whom I am currently visiting in D.C…  Long story: I’ll explain at some point!  We were in India for a couple of weeks at the start of the year – as you can see I have been getting around quite a lot of late!  I have also been teaching 3rd year undergraduates a course on the Vietnam War at LSE, and have a part-time job in a library, all of which serves to keep me pretty busy, though unfortunately not very wealthy.  I obviously see far too much of Josh, while Pete and Richard are both now living in London so I see them occasionally: Pete has been in London a couple of
 years now, though he and Josh always kept in touch; Rich, on the other hand, after coming to visit me in Ireland not long after we came back from Romania, to all intents and purposes seemed to disappear off the face of the planet at some point in the first year of his university career and stopped replying to emails.  After a hiatus of about 4 years I came across an old email address for him last summer and speculatively tried it – lo and behold, hadn’t he only moved to London about 4 weeks previous, and yes he would like to come to our barbecue.  I have seen him a few times since, but sadly not as often as I would like.
Emma – my apologies once again, and I promise to act on improving communications when I get back to the UK!
Anca – I have attached a picture of me, taken in India, just to prove that I haven’t changed very much!  A little less hair and maybe a bit thinner, but aside from that I am the same old me!  I am sorry to hear that you have been unwell, and I wish you a speedy recovery.  And, finally, let me assure you that just because you haven’t heard much from me, it doesn’t mean I have forgotten you: there will always be a very special place in my heart (with an ashtray close by) for Anca.
Much love,
P.S. I started smoking about 4 years ago.  Stupid me…

From: Richard Kay

Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 5:25 PM
To: Anca Tanasescu
Subject: Re: Greetings 1998 January Gappers!

Anca may I offer heartfelt apologies for a truely appalling effort at staying in contact – I have absolutely no excuse other than the fact that I am crap. Again a thousand apologies as I have still to taste either spaghetti or pancakes to rival the feasts that we enjoyed at yours.
Wonderfully my TV career both started and ended in Romania as I have yet to hit either the big or small screen in Western Europe, which can only be a good thing… In between then and now life has been pretty good. Three years at University pretending to work and coming out with a wholly average degree in English Language with Psychology was only surpassed by a Masters degree in Applied Research and Consultancy. This again was far less impressive than it sounds However, throughout these four years of laboured academia, I did develop a rather ridiculous passion for sport, something neither myself, nor seemingly my family who were engulfed in laughter foresaw.
From small acorns do mighty oaks grow, and the liking for sport has now led me (via a year or so running a bar in Lancaster) down to London. The streets are sadly not paved with gold, but do allow me to work in an environment where I can increase opportunities and facilities to play sport and be physically active. I’m really enjoying the work, feel like I’m doing something worthwhile and am liking being near the cultural magnet of London.
It may be some small comfort to know that you have been often spoken of since I’ve been down here (which has only for about 11 months) as I’ve made contact with a few more familiar names that I’d lost touch with for more years than I care to remember. Peter is living in south London, looks no different and is looking to persue a career in law. Josh and Chris are living together in west London and seem equally happy in work and life. I’ve met up with them all three or four times since being down here and the ‘making of us’ in Romania has been a regular topic of conversation – another reason why this email should have been written a long time ago.
It is truely good to hear from you and my experiences in Romania are still the foundations of the ‘adult’ (sort of) that i’ve grown into – a sentiment that I’m sure would be echoed by the rest of the class of ’98. And if thinking about us as grown-ups doesn’t help, I could still sing the frog song complete with actions for you if you want..
Much love,


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