A day in the life of Marin

Bucharest (Rumania) - 50 years old

I was born under the Communist dictatorship, in a village 7km away from Scornicești, where Nicolae Ceaușescu was born. The years of the Communism may sound like a terrible period to live in. Truth is, during those years there were certainties: the job was guaranteed; there was a lot of money but there wasn’t much we could buy with it, and a sense of stability and safety. Being born in the same area of the last Communist leader somehow put us in an advantageous position: in that area we could find everything we needed because it was favoured by the regime. We couldn’t have more than half a ration of bread, sugar and oil, but it was already enough because some areas weren’t getting any. The only alternative was the black market, but the risk with it was ending up in jail.

In 1984 I finished high school and started working as an accountant. In 1986 I married Elena, the woman I met in high school, and we moved to Bucharest, the capital. Three years later, the Communist regime fell and in 1995 we managed to buy our own house.

During my first year as an accountant I was happy because I was earning my very first salary and could do lots of different things. A working day usually started around 6am, and at 7.30am I was at work. My main tasks included, not only preparing and giving out the payslips, but also distributing the fuel to the workers, heading to the fields and checking up what the peasants were doing. Then I got my first task of driving a tractor, before I was even able to drive a car. It was huge and it could contain 3600 litres of fuel, but that day I was only transporting 800 litres. As I steered in a narrow path, I lost control of the vehicle and the fuel spilled all over me. I could have gone to jail if someone had found out, but luckily that road was deserted and no one really noticed, so I managed to go back and get some more fuel.  A typical working day used to end around 8pm. However, when my wife and I moved to Bucharest, things changed: I used to work 10 hours a day as a site manager (I had a diploma for this) and my wife used to work 8 hours a day as a shop assistant. In 2002, the economic crisis started to hit Eastern Europe, so we had to sell our house in Bucharest and instead we bought a little food shop. That experience didn’t last very long, and in 2009, with the arrival and development of malls and shopping centres, we had to close our business. A couple of years later, my wife decided to move to Italy: her sister was living there and she promised that we would have found a better life. I moved a year after because I was still looking after our only son, but in 2012, I joined my wife. Today we live in a small region in the centre of Italy and I help  a local peasant working in the fields. It’s not what I’ve studied for but I like it: it’s a certainty, after all, and we all need one at some point of life.

Image credit: Ilenia Gatti