At 23 El Shaiah Hodor decided to leave his native country for a better life in Germany.
At 23 El Shaiah Hodor decided to leave his native country for a better life in Germany, and his ways brought him to Romania where he took the name of Doru. He only intended to transit Romania, but what he discovered in this country made him remain.
El Shaiah Hodor: “Back in the 1990s I was transiting Romania, I had a 48 hour visa, as I was heading for Germany. I liked Romanians, I liked the country and so I decided to stay in Romania. I have been living in Romania for 27 years. I made friends very quickly because many people were speaking French. I am a Lebanese and, as you may know, French is like the second mother tongue for many Lebanese people. I lived in a building near the Academy of Economic Studies and so I made friends with many students studying economics. I liked the people very much and so I decided to stay and live in Romania.”
He learnt Romanian quite easily as his friends helped him a lot. In the beginning he managed to obtain a 6-month visa on condition he made proof of the fact that he could provide for himself. Then he started a family.
El Shaiah Hodor: “In 1993 I met my future wife. We got married, we have children, we have a house, land and animals. We have everything we wanted. I have my own business. I like Romanian people. Here I have more friends than I ever had back in Lebanon.”
In Lebanon he used to work in constructions, but, like in many Asian countries, Doru could cut and style hair, so he opened his own hairdresser’s salon.
We asked Doru how he adapted to the Romanian cuisine and which his favorite dishes are: “I like the Romanian bulz, a dish consisting of polenta, cheese, home-made sour cream and a fried egg. I do not eat pork but I like stuffed vine leaves with minced beef or mutton. I also like the Romanian sour soups. I generally add more spices, because that’s how we eat in Lebanon, we usually add many spices and condiments.”
Despite the fact that he feels at home in Romania, he has his family and friends, Doru has one regret: “At present, after 27 years of living in Romania, I still don’t have Romanian citizenship. I have been married for 21 years, my children have now grown. This is my biggest regret, given that some time in the future I will have a Romanian grandson or granddaughter, but I do not have Romanian citizenship.”
Nevertheless, El Shaiah Hodor or Doru, by his Romanian name, feels he is a Romanian citizen and not many people could guess his origin. (translation by Lacramioara Simion)