One take on Gypsies

Trip Start Jul 29, 2010
Trip End Jun 30, 2011

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Flag of Romania  ,
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I've been kind of interested to know the story about gypsies and why everyone in Europe feels so vocally unfavorable toward them, so I asked everyone at dinner tonight. I should first point out that I haven't formed much of an opinion on them, so this is just what I heard and not necessarily what I've experienced. According to my dinner company....

Gypsies came to Europe from India, and they are categorized as both a race and a lifestyle. They're typically very isolated from the rest of society for a number of reasons. They're very nomadic so they're not really in a place long enough to integrate. They don't send their kids to school. They speak their own language and often don't learn the language of the country where they're living. They arrange marriages for their children and marry them at very young ages, sometimes in their early teens. The teenagers then have their own kids, and apparently the Romanian orphanage in Cluj is filled with primarily gypsy children. To survive, they typically beg or steal. They've been known to bully old people into selling their houses for little to nothing. Apparently a large group of them will approach an old person in their home and threaten them if they won't sign over the deed to the house for a very small price. I asked if they ever meet Gypsies who are descendants of the race who have integrated into society. For instance, if a Gypsy engineer walked in for an interview and he seemed talented, would they hire him? I was told that if this happened, they would hire him in a heartbeat but it has never and would likely never happen.

I do notice that you never see gypsies with any people other than gypsies, so they definitely don't appear integrated. The only other thing I know is that you pass a lot of gypsy houses on the drive from Cluj to Debrecen and they're rather interesting. They're very colorful and ornate, and they usually have a metal roof with domes. They look like this but often more colorful:

They're pretty striking against the farmland that's usually in the background. I think these are the gypsies who have money.

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Tammy on

I find this topic very interesting... but you know- that house looks really nice.. seems it would be hard to build it just stealing or begging? Glad you are home!!! :)

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