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Daniel D.

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by Mirela C.rumaenien.jpg (700×465)




Today we are talking to Daniel D.


Q: Do you have a nickname?

A: No, I don't, they have always called me by my name.


Q: Place or birth?

A: Brasov, Romania, on the 8th of May 1957.


Q: Where is your current residence?

A: Timisoara, I've been here since childhood.


Q: What is your nationality?

A: I am Romanian.


Q: Tell us about your childhood. Were you raised in a family with a lot of children, did you live with your grandparents? Did you go to school?

A: I am an only child, my parents were living in Brasov when I was born. We moved to Timisoara when I was just a child. My father was an officer in the military and my mother worked as a civilian for the military as well. Working for the military provided stability, because military employees had secured pay checks, they didn't have to worry about being unemployed and so on. Therefore, I got a great education.


Q: Did you go to school in Brasov?

A: No, we moved to Timisoara when I was 5 years old, so I finished all 12 grades here. I didn't go to college, but I did graduate from a 2years post-grad school as an Electronics engineer. It was really important to have a respectable job back then, and having that job came with the certainty of a good salary. I decided to go to grad-school and get a job to support my family, by that time I already had 2 young daughters.


Q: So you were married as well?

A: Yes.

Q: Tell us more about your job back then.

A: I worked for the government as an electronics engineer. When revolution started in Romania I decided to start practicing martial arts (karate). In the communists era, martial arts were illegal. So only after the Revolution I was able to truly focus on martial arts.


Q: Let’s go back to the part where you mentioned “martial arts were illegal”. How was this sport perceived by the state authorities?

A: Just as any other kind of an activity that could end up emancipating the population, practicing martial arts was forbidden. In order for us to fulfill our goals, we had to pretend practicing Judo, which was at times complicated. For us, the results of the revolution were beneficial, after years we were finally able to contact foreigners who were practicing martial arts and learn from them.


Q: Share with us some other meaningful events from those times, from your teenagers years.

A: Back then we were all equals, the system was designed that way. We had to face some difficult times.


Q: Who was deciding for the family? Did you get to decide for yourself which highschool you were going to go to?

A: Everything was forced upon the younger generation, so it is unforgettable. As a young person, your opinion was irrelevant, you were not given options to choose from. Now, parents are being supportive, giving their children different options, paths to follow. Back then it wasn’t like that at all. In my case, my father decided I should follow a career in IT. I wasn’t great at math and my grades were low, but my father didn’t see that as an obstacle. He asked me to become an IT engineer, and that’s where it started to go downhill. I lost all my self confidence because I started to fail in trying to become what he expected me to be. It was only when I began to detach from my parents, choose my own career and get married when I was able to start deciding for myself.


Q: Do you have retirement plans?

A: I am still working, my business is still growing so I don’t have any plans to retire just yet.


Q: When your parents were the age you’re now, were they retired yet?

A: Being part of the military, my parents were 50 years old when they retired. Back then, there was no retirement plan. The only things they were talking about were getting old and sick. They had no hopes for the future, no desire to get out of the house, they just stopped enjoying life.


Q: Describe the relationships between different generations in your family in the communist era.

A: The difference between generations was always obvious. The young generation didn’t have a voice, men were considered superior to women. When I was somewhere around 30 years old I felt like people were listening to my ideas for the very first time. Unfortunately, there are still remote areas in Romania where they still live by that pattern.

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Q: Your father has passed away. Can you tell us about your relationship with your parents after they retired?

A: He did pass, I miss him greatly. I did my best in being a good son. I think I did more for my father than he did in his entire life. When he retired, he gave up on doing anything for himself, they lived in a self-sufficiency state. My mother is still alive, she lives in a retirement house.


Q: How did you picture your 60’s would be like when you were younger?

A: Just as it is now, not being retired and enjoying life.


Q: Do you remember your opinion of 60 year old people when you were young?

A: I considered them really old people, whose lives were almost over. Being 60 now I realize my generation has so many options to really enjoy the retirements years.


Q: Tell us a bit about your daily life. Are you married, do your children live with you, how is your health, is your salary enough to support your family?

A: I have a big family and a wife I love, we live in harmony  and we support each other. I have 5 children and 3 grandchildren, so I have a lot of my mind. Each of my kids are very different personalities, each of them went on a very different path in life. We are an united family and I’m grateful for that, so I’m sure my retirement years will be peaceful.


Q: What are your hobbies, what do you enjoy doing?

A: First of all, one of my greatest achievement is being President of an important Karate Federation. I work with many young karate masters from all over the country, together we have trained many olimpics. I have shared my experience with them and together we got some important achievements over the years, we have trained lots of black belts in over 45years of training. We’re training disabled people who also got medals in the olimpics. I am participating in all sorts of projects which take a lot of my time.


Q: Tell us a bit about your pets.

A: I live in a beautiful house with my wife and we have 2 incredible dogs who love us and we love as well.


Q: What motivates you at this point in life?

A: I am still invested in projects and businesses I started years

ago. I am also part of the Founding masters of karate in Romania.


Q: What would you say it’s the biggest contribution to society from the older generation?

A: As a Romanian saying goes, “If you don’t have elders, buy some”, the older generation must share their lives experiences with the younger generation. I wish 60 years olds were more like the rest of Europe, more brave, wanting to enjoy their retirement years.


Q: So the older generations are still valuable?

A: Absolutely!


Q: Considering the image the press has given the older generation, what would be your message for the younger generation?

A: My message to them is to respect their elders, starting with their parents.


Q: Which Romanian traditions do you and your family still keep?

A: Each year for Christmas my friends and their families come caroling, our house is the last stop so we are the hosts.


Q: What treats do you have ready for them?

A: Dessert for the children, mulled wine, plum brandy and bread with lard for the grown-ups. Over the years they have decided this is the best menu.


Q: Did you or your family go through a traumatic experience because of the communists? For example, becoming homeless or being deported etc.

A: We didn’t have any lands or houses so we had nothing they could have taken for us.  We lived just like everyone else, with limited electricity and running hot water. We had no heat, no food or fruits for the children. I’m not sure how we survived those years but I know it made us stronger, so that we truly appreciate everything we have today.


Q: What are the core values which dictated your life? Which of them are you going to pass on to the next generations?

A: It started with the education I got from my parents, then everything I have learnt from practicing martial arts. I have learnt respect as a way of life. In martial arts, the color of your belt determines your ranking. Between different belts there is a high level of respect, an understanding of all the work and determination the higher belts have put in over the years. That respect for the ones who have worked more is also really valuable when you evaluate yourself. To the young generations I want to pass on the importance of understanding hierarchy and the importance of respect for the ones who have worked more. Young people must learn tolerance and patience, I consider them very important in the process of growing up. I believe I was born with a good heart, and all the lessons I have learnt from practicing martial arts have turned me into a leader. I can honestly say I have achieved everything I worked for. I work and live in a positive environment and I would like to pass on to my grandchildren everything I have learnt about life if they ever want to listen.


Q: Thank you!

A: Thank you!