radulescu

I hang onto a word, the one word that Romanians are so proud of because they say it can’t be translated into any other language. The word dor. […] It means something like longing, like a yearning that you can’t explain and you don’t know why you have it. It hits you when you look at certain landscapes and listen to certain music, such as music played on special Romanian instruments whose names are untranslatable, flutes with many tubes and instruments like huge horns. Then you see the mountains where your ancestors lived and fought the Turks and the Huns and the Visigoths, and where they looked at the sky and dreamed the way you look at the sky and dream now. You look at all that, and you become melancholy and you yearn for something. That’s what dor means.
—  Domnica Radulescu, from Train to Trieste (Knopf, 2008)
I knew I was on my native soil. I felt it in the way dawn filtered through the tall, symmetrical fir trees. In the way sunflowers swayed in the warm-cool summer air that caressed my face through the open window. I knew it from the smell of wet tree bark, pine resin, and the and the unique scent of the flower called queen of the night that opened up at dusk and filled the air with its dizzying fragrance until dawn all summer long. I knew it because all my limbs felt the right size, and because I could hear the echoes of my name, my laughter and moans stuck for ever in the valleys. I came back avid for the smells and tastes of my childhood.
—  Domnica Radulescu, from Train to Trieste (Knopf, 2008)
In order not to lose myself in this city of strangers, I carry a country inside my head. My parents’ memories become my own, as if I had lived their childhoods, their adolescence and I have collected the memories of my aunts and uncles, too, and my cousins, and the memories of characters in books I’ve read.
—  Domnica Radulescu, from Train to Trieste (Knopf, 2008)