Our new hero is a footballer of the Brest Dynamo Adrian Avramia. The 25-year-old Romanian moved to western Belarus in July last year. He was preparing to face with the criminal vestiges of the 90s, but he saw a European country with non-conflicting people. Adrian tells what his Romanian friends are asking to bring from Belarus and why the lines on the Poland border are perhaps the main minus of life in Brest.
“Before FC Dynamo Brest I had never played abroad so I took a chance on my first legionary experience. There were options for continuing my career in Romania, but I decided that the Belarusian championship can be a good start for moveing into big football. My wife and I quite easily adapted ourselves in Brest, because Romania and Belarus are not two different worlds, but in many ways similar countries. We have almost the same food and lifestyle. Of course, there are not enough friends and relatives, but cool Brest fans and team-mates compensate this. Somehow the African legionaries of the club invited a few guys for a national dinner, and I called in response to introduce them to the Romanian cuisine. I prepared our dish − polenta (analogous to hominy) with pork, eggs and sausages. We sat very cool and heartfelt.”
“When I found out that the Belarusian club showed interest in me, I immediately thought about Russia and said: “Oh my God!”
The footballer remembers how he thought about moving to Brest.
“The agent said that the Belarusian club was interested in me, and I immediately thought about Russia and said: “Oh my God! “There are constant fights, incidents and blow-ups.” This impression is due to information on the Internet. I think that when mentioning Eastern European countries, many people have associations with Russia, and not with other small states. Russia has an image of the country with harsh realities. Although I have never been there, I look forward to the opportunity to go to St. Petersburg and Moscow with interest. I do not think that it will be dangerous: I will try not to attract attention, just as an invisible person, I will watch the life of Russians. Avramiya assumed that the ways of life, like the mentality, are very similar for Belarusians and Russians.”
“I spent six months in Belarus and now I can say this country is not inferior to Central and even Western Europe. Honestly, until the move I knew only the capital of Belarus and two football clubs − BATE and FC Dynamo Minsk. For me it was a surprise, what Belarus really is. The peaceful, calm and very beautiful country with green areas and parks everywhere. And Belarusians are pleasant − not as aggressive as the Romanians. If I were asked to draw a portrait of a Belarusian, it would be as follows: tall blond with a height of 190 centimeters, bright eyes, disciplined, concentrated and neatly dressed. By the way, Belarusians are not obsessed with expensive brands of clothes, cars and accessories. In Romania, many people try to stand out by this and show solvency.”
“Perhaps in Belarus, there are such people, but I do not pay too much attention to this − I’m not a woman to watch closely the appearance of others. And you also know clearly what you have to do, don’t conflict about anything, and you don’t violate the law. Take at least the traffic: if in Belarus there is a sign of 50 km/h, drivers will go at such a speed, and in Romania they would already start to be signaled from all sides – just a disaster! It is difficult for me to compare Minsk and Bucharest, because I spent only three days in the Belarusian capital when I needed to go to surgery. This is not the best occasion to get acquainted with the city.”
Friends and relatives of the Romanian back are curious to ask him about life in Belarus (mostly of course, not of green areas, but of prices for services and goods).
“I’m telling that, you won’t find any paper on the sidewalk, you don’t have to meet a gypsy or a beggar. All people are working and not looking for easy ways. My impression is that Belarusians live well. In Romania, prices are higher than here, and the average salary that they receive is 300 euros. With such income, you can afford a very modest life − going to a restaurant at best once a month, no holidays abroad (with a good scenario − once a year trip to the sea or mountains within Romania). I think that 500 dollars is a decent and optimal salary for Belarus. With this money you can live comfortably here. Romanian prices are very different from Belarus: you have gasoline twice cheaper − litre costs 60 cents, and in Romania − the euro and 20 cents. My friends often ask how much cigarettes and alcohol in Brest. And when they find out that a pack of cigarettes costs 3 times cheaper than in Romania, they ask to bring it. It has to explain that these goods are tightly controlled at customs.”
“Belarus is in the lead on alcohol consumption per capita, but I do not notice drunkards on the streets”
Dinamovets notes relatively low prices for alcohol and tobacco products in Belarus, but does not see a problem for the society.
“I read on the Internet that Belarus is the leader of alcohol consumption per capita in Europe. I do not know how true such ratings are. Personally, I do not notice of drunkards or people who are barely standing on their legs because of alcohol on the streets. There is a culture of wine consumption in Romania. Many families prepare house wine. People drink a glass a day as a medicine, not turning it into a dependence. But I do not know whether such a medicine really cures − with such regularity I do not drink wine or other alcoholic drinks.
Adrian and his wife like to travel. They do not lose time and periodically organize themselves tourist hikes in the nearest European capitals.
“When I am crossing the border, I have no thoughts: “Oh! Now I’m in EU. “That’s a real Europe!” Belarus is also quite a European country. The main minus, which reminds that Belarus is not part of the Schengen zone, is the border. From Brest to Warsaw there are only 200 kilometers, but on the border with Poland you have to stand 4-5 hours is a very tiring procedure. If everything went faster, you could often dart away into spontaneous trips. And so, most of all I spend the weekend in Brest.
Avramiya goes to all home games BGK by the name Meshkov. He does not consider himself a hardcore fan, but simply calls this option excellent for leisure activities.”
“At school my wife played handball, but got hurt and finished with the sport. Honestly speaking, then I did not really like to go to the matches, but in Brest we became regular spectators. The city-folk have a large selection of sports events. Of course, the first thing I would advise everyone to go to football, and only then to handball and everything else, ha ha. By the way, there is a famous rowing channel in Brest. My parents are rowing coaches, so they immediately told me: “Adrian, be sure to visit the best rowing channel in Europe whi ch is in Brest!”. There’s enough entertainment in the city − it would be free time. In addition to sports events, you can get to the First of May Park, Brest Fortress, to the beach at the rowing channel or just walk along Sovetskaya Street. I’d love to go to the cinemas, but movies are shown without English subtitles. And in the Russian voice acting I understand one of five or ten phrases.”
“In the Russian classes, guys call me an excellent student”
Adrian attends the Russian language classes, which the club organized for foreign players. The back has already earned the reputation of the most exemplary student.
“Last year, foreigners went to Russian courses, and Belarusian players studied English. And attendance was mandatory. This season, everything should resume. This is a useful thing, although not everyone liked it. Guys call me an excellent student, but I just stick to this logic: if you come and spend time, it makes no sense to get distracted and engage in nonsense. It’s good to have a class when you’re focused and learning. We were even asked to do homework − everything, like in a school. The most difficult thing was to memorize the alphabet and not to confuse it with Latin. For example, the Russian letter “в” is written in the same way as the Latin “b”, so at first there was a mess in my head. In general, pronunciation is given without much difficulty: the letters and sounds correspond to each other, as in the Romanian language. There is no such as in English, we write “i”, but we read “ai”. I try to chat Russian in shops, public places, even in the locker room I often speak Russian. I know that my grammar and pronunciation, are far from ideal, but I’m just learning.
Avramiya with his partners cheerfully started a new football season. According to him, the atmosphere at the home stadium “Dinamo” has finally become such as the game number one bribes.”
“In recent matches, the Brest fans showed how real football should be. I would like to see not only games with BATE or FC Dynamo Minsk, but also all the rest. Power fans can energize us not only for 90, but for all 200 minutes of the game. I think no infrastructure can not keep people in the stands, if there is no good results. So we’re being laid out for the spectators, and they’re coming for us-this constant cycle is the essence of football.”