Mary Claire Estes….relocating from Orlando to Bucharest


Tell us a little about you Mary?

I’m 44 years old and I moved to Bucharest from Orlando, Florida just one week ago. I taught elementary school for 12 years. Before and after that, I was a technical writer, where I wrote user manuals, training materials, and online help. I have an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Elementary Education.

Why did you move to Romania?

I moved to Bucharest mainly because I felt like my life was too small and I wanted an adventure. I’m recently divorced and was in between jobs, so it seemed like perfect timing for a big move. Also, my sister lives here as well as a good friend, with whom I’m living.

What are your plans here?

This summer I want to travel as much as I can. In the fall, I will teach children at an English language school.

Since I’ve been here only a short time, I’m not sure what advice I can offer teachers who are looking to move here. I can say that I’m no longer concerned that my not knowing Romanian is going to be that big of a problem with my job and with living here, although I could be wrong, however. I’m eager to learn the language and I’m starting lessons tomorrow.

If a teacher wanted general advice about how to go about making the leap to move overseas, I would say to avoid overthinking it. If you focus on the big picture of what a huge decision it is to pick up your life and move so far away, you could easily talk yourself out of it before you even seriously consider it. If you think of the option to move as being able to be broken into smaller steps, then you can get into the habit of asking yourself, “What is the next thing I need to do (to work toward my big move overseas)?”

To move here, I realized I had to be willing to let go of the comfort of my past. The comfort was what made my life so small and so unfulfilling. My life has completely changed and it’s so much better than I could have imagined.

First impressions?

What I’ve observed since I’ve arrived:

– Romanian people seem to be more serious than most Americans I’ve noticed in my time. Or maybe that’s just their expressions while traveling on the Metro and walking around the city.

– Romanians treat smoking as a second job and they’re quite committed to it.

– I have the innate ability to step in dog poo whenever it is in my path.

– The stray dog and cat population are surprising because you don’t see that a lot where I’ve lived.

– The honking horns remind me of New York City.

– I’m convinced that many Romanian drivers enjoy honking their horns because they feel it adds to the ambiance of the city.

– Romanian pastries on every street corner are trying to ruin my desperate attempt at a swimsuit body before July.

–  I’ve never walked so much in my life. They’re pleasant walks, though, for the most part. The sound of birds chirping near my apartment makes me feel as if I’m a character in a Disney movie.

– The architecture in this city is quite haunting and beautiful. So much history…very unlike where I’m from (Orlando, Florida)…mostly shopping centers and tourist attractions. (Florida does have so many gorgeous beaches. I have yet to visit the coast in Romania. Soon!)

Mary Claire Estes