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Last Updated: 03/14/2005Funny how things change
Like all of us, Ruxandra Tanase
has a few vivid memories from her childhood snapshots she calls them, and for
her they are images of life in
She remembers a song she used to
sing with her friends as a little girl: Little plane with an engine, please take
me to the country with bananas the song went, because in communist
Funny how things change.
These days, Andra (as her friends
call her) is living in
It s a completely different world, she said. Growing up in communism is something very few people can imagine.
She and a few friends in her age group have considered writing a memoir called The Last Pioneers to share their experiences as the very last members of that state-sponsored and state-wide youth club before the collapse of communism.
Andra was eight years old when
Reflecting on the past, Andra
said that the communist influence in
It was almost a way of expressing their freedom, although the discussions were limited by the poor access to foreign publications, she said.
But sometimes she can still see
the negative effects of the oppression her parents endured for most of their
lives. For instance, there was the time they came to
(My parents) lived through the communism period. It affected their way of thinking and perspective on the outside world, Andra said.
It s almost only at an intuitive level that I can analyze their reaction. I could see a sense of insecurity with this other world they were exposed to By closing down the borders, communism created that sense of insecurity, and I think that was maybe one of the worst handicaps communism created.
Fortunately for Andra, she did not inherit that insecurity. A smiling, amiable woman, Andra moves fluidly among all the different cultures represented within UPEACE. Not content with just studying, Andra looks to build an extracurricular community that will have an influence both within UPEACE and without.
In what I want to do, I m always inspired by the place where I m at, she said.
Her current project is working
with the Colegio Internacional SOS Hermann Gmeiner in
In a way, I m trying to integrate what I m learning here into my work at the Colegio Internacional and what I have learned in the UWC and at Colegio Internacional at UPEACE, she said. There is more in you that you think, as my email ending says, and the greatest feeling of satisfaction is making people discover that more.
When she left
That was my dream, to leave and
be able to make good money and travel and get out of that place I can t say that
Realistically, it depends so much on the person I fall in love with or whatever, she said with a smile. Right now, I m just trying to enjoy the freedom of not knowing where I m going while still watching where I set my next step.
Peter Krupa is the editor of the Peace and Conflict Monitor