Aurelia Tugulea: “I love life and think that everything happens for a reason, you should just make the best out of it.”
Aurelia Tugulea is studying physiotherapy in Frankfurt, Germany. She moved a couple of years ago to the “Manhattan of Europe”. She has moldovan roots, but has lived an important part of her life in Setúbal, Portugal, where she calls “home”. In Germany she misses mostly the sun, but her positive way of looking at everything makes all the city shine.
1 – How old were you when you moved to Frankfurt? What was the main reason to move?
I was 20 as I moved to Frankfurt am Main, in Germany. The local people like to call it Frankfurt am Meer (Frankfurt on the Sea) or Manhattan because of it’s skyscrapers. I moved to my family that was living here.
2 – What kind of cultural characteristics have you absorbed from Germany?
Structure! The germans are really well structured people. I definitely became a very more structured person with my stay here. I have the sense and the need to document and organise everything I am doing, so that I am in control of the situation and my work. I figured that when I do it, the future me is always thankful of it.
I’ve also transformed into an early bird. The people here complain about starting their working day too early, but they sure are happy to end it with day light since we here have less sun hours than in Portugal. So I as well have to wake up at 05:30 every morning. It’s hard in the begging, but if you make your beauty sleep a priority, it works out well.
3 – What are the biggest challenges of living in a foreign country?
To learn the language! Learning German was a very big challenge for me and I never expected it would be this complicated since I am a speaker of 3 other languages, but it’s not impossible. It takes a lot of time, patience and hard work. It wasn’t enough for me to attend a 3hour everyday Intensive-course so I made a voluntary year at the hospital in order to get myself surrounded by the german speakers, their art of work and get to know them better as nation. I felt a lot of sympathy and appreciation coming towards me from the people, for having this will in learning the language and get to know them better.
Another challenge was being able to understand how everything works here, to work with people, to accept their different point of views and try to learn from them.
4 – Name the most positive aspects of Frankfurt.
The most positive aspect for me right now is knowing that I have a future here. That I am studying and doing what I love and that I won’t have to struggle with finding a job when I’m ready with my studies. There are many other opportunities in other fields for young people as well.
Another thing that really impressed me here is that people actually do a lot of voluntary work. They love being a society and to do something together, for the good of someone or something.
5 – During this time in a foreign country what have you learned about the human being? What sets us apart from each other?
It’s ability to coexist, which for me is a must if we want to live in peace on our planet. Frankfurt is a very international city, so I have learned to work with many other nationalities… to be one, a team despite our very different backgrounds.
6 – What is missing in your home country that your current one has and vice versa?
I miss the long sunny days, the blue sea and my high-school friends, but a very positive aspect is that the German state helps people in need a lot more than Portugal.
7 – Is there a favourite german dish you prefer?
“Rippche mit Kartoffelpuree und Sauerkraut” which means spareribs with mashed potatoes and pickled cabbage. Their sweets are wonderful as well.
8 – Which stereotype doesn’t make sense about Germany?
That everything is on time/comes on time; newsflash: it’s not true!
9 – From the legal point of view, was the social framework easy? Do you have any advice for someone moving in?
If you learn the language, do some social work, start to study/work, belong to a club, for example sports club, with some luck you can find people with whom you can start a friendship with. It takes quite a while until people open up to you, you should be patient and show them who you are, what are your values and what you stand for. But believe me, you can make friends for life!
10 – What is your favourite city spot in Frankfurt?
The downtown area of Frankfurt where I live called Sachsenhausen, because you get a glimpse of the old town and the new town with the skyscrapers. It’s a contrast between old and new, historical and modern and I fancy that.
11 – Do you have a favourite restaurant in Frankfurt?
“a tavola!” A little italian vintage restaurant with all of my favourite dishes, from Pizza to Shellfish. I love the atmosphere, the decoration, the service and the fact that the pizza dough is thin and crispy, and that they make the right amount of ingredients on it.
12 – What is it for you to be real? / What defines you as a person?
I stand for justice, freedom and peace. I want to do good and see good. I am sometimes too much of a dreamer but I try to stay as realistic as possible at the same time. I have passions, hobby’s that without them my life would have a missing puzzle. I cherish mother nature, I love being surrounded by it and it’s beauty. Also, I love being surrounded by people that inspire me and that I can inspire. I try to maintain my body and brain active and avoid stagnation, that would be the death of me. I like arts, contemplating paintings and nature photography. I try to focus on the little things that make my day or life so special and unique. I love life and think that everything happens for a reason, you should just make the best out of it.
Setúbal, Portugal (born in Moldavia)
I myself am a huge fan of seafood! So here’s a dish I make everytime I’m craving it. Usually I eat them with olive oil bread but this time, since my parents would eat with me, I decided to do it with spaghetti instead.
500g of spaghetti
seafood cocktail – I included 800g shrimps, 250g shellfish and 400g little squids
10 cocktail tomatoes
100 ml white wine
6 garlic cloves
2 white onions
Put the water to boil with a teaspoon of salt for the spaghetti. When it boiled, add the spaghetti, leave them for 8 minutes and put them in a strainer. Meanwhile you can cut the onions into little cubes, crush the garlic with a knife blade and cut the cocktail tomatoes in half
Put olive oil in a big pan to heat, add the garlic, onion and chopped parsley. Leave it a minute or two and than add the tomatoes.
Leave the tomatoes a few minutes to boil until a sauce is formed, than add the wine, the tomato paste and 100 ml of water. Spice it with salt and pepper.
Put the seafood that you’ve washed very well in advance. After 5-10 minutes add the pasta and mix it well and voilá!