Oranges at Christmas in a Communist Country – A Memoir

A real story of a Romanian woman born and raised during one of the most oppressive communist regimes of Eastern Europe. Communism is an outstanding theory on paper – a Utopia – in reality, is slavery. Farmers’ children were required to work the land to reach the targets and pay the debts made by the irrational dictator. Oppression, persecution, censure, austerity brought people to their knees. The population kept in the dark, deprived of dignity and freedom, revolted in the end. On the 25th of December 1989, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu – the leaders of the Republic Socialist of Romania – were shot dead. Romanians were free. However, “be careful what you wish for.” 

This memoir is the first book the author published on the 24th of December 2015 – a very symbolic date for every Romanian born and raised during the Ceausescu dictatorship. However, the book was published again in May 2016 after a friendly proofread by Dane Newman. – A friend and a colleague of Cristina.

If you'd go now (2017) and ask Romanians what they think about Ceausescu, more than 75% will tell you that it was better during his time. 

Not the author of this poignant biography. She has watched her parents being exploited with no mercy. Cristina worked the land since she was just a little girl to help the country pay the debts that Ceausescu made. 

The 25th of December 1989 –The end

From 1967 to 1989, Ceausescu decided who had the right to live and who had to die; how many children a woman should have; who was entitled to study, and who was doomed to work the land. We were not free to travel outside the country, we were not allowed to speak our minds, to protest or complain. He had all the imaginable and unimaginable power over our lives.
He didn't care you were a child, and all you wanted was to play with toys, no. If you were a farmer's child, you were required to help your parents and your school to reach the country's targets.
He kept us in the dark about the rest of the world, censored movies and songs, cut the power and the hot water for nineteen hours a day, rationalised food like we were living a war. He treated his people as slaves and expected them to endure all this forever with a smile on the faces.
In 1977 miners from Targu Jiu went on strike because of inhumanly conditions of work. The leader of the country ordered his army to shoot them dead—all of them. But the army didn't listen, and some changes had to be made for those poor miners.
Because these atrocities were never reached the mass media, we don’t know how many of them took place. We heard rumours about thousands of killings, but we knew nothing for certain.
Every single person in the country was on their knees. We had no idea that the rest of the world had a different style of life, but we knew something was not quite right. We were hopeless.
 There is a belief going around humans who didn't experience anything of the above. We think that if people don't know about the existence of something, they will always be happy with what they have. I completely agree with that. I am the first one to sustain this theory. However, we all wanted something we never saw on a daily basis.
We didn't have a fridge, washing machine, running water in the house, books, chocolate and so on. None of the people I knew had these either, but we watched some movies from time to time, and seeing how easier their life was, made us desire the same.
I didn't miss the chocolate, for example, because I never really liked it that much. But every Saturday, the day in which we used to have a serious bath, I dreamed and craved for a shower. I used to imagine myself having at least two showers a day, and that was one of my sweetest dreams. I fantasised about going to school for whole my life and read the books I wanted at the light of an electric bulb.
My little brother loved ice cream, same as my mother and most of my siblings, and if you'd asked him what would he buy if he had the means, he would have told you, “A freezer so I could fill it with ice cream.”
My mother always dreamed about a proper colour television with a remote control.
One of my sisters was mad about coffee, another one about caviar.
All the children I ever knew wanted chewing gum—loads of colourful chewing stuff. If everywhere in the world chewing gum was one of the easiest things to find, I believe that in my country was prohibited back then. I am not sure, of course, but no shop ever sold this odd sweet. However, I have chewed it many times after my siblings went to school, 500 kilometres away. In these distant big cities, foreigners would bring and sell loads of illegal or impossible to find stuff like coffee, play cards, cigarettes, porn magazines and chewing gum. This last one was made in forms of cigarettes and put in colourful packs of twelve. These packs contained imagines of football or tennis-men players, gymnasts, athletes or singers. Some of them were Romanian, and we were absolutely crazy for both images and chewing gum.

Once, my uncle asked a group of children what would they want him to bring them the next time he visits. I was in that group, and all of us, absolutely all, replied in a choir, “chewing gum.” My uncle was shocked and tried to persuade us to ask for other things like chocolate, clothes, or religious objects, but we were resolute, “Chewing gum, nothing else.” 


Buy the eBook and leave a review to help Cristina give a better life to her octogenarian parents who survived the Second World War. 


  1. Impressive indeed. I loved it so, so much!

    1. Oh, Lory. That's so great to hear! Have you managed to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads? That would be extremely helpful. Thank you so much.


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