“Bomb threat” were the first couple of words I heard in my first day in Enniskillen. It was the 4th of December 2015 and half the town centre was closed following a security alert. Heavily armed policemen surrounding the area were keeping the people away from the scene. For me it all looked like an action movie. Everybody around me looked relaxed though. “Someone must be due in Court today” said someone next to me, laughing. What for me looked like a scene depicted from a Bruce Willis movie, for the locals it was just a normal part of life. Right there and then I knew that living in Northern Ireland will be something completely different than anything I ever experienced before.

Prior to moving here, myself and my husband read a lot about “The Troubles” and the current situation. Also, coming from a journalistic background gave me a deep insight into what happened across Northern Ireland, and how things have changed for the better in the past decade. Hence we decided to come, live and work here. On a cold 3rd of December evening we got off bus 30 at the Enniskillen Depot. No feeling of insecurity, anxiety, tension or pressure in the air. It just felt like everything I knew about the past conflicts never even happened here. And all the smiling local faces greeting us on the streets of Enniskillen gave us hope that this was going to be an extraordinary journey.

“Where are you from?” is the first question I’m asked everywhere I go around here. I’m always happy to say I’m from Romania. It’s a wonderful country, in Eastern Europe, where Transylvania lies between the long chains of Carpathian Mountains. Many people assume Transylvania is an invention of the famous Bram Stoker and screened by bloodthirsty Hollywood producers. However, “the land beyond the forest” as its Latin name translates is real. And I’m always proud to speak about it, its culture and also the many similarities with Fermanagh - green hills, rivers, wildlife, castles and friendly laid back people.

Despite the similarities though, the level of corruption and poverty in Romania is incomparably higher. It has driven away millions of young professionals. According to a new study published by the Romanian press earlier this year, more than 3.4 million people have left the country in the last 10 years. Therefore, with no willing to get into politics, I can say that sometimes having no government it’s not the worse that can happen to a country. The reason why I chose to leave and come here is a better standard of life, social security, equality of chances and a high quality of the educational and the health system. Doctor at the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH), with a vast experience working in the biggest hospitals in Romania, Germany and France, my husband describes the NHS as “one of the best health systems in the entire world.” Currently, we are both working within the healthcare system and we give our best in contributing to the community wellbeing within Fermanagh and Tyrone.

The main reason why I do everything I can to give the best back to the community is the Fermanagh people. Ever since I arrived here I have been impressed of how everybody helped me integrate and feel like home. There is so much I learned about the life in Northern Ireland and its culture – and all thanks to my local friends. They taught me how talking about the weather is a real thing, go for outdoor activities even if it’s raining, have vinegar on my fish and chips on a Saturday and be patient when you’re driving behind a tractor on the main roads. There is no other place with friendlier people than in Fermanagh. And the last figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are coming to support my opinion. According to the ONS the happiest region in the entire United Kingdom is Fermanagh.

Many of you reading this might not see Fermanagh as beautiful as I do and think there is room for improvement, and there always is. But believe me when I say that there is even more room for worse. However, the worse in Enniskillen isn’t enough to make you love it less. Too much rain, too

far west and not enough night life can’t ruin the enjoyment to live in the beautiful, ever green Fermanagh.

And after almost three years since I arrived in Northern Ireland, I still feel the same enthusiasm and joy and I am extremely grateful to be here. I feel safe, secure and happy to be surrounded by such tolerant and kind people: their sense of humour, patience and their impressive courtesy makes living here such a joy.