- Author: Niki D'Andrea
- Category: Features
- Issue: May 2012
Phoenix isn't famous for its diversity. But peer into its margins, and you’ll find a city flush with people from around the world. In part one of a three-part series, we delve into the Valley's Romanian, Armenian and Bosnian communities.
Population: Approximately 19 million
Estimated population of Romanians in Phoenix: 50,000-60,000
Winters in Romania are furiously frigid, with temperatures that plunge as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavy snowfall blankets the buildings and blows through the streets in a freezing breeze that bites at peoples’ cheeks. The days are dark, illuminated sometimes only by streetlights that spotlight the skeletal branches of trees hung with thick, glassy icicles.
No one wants to be outside at 4 a.m. on a Romanian winter morning, standing in a long line waiting for a pound of sugar and a gallon of milk – especially not a 7-year-old girl who would rather be sleeping or eating breakfast. But this was routine under “ration times” in Communist Romania, and though it’s been a few decades, Dina Conciuba remembers the morning she expressed her youthful discontent at being dragged out of bed and into the piercing cold – and the spark of