YO SOY RUMANO (I AM ROMANIAN): AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY EXPLORING THE EFFECTS OF MEMORY AND TRAUMA ON THE FORMATION OF THE SELF
Author:Andrei Bucaloiu ’22
Faculty Mentor(s):Professor Fernando Blanco, Spanish
Funding Source:Bucknell Spanish Department
I came to the United States from Romania with my parents when I was two years old. This moment of cultural, linguistic, and geographic separation occurred before I was able to consciously recall it, yet it constitutes a traumatic experience, in the Freudian and Lacanian sense, that defines my positionality and serves as a primary space in which I seek to develop who I am. However, regardless of how much I have developed my ability to communicate in English, it is not the language of my emotional affect. At the same time, profound expression in Romanian is not possible for me, as my ability to write in Romanian has weakened considerably since I only ever speak the language in my home. This leaves me, and other migrants like me, struggling to understand our place in our family’s migration stories—we are trying to claim our migrant identities without the proper language to understand our positions and process the corresponding trauma.
To solve this problem, I propose the writing of an autobiographical account and academic investigation in my third language, Spanish. Through this framework and creative exercise, I posit the weakening of my primary language as a mark of the trauma of youth migration and an open wound that I, as well as other migrants like me, carry every day, that can be resolved by exercising agency and learning/accessing a related third language as a process of working though or stitching up that open wound.