Dina Juzbayeva – The girl with hair like the Sun

I met Dina for the first time two years ago. We have a mutual friend who introduced us to each other. She had her hair dyed in red, just like a flame. Later on in our friendship I found out that the flame in her hair was an extension of her strong personality and eccentric character. I remember the moment when we were taking photos in front of the Matthias Corvinus Monument and I asked her what her favourite place in Cluj-Napoca was. Unlike the other visitors of this city, she mentioned a bistro in Piata Muzeului where she prefers to spend her leisure time all by herself. “This place is very special for me. I spend there a great time with my thoughts. And I promise that I will come back to this place. I don’t know when, but I will come back again.”

Two years after the time when this talk took place, Dina returned to Cluj-Napoca. She still goes to that bistro in Piata Muzeului alone because those are the moments when she truly realises that she is in another country, surrounded by a different nature and cultural specificities. “The main difference between Kazakhstan and Romania is the weather. The winters there are just not for me. I don’t like the cold and I don’t like the snow. The winters in Romania are so much warmer and I’m in love with them.”

Despite her young age, Dina visited 14 countries and she’s not planning to stop. “In some places I stayed for a couple of months, while other places I visited just for a few days. But a few days are enough for me to feel the atmosphere of the city and to understand whether I belong or not to that place. The first time I came to Cluj, I fell in love with this cosy, safe and small city. I want to live here when I get old because I think that the young vibes of Cluj will keep me young as well.”

At the moment she is learning Romanian and next year will start her master’s degree in political sciences. As Dina likes to put it, she drives the road of life with speed. This is why she gets involved in various activities that offer her the opportunity to travel. “I was in Bucharest on the 7-th of December and stayed there for one day. The Embassy of Kazakhstan celebrated the independence day of my country in one of the hotels of the capital. I felt so proud during the event because all the guests knew so many things about Kazakhstan. When I’m in Cluj almost none of the students have an idea where my country is. At the beginning I felt really bad about that, but then I realised that I can make it one of my personal goals, namely to share the Kazakh culture with the Romanians.”

An advice that Dina would give to anybody who wants to be happy in their own country or in a place that is far away from home is “to be themselves. Maybe it sounds too cliché but it’s true. Being myself I consider to be the biggest achievement in my life at the moment. You should not be fake because your weirdness and the fact that you are different is what makes you beautiful and interesting. If you learn to embrace who you really are, you will be happy.”

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This post is also available in: Romanian

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