On the bench in front of the bookstore an young man with a warm yet inquisitive gaze was waiting for us. He was wearing a funny knitted cap, decorated with nordic patterns just as his sweater. He said: “I would have never met with you, but your written message convinced me. Your text was perfect in terms of grammar and expression and your use of Romanian special characters”.
We met Valeriu in Cluj, a city to which we are emotionally bond. We knew he is an Aspie and we hoped that he could answer to some of our questions regarding the tough development challenges of a teenager with ASD.
It was a total surprise to know that Valeriu was diagnosed with Asperger’s only one year ago, while he was fighting severe depression. Nevertheless Valeriu was able to give us some answers, anchored in his own life experience.
Valeriu stands for, beside his self characterisation from the title, a wonderful man, as he also calls us.
Valeriu has a degree in letters. His accuracy and power of concentration are incredible. It often doesn’t allow him to see things as a whole, but it turns him into an incredible linguistic specialist.
Not only in Romanian, for which he has already sent some suggestions to those who designed the orthographic, orthoepic and morphological dictionary for the language. He speaks and translates excellently into and from English.
He learned Danish during a scholarship in Denmark.
He knows the Norwegian well. After a summer school in Oslo, he found out he spoke in his sleep. Probably because, says Valeriu, given the large volume of knowledge he had accumulated in that course.
In school he learned German at an incredibly high level, which allowed him to write an entire text at an Olympics about “Pfannkuchen”. Although Valeriu revealed to us that he did not know what it meant at the time.
Valeriu said: “One day I want to be able to learn an endangered language, so that I can help save it. Then I would feel that my debt to humanity would have been paid.” The main candidates at present: pitjantjatjara from Australia and ainu from Japan.
The biggest challenge for Valeriu: “My mind has a desperate need to organize and set up every little aspect of my life. Probably my mind needs a 36 hours day in order to arrange everything it needed to”.
His urge to be precise and organised pushes Valeriu beyond the usual deadline when he has to finish a task. Valeriu begun the PhD at Literacy Faculty from Cluj, started also to teach at the university. He lost his job because he could not complete in time his PhD work. He still has some pages to finish and to be more precise, he wrote 131 from the minimum of 170 pages he planned.
Valeriu tries now to enrol to a PhD again, in order to finish his work
Valeriu is also an certified English translator. A translator job (for books, articles, subtitles) or grammar proofing would fit him very well. If any of you need such a specialist, do not hesitate to contact us and we will put you through with him.
I left poetry at the end, because for Valeriu the poetry is his favourite way of expression.
We were charmed by his poems and we asked him to insert here one of his poems. ( a Romanian poem)
(8 septembrie 2017)
Vreo nouă sute nouăzeci şi nouă de cocori din foi
Făcut-ai pentru mine când puteam vorbi de amândoi,
Când încă nu plecaseşi tu în lumea asta cea hapsână,
Când mâna-ţi încă îşi avea al său locşor în a mea mână.
Cu vrajă parcă îndoiai îndată fiecare pliu
Şi fiece cocor părea că-n ale tale mâini e viu,
Odată ce îl terminai, cu graţie, precis, cocorul,
Din palma ta se ridica să-şi ia ca fraţii săi el zborul.
Dar azi, când nu mai eşti a mea şi singur m-ai lăsat pe lume
Şi nici nu vrei să mai auzi de mine sau de al meu nume,
Rămâi în tot ce m-ai făcut, în ce sunt datorită ţie
Şi stau cu mine-n locul tău tăcuţi cocorii de hârtie.
(Aici poemu-i terminat sau cel puţin aşa-mi fu gândul,
Dar unei noi idei ciudate îi veni în mintea-mi rândul:
Cu aripile frânte azi, dar sufletul pierdut prin nori,
Sunt oare eu al mielea din sutele de-ai tăi cocori?)