Anna Fill Interviews
Feeling at Home with Vanda Ramona Ladariu
Since we did our first Talk About Town debate 'Where do you call home?', we have met some very interesting people that have made a new life for themselves in Italy. We enjoyed speaking to Vanda Ramona Ladariu about her journey and her achievements.
Vanda was born in Romania and studied law for three years at the University in Bucharest. She took some time out and travelled to Bolzano in Northern Italy to work with the intention of returning to Romania to continue her studies. Before long the passion for the Italian way of life made Vanda realise that her destiny was not as she had first thought and planned.
Vanda then moved to Bordighera ten years ago. She had visited the area in the past for holidays and was driven to return. Vanda began working at the Kursaal Bar on the Lungmare and after 4 years learning all about the hospitality trade, she then moved to the Parigi Hotel for a further 2 years. The game plan had changed and Vanda already knew that she wanted one day, to own her own bar. Even though her father wanted her to continue her the path in the legal field, she really felt the need to follow her passion.
And so, in 2009, the opportunity to buy her first coffee bar presented itself: The 'Prestige Bar' on the high street in Bordighera. As a rule when opening up an establishment one has to either have at least 5 years experience working in the industry or partake in courses known as REC (Registro Esercenti il Commercio) which gives you the licence you need to work with the public, and subsequent skills such as health and safety. Vanda already had the necessary qualifications and only needed to obtain her licence.
So at the age of 29 Vanda had embarked on a new and exciting journey. In such a competitive field with so many bars in a small area does not faze Vanda in the slightest and nor did being a foreigner and a female starting a business in a very difficult economical climate.
"Integrating and being a part of the community is key." Vanda tells me.
Vanda has her own ideas and focuses on doing her absolute best. The bar opens every day at 6 am for breakfast and runs nonstop until about 8 pm. Her clientele is diverse and loyal. Every Sunday morning the bar becomes a social hub where people gather, chat, enjoy a drink after the service held in the church next door. The Italian bar is more than just a meeting point, it is a way of life.
Vanda learnt to speak English at school and Italian was extremely easy for her owing to similarities with the Romanian language. When I asked Vanda where she called home, with no hesitation she said: "Italy is home! It is where my heart is, my life and now my mother also lives in Italy.", There is no doubt that Vanda feels quite complete and extremely happy.
With working 6 days of the week, we asked Vanda how she liked to relax and what she did in her spare time? "I love to relax doing Pilates and Yoga" she replied. "I love being busy and active. Routine and having a structured day is very important to me".
Vanda is an inspiration. Our final question to her was to ask about her future plans? "I want to have children and before you ask, me and my bump will continue to work as long as we possibly can. I love my life".