Greetings from three years in the future: we future people still enjoy the reference.
Duolingo says the following:
"EU, EA, E, ESTE
Although Romanian has exceptionally few pronunciation exceptions, there is one which is noticeable from the very beginning. Eu (I/me), el (he/him), ea (she/her), ei (they/them masc.), ele (they/them fem.), e (is), and este (is) are all pronounced starting with /ie/ instead of simply /e/."
Is this (or your) pronunciation a regional/dialect thing maybe?