Although she’s had ten days of growth spurt when she woke up every other hour at night for milk and the heat prevented her from sleeping well during the day to the point where I felt I had nothing more to give, I still have to pinch myself every time I see her face- I’m a mother! The thing that others take for granted has been such a lifelong dream for me and what do you know, I’ve got the “café baby” I’ve always wanted! At least for now. What I meant to say is that she’s usually in a good mood and puts up with all my socializing without complaints.
My mother country in winter time is usually a desolate sight. Upon arriving to the airport I was struck by the feeling that I’d landed back in time in the communist era. Everything was so grey, people were so poorly dressed, nobody smiled, everyone went about their business with a shut off face. It could also have been the fact that I had a cold and I was generally tired, but I felt so estranged, like there was no connection between me and the land.
Apart from a trip to Paris with my mom 12 years ago and a long weekend in Vienna with the whole tribe some 5 years ago, I haven’t been on a family excursion since I was 17. I tend to avoid holidays together since we’re all so different and friction can arise from the most trivial issues, especially with a partner from another culture.
And the first days did bear the mark of light misunderstandings and cultural differences, so much so that I had to use all my energy to smooth things over. Luckily, it worked so well that F got to be best buddies with both Diana and mom. Phew!
The bone of contention is child rearing- why do Romanians let children have so much sweets, why does Diana eat “buscuiti” (sweet crackers) before lunch and dinner, why doesn’t she sit tight and runs after cats at the dinner table, back in his days he’d have to settle for a soda every third day and so on. But we’re having beer, I’d answer. And you expect her to say thanks to water?
All in all it was a lovely holiday. My mother got a couple of hours to herself here and there, we’d retire into our “chambers” for a siesta every day, Diana got the best of everybody and couldn’t be more pleased with that. She bewitched the hotell staff with her cheeky smile and carefree posture, she made friends with Ukrainians and Greeks on the beach, she was the star of her surroundings.
And she did treat us like a little starlet, every time she didn’t get what she wanted, she’d hold back her posing skills. 😉 Like here.
The princess eating gyros, after removing all the onion. 😉 In her favorite cherry dress. Oh, and sharing the meat with stray cats. 😉
Thinking of having her come here next year for a Norwegian summer holiday already, hopefully she’ll dare fly alone. 😉
A couple of weeks ago I found myself talking about going home. I made the mistake of mentioning it to my brother, who told my mother, who told my father and next thing I know, everyday is a battle towards buying tickets.
“Is there any risk of you not coming anymore”, my father wonders.
“Are you postponing so you can say there were no tickets left”, my mother wants to know.
“Is Alina still coming for my birthday”, the sweetie pie asks.
And so I booked the first flight I could and landed late on Monday, after a weekend of courses and a week of running around in circles – V finally deleted my Mac from his iCloud, by mistake, but nonetheless a very unpleasant experience, since I lost everything from my harddisk.
Yesterday morning, the cutie pie woke up wondering where I was.
“She’s sleeping next to you”, my mother replies.
And so she decided she’d skip kindergarten and just wait by my side, guarding me until I decide to wake up. Haha! Can you imagine?! I couldn’t sleep that long, gifts and kisses followed, we played together and she tried braiding my hair, saying that I look like her mother, but where is her mother (the parents are divorced) and it all broke my heart. I told her everybody would be here for her birthday, just a day away, and she’ll get cake and lots of hugs, too.
Then we went to a coffeeshop for cocoa and banana cake, where she insisted on not speaking to “omii”- “mans”- to everybody’s amusement.
In the afternoon we went to visit my grandma, who is 92 and feeling poorly, it was very sad to see her that way, but at least I got to say good bye, in case I don’t see her again.
The trees were still heavy with fruit, I love quinces, they remind me most of home. We cracked some walnuts with our heels and ate them right there, Diana picked the last tomatoes to feed her baby dolls and I got overwhelmed with warm childhood memories.
Today is my niece’s birthday, we’re celebrating it with the whole crew and all her friends, too.
Once or twice a year, I get to go to the place I still call home, although I actually only lived here for about 8 months, 17 years ago. But as much as Calarasi is the place of my birth and Craiova was my home during childhood and adolescence , Bucharest is the home of my soul. It’s in fact the only place I’ve lived where I’ve ever felt like home, if I come to think of it.
Don’t get me wrong- much of it is completely destroyed by the megalomaniac Soviet architecture, but the old neighbourhoods are an oasis of calm and allure. Lush gardens, decrepit old houses, hipsters and grey people, elegant gals and Roma dressed in their colorful skirts, for whom I only used to have disdain back in the day, I embrace it all and feel blessed to have grown up with so much diversity. And although I’m often taken for a foreigner and feel out of place from time to time, I really love it here. It’s home.
This girl made my day! I was walking past a couple of other Roma girls with small children, thinking how I’d love to photograph them, but I couldn’t possibly do it, I’d have to ask and they’d probably say no and who knows what else, when she came to me asking me to take a picture. I immediately said yes, but then she asked for money and so I said no. But then she changed her mind, enticed by the idea of being the subject of someone’s interest, and said ok, just take a picture. And then she and her friend rushed to my camera to see the picture and exclaimed: Wow, I look like a real star! 😉 And she did! She couldn’t have been more than 12-14 years old, ribbon in her hair, she was proud as a peacock and posed in front of the camera with as much natural talent as any model.
Today was incredibly hot and I used that as an excuse to buy a new skimpy dress and a top, both silk, from COS. When I’d finally changed, I felt I could even survive in the desert and so I and my brother hit one café after another, drinking iced latte, lemonade, prosecco and more lemonade again. The Prosecco was a terrible move as it only made us even more hot and thirsty. But hey, I’m on a holiday and he’s taken some days off to be with his sis! 😉
The linden trees are in bloom and the whole town smells intensely of summer, of long coffee breaks and French kisses.
We had these babies at M60, a lovely mid-century café, frequented by the “creative class”, as the Financial Time puts it.
The best part of coming home, besides seeing my mom, is I get to hang out with this cutie here! 😉 I don’t know how you feel about children, I for one tend to either love or barely stand them, but this cutie here makes my heart fill with tenderness, the way I’ve never really felt before.
She’s so cheeky and so affectionate and she says whatever crosses her mind, not very unlike me- haha, it’s so refreshing to be together and do the craziest stuff.
“Nuca”, meaning walnut, is the neigbour’s cat and comes for a visit every now and then. This morning he was meowing outside the apartment door and he jumped right in when I opened up. 😉
A new coffee spot in town. I’ll check it out tomorrow, as we sat in the garden and it turned out the terrace belonged to another place.
Happiness is a warm pretzel with salt and poppy seeds. 😉 Can you tell?
My mom on the balcony of my airbnb. I love this place and I’d love to be back here again! Stay tuned for more fun!
Easter is finally here and it couldn’t have come any sooner! I’ve been busting my ass off lately, traveling here and there, planes and trains and cars and busses and what not. I really need some time off, sunny days filled with good food and drink, walkies with Sammy, dosing off in front of our new favourite series- Hotel Beau Séjour- and painting around the house. I’m finally selling after the holidays and I need all the help I can get from a fresh coat of paint and newly washed windows. I was about to write “if you feel like helping out”, but then I realised what I need most is some people detox. Haha! Too much socializing in my line of work, they end up eating you alive!
Christmas is a difficult time for many people, myself included. All this focus on family, the being on your best behaviour and the “look how successfully we’re wrapping up the year” makes me feel pretty exhausted. I feel much closer to many of my friends than to some of my blood relatives. As for the in laws, I’ve never been a mother-in-law’s dream, God knows why, and this time is no different. haha! Continue reading
These last two weeks have been full of good food and visitors. Although I´m still waiting to get paid and consequently I could have eaten the case officer alive, I´ve done my best to be a good host and enjoy the company of friends and family. First my cousin came from Romania with a couple of her friends and stayed for a night and then went on an adventure in the Southern and Western Norway, climbing mountains and getting engaged (the friends, not the cousin). 😉 Continue reading
Being at home for a few days at the beginning of January was so soothing! It´s a wonder how family and close friends have the power to get you on the right track again, help you pull yourself together. 😉 I already wrote a couple of entries on the trip, but now I got the pictures to go with the story and it´ll be easier to see what I mean. 🙂
Just look at us, three generations of beautiful and strong women! 😉 Every time I speak to this little lady here I feel my chest swell with so much love, it´s amazing I don´t choke! She´s that special, the little rascal! 😉 So funny, too! She makes me laugh so hard I start hiccuping!
“Hi, how are you? I´m fine!”
“Hi, sweetheart! I´m good, too!”
“Who are you with? I´m with my baby doll!”
It´s refreshing to be back in Bucharest, where most of my family and friends live, I let myself be dragged into its moist grip, I venture in it like in the arms of a lover.
As I do it, I´m trying to get a grasp of myself in the mirrors of the city. I sometimes catch a glimpse of my old self, familiar gestures go through me with the violence of an ambush. I go to the same places and although they smell the same, they bring me in a slight state of faint.