It’s late in the evening, I’ve packed my bags, stuffed them with gifts and goodies for big and small and can’t wait to head home tomorrow. I say home, although we’ll be staying in an airbnb in Bucharest and not at my parents’ house in Craiova, because home is where your heart is and mine is in Bucharest.
As you might remember, grandma passed away last November and I’ve been missing her ever since. It’s not that I saw her that often, but I liked to know she was always there. For the past 18 years I made plans to stay with her for a week and learn how to make green walnuts jam, biscuits and cheese pie, but I never got around to do it. She lived in the countryside, she only got a toilet 5-10 years ago, the summers were too hot and the winters too cold and so on. Excuses, excuses. And now she’s no more.
Artichoke has been my favourite coffeeshop in Bucharest for a couple of years now. I love its Berlin-like atmosphere, its tasty coffee, its young staff and their generous approach to fucking up- a couple of sodas on the house go a long way in my book! 😉
I’m home for a long weekend for my birthday with my good friend Kristin and I couldn’t have asked for a better present! We’re back in time for a couple of days, wandering around in summer dresses, sipping rosé on sidewalk cafés, venturing into all the pretty churches, eating pretzels and buying books, talking about everything that crosses our mind, laughing loudly and soaking up the sun.And it’s so good to be home, my body throbs with fervor, I can barely sleep, I’m that excited! Yesterday I wasn’t even hungry, we’d been walking and walking, lunch was long overdue and I’d only had a pretzel, but there was no time for food, not as long as there were so many more things left to see, then dinner came and I had something light, but I still didn’t feel like eating, I only did it because I had to.
I´ve been in court for 4 days and I’m beat. The intensity of the case drained me of what little energy I’d manage to build up and now I’m back to square one. Lying in bed, coffee beside me, listening to the janitor mowing the lawn outside, I can’t help but think how fortunate I am to be a freelancer. I have an entire day to myself and nobody can take that away from me. I don’t have any plans today, originally I was thinking of staying in and writing a bit, but now I decided to take my laptop with me, meet a friend for coffee and hunt for props while in town. And then write for a couple of hours. Continue reading
Good old Bucharest! I hadn’t been home since October, I was planning a trip in February, but then a trial came up and I postponed it, just to get the flue and succumb to it for 3 whole weeks. In the meantime both Diana and my brother got the chicken pox and so in the end I was lucky to stay away, ’cause I can’t remember having had it as a child. In the end we decided to go together for the Protestant Easter, since it’s a bank holiday and we both had some time off.
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.
I read in a traveling blog about a tour with a local guide in Bucharest called Beautiful Decay and ordered one at once. Unfortunately, the tour was not available anymore, but I did manage to rebook it to Alternative Bucharest and got the world’s nicest guide, Mircea, to show me around the lesser known areas of Bucharest with some inside information of historic, architectural and urban character. Street art, murals, hidden gems, dilapidated houses, different ways of building and creative approaches towards social equity for Roma people were a few of the subjects we discussed while walking our boots off around the city center.
There are few things I love more than my mother country in summer. The poppy fields, lounging with bubbles in a beer garden, visiting my grandma in the countryside and eating all kinds of fruit straight from the source, coffee breaks with my friends, dinners with my family, the sweet scent of linden and honeysuckle, children playing in the parks, to name a few.
Most times I come to Bucharest, I make sure I fit a lunch or coffee with Irina, a high school friend, in my “busy” schedule. 😉 It’s so refreshing to meet with someone so different and easy going in the “run, run, run” mentality of Romania, I can’t even begin to tell you. Things seem to be changing a bit though and the younger generation appear more hedonistic than my friends, more set on leisure time and freelancing, just like me.
So we met at Origo, my favourite place, both for the coffee, the people and the shade, where I’d just managed to empty half a cortado in my lap, on the same silk dress a pigeon had “blessed” a day before. Haha! I wasn’t even furious, I felt like a kid with an ice-cream, unable to eat it without smudging all over herself.
I’d asked the guy next to me on the bench if he liked Bucharest, since he spoke English and carried a huge camera, just like me. And he told me yes, it was his second time and he came all the way from Texas. When I told Irina she was like “I can get somebody straying once, but coming back to Bucharest?” Haha! I told her I totally got it, especially if you’re not into sights (like I’m not), and more into people and taking a city’s pulse with a camera on your neck.
We had a lovely elderflower lemonade to go with our pasta and salad lunch and raised the bar with a Prosecco by the end, since it was Friday and we only see each other once a year. 😉
Irina has a 3 year-old boy and we chatted about sleeping and reading routines, I mentioned my Diana one too many times and I might have slipped in Sam, too, even though he’s “just a dog”, since he’s my only kid. 😉
We spoke of other colleagues from high school, how some of them never seem to have time to meet, how others have secluded themselves and others again have just disappeared from the map.
I’m going to visit her at home today, so stay tuned for pictures of what I hear is a lovely garden and “maybe”, if I’m allowed, of a toddler. 😉