I salute you! Read and you'll know what I'm talking about.

When I was a young girl, I thought my parents to be utterly mean for hiding sweets from us. Back then, during the communism era, sweets (or any other material goods for that matter) were rare treasures. Anyone that grew up in a large (or medium, semi-large, somewhat medium, okay even small ones) family knew that sweets, even sugar was something good that happened to you maybe once a year if you were good. (the translation of the word good in this context means if the communist party felt generous enough to allow sweets in the store for longer then ten seconds twice a year, and if they were really generous give one orange per child at Christmas time- which I remember that to have happened two times in nineteen years). For many years during my childhood those were the only times I ate oranges, or to be more specific, one small slice.

Now lets fast forward few years. I find myself not only fully understanding my parents but following in their foot steps as I too hide favorite sweets from the three black holes my grown children seem to posses when it comes to deserts. It’s also the only cleaning they ever do without being asked.

Last night I made another berry cobbler but had none before bed time.(Menopause gives hot flashes when sugar is involved, yes, I’m there and I feel like the world is about to end). This morning I woke up smiling and thinking of that wonderful berry cobbler I made and how good was going to taste with a cup of tea. Instead of cobbler I was greeted by an empty, dirty, pie dish and I remembered yet again why my parents hid sweets from us.

Your family never did that to you? Are you sure? Maybe you haven’t found their hiding spot but believe me, they hid nice chocolates, or candy, pieces of cake or other such things like alcohol, waiting for you to go to bed so they can find a little joy in one glass or two.

Well for those of you who had parents that hid sweets and for those of you who are now hiding pieces of cake or other such goodies from your prodigies, I salute you! Cheers and try not to loose your head before the wonderful Christmas Day;)

God Bless:)

Fanu the Powerful

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1991-2002

Death comes to us all, how you greeted makes all the difference.

Fanu, short for Stefan, was the last Damean son, and number eleven in the long line of siblings. He entered this world in December 1991 and left it far too early.

Fanu had a generally calm personality, loved playing with his small cars, usually with his brother Alex, and loved to dream together about their future. Soccer was another game he practiced often in the dusty apartment courtyard of a gray and small town full of factory workers’ children. Life, as he knew it, was satisfactory even if at times shadowed by his father’s angry episodes. Fanu was still at an age where that meant little, just another day in his life, unaware of the grievances abuse brings once you understand what’s happening. In that regard he was spared.

A very competitive character, with a very giving nature, always making big plans of charitable gestures towards someone he loved or was in need. Unfortunately, we’ll never know what his life would’ve been like, but in a way he’s free of pain and sorrow now.

In the spring of 2002 (February) Fanu began having splitting headaches with a tremendous amount of pain around his left temporal area and began isolating himself in dark corners of the apartment. My mother took him to the local clinic where, without a proper examination, was prescribed some medication. It did not work. His fever became alarmingly high while the pain persisted and my mom took him to the local hospital. He was admitted for two weeks getting a daily dose of antibiotics (ampicillin) shots. He then was discharged but a few weeks later (March) when his fever and pain returned with a vengeance my mom and Delia took him to the emergency. Instead of admitting him the doctor in charge sent them to the contagious diseases hospital in Hunedoara. There they had to wait quit a bit, despite the fact that Fanu, now lying on a hospital bed in the waiting room, was crying complaining of intense pain on his left temporal zone. Upon examination the doctor discovered a partial facial paralysis on his left, and sent them immediately to a hospital in Timisoara specializing in contagious diseases and also known to be a good hospital. He was moved back and forth between couple hospitals (intensive care, neurology, contagious diseases) in Timisoara and misdiagnosed quite a bit. From being able to take small walks in the hospital’s court-yard anytime Alin visited, within weeks he became completely paralyzed, unable to eat solids while constantly on IV. The next time Fanu came back home, he was resting in a coffin.

In Timisoara’s hospitals he waisted away rapidly until May 27th when he died. My mom spent countless hours around the clock by his side, relived temporarily so she could rest by Delia and my brother Alin. By the time I came to see him he shrunk in size and all musculature mass was gone, he was paralyzed and no longer could talk, communicating by writing messages on pieces of paper. He was literally skin and bone and I could see the shape of his heart while beating, lifting a very thin layer of white and dry skin. He was no longer recognizable, only when I looked in his eyes I could see Fanu, the man. The suffering matured him tremendously. The diagnosis was never firmly found, but the whole thing began from a puss matter in his brain who by the end of his life spread all over his body in cancerous masses. Alin got really close to Fanu during that time. A few weeks before dying, no longer able to speak, Fanu managed to let my mother know that he knew he was dying. Grief stricken my mother kept telling him he’ll get better. Fanu insisted and by third time, Fanu asked my mother to open the door, because he wanted to go through. My mom opened his door in his room or the bathroom door.

“Not that one mom, the other one.” He would write while pointing to the ceiling.

“My boy, there’s not a door there, that’s the ceiling.”

“Sure there is, mom. There’s a long staircase with two angles waiting on each side and a closed door/gate right before it. Can you open it, so I can go?” My mother understood then. Her little boy was dying and God was waiting for him. Few days later Alin came relieving my exhausted mother for a well needed night of rest. Fanu died during that night. Upon autopsy, was discovered that Fanu had a very high number of cancerous masses throughout his body. Along his spine alone the Chief of Medical Staff who did the autopsy herself found three different types of cancer. Every organ was affected by cancer. She then asked permission for a brain mass autopsy and the results excluded mono or encephalitis (earlier perceived diagnosis) but his brain matter was full of foreign looking tumors, something she’s never seen before. Samples of cancers cell from along his spine, brain and other organs were sent to France for further study but we’ve never heard anything back. The rest of my siblings were advised to take test relating their lung health, don’t remember specifically the name of the test, just in case. The one that did came back fine.

His funeral was big.

My mom’s grief was immense and she argued with God many days after words. Fanu was a big loss for the entire family, unexpected, fast and deeply painful, however I’m glad that he’s no longer suffering and he’s at peace. To us he’ll always remain powerful for the way he faced it all. He didn’t complain and seemed to want to easy our pain any way he could.

Fanu, we miss you forever!!!!!! And can’t wait to see you, but not yet. Not yet.

P.S Few months later, Alin began having similar symptoms and the whole family was devastated. He went and had an operation in Bucuresti and removed non-cancerous tumor mass from his sphenoid canal the size of the end of a finger, formed due to stress and dust. The surgery was a success:)

Thank you God for our Fanu and the time we had with him. Thank you for allowing him to be with us even if for a small period of time. I’m truly grateful. Thank you for my family:)

 

Alex the Overcomer

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First picture left to right: Fanu and Alex- the two buddies:)

Second picture: Alex and his wife, Mia:)

Born number ten in our family, Alex came into the world only couple months before the 1989 Eastern Block revolution and the fall of communism. He was a happy child:) I do believe between Iulian and Alex my mother lost another baby. Due to the small gap of only one year and a half in age, Alex and Fanu (number eleven) had a very close relationship. The two buddies spent long hours playing with their toy cars, building imaginary adventures and charitable work plans together. Outside, in the courtyard, they stuck together and always picked each other on the same team, either for a game of soccer or tennis. It’s hard talking about Alex’s childhood without mentioning Fanu, since the two were very close. Their friendship was special:) Alex was only 13 years old when his best friend and brother, Fanu, died and he never got the opportunity to say good by to his little brother and best friend. He had a dream soon after and asked Fanu to show him his disection cut, which Fanu did so.

Soon after Fanu’s death my mother moved in Vilcele, full of grief, and left Alex, Oana and Iulian behind in Hunedoara at my father’s mercy who both starved and abused them.

After he graduated from high school, Alex left for Roma, Italy and lived with Delia, while working with Sami, Delia’s husband, in construction. There he gained his first electronic item in the form of a laptop. Back in Hunedoara he tried to go to collage but did not have the means to do so and settled for a job in the factory of electric wiring system from Deva, a city 30 minutes away from Hunedoara; also the same city Nadia Comaneci trained in.

On a Cristian single site “Pom Verde” he met Mia, who had the same last name, Damean. Thinking she was related to us, Alex began a conversation but it turned out she was not related and they began dating. One thing was very important for the both of them, a sign from God showing they were meant to be together and they got it within 24 hours of each other. After the wedding, a wedding I could not attend, Alex moved to Ludos, where Mia was from and worked hard trying to provide, but they lived paycheck to paycheck and Alex’s skills as an electrician only went so far. Mia’s parents lived in Portugal and the newly wedded couple decided to go visit them for a month, but soon Alex found work and they moved to Portugal permanently where they live to this day. It’s been three years already and they still love it in Portugal having lots of fun together any opportunity they get. You should see the pictures of the delicious foods they send us on a regular bases. Alex works mainly as an electrician as well as a maintenance man and Mia does make-up for weddings and special occasions part-time and recently got a job as a waitress.

The two of them sure have so much fun together, always visiting nice parts of Portugal or enjoying a nice evening out. Mia’s father works as a chef in a restaurant and the two of them visit him quite often:) Their lives are simple and full of happiness. I’m so very glad to see that.

Alex protects his small family fiercely from his abusive father and in general does not have much contact with him. He’s chosen to be happy. Good for him:) I applaud that decision. I’ve gotten to know Alex more so in his early twenties and I’m so glad I did. He’s a great guy:)

P.S “Pom Verde” web site was introduced to Iulian and Oana by Alex, where all three met their spouses.

Iulian the Invincible

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First picture left to right: Tibi (worried not to get hit), Fanu, Oana, Alex and Iulian:)

Second picture: Iulian

Third picture: my son Alex who looks so much like Iulian:)

Fourth picture: Iulian and his wife, Cornelia, taken a few days ago:)

Born the ninth in the family, Iulian is a sensitive yet strong soul. No matter how many times life has knocked him down, Iuli (short for Iulian), always gets up and walks right back in the middle of it. He’s a fiercely faithful friend ūüôā He’s also the one that looks just like my father and I know that’s not a compliment for Iuli. My son Alex has lots of Iulian resemblances, and I smile often when I look at Alex. Through him I feel like I have a piece of home:) Iuli’s adolescence, hunted by my farther’s angry outbursts, was not an easy one yet he but remained a very faithful son during that period.

After his high-school graduation in Hunedoara, Iuli moved in Arad with Alin and began collage but was forced to quit in the middle of it, due to Alin’s work transfer into Germany. Once Alin left, there was nothing left for Iuli in Arad so he returned in Hunedoara, where he attended, simultaneously, two collages: one for nursing and ¬†the other for management. He graduated from both, but work was scarce in Hunedoara. Unable to find work in either field he spent a lot of time in Vilcele, where my parents had a house. By now my mom lived there round-the-clock, visiting Hunedoara and her children rarely. School kept my siblings in Hunedoara and summer vacation was spent in Vilcele. With his older siblings gone, some of them married while others working in different cities (as far away from home as they could possibly get), and his mother living in Vilcele, Iuli grew up around our father’s presence around while lacking a mother’s warm embrace. I think he spent a lot of time in Vilcele just to be closer to our mother. There he worked daily, doing hard labor around the house and garden until he met Ionel, and older man and the pastor of the local church, and shoulder to shoulder they worked in constructions where he got to know the man better. Quickly, Ionel became a father figure for Iulian. That’s where Iuli found refuge as he listened to the older man’s good advise regarding a healthy spiritual walk and healing his emotionally wounded soul. Ionel became Iuli’s adoptive father and to this day it remains so. Another refuge for Iuli was Adrian Bandila, a brother figure which brought a healthy balance in a shadowy world.

Through a Christian date line, Iulian met Cornelia, a very sweet and naturally beautiful girl. Cornelia lived in London, England with some of her siblings and worked there as well. Iuli left for England, eventually, where he worked in construction a few years but always kept in touch with Ionel and Adrian. Their wedding in Hunedoara was beautiful and Chet and I had the privilege to attend. After the wedding together they moved back in London where Iuli worked in construction a while but the past two years he’s worked as a medical male nurse in one of London’s hospitals, where he’s still employed.. Cornelia works as a preschool teacher.

The past year, both Iuli and Cornelia have gone through some very hard times, but have managed to pull through. Iuli had a nasty kidney stone that put him in an intense painful state and a couple unsuccessful minor operations. Despite it all, he lived life with great humor but it was clear to us that he was in a lot of pain, non-stop. Cornelia lost a lot as well, but that’s a personal matter and we’ll leave it at that.

I’m so very proud of Iulian, who stood tall in the face of so much pain the past few years. Any other person my have broken under such weight, but not Iuli:) Thank you God for the strength you’ve put in Iulian and I’m looking forward to see what’s in store for his future:)

 

Tibi the Lion

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First picture: Left to Right; Iulian, Leo and Alex.

Second picture; Leo, Denis his little boy and Nicole:)

Leo the Lion, that’s his nickname. Leo is short for lion. It comes from his dense golden hair he was born with, sticking straight up and giving him the look of a lion’s mane. Apparently my mother had to push quite a bit with Leo while in labor, because he loved the warmth of the womb and was in no hurry to come out. To this day I think Leo would much rather relax in front of a nice meal with loved ones than stress over other things.

Born number eight in our family, Tibi is more of an observer with a poetic talent showing great amounts of respect for humanity in general. There’s a touch of diplomatic language in Leo’s vocabulary and he tends to see the positive side of life, despite the abuse he also endured. He too has a fantastic ability to forget the bad stuff and focus on the good side of life, with an ease most people find charming. No wonder Leo and Sergiu ended up living closer to each other, their personalities are so very similar, along with their looks:)

One summer vacation, while in high school, Flesh and Leo went to visit Sergiu where Leo became a goalie, for a short period of time, in the same soccer team Flesh played. Unlike Flesh, Leo was more interested in the produce served after practice than the game itself and found himself kicked off the team soon after.

Right after high school, back in Hunedoara, he left for Bucuresti attending collage in tourism management. I have to point out one important fact I forgot to mention in the earlier posts: every single one of my siblings who attended collage did so on their own financial efforts, including boarding, food, and other expenses. To this day I wonder how they managed? I know Sergiu paid for two of my brother’s collages, but I can’t remember quite well which two. I also know that Sergiu helped out my brother’s with pocket money, Alin helped with housing and food and I helped with money now and then, focusing mostly on my parents ¬†for many years. I helped my brothers far more once they were married. Okay, back to our story:)

After collage, moved by love Leo moved in Oltenia where he learned “that women were dangerous.” Next he came back home where he was met with a cold shoulder by my father which pushed him to find work and move to Timisoara. There he worked in a few places, mostly as a waiter, and according to Chet, whom in one of his visits to Timisoara ate at the same restaurant Leo worked in, he was the best and most polished waiter Chet encountered.

Leo met Nicole, his wife, while she worked as a waitress in another cafe and after few years of courting they married. Right after the wedding they left Romania and moved in with Sergiu and Brigitte, who just bought a house in Berlin, Germany. Sergiu helped them with the paperwork process, making their stay legal. He also provided Leo with a job in the same company Sergiu is the COO. A year later they moved out on their own and had a little boy, bringing us to date. They’re planing on expending their family soon and I can’t wait to see what else lies in their future.

In our family Leo is known for his great poetic gift, and he writes poems with great talent. Hopefully soon he can publish his own book of poems or Leo and I can collaborate on a book together. That would be fantastic:)

P.S Leo speaks 2 1/5 languages:) Romanian, English and half of German thus far:)

Joseph the Strong

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First picture is of Joseph around one years old.

Second picture is of Joseph and Flavius.

Third picture is of Joseph and his wife Dana, this year:)

This particular blog is going to be emotionally very hard for me and you’ll find out soon why.

Between Delia and Joseph my mom lost another boy. He lived only five minutes after delivery due to heart complications.

Born the sixth child, I had a particular fondness for Joseph due to his sweet and humble nature. He did his very best not to cause problems into an already tumultuous environment and kept very quiet and out-of-the-way, often going without food until I would arrive from school around 2 pm. I would ask him if he ate and with the sweetest tone he would responded:

“No.”

“How come?”

“I didn’t want to bother mom.”

By now, due to the tole the pregnancies and the abuse from her husband took on her, my mother was very distant and moody. Thus, Joseph became my child and he started calling me “mommy” which made my heart radiate with love. I had a fearsome protective instinct over Joseph that pushed me into action.¬†In my own way, I stood up for my younger siblings including my mother, in an effort to protect them. I felt responsible somehow for their safety. I was not 100% successful but something snapped in me one particular afternoon while on my way back from school. I was around twelve-years-old and Joseph around four-years old. I heard his painful cries all the way from the court yard; since¬†it was warm outside the windows were open. The distance between me and him has never been as long as that particular day while I ran up the stairs and into the hallway of our apartment, where little Joseph had shrunk into a fetal position protecting his head with his little arms while my father hit him violently. Like a lioness seeing her cub in danger, and without hesitation, I ran between them covering his little body with mine, taking the hits for him. Shocked my father stopped-¬†he had a weakness for his girls- and began yelling insults at me. I stood and faced him, chest high, gaze fixed into his with great determination refusing to move. I saw my father hesitate. Silently I was screaming at him: “Over my dead body.” Joseph was my child and suddenly my father became my enemy. I was determined to protect what was mine, no matter how big the enemy in front of me seemed. Even his slaps over my face and head or his crude insults didn’t make me flinch once as I turned my fixed gaze back at him, not one tear found in my eyes, simultaneously protecting Joseph behind me. Long enough I’ve witnessed this abuse without doing something about it. Long enough. From that day on a verbal war began between my father and I. For my remaining years in Romania I was the middle man in many circumstances. Also, from that day on all the twigs my father picked on his way home from work I secretly broke and got rid of.

It broke my heart when I had to leave Romania, after I married and today I just realized, leaving Joseph exposed and unprotected was a huge reason why. I felt secretly guilty about that for years.

Once gone, I heard Joseph and¬†my younger brothers’s abuse doubled. Like I previously wrote, Marius had a very hard¬†time through adolescence. I guess its as the saying goes: “Monkey see, monkey do.” Once that phase passed, Marius changed.

Joseph didn’t find refuge from the abuse until he entered college¬†in Arad. I believe for a period of time he lived with Alin,¬†who also went to collage, graduated and worked in Arad for many years before moving to Germany. Iosif also found refuge in the home of a young Christian family who sort of adopted him and cared for him greatly. Dana, who later on became his wife was the lady’s younger sister and that’s how they met:)

Joseph graduated college as an¬†engineer and now works in a company run by his brother-in-law. Dana and Joseph have three fantastic children, one of them looks exactly like him. He’s involved in church ministry working with kids and even though it took him around five or six years, he built their home brick¬†by brick, spending hundreds of hours in rain, cold and hot weather to finish. He pretty much built that house all by himself and they moved in it this year:)

With the exception of Alin, all my brother were and still are avid soccer lovers, spending many hours in the dust and confined apartment court yard playing.

Life was not easy for Joseph but God sure blessed him,¬†just like he blessed the rest of us.¬† I thank God for taking care of him when I could not. He was always God’s child above mine and God took and is still taking good care of Joseph.

I could call him Joseph the Builder, but I think I’ll call him Joseph the Strong.

Marius

Marius the Minister

Due to the age gap between us, I haven’t been too close to Marius in his youth and adolescent times, something I regret. I’ve gotten to know Marius better after we both got married.

Born the forth, Marius was abused the longest. To this day my father does not seem too fond of him. The reasons are personal. But what blew my mind and impressed me greatly, was how much Marius had to forgive. He’s forgiven a lot. In the face of violent verbal and at times physical abuse that continued right after he married, Marius’s attitude was that of calm. To this day I’m impressed with his cool collected way of trying to put a fire out. He became a fantastic negotiator pushed, I presume, by the circumstances of his life. He has class and is very successful in his negotiations. Mom lost a boy between Sergiu and Marius and the gap forced a sort of loneliness in Marius’s life. He found refuge in church and soon became very successful as a children’s pastor. That grew into a ministry of itself and soon he moved from overseer in one church, to overseer of the whole city (in the baptist denomination), then overseer in the entire county. He spent many hours helping the poorest of children, street children and gypsy kids. He met Veronica, his wife in the ministry field and together they have five children.

Unlike the poor fatherly example he’d experienced back home, Marius is a great father and invests a lot of time and money into his children’s education. His eldest, Maria, only 15 years old speaks three languages (German, English and Romanian) and his kids are A students- at lest the ones that go to school:) Few years back they moved to Austria, where they currently live and Marius just began selling his own line of organic honey.

I’m very proud of him and his beautiful life:)

P.S. Alin speaks three languages as well and Sergiu speaks two.

Sergiu

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Sergiu the Resilient

In our childhood, Sergiu made us laugh constantly, thus one of his nick name, “The Joker.” But to me he’s more “The Resilient”. We sat all bruised and hurt after another one of our father’s angry episodes, but Sergiu found a way to always make us laugh bringing such light in a dark world, even if it had to be whispered.

Out of all twelve siblings, Sergiu was the third and abused the most, in a very hateful manner. But looking into his face now you would never know it. He has the most positive and forgiving nature, bouncing right back with such ease it amazed me. I asked him one day how he could do that. He shrugged his shoulders then responded:

“I just don’t think about it. I think of the things I want to do and do them even if I get in trouble. I’ll get in trouble no matter what, I may as well do what I want. It’s worth it.” To him exploring and having adventures was worth the pain he knew he would endure later on. In a way it prepared him for the tough life ahead. He ran illegally into Germany right after the revolution, got caught and sent back to more abuse only to try again. And he succeeded. He entered Germany with the clothes on his back and a small Bible, worked very hard and now he’s the COO of a multi-million dollar company in Berlin, married to Brigitte, a pure breed¬†German girl and together they have one daughter Michelle:) He gives orders all day long and works with employees from many nations, has a house and a very nice life. He’s helped my parents and siblings financially for years. Since he had a few dollars in his pocket he always thought of the rest of the family and sent back thousands upon thousands of euros (or deutschmarks back in the time). He is known for his love to surprise you and pulled lots of surprise visits:)

Sergiu, the resilient:)

I remember caroling with Sergiu and Alin, and every house/apartment we entered Sergiu found a way to walk away full handed with something. He stood in those long nightmarish lines Romania and Eastern Europe was known for during socialism/ communism times, usually taking him all night long during Siberian winters temperatures just to get a few loaves of bread or one kilo of milk or half a butter or few eggs or one kilo of sugar or one kilo of oranges, you name it. He also had the wits to push in the front of the line and walk away with something when so many were left only with empty disappointments. (There was never enough food during that time, and just staying in a line for half a day did not promise a happy result). Sergiu had street smarts and gumption. Still does:)

Sergiu, the resilient. I miss him everyday:)

It has begun- Alin the Musician-

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First picture- article in Hunedoara newspaper done on Alin:)

Second picture; Alin and his twin nieces, Oana’s girls:)

Alin around seven years old:)

Alin in one of his stage costume:)

Every year around this time I began to mourn for Fanu, my little ten year old brother who died a while back. His B-day is in December, but fall brings a whiff of Fanu’s memory with it and my heart cries from such precious loss. To divert my sorrows, I think of my other siblings.

I’ll start with Alin:)

ALIN-the Opera Singer

Second in command, he’s a boss in his own way:) A self made man and a brilliant engineer, his work in Germany is appreciated by many. But its his stage performances that define him for who he is. His love for music was know since early ages of his life. He performs on stage all over the world:) Beethoven is his favorite composer. Alin is a ball of mysteries and he loves it that way:) A natural born intellectual it’s a pleasure having a conversation with him on many subjects, but its his direct and honest opinions that puts a smile on my face every time we talk. He has a diplomatic way of telling you the truth about yourself, without the presents of butt kissing, living you hardly confused of his opinion. He’s a sensitive soul and the loss of Fanu (Alin and Fanu had a special connection the rest of us knew about), his heart fractured quite deeply. One day all will be healed.

Alin, makes me laugh in a way no other human being on this entire planet can do and I know Meleah has a special compartment in her heart reserved for uncle Alin. It is a common feeling many share about him.

His love of travel is well know as he often takes advantage of a nice vacation to go visit a new place on this beautiful planet.

Alin and I spent a summer in the hills of Moldova, at our great grandma, where out of boredom we got often in trouble. Come to think of it, it was my sense of adventure that got us in trouble often followed by his threats. One day, we forgot to close the gate and all great grandma’s chickens ran into the corn field. Panicked, ¬†we recruited the help of her neighbor and the town’s well known drunk, but we couldn’t afford to be picky. The poor man, did a fantastic job mumbling instructions to us and after a highly stressful hour or so, we managed to bring back all the chickens. After words, as great grandma came back from the forest carrying a bundle of wood sticks for the evening dinner along side an apron full of freshly picked mushrooms (not my favorite) we acted as everything was well with the world. I’m not sure if the neighbor ever ratted us out, but I’ve never heard a reprimand from my grandma.

Yes, we were quite the pair and Sergiu joined our gang soon after.

Back home I was the cook and Alin was the baker. Boy was he a great baker. He could whip a chec (like a sweet loaf of bread) in no time, but “ciocolata de casa” (homemade chocolate), was and still is his favorite desert. He also loved a piece of bread with tons of butter, and when I say tons I mean tons, and honey. He pretty much lived on that.

I miss Alin every day, but I’m really glad he’s doing so well and one day I’ll get to see him again:)

P.S Alin speaks Romanian, English and German, he also speaks Alin language:)

Next is Sergiu:)

My first hi tops

Back in the 90’s in Romania-1991 to be precise- while in 11th grade, the town was hit- probably an American famous pop singer brought it about- by a new fashion must; white hi tops sneakers.

Like any respectable poor person -not sure what’s respectable about being poor:)- I dreamed of having a pair but lacked the money to purchase such an outrageous item -the cost was two months of a laborer’s paycheck. Food was much higher on the priority list than some silly notion of fashion-I knew, if I asked my parents for a pair, their answers would be along those lines. So I had to take matters in my own hands; after all a poor young girl can only forgo so many earthy pleasures before resenting her social status; and I was way past that level.

After the revolution of 1989, where communism supposedly fell- only to be replaced by the same corrupted politicians wearing hats with different political agendas- my family began receiving packages of clothing and food- a perk for being poor. Most of the clothes were of a “worldly style”, meaning too racey (sexy) for our conservative Christian life style, so I sold them to my classmates who seemed to love such style. (I loved some of those clothes too, but I would’ve been blue and purple if my father caught me wearing them). It was the two gold necklaces that I sold who brought me real dough. I purchased food and my favorite (and only) new pair of shoes as far back as I remembered. I admired those white beauties for a long time, too afraid to get them dirty. Eventually I put them on and walked, chest high, all over town. Yes, I did get a few looks of envy and admiration, which was all so worth it. The first crack -after only 15 minutes of wear- was the most painful rip through my heart. By the time I go home there were big cracks on top. Pieces of fake junk. Bought them directly from a store but that held no guarantee of quality for any client. Well, I felt foolish, sad and still loving those sneakers but soon after, I had to throw them in the trash -a sad day full of mournful thoughts and a plan to learn the difference between real leather and the plastic fakes. I still remember those nice pairs of hi tops -never bought another one- and for a few days I felt as rich as everyone else in town, a feeling well worth all that trouble:)