Carmen the…

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First picture; left to right, me in my second or third grade, clearly uncomfortable:)

Second picture; Chet and I on our wedding day. The malnourishment made me light:)

Third picture; my family as of last week, Chet, Merrill, Alex and Meleah:)

Writing about one self its a bit deceiving; you’re either too biased or too hard on yourself and overall one sided.

I’ve had a few nick-names so its hard to pick just one. Is it Carmen the Dreamer, the Writer, the Fighter, the Captain or the Ice Queen? It’s all of them, I suppose.

Born the first of twelve siblings, my life was both wonderful and hard. My birth wasn’t without its challenges. Shots of Vit. D and Iron for the first year or so, along other health issues somehow gave the doctor the right to pressure my mother into killing me. It wasn’t just my health issues that triggered such a decision but compiled to that it was his deep hatered towards christians. You see, I was a seedling of a very hated group of people in my part of the world at the time and I was not alone. In an atheistic world, being born a Christian was dangerous, and we have the scars to prove it.

A “sensitive soul”, with an over-developed ability or gift of empathy I collected other’s pain in my heart as if my life depended on it. The society’s abuse towards us made sense to me- we were a moral danger to a movement that thrived on egocentricity and cruelty. But our father’s abuse towards us never made sense to me. In times when one must stick with each other in an environment called “home”, meaning “safe”, he became our number one enemy, burning all my ideologies on “safe home” right out of my heart. However, beyond reasons I couldn’t understand and logic I couldn’t explain, except to call it hope, with every rare smile, joke or laughter my father had, a fragile hope seed grew in my heart “maybe he’ll change”. The hope lasted no longer than mere fragments of time until the next wave of darkness took a hold of him. Books, that’s where I found my refuge, not church, society or social interactions. That’s where I could dream freely and imagine the world I wanted to live in. I think I was a bit of a loner, yet with a great deal of charisma.

Being the oldest, I worked constantly skipping on childhood and adolescence all together.

Right after high school, I began working twelve hours shifts, seven days a week at an ice-cream and soda-pop kiosk, very popular at the time. I was very greatful for my $6 a month salary, it was similar to my father’s salary. I was not allowed to go to collage, due to my gender and lack of money, something that made me very bitter at the time.

God to me was just another tyrant figure, unhappy, abusive, not nice at all, yet someone I kept on hearing that somehow “loved me.” I wanted nothing to do with this God but didn’t dare communicate that to my parents. A missionary changed all that. He brought along with him stories of a very powerful and nice God, similar to Jesus in the New Testament (the church loved the mean and angry Old Testament God) and I fell in love for the very first time with God. Willingly, I wanted to have a relationship with this new image of God, not the one in the church. I began a new walk, a happy and light walk with God.

After the 1989 fall of communism revolution in most of the Estern European block, charitable help came into the country in the form of clothes, shoes, and monthly food supplies. “If I ever get rich, I’ll do the same.” A prayer shot up to the heavens from a thankful heart and put in practice soon after.

In 1993 I was rescued by this super handsome and tall young man, Chet, who was part of a missionary team from America. The engagement and wedding was a big source of gossip and wonder. We married on August 15th, in Romania. A very unusual wedding since the bride and groom couldn’t talk to each other:) Leaving Romania and coming to America on October 15th, was one of the most stressful things I lived through. Not because of Chet, my new husband, but everything else: leaving my family, who I no longer could protect, entering a new land with new traditions I din’t understand and no one familiar to communicate with. Halloween was a weird and dark first impression of American holidays, only the small kids dressed in cute costumes brought a smile to my face, all other gore did not. My parents-in-law were a hugeeeeee support during that time.

I had my first born, Merrill, in 1995, followed quickly by my second, Meleah, in 1996 and then our surprise, Alex, in 1993, (I was pregnant with Alex when I flew back to Romania to see Fanu in the hospital, but I did not know I was pregnant). I had a few jobs: babysitting, sells rep at the Gap, preschool teacher, writer, real-estate agent, home design and massage therapist. I’ve never been more fulfilled in my work field, like when I’m writing.

Most of you know that in January of 2014, I fell ill, an illness that almost took my life and I’m still fighting it, getting better each day, with the occasional relapses, which are still far too often than I like to admit.

I’m very happy now, even if in pain most days. Every day I’m greatful to God for allowing me another day on this wonderful planet and among my loved ones. Life is very normal, and calm (I need to keep it calm and stress-free) and mundane but I love it:) Thank you God for my life:)

 

Oana the Baby:)

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Number twelve, Oana is the baby and no matter how tough she presents herself, to us she’ll always remain the baby:) She’s the last one of the clan and my father’s weakness. Oana learned quickly how to work my father and did so without hesitation:) During his “angry episodes” she stayed away and kept quiet, avoiding getting hurt. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for her to see her siblings getting hurt, the way they did. Since early adolescence she became a mother figure in the house (since my mother lived mostly in Vilcele) taking care of the house, cleaning, washing, cooking and baking. She bossed her older brothers around any chance she had, standing up for herself or be left out in the dust. Oana learned at an early age to be tough and speak her mind- loudly:) She also had her older brothers there to protect her, if needed, which was a fantastic advantage.

After high-school Oana worked shorty as a waitress at a local restaurant, then went to Italy/Roma and helped out Delia, who worked long hours as a nurse putting long hours in. Oana took care of Delia’s children, cooked and cleaned. Eventually Delia found her a job taking care of an elderly lady, until she got married.

Oana met Alex, her husband, on the same Christian single site “Pom Verde” as her other brothers did with their spouses. The wedding was in 2014, a wedding I could not attend due to illness. Finding work, after the wedding, in Romania was tough and Alex looked for work outside their country’s borders. Eventually he found a job in Munchen, Germany and heavy hearted left a pregnant wife behind in Romania, seeing each other only through rare visits.

Alin, who lived on hour away, visited Alex when possible and upon seeing the shady neighborhood Alex lived in and the poverty level, Alin made its mission to find Alex another job. Eventually he did find one job in Ulm, Germany, and Alex moved in with Alin, able now to bring Oana there and reunite the family. Six months later they had twin girls, an excellent and positive surprise. You see, on either side of the families, we don’t have twins in the gene. The best moments in Oana’s life was holding her girls in her arms right after delivery and she fell instantly in love with her girls. Alex, who wanted girls over boys, got his girls:) Alin gained a family and young nieces as well:)

Eventually they were able to move into their own apartment and together they have a happy life. Alex works as a trucker and Oana loves being a mother and a housewife. Cooking and baking are her specialities and you can tell by the growing bellies of both her husband and Alin’s, who eats there almost daily:)

When I left, Oana was one year old and I only knew about Oana based on the information I received when I talked on the phone with my family or from the few visits we did to Romania. But I gained a lot of respect once I found out she was pregnant with twins. Somehow I saw that as a special blessing God put in her life. Seeing what a good mother and wife she is makes me a proud big sis and even though we haven’t spent a lot of face to face time together, I’m looking forward to do so in the future:)

What an awesome family I have:)

Thank you God for every singe one of my brother and sister:)

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 🙂 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:)