Simona- my cousin

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First picture. Simona on her baptism day with a local friend.

Second picture.  Bunch of friends from the Baptist church Simona and her family attended on her older brother, Alin’s eighteenth B-day Party (not in the picture, in fact I do not have a picture of him). Simona and I are in the back, the two youngest kids there:)

In actuality, Simona is my third cousin on my mother’s side. Same as Mirela, but that’s another story for another time.

It was Simona’s father, Ionel, who enticed my parents to move all the way from Moldova to Transylvania, more precisely to the young city of Hunedoara, where a new steel factory just got built and jobs were “falling from the skies” so to speak. Moldova’s economy was in ruin, not sure if much of that changed today, and most of the young people migrated south, west and east all over the country, where jobs were easier to come by. Sergiu was the first-born in Hunedoara, (Alin and I were born in Botosani). My young parents moved to Hunedoara in 1976 and left that town only recently, moving closer to their remaining children in Romania. The move was unexpected and sudden due to my mother’s declining health.

Unlike me, Simona grew up in a much smaller family. Her only sibling was an older brother, Alin. The age and gender gap forced a lonely Simona childhood on Simona. However, during her adolescence that loneliness was well-balanced with a very active social life in the local Baptist church she attended. There she began her singing career and her lovely voice is also passed down to her one and only daughter.

Both her parents worked which it simply meant a better financial life, overshadowed by the high pressures for academic success. My parents never seemed to have time or interest about our academic success and we surprised ourselves how well we still did in spite of that. Simona’s parents on the other hand were hands on, diligent and persistent. Learning English was one of those academic demands and I was very glad she learned the foreign language, especially after I met Chet. I would take my letters and run all the way to her apartment eager to find out what Chet wrote to me. After words, with a  dreamy expression on our faces, we would lie down on her sofa or sit outside on her enclosed balcony wondering what a married life had to offer to our livers or how different American life was from ours. I would soon found out about both. I knew I was blessed with Chet in my life, and I saw the longing in many of my female friends but I couldn’t do anything about it except share pieces of this unique experience with some of them. Simona and I sure shared some nice times together:) Younger by a couple of year we hung out with each other only when we were allowed by our parents. I had a couple rare and precious sleep overs at her apartment and I loved the quietness, the books she had and the board games we played. Also the food, hmm, she always had good food:)

My first “majorat” as it is called in Romanian, which stands for turning eighteen, the age when you’re considered an adult in Europe, meaning you can drink (which we did not do) it was for Alin, Simona’s older brother-second picture. I was young both in age and mind, naive and gullible. In fact, Simona and I were the youngest two out of everyone there and tried hard to fit in and play along the fun games that were totally foreign to me. I lost a lot and tried to keep up a brave facade but I had a wonderful time that evening. The Christian parties of that time were very safe and had such an innocence to the whole experience, something I appreciated both then and later on in life.

Well, my little cuz (short for cousin) was a fresh breath of air for me, and I do remember one of my best friends having a crush on her, something that brought a touch of jealousy in my heart at the time:)))))

While in a three-day fever unconscious state, between the ages of 10-13 years old (can’t remember exactly), I do remember in one of my brief waking moments, Simona’s mother, miss Ghinuta, sitting with my mother by my bed side holding a bag of apples, apples she brought along for us. I always preferred fruits over deserts. I opened my eyes and they were talking to each other only to slip back into darkness for another twenty hours. Miss Ghinuta and her husband Ionel were always nice to me. Alin too, even though her liked to tease us any chance he got. At least his sense of humor was not dangerous and painful:)

Simona, if you read this, and I hope you will, I miss you and I look forward one day to see you and catch up on life:))))))

Thank you God for my cuz:)

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:)

FLAVIUS the Brave

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Born the seventh in the family, Flesh (nickname) falls in the team of the brunettes along side myself, Alin, Iosif, Alex and Oana. The blond team is made of Sergiu, Marius, Delia, Tibi, Iulian and Fanu.

Flavius was a cute boy, with great dimples in every smile, energetic and full of humor. His adolescence was filled with great humor and lots of energy, hiding a boy that got frequently panicked and stomach pains from the stress of the abuse.

His last year of high-school he left for Germany and lived with my brother Sergiu a few months, and together with Leo responded to a local newspaper add that were looking for soccer players. They both got in and quickly Flesh became the star player of the entire team with great professional prospects. Leo, who was interested only in the snacks provided after words got kicked out. The only thing standing in the way of fame and fortune was the paperwork. At the time Germany’s borders were not so open like today and the paperwork stopped Flesh’s progress forcing him to return back to Romania. After finishing high school he moved with Alin in Arad. There he finished four years of collage in engineering. He met his wife, Adina in Ilia, while in collage and got married after he graduated then together they settled down in Timisoara. Together they have one daughter.

Adina works in the marketing/ computer field and Flesh is a radio host/presenter at a Christian Radio Station in Timisoara, rve.timisoara, and very involved in the local church they attend.

The past five years a big shadow of health challenges have put a lot of stress on his shoulders and he spend more days in emergency than all of his siblings put together. He’s had operations and multiple tests. In the end there’s still no diagnosis. But stress in general is an enemy of his, weakening his immune system.

Lately he’s been feeling well, but I think he has to watch his diet and stress level constantly.

Our potentially famous soccer player has a very domestic life in the church and his radio work:) He also had to forgive a lot but life is good and we’re moving on:)

I’m glad when I hear his health is good and I’m looking forward to see what their future will bring along:)