St. Augustine, FL USA

If you ask me now who was my favorite teacher in school, the first one that pops out in my head is – the history teacher.IMG_0188.JPG Of course she wasn’t the only one, I got along with all me teachers, liked them all, my mother was one of them after all! And I love my mom, not only as a mother, but as a teacher as well, she is the best, but when it comes to my history teacher it’s different. She build my passion and love for history and legends. Or was it the opposite way? The fact that I love history so much, made me like her too?
Anyway, my point is, that I love history, legends, myths and all these secrets related to actual people that walked on earth or heaven. You may say that they are not related to each other, but for me- they sure are.
So, stating that, my special person made me a surprise and arranged a short trip to the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement and port in the continental United States – St. Augustine, FL.IMG_0181.JPG
What can I say, it was amazing. (And forgive me in advance if I will use this word way too much… 🙂 ). The city is not that far from where we live, it’s like 1.5 hours, but he rented a hotel room, to stay over night, meet some friends, have a good time. Goal achieved !
We checked in at noon, and went to discover the stunning city, that already gave me chills – So much history in just a few square miles….
We started with the fort, On the edge of the ocean, it’s like a big warning sign-be aware! It has the spirit of history, the spirit of the people that lived, fought and died there, for what they believed it was the right thing! It wasn’t a good weather and the right day, but as I understood, the people on the fort organized a whole act with actual soldier in the costumes from that time frame, sitting proudly at their posts.IMG_0184.JPG
Then right on the other side of the road is the rest of the St. Augustine jewelry!
Its like a gap in the middle of the city, where time is not changed! Literally, it’s a square plaza where are still the gift shops and the restaurants that hints to that era, and on the walls of the buildings, are small posters that informs you about this place, with maps, places and personalities.
The first thing that caught my eye was the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse. It is touted as being the oldest wooden school building in the United States, first documented in tax report in 1716. It was weird to me to see it all surrounded in a huge steal chain. Why? IMG_0479.JPGThan I found out that that chain there prevents the building to be blown out by a hurricane. Yes, seams incredible, but that how it is.
Than we went to a gypsy place. You might ask me what is a gypsy store doing there? Well, I’m from a country with a lot of gypsies, and even if there are a lot of rumors about them and from where they are coming from, nobody really knows. I noticed a lot of similarities between them and a mix of Spanish/Latino/indian traditions, and at that time, St Augustine was a colony of the Spanish crown before the British took it over.
Then I had a glimpse of the Pirates of the Caribbean 🙂 not a joke, I saw the Black Pearl… we’ll it may be not really The Pearl, but sure it looked like it. It was a ship from the seventeenth or sixteenth century anchored to the shore. I assume it was from the conquistadors era, when Spanish and some of the European nations where the masters of the ocean to find new lands. The ship gave me chills, it was like a ghost boat that appeared between the new modern boats and yachts next to the shore line.

IMG_0480.JPGAs you can guess already, there were also a lot of Spanish places, food and stores around. Everything made it seem more real and more close to the seventeenth century. An we were getting hungry 🙂 our friends already arrived and met with us, and now we needed to find a good place to eat. Even if in the sixteenth century there were no phones and internet, we used yelp to find a good restaurant in the old St Augustine. It was Catch 27, a place with only a few tables, if I remember well – 6 tables. That shouldn’t tell much about the restaurant, cause the food was out of this world.

It was a great time spent with friends and maybe with some of the ghosts from there that were having fun with the tourists every nights !

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Key west (II)

Even though it’s was a short trip/ vacation in Key West, and mostly doing wedding stuff, there is not enough space here to describe it. I mentioned the first things that got me all excited about the place, but that is far from the only ones, or the best ones!
IMG_0468-1.JPGThe schedule was pretty tight, at least enough for me- the girl that never been to an American-on-the-beach wedding. From where I come from, the guests at the wedding show up at the big wedding party, drink, eat and go home. This one was different. We met with the rest of the guest and family a couple days before the big day on the roof top of the hotel to see the famous sunset. Then the next day we had the rehearsal dinner, where we were announced about a city quest contest. The very next day we started already to complete the commands on the quest sheet. This is the part that I liked the most! Before coming here all I knew was that Key West it’s a very hot touristic point at the moment ( this time of the year), now after that quest, I found out more than I know about my home town :)))
We visited the house of Ernest Hemingway, saw the six towed cat, saw the little White House, the mile zero, the most southern point of US, the headquarters of PanAm airways, Z. Taylor port, the closest Cuban bar to Cuba (90miles)…. And much more fun stuff. Basically, in one day, we discovered the city, that normal people do it in one week :).
I liked also the specific local bars and gift shops. We’ll, of course, in a hot travel destination, what else can they have 🙂 . IMG_0466-0.JPGClose to the house we rented, there was the Bahamas Bob’s bar, or at least this name I remember :))) here I drank the best mojito and the best tornado or hurricane cocktail ( or some sort of wheatear storm thing 🙂 )
Oh, must not forget!!! I was DUI !!! I was driving my bicycle after all these cocktails :)) was pretty amazing ! Not the DUI part, God forbid! The amazing part was the fun, the laughter, the ability of 4 buzzed(cause it’s too harsh to say -drunk) adults, on bicycles with a puppy in the front basket at 1 AM.

Then it came the wedding day. Of course it was perfect! The nice weather, the beach, the cool breeze… the white dress……the white dress… No other words can descrise it better!

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Madame Bijoux in real life?

20140513-001914.jpgI always wondered if movies or real life is one and the same…. Which inspired which?!
As I was sitting in the restaurant one evening, across the bar, there was one lady that caught my eye. She was in her 60’s, I guess. She was wearing a beautiful green dress, that showed her great body ( for her age). The earrings – a bright gold with green little stones, they were hanging down like a chandelier. She didn’t have a necklace, but the golden watch on her right wrist was shining brighter than the sun, that has already set. At her both hands she had at least two rings, golden rings. One had a red stone, as like it was out of its place in all that green and golden aura. There was no ring on the ring finger though… It’s not that it meant something, but later on I was actually thinking about that finger.
So, as I was saying, she got my attention. It’s not cause it was weird or something, it’s because it gave me the feeling of deja vu. Is it because I have seen her before? Did I? Now that I think more about it, I realized that I have seen her before… She comes almost every night, around 5 PM, every time is well dressed. I mean black tie dressed! It’s not like it’s inappropriate, a lot of restaurant’s customers are well dressed, but she, I think she is a little overdressed. Every time wearing a nice dress, nice shoes, jewelry and great hairstyle! Oh, yes, I forgot to mention about her hairstyle : every time she has the hair – perfectly straight and only the ends curled outward, reminding me of the vintage hair styles.
She was alone the whole time she stood there drinking her Petit Syrah red wine, off course testing it before ( every time asking to taste it before she has it). She was chatting a little with the people surrounding her, but not for long, then having a cup of coffee, black, as she was exchanging some words with the bartender, laughing a little on the bartenders “tip me” jokes. And at last, having a water with lemon until she pays the bill. Sometimes she has a light dinner, but I guess today wasn’t the case.
So, I try to figure out why its so deja vu, why I have the feeling that it’s so familiar to me. I have seen here the other nights, but it’s not it! I have this picture in my mind, a sketch of an old lady with a hat and a lot of jewelry sitting at a dining table. From which book is that? I have a good visual memory, but a bad name memory, I guess. I started to look on the web, and it was there – it wasn’t a book, it was a story from the movie “Titanic”. It was the story behind the drawing that Jack had of an old lady called Madame Bijoux- the lady that was waiting for her long lost love….
Is it the same here? That’s where I go back to that ring finger that had no ring….
I wonder – is she the real life Madame Bijoux? Is that one of the last joys of life: getting all dressed up and waiting that one day it may get more interesting than that?

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Key West, FL (I)

Who doesnt Love to travel ? Most of all as an escape from an horrible winter? I had the chance to go in the most popular vacation place in the winter time- Key West, Florida. A bright sun, a great beach and blue ocean, an amazing breeze and a good company – the Key of a great vacation!!
During the month of February in Massachusetts it’s quite cold, but this year was terrible! The real North Pole:) I guess was a late Christmas wish of a kid to extend the winter of a little bit more, so that Santa can come again to his house….. And I love winter, but even for me was too much!
So, back to the main topic – I got an invitation to a wedding in Key West, FL. At first I thought that I won’t know anyone there, and it won’t be that fun… But who can refuse a week in Key West? … And on the other side, it gave me the opportunity to get to know the person I was going with.

20140505-155430.jpgFlorida, here I come !!!!
I had to do some packing and that was it!! It’s really hard to pack for summer when you are in winter… It was like I’ve forgot how warm or hot is summer… The weather forecast didn’t tell me much.. How to remember how hot is 80* when it’s been 20* for so long?!
Anyway, as I arrived in Orlando, I still had to go shopping. Yey!!!!!

Key West.

Everyone told me that the Keys are really nice, but as I got there I realized that they were wrong!!!! It was AMAZING !
It was my first in an exotic city/town, and I’m sure that it had its part in that AMAZING, but it was really gorgeous – perfect!
20140505-154348.jpgThe sun was right in the middle of the sky, shining like there is no tomorrow, the light breeze brought the beach and ocean a step closer to us, and the palm trees… Oh, the palm trees…. They really had coconut !! The more we got in to the city, the more the child inside me cried: coconut, coconut… ( and I don’t even like them so much)
After we settled in the little house we rented, we went to get more familiar with the city. We had a few hours until the dinner at the roof top of the hotel, with the wedding guests, so we walked around on the streets of Key West. They have small streets, fully packed with little souvenir shops and bars for different parts of the world: France, Cuba, Italy, Mexico. I will try to get more detailed about the specific and amazing things that key west is famous for in the next post, right now I will try to describe if I’ll can, the most perfect sunset that I have seen – on the roof top hotel .
It was like the sun was sinking in the ocean, splashing all over the sky red, orange and purple paint. My boyfriend told me that this is one of the things that Key West was famous for. This wasn’t just perfect, it was out of this world. While the ocean hugs the sun, your special person hugs you!

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Moldova-amazing land! Is it?

I was born in Moldova. And no matter what, I am proud to be from around here. But sometimes its just to much to handle….. That’s why I thought to start a series of shorts stories about the real life in my country.
Life’s hard, as my boss says to me all the time. These days I ” had the honor” to go in a district hospital, to meet with a few doctors from there. The condition that my mother has, forced her to make an appointment with the doctor, in order to figure out what to do further. We came in the big city, thinking that the doctors here have at least a small idea of how a patient should be treated. Yeah right! They had a quick look, and sent her back to the district hospital, saying that they don’t treat patients with this kind of condition, its a simple thing, so it can be treated in a district hospital. That’s it! No diagnostic, no analyzes, no nothing! Oh, yes, I forgot – a simple look of and “expert” and that’s it. All right, I get it, you must think that its a simple thing, like a rash, or a small infection, or a flu. It isn’t, it’s a surgical thing, at least that’s what the said. When I asked a simple thing like, to recheck, in order to be sure, to take some tissue sample, blood analyzes, the doctor made an angry face, pretending that didn’t understand- answering that she speaks/understand in russian! Seriously?!? Where do you think you are, my dear? Go treat Yeti in the freaking Siberia!
Well, the story doesn’t end here, I am so pissed right now, that probably I would say probably more bad things about her, than I should!
When we got in the district hospital, the surgeon said that the doctors from the city shouldn’t send her here, but if they did, she has to stay there, for a treatment. Stay where? Have he seen the conditions that the patients must live in? I would’t resist there a day, nevertheless a week. The rooms were for six patients, its ok, considering that there are not more than three or four patients in a room. The sheets ( in a surgical section!!) are yellow-ish, not because they like the color, but simply because the haven’t washed it for years. The smell there is unbearable, not because of the medicines or chemicals used for cleaning, but because they don’t clean at all! With the toilets, oh, I am even gonna go there, the picture says it all. And the funny thing is that on the door of each room, they have a cleaning and disinfection schedule. You think its not funny? Here comes the funny part- the cleaning its every 2 hours with three types of methods. I wonder when they do it, or maybe the fairies do it, with the invisible dust. Moldova- amazing land!

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Home Alone (II)

home sweet home
In order to be Home Alone 2, it hat to be Home Alone 1 first. Well, it was, three years ago, when my parents had a two week vacation in Italy – to visit my brother. Back then I didn’t put it here.

Now, they are in a great vacation visiting my sister – in USA, MA. God, I wish I could be there right now! They are with my sweet liitle goddoughter- my niece, participating at her baptism, having a great after church dinner… and the list can go on and on. More over I wanted to be with them, as this was their forst flight that long, with a connection flight in Vienna. I wanted to be with them during this amazing experience. Well, maby next time! I really hope that they will enjoy this trip, in order to understant why everyone loves USA! 🙂 and, as I heard from my sister, my father really like it! My father – the one that always says that nothing is better than his garden, his house, his country – his “home sweet home”!

Comming back to my Home Alone theme, I am staying home to take care of the household ! and it feels great! free time, fruits, healthy and fresh food, sunbath… everything I need right now!

Thats a sweet compensation for not being near the ones I love! Soon that day will come!

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Cheers ! :)

fautor

Well, let’s say that sometimes  I get lucky! At least prizes/ promotion  point of view. Last week I participated in a promotion of a local brand of fine wines and I won a bottle of my favorite kind of wines – Rose! I did’t open it yet, since I plan to give it to my sister for a special occasion – The baptism  of my sweet and first Goddaughter! Only the thought of it makes me smile and fills me with joy! But let’s get back to the promotion.

The promotion was on Facebook – so the only promotional cost was the time spent by the administrator of the page, and knowing the marketing thinking in MD, usually this is equal with zero for the company. It remains the cost of the actual gift –  the bottle of wine – which gives you the opportunity to taste it and it not that much of a cost for the production company (its own product).

The conditions were simple: Register in the promotional contest,  change your FB profile cover with the one with the brand and logo of the company, keep it for at least 10 days, and one bottle of fine wine is yours! Nice and easy!

Today, when I went there to get it, a signed on full A4 page list, that hat a few more beneath. That’s telling me that  the people were actually  involved in this contest.  Why shouldn’t they? The wine is very good, high quality, and its free. More over you don’t have to do anything that complicated, 5 minutes and you’re done!

But, I would add some more to it:

First, I would say that the cover photo is not that good choice. I would go for the profile picture. Yes, probably they thought that nobody would change their profile picture to a strangers one, impersonal. But then again, if they did it with the cover photo, sure the would do it with profile pic.  And the impact would be bigger, as the profile picture is much more often seen than the Cover one.

Second, would make a testimonial for it. When the winners came to get the prize, it should have been some photo shooting to put the pictures on the Fb page, as a proof that this contest was for real, like: “Hey, look how many winners we have! Look how appreciated our wine is !” And let’s face it! People like when they are praised – and a few pics with them on a Fb page, good ones, will make it even better. Who knows, if the pictures are really good, the can place it on the profile , and there we go again – new hidden advertising, and most of all – free!

One thing I know for sure – I liked this small  promotion. It should be more of this kind of  promotions!

Let’s drink to That!

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Noe’s Arch!

It’s official! We live in the tropical region! Or at least this summer we do!  First, the entire month of May was almost full of rainy days and extremely hot sun, then were a couple of weeks of torrid sun, and now again rainy days. I am not complaining, I am not, but two day of non stop rain? Come on! May be its good for the plants, for the landscape, but not for the city!

Before all this interesting weather started, in May, I remember my parents were so eager to have some rainy days, because almost everything was getting dry and dusty. Not that I was bothered by the sunny weather, all previous summers here were like this, but every topic in the village was about it – The dry weather and the lack of the rain.

After that, a few weeks later, two weeks of heavy rain came! It rained so hard, that all the surface soil from the forest come in our garden. Some of my neighbors had their vegetables, from the up hill of the garden, delivered right in front of the door.

Coming back in the city, well wasn’t that much of a big difference: Here wasn’t a climate change, it was a change of the landscape – all the streets were transformed in rivers.

Well, the time passed and the sun came out from the clouds, shining all day long. Isn’t this a hell of an ending for a story? And as it frequently used in the movie world, it needed a sequel. Here it was – an amazing come back of the rivers in our beautiful city! Only this time they’ve decided to meet, and to make a small pound, called the new Chisinau.  And its funny, because just a few days before, I had a drink with a friend from Netherlands, and he explained that, no matter how much its raining out there, in a few seconds all the water disappears. And here an hour of raining the city becomes part of a biblical scene – the only thing that is missing – is the Noe’s Arch. Probably this will be more efficient to build than a good sewerage.

Chisinau, June 2013(3)

Chisinau, June 2013Chisinau, June 2013(2)

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Oh, these exams….

cheating-on-exams_o_1679293Amazing!!

Yesterday were announced the final exams grades, and for the first time (as far as I know) 42% of the high school students failed on it.  This year the Ministry of Education implemented new measures in order to reduce the possibility of cheating on the exams, they placed video recording system in all the exam centers. Well, I am not going to lie, at the beginning I wasn’t a big fan of this measure. I mean, come on you actually think that they will supervise and if necessary re-watch the video recording for each center? This is only a facade, I thought.

Well it actually worked: the students’ weren’t able to cheat, and almost half of them haven’t passed the exams. I guess even if the video recording wouldn’t work, only the thought of being installed, it made students think that they can get caught.  I guess our Ministry of Education was inspired by P. Coleho book, when he gave an amazing example of a gallows in the center of a city just to scare the people in becoming good persons. “It isn’t the desire to abide by the law that makes everyone behave as society requires, but the fear of punishment.”

Well now, guess what? Every politician in the country or so called person of interest in this matter tries to spin this around just to get some attention. Pathetic!!  You see, almost half of the students haven’t passed the exams, its outrageous!! Even if they don’t know s***t, they have to pass it!

Seriously?!  There are countries (like Romania) that each year is like this, and isn’t that much of a tragedy! Here, they ask for the resignation of Ministry of Education (as I saw today a protest of a group of a few people on the street, Russians, but this is another topic)

This is a true reflection of their work and study during these three years of high school! They didn’t passed the exams because they were to busy to stay on FB or other web sites, instead of solving math problems; they were to busy strolling in clubs instead of learning geography; or to busy of practicing anatomy instead of studying it.

Past generations studied hard for their exams! These generations, when you ask them something: Oh please let me check on the internet!  Interesting, when some one of them will become a doctor, during the surgery, will he or she have access to internet in the ER? Or in the future everything is possible just that the students don’t have to bother to pass the exams…

Not all of them are like this- not willing to learn, I admit, but at least 42% of them. Oh wait, 42% of the students haven’t passed the exams this year… well isn’t this amazing!

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Memories…

Well, today wasn’t one of my best days… I had stomach flu, and I couldn’t even get up from my bed. I remembered that once I started to write poetry,when i was sad, or sick…, well, today I couldn’t even say my name, nevertheless to think up some poems. But i found the old notebook with the poems, in romanian, that are more than 8 years old… Hope you’ll like it. ( some are sad, as you figured)

Eu zbor
As vrea sa pot zbura…
Peste clipe, peste ani,
Peste viata-mi
As vrea sa pot zbura!
Aripile se-ntind usor
Sa-mi iau avant
De pe pamant
Ca o pasare spre cer sa zbor!
Sa ajung la stele as vrea
Dusa de vant
De la pamant
Sa culeg deacolo o stea!

Haos

Aud un sunet care ma orbeste
Vad o limina care m-asurzeste,
Simt o raceala care ma frige,
Si in acest haos imi dau seama
Ca viata mea se stinge.

Pune-ti o dorinta

Sunt clipe cand
Ma gandesc ca rostul nostru
E sa fim pamant.
Dar oare acest gand,
Nu ne stopeaza,
Si involuntar devenim pamant?
Ce ar fi de noi
Vom gandi
In fiecare zi
Ca suntem niste nori?
Ce ar fi daca,
Vom gandi
In fiecare zi
Ca suntem apa?
Oare daca vom pune ca scop
Ca peste un timp
Atunci cand dorim
Vom deveni noi foc?
Astfel, doar dorindu-ti
Invata ca poti fi orice, oricine!
Dar atunci cand esti ceea ce vrei,
Nu uita de TINE!

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