Archive for the ‘English posts’ Category

It was just a year ago that we were in the same situation.Having to leave all the people that we got to care about in Czech Republic and starting from scratch back home. Even harder I might say since our project lasted one year and  we got really close to our colleagues. This is what I love and hate about these volunteering projects. You get the chance to meet wonderful people but you have to be aware that at one point you’ll have to say goodbye and in some cases never meet them again. I still remember our group hug in front of Pan Razkas house, with our car filled with souveniers and second hand cute clothes, all the Bunkr team crying at our party a few nights before… Tonight we were on the other side of the story. Our volunteers for which we offered to be mentors and help them during their project in Cluj are leaving. Moxi’s volunteers, Marco and Adrian already left and we tried to be all funny and smiling in the train station while Adrian was heading to Bucharest, and we thank the other train travelers who joined us in the waving and funky dancing process:) After that we went for a last quick panoramic view of Cluj at night near Belvedere and then for me and Moxi started a long walk home. In two hours Sophie will be heading to the airport and then tomorrow at noon Johanne will say goodbye. I remember around 5 months ago when I knew I will be a mentor for 2 of them, asking about their names, their background, hoping that they will like Cluj, Romania, their project,me:)… They turned out to be very enthusiastic, very mature for their age (Sophie, I still feel old compared to you:)) but at the same time very willing to try new things and to learn all sort of crafts (Johanne deserves an award for all the kniting she did). Girls, I’m really happy I had the chance to meet you and I hope we will see each other soon(in two hours most probably:)

You can read more about the volunteers from Centrul de Voluntariat Cluj-Napoca who organized the National Volunteering Week during their EVS project „123 Days” on their own blog: http://inclujon.wordpress.com and find out more about their activities or see interesting pictures with their projects on Centrul de Voluntariat Cluj Napoca’s Facebook page.


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Last night Moxi picked another great movie to watch. “Machine Gun Preacher” tells the real story of an ex drug addicted person, Sam Childers, who with the help of his wife and daughter discovers God and decides to change his life. Sam hears about the problems Sudan is confronted with and he wants to help the children from that area. Until this point I really liked the movie and the way Sam was trying to make a difference. From here on, he gets involved in the vicious circle of killing people in order ho save people and he even ends up killing children from the rebels side. I understood the good cause..but you cannot ask for peace while you shoot the others. At first he was building and orpahange and a church, he was the favourite play partner for the children..and then he wants to do more and more and he ends up being violent and lonely…focusing on things that are too big for his capacity. The movie made me think about how little we are in contrast with the problems these people need a solution to. And it made me realize it’s best to act on a local level. We cannot be saviours of all the people in need this planet has. But if we help a few children to gain a better future, it’s the best thing in the world.At the end I was also left with a bitter sweet taste. In the last minutes the show photos and footage of the real White preacher..Sam Childers. He’s a classic motor bike rider who one day decided to play God. And he ended with the question : If your child would be kidnapped..and I told you I could bring it back to you..would you care how I did it? On a personal level we would all say..No. But this is just the vicious circle I was talking about. In order to save the children he considered on the good side..he ends up killing “the bad ones”. All this “God action” was happening while his own daugheter was left behind in the States and raised without her father. The lessons were good…but I think it’s dangerous when people do bad things in the mane of justice…their own concept of justice.

The real Sam Childers

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Oh boy this was a long day. .. I came home from my meeting with the EVS volunteers at 17.45. Why do I know the exact hour you ask? Because in front of the elevator was Moxi, rushing to his car and asking me how much money I have in cash. Why? Oh we have to rewind the events a bit. When we moved in this apartment, I saw that we had no bills for electricity. I went at the office of Electrica and asked how much do I have to pay. They said the owners are paying the bills (they live in another city) and we have nothing to worry about. I repeatedly asked the owners to move the bill payments again in Cluj so that I can take care of it but they assured me they have no problems in paying it. Until today…when they called at 17.40 and told us they forgot to do it and we had to pay the bill for electricity…or else on Monday they would cut it off. I remembered it costs a few hundred Ron’s to reinstall the electricity and we ran like crazy to get to the main office before they closed…at 18.00. The only problem was that the bill was for 170 Ron..and we had 70 Ron..cash. We had cards but we were not sure if we could pay with them and the ATM’s were not in our area of driving. So…trusting the kind hearts of the Romanians, but reluctant that anyone would believe my story..I went into the first clothing shop I found and begged for 100 Ron. As I was talking really fast explaining to the sales lady that I need 100 Ron and I would pay her back in half an hour, that they would cut my electricity..that I would leave her my ID and my phone as a guarantee I realised that if I would be in her shoes it would be hard for me to believe this story:)) Fortunately..she was far more understanding and she lend me the money. We had 10 more minutes left to get to the office and all the cars and buses that could get in our way..did:) Finally we arrived there, I ran inside while Moxi was parking the car…and realised the bill was 10 lei more that what we had in cash. The good news is that we could pay also with the credit card so all my begging and freaking out was useless. The bad news is that the lady working at the Electrica office is as sweet as a lemon.But I;m happy that I discovered nice people who are willing to help a stranger in need. Thank you anonymous lady from the clothes store!!! You are my hero of the day:)

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Maya Angelou

She’s 83. And she’s not slowing down. She still writes books, poems, music…and she’s full of energy. I was simply amazed by her presence when I saw an interview with her. She and her brother were sent after their parents divorce to live with their grandparents. They were only around 6 and 8 years old and they were sent alone on a bus without adult supervision and just with nametags stiched to their clothes. She was raped at age seven by her mother’s boyfriend and suffered severe emotional shock and refuse to speak for six years.

When the United Nations were founded in 1945 in San Francisco, she was 17. She heard that people working there as translators were paid 150 dollars per week. But she was an uneducated, black, pregnant girl who was discriminated and denied even entry in that building. That was a turning point in her life. She learned five languages(French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti) and became a successful poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist. She toured around Europe with a production of opera she wrote, worked in Cairo as a translator, activated in Ghana, collaborated with Martin Luther King. 50 years after the moment she was standing crying in front of their headquarters in San Francisco, the UN asked her to write a poem about the world and read it in front of the heads of states that were gathering at San Francisco.

She’s Maya Angelou…and her story is amazing and full of inspiration.

”…talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it.”

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My book jar:)

I think for everyone who knows me just a little bit comes as no shock the fact that I like books. Since my mom thought me how to read..yes..not my teacher..my mom thought me how to read, write and calculate stuff (because in my class you had to already know this kinda stuff before the old lady actually bothered to teach it to you). As I was saying..I always enjoyed reading. In fact, my dad was so fed up with buying me books (for children..so they were honestly only a few pages)..he decided to convince the librarian to get me a library card. Oh, but the library was in the other side of the city and I had to walk for about 40 min( I was still a toddler..now I could do it in 20 min..and they moved it closer:). So I was going to the library 2 or 3 times a week and the lady there kept asking me to make a resume of the books just so she would be convinced I was actually reading them.

I realize this post seems like I’m bragging but hey…women usually brag about the shoes they buy, the new make-up they just tried and it looks fabulous..I don’t really have the chance or desire of becoming one of those women so let me talk about my books and stop judging:). So around high-school I started saving money for this complete operas of Shakespeare book..which I saw here in Cluj. And on my second visit here I bought it. I had no idea it was written in this old English and it even has a dictionary at the end(just so you see how hard it is to understand something from it). I bought it and I have to admit I’m still struggling to read it(it’s basically Chinese that sounds like English). But actually it was before I even started high-school that my madness was affecting my budget. I remember one year I had around 200 Ron(which was a lot in those days), and I spent it all on two books I really wanted. One of my teachers had to come with me when I confessed it to my dad because I was scared to tell him how much I spent on books.

So..here I am..in my twenties, non-smoker, coca-cola drinker, nonalcoholic..a bookaholic. And since I realize that buying all the books in the world is not going to help me..I don’t have the space for them..I decided to make a plan. I made a list with the books I really really want..of course I’m adding titles in my head as we speak..and I created a special fund for them.And a special jar for that special fund. So..it’s a “book jar” were I will add a fix sum each week, plus every time I think about buying junk food or cola, or some cute t-shirt and I resist the temptation…I add a part of the money to the jar. I’m not gonna wander around starving and with dirty clothes:)..but I am gonna think twice if I rather eat French fries or buy the first book on my list. Until now (it’s only my first week)..the book wins:).

I only had Christmas wrapping paper and bow..so it will feel like Christmas every time I buy a book from my jar:)

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I was reading something about Winston Churchill these days. Don’t worry…this post is not ment to be a history lesson. I just remember something that draw my attention. It is still a disputed thing whether Churchill had a stutter or a fear to speak in public at the beginning of his career. Maybe that’s why his speeches were short… but meaningful. In 1936 he was invited to speak at the Cambridge University and thousands of people, students and teachers were waiting for his speech. It was one of the shortest he held: “Succes comes when you are going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. Don’t lose your enthusiasm. Ever!”…and then he left.

If you had to choose just a phrase to motivate and inspire others…what would that be?

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Famous Photos

Well sometimes it’s good when the website you’re working has problems. You have time to browse around the internet and find interesting things. I found a website with many great famous photos (HERE)  and decided to show you a few. They are presented randomly because it’s impossible to make a top from this shocking moments.

1). Stanley Forman shot the picture of a young woman, Diana Bryant, and a very young girl, Tiare Jones when they fell helplessly from their apartment while trying to escape a fire. Diana Bryant was pronounced dead at the scene. The young girl lived. The picture won a Pulitzer Award and paved the way for Boston and other states to mandate tougher fire safety codes.

2). Tank Man, or the Unknown Rebel, is the nickname of an anonymous man who stood in front of a column of Chinese Type 59 tanks the morning after the Chinese military forcibly removed protestors from in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989.

3). This is an afghan girl picture shot by National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry. Sharbat Gula was one of the students in an informal school within the refugee camp. She was approximately 12 years old at the time. She made it on the cover of National Geographic next year, and her identity was discovered in 1992.

4). Picture of segregated water fountains in North Carolina taken by Elliott Erwitt in 1950.

5). The photo is the “Pulitzer Prize” winning photo taken in 1994 during the Sudan Famine. The picture depicts stricken child crawling towards an United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away. The vulture is waiting for the child to die so that it can eat him. This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child, including the photographer Kevin Carter who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken. Three months later he committed suicide due to depression.

6). June 11, 1963, Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk from Vietnam, burned himself to death at a busy intersection in downtown Saigon to bring attention to the repressive policies of the Catholic Diem regime that controlled the South Vietnamese government at the time. Buddhist monks asked the regime to lift its ban on flying the traditional Buddhist flag, to grant Buddhism the same rights as Catholicism, to stop detaining Buddhists and to give Buddhist monks and nuns the right to practice and spread their religion. While burning Thich Quang Duc never moved a muscle.

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I wanted for days to make this starter. Good thing I did not decided to make it when we had guests:)). When the lady on her blog posted the recipe and the pictures…I honestly believed in my clumsy mind I could do it also. So…it was supposed to look like a house..you can find the recipe here http://torturilelissei.blogspot.com/2009/09/aperitiv-casuta.html

For me..the hard part(baking the structure) was quite easy..and the easy part…it was messy. I realised now I used the wrong kind of cheese for the outside(too liquid)..but I have no excuse. My house turned somewhere around the middle of my project into a very squicky-old-Rabla kind car. I don;t think I will try the recipe again..it’s too much cheese even for my taste…and let’s face it..my skills of spreading cheese and making it look like a house are not fully developed yet.

This is what it should have looked like:

And this is my little failed experiment:))))  Oh God..I’m gonna go try and make it a bit prettier:)))

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