It's been such a busy week so far that I'd better get it down for you before my mind draws a total blank! It's getting near the end of term - another week and a bit to go, and we're all feeling the toll of the last three months without much of a break, except for weekends, and thank God for those! The tests for end of course are all next week both off-site and on, and I must say that because the term has literally flown by, getting everything done so the students feel confident has been rather stressful this time.
I had lunch with dear Tantza on Wednesday. I must tell you about that. She came dashing out of her flat holding a bunch of nettles. I told her she was mad, she was going to have an awful rash on her hands! No, no, she reassured me - we're going to eat them! So, we did. She cooked them as you would spinach, with creme fraiche and plenty of seasoning, plus a garlic sauce that nearly blew my head off, but how divine it was - crushed garlic, lemon juice, water and a little sugar. You mix that with the nettles and honestly, it's soooo good! She served it proudly with mamaliga (polenta) and we sat talking for ages. She's a real sweetie. I'm very fond of her and could kick Mr. Viagra for upsetting her so often and breaking her heart. His one and only saving grace is that he's marvellous with Rosie, so he'll escape bruised shins at least for the time being.
I took Rosie to Icoanei Park to walk off the delicious lunch, and met Lucia who looked a million dollars - so relaxed and well after her week in Geneva. It was so good to see her. I'd missed her very much.
Mike Groves (the ex-senior teacher who employed me before he left last April) was back in town, so Thursday night I went to the Trafalgar to see him along with Dan, Steve and Penny. Bill arrive just as I was leaving. Mike looked well, full of jokes and daft stories. He'd motorbiked to Bucharest from Timisoara the same day, which I guess tells you what kind of person he is - mad! It was so nice to see him. We were all shattered, but on form. I got home around 11pm and couldn't have stayed out any later as I was due at my first class next morning at 8h30. Just enough time to catch up a bit, have a plate of mici and fries and a glass of wine before getting back for Rosie's last constitutional of the evening.
Thursday lunch time I went for a gorgeous Lebanese with Aura just round the corner from the cave at a restaurant I didn't even know existed. Small and very cosey it was so hard to extricate ourselves from our chairs and such a delicious spread to get back to BC in time. Thursday is my 'black' day - the busiest and most exhausting. This was a lovely welcome break and did me the world of good, like a day away. Lovely to see Aura as always, who's so refreshing and fun.
I saw her again last night along with all the girls, plus Bogdana, Flori's Gaby and a friend of Bogdan's, Vali. We met as Edgar's - noisy and smokey, but nevertheless one of our usual haunts. How good to all be together again - Oana had her smile back thanks to her able dentist, and looked fabulous. Nice to see Lola, too, who's had a lousy month, as well as Aless and Flori of course. I was so pleased that Aura was there to meet everyone, too. She and Flori get along like a house on fire. Just Gaby was missing, and when I say missing, take that to mean how much we miss her. There's such a big hole without her. She's so much a part of our conversations it's like she's here with us. We just can't see her. Got home around 2h and slept til 11h30 this morning. Went outside in my pyjamas to check the weather, inhaled the air ad nearly asphyxiated! One of the fat tomcats in the nighbourhood and been round and sprayed everywhere. What potency! Spent two hours cleaning all round my door and under Mandita's balcony to get rid of the stench. Poohey! Decided after that that I should really wash my hair and get dressed...what an effort! Rosie was quite happy playing in the courtyard with Kitzu. I should've done a pile of washing, but I couldn't be bothered. Tomorrow is another day. Went out for a walk eventually with Rosie instead - got daffodils and yellow roses for an Easter atmosphere in the cave.
And that's all for now. This evening, the theatre with Lucia and George, and tomorrow, Easter Day (but not here), I'm not sure of the programme. So, til Sunday evening, happy Easter, one and all!
Love Sarah xox
Just read this on Guardian Unlimited, and on this Easter Saturday as on any day, I couldn't agree more. It was written by the vicar of Putney. Good for you, Giles Fraser.A funny kind of Christian
His thirst for scapegoats shows how poorly George Bush understands the meaning of Easter
About this article
Somewhere in the Middle East, Jesus Christ is strapped to a bench, his head wrapped in clingfilm. He furiously sucks against the plastic. A hole is pierced, but only so that a filthy rag can be stuffed back into his mouth. He is turned upside down and water slowly poured into the rag. The torturer whispers religious abuse. If you are God, save yourself you fucking idiot. Fighting to pull in oxygen through the increasingly saturated rag, his lungs start to fill up with water. Someone punches him in the stomach.
Perhaps this is how we ought to be re-telling the story of Christ's passion. For ever since the cross became a piece of jewellery, it has been drained of its power to sicken. Even before this the Romans had taken their hated instrument of torture and turned it into the logo of a new religion. Few makeovers can have been so historically significant. The very secular cross was transformed into a sort of club badge for Christians, something to be proud of.
Two weeks ago, the most powerful Christian in the world vetoed a bill that would have made it illegal for the CIA to use waterboarding on detainees. "We need to ensure our intelligence officials have all the tools they need to stop the terrorists," said George Bush in a passable impersonation of Pontius Pilate. "This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe."
Throughout his time in office, the president has frequently been photographed in front of the cross. Yet as his support for torture demonstrates, he has understood little of its meaning. For the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is supremely a moral story about God's identification with victims.
The French anthropologist René Girard is the modern voice that has done most to explain the nature of this moral change. Human societies, he argues, are often held together by scapegoating. From the playground to the boardroom, we pick on the weak, the weird or the different as a way of securing communal solidarity. At times of tension or division, there is nothing quite as uniting as the "discovery" of someone to blame - often someone perfectly innocent. For generations of Europeans, the Jews were cast in the role; in the same way women have been accused of being witches, homosexuals derided as unnatural, and Muslims dismissed as terrorists.
The crucifixion turns this world on its head. For it is the story of a God who deliberately takes the place of the despised and rejected so as to expose the moral degeneracy of a society that purchases its own togetherness at the cost of innocent suffering. The new society he called forth - something he dubbed the kingdom of God - was to be a society without scapegoating, without the blood of the victim. The task of all Christians is to further this kingdom, "on earth as it is in heaven".
Yet, for all his years in office, it is hard to think that President Bush has done anything much to make this kingdom more of a reality. Instead he has given us rendition, so-called specialised interrogation procedures, and the blood of many thousand innocent Iraqis. Given all this, what can it possibly mean for George Bush to call himself a Christian?
Easter is not all about going to heaven. Still less some nasty evangelical death cult where a blood sacrifice must be paid to appease an angry God. The crucifixion reveals human death-dealing at its worst. In contrast, the resurrection offers a new start, the foundation of a very different sort of community that refuses the logic of scapegoating. The kingdom is a place of shocking, almost amoral, inclusion. All are welcome, especially the rejected. At least, that's the theory. Unfortunately, very few of us Christians are any good at it.
· Giles Fraser is the vicar of Putney email@example.com
Thanks to Lucia, I'm listening to the Arthur Rubinstein (pictured left) Piano Competition live on internet (I'm such a 'varza' that she had to lead me through the site step by step and even then it took ages to download what I was meant to). It's so lovely this evening that I wanted to share it with you. Find the link under 'Liens' on the right of this page and knock yourselves out. Enjoy! Supporting artistes include the Israeli Phil., Gil Sharon, Hillel Tsori and Uri Segal all seen below.
For more info from the press on the competition so you know what it's all about, see http://www.arims.org.il/competition2008/pages/english/show_press.php?id=24&what=image also available on the site. I'm having a lovely time sat here with a book on Sinaia given to me by a class of students for Martisor, a glass of palinka, my Marlborough Lights and this. To hear the concert, click on 'Competition Live' at the top of the site page...
Love Sarah xox
Just back from a lovely (as usual) weekend with Lidia and Marian, I hasten to tell you all about it. Rosie and I arrived on time by train and were met by Marian at Brasov Station. Rosie was very good in the train and made friends with everyone. She seemed much less scared than the last time, as if she remembered where we were going and knew we would have a wonderful time, that she would be spoiled and cuddled ad infinitum and that it'd be hard to leave, as it always is. Being a very wise dog, she was quite right.
Lidia looked so well, it was great to see her after six weeks away. Ionut had a cold and Marian had finished the bathroom upstairs and was proud of the carpet he'd bought for the staircase. I have to say that the bathroom is stunning, designed by Ioana (an architect) in beige and brown with wooden furniture. I felt like I was using the bathroom of a 5 star hotel! Anyway, I digress...having caught up, we had a delicious dinner (more than 5 stars!) and then went to bed.
I awoke at 5am after a strange dream about Marie Jo, lay there for an hour or two and then fell asleep once more until half nine, when Rosie decided it'd be great if I got up and took her out. Bouncing on my head is a pretty effective way to shake anyone from slumber. Sleepy dust removed from my eyes and dust of the prior day's journey washed away in the posh bathroom, downstairs I went for a gorgeous breakfast/brunch - coffee and freshly squeezd orange juice, crudités, toast, vegetables and fruit, cold meat, Lidia's vinete (oh, heaven), cheese...maaaarvellous! On the programme for the day, apart from the arrival of Ioana from Bucharest, was a drive through the Hungarian villages and then dinner in the evening with Miruna's family Lucia, Radu, Sorana and Corina.
As it happened it turned out that yesterday was Ziua Maghiarilor, Hungarian Day, a celebration of the end of the revolution in 1848 (pic taken from Adevarul newspaper 15th March). We set out in the early afternoon, me with Rosie on my lap which made taking photos regrettably impossible. Our destination was Covasna, in Székely Land, the Hungarian region of Transylvania. It was an incredible experience, for these villages don't appear to be part of Roumania at all. The houses, set apart from the Roumanian ones by their style (carved fences, dovecotes and gateways) and decoration are painted for the most part in green. The signposts are all in Hungarian, noone speaks Romanian, or if they do, their heavy Hungarian dialects make them impossible to understand, their clothes are different and their hill-top churches are Catholic or Protestant rather than the usual Orthodox and differ a great deal architecturally. They even look different physically, with their high cheekbones and asiatically slanting eyes, ruddy cheeks and square build. These people have voluntarily ostracised themselves from the rest of Roumanian society. Roumanian is not compulsory in their Hungarian schools, and they are stalwart in keeping their traditions and customs alive, proud of their Hungarian connections...and yet the Hungarians themselves don't consider them as true Hungarians. It strikes me as most odd that the Roumanian government would allow this kind of self-ghettoisation, which in its way invites racism from both sides. These people are militantly anti-Roumanian, and the Roumanians in their turn are fed up with the criticism and refusal to integrate. In my opinion, there must be some kind of economic benefit for the Roumanian government, otherwise why would they allow such insularity on their own turf? It's a mystery to me.
Fascinated by this enigmatic people, I rushed home to the cave to find more info in my guide books. Here's what I found: 'The Székely people are closely related to the Magyars who speak with a distinctive Hungarian dialect and cherish a special historical identity. For a long time it was supposed that they were descendants of Atilla's Huns. There are traces of Central Asian sharmanism in their arts and crafts and their ancient runic alphabet is similar to that of Turkic nomads of Western China. However, most modern historians believe that the Székely either attached themselves to the Magyars during the latter's long migration from the banks of the Don or are simply descendants of early Hungarians who pushed ever further east into Transylvania, having been assigned the task of guarding the frontiers by King Làszlo in the 12th century. Whatever the truth of their origins, the Székely feel closely akin to the Magyars who, in turn, regard them as somehow embodying the finest aspects of the ancient Magyar race, while also being rather primeval - noble savages, perhaps. They retained a nomadic, clan-based society for longer than their Magyar kindred, and were granted autonomy by the Transylvanian voivodes. They were recognised as one of the three 'Nations' of Transylvania during the Middle Ages, gaining priveleges that the Hapsburgs later tried to abolish, leading to a massacre in 1764. The Székely fled to Moldavia and Bucovina where they founded new villages.' (The Rough Guide to Roumania)
Covasna is known for its specialised cardiac hospital and treatments from underground springs rich in sulphur and other healing properties. Snuggled in the valley of the Vrancea and Penteleu mountains, it's a very pretty town, clean and colourful. To the East of the town is the 'spa of a thousand springs' and Fairy Valley. The centre of town is modern and reminded me a bit of a rather more battered Annecy in the French Alps. It was the birthplace of Sàndor Korosi Csomos who walked to Central Asia in 1820, visiting Tibet and compiled the first English-Tibetan dictionary!
Zabola (Zâbala) is nearby, a village dated at around 16th century, and on the other side of the road, we by-passed Ghelinta, estimated to around 1300. Again, both these villages were beautifully clean, had their own architecture and were completely different from any Roumanian villages in the region. We drove past a lovely lake (St. Anne's?), straddled by a hotel or two, tastefully built to echo the countryside surrounding it. Very little kitsch here, apart from one or two rather overly yellow houses!
Driving back, we stopped at a road side stall to pick up some typical Székely 'cakes', wound around a kind of roller, and caramelised. They aren't eaten by Hungarians, apparently, and only found in the Székely region. They're called Keurteutsch (I hope I spelled that right). Here are some pix of the roller and the délice itself (Lidia's the model). They are delicious - either with honey or without. Rosie was quite into them, too!
It was a wonderful drive, the countryside breath-taking...and quite a history lesson. Can the past of this most awe-inspiring country possibly get any richer, I ask myself?
Yesterday evening, Marian excelled himself in the kitchen, producing white fish and salmon wrapped in leeks, with a delicious lemon sauce, followed by 'friptie' and crunchy fries with a white mushroom sauce. How lovely to be with Radu, Lucia and Corina once more, and meet Miruna's sister Sorana, who's the image of her sibling when she laughs and has her eyes. Radu still hasn't gone back to smoking, bravo for him. Ionut and Ioana joined us for dinner, and the conversation spun from lawyers to the Harlem Globetrotters (just arrived in Bucharest and doing a national tour!), ending in the usual politics. Everyone was on form, full of stories and jokes. A great atmosphere, normal for Lidia and Marian's table, and Rosie had a terrific evening, spoiled rotten.
The only one missing was Miruna, although she was very much part of the conversation and with us in spirit, with her interview next week for her place in the U.S...fingers crossed, though she's so brilliant, we're all sure she'll get it.
A really lovely day.
This morning began with another spectacular 'banquet' breakfast and then I took Rosie for an hour's walk. Up str. Lunga to the park, over the road to str. Republicii and straight on to Pta Sfatului, down the road behind it and back along str. Lunga. The park was packed with people profitting from the sunshine. Rosie made a friend that we named Scruffy for obvious reasons and enjoyed a roll around in the grass with him. He followed us from str. Lunga as far as str. Republicii then decided to beat it back home. He had a collar on, so definitely wasn't a stray. It was good to have a bit of a trot and Rosie was very excited, straining on her lead to get her paws into every bit of grass we passed.
The weekend passed much too quickly, as they always do when I'm in this lovely place, with such dear friends and laughing so much. At one point this afternoon, Marian discovered that carrots were good for his eyes and so wore a pair of them draped over his glasses...
By the time we got back, had had a lovely lunch (stuffed courgettes) and a cigarette, it was time to get everything together and rush to get the train. Leaving was hard as always. As I've said before, when I'm here I miss Lidia very much and when I'm there, I miss Lucia and George. Knowing this weekend though, that Lucia was in Geneva with Mihai and George was a bit non-communicado due to work, it made saying goodbye to Lidia even harder than usual. It feels just so much like home. I know I could never live in Brasov as I need the energy of Bucharest, its theatres, concerts and general hubbub of noise, but nevertheless, this is a place close to my heart, not only for its fresh air and beauty, the friends that I love there and the opportunity to visit new places, learn new things - but for the very calming and soothing effect it has on me.
The return home by train to Bucharest was as eventful as usual, and to tell you about it would take ages - suffice to say that my fellow passengers changed three times frm Brasov to Predeal and then at Sinaia. I shared a compartment with a bunch of nice students, then a mish-mash of holiday makers and a woman operated three days ago for a perforated gastric ulcer who cried a lot and should never have been allowed to leave Brasov General so soon after she was under the knife, then another load of students. A compartment for 6 turned into a compartment for ten, with a few cider bottles and three guitars, music from The Doors, Nirvana and The Beatles and even the lady with the gastric ulcer had fun! (pic: view from the train window)
I waited 35 minutes for the 79 bus outside the Gara de Nord before I spotted the 133 on the other side of the junction, and we were home around 21h30. Can't believe it's Monday tomorrow already and want to have my weekend all over again! It's been wonderful.
The week to come is a busy one. Only two weeks to go before the end of course tests, so lots of work at BC. Drinks with Aless Wednesday evening before she leaves for Budapest on Thursday, Lunch with Aura Thursday and an evening with the girls Friday (Oana, Aura, Flori, Lola and Bogdana). Lucia, George and I have theatre tickets for Saturday, and for the rest, we shall see. Tomorrow, I hope to see Lucia during her break if she has the energy as I'm gasping for news from Geneva. If not, I will take Rosie to the vets for a manicure. She looks like she's had American extentions put on her paws! I haven't seen Tantza or Mandita this evening so that's something else for tomorrow when we call for Pépé the Perv.
Love, Sarah xox
Just spent a completely sleepless night. D'you know why? Coz I realised that 3 days ago, I've been here 7 months. That means I have only 6 months to go. That means that the time I have left is less than the time I've actually been here. That means I'm more than half way through my time in Romania, and I can't bear it. I just can't. What was all that about my destiny being here for sure etc etc...nothing seems to be enabling me to come back for good, nothing. Every idea I have backfires, every possibility becomes an impossibility. Sod bloody destiny. I know mine will be here eventually but how, how, how? Spent all night lying there trying to answer this question..and couldn't.
Answers on a postcard please.
Now got to go and teach with a face like a smacked bum and matchsticks propping my eyes open.
What a lovely day! Rosie and I got to Flori's around half one by taxi (Meridian are charming when it comes to dogs as passengers - I recommend them) and spent 'un après-midi d'un faun'... all in Romanian, of course, so on a linguistic level it was great. As well as that, it was wonderful to spend the time with Flori, talking, comparing life histories of which we have so many parallels and similarities it's almost spooky, getting to know Flori's mum a bit better...and Rosie was tickled, cuddled, ate nougatine, a starfish (oops - dried and very dead, I add) and a bowl of Flori's mum's fabulous chicken ciorba. Flori coloured my hair for me so I got home this evening looking much better than I did when I left this morning. We sat at the computer looking at pix of Flori XXyears ago with so many different hair colours and styles I was almost dizzy. I may be daring for some stuff, but not when it comes to hair colour. I was blonde once, once only and that was enough (remember Carmen?!) - never again! I only went out of the house when I finally got hungry and risked malnutrition!
Can't believe the weekend's over. It's been so full, what with Cortès, seeing Lucia and George, the Limelight-White Horse night and today with Flori. How dull it will be having to work. Wouldn't it be great to win the lotto, and only have to work because one wanted to but didn't actually have to...ah! Dream on!
Have a good week and courage for the next seven days. Not much planned for me this week, but then again, you never know what will crop up unexpectedly! This is my beloved Romania, don't forget, and it's never short of adventures and surprises.
Lots of love and write soon,
Just in after a lovely evening. Firstly, I met up with George and Lucia. Having walked around for a while trying to find somewhere to go and have a drink, we finally went to a very odd place on Bd. Elisabeta that looked like Soviet Russia - worn orange sofas, a few sad looking plants, a whackingly great heating system that pumped out enough warmth for a football stadium and tasteful (?!), impersonal strip-lighting, formica tables pretty far from the sofas which were nailed to the floor (how could you sneak out with one of them on your shoulder unnoticed?!) and a strange sense of emptiness. But no matter, the important thing was to be together and together we were even though it wasn't for very long as I was due to meet Mary, Radu and Magda at 22h.
So great to be with them. As I got into the car in front of the cave, Chopin was playing on the car radio, beautifully interpreted, then Schumann, and as we parked near Bulandra sala Izvor after going the long route so we could hear the end of 'Fantaisie', 'Lucia di Lammermoor' was just beginning. I wish I could get Muzical radio station here, but the sound is quite dreadful and makes my hair stand on end!
We chatted and giggled as always, George on form with his jokes despite being tired and stressed and Lucia as ever full of humour and back chat. Time just flew and before I knew it, we had to go. In front of Biserica Alba I said goodbye, knowing perfectly well I won't be seeing them for a while as I'm in Brasov with Lidia and Marian next weekend. How I shall miss them.
Magda, Radu and Mary were waiting for me as arranged and down the steps we went to Lime Light. 'Do you have a reservation?' asked the waitress. We didn't. Sorry, full house. 'It's Saturday night, 8th May, sorry, no room'. Damn! Outside, we racked our brains and decided on 'Oldies' in Mosilor. Piling into a taxi with our tulips from Radu for Ladies Day we decided it didn't matter as a better night was in store elsewhere. Not at 'Oldies' though! Same story - no room at the inn without a reservation. Two more of Mary's friends joined us, and Radu managed to reserve a place at the White Horse, Pta Dorobant. It seemed clear that without a reservation of some kind, the night out wasn't going to happen! Second car ride of the evening chapter 2, though this time, all was well. A nice pub with good food (croquettes of cascaval and fries - my dish), a good selection of beers etc. We stayed til gone 1h and I had a really lovely evening. Bogdan is a lawyer and I told him about the Rosie problem, ie. dogs not allowed anywhere, though there are no notices on doors. He rolled about at the 'exotic cat' tale. Or should I say 'tail'. THey were disappointed regarding last night's Cortés concert. Too expensive, bad seats, too short and little connection with their idea of flamenco. Couldn't agree more. Great to see them again, and a pleasure to meet Bogdan and his partner. I think her name was Oana, but I'm ashamed to say I can't remember. I'm very sorry. My memory is getting worse and worse. i'm getting to the point where I'm going to have to ask people to wear name badges soon if it continues.
I saw a pupil of mine in the supermarket the other day. Could I put a name to the face, much less say where I'd seen her before?! Was she in the BC admin department? A student? A friend of a friend? I chatted away, asked how her family was, how was work etc, you know, safe questions that would maybe give me a clue of who she was, all the time praying she wouldnt guess that I had no idea whatsoever. The name and class came to me a few hours later and I could have kicked myself. A cure of Royal Jelly and Gingko is on the cards, I think!
Tomorrow I will go to Flori's for a good chin-wag and have my hair coloured. Her mum is still with her and it'll be nice to see her again. She's a dear. Rosie's invited too, so I hope she'll behave as befits an exotic cat.
This weekend's going far too quickly.
Just back from the Sala Palatului where Flori and her mum, Aura, Aylin, Alina, Mary, Magda and I saw Joaquin Cortes, the flamenco dancer. It wasn't at all what I had expected, and we were too far from the stage to really profit as you can see from the iffy pix despite the pricey tickets, but it was none the less good albeit rather short. The music was a mixture of Spanish, Turkish and what seemed to me more like Rai. I didn't feel the burning passion of flamenco and hence was rather disappointed. Here's an identical extract from the performance - this was the opening piece. http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=i5f1eN_eft8. I liked the singers very much. It just didn't feel like flamenco to me apart from a few bars from time to time. This acrobatical extract came half way through: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=5UQh-BsDVn0. Okay, when the guitar got very Spanish, it had me captivated, but not otherwise.
I was expecting something more like this: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=vDlzWBmr09g or this, played by the great king of flamenco guitar, Paco Pena: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=9DuxR6k83r4 or Segovia's beautful interpretation of Albéniz amongst others http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=nsHTgAMUwuI. But you can call me old fashioned if you want. Maybe I am stereotyping flamenco. I didn't find Cortés bad, disagreeable or anything like that. I just imagined I would fall into it and lose myself for a while in the heat of Andalucia, but I didn't. I need classical flamenco for that, I think.
It was lovely to meet up with Aura and Flori again and Aylin whom I haven't seen for a while, as well as Mary and Magda. We all hopped it home pretty sharpish afterwards. It's got cold, really cold, and we were all tired after a week's work.
Tomorrow, Limelight with Mary, Radu and Magda, preceded by some time with Lucia and George I hope. It's always great to see them and I find it so hard to go a weekend without them. they always manage to recharge my batteries before the week to come.
Love to you all and sleep well,
So, the much awaited dinner at Bistro Ateneu with Lydia....shock early this afternoon when I was told I would have to work until 20h30 due to covering for 2 sick colleagues and no it wasn't possible to ask anyone else to do it. It was my bag. I was livid. Spent 45 minutes trying to contact everyone and arrange the booking for an hour later. Mary offered to cover for me, bless her, but it didn't appear that this would have been approved of, though I appreciated it very much. Result was that we dwindled from 16 to 7. But never mind. We had a lovely evening. It was great to see Laura after so long, meet Dana, see Aura who I've missed and have Lydia there 'in the flesh' so to speak, instead of an entity by email. Flori came, too, and Mary from BC.
Conversation covered all from natural medicine, Reiki, magnetism and accupuncture, to schools, education and of course Miorita. As we were sitting at a rectangular table, it wasn't possible for us all to speak together but all the same we were a rather chatty bunch! Vinete, zacusca and very nice red wine helped make us all very relaxed and verbal!
Aura had a lovely trip to Seville - 30°! What a shock to come back to this sudden cold. It must have been around 3° today. Really icy and disagreeable after the low 20's at the beginning of the week. Laura's back has been very bad and she may try some Reiki with Mihai. She's been working so hard and sitting long hours at her computer which certainly doesn't give for good posture and a healthy spine.
It was a pleasure to have these dear friends around the table at once and I missed Ruth, Aless, Lola, Bogdana, Mary and Radu, but we shall do it again soon and be together next time, perhaps with Lucia and George if they can manage it too. That would be just lovely!
I'll see Lydia again on Friday for a cup of tea before rushing off to Cortese Flamenco at Sala Palatului with Flori, Aura and Aylin.
I must cover classes again tomorrow morning, so better hit the hay.
Good night all! Love Sarah xox
I've just got back from the most wonderful evening at the Art Jazz Club tucked behind the Orizont Art Gallery in B-dul N. Bâlcescu, where one of Flori's ex-students is lead singer in a marvellous band of a strange mixture of Celtic and traditional world influence. With Greek, Brazilian, Italian, English and of course Romanian music, Flori, Alina and I were enchanted the whole evening through. Here's an extract from YouTubes as I can't transfer my recording for you due to the size of the file: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=DnBUiTwlaBY
Aren't they great? They really are. How on earth did that Celtic sound get to Romania? Well, explained Flori knowingly, the Vikings were here, too, you know. Actually, I had no idea at all. Live and learn! I guess they were as attracted to the sarmale, vinete and good old palinca as I. They were no fools, those ole Vikings!
Picture the scene, I pray: small, low ceilinged club behind afore-mentioned art gallery, volume not too loud so's you could hear yourself think as well as speak though noone did as we were all equally transported by such lovely music, livelyand appreciative atmosphere, lots of humour - Catalin the guitarist's a funny guy - and plenty of background on each song. There was even a moment when an instrument was played made out of...wait for it...pumpkin (yes, you read that right!): a kind of tuneful, soulful crumhorn if you can imagine it! A really excellent night. Thank you so much Flori for the invitation, Alina for her company and of course Florentina (pictured below in white shirt), Catalin and the rest of the band for such formidable talent. Can't wait for the next concert!
And to think I almost cancelled - a voice like a rusty frog, a dreadful cold and after a long day of teaching behind me, I was in no mood for a night out! Thank heavens for Flori's powers of persuasion!
For more pix, see the album Jazz Bucharest
And so to bed - another late night tomorrow - our big dinner with Lydia from Gradinitsa at Bistro Ateneu. I'm just waiting for the call to say the reservation can't be kept because there are too many of us (16)! Then it'll be sandwiches in Cismigiu by the light of the moon!
Good night all!
Love Sarah xox