on eastern shores

for someone who doesn’t like manipulation i may have overdone it with instagram:)

a wonderful picture from Vientiane edited with some of the state of art technologies of the western culture

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on beauty

there are tons of covers of adele’s song someone like you… this one is one of the best; it’s not because it’s a very good cover but because it’s a beautiful one; and it’s not just the song that’s beautiful, it’s the fact that Tara is 13, that she’s Iranian, that she’s even so shy about starting to sing and then she’s so confident about every single note, that the warmth of her voice just seems to burst out from the grey shades of the video, just enough to reach your heart and give you the goose bumps… every single time you hear it.

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stepping on dead people’s bodies…

there are times when i look at my life and i feel grateful for all the stuff that i have in it. there are times when this feeling is so powerful it brings tears to my eyes. my folks always told me how special i was; my dad used to call me his princess just like probably most loving dads usually call their daughters. my mom wasn’t so plastic about it but there was a point when she said she thought i was strong enough to walk over dead people’s bodies. it wasn’t an argument; it was a cold headed remark while we were talking a long walk on the beach… can you believe it? can you believe my mom actually said that about me? i was amazed… i was shocked… i was speechless.. i didn’t react at her remark and she didn’t make any further comments about it; but i felt as if i must have disappointed her somehow, i felt she must have gotten the wrong impression about me, why else would she think i am a monster, i of all people, her daughter, a selfish little monster..

i drove about 500 km today… i drove my little red car from chisinau to bucharest. a 7 hours drive more or less. for many people that’s nothing. for many people that’s something they would never consider. for me, that’s a milestone; i was a spoiled child, i still am. driving was too much of a hassle for me for a long time. i only got my driving license because my parents insisted i should do it. when they saw me driving they got concerned since we only had one car for all of us to share (good old times); the deal was if you have money to pay for possible damage to the car, you may get to drive the car, if you’d rather spend your crappy scholarship on clothes though, you may not:)) and yes, no doubt, i did prefer clothes to driving the car:))

crappy or not, i did get scholarships, and i did get a first class degree, and then went to do a master abroad. i got a really good education because that was the thing that both my parents strongly believed in and strongly supported me in doing. they were also very careful to make sure nothing else seems more exciting and rewarding than getting a good education (reason for which “An Education” is one of my favorites). on the other hand, yes my love life sucked… but i didn’t get pregnant before getting my diploma, which as harsh as it may sound to some women, it remains a pretty good advice. the point of this is that i did get the education my parents dreamed of and then i did get the job i actually always dreamed of. and among many other amazing perks that came with this job (of which 10 other posts would not be enough to talk about), it made it possible for me to buy my sweet little red car.

my sweet little red car was bought in the summer of 2010. when i bought it they instructed me to come for our first check-up in one year’s time or if i hit 15.000 km. by the next summer i only had 4.000 km on board and that’s mostly because my brother kindly offered to take it out for a ride from time to time to make sure it didn’t forget what it was designed and built for. i was afraid of it. i was so afraid of it i’d rather use taxis and public transportation even if it made so much more sense to just get the car and drive where i had to go. it felt as if there was no telling what the car might decide to do as i was driving it. what if something happens and it decides to stop in the middle of the road? what if something happens and the breaks don’t respond fast enough, what do you mean i should hear the engine and realize when to change the gears? i don’t hear anything! oh i should have changed already? how do you park it without touching anyone or anything else? what if there’s a major crisis situation? what then??

today, i drove the 500 km from chisinau to bucharest in 7 hours. in the meantime i didn’t hit the 15.000 km but i do have around 8 or 9.000 on board. today was a milestone not because of the numbers but because i felt confident. i felt sure of myself and of my car, of what it can do, and most importantly of the fact that my watch and its’ design will take me home safely. confident enough to listen to the radio and shout out the lyrics of the songs, confident enough to enjoy the sunshine and go through the pouring rain, confident enough to remain calm and respectfully avoid freestyle drivers, confident enough to enjoy it.

and i felt grateful for it. my mom didn’t think i was a selfish despicable little monster, she knew i have a strong character. she knew i have the will to learn even things i thought i dreaded. and not just master them, but she knew i would learn how to enjoy them; my own fears were those dead people’s bodies she referred to and she was right, i am slowly but surely stepping on each and every one of them.

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when you feel ready, try a taste of this…

i’m guessing that by making a background poster of it, there is no doubt left as to what book i’m reading right now; i tried to find a nicer way to put in on the blog but i couldn’t figure out any other way;

i usually write in my cv that i’m open minded; i swear, and i don’t usually like swearing, but this book is really testing just how open my mind actually is; it’s less of a mind-opening and more of a mind-blowing experience! (note to self: so happy to have been born in a post-darwin era);

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on inspirational stories, this one from Tina Fey

the reasons why there’s an urban myth about Google being one of the best companies to work for in the world may be many, and many may also be the arguments against it; however, they do have this great initiative of hosting the Google talks for their employees and broadcast them on youtube; i’d rate that as a big plus; and this one with Tina Fey is really worthwhile watching; (and my next step is to buy her book Bossypants)

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on thelma and louise…

i first saw this movie before i even knew what “gender issues” means; seeing it last night, a little bit older and hopefully wiser made me laugh out loud and cry out loud; almost every line is a punch line..

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on taking things for granted…

it’s striking for me how i take things for granted… i watched “kingdom of heaven” by ridley scott the other night and i told my friends i was happy i wasn’t born in the 12th century… i was thinking more of the health care issues:))) silly me, no? i mean really? people were born into this world to eat, poop, shag and fight each other or some sort of a silly disease.. death was like… cake or death? (eddie izzard :) )) and women? i get the goosebumps just thinking about it… i would have died at an early age just for opening my mouth to say something, i’m sure of it…

and then i caught a cold, and besides teas and lemons, it seems it’s advisable to laugh a lot, because that helps your body produce whatever good chemicals it needs to feel better. and i chose sense and sensibility by ang lee with emma thompson and hugh grant (it’s the best cure ever); the reason i thought about jane austen has to do actually with a piece on friendship i recently found which was written by a guy named William Deresiewicz, who, i later found out, wrote a wonderful book called “A Jane Austen Education”, which I ob-viously bought on amazon and read in two days’ time. to cut the story short, i read the book and decided to see the movie again. My mom used to say it takes a special gift to be able to see the same movies over and over again. what I would argue in my defense is that sometimes you just need more time to absorb all that a movie has to offer: the story, the characters, the actors and then the people who are the actors who impersonate the characters, the setting, the music, the lines… i need more to grasp all of this if the movie has to offer; Sense and sensibility is just delightful, emma thompson is one of my favorite actresses, hugh grant has bluer eyes than ever and alan rickman is simply alan rickman. there is however a narrative in jane austen’s books that due to my Disney education (the endless love story between a prince and a princess), I was
completely oblivious to: the gender story. as Deresiewicz so wonderfully explains in his book, and as the movie shows if you care to look beyond grant’s blue eyes, late 18th and early 19th century women were just a little bit better off than those in the Kingdom of Heaven. Marriage was a matter of money and social position, a quantitative transaction, a deal. I’m not saying it’s good or bad despite the fact that the same Disney education taught me that unless it’s pure love, the one and the only, you should never marry and any reason for marriage which is not love, can only be despicable. Again, if one wants to talk about love I would gladly refer them not to Disney who got it all wrong but to Darwin and Miller (the mating mind ) but what I am concerned with is that I think that again, I would have died probably not at such an early age as in the 12th century, but nevertheless.. i would have died… suffocated probably.

today (late 19th century and what I would add, all the way to the beginning of the 21st century), the same Mister William Deresiewicz argues, feminism shaped a new deal: “The New Woman was intelligent, well read, strong-willed, idealistic, unconventional and outspoken. For her, relationships with men, whether or not they involved sex, had to involve mental companionship, freedom of choice, equality and mutual respect. They had, in short, to be friendships. Just as suffrage represented feminism’s vision of the political future, friendship represented its vision of the personal future, the central term of a renegotiated sexual contract.” which means, today I won’t die neither for opening my mouth, neither because someone else forces a certain life upon me, neither for being proud of what I am: a woman!

i know all of these are trivialities, I know there are tons of studies to document women’s history and their role in the society, i’ve read many of them myself; my point is that i was born in one of the most equalitarian gender systems in the world: i was born in communist romania with a great-grandmother that became a single parent when my great-grandfather died in the war and that even though she was a single mom, she managed to become a trade union leader and then moved into politics and became mayor and head of county. i have had just as much attention, care and love from my parents as my little brother had. i had access to free education and if anything, there were more women professors and more women colleagues than men in my high school or in college. my first real job was under a woman manager who is absolutely brilliant both as manager and person. why would i ever be concerned with gender issues? what’s that all about? who would afford the luxury to deny me?

and yet… i look around me and i realize how much i’m taking things for granted…

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doesn’t this ring a bell? :)) great piece…

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on friendship!

this has definitely been a week of good reads… here’s another great piece on us, busy humans… this time on friendship

A Man. A Woman. Just Friends?
Published: April 7, 2012

“Just as suffrage represented feminism’s vision of the political future, friendship represented its vision of the personal future, the central term of a renegotiated sexual contract.”

CAN men and women be friends? We have been asking ourselves that question for a long time, and the answer is usually no. The movie “When Harry Met Sally…” provides the locus classicus. The problem, Harry famously explains, is that “the sex part always gets in the way.” Heterosexual people of the opposite sex may claim to be just friends, the message goes, but count on it — wink, wink, nudge, nudge — something more’s going on. Popular culture enforces the notion relentlessly. In movie after movie, show after show, the narrative arc is the same. What starts as friendship (Ross and Rachel, Monica and Chandler) ends up in bed.

There’s a history here, and it’s a surprisingly political one. Friendship between the sexes was more or less unknown in traditional society. Men and women occupied different spheres, and women were regarded as inferior in any case. A few epistolary friendships between monastics, a few relationships in literary and court circles, but beyond that, cross-sex friendship was as unthinkable in Western society as it still is in many cultures.

The New Woman was intelligent, well read, strong-willed, idealistic, unconventional and outspoken. For her, relationships with men, whether or not they involved sex, had to involve mental companionship, freedom of choice, equality and mutual respect. They had, in short, to be friendships. Just as suffrage represented feminism’s vision of the political future, friendship represented its vision of the personal future, the central term of a renegotiated sexual contract.

We have trouble, in our culture, with any love that isn’t based on sex or blood. We understand romantic relationships, and we understand family, and that’s about all we seem to understand.

We have trouble with mentorship, the asymmetric love of master and apprentice, professor and student, guide and guided; we have trouble with comradeship, the bond that comes from shared, intense work; and we have trouble with friendship, at least of the intimate kind. When we imagine those relationships, we seem to have to sexualize them.

Close friendships between members of the same sex, after all, are also suspect. Even Oprah has had to defend her relationship with Gayle King, and as for men and men, forget about it.

I cannot think of another area of our lives in which there is so great a gap between what we do and what our culture says we do. (don’t tempt me… ) But maybe things are beginning to change. Younger people, having grown up with the gay-rights movement and in many cases gone to colleges with co-ed dormitories, are open to a wider range of emotional possibility.

Friendship between the sexes may no longer be a political issue, but it is an issue of liberation: the freedom to love whom you want, in the way that you want. Maybe it’s time that we all took it out of the closet.

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