The Snow of My Childhood

florentina-apostolescu-photo Photo: Florentina A. 2017
The first snow of 2017 finally arrived; a couple of inches covered the ground early before sunrise, turning our world into a powdery-white winter wonderland. The woods were unusually quiet and the animals disappeared with the exception of the resident fox. She ran from the back bushes and left a trail of swirling dry snow disturbed by her bushy tail. My two squirrels were nowhere to be seen. Continue reading

How Much Did the Equally-Poor Proletariat Travel?

Romanian Family Rare photo of my mom and dad (second row left) and my grandma (bottom row), taken in the village
For the first twenty years of my life, I never traveled much. I have actually seen more of the world since I escaped the clutches of Ceausescu’s communism than I had actually seen of my own country as I was growing up. I changed that in the last five years when my husband and I did cover at least half of Romania. But I still have not seen the other half and I find that to be so sad because Romania is not that big of a country. It is beautiful, with stunning vistas and a rich history, but very small when compared to the United States. And I have seen a lot of the United States! Continue reading

A Freak Start to an Amazing Trip

Swiss Cannabis Tea Photo: Ileana Johnson 2015
The plane was rocked violently on the tarmac at Dulles by a freak storm. The ten passengers and crew that had managed to board were wide-eyed, praying that the shaking of the Boeing 767 would stop soon and the boarding would resume. My husband was still in the terminal with the rest of the passengers. Lightning and wind gusts were so intense that boarding had been temporarily suspended.
The seven and a half hour flight to Zurich finally took off two and half hours late amid scary dark clouds and soul-rattling sudden altitude drops. Fortunately, as we reached a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet, everything calmed down and we settled into a routine of getting up, stretching, bathroom trips, and watching movies for seven and half hours. I can’t sleep on planes; all my limbs go numb rather quickly. Continue reading

It’s Good for the Soul to Go Back Home Again

My desk for 20 years My office desk for 20 years
Is it true that you cannot go back home again and find the reality you remembered or created in your mind as a child or as a young adult? Would you be disappointed? I have embarked twice on such a journey, most recently on Easter Sunday 2014. I wanted to find the town and life I left behind six years ago in Columbus. Continue reading

1989 A Bittersweet Year

I watched recently the video of a speech given by the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to an adoring crowd of communist useful idiots a few days before the dictator was arrested in December 1989. Ceausescu, a megalomaniac who appointed himself the Father of the Country, was touting the slave wages he had ordered raised for his unlucky proletariat from 700 lei per month to 800 lei.
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