Tag Archives: Black Sea

Europe Trip–Part 1

25 Aug

Memories. Some are kept in one’s soul forever, never to be shared. Others burst open our hearts and we can’t find peace until we do what we were meant to do from the moment we build them: share them with the world.

It’s been a week since I returned from my trip to Europe–Romania and Italy to be exact–and I’m still trying to recover from it. Not the sleeping pattern (which gave me grief only when I went to Romania, but not here back home), but trying to browse through memories, feelings and emotions I’ve witnessed and felt during my trip. I wish I could hold onto each image, each step I took, too afraid that time and space will dust them into oblivion until they’d end up shelved somewhere in my brain.

I’ve never journaled a trip so bear with me; I’ll try to make these sharing interesting enough for you to come back for the next one.

For today I decided to share a few  facts about this trip:

  1. Our itinerary included: Bucharest and Black Sea (Romania); Rome-Verona-Venice- Milan-Mantova (Italy).
  2. We’ve been on ten flights.
  3. We had screaming babies on all ten flights therefore I haven’t slept on any of the flights (yeah, talk about exhaustion as its best).
  4. We lost one connection in Munich so we had to buy new tickets.
  5. I watched eight movies during the longer flights (Houston to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Houston) and i can only remember one title (Crazy, Stupid Love, which was actually funny).
  6. I took over thousand pictures; I had to delete some apps from my phone to make room for more. Patrick took about the same amount on his phone. I regret not taking a real camera (Iphone takes decent photos but not as clear as a camera).
  7. I played cards and “table” (a Romanian game) with my dad 6 hours every day for 4 days while at the Black Sea.
  8. I rekindled with friends from high school, one who lives in Italy and one who became a famous actress in Romania.
  9. I went to my first soccer game, cheering for my all-time favorite team, Steaua Bucuresti. They had a great game, but weren’t able to score.
  10. I had more than one glass of wine, one night in Rome…

And now I leave you with a few photos all taken before flights… enjoy!

IMG_3265 IMG_3214 IMG_3244 IMG_4675 (1)

A World Apart on Sale!

30 Apr

Wonderful news:  A World Apart is on sale on Amazon for only $ 2.99 (I bet you pay more for your coffee).

Want a sassy, bold and brass heroine?

Want a hero who lives by the strict rules of the army, yet his heart breaks every single one of them?

Do you like stories of opposites attract? Sizzling with tension and pulsing with emotion?

A World Apart delivers that and more.

Hurry up, the sale ends Friday 05/05.

The beginning of “A World Apart”

8 Dec

The story of “A World Apart” goes back to the end of 2002. It all started with some headlines in a Romanian newspaper announcing the Romanian government signed an agreement with the US government to grant complete access to one of the airbases at the Black Sea. The base was strategic in the war against Iraq starting several months later, in March of 2003. It housed thousands of US soldiers on their way to Iraq, as well as provided medical assistance to victims returning from the front line, too weak  or unstable to be transferred directly to the US or other European countries where US has several military bases. Along with other facilities, the military base has several runways and airplane sheds as well as a medical center.

The news kind of leaked into the media because at the time there was no official announcement that the US prepared for an invasion, and so the Romanians were quite confused with the agreement. Why would US need to open a military base on our soil? We were told as a compensation for using the space US agreed to help with infrastructure at and around the Black Sea, which of course was to our advantage. But what about Americans? What was in for them?

Eventually the media furor died out, but the idea of having lots of Americans at once on our soil stayed with me. Later on when the first American contingent arrived at the Black Sea the media went abuzz again. I remember reading that among them there was a team of US medical personnel deployed as well. They were supposed to collaborate with Romanian doctors already working in the medical center.

Without knowing what was the real reason Americans were on our soil, I began making up stories… Enter Lieutenant Cassandra Toma, trauma surgeon in the Romanian National Army deployed at the Black Sea to work with Major David Hunt, trauma surgeon for the US Air Force. She’s too outspoken and rebellious to be in the army, or as David sees her, “the mother of all mules.” She’s in the army for all the wrong reasons, which eventually will determine her actions later on. David on the other hand is the quintessence of the American soldier, who takes pride in his rank and work. That and more is about to change the minute he lays eyes on Cassandra. I promise to talk about them in a different post.

2003 marked not only the beginning of a long and bloody conflict, but also my immigration to the States, to follow the man who stole my heart. Over the next years a come-and-go relationship developed between Cassandra, David and myself until 2009 when, after 6 years of war in Iraq and the military base still open at the Black Sea I decided to finally sit down and write their story. Little did I know that writing their story was a journey of intense research, emotional hell and heaven at once, and self-discovery.

I’m no longer the person I was when I began writing this story. I’m more aware of what war gave and what it took away, aside from human life, destruction, fear, agony… I remember living in horrible conditions during communism and desperately wishing for someone to come save us from Ceausescu’s tyranny and the Russians’ steel fist with which they maneuvered our government. In looking back, I’m not sure  that would’ve saved the Romanian nation from our own demons.

I’ve never lost anyone at war. I can’t imagine how a family left behind goes on with their life after losing a loved one on the front line, be it in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else our soldiers fight the enemy. Yet they do it and because of that I need to do my part and give back, keeping alive our soldiers’ memory.

“A World Apart” is my dedication to all men and women in uniform serving in the army. I can’t bring back the ones we lost, but I can give them life through my story. Their story. A World Apart.