Tag Archives: Ceausescu

Best (and worst) Christmas present ever…

24 Dec

The Holiday Blog Hop will end tomorrow and I’d like to leave you one last post before announcing the winners for the gifts I had prepared for this giveaway.

Someone asked me what was the best present I ever got for Christmas and for several seconds I rummaged through my mind’s boxes filled with dusted memories until this one surfaced, vividly, powerful, overwhelming. With no doubt in my mind this is the best present I ever got for Christmas, but the worst as well. Let me explain.

The best present I ever got for Christmas is the freedom of our country back in December 1989. Starting December 15th until December 25th 1989 Romanians fought for their freedom, taking back their country from the tyrant Ceausescu and the odious communists that for generations manipulated, deprived and starved the country. After ten bloody days Ceausescu and his wife were prosecuted and sentenced to death for crimes against the nation.

I remember sitting in the living room with my family, watching the trial live on TV. Looking back, the trial had been a rushed and forced joke—not that he didn’t deserve to die—but at that time it seemed the only solution to end the streets deadly clashes between regular individuals and Ceausescu’s dogs (the communists’ nickname).

The execution of Ceausescu and his wife was televised. I hated them for the hunger, the cold, and the brainwashing I’ve been forced to live through my entire life, yet I couldn’t watch them die. I remember hiding in the bathroom and crying, not because I felt sorry for them, but because in our hurry to get our country and freedom back, we became killers, staining our hands with blood on the holy day of Christmas. We couldn’t wait another day to get rid of Ceausescu and the communists. It had to be Christmas day.

Since then, nothing had been the same. Romania is now a democratic country, a free nation. We still struggle with corruption, poor economy and even poorer choices when it comes to elect our leaders. But one think that we got back when Ceausescu died and his regime disappeared was hope. Hope for a better day, for a better life. 22 years later hope is still alive… And sometimes that’s all we have.

Merry Christmas!

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.