Tag Archives: goverment

Random Act of Kindness ~ 1,000 Loaves Of Bread

16 Feb

As always I begin by thanking Kathy @ I’m A Reader Not A Writer for organizing fabulous giveaway hops among the readers’ community. The Random Act Of Kindness Giveaway Hop is co-hosted with Lora at Read for Your Future. Thank you, Lora!

For my Random Act Of Kindness I decided to bring awareness to the devastating weather hitting Europe, and most important to me–Romania, my native country. I’m also giving away one e-copy of my debut novel Hidden Heart and one e-copy of my second novel A World Apart. Please fill out the form at the end of this post.

Although it’s been more than 8 years since I moved to the U.S. there will always be an invisible cord pulling me to my roots, to my people. And right now my people suffer, buried under meters of snow, their homes, their farms, their animals. EVERYTHING is under snow.

I feel helpless wanting to help EVERYONE. I’m in constant contact with my parents who luckily live in Bucharest which (although it had been hit by snow) is doing better than the rest of the country (I guess it pays off to live in the same city as the president and government…). Bucharest has electricity, somewhat snow-free streets, running water and food supplies. The rest of the country doesn’t.

Since I can’t help everyone, no matter how much I wish I could, I decided to help this little village called Rasvani. It’s a village located about 70km East of Bucharest where, as a kid, I spent many, many hot summers with Mama’s relatives. Lots of dear memories come to mind: Mama’s aunt Floarea (in English meaning Flower) milking the cow while the 6 of us (my sisters and I and her 3 children) waited in line for a mug of steamy milk. A piece of homemade bread (or polenta bread if flour was sparse) in the other hand, crouching on the thick grass made for a good dinner. Or holding our breath while she finished another dress or skirt for someone in the village. One of us was lucky enough to get the leftover fabric which we then turned into dresses for our dolls. Oh yeah, dolls made out of corn husk–the most beautiful dolls we could possibly create.

I just can’t stand by seeing people’s lives being completely destroyed by a capricious weather. My shout for help didn’t remain unanswered. My dear friend (and incredible author) Jeffery Moore decided to contribute to the cause. I sent Mama $210. She can buy close to 1000 loaves of bread and send them to the village. My cousin will deliver the bread by truck. I just pray he doesn’t get stuck in the snow… I wish I could do more, but that’s about all I can spare.

What is your Random Act of Kindness?

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.