Tag Archives: trip

Europe trip–part 3

29 Sep

I guess one can say I took my sweet time in between the posts about my trip, but to be honest, a lot of those memories are still a blur. So I decided to write about the trip when something comes to mind, like right now about how we lost our connection in Munich.

The flight from Bucharest to Munich went better than I expected. Although the flight was only a little over an hour, we spent it talking to a funny group of Texan young adults (in Romania to teach English to Romanian students). I know, right? What are the odds to find yourself halfway across the world, in a plane from Bucharest to Munich and be surrounded by fellow Americans. Comes to show how little our world really is.

Once arrived in Munich, we said goodbye to our newfound friends and off we went to find our gate. We were told by several airport employees to go to terminal 1, not knowing that there’s where our troubles began. After the shuttle buss dropped us, we went through a maze –I’m not kidding–maze of corridors, gates and check points, making our way to gate 17. We still had time for breakfast, stroll through duty free stores until boarding was announced. 

As we waited to be boarded, my eyes fell on the display flickering our flight and I found odd that instead of Lufthansa there was EasyJet airline. Then looked at my boarding ticket and saw that the flight number didn’t match the one on the display, only the departure time and destination.

I’ve rarely felt as if the rug was pulled from underneath my feet, but that’s the best way to describe how I felt.  Never lost a connection in my life. Never thought not one, but several airport employees can be that… well, I really don’t have a name for it, unless I’m willing to call them something bad. For crying out loud: I show you a boarding pass and you send me to a wrong terminal???

We made our way back to terminal 2 as our Lufthansa flight took off. At that time I was livid and sick to my stomach worrying about having to buy new tickets, and losing our train connection from Rome to Verona. Pat kept telling me to breathe deeply and accept the fact that was nothing I could do to change what just happened. Trust me, breathing exercises never helped that much as then. I managed to calm somewhat until, explaining to the Lufthansa rep how we lost our connection she said in an arrogant and dismissive tone, word for word: “That’s the most stupid thing I’ve heard in thirteen years working on this airport. Who here would direct you wrongly?”

With my minds eyes I saw myself reaching over the counter and grabbing a handful of her shirt, saying, “You call me a liar and stupid???”, but instead I said, “Ma’am, as much as your airport is a nice venue, I would rather travel to my destination. Hanging out on an airport is not my kind of fun time.”

Pat stepping on my foot made me pause and take my eyes off the Lufthansa rep, long enough to take yet another deep breath. I should’ve inhaled enough oxygen by now, enough to transform it in smoke puffing out of my ears but boy, I was aching to wrinkle that woman’s starched collar. 

Somehow I managed to be civil. Fifteen minutes and two phone calls later we had brand new tickets that costed us only $105.00 each. If all worked out well, we’d make it to our train connection on time.

Eventually anger and frustration drained out of me, leaving me exhausted. The entire time we waited Pat and I talked and, the more we talked, the deeper in conversation we went. Like to survivors on an island we shared plans, dreams, memories–we talked so much and I have to say, there was nothing that could make me happier than my kid sharing so much of him. There’s a glow in Pat’s eyes when he talks about himself, a glow that makes the blue in his eyes so intense and so alive. 

In looking back I do wonder if all of that happened because he and I had to talk. Not just any talk, but deep talk, the kind of talk that makes one vulnerable but also so, so human. The kind of talk where all masks fall and one’s heart and soul are out there in plain light, without holding back. 

I always considered myself incredibly lucky to have a great relationship with my kid, but for some reason that talk we had waiting for our flight taking us from Munich to Rome, made me realized, my kid is not a kid anymore, but a young man making his way into adulthood, having incredible plans for the future. It also made me realized how much more mature he is now compared to myself at his age, but most importantly that, if I were to go tomorrow, I’m leaving behind a great legacy, a man who I have no doubt will make his way through life in a healthy, solid, clear, strong manner; that whenever life will throw curves and hurdles his way, he has the tools he needs to go through them all. 

When time came to leave, I remember finally buckling my belt on the plane taking us to a brand new adventure. Pat reached over and kissed the top of my head, then interlaced his finger with mine. “Thanks, mom,” he said. “What for?,” I replied. He smiled and pushed his side onto mine. “For listening.”

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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!

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Dreaming Of Summer Blog Hop

26 Nov

As an Arizonan by choice I do not dream of summer. I have it ALL year long, or at least the sunshine. But that didn’t stop me from signing up to participate in Dreaming Of Summer Blog Hop organized by Kathy @ I’m A Reader Not A Writer and helped this time by Me, My Shelf and I.

For this hop the one obligatory rule is to host a giveaway for summer/beach read. That simple. Wearing my swim suit, a ton of sunscreen and flip-flops off I went to the beach called Amazon browsing for books. And one of the first books that popped on my browser was… Vlad All Over.

It caught my attention because Vlad is a famous Romanian name (Vlad the Impaler) but also because, in reading its blurb it says the main heroine (an American schoolteacher) goes on a trip to… Romania, the land of Dracula. Wait a minute! I was born and raised in the land of Dracula (and no, I haven’t seen vampires growing up, in case you wondered…). Now with all these tidbits, I had to know more about the book and started reading it through the look inside feature (love Amazon for this!). Needless to say it’s on my TBR list and decided to assign it as the prize for this giveaway.

Based on Amazon Best Seller Rank this book lands at # 11 in Books which means it’s a winner. And the plot happens during summer vacation, which complies with the hop’s rule.

So, for your chance to win an electronic version of Vlad All Over all you have to do is FOLLOW THIS BLOG BY EMAIL by clicking on the button to the right called “Sign me up!” (atop all images) AND leave your answer to the question:

What was your favorite summer read this year?

Mine was The American Sniper by Chris Kyle.

Good luck! 

 

 

 

Funny gifts (some) husbands appreciate

24 Oct

On my trip to New York I picked for my husband the picture below  (it’s not on paper, but rather on metal). He absolutely LOVES it! He has it up on the wall in his happy place (his garage).

The moral of the story: always tell the truth and nothing but the truth. People will appreciate your honesty.

Question 4 U: what’s the funniest gift you gave to someone or you personally received?

New York–The Colors Fondue

17 Oct

New York is considered the melting pot of the US. I call it the Colors Fondue.

I’ve spent four days in New York with two awesome authors I call dear friends Sherry Gammon and Cindy C Bennett. The time didn’t suffice to talk all-thing-books therefore we decided to take such trips at least once a year. Looking forward to the next adventure.

Aside from incredible photos I took along the way, I visited memorable places: Time Square, Broadway, Central Park, Ellis Island, Battery Park, 9/11 Memorial, China Town, Little Italy, and the Empire State Building. I left out (on purpose) quite a few other tourist attractions to visit with my family.

I knew what to expect (to some extent), after being told that it would feel a lot like home (as in home in Bucharest, Romania): crazy traffic, lots of pedestrians, tall buildings and constant noise. Others told me that New Yorkers are mean and rude people. Also I was told to stay out from certain areas—I might go in, but won’t come out. Naturally, I listened.

Personal impressions? Well, lets start with the weather. I’m a huge fan of warmth, sun and cloudless skies. Out of four days we only had one day (the last) of blue skies, but windy with temperatures around 60 degrees, which for me meant jacket, gloves and a shawl. Of course I saw some people wearing only t-shirts and I shivered just looking at them.

The traffic is indeed insane. Don’t know how they do it, a mass of yellow cabs sprinkled here and there with other colors. The lights turn red more often than they turn green, and the drivers seem to hold a steady hand on their horns rather than on their wheel. Every few minutes another ambulance speeds down the street. To my surprise that doesn’t really slow down the traffic—it’s already slowed either by the red lights or the constant constructions narrowing the already narrow streets to one or two lanes.

The buildings are impressive. We do have a few in downtown Phoenix, but not as tall and colorful. Some might not agree with all the advertising stuck to them, but I like it. It adds dynamism to the buzzing city. Modern and inviting stores occupy the first floor, with studios, offices or apartments—the higher the building the better the view. And did I mention the colors? Loved the red and blue and green next to either glass or brick facades. There’s a lot more to talk about the intricate architectural design, but since I know nothing about what represents which era, I’ll only say that it’s impressive, and even more impressive the fact that the constant renovations focus on preserving those historical elements.

New Yorkers are busy, fast people. It seems everyone is in a hurry. Compared with Arizonans where everyone has a smile plastered on their faces (it’s not Botox, I swear, it’s how we Arizonans are) New Yorkers seem … distant. Some smile back, some see through you, but overall they mind their business and you yours. We did meet a few really friendly (in the subway, of all places), eager to help us. But we also met some arrogant, rude ones (if you go to the Central Park, make sure the carriage driver is not a mean looking Russian—he tsks his teeth at you if you don’t agree to pay $100 for a ride!). China Town is not a friendly place either.

What impressed me the most was the play The Lion King on Broadway. I got teary eyed quite a few times during the show. Stunning costumes, professional performances and exquisite music made the experience unforgettable. Loved the drummer … and I’ll leave it at that.

Another outstanding place is the 9/11 Memorial. Kudos to those that designed it and those who built it. There’s an emotional and overwhelming undercurrent grabbing at your heart the entire time you’re there, as if the spirits of those we lost guide your steps throughout the entire site. A wide bronze band imprinted with the victims’ names ribbons The South and North Fountains while water falls down the large walls into the narrower square in the middle. I saw the rainbow on both fountains, I felt the breeze caused by the wind dancing with the white oak leaves, I heard the water’s murmur, telling untold stories. I touched the names of those I’ll never know, but forever will remember.

I can’t talk about the food. In retrospect I realize my sense of adventure stopped at … taking the subway and the ferry. I guess I was more interested in exploring places, walking one mile after another than sitting around in a restaurant and savoring delicious meals. Didn’t try any notorious food places, but stuck with salads (chicken Caesar salad at Giovanna’s in Little Italy was excellent), yogurt and fruits for breakfast and splurged in Carmel Machiatto’s from Starbucks. Not experiencing food the way I should’ve is reason enough to go back to New York, right?

 

 

New York, New York–here I come!

8 Oct

Over the next few days I’ll be visiting New York. I’m so excited! I’ll be there with two of my dear friends authors Cindy C Bennett and Sherry Gammon to discuss business: the next best-seller, the next venture, the next cover, hero, plot. But not only that. We’ll roam the streets, eat delicious foods, see The Lion King musical, and of course, the mandatory shopping.

I promise to bring photos. Until then you all have a lovely week and don’t forget to smile–life is so darn good :)))))