Earth day 2020


Today we celebrate Earth Day. I’m talking with my 5 year old daughter about Earth Day and we read some books we have about Earth. Then, in a sad kind of voice, she begins:
-If I would only knew that this bad virus will come, I would have had the space racket repaired. That way we could celebrate it’s day by going around it or maybe going to the Moon and back.
I say nothing. What can I say, I wonder? She continues:
-The racket with wich I came from the little Moon, remember? It broke when I landed. It was green and had no.2 painted on it. Mattew had the one with no.1, it was red. But now we have to celebrated here. I will draw something nice for it, a cake and some flowers maybe.
-Well, after all, I say, the Earth is our home, no? I think it is nice that we get to celebrated it at home. Giving it a chance to recover a little from all the damaged we have caused it.
-Oh,no! The Earth is damaged too? Like my space racket?! This is the worst news and the worst day! It is not a happy day anymore, mama, you ruin it!

Calul lui…Carol I

Ne plimbam prin “centru”. Nu ne-au inghetat inca nasurile, asadar copilul doreste sa afle detalii despre una, despre alta.

-Ce e ala? Un cartof sau o nava spatiala?

-Un cartof.

-Cum a ajuns cartoful ala acolo?

-Nu stiu, tati, cred ca l-au urcat cu macaraua. Sau poate mai intai l-au prins de stalp si apoi au montat toata piesa acolo.

-Cum au montat-o?

-Cu macaraua.

-De la masina de pompieri?

-Nu, o macara folosita in constructii. Cele de la masina de pompieri nu pot ridica greutati asa mari.

-Dar cartoful ala e gol, nu e greu.

-E gol, dar este foarte mare si este din metal, metalul e greu.

-Metal? Ce este metalul?

-Pai uite, capacul asta de canal pe care calci acum este din metal, stapul ala este din metal, monedele sunt din metal. Hai, ca tu stii ce este metalul.

-Astea nu sunt grele. Monedele mele din pusculita sunt usoare. Si cartoful nu e din metal, amuzantule!

-De ce este pus pe stalpul ala? Si cine l-a murdarit cu vopsea rosie?

-Este un simbol. Cartoful este stricat, reprezinta oamenii rai care ne-au condus inainte. Stalpul alb reprezinta noul, suntem noi, poporul roman dupa ce au plecat oamenii rai.

-Si inainte de hotomani au fost oameni rai? De ce nu ati iesit si atunci cu vuvuzaua sa ii dati afara de unde lucrau ei?

-Se pare ca mereu au fost oameni rai care ne-au condus, nu? Noi eram mici puiule, eram copii. Si atunci nu aveai voie sa spui nimic rau despre cei care ne conduceau. Dar pana la urma au iesit oamenii in strada, chiar aici si au reusit sa ii dea afara. Dar a curs si sange. De asta au pus momumentul aici, sa nu uitam. Se numeste Monumentul Renasterii.

-Cum arata macaraua?

-Nu stiu fetita. Era o macara normala, cred.

Mai facem cativa pasi. Nu ii este ei inca foarte clar cum a ajuns cartoful ala acolo si de ce. Dar renunta la subiect. Primeste raspunsuri prea serioase. Ajunsa langa statuia lui Carol I, is inalta privirea in sus si zice incetisor, pe un ton ghidus:

-Tati, calul asta are un fundulet amuzant si tare dragut!

Rompozee

Rompozeele au reprezentat, de cand copilul nostru avea 3-4 anisori, orice forma geometrica mai complexa decat un romb: pentagon, hexagon si tot neamul lor. Si asa le-a ramas numele, chiar si rombul intra uneori in aceasta categorie.

-Uite mami, o masina ca a ta, cu rompozeu!

-Da, iubire, sunt multe masini marca aceasta!

-Si tati are una! Si masina vechie a fost asa! Si bubu are! Si bubu celalalt are una! Oau mami, noi toti avem masini cu rompozeu! De ce? Si eu vreau sa am o masina cu rompozeu cand o sa cresc mare!

-Asa s-a nimerit, sa avem toti masini marca asta! Tu poate ai sa vrei altfel de masina cand o sa cresti! Sau poate oamenii nu vor mai merge cu masina atunci, se vor teleporta sau poate vor zbura.

-Nu mama, nu! Eu nu o sa zbor! Eu o sa fiu pompier si o sa conduc o masina de interventie cu furtun si scara! Care o sa fie cu rompozeu!

What we read and why

Although all the people in my family were avid readers, my first reading alone experience wasn’t so good. Some prince in a dramatic Romanian folk story had gone in the land beyond everything and when he returned, everybody in his family was dead. So, here comes one of the biggest trauma of my childhood. This is the reason why, until high school, I limited my readings to the mandatory lists I receive from my teachers.

Then, Jules Verne, Dumas, Heidi or The three musketeers came and little by little the trauma disappeared. No one was dying anymore, no one was left all alone in the world, without his loved ones. When I discovered the books from my parents and my grandparents library, I would “borrow” a book from my grandmother and when I would take it back we would stay with a cup of tea in front of us and discussed it.

At my mother parents house I discovered a first edition, from 1942, of the book that would become my favourite book of all time. It was called “A murit Luchi” , translated “Luchi is gone” and was written by a Romanian author named Otilia Cazimir. It is autobiographical and the main character, a preschool girl called Luchi has a lot of adventures until one day, the day that she has to go to school. Her teacher calls her by her birth given name, Otilia, and at first she doesn’t respond. Then, like in a dream, she realises that she is no longer Luchi, the little girl. She had become somehow this Otilia, the schoolgirl.

I used to read that book all the time, alone or with my mother, I knew it by heart. Is was a book with no pictures and only in 2011 was released a new illustrated edition. I bough it, of course, and I was shocked by the illustrations: the Luchi from my imagination couldn’t possible look like that!

In high school, under the influence of my coleagues, I started reading filosophy. I remember reading Kafka with the dictionary right beside me. Soon I discover that filosophy wasn’t for me. As they weren’t for me the motivational books. I mean I would always have an existential revelation when reading such a book, but I would soon forget the content, before getting to that “better me” version.

Then, for a long period, I bought a lot of books online, in kindle version, all the “trending” novels: Twilight, Game of Thrones or His dark materials ( the translation of wich, in Romanian -my mother tongue language, left me very dissapointed).

When I became a mother, in my late 30’s, Alfie Kohn, Anne Bacus or Sir Ken Robinson were my allies in fighting my DNA, the habits from my own home or the stuff I learned in my comunist childhood.

Soon started the era of picture books for me and my daughter. I read all the reviews and international tops and I bought my daughter all the best picture books I would find. She is 5 now and already has a library bigger than ours (maybe because of lack of space or priorities). We read whith her, for her, for us. She sees us reading and when we begin a new book she studies the cover or tries reading the title. Sometimes she would ask us what the book is about or if we could read a few pages to her.

I like reading any good original story. Because everyone has a story to tell, even if is not his own.

And because sometimes the stories are today version of reality that we can make possible tomorrow, all by ourselves.

Reading is something we owe ourselves, because one idea gives life to another idea, words come from other words, our evolution is based on the things we learn from others. More talented, more experienced, more original, with different views on the world around us. Because life isn’t about one tree, it is about the forest. And the stronger the tree is, the stronger the forest is in the face of the storm. And the forest around my daughter is a fragile one, a new one, that goes where the strong winds takes it. And we have to change something in us first to make the forest strong again.

For her.

Traditii de Anul Nou

Este ziua fiicei mele, nascuta in prima saptamana a anului. Iesim din casa si ne intalnim cu unul dintre vecinii nostri. 

La multi ani! ne ureaza el. Intram intr-un supermarket, unde si vanzatorul ne ureaza La multi ani!. Apoi in farmacie, unde toate cele trei farmaciste ne ureaza, pe rand, La multi ani si un An nou bun.

Copilul, putin emotionat si fastacit, intreaba:

-Tati, de unde stie toata lumea ca astazi este ziua mea?

Ilustratie de Katrina Lange

Toamna se numara bobocii

Si frunzele ruginii si cele aurii. Si roadele viilor si ale pomilor, gradinilor si ogoarelor.

Se numara stropii de roua gasiti dimineata pe firele de iarba, pe frunzele si pe crengile copacilor. Se numara razele de soare ce inca ne intampina cu caldura. Se numara pupicii primiti cand plecam dimineata din casa si mai ales pupicii primiti cand ne intoarcem acasa.

Se numara, cu multa grija si atentie pentru a nu scapa niciuna, imbratisarile celor dragi.

Si zambetele oferite cuiva care poate a uitat cat de minunat este sa ti se zambeasca. Cuiva care poate ar vrea sa zambeasca mai des, dar nu are cui. Toamna se aduna toate amintirile zilelor de vara, una cate una, pentru a retrai toata emotia si incantarea de atunci.

Cand toate roadele au fost stranse, cele mai de pret se pun bine in cutiute mici si se pastreaza pentru iarna. Pentru zile mohorate, cand razele soarelui nu mai ajung la noi. Pentru zilele ploioase, cand caldura unei imbratisari va sterge toti stropii reci de ploaie. Pentru prima ninsoare, cand bem o cana de ceai cald si aromat in fata unui album cu poze.

Toamna se numara prietenii noi, dar si prieteniile vechi. Se numara aventurile ramase de explorat. Se fac planuri si vise si se gandesc noi experiente ce vor astepta cuminti sa fie traite. Toate, absolut toate. Pentru ca inainte de a inchide inventarul anului trecut se bifeaza mereu si aventurile ramase pe lista.

Si da, toamna se numara bobocii, mugurii de viata noua, de aventuri noi, de noi si noi inceputuri. De gradinita, de scoala, de liceu, de serviciu.

In fiecare toamna avem norocul unui nou inceput. Hai copile spune, ce nou inceput te asteapta toamna asta?

La cules

Evolution 101

We dance on a song called “Follow the leader”z She knows the choreography from the kindergarten. I ask her if she knows what the title means.

-I don’t know! What?

-You have to do what the leader does.

-Leadel? What is the leadel?

-The chief or the boss.

She stops. She doesn’t know what to say and now she is thinking. After a few seconds she declares:

-Mama, in our house you are the boss! Not me!

Photo by Jeff Smith

To the educators of the world

Dear all,

You have chosen one of the most difficult and yet most important jobs there is and you made it your passion and your art. One that you practice all day, with patience, commitment and devotion. It is also the most beautiful job in the world because your role is to shape and prepare for life beautiful and innocent little humans, pure and untouched yet by the ugliness of the world. For them you will always be the first and the most important teacher, the first to guide their journey to the great unknown, the Universe! You are the light in the darkness of not knowing if they are enough or not. Of course they are, but they still need your kind reminder.

To all of you, thanks for all the love and affection you give!

Illustrations by Kevin Henkes