Ode to Books

(Title inspired by one of Pablo Neruda’s poems, Ode to the Book)new-york-public-library-reading-room

(The New York Public Library)

“Le livre est plus que jamais devenu un objet de résistance. La lecture est une contestation de tous les jours, une désobéissance civile au quotidien. Car tout nous pousse à ne plus prendre le temps. Les choses vont si vite que nous peinons à imaginer le futur, qui semble déjà derrière nous. Les utopies humaines semblent s’être noyées dans les eaux glacées du calcul égoïste et dans la fin de l’histoire…”

(Read more here)

Sad, but true. It seems as though nobody reads as much as they used to anymore. Many people often forget what a book can bring you. Not only does it teach you (or remind you) a valuable lesson but it also allows you to live another life for a few hours. Needless to say that books also feed your imagination, which is far more entertaining than having the story setting and the characters served on a silver platter. I’m not criticising books being turned into movies, but I’d tend to read the book first to make my own impression and to paint my own settings and characters before seeing the movie.

I was lucky enough to be surrounded by books while growing up and get lost in many captivating stories for endless hours. As much as I enjoy browsing the Internet and get lost in a whirlwind of websites, it doesn’t give me the same adventurous yet comforting feeling of a book.

So, here’s to a long life for books! 🙂 Have a great, sunny weekend, everyone!

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The craziness of languages

I have recently stumbled upon this piece of marvel written by Richard Lederer, an American author known for his books about the English language and word play.

Here are some examples illustrating why English is a crazy (but nevertheless beautiful) language:

“Let’s face it: English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineappleEnglish muffins weren’t invented in England. Quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? We ship by truck but send cargo by ship. We have noses that run and feet that smell. We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway. And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on. And, in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop?”

All right, so when you read this, you might laugh out loud and agree that English is a crazy language. I remember hearing the expression “It’s raining cats and dogs” in high school and thinking “Why on earth would people say that? It doesn’t make any sense!”. But don’t all languages have weird expressions and a weird grammar, sometimes? If you think about all the exceptions in French, all the irregular verbs in Spanish – and, oh yeah, let’s not forget about the subjunctive in both Spanish and Italian – it’s actually the same thing. But isn’t this part of every language’s charm? If every language had the same rules and logic, wouldn’t that be boring? If Esperanto’s is every world traveller’s dream (including myself), I still think diversity is a wonderful asset not be frowned upon. As a polyglot, I have learned to gather a little bit from every culture, look at the world more openly and appreciate the little things in life we often neglect. You may not become a new person overnight when learning a new language but it certainly makes you more open towards other people.

So, don’t be afraid to discover a new language because of its insane grammar or expressions! Go for it! 😀 Before you know, you’ll actually end up having fun!

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A walk down Memory Lane

When I go back to Focșani, I always get a funny feeling. I notice so many changes, yet everything feels the same. Behind all the new buildings, my mind detects the old ones, hiding great childhood memories.

Going back to Romania always involves seeing the family again. It goes without saying. Being spoiled by my godparents and catching up with my cousins are also part of the tradition. It also goes without saying that I always gain a few extra pounds. I owe this to my Grandma, who feeds me more than I can take. Bless her for always saying that “Belgian food doesn’t make me any good” seeing how skinny I look 🙂

Going back to my first home also means reminding myself where I came from and what I’ve learned along the way. I’ve also had the chance to meet a few old family friends and catch up on everything. It’s such a heart-warming feeling to see that nothing has changed between us. I feel incredibly lucky to know such generous, modest, inspiring and open-minded people.

But, enough chatting! Here are the long-awaited pictures. Let’s take a little trip back in time and see what old memories I’ve captured 🙂

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Being welcomed by a snowy Bucharest. Absolutely thrilling.

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On our way to Focșani

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And woah! Sunshine and 20°C the next day. Is this for real?

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What used to be a movie theatre, called “Cinematograful Balada”

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Piaţa Unirii (Union Square)IMG_9232 IMG_9234

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My former kindergarten! Take a look at that silly face.

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Muzeul Vrancei (one of the history museums of Vrancea county) which I visited with…

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My Grandpa! 🙂 A dream come true, since we’ve always wanted to visit it together!

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Towards some serious magnificence: the famous Theatre in Focșani, which has always fascinated me… and with good reason…

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Entering Art Nouveau paradise…

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Outside the Theatre

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The former Focșani City Hall, illustrating the Brâncovenesc architecture style, which was developed in Wallachia during the reign of Constantin Brâncoveanu in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Speaking of inspiring people, I’m so glad I had the chance to meet one of my favourite mentors again. Meet Mrs Zaiț, a former art teacher, to which I owe my eye for detail and my love for drawing and painting.IMG_2964

Our last evening. Notice my cliché nostalgic moment, wanting to capture the sunset. For some things, I guess I’ll always be a romantic at heart 🙂

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La revedere, România! Ne revedem curând! (Goodbye, Romania! See you soon!)

P.S. Imagine my surprise when we landed in a very sunny Brussels, something I thought I’d never see again after those long snowy months!

All pictures taken by me. ©

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Currently Reading – “A Moveable Feast”

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Tel était le Paris de notre jeunesse, au temps où nous étions très pauvres et très heureux.” (Ernest Hemingway)

I’m currently reading the French version of “A Moveable Feast” by Hemingway, which translates into “Paris est une fête“. While I was browsing for new books at the famous Brussels book fair (Foire du Livre), the title and the stunning red cover (turned pink by my Instagram filter) caught my eye. Seeing how it’s also a special edition by Gallimard, I couldn’t resist. Yes, I’m also a “special-edition” or “limited-edition” aficionada. Give me a classic novel with a vintage-inspired cover and I’ll buy it.

This is actually the first Hemingway book I’m reading so I’m really curious to discover his style. I’ll post a book review as soon as I finish it. In the meantime, I’m curious… What’s your favourite book by Hemingway? 😉

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