The little beggar girl

picture from here

She was standing in front of the market store, on a cardboard probably from the garbage bin left there by the store employees. At her feet there was a small box where you could see a few coins.

She was a cute little girl with big brown eyes and curly hair, no more than 10 years old. Her face was white and her cheeks were all red due to the cold weather. She was wearing a dirty purple dress with a pair of black trousers, a red coat and a pair of old black boots.

There was a very nasty wind so she tried to warm her hands.

People were passing by not paying any attention at her.

With tears in her eyes, she begged the passers-by:

– Please, madame, can you give me a coin? Mister?

Only a madam with a a little child stopped by and put a few coins in her box.

“Thank you very much!” said the little girl with tears in her eyes.

The night was getting close and still there were only a few coins in her box. The market store was near closing time and the little girl was freezing. A good looking man rushed to the store but a sad low voice stopped him:

“- Please mister, can you give me some coins! I’m begging you! Please, help me!” And her face was suddenly covered in tears.

The man looked at the little girl’s face and asked her gently:

“Poor little girl, you are freezing! Were are your parents and what are you doing here?”

“My parents are dead”, said the girl. My mother died giving birth to my little brother and my father killed himself short after my mother death.

“Poor girl, you must have been very lonely. But why are you here? You don’t have any relatives?”

“I have an older sister and a little brother. We live with our grandma but she is old and sick. My sister work very hard for our sake and my brother is very little. I know that begging it’s not a good thing but I really want to help my family, so that we can buy some medicine for grandma and food for my little brother. I wanted to work but people said that I’m too little and I can’t work, but I can! I can!” cried the girl. “Please, mister, I can help you with your market basket, please give me a coin.”

The man pulled out from his pocket a stack of coins, but he shoved it back and entered the store. A few minutes later, he exit the store with 2 bags and offered one to the girl who was crying.

“Here you go! You’ll find there some food for your family and a crocheted hat for you! But you have to promise me something!”

The little girl looked at the man with eyes wide open.

“You’ll have to promise me that you will never beg, no matter what. It’s a very dangerous world and something might happen to you. Wait until you’ll be big enough so you can work and then help your family. I’m sure that if you’ll get hurt, your family will get very sad. It’s that a promise?”

“Yes!” said the little girl, wiping her nose with her coat sleeve. “Thank you very much, mister! God bless you and your family!”

The man smiled and looked at the girl’s happy face. “Now, go home!”

“Yes! Goodbye, good sir and thank you with all my heart!”

The girl rushed home and the man watched her going.

A thought crossed his mind and a spark in his eyes quickly appeared. He dialed a number and…

“Yes, it’s me! I found her… She’s perfect! Ok! Good night!”…

March 24, 2010 at 1:00 PM Leave a comment

Cat in Heaven

picture from here

A cat died and went to Heaven. God met her at the gates and said: ‘You have been a good cat all these years. Anything you want is yours for the asking.’

The cat thought for a minute and then said: ‘All my life I lived on a farm and slept on hard wooden floors. I would like a real fluffy pillow to sleep on.’

God said: ‘Say no more.’ Instantly the cat had a huge fluffy pillow..

A few days later, six mice were killed in an accident and they all went to Heaven together. God met the mice at the gates with the same offer that He made to the cat

The mice said: ‘Well, we have had to run all of our lives: from cats, dogs, and even people with brooms! If we could just have some little roller skates, we would not have to run again.’
God answered: ‘It is done.’ All the mice had beautiful little roller skates.

About a week later, God decided to check on the cat. He found her sound asleep on her fluffy pillow. God gently awakened the cat and asked: ‘Is everything okay? How have you been doing? Are you happy?’

The cat replied: ‘Oh, it is WONDERFUL! I have never been so happy in my life. The pillow is so fluffy, and those little Meals on Wheels you have been sending over are delicious!’

March 23, 2010 at 11:11 AM Leave a comment

Stress at work

Another post from my e-mail list: stress at work.

Morning: wake up call

On my way to work:

At work: opening my e-mail

At the same time, the phone rings…

… and somebody asks me something!

And then, the meeting:

Somebody comes to my desk…

… and another meeting:

Then the boss calls me in his office:

During the last minutes at work:

Home at last:

… and NO, I’m not dead. Yet!

March 18, 2010 at 12:58 PM Leave a comment

March 9, “Mucenicii”

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On March 9, we celebrated “Mucenicii”, a day celebrated in honor of the 40 Martyrs.

The 40 Martyrs were Christian soldiers under the pagan roman emperor Licinius, who were forced to worship pagan gods.

All forty men refused to reject God so they were imprisoned and beaten with stones for 8 days. After this they were sentenced to a cruel death: freezing in the cold lake of Sebaste. Forced to remove their clothes and enter the frozen lake, only death was waiting for them but in that night, a miracle made all the ice melt and the water was heated. A band of angels placed crowns on the heads of these dying saints. They were still living the next day so their legs were crushed and their bodies were sent to a riverside and burned.

There is also a legend that the number of martyrs was 44, not 40.

On this day, women use to make “mucenici” or “măcinici”, in the memory of these saints.

There are 2 types of making this dish: “mucenici/măcinici moldovenești” (named after a region of Romania, Moldova, at the east border with Moldavia; do not confuse with the country of Moldavia) and “mucenici/măcinici muntenești or dobrogeni” (also named after 2 regions of Romania: Muntenia and Dobrogea).

Women used to bake 40 or 44 mucenici/măcinici, a baked cake having the shape of the eight number, the number of cosmic balance and men drank 40/44 wine or brandy glasses.

I also cooked these dishes and I’m going to post the recipe and some pictures as soon as I’ll arrive home.

March 15, 2010 at 3:14 PM Leave a comment

Spring days and “Mărțișorul”

Finally, the spring arrived and brought with her a nice weather and a holiday mood.

After Valentine’s Day and Dragobete on February 14 and 24, the next in line for celebration are March 1 (“Mărțișorul“), 8 (Women’s Day), 9 (“Muncenicii”) and this year on March 28, “Floriile”.

Today I’m going to write about “Mărțisorul“.

“Mărțișorul” is celebrated on March 1 and is considered to be the first holiday of the spring. It’s name is the diminutive of “Martie” (March). More information you can find on Wikipedia.

I’m going to say what we do on this day: usually boys and men give “mărțișoare” or flowers to the girls, women colleagues, mothers, sisters and so on. Flowers given are usually spring flowers: snowdrops, hyacinths, Freesias, tulips even though you may also receive orchids or roses.

We have 2 best known legends regarding the “mărțișor” (pl.: “mărțișoare”):

1. This is the legend of the Sun who came to Earth like a beautiful girl (some Romanian regions said to be a handsome man). A dragon kidnapped her and birds stopped singing, children stopped playing and people were all sad. Seeing what happened after Sun’s disappearance, a courageous young man went fighting the dragon. They fought and, eventually,  the young man manage to kill the dragon and free the Sun but he was seriously injured. The Sun returned at her place in the sky and Spring came. People were very happy but the young man was lying on the dragon’s palace floor and bleed to death. Where the snow melt, snowdrops appeared announcers of the spring. Since then, people honor the memory of the young man by tiering with a thread 2 flowers: one red symbolizing love and the courage of the young man and one white, the color of the snowdrops – first spring flowers.

2. On March 1, the beautiful Spring came out to the edge of the forest and noticed a little white flower rising from the snow, covered by brambles. She wanted to help the little snowdrop, so she cleaned the snow around him. Being very furious on Spring, Winter decided to call the wind and frost to kill the flower. Spring protected the little snowdrop covering it with her hands but she hurt a finger and a drop of blood fell over the flower, bringing it to life. So Spring defeated the Winter and the colors of the “mărțișor” symbolize her red blood on the white snow.

The “Mărțișor” is like a talisman made of red and white threads. The classical red and white threads are often attached to a little object and offered to a woman. You can see below some models of them:

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The lucky ones are considered to be: chimney-sweeper, horseshoe and four leaf clover.

Young girls used to tie the “mărțișor” on their hand and take it off on April 1. Then, they had to tie the thread on a branch of a fruit tree so they will have a wealthy year. They also made a wish who is supposed to come true right away.

I received a lot of flowers and “mărțișoare” on March 1 and this reminds me of the friends I have. Don’t think it’s about the gifts because it’s not. The “mărțișor” represents a symbol and classical red and white thread is enough. If you can’t appreciate this symbol and want something more (like a jewel or something expensive), that can only means that you don’t appreciate the true meaning of this tradition (I’m disappointed to say there are a lot of this type of girls who want something big and expensive). If you want something expensive, wait until your birthday, don’t ruin a tradition with a selfish thing.

picture from here

Have a beautiful spring!

March 4, 2010 at 3:15 PM Leave a comment

45 lessons in life

I received an e-mail with these quotes and I wanted to share them with you:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

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4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

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7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

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11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

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14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind…

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17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

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19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

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22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

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25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ”In five years, will this matter?”.

27. Always choose life.

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28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

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31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

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34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

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38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

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41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

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44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

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February 26, 2010 at 2:41 PM 2 comments

Dragobetele kisses the girls

As I wrote before, on February 24, we celebrate Dragobete’s day, Romanian national day of love and friendship!

I wrote about “zburătorit” and about picking snowdrops:

So this time I want to write about customs of this day.

When boys were hugging the girls by surprise, it was supposed to take away their powers, so they said: “Your powers,\In my arms!” or “My fevers,\ On your bones!”. If the hugged girl had something fresh (grass, buds) in his shirt, the incantation had no effect upon her.

In the morning, people used to wear their holiday clothes, wash with spring water with a twig in it and say: “May my soul sprout and become young, like this twig.”

For having a good year, old people used to take care of the birds, including the “sky birds” and maidens used to pinch or walk on foot the boys they liked.

On this day, working is forbidden. It’s said that if you work, you’ll sing like all the birds. If you work the land, you’ll get sick of fevers.

All persons have to celebrate each year Dragobete’s day or else they will not be loved or love the whole year.

Girls used to wake up early in the morning, before the sunrise, and release the birds from their coops hopping that they will find their soul mate as fast as the birds.

It is good to clean the house so the good luck will come.

Everyone must have a mate in this day or else it will be a lonely year.

Dragobete is like a phantasm that comes out by stealth and kisses the girls so they will have good luck and to get married, that’s why on this day you may hear in all villages: “Dragobetele kisses the girls!”

February 24, 2010 at 2:12 PM 1 comment

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