Seven of us, each preparing their favorite "mom recipe". We ended up with a gourmet feast, which ended up with us scattered in the living room, sleeping. Marissa strums and hums on the guitar. The fire in the fireplace is crackling. More dessert. Scrabble. Nap.

A good, homey evening.

The next day, five of us packed in a car and headed for Vashon Island, or, debatably the most beautiful place on earth. A short drive and ferry ride later, we arrived. You could see the Sound from all sides on this 12-mile wide island. The homes are nestled in little pockets of forest so that you can only see them faintly through the trees. The homes themselves are straight from storybooks (and most have a barn of sorts). The small stretch of downtown goes like this: "Spice Route Indian Cuisine", "Monkey Tree Cafe", "Stranger Than Fiction Books", "King County Library", a bank or two, a grocery store and market or two, and "Vashon Island Books", and a tea shop or two. It is a magical place. We topped off our time there with a hike to the lighthouse and just sat for a bit.

A good weekend for giving thanks.


The most incredible concert of my life, period.

Words are too limited, I can't convey how incredible it was...how beautiful of an evening it was. It was perfect. When it would get quiet, you could feel the audience swoon and sigh. I'm still recovering.

The Swell Season
at The Paramount Theatre
November 22, 2009
Seattle, WA



My idea of retail therapy is going to the Goodwill and shopping their "glasses/vases" section. there is something so beautiful about coloured glass. I added a lilac-coloured vase, a green goblet, a white bottle with tiny detail embossed, and a glass candleholder with a fleur de lys design on it.

And then coming home to a warm home and smiling faces, an oh-my-word, good meal with some of my amazing housemates. Now we're all sitting in the living room listening to some sweet melodies with about ten candles lit. We look up at each other from our laptops, where we busily write our papers. It is raining perfectly, and you can hear it trickle in the transition between songs. Sigur Ros, Ray LaMontagne, Iron & Wine, Wilco, Andrew Bird, The Swell Season, Sufjan Stevens, Explosions In The Sky. This is what I want every day.

I've had a fulfilling couple of days, and not due to any profound happenings:

"It isn’t the great big pleasures that count the most, it’s making a great deal out of the little ones—I’ve discovered the true secret of happiness, and that is to live in the now. Not to be forever regretting the past, or anticipating the future; but to get the most that you can out of this very instant…Well, I am going to have intensive living after this. I’m going to enjoy every second and I’m going to know I’m enjoying it while I’m enjoying it. Most people don’t live, they just race. They are trying to reach some goal far away on the horizon, and in the heat of the going they get so breathless and panting that they lose all sight of the beautiful, tranquil country they are passing through; and then the first thing they know, they are old and worn out and it doesn’t make a difference whether they’ve reached the goal or not. I’ve decided to sit down by the way and pile up a lot of little happinesses."


(No, I won't ever stop quoting it.)


Pooh Bear cookies.

This city is thriving, even as I am shut away from it in my busyness.

We took a different turn this morning, and found ourselves in yet another undiscovered corner of Seattle. Incredible markets, boutiques, Mom n' Pop shops, Italian coffeehouses, and a wildly eclectic crowd. I am amazed that after 2 1/2 years of living here, I still stare around me with wide eyes, jaw-dropped like a tourist.

I can't help it, I live in an incredible corner of the world.

P.S. Today is a good day for toasting pumpkin seeds. I think I will make my own muesli concoction this month. What else am I missing? Pumpkin seeds, toasted hazlenuts, chopped dried apricots, sunflower seeds, shredded wheat. I'm feeling a surge of creativity (and how can you not, after strolling through one of these Sunday markets?)


UCOR 3000

Because philosophy is starting to give me a headache.

I am usually semi-engaged, but today the whiteboard was full of unidentifiable abbreviations and arrows pointing every which way, and I just sat and stared blankly at it, wishing it all away. When I left the classroom after a merciless hour and twenty minutes of discussing the nature of the soul and whether or not non-reductive dualism is a valid argument, I automatically, VERY intentionally pushed it all to the back of my head.

I never want to visit it again. I don't want to care about this stuff. It's not something I care to be good at.

Paris, anyone?


Deep breath.

This week I will love louder
(and with my arms.)
I don't reach out enough, not as much as I want to.
I don't wonder enough at whether or not I'm making you feel loved.
So I will.



My life feels like this:

Go go go go go go go go go go go go.

...go go go go go go go go go go go go.


"Sometimes melancholy leaves me breathless."

I came home from Bible study tonight and went straight to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and settle in for the night. I went to my room, took off my coat, and opened my philosophy book when something sort of like magic happened. Lerin put her hands on the piano and started to make music. I put down everything in my hands, and sat, transfixed. I left my ears absorb the ethereal sweep of sound coming through my half-closed door. I let my mind move to a safer place, because her music puts you in another world (one of which I could take no part with my philosophies and my maps spread out on my table). I am sitting here, listening to songs about the moon and the sea and relishing the fact that I live with such talented people.

If you live in Seattle, she's playing at the Q Cafe on Friday night. Do come.


Chronic glossophobia.

Today I spoke up in class. A rare occasion in the entire span of my educational upbringing.

In a philosophy class, nonetheless. I raised my hand to object because my professor and classmates were going in a direction I didn't like. Everything was silent, and the answer was burning in me...like, how does nobody know this? I gave my piece on the first two chapters of Genesis, about how I believe that there were different authors, as evidenced by the distinct literary styles blah blah scriptural authority blah blah blah it just doesn't make sense any other way blah blah--I just kept going. I even talked over a girl who interrupted me. It was logorrhea at it's best, I don't know what came over me. I felt empowered, in a sense. I argued with researchers, I brought a new idea to the table...and it was considered...and correct. The words just came out, and I was applauded by a genius philosopher. What?

I feel like this blog looks like a pitiful diary entry the shy girl makes when her secret crush asks her for a pencil in math class. It's a small victory, but hey, I'm on my way. Yes, I'm on my way to public speaking for mass audiences.

Wait. Maybe not. Definitely not. My health insurance doesn't cover that kind of therapy.

To quote the marvelous Jean Webster, of Daddy-Long-Legs, Did you ever know such a philosopheress as I am developing into?


Among other things,

I got like, three things in the mail today (one of them a big, fat letter from Romania). Enough said.

A good day for science.


Debut: Miss Molly (the older sister)

Today was my first day back to being a nanny. I was tackled by hugs from Molly and bombarded with questions about where I've been all summer. I held little Gus & Charlie by the hand and walked them home from school. We all had brightly colored raincoats, and Gus' little pink umbrella made him look like a mushroom. It was all too precious. I've missed this part of my life :) So glad to be back again. When I left, darling Charlie let out a "Goo-bye Tasha...I'm-a miss you so much!". Ahh. They kill me, these little ones.


Oh, California and your eternal sunshine.

This 100 degree weather is destroying my conviction that it is Autumn. It's almost toying with me...teasing me that summer has come to an end, but not letting me enjoy the excitement of a new season.

Let the wind blow! Let the leaves fall! Let me grab my scarf and an extra sweater!

Saturday, though, I will be in Seattle (probably wishing for the sun again).


I don't mind Los Angeles so much.

Tia and I used to do a lot more of this, when I still lived in California.

I took my first walk down Hollywood Boulevard, and matched my feet with Cary Grant's at the Chinese Theatre and watched the Michael Jacksons battle it out through dance. It was a good time. We went with a few friends to see Frightened Rabbit at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. Tia and I get front row at 95% of the concerts we go to, so we spent our night being blown away by the speakers and the Scottish accented music coming from them. We will stick together when we're old and deaf. Afterwards, we hung around and talked to the band. Mid-conversation, my friend Danny comes over and tells me that Rainn Wilson from The Office is right over there. Two seconds later, Tia grabs my hand and says, "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. John Krasinski." They had dropped by the concert after the Emmys (they lost). We got photographs with them, completely ignoring our instincts to "play it cool". But really now, what are the odds that you and two of your favorite actors attend the same obscure-indie-rock concert?

I miss going to concerts with Tia! I miss our LA adventures and the big "city living" plans we make for ourselves. I miss my best friend, and I think it is pretty darn incredible that we are just that, considering the fact that we are constantly on opposite parts of the map.


Photobooth is a magical thing.

It all seems so far away! The people, the places, the completely different lifestyle. It's almost like it never happened. Like I've been ungracefully plopped back into reality, or, more accurately, into this limbo between the end of an incredible summer and the start of my final year of college. These handful of days are full of figuring out a few questions: Where have I been? What am I doing here? Every day is figuring out what to do with the next 16 hours...who to see, how many pages to write, edit and edit an re-edit, crumpling up pages and furiously fighting nostalgia. And...when to start packing? I can't hold onto one thought long enough to see it through, and....I'm zombie-like. Drifting from one day to the next until....I'll soon find myself in Seattle, all of a sudden hit with the reality of responsibility and rainy weather and rent-is-due and oh, oh, oh. I'm starting to fathom the distance between the two halves of myself. Mi-e tare dor.

I'm such a bummer today! Make up for it tomorrow? Deal.


New season.

I was greeted into America like this:

African tribal music playing in the airport, followed by 45 minutes of waiting through passport control and customs. Chaos and luggage and fifty languages and signs warning people not to smuggle parrots into America so we don't all die of bird flu. Good grief. Welcome home, right? But then, barely getting through the terminal doors before I see my mom rushing towards me. And then my dad. And then my 2-inches-taller-very-deep-voiced brother. And then my best friend in the whole world. It was perfect, and then to top it off we get a call from Anca that she's 20 minutes away. So, we met at the Carl's Jr. by the airport in the most ghetto part of LA, and it was in that parking lot that I laughed for the first time all day. At finally arriving and not caring that I hadn't slept in 36 hours and the neon signs blaring around me were selling "Live Girls", used cars, and fast food. Oh, the irony of it all.

Driving into Yorba Linda felt...safe; kisses goodnight, a hot shower, and my own bed. Suburbia isn't so bad sometimes.



"Devii răspunzător pentru totdeauna faţă de ceea ce ai îmblânzit." - Micul Prinţ

Oh my gosh, it's so hard to say goodbye. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.

I walked around the city today by myself, running errands and saying goodbye to some of my favorite places. Parcul Botanic, where we slaughtered our watermelons and read our books. Piata Unirii, the meeting place; evenings spent sitting in front of old European architecture and talking for hours. I made the entire loop, and I even came across places I thought I couldn't find on my own. The best no-name bakery in town, where I bought two baguettes and a pretzel for 2,5 lei (I am going to miss cheap organic food). The market and the gypsy women that always try to sell me cheap perfume, and then damn me to hell when I walk past them. Somebody was practicing their piano scales in the music school by the old ruins, it felt like a divine appointment walking down that street. The men that sit along the street and sell old books about war and who knows what else. I got a last ice cream cone from Timis', and went on my way. I said goodbye, and my heart was okay with moving forward. Until, I took the street from Unirii into the main square. And my headphones blasted the soundtrack to 500 Days of Summer and the kids chased the pigeons so they flew up in a sweep right in front of me. And I realized that I'll be gone tomorrow. The Opera house. The catherdral. I grabbed a bench by the fountain and sat and looked around me at these people that will move on with their weeks as I cross time zones, borders, and language barriers until I arrive.....home. America. My family, my friends....who have been living their summers in a completely different world.
And what of my friends here? And what about the fact that the Ciuciui family will be back from Greece on Friday, and I won't be here? Weird. It's weird moving on, and leaving a place that has been home for what seems like a long time. After two months, your feet know how to find the place you're going to without your brain. You know what holes in the sidewalk to walk around without your looking down. You can give people (accurate) directions and tell them what a street's name was before it was changed. Good thing.....good thing that when you love people it carries over across borders. Good thing when you love a place you carry it in your heart wherever you go.

I am soooo dramatic.

I really am excited to go home, and to sink my feet in the shores by Anca's house. And to sit with my mom in the Gypsy Den and talk for hours. And to drive to LA with Tia, and spend every waking moment with the ones I love. I'm excited for seeing how much my teenager brother has grown (and for hearing his deep voice). And for hugging my Dad when I first see him at the airport. And for swapping stories with my grandparents at our kitchen table. I'm excited for what's to come. I like that I'm leaving this home only to arrive at another.

My mom and I had a conversation last week, and it went like this:

Mom: "Hey, where are you?"
Me: "Uhhhhm, I don't know. All I see are fields."
Mom: "You're such a gypsy! You can't stay in one place!!!"
Me: "No, I'm not! Yes, I can!"
Mom: "Where are you?"
Me: "On a train."
Mom: *probably smiling on the other end, knowing she is right once again*

I like that about me, though. I'd like to think it's a good thing. Because on the inside, I am a homebody. I just happen to have many places to call home :)

Okay, this is a book of a blog. And my suitcase is half-packed. And I have way too many things to fit into them. And Mihai is coming to pick me up in 2,5 hours. And we're headed on a red-eye roadtrip to Budapest, with a thermos full of coffee and a car full of suitcases. (Which, I will bet you a dollar right now that they'll get stuck in Paris).

Bonne nuit!


"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end."

(thanks bestie)


M-am obişnuit cu tine.

Vienna, Austria

Today I woke up and walked to the bus stop to get picked up for work. At work, I practiced my my counseling and my hair-braiding; my letter writing and my nannying; my debating social justice issues and my grape-picking. Working at a house for abused girls this summer has grown me in ways I never would have imagined. Every day I learned a little bit of humility and how to love people at a capacity I've never known. My love for these girls is fueled out of compassion and a strong burning for justice (that I think I got from my heavenly Father). I want to fight for them, I want to see them grow, I want life to be okay for them. I want them to know that somebody is angry about what happened to them, that their story isn't just another statistic filed in a cabinet. I want them to really know their worth. I can't believe I get to be a part of this ministry.

After work, I took little Cristi to run some errands. We talked and wound our way through the city. I like going places just the two of us, especially when he goes on skateboard and I go by foot. (My favorite part is when he comes back halfway down the block to wait for me.) He is the most curious and the funniest 11 year old I've ever met. We ended up at the mall, and I bought us some ice teas and we sat on a bench. "Anca and I used to do this. We both love this one (Lipton green tea with mint)." ***(Dear one, it has been something else staying here while you're gone. You're missed sorely by your family, and there isn't anywhere in this city I can go where I don't think about you.)

I keep taking in panoramas on my walks, turning around slowly mid-walk to memorize how it feels to have Timisoara around me. Feels like home.


Song of Songs.

Sometimes, we get ice cream and sit on the steps of the cathedral and talk. Pictured: Lavi, Dani Bun, Cristi, and myself. I'm going to miss this city. My whole summer was spent with this place as my home base, and...it has been an incredible summer.

Today was emotionally exhausting. I'm floored.


44 sunsets.

It was then that the fox appeared.

"Good morning," said the fox.

"Good morning," the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing.

"I am right here," the voice said, "under the apple tree."

"Who are you?" asked the little prince, and added, "You are very pretty to look at."

"I am a fox," the fox said.

"Come and play with me," proposed the little prince. "I am so unhappy."

"I cannot play with you," the fox said. "I am not tamed."

"Ah! Please excuse me," said the little prince.

But, after some thought, he added:

"What does that mean--'tame'?"

"You do not live here," said the fox. "What is it that you are looking for?"

"I am looking for men," said the little prince. "What does that mean--'tame'?"

"Men," said the fox. "They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?"

"No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean--'tame'?"

"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. It means to establish ties."

"'To establish ties'?"

"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . ."

"I am beginning to understand," said the little prince. "There is a flower . . . I think that she has tamed me . . ."

"It is possible," said the fox. "On the Earth one sees all sorts of things."

"Oh, but this is not on the Earth!" said the little prince.

The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious.

"On another planet?"


"Are there hunters on that planet?"


"Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?"


"Nothing is perfect," sighed the fox.

But he came back to his idea.

"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . ."

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

"Please--tame me!" he said.

"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . ."

"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.

"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . ."

The next day the little prince came back.

"It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If, for example, you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . ."

"What is a rite?" asked the little prince.

"Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox. "They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all."

So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near--

"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."

"It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . ."

"Yes, that is so," said the fox.

"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.

"Yes, that is so," said the fox.

"Then it has done you no good at all!"

"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields." And then he added:

"Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret."

The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.

"You are not at all like my rose," he said. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world."

And the roses were very much embarassed.

"You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you--the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.

And he went back to meet the fox.

"Goodbye," he said.

"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."

"It is the time I have wasted for my rose--" said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . ."

"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Picture this:

Tasha, in a little blue Renault following a mountain road near Haţeg. Getting lessons (in Romanian) on how to drive stick. "Ambreiaj Ambreiaj!!" (Their word for "clutch" sounds much more romantic. We are so unrefined in America.) Anyway, I can drive stick! I can now officially move to Europe!

I think just about every image portrayed in this entry will scare my mother, who is my #1 reader. Don't worry, mom. I'm coming home in 9 days.


Dobrý Den!

This week, I watched a lightning storm from the banks of the Vlatva River. I sat overlooking rooftops of Prague, watching the sunset with excellent company and wholehearted conversation. I layed on the grass in many parks, taking naps and being swept away by every single page of The Little Prince. I lived like a Bohemian for a little bit each day (isn't that what you do when you go to Bohemia?) I let my feet get used to walking for miles on cobblestone; this was a struggle for the first few days. I picnicked on a castle wall and wrote stories from the same spot and in front of the same landscape that inspired great authors. I found my niche in a coffee shop among expats and wayfarers. I ended every evening in Old Town Square, watching crowds of hundreds of young people rallying for pub crawls and, on the other hand, retired couples on vacation admiring the architecture and sitting in jazz bars. I could cover a wall with my newly accumulated stack of metro tickets. I bought myself a tiny glass swan to satisfy lifelong desire for a glass menagerie. God is good to me; He met me in all these places and met with me and helped me take wrong turns that lead to beautiful sights and literally gave me fireworks when I told him He was far away.

I'm learning a lot about God and myself and Us.

Can I please tell you how good He is, once more? On the way back to Timisoara, I caught the sunset from a train car in the company of a blind, old woman who recited her own poetry, two schoolteachers, a folk singer, Lavi, a Spanish guitar and two music students who knew how to use it. We all had a story, and nobody would've known it if we hadn't been stuck together in miserable heat for 6 hours. Our car had filthy grafitti all over it and was dingy, but there was so much joy in that little space! Our surroundings didn't matter much (plus, the sunflower fields outside looked incredible against the pink of the sky). I think my favorite part was when one of the schoolteachers, who had been silent for hours, asked, "Could I fiddle around a bit too?" We were astonished. "Of course!" I was beaming from ear to ear when I heard him start singing, in a thick Romanian accent, "She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes". He ended his little gig with "One little, two little, three little Indians" and "My Bonnie lies over the ocean". It was incredible, like a scene from a movie.

And now, I get to rest up a bit and do some laundry before starting on another week of trains. Yes, yes, yes!


A fine morning contains these things:

Waking up to the smell of toast,
and being the last one up at 7:38 AM.

Making a latte so good that it slows the pace of a busy morning.

Listening to The Smiths,
and putting the linens up to dry.
(I love doing laundry.)

Rozi and I searching her pantry for the perfect jam to add to my yogurt. (Blueberry.)

Checking train schedules,
and practicing my Czech.

And packing our bags for Prague.


More stamps for your passport.

My dad and I took a bonzai-ish trip this weekend. We had no plans, just a map and a car we rented from our starting point in Budapest. More photos and stories to come. He is headed back to California in the morning, and my stay here officially goes solo.


Back on track. (Hah.)

I've missed my time on trains. It was a major source of comfort this past winter, and placing myself on a train in Eastern Europe provided immediate stability. I can't logically explain what these trips are for me--time to process and observe and pray and listen to music and daydream. Impulsive trips to the middle of the country and crossing your fingers for either an empty train car or a good bunch of characters. I like pretending I'm from here, and I like how good it feels when people assume you belong. I like whole days speaking a different language as if it has been mine all along--and with such nonchalance! What a feat.

Ashley and I hopped on a train to Hunedoara yesterday. All the busyness and learning we've had the past three weeks was all of a sudden hushed. Watching Ashley on the train, I could see that it was good for her soul, too :) I don't think we exchanged three sentences in those four hours. About 3 and a half hours en route, I called a friend I knew in the area, and he picked us up at the train station. We spent the hours we had together conversating and visiting a castle and listening to a Gypsy play worship music. Then we took a late train back home, and slept well.

Views along the way:
Gypsies and shepherds and little towns and just everything I've ever needed :)


5 at a time.

Little things that will ensure that my heart stays here forever
(from top to bottom):

1. The fact that some things are old and people are okay with it.
2. Picking my own plums, filling my skirt pockets with them.
3. Roses, everywhere. And you can pick them without being fined.
4. Breakfasts. Watermelon and cheese and peppers and salami.
5. The motion of things (or lack thereof).


This is for Mami.

This is what I look like this morning. I don't wear makeup when I go to Deborah House, because the girls need to know that it's not important. And because I'm running out. I got a haircut! Two days ago. I haven't brushed my hair yet. But I got dressed, as you can see. Aren't you so very proud? I haven't forgotten everything you taught me.

Mi-e tare dor de tine.


Pe drum.

Yesterday on the road back from Oradea I was overwhelmed. At the movement of everything, and what it means to take the time to watch. I was determined to be productive, and sat with my eyes fixed on my book for most of the ride until finally I looked up. For the next 117 km I was transfixed by the way the dark grey clouds hovered over the miles of sunflower fields and the way this made the yellows look wild. The way the little old ladies nodded off to sleep, waking up only to adjust their unraveling headscarves. Every town had its essentials: tall, silver steeples of the Orthodox church, Gypsies selling watermelon from their carts, decaying architecture, grapevines growing over the courtyards and bright turquoise gates. The homes along the road are bright shades of yellow, peach, green, and an occasional blue. Windows showcase collections of Orthodox icons and the flowerboxes are full of red-and-white geraniums. I looked back down at my book, only to jump up at the sound of a train going by to our left. The curtains were flailing about the windows "C.F.R." written in faded white paint on the side of the old train cars. I like the way the cobalt blue looks against the rest of the scenery, and the way everything in that moment was synchronized. The colors, the light, the sounds, the tempo all conspired to make that incredible moment. Sometimes, when I picture myself as a tiny dot moving along a map...I don't know...
I feel at home.


And tonight, Ashley, Lavi & I bought a watermelon and called our friends to meet us in the park with a knife and a plastic bag (for the remains). They like to make it dramatic and say "We're going to slaughter this watermelon!", so we go along with it. We ate it with our hands and faces and let the juice drip down our arms. I could get used to this.


Cat Power.

I listen to her music at night as I'm winding down. Sipping tea in my pajamas and wrapping up my latest writings, her voice has become a ritualistic accompaniment. I turn up the volume:

I Found A Reason
The Moon
Who Knows Where the Time Goes
The Greatest

We're still getting to know each other.


What's your favorite flavor

of scented toilet paper?

As you can see, we're almost done with peach.

Is this completely inappropriate? I'm sorry, it's just too incredibly weird not to point out. I wonder what sort of genius dreamt this concept.

#1 in the "Romania's Quizzical Quirks" series.

Stay tuned.


This is where I spend every (other) night.

I am coming back in the winter to re-create this photograph. Actually, I am just going to stay here forever. There are moments in the day when I have time to stop and think, and I sit and realize how incredible it feels to have such a big part of me filled. This is where I want to be.