"My dear friends, I am writing these lines on the way back from your place...What a lovely week end! What a perfect spot! Niagara-on–the-Lake was made-up especially for your inviting house! The old downtown, the chic boutiques, the shimmering water of the lake, the cardinal twittering in the garden trees, the restful sleep in an impeccable bedroom, and the enticing aromas pending from your kitchen are the little treasures that I am carrying away with me today. Beyond any doubt, your company made everything even more meaningful. Thank you, I've been overwhelmed! I realize that I am going to see you again very soon, I am also aware that we've been knowing each others forever and a day; yet, I can't help jotting down a few lines, just to pour out my swarming thoughts... Might be the butterflies in my heart that toss and flip whenever I say goodbye to you? Or because every time I see you I understand there is nothing on this earth to be prized more than friendship...
I recall those young nights spent together backhome, in a Europe blemished by communism, nights spirited only by the never-ending debates about... fundamental truths! We were so green and so sure that we had all the answers! I can't stop wondering how true to yourselves you remained! You smile, Greg, right? As if yesterday, there you are in my mind: a huge pipe in your mouth, one eye lessened, watching us disdainfully..."Hey, pals, there is no need of complicated philosophies, and my heart is my guidance!" And the quality of your choices determined indeed the values of your life; you can face anything and prevail; nothing is too much or too difficult for you; you've taught us that perseverance is not a long journey, but many short races, one after another. Your secret? Your family, mostly that adorable baby girl of yours, Ruxandra! Whenever I think at her, waves of light inundate my heart! Maybe you would like to show us your wings one fine night, sweet child...
Anca, my dearest wise friend, the longer I live the more I admire your powerful attitude in front of life; you are my woman of substance replica. I remember you saying that we were unable to change the past, the inevitable, or the way the people acted, but we could play the one string we were given: the manner we approached things. "25% is what happens to me and 75% is how I react to it!"
Your life proved it: you majored cum laude in Accounting, but you never forgot how to write a poem! Consistently placed in leadership positions, you had a reputation for doing work well beyond what was expected. When you got married, I was your worried Godmother: what would happen to the bright Renaissance Woman? Profession versus Family? Nevertheless, you succeeded to become the kindest, most caring mother and wife I've ever known. And look at you now, how successful your own business is taking off! Your life has changed many a times, but never your goals nor your mind-set. Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors, though!
May God bless you all! Your home is a unique circle of healing, a place where you can be free...I will always hold you, true friends, with both my hands!
My arms around you for now."
I want to thank my old and dear friend, Tatiana for this wonderful letter she wrote and also for allowing me to use it to better portrait me and my family.
I speak English, Romanian, some French and German.
I was born, raised and have spent an important part of my adult life in Romania, Europe. The above images are from a historical, beautiful, cultural city I love deeply, the city I am coming from, Sibiu-Hermannstadt, in Transylvania, Romania. I was blessed to find, thousands of miles away, another town, I am falling in love every single day with, which I also love, with all my heart. It is Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.