Tuesday, December 15

mirror mirror... uhm... in between...

It’s not been long since I first learned about marriage ceremonies in Islam – perhaps about 2 years, when I made Nafis describe it to me in great detail… And I remember I was very surprised when he told me that after the marriage ritual is performed, the groom and the bride see each other in a mirror. Naturally I was like – “But why? As if they haven’t seen each other before or won’t look at each other from then on”… Well he didn’t really manage to explain it to me too well, but… I have been thinking about it when occasions popped in. Like when I was reading “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and the narrator describes Miriam’s wedding – she sees a man’s big and quite old face in the mirror and thinks “so this is my husband”… And then when Nafis’s childhood friend got married and I saw pictures of the bride and the groom and the mirror J

So last night as I was trying to fall asleep I was randomly thinking about this again… (quite random, I admit). But I was thinking of me being the bride (ami jani - jani, bhaia…) and having that mirror in front of me thinking ‘so this is, now, my husband…’ So I realized that, despite different interpretations of this mirror as being a symbol of purity and cleanliness, or a window to the Holy Quran, which is usually held under the mirror, or for good luck, or because the bride and groom are supposed to be shy and not look at each other in front of their parents… that mirror has quite a definite and rational role in a discreet way… which is exactly of realizing that the person sitting next to you is now your husband or your wife and seeing them as they are…

I realized recently that the image we have of ourselves is our own image and not really how the others see us… and I mean this literally, not the larger image of self that each of us have… I realized this on a recent visit to the Wellcome Collection, where they actually had a mirror that reflected the way the others see you – quite cool and it’s weird that I never thought of this before. So this ‘truth’ mirror shows how the other people see you – and it is a different image and, for me, it was a weird sensation... I also remembered that, when I look into the mirror and there is someone else besides me, my image of them is somewhat different and I often have the sensation of - ‘oh, so this is X…’. And this is because I see them as they see themselves and not as I usually see them!

So, coming back to the mirror and the wedding – it all makes a lot more sense now. I guess when one looks into that mirror and sees their new spouse it really is a moment of “So this is it! You’re my husband/ wife now and with you as you are I will spend the rest of my life (or a number of years, depending on the perspective :P). And with you as you are I’ll share everything and with you I’ll have to deal every day.” And hopefully, and perhaps if they love each other, they would also thinks something like ‘cool, I can really imagine doing that – I’m glad it’s you J

I suppose this would really help at a time when one minute you’re single the other you’re married and so many things happen around you.

In conclusion, I don’t know how this whole thing sounds, but I feel like it’s a nice working theory for myself J and it feels good when I can explain myself something – not that this is not what my brain does every day.

Saturday, December 5

Enough and Sufficiency

I went to a roundtable talk today on this topic and it gave me some thinking to do... Very interesting talk indeed - part of a day long conference on the same topic, actually. I couldn't go for the entire thing because it was already booked out for students, but luckily I at least went for this talk that turned out a very fast passing 2 hours. Anyway, about the talk…

The main question was what is enough and how much is enough. A lot of it was climate change and environment oriented and some was also development oriented. And of course, there were examples given: like Simon Cowell or so (the guy from Britain’s Got Talent) who is not only filthy rich but also some kind of a snob because he eats out every day and he’s weekly meal expenditure sums up to more than 1,000 pounds (and that’s a lot of money! It got me through almost 2 months of living in London) and he uses this fancy black toiled paper (which, btw, they cutely call ‘loo’ here all the time) which also costs 10 pounds per roll… Another one was this lady who lived with 1 pound a day for a year and wrote a book about it – quite the opposite pole.

I think just bringing these two opposite examples up would make anyone willing to think to do so… And unfortunately there are too many relative terms involved in the questions that one may ask… What is enough for us to be happy? I enough just the minimum – edge amount/ condition for a decent living or is it having a good life? And then what is a decent living and what is having a good life? I mean, I would probably say that it’s decent to have a home with running water and heat and electricity and be able to afford food and clothes that are not torn or too worn off, medical care, and basic things like tv, phone and internet and a high school education.

But this is actually quite a lot and I’m now thinking that I’m quite demanding if I think what decent living would be from the perspective of a person who lives with less than $1 a day… And there are, unfortunately, too many of such people. But for them, really, a decent living would probably be just having enough food and water and a home and minimum clothing.

On the other hand, I remember when I was filling up the financial aid application for college there were specific spaces for amounts of money spent of clothing, entertainment, holidays, vehicles etc. in addition to food, utilities, education and healthcare. So I suppose that for an average ‘westerner’ decent living has a much higher meaning… perhaps going out at least once a week and being able to afford a vacation at least once a year or so… And no, I am not trying to imply that this is a bad thing, I’m just comparing points of view…

In Romania, I come from a middle class family (in the States or in London I’m probably underclass or sth J) but anyway… while I was in high school back home I put together a charity ball for this young single mom with 3 children… And I actually visited her and her children in her home and talked to her… it was a good life experience… She was living in this tiny house on a street you couldn’t go by car (and this is an industrialized city I live in) and there was a small room with 2 beds and another even smaller room before it that was the kitchen. Her husband or whatever he was had left to do stuff and ended up in prison and her relatives were either dead or alcoholics… and she had 3 small children so she couldn’t really work… They had no electricity or running water and barely any food or clothes… So we did this ball and it turned out a pretty big success… We managed to raise about $2-300, quite a considerable amount in Romanian money and we also collected a lot of clothes and cans, which we put in plastic bags. So when we went again to her to give them, we kind of filled her little garden; and I handed her the envelope with the money and she was shaking when I told her the amount because she had probably never held that amount all at once before… So now I’m thinking back… what was enough for that woman? She probably never expected to get so much from us, some high school students and she probably did think that what she got was more than enough and that maybe for a while her family would have, not only a decent, but a good life

A good life… still with no electricity or running water… with no vacations or tv… If I were to define a good life for me as I see it I would probably include in the description things like – being able to get at least a new item every 2 months, being able to travel for about every break, being able to go out at least for special occasions, and I would probably not even include things like unlimited internet or education – because those would be self-understood and already included in the ‘decent life’…

Is this more than enough? Yes… and I do realize it if I think about it… I do realize I could live very well without traveling and going out so much… but on the other hand, if I can’t afford to grant myself these luxuries I feel quite frustrated and sad… why? Probably because I got used to having them or because I see other people having them and naturally I think why can’t I? One of the speakers was actually saying that one of the reason for which we want more and more is to gain social status and feel that we have more and perhaps are better than others because we have more… And this surely is something true, but not always… I think it’s also the aspect of seeing other people having certain things, which either make them happy or ease their lives and then we naturally want them too… It’s like… you see people traveling the world – you want to travel the world too… it’s exciting, it’s thrilling, you get to see so many things… of course you want to do it too… and not because you want to prove them that you can do it too… Or iphones… one wants to have them cause they are great… they feel nice, they can do so many things yet they are small etc etc… And yes, there are plenty of cases when one would want the iphone just because it’s the ‘in’ thing and perhaps in a group you’re not cool if you don’t have an iphone, but somehow I don’t quite think this is the general case…

So yeah… a lot of talk to be made about this idea of ‘enough’… As with all the relative terms… Because such terms, more than others (like house) mean different things to different people… and it is hard to give a leveling definition or even convince everyone to use the same definition… But, at the end of the day, I think some things are clear to everyone… I believe that everyone understands that living on $1 per day or less is too little and therefore not enough… or than spending 1000 pounds per week only on food is a lot and therefore more than enough… perhaps too much most would agree… In this case, I’m thinking, wouldn’t it just be so much easier to stop talking linguistics and avoid these vague terms?!

There was a time when I was doing MUNs and so I was reading resolution papers… and there were FULL of such vague terms… everything could have been subject to interpretation… as are politicians ‘speeches… ‘immediate action is needed’: what does this really say? As I said, I think although some concepts are ambiguous and relative (like sufficiency), we all have a basic understanding that some of us have too little and some of us have to much and it would really help if we shifted some amounts… something like a population vector towards the equilibrium position in neural networks (neuroscience concepts)…

I want to live beyond the modern mentality where paper is all we’re really taught to create’… it’s a line from a song called Oxygen, by Willy Mason… worth giving it a listen…

picture 1: Not enough - Robert realized soon that, sadly, there were not many flying elephants like him, by Xpectro
picture 2: Evening Standard: Too much is never enough, by gwalton1

Thursday, July 16

New blog post

So... wow! I can't believe I really started this with so... if I were still in school I would have to pay 50 cents to my teacher :P we had a deal, so that we would get out of the habit of starting a sentence with 'so'. Perhaps here, in the US, I should have such a deal for a lot more words, like 'so', 'like' (oh, that's a big one!), 'dude', 'man' etc etc.
In any case... the truth is I started with 'so' because I don't really know what to say. I mean, I feel like I should write something, but I don't have anything particular to write about. Which is why this is such a random post - sort of finding what I need to write about. Like in last night's House episode (4.16) when he couldn't remember who was dying... oh, that was a sad episode...
This is the end of my post tonight.

Monday, July 6

What I learned from Facebook quizzes…

Facebook quizzes - everyone either loves them or gets annoyed by them. For me it's kinda both, but sometimes, esp when I'm stressed out, I find they are a good way of relaxing. And I find all these things about myself that I didn't even know about.I always wanted to put these up together somewhere, so here they are:

How will I die?             

I will die peacefully in my bed.

What type of cheese am I?   

I am a slice of American cheese.

What chemical element am I?  

I am iron, Fe.

The name of the man I will marry:   

I will marry Dan.

Am i a bitch?    

I am a classy bitch

What famous bitch am I?                            

I am Sinnead O'Connor - a fierce bitch.

What evil history personality am I?      


When will I get married?     

In my late 20s or 30s.

What alcohol am I?             

Laphroaig 10 Year Old Scotch Whisky!

How blonde am I?             

0% blonde.

How old am I really?             

I am really 20 yrs old.

Who is my perfect match?             

Someone enthusiastic and outgoing.

What is my stripper name?             


What do my eyes say?             

My eyes say happy

What perfume am I?             

I am Miss Dior Cherie

Who is the artists inside you?           

Leonardo da Vinci

How black am I?             

I'm 50% white

A quelle celebrite je resemble             

Je resemble a Monica Belluci

What sexual position am I?             

The doggy style

Am I a good girlfriend?             

I am 100% perfect girlfriend

What type of girlfriend am I?             

I am a romantic girlfriend

How am I rated in the bedroom dept?        

10/10 hot hot hot

How long will our relationship last?       

Our relationship will last forever

How perverted am I?             

Completely unperverted

Do I have a dirty mind?             

I have a dirty mastermind.

What celebrity should I marry?              

Jude Law.

What wild animal am I?             

I am a deer.

How virgin am I?             

I am 50% virgin – a vagina tease.

What is my sex outfit?             

Bad cop.

What type of lover am I?             

I'm a sex addicted lover and my lover wants only me.

What is my brandname?             

Giorgio Armani

What nationality makes the best lover for me?            


Picture by Max-B: Facebook 

Monday, May 11


So... 5 hours away from my Psyc 120 exam... I had a revelation - yes! yet another revelation. It is true I've been having quite a number lately, but! it's good... I like it. It's like I'm getting back a good part of my old me... who used to get a lot of revelations and ideas... After quite a while, I must say... It's probably because of college - I blame it on it. Not that it's bad, but it was quite a change in my life, and it's only now that I'm starting to re-balance myself... It feels good...

But this is not the revelation...

"I'll be always with you in your heart!" "I'll be always by your side, even when I'm not there..." They are words that sound nice... bring comfort to a lot of people. They used to bring comfort to me too, until I realized (too late?!) that they are quite some oxymorons that don't really mean much... I'll be always in your heart... it really is something like... I know you'll always think of me and... if you think I'll always love/ care/ support you, you, your positive thinking and my distant thought will help you... may God be with you... I know - it's a bit too much, but if you think about it...
The other one is pretty similar... I'll always be by your side, even when i'm not here... and I'll tell you everything is going to be fine. How about the person who will actually be by my side and really help me go through whatever crap this beautiful life will give me (no irony here... all words are meant as they are).

Bottomline is... I don't want you to be in my heart forever by myself... I only want that if I can be in your heart forever too... and then we can literally be on each other's sides...
Friend, Love, buddy... don't be in my heart always... be with me... let's be with each other!

Tuesday, April 28


I was confused… sad… weird

… I didn’t know what to do…

Everything was just so agitated and it felt like all the molecules in me were moving savagely in a complete rage and instability…

faster and faster…

And I couldn’t find my place, my peace until… until my ear came close to your heart and heard:

Pulse – pulse – and repeat…so calm… so organized.

So I organized my breath and let my mind loose to hear the pulses. Finally peace…

Finally, that air in and out in pulses cooled my body and I could feel you again:

warm… loving… with me…

But then I moved to kiss you… and our tongues became gradually cold.

My ear was away from your heart and I couldn’t hear it anymore – and the coldness of our tongues made everything noisy in me again.

I was lost… I am lost… like a dot of color in space, which you cannot find coordinates because it’s moving too fast –

I am lost in my life, and I need time for everyone to find... myself... I. Me.

Saturday, April 11

WHITE (by Irina A.)

        In the beginning we were breathing together, one from the other, as if each of us was the air of the other. In the beginning we didn’t know, everything was like a waiting, like the prediction of an intoxicating pleasure, as if we had restrained our craving for dreams and images expecting one that would cover all of them – special, overwhelming. Sometimes I think we were only waiting for a white light, that all we were looking for was the blindness and that this was the only one that could have convinced us. We were waiting to see each other until blindness. We were talking in silences. We were waiting and the words seemed to be floating, flying, jumping between us, I could touch them. They were the most real and alive words among all that we spoke. And all those who were watching us did not do anything but to see our conversations, word by word, syllable by syllable, sound by sound, words made of deafening images, noisy, painfully alive… as if… as if we had all heard the words by seeing them.

        Then everything was turning into a crumble of emotions and we were delved in the euphoria of our moods. And each of us was trying to make the other into stone. Stay like this – I was telling you, leave me a single real crumble of you. Let me live with the impression that you will never have another look than this one, let me believe that your words will never know another roundness, let me feel that the hours will never try another contour but this one. And our time was vague and subjective, and it was a time made of plasticine, a time of foam that we would reconstruct each time that we were feeling overtaken by it. And then, when we would eventually come back to a real world, when we would strangle the seconds, when we would crush the linear minutes, when we would thicken the hours on paper, thirstily, brutally, until we scratched them, until they were bleeding, until the paper would peel off and the color would touch the glossy plastic of the covers, then… then we only wished but for everything to dissolve in a blinding white.

        And we sewed the tips of our pointer fingers together and in the union of our hands we had hidden light. In the palm of my hand a sea of ink was resting, lazy, hungover, kissed on the half-opened eyes by a confused sky, unstable, imprinted by his hand. I believed in a future that only projected us into infinity and beyond the projection there was but a big and white patch, an unknown, like an end of our identity. When the words were fighting, noisy, when we only threw with cold and sharp glass crumbles, when the world started to shake and the walls were blackening, when the pieces of walls were falling and it was getting cold, when it smelled bitter and we were walking drunk towards the big patch of white, thirsty of humiliation and kneeling, when the edges were greeting us rounded in order to protect us and were bleeding our unsewn fingers, then… it seemed that everything was thrown from the skies just to be taken back. Then there were no saviors, nor decks for support. There were no hopes or caressing, and in all the stoves there were only piles of ashes. And any other proofs of affection were becoming disgusting, monstrous… appalling.

        Then the words, broken, disinfected, carefully bandaged on the bleeding parts, were smiling asthenically at each other, as in an abdication, as if after their thinning now they were only looking to round back up, absorbing any crumble of light, any harmonious bonding, any ruined wall. We could never remember the sites of the scars, and in their place there were only symbols left. And, in the end, when we assessed the damage in an old and limping barrow, when we were gathering our smashed illusions, bleeding hopes, and carbonized dreams from the battlefield, we always found memories that brightened our day. And we started to know each other again, as if each time, following a conflict, we both died in order to revive only when we would meet again. And, both defeated, we were looking at each other surprised, in a noise of neutral words, how we survived this time again, like for the last time…

        And outside night was falling in a sea of white…

This is an essay by a very dear friend of mine who unfortunately passed away this week needless to say too soon... but I guess I will just remember her as she was, given the fact that I still can't grasp or even imagine this... especially since it's hard to find a person that is so purely happy as she was... and so awed as everything that is beautiful or made her happy... She had a contagious jolliness and I guess I'll remember her every time I say something is preettyyy :)... 

She had a really nice way of using words to express herself and always touched us when reading her essays... so another friend really liked this essay and she kept it. I translated it because... because I thought other people might like it...