I have looked death in the eyes few times. For others but also for myself. I have been often told that there’s no God and no afterlife, but folllowing my encounters with death I guess I am too convinced of the contrary to listen to those sceptic voices. I do respect what other people think, but respecting others will never reduce my beliefs to nothing, on the contrary.
Most of the people have an absolutely disgusted look on their face when they hear about death. Some venerate it. Some fear it to the extent that they don’t even want to think about it. We’re all aware it exists. Most of us cannot understand it. But the same death that means decay, foulness, nothingness and still, is part of us just as much as it has been part of our ancestors too.
People turn their face away from death because they are scared or because they have been taught that it can bring disease or that it is unclean. Or because they prefer to concentrate on the life, rather than see the whole process, black and white, doing and undoing, life, death and new life again. For the immediate you and me, what matters is today, what we do, what we have, what we eat, where we go. But we live in a society that is equally one of death as much of one of life, isn’t it? Or maybe even more one of death than one of life? We eat meat, we cut flowers, people hunt, people get cremated and buried or offer their bodies to science. People sell weapons and wars are being fought. Some people thrive while others starve to death.
There is not only the beauty and goodness daily put on display for sales targets, but also the reverse side of it all. There are not only new born babies and blooming flowers, but also dead people laid to rest and entire systems that revolve around death itself. From the undertakers that earn a fortune while dealing with grieving families to the little beetles that eat decaying flesh, all have a little part in it.
Some of the birds that have nested last year have died, and a suite of insects and plants contribute now to taking apart and redistributing every material atom of them. Every little creature and plant that dies gets quickly surrounded by a cortege of creatures, just like a circus that comes to town and gets very busy before the show. Behind the scenes of it all nothing gets saved or lost, but everything is transformed in new matter for life, and so new life can find the raw minerals needed for it to emerge again.
Many years ago, as I was dealing with the water that was trying to find its way into my lungs, I had forgotten who I was or what I wanted from life. What I had eaten that morning or what I had in my bank account had no meaning at all. It was all worthless and the only thing I could gasp for was a breath of air. I was, I guess, not different than a wounded bird that beats its wings one more time before it takes a last breath. A little part of me knew that it could have been the final moment that day. And yes, it was scary. Scary because I had no idea what was about to happen. Horribly scary because I had no control over my own life. There and then I was not ready to give up. Between few heartbeats and a hope for air it occurred to me that I had not appreciated life truly until then. And God how I wanted to live!
In a mysterious way, a hand has been stretched my way. Not only a friendly material hand, but also a divine one. Then, when I finished coughing, with a horrible salty aftertaste and a stomach full of seawater, feeling sick and wet, I thought that it was not the time to go just yet, not until I would have learned the lesson of what life was all about. I think I was determined to take life more seriously.
I think I understand life and death more now, but like any person that has been sightless for many years, I am now awfully blinded by the intense light of the truth. That moment of salvation, the spark of life in my veins and the thought that accompanied them cannot be the result of an evolutionist theory, they are rather a mystery that my human mind is not ready to embrace just yet.
Other creatures are unaware of the realities of our human life. Birds and animals and plants cannot understand our complicated life and needs, our food, our languages, our customs. They do not consider themselves the greatest in the universe like we do. They have no idea what mathematics or science are, yet they are very much alive and lead a simple happy life. There are a limited number of neurons in our skulls, how could they possibly perceive the infinity of the universe? It is impossible. I am convinced that us humans cannot understand the whole complexity of life, all the dimensions that surround us, all the beauties of the universe and even less the mystery and greatness of the Creator of it all.
900 words, Adela Galasiu, 2016
Photography: Adela Galasiu, May 2016
The Isle of Wight has many amazing attractions, from places in nature, to ruins and monuments. From red squirrels to dinosaurs. Countless tourists find beaten or undiscovered tracks and travel the Island enjoying the beautiful views. Yet the Island’s history will always be related to the lives of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who have created in Osborne House a family retreat and a home filled with many happy family moments.
Queen Victoria bought Osborne House in 1845. She had spent two holidays on the Isle of Wight as a young girl, in Norris Castle, the estate next door to Osborne. Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert liked the house and the views of the Solent. But when it became obvious that it was too small for their needs, they have decided to build a new residence in the style of the Italian Renaissance complete with two belvedere towers between 1845 and 1851. Prince Albert designed the house himself together with builder Thomas Cubitt, whose company also built the main façade of Buckingham Palace.
Because of the layout of the estate, gardens and woodlands, Prince Albert made use of his knowledge of forestry and landscaping. Below the gardens there was also a private beach where the Queen had her own private bathing machine.
The grounds include a ‘Swiss Cottage’, which was dismantled and brought piece by piece from Switzerland to Osborne where it was reassembled for the royal children, who were encouraged to garden. Each royal child was given a rectangular plot in which to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers, in order to then sell their produce to their father. Prince Albert used this as a way to teach his children the basics of economics. The children also learned to cook in the Swiss Cottage, which was equipped with a fully functioning kitchen. Both parents saw this kind of education as a way of keeping their children’s feet firmly on the ground in spite of their royal status.
The royal family stayed at Osborne for lengthy periods each year: in the spring for Victoria’s birthday, in summer for Albert’s birthday, and in winter for Christmas.
The domestic idyll at Osborne was not to continue. In December 1861, Prince Albert died at Windsor Castle. During her widowhood, Osborne House continued as one of Queen Victoria’s favourite homes, until her death there in 1901.
The house is now a very attractive English Heritage location, being at the same time museum and hosting various events throughout the year. It comprises also a lovely café and a souvenir shop with many attractive items.
For those of you who did not have yet the chance to visit the Isle of Wight, I warmly invite you to spend few sunny days and discover it for yourself. And if you come here take some time to discover this wonderful house as well. In order to raise your interest I take you on a quick tour. Please enjoy the art objects, the beautiful un-palace-like rooms and the great atmosphere.
500 words, Adela Galasiu, March 2016
Photos: Osborne House, by Adela Galasiu, February 2016, Isle of Wight, UK
Motto: In the beginning, the thinker, the feelings and the thought were one. It was bliss.
After a very long conscience sleep, he woke up wondering how he was spending his days. He was mostly trying to predict positive outcomes for his actions, but sadly that was not happening often anymore. As he opened his tired eyes, a heavy headache was hanging in his brain, writhing like an agonising phantom. His mind, populated by thoughts of the way he was spending his time, wondered if actually this was the way he was living his life. Was he living or wasting his life?
Aged 47, he was no longer a young idealistic lad, he had spent almost all his life indoctrinated that only producing and scoring matters. This has dried out his soul, that child soul he used to have that was able to taste, to smell, to feel joy and to abandon himself to the moment of happiness. All that mattered now was who you become, what you have, how much you can produce or how much you know. In the depths of his soul, he could not let go of the memory of being free, feeling, living, enjoying the experience called life. Yet, most of the time, there was no time to enjoy, feel and be happy, there was only time to rush, strive to be better and work. It all felt like chasing up a forever retreating ghost.
He could not help but think that there was a sort of innocence that was taken from him. An awareness and a consciousness that only illuminated people could reach at this time, and there were fewer and fewer of them. Generations of them have died trying to defeat powers beyond their strength.
The reality was cruel. Getting ready for work he feared that again he will have to face the cold domination of the metal race. Hardly any human had a chance to manage all the tasks laid ahead. Hardly any human could take decisions as fast as required or work without a break for 20 hours a day as requested. Exhausted, one by one humans were falling asleep standing and falling apart, while being replaced with clones, with no hearts but with powerful circuits. Soon even the few pushing the buttons in the control room were to be replaced, and a whole race was about to become obsolete. All people had become inhabitants of the same machine, batted constantly around by the same wheels that turn around faster and more painful than ever. The world had become abstract and cold, and the very brain that had created this reality was about to become obsolete in a universe of constant movement and flux.
Just like his ancestors, he had always fought for some reassurance and certainty in life, but generation after generation had failed to find the holy grail of peace. They have all died trying, tortured in a world that had become more and more aggressive, that had forced them to perform and produce more and more. A world that has robbed them of all innocence and all joy. A world in which one could not be present in reality anymore, because of the anxiety, inner torture and stress generated by the survival game. A game that looked very much like the experiments with rats racing desperately through mazes 500 years ago, hoping to find an escape. Yet he realised that he was only alive in this present moment, and by not being able to feel it and experience it he was robbed of all his existence.
That day he was unable to concentrate and work like he used to. The machine has quickly observed the abnormality and has taken him out of the assembly room. In a matter of minutes another, fast and cold, has taken his place. Nobody cared, there was no second chance, all that mattered were the numbers changing fast on the screen of a supervisor.
Broken and defeated he returned to the place he called home. Not a house, but rather a little capsule in a huge hive called now the city. Leaving behind the clay and divinity that created him, the memories of may successive lifetimes flew in front of his eyes for a second. With all the sensitivity encapsulated in his soul, lethargically and agonising , he was slowly dying. A new race , cold an ruthless, was taking his place. Future was there. Metal and circuits have crashed Adam.
Memyselfandela / Adela Galasiu, January 2016
Have you ever wondered what a copywriter actually is?
After thinking a lot about it, I have summarised it in 10 ideas. The perfect Copywriter can be described as:
1. The marketing guru, the only one that can make your marketing so efficient that you would not believe it.
2. The word magician that can make words jump through fire.
3. The business message conveyor, whispering in your ear the most efficient message for your customers.
4. The person pulling a no name business out of obscurity even without winning a medal.
5. The expert that can outsell the best salesperson without even talking to a customer, how about this magic?
6. The person who is both good with people and computers, who can all do amazing things in the presence of a copywriter.
7. The one who can reach you wherever you are. On the street, under the shower or in front of your computer.
8. The voice stuck in your head. Yes, the one that created your favourite add.
9. The writer that can write anything. About anything. Advertisement, brochures, content for the web or radio… and the list is neverending.
10. And of course, this person deserves a raise and a prize because they are just awesome! Not that it ever happens. 🙂
© Copyright 2000 -2015. Adela Galasiu
All Rights Reserved.
The “Three Little Pigs” is a fairy tale that has become very popular in our culture. It was originally written in England, the earliest credited story version being written by James Orchard Halliwell in 1849. The story appeared in a book titled “Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales.” It is not known if Halliwell, who later used the name Halliwell-Phillipps, created the story himself or has simply passed it down from his previous generations.
Halliwell was credited by Joseph Jacobs when he adapted the story for a book titled “English Fairy Tales.” Jacobs made changes to appeal to a younger audience. In the original story, the “Big Bad Wolf” was boiled in a pot and eaten by the three pigs. Rather than end the fairy tale in such a horrible manner, Jacobs adapted the tale, so that the “Big Bad Wolf” came down the chimney and burned his tail. In the Disney interpretation, the wolf lands in a pot of boiling turpentine, but runs away in pain through the chimney.
The basic story of “The Three Little Pigs” is a tale of three little pigs who each builds a home. The first one takes little time in building the home out of straw and spends the rest of his time playing and relaxing. The second little pig builds a home out of sticks, which takes a bit longer, but he too values relaxation time. The third little pig chooses to build a home out of bricks, which requires a great deal of time and effort. He values more taking the time to build a home properly over relaxation and recreation. When the big bad wolf comes to the homes, only the third pig’s house stands up to the pressure applied by the wolf.
The moral lesson learned from “The Three Little Pigs” is that hard work and dedication pay off. This idea that taking the time to perform a task the right way has been widely adopted by many teachers and parents of children for generations. It has became extremely popular in the United States with Walt Disney’s adaption of the tale.
Here you can find Disney’s adaptation:
In 1933, Walt Disney released an eight-minute animated film of the “Three Little Pigs.” According to the Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts, this short film has inspired many Americans through the Great Depression. Just as the three little pigs were able to overcome adversity through hard work, many Americans believed that their hard work would eventually lead them out of the Great Depression.
But starting from the Disney version of the story, the cinematography has continued to adapt, and it is really interesting to see how the story has been changed in time, in different moments in time and according to different trends, into:
a musical version
a reality version
an unhappy ending version
or an Italian Mafia style version.
The story has , like all fairy tales, a seed of truth hidden deep inside. And it can also mean something completely different to different people. The moral of the story nevertheless inspired generations to work hard for success, with the hope that one day the hard work will lead to success and happiness.
Yet, no matter how you look at the story and whichever your favourite version may be, enjoy it. 🙂
Memyselfandela, July 2015
In a far away land there is a city with hundreds of wise houses. Each house has a roof, a soul and an attic with two windows. Eyes scrutinize the birds that get back to their nests late at night, the grannies that bake homemade bread, the blatant children playing outside, the flowers raising their heads in the sun, the cats that purr in hidden corners, the dogs hiding their precious bones, the women that dream of the return of their husbands and the husbands dreaming of other women.
Every day opens a new color, a new hope, ends a life and begins others. Every evening sends to sleep all the rippled memories of the day, all the children and cats and birds and wives and husbands. Some of the grannies will sleep longer, other babies will get born out of the dreams of past nights. Some of the flowers will grow seeds, others will bloom, the stars will seem to rotate on the sky awaiting the rays of the same sun that has opened the eyes of all the children and women and cats and husbands and grannies and birds.
When morning comes the smell of coffee invades the streets. It fills up the sky and the staircases of all houses. As eyes open life vibrates, noises clash in the air, birds sing again, cats lick meticulously their paws and wash their furs with slow movements on the edge of wide open windows, dogs inspect every corner of their territory, children moan instead of waking up, wives pack lunch for their husbands, husbands go to work hoping that the day will be better that the other days. And even though life seems the same, it is always different.
In the city where houses have eyes life can still flow in unexpected patterns. Houses have eyes in Sibiu, Romania.
Intr-o tara indepartata exista un oras cu sute de case intelepte. Fiecare casa are un acoperis, un suflet si un pod cu doua ferestre. Ochi privesc cu mare atentie pasarile care se intorc la cuiburile lor noaptea, bunicile care coc paine de casa, copiii galagiosi care se joaca pe afara, florile care isi ridica frumosul cap in soare, pisicile care torc in colturi ascunse, cainii care isi ascund mult iubitele oase, femeile care viseaza cu ochii deschisi la intoarcerea barbatilor lor si barbatii care viseaza la cu totul alte femei.
Fiecare zi deschide o noua culoare, o noua speranta, sfarseste o noua viata si incepe altele. Fiecare seara trimite la culcare toate amintirile ondulate ale zilei, toti copiii si toate pisicile si toate pasarile si toate nevestele si toti barbatii. Unele bunici vor dormi mai mult, alti copii se vor naste din visele noptilor care au trecut. Unele flori vor face seminte, altele vor inflori, stelele vor parea ca se rotesc pe cer asteptand razele aceluiasi soare care a deschis ochii tuturor copiiilor si femeilor si pisicilor si barbatilor si bunicilor si pasarilor.
Cand vine dimineata aroma de cafea napadeste toate strazile. Umple cerul si casele scarilor. In timp ce ochii se deschid, viata vibreaza, zgomote se ciocnesc in aer, pasari canta din nou, pisici isi ling meticulos labele si isi spala blana cu miscari foarte tacticoase pe marginea ferestrelor larg deschise, caini inspecteaza fiecare colt al teritoriului lor, copii gem in loc sa se trezeasca, neveste impacheteaza pranzul pentru barbatii lor, barbati merg la lucru sperand ca ziua va fi mai buna decat alte zile. Si desi viata pare la fel, este mai totdeauna diferita.
In orasul in care casele au ochi viata poate inca sa se scurga in tipare cu totul neasteptate.
Casele au ochi in Sibiu, Romania.
300 words / 300 de cuvinte,
Story and Translation / Poveste si Traducere : memyselfandela / Adela Galasiu October 2013 / July 2015
This is a simple story that happened in the moonlight. A story streaming from my own life. A story about a small moment that will remain for life in my memory.
Maybe many of you have a favourite band. And I bet many of you have hoped or dreamed To get the unique moment to meet the vocalist they like so much , or shake hands with the guitarist they consider to be the best in the world- maybe it is not so for others, but it is so for them.
My very favourite Romanian rock band is Luna Amara, a Romanian alternative rock/grunge band. The name means “Bitter Moon” in Romanian, and has been borrowed from the Roman Polanski movie of the same name, inspired by Pascal Bruckner’s novel with the same name.The band was formed by Nick Făgădar (vocals, guitar) and Gheorghe Farcaş (bass guitar) in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, in September 1999, in Romania. I had the chance to listen to them first time live in Sibiu, and I have discovered them much more after I left Romania in 2011.
Luna Amara has played on stage over 200 times in the past years, throughout Romania. As a live act, this Romanian five-piece outfit has a style that combines heavy metal with alternative rock. Luna Amara is also the first Romanian band to introduce the trumpet sound into an Alternative Rock style, a struck of genius in my humble opinion.
All the artists in the band try to dedicate their lives to promote and support a modern European society in Romania. Beyond the poetry in the love songs , their lyrics have often a political message, Luna Amară being also involved in ecological projects such as “Save Vama Veche” (protecting the endangered seahorses), “Save Roşia Montană” (protecting the wildlife and natural surroundings of a mountain area from cyanide poisoning caused by companies that extract gold) and other social awareness projects.
“Luna Amară” is one of Romania’s most successful rock bands and was the top selling artist in a national chain of music stores (Hollywood Music & Film) from July until September 2004. Their songs “Folclor” (“Folklore”), “Gri Dorian” (“Dorian Grey”), “Roşu aprins” (“Scarlet”) and “Ego nr. 4” reached number one in airplay charts at local radio stations around the country.
Throughout the years they have released several albums: “Asfalt” (Asphalt), “Loc lipsă” (Missing Place), “Don’t Let Your Dreams Fall Asleep”(where mainly the acoustic side of the band is underlined), “Pietre in Alb” (Stones in White), “Live la Conti” (Live at Conti). The band performed tours all over Romania in clubs and open air locations as well as shows in the Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey and played live at the Sziget Festival in Budapest.
They may be neither angels, nor heroes, but they are some extremely talented people. It is more than their personal love and feelings decanted in their music, it is also their passion and talent for music. I used to detach myself from stress listening to Deftones, Metallica and Incubus, but they are nowhere near Luna Amara. At least to me, because I am Romanian and Bitter Moon sing the longing and the pain in my native language. But it is not only this. I have discovered such beautiful blue sad profound lyrics attached to their music. They contribute with amazing poetry, not only with extremely versatile sound. Their songs are colourful, they bleed and ache, they are just beautifully alive.
Two years ago when I was back in Romania for few days I have tried desperately to buy their “Stones in White” album, yet no music shop or online store had it available, it was sold out. After a long online research I managed to find a link and I was promised to get the album the next night, when I was going back to Cluj in the evening for my next morning flight back to the UK.
The evening came, I took a taxi and we drove in the evening to the address where the recording studio was. It was a very simple encounter, but it has struck me very profoundly: Nick Fagadar, the founder of Luna Amara, met me almost in the middle of the night because he cared that somebody really wanted to have their album. He handed it to me with a kind smile , he shook my hand like a friend , with no pretentious gestures, and wished me to enjoy the music. I have been truly honoured not only to get the long desired album, but mostly by getting to meet in person the legend behind it.
There was something beautiful that I cannot describe radiating through him as we left him behind. I could not help but smile. The moon was shining, yet this time not bitter, but full of hope and mysterious meanings.
800 words, Memyselfandela , 2015