Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fumatul in timpul sarcinii – ignoranta si egoism

Am vazut in parc cateva gravide care fumau si cateva mamici care alaptau cu tigara in mana. Mi se pare cel mai ingrozitor lucru. Este vorba in primul rand de ignoranta – copilul din burtica sau nou-nascutul si asa va fi expus unei lumi pline de pericole cum ar fi poluarea, hrana artificiala sau stress, dar mama ii mai administreaza in mod constient inca o doza de pericol, doar pentru ca ea nu are taria de caracter sa renunte la un obicei prost care nici ei nu-i face bine. In al doilea rand este vorba de egoism. O femeie insarcinata fumatoare demonstreaza deja ca ii pasa mai mult de ea insasi decat de copilul pe care urmeaza sa-l aduca pe lume. Poate suna dur, dar eu asa vad lucrurile. La orice slabiciune se poate renunta cu putin efort daca aceasta renuntare iti va aduce tie sau celor din jur un beneficiu pe termen lung. Nu pot compara fumatul cu nici o alta slabiciune, pentru ca nu exista nimic similar, poate doar jocurile de noroc, intr-o oarecare masura. Insa alea pot doar sa te ruineze financiar nu si pe interior.
Tentatiile sunt mari in ziua de azi, inclusiv pentru o femeie insarcinata, care poate isi doreste o prajitura apetisanta de la cofetarie (toate sunt facute din crema artificiala), o punga de cheaps-uri (otrava adevarata), o noapte petrecuta intr-un club de distractii (zgomotul foarte mare si fumul de tigara excesiv ii poate face rau bebelusului), etc. Dar inainte sa dam frau liber poftelor trebuie sa ne gandim ca nu mai suntem in secolul 19 cand se faceau copii pe banda. Acum varsta medie a gravidutelor porneste in general de la aproape 30 ani, multe fac si dupa 30, cand deja si asa exista pericole foarte multe din punct de vedere fiziologic atat pentru mama cat si pentru fat. Cand te decizi la o sarcina dupa 30 ani iti iei un angajament foarte serios pentru ca nu ai timp sa mai incerci inca de 5 ori dupa aceea. Si chiar am observat ca gravidele de 20 si ceva de ani sunt mult mai distrate, neatente si nu iau in serios responsabilitatea, poate pentru ca au tot timpul din lume sa mai incerce in cazul in care pierd o sarcina sau nasc un copil cu malformatii din cauza fumatului.
Din pacate si asa traim intr-o tara mizerabila care nu da doi bani pe reproducere si natalitate. Sistemul sanitar nu permite o urmarire normala a sarcinii pe bani putini. In aceste conditii de ce ne-am face si noi rau cu mana noastra? Un efort, un mic efort, dar satisfactia va fi mare atunci cand ti se va spune ca ai nascut un bebelus perfect sanatos. Intr-adevar, nu exista garantia ca va fi sanatos daca nu fumezi, dar macar stii ca ai facut tot posibilul sa contribui la sanatatea lui.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Revue de livre "Charly 9" de Jean Teulé

C'est ma première lecture de Jean Teulé mais je me déclare déjà presque conquise par le style du romancier, qui deviendra bientôt mon préféré. Autant de symbolisme, de profondeur et en même temps d'ironie et de sarcasme (à la fois comique et tragique), sont difficiles à trouver ailleurs.

Le destin de Charles IX m'était assez familier avant de choisir ma lecture, pourtant, le roman m'a profondément impressionné par une perception différente du personnage.

L'action débute par le complot du massacre, mis en place par Catherine de Médicis, Henri d'Anjou et le conseil de gouvernement. Je laisse de côté mon propre avis sur les vrais organisateurs, car c'est un roman et pas une biographie, donc les erreurs historiques sont acceptées. La veuve noire et Ses Yeux Chers arrivent à convaincre Charles de la nécessité du carnage en évoquant les arguments suivants:
- Éviter de lutter en Flandre contre l'Espagne catholique
- Utiliser le prétexte pour se débarrasser de Coligny, mauvais conseiller du roi selon Catherine
- Prévenir l'enlèvement de la famille royale comploté par les protestants
- Stopper les protestants qui s'emparaient déjà des villes et égorgeaient les catholiques

Le procédé employé par l'auteur pour montrer l'accroissement de l'effroi de Charles vis à vis des comploteurs est tout à fait troublant: «deux morts?», «six morts?», «cent morts?», «mille morts?», «trente mille morts?» Ce n'est qu'une répétition qui préfigure et augmente la tragédie.

La phrase «Ce ne sont quand même que des protestants» révèle une attitude inhumaine envers une religion qui n'est pas encore reconnue. Selon la mentalité des catholiques, le massacre ne devait être qu'une «grande lessive» approuvée par Dieu.

Charles n'a jamais voulu être roi, fait confirmé par le portrait qu'on lui fasse dans l'ouvrage et par ses propres mots. D'une certaine façon, le roi essaie de minimiser son rôle dans le massacre à celui d'un simple témoin, accablé par le malheur, incapable de prendre des décisions. «Agis comme tu veux, mamma. C'est ta décision...»

Les cris épouvantables des corbeaux «Quoi», «Crois» et «Croa» le jour de 24 août 1572 symbolisent la stupéfaction générale juste après le carnage, et la mort qui dominait le paysage.

Charles se rend compte à plusieurs occasions que son copain Henriot (futur Henri IV) «pue», mais c'est juste une métaphore utilisée par le roi pour se moquer de son esprit hésitant entre les deux religions, qui l'ai aidé en effet à survivre le massacre et à conserver ses chances à la couronne de France. Celui qui pue n'est pas franc avec les autres, il cache sa vraie identité.

Charles IX l'homme nous est révélé en toute splendeur dans les dialogues avec sa mère, Elisabeth, Henriot et Ambroise Paré.

Très jeune, au début de son règne, Charles commence à désirer la mort immédiatement après la St. Barthélemy: «Dois-je me retirer dans ma chambre ou dans quelque désert ou sous quelque rocher? Où fuir?» Sa propre phrase annonce sa mort pré-mature, perçue sans doute comme un refuge.

Le motif de l'autruche est très important dans la tentative de l'auteur de nous rendre le portrait fidèle du roi: «les autruches se mettent la tête dans le sable pour ne plus avoir à regarder les problèmes en face. Sinon, c'est un oiseau coureur.» On reconnaît facilement le caractère de Charles dans cette courte description: roi par hasard, né pour ne pas gouverner, aime laisser aux autres la liberté de prendre des décisions pour s'en débarrasser, et chasser en toute liberté. «Aux civilisations, je préfère les paysages.»

Après le massacre, Charles voit et sent des remords et reproches partout, même dans sa soupe: «là aussi, c'est plein d'yeux écarquillés de reproches qui me regardent!» Malheureusement les remords vont se transformer en obsession, l'obsession en maladie, qui va aboutir à sa mort au bout de deux ans après le malheureux événement. D'autant plus que toute la Chrétienté et le pape le considère comme «le vengeur du ciel», tandis qu'en vérité il n'est qu'un «jeune roi tueur».

Contre toute attente, quand le roi apprend la naissance de sa fille il se sent soulagé de ne pas laisser un héritier mâle à la postérité.  Un garçon, futur roi, lui aura-t-il sans doute reproché son pire exploit et il n'aurait pu justifier son acte.

Quand la démence s'accentue, Charles passe par plusieurs états d'esprit – il tue son chien, il a des crises de nerfs, des accès de fureur, (il se venge contre les animaux, mais en fait c'est après les hommes qu'il est fâché).  «Je ressemble à ces chiens qui sont entrés dans l'eau et qui ne peuvent regagner le bord car le courant les emporte si bien qu'en nageant toujours à la fin ils se noient.»

A un certain moment de sa folie, Charles manifeste son envie de tuer tout son peuple pour faire les gens oublier le massacre, et le bourreau lui devient un bon ami car ils semblent avoir trouvé beaucoup d'affinités.

En ce qui concerne l'aspect physique de Charles après la St. Barthélemy: «A vingt-trois ans, le roi aux rides profondes donne l'impression d'être âgé de plus de double...» - il est un homme consommé.

Vers sa fin, le symbolisme s'accentue, notamment quand il s'agit de l'immense quantité de sang perdu par Charles pendant sa maladie: «C'est tout le sang que j'ai fait verser qui ressort par ma peau!» La maladie est probablement survenue comme résultat de son bouleversement intérieur, son regret pour l'acte commis: «La honte me dévore autant que la douleur...»

«L'enfer, je l'ai déjà vécu sur terre.» - voilà les considérations d'un jeune homme extrêmement marqué par son destin. Du coup, l'autopsie du cadavre du roi relève un «cœur flasque et comme desséché: toute l'humeur aqueuse, habituellement contenue dans le péricarde, ayant disparu.»

Le final s'avère bien triste pour Charles aussi bien que pour nous, les spectateurs. Inévitablement, le roi est bientôt oublié et la guerre recommence. Il n'a été donc qu'une victime de son temps. Avec ou sans lui, le massacre de la St. Barthélémy aurait eu lieu.

Grâce à un décor et des scènes assez statiques, le livre de Jean Teulé pourrait facilement être joué comme une pièce de théâtre. Les commentaires sont inutiles, je vous invite à lire...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"La guerre des trois Henri" – dernières impressions

Je viens de finir la lecture de deux premiers romans de la trilogie "La guerre des trois Henri": "Les rapines du duc de Guise" et "La guerre des amoureuses" de Jean d'Aillon. Des romans plutôt historiques et d’aventures que policiers (trouvés au rayon des romans policiers...), mais assez charmants par leurs intrigues et machinations. L’auteur est visiblement tenté d’imiter le vieux Dumas, auquel il fait référence à plusieurs occasions, mais reste encore loin de ses aspirations. Parfois l’action se déroule trop rapidement et il y en a trop de personnages à suivre. Intéressant et captivant quand même... Je vais chercher le dernier tome: "La ville qui n’aimait pas son roi", pour finir la lecture de la trilogie et tirer une conclusion plus définitoire sur le style d’Aillon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Religion – accepting inheritance or making a choice?

I wanted to write about this for such a long time but, frankly speaking, I was afraid to make waves. Religious issues have caused wars in the past centuries and even nowadays people continue arguing about religion and keep imposing their religious beliefs on other people without realizing that such an attitude endangers our freedom of thought as individuals.
Every human being has the right to believe in whatever he/she wishes to believe in and nobody is entitled to compel him/her to believe in something else or to question his/her choice. But most of us do that consciously or unconsciously during our entire life.
Unfortunately, even atheists tend to engage into religious debates and never miss the opportunity to display the rationality of their own considerations on this subject. No matter our religious education we just cannot help trying to force other people to share our beliefs. I cannot understand why. Although we more easily accept vegetarians or homosexuals, when it comes to religion, conflicts always turn out to be deep and dangerous.
I was born in a Christian Orthodox family and baptized in an Orthodox church at a very early age, being unable to agree or disagree with my parents’ decision to make me an Orthodox. In our country children are simply condemned to continue the tradition, based on a decision that has never been theirs.
I have read many things on different religions ever since I grew old enough to ask myself various existential questions and the subject started to interest me as from a philosophical point of view. Like everybody else, I used to share my family’s beliefs out of habit, but as I continued to build my own assumptions I gradually realized that the religion chosen for me by my parents does not define me at all. I am not in any way against it and I would never try to convince my family that being an Orthodox is wrong, however I prefer to be offered the freedom of choice at this age, without being misjudged or looked upon as a traitor or a freak.
Theoretically I have this freedom but breaking up with tradition would definitely mean alienation from my family, a hostile social environment, and having to deal with people’s incapacity to accept my new beliefs.
I don’t want to criticize any religion in particular, but I perceive Orthodoxy as primitive, pessimistic and depressive, inducing a gloomy state of mind. The churches, the songs and the manner or praying inspire me nothing but sadness, melancholy and black thoughts (entirely personal & subjective perception).
In conclusion, I would like a different life for my child. I want to encourage him to make his own choices in every possible matter, including religion. At the right age, he would probably show some interest (or not) in reading about religion and decide what he wants to become. I would be fine with him not wanting to embrace any religion, choosing something among the existing ones or even creating his own personal faith. I still hope this beautiful perspective is possible and applicable without causing a social scandal.
We are not obliged to adopt our parents’ religious, political or any other kind of views. Religion is not a disease we have to live with, it is simply a choice we make. The important thing is to believe in what makes us happy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

No beauty during pregnancy

People say pregnant women look more beautiful than they did before. I think it’s totally false. When you see a pregnant lady who got fat you obviously cannot tell that to her face, instead, you try to approach her with more delicacy by saying something nice and cliché like: wow, you look even more beautiful!
Pregnant women cannot look better than they did before for several reasons. First of all, they are getting fat. It’s normal, it’s obvious and it’s visible. When a woman feels fat she cannot look beautiful, at least for herself. Secondly, pregnancy makes some odors almost intolerable, including make-up and creams. Most pregnant women tend to avoid make-up or stay away from it. And another reason is that morning sickness makes everything so unimportant, like wearing a sexy dress or a fine make-up. You’re going to throw up anyway, no matter what you are wearing…. So, why bother?
No beauty during pregnancy, that’s the harsh reality. But there is still hope after the baby is born to get back to the old mermaid shape or even better. It all depends on the woman’s strong will and motivation.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mai sunt moldovenii gospodari?

Moldovenii se considera gospodari prin definitie. Este aproape o mandrie nationala. Se spune ca moldovenii sunt harnici si au grija de casa/gospodaria lor mai bine decat alte popoare. Dar daca o sa vizitati Republica Moldova in zilele noastre posibil sa puneti la indoiala aceasta afirmatie legendara. Peste tot domneste un haos de nedescris. In orase strazile arata jalnic, unele nu au mai fost reparate din vremea comunismului (si au trecut peste 20 ani!), autobusele utilizate in transportul public dateaza cred ca din 1970, fac un zgomot infernal si scot nori de fum, scolile arata de parca ar fi cladiri parasite, stadioanele nu mai exista, majoritatea au fost lasate in paragina sau transformate in piete municipale unde vin taranii sa vanda branza sau fructe. Nu exista nici un fel de ordine, dar oamenii nu par sa fie deranjati de aceasta stare a lucrurilor. Fiecare isi vede de treaba lui, are grija sa fie curat si bine la el in casa, sa aiba ce manca, si nu mai conteaza ca scara blocului sta sa se prabuseasca sau curtea unde se joaca copiii e impanzita de buruiene.
Stau si ma gandesc daca se va schimba vreodata ceva. A trebuit sa vina comunismul in 1940 ca sa ajungem si noi prin 70-80 la un nivel de viata decent, la ordine si disciplina. Din 1989 lumea se plange de democratie si efectele ei dar nu realizeaza ca de fapt ce lipseste acum si exista atunci era o mana forte care ne dirija si ne disciplina. Moldovenii nu sunt in stare sa faca nimic fara sa fie manati din urma, eventual cu forta.
Cum se face dar ca in casele si apartamentele lor este atat de curat si bine dar nu ii intereseaza cum arata curtea din fata blocului? Nu zic, poate intr-adevar nu sunt bani pentru reparatii de drumuri si reabilitare cladiri, dar sa fim seriosi, nici dorinta nu exista. Ne-am plafonat, ne-am inchis in spiritul familiei si a murit demult simtul raspunderii pentru comunitate, solidaritatea si dorinta de a face un bine pentru altii, fara a astepta recompensa. Cu putina vointa am putea iesi macar o data pe an sa strangem gunoaiele din cartier. Dar nu ne intereseaza. Apropo, valabil si pentru Romania.
Am avut norocul sa-mi petrec copilaria in mijlocul anilor 80 intr-un sat din Rep. Moldova, care arata foarte bine pe vremuri, drumurile erau proaspat asfaltate, accesibile, exista un parculet in centrul satului cu leagane in forma de barcute pentru copii, scoala avea un stadion ingrijit, ba chiar se organizau competitii sportive acolo, exista pe vremuri si un club cu cinematograf pentru tineri. Am amintiri foarte placute din acea perioada. In momentul de fata nu se mai poate intra in sat cu masina, pentru ca s-a rupt podul de peste iaz si nu s-a gasit nimeni sa-l repare, iar ulitele au ajuns intr-un asemenea hal incat nici cu 4x4 nu le poti aborda. Era un sat vioi si plin de lume vesela. Acum nu a ramas decat vreo duzina de batrani care stau sa moara, restul au evadat la oras sau spre tari straine pentru a-si asigura un trai. Intr-adevar, vremurile sunt altele, somajul e in floare, preturile sunt mari. Dar poti sesiza o vadita atitudine de nepasare din partea tuturor iar universul in care traim nu poate fi definit decat HAOS.
Am fost si la Chisinau acu ceva timp, m-am plimbat prin centru si am ramas dezamagita. Arata gri si neinteresant. Halal capitala - trafic haotic, drumuri pline de gropi. Iaka asa.
Pacat de tarisoara asta si de oamenii ei atat de mandri de sangele care le curge prin vene. Nu ne-a ramas decat orgoliul. Suntem o tara de făluţi (aici ma refer si la clasa politica). Iar faptul ca fugim din Moldova si ne capatuim in alta parte nu e o mare realizare, caci in definitiv si la urma urmei pentru propria noastra tara nu facem nimic. Traiasca orgoliul moldovenesc! (= zero)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Picture hanging on a hospital room wall


I once wrote a poem about a picture hanging on a hospital room wall. It was about ten years ago. There’s an empty hospital room again, only this time the picture is real and the poem is undone. It’s the spirit that’s hanging. An indefinitely shaped spirit is haunting me. But the picture is definitely real. I have it all. Or almost.  At last I have something real to rely on, but still so intangible and hard to perceive.

Actors' Resemblance: Aaron Tveit & Charity Wakefield

I watched Gossip Girl season 3 and then Sense and Sensibility mini-series of 2008 and then I realized how much Aaron Tveit (playing Tripp Van Der Bilt in Gossip Girl) and Charity Wakefield (playing Marianne Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility) looked like each other. First I thought they might be brother and sister but apparently they are not. Judge for yourself by comparing the photos.



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Movie Review: The Secret Life of the American Teenager

I was looking for a teenage sitcom to cheer me up a bit and make me remember my adolescence days, when I used to have no worries and life was so easy. Someone advised me to watch “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”. To my disappointment, this TV series pictures a life which is even worse than my adult life!

First of all, girls get pregnant at 15 and end their childhood in raising a baby or getting married. Not likely to happen in reality, although I agree, there might be some exceptions.
Boys of 16 take full responsibility of their own actions and never run away from the girls they got pregnant. How far is that from reality?

Of course, there are teenagers who really get into such troubles but what are the odds of this happening to two girls related by the same ex-boyfriend? Amy’s getting pregnant really seemed like a pure accident but Adrian’s, hmmmm, not so much. It happened in a car, she was on the pill and they used a condom… Dear producers, you succeeded to scare the hell out of all the boys looking for sex in high school!

But what struck me the most was that all the characters could ever talk about was sex. If you listen to their conversations, the phrase “having sex” comes up once a minute. I understand the producers’ concern to warn teenagers against the dangers of involving into early sexual relationships, but don’t you think repeating the word obsessively will only make them want it even more? You know how reverse psychology works.

In “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” relationships are built on whether to have sex or not, which doesn’t always reflect reality. Back in my days, we used to go to the movies, take long walks, kiss in the backyard before returning home after dates and fantasize about the other person in a totally naïve and dreamy way. Maybe things have changed since, but I still believe adolescence to be much more than an obsession with sex.

If the creators of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” really aim to teach teenagers a lesson by presenting Amy’s or Adrian’s fate, their way of doing that is totally lame. How can you recommend young girls to take contraceptive pills at 15? Don’t you know they are totally unhealthy at that age? Restraining early ovulation can result in not being unable to conceive later on, true fact confirmed by specialists. Unless teenagers are resolute to take this road, I plead for condoms, as the perfect way to avoid early pregnancy or transmission of sexual diseases. They work in 99% of the cases. Or else, abstinence before 18.

As to the TSLOTAT dialogues, they are commonly long, iterative and boring. Characters are usually discussing insignificant issues and it seems like all they do is talk. The most commonly used phrase after “having sex” is “we have to talk”, like there’s always something important to say, but as we listen to them we realize how futile most of their conversations are.

The series started on the right foot, and I kind of enjoyed the first season, but as I moved forward to the second one, it gradually turned into a cheap soap opera. A week in the movie lasts as a week in our real life. After the first season I thought that each season’s action would end up by the beginning of the summer vacation. They weren’t able to do that during the second season and expanded the action so much that Amy’s trip to New York lasted for several episodes, which was really annoying.

The producer focuses on teenagers’ personal lives and neglects the importance of school. A teenager’s life mainly consists of studying rather than chatting in the school halls. The characters are so busy with considerations about sex or discussing apparently important subjects that they forget about what should be their main concern at their age: getting an education. How can you promote such an unhealthy perspective?

In their high school there are no real teachers (they are never there), just a counselor, who is replaced every year and interferes with the characters’ lives. It can leave viewers with the impression that school is only important for personal matters.

Parents are so involved in their children’s “secret life” that poor teenagers have no privacy at all. It’s very annoying.

I would go on and on about it, but I guess it’s useless. “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” is supposed to be life-like but it isn’t.
Dear teenagers, please don’t watch it, save your time, go to school, do whatever you like, just don’t take birth control pills and enjoy life!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chambord – the Dreamlike Castle

Pick a sunny day to visit Chambord. It will be the perfect occasion to take wonderful pictures inside and outside the magnificent residence.
The estate of Chambord is part of the vast French heritage, a unique spot in France and one of the top visited castles in the world.
The huge enterprise of building the castle was initiated in 1519 when the king François I was only 25 years old. Intended not as a place to reside in but rather to brag about, Chambord’s splendors were designed to display the French monarchy’s power and wealth. The result challenged both the Spanish emperor and the English king, who subsequently couldn’t help creating their own local imitations.
Chambord is undoubtedly the most eloquent example of Renaissance architecture, including a few late medieval elements. It is in fact a synthesis of shapes and decorations beautifully combined to offer surprisingly modern for those times loggias, terraces and facades.
The initial hunting lodge grew into an extravagant château containing 426 rooms, 77 staircases and 282 fireplaces. The entire construction appears delightfully graceful and well-balanced. The perfect symmetry makes it look like a doll castle from above.
It’s a pity that François I spent only 72 days of his reign here. He used to travel a lot and Chambord was not among his numerous residences, but rather a place for hunting and showing off to special visitors, like the emperor Charles V.
The construction was later on continued and finalized by his offspring Henry II and Louis XIV.
What I really enjoyed at Chambord was:
- the famous double spiral staircase - comprises two concentric spiral flights of stairs that wind independently so that two people each taking one flight can never meet
- the coach room - an exhibition of old horse-drawn carriages
- the terraces – offer a spectacular view over the entire estate
- the park - covers 5440 hectares surrounded by a long wall enclosing a forest and a national reserve for wild animals.
I strongly recommend visiting Chambord, one of the best attractions of the Loire Valley in France. You need two hours to see the castle inside and about 2-3 hours to discover the rest of the estate. There are some very nice restaurants just across where you can have lunch in the sunshine and enjoy the lovely view.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The truth about Moldova

- Moldova is a small ex-soviet country situated in the Eastern Europe
- Moldova is the last European country to be governed by the Communist Party (until 2009)
- Moldova has EU prices and third world wages - average salary is 100 euros, 1kg of potatoes -1,5€, a pair of shoes - 80€ and home heating energy bill in winter - 90€/month.
- 50% of the Moldavian population is working abroad to support families left at home
- Moldavians are very nice and friendly people unless you ask them about their history, which is painful
- Half the inhabitants sympathize with Russia and the other half with Romania, creating an atmosphere of mistrust and dissension
- Moldova has no president for over 2 years, due to lack of political agreement between the major parties
- Moldova occupies a surface of 33846 km2 but has more political parties than any other country in the world
- Most Moldavians are nostalgic about the Communist period when their lives were secure and simple
- Corruption is almost legal in Moldova, everybody knows but nobody does anything to stop it
- Moldavians really love their country, but they have never been able to protect it from invaders and submissively yielded every time
- Moldavians are obsessed with food and fancy clothes. They cook way too much on special occasions only to eat half of it, and wear fancy clothes every day only to display their wealth
- Moldova is a country of contrasts. The poorest European country shows off the most expensive houses, cars, clothes, jewelry. But in spite of appearances, most people are actually striving to survive.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ciudateniile francezilor, partea 3

Francezii se imbraca ciudat. Mai cu seama, vara ca iarna si iarna ca vara.

Clima in regiunea unde am stat eu (Tours, dep. Indre-et-Loire, Centru) este intr-adevar foarte blanda. Dar sa porti in decembrie, la minus cateva grade, sandale de vara, e cam exagerat. Da, sandale, iarna. Ce-i drept tipa avea pedichiura proaspat facuta, poate fi o scuza?

Imi aduc aminte ca asta iarna, cand ieseam dimineata in statie eram oripilata cand vedeam cat de sumar erau imbracati oamenii. Femeile, mai ales. Iarna ele nu poarta dresuri si nici ciorapi. Nici macar cizme. Poate nu au bani sa-si cumpere, asta m-am gandit.

Iarna e ceva normal in Franta sa vezi picior gol in pantofi, sau de cele mai multe ori in balerini (eu le zic "opinci"). Da, orice femeie de culoare ai vedea pe strada, cu siguranta poarta balerini. Iar frantuzoaicele albe au preluat moda. So common, so boring: Blugi + sacou + balerini + nelipsitul fular imens la gat.

Apropo de fular, a devenit o piesa vestimentara foarte la moda in Franta, in orice sezon. Atat la femei cat si la barbati. De obicei e lung si infasurat de cateva ori in jurul gatului. Cel mai bizar e ca iarna poarta fular dar nu poarta ciorapi sau cizme... picioarele nu merita aceeasi atentie ca gatul.

Acum ca ne-am lamurit cu iarna sa trecem la vara. Soarele straluceste, caldura te doboara, dar frantuzoaicele isi scot cizmele din dulap. Asta chiar mi-e greu sa inteleg. O gramada de fete poarta cizme sau bocanci vara. Nu conteaza ca se coc sau le put picioarele dar ele au impresia ca sunt la moda! Ah, si nelipsitul fular e tot acolo, infasurat bine la gat.

Acu cateva zile plouase. Dar a fost o ploaie de vara, nimic grav. Am vazut cel putin 10 persoane purtand haina, nu nu nu de ploaie, ci de iarna, like palton sau mantou. Si ce daca ploua, get an umbrella, for God’s sake. Presupun ca au o problema cu termoreglarea.

O sa ma limitez la atat, ca sa nu fiu prea dura. Concluziile le trageti singuri.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ciudateniile francezilor, partea 2

Atunci cand nu te duci la Paris ca turist ci cu treaba, orasul pare insuportabil si murdar. Paradoxal, dar asa l-am perceput eu. Acelasi oras pe care l-am descoperit acum 2 ani si care m-a facut sa ma decid sa ma mut in Franta.
Intr-un fel, imi aduce aminte de Bucuresti, la ordinea zilei sunt: aglomeratia, poluarea, numarul mare de masini si oameni, senzatia de sufocare.
Insa ceea ce m-a socat cel mai mult a fost atitudinea barbatilor la vederea unei fuste sau rochii. Bineinteles, cei care reactioneaza intr-un mod cat se poate de vulgar sunt preponderent negrii si arabii, dar se intampla sa se afle printre ei si francezi care de la distanta par ok, dar odata ajunsi in dreptul tintei pe care o masoara initial din priviri nu se pot abtine sa n-o evalueze verbal, sau s-o comenteze in public, prin cuvinte mai mult sau mai putin jignitoare. In fine, ca sa generalizez, intamplari de genul asta au loc si in Tours si probabil in orice alt oras din Franta.

Sincer ma asteptam la mai multa civilizatie. In metrou pute in ultimul hal, iar trenurile sunt mai vechi decat cele din Bucuresti si arata groaznic. Nici nu vreau sa mentionez ce fel de lume circula de obicei cu metroul prin Paris, motiv pentru care iti creaza aceasta senzatie de lumea a treia, chiar daca iesind la exterior vezi din departare turnul Eiffel sau palatul Elysée.

Atunci cand te duci la Paris ca turist, poate din cauza relaxarii si bucuriei concediului ai tendinta sa neglijezi aspectele negative ale orasului si te focusezi pe monumente istorice si culturale si splendoarea pe care poate intr-adevar s-o ofere acest oras plin de surprize. In caz contrar, orice alta ocazie de a merge la Paris poate cauza dezamagiri nenumarate.

Multi m-au sfatuit sa-mi caut un loc de munca anume aici, din motive materiale, dar tocmai aceste neajunsuri ale unei capitale (insuportabile pentru mine: aglomeratia, poluarea, zgomotul) m-au tinut la distanta pana acum.

Nu stiu unde voi ajunge sa lucrez sau sa locuiesc peste cativa ani, sper din tot sufletul ca nu la Paris, dar in orice caz, recomand Parisul doar ca obiectiv turistic, altfel orasul acesta cantat de poeti si artisti de secole poate sa-si piarda farmecul sau unic pentru totdeauna.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Updated cooking album

Check out my cooking album updated, mostly French recipes, but also Romanian and international. Copyright on photos.

Dreams coming true

Château de Chambord - visited in 2011
Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire - visited in 2011
Forteresse d'Angers - visited in 2011
Manoir du Clos-lucé - visited in 2011

Forteresse de Chinon - visited in 2011
Château de Chenonceau - visited in 2010
Château de Azay-le-Rideau - visited in 2010
Château de Langeais - visited in 2010
Château de Plessis-les-Tours - visited in 2010

Château d’Amboise – visited in 2010
Château royal de Blois – visited in 2010

Louvre – visited in 2009
Château de Versailles – visited in 2009
Château de Vincennes – visited in 2009
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye – visited in 2009
Château de Fontainebleau – visited in 2009
Basilique de Saint-Denis – visited in 2009


Yet to come:  Saumur, Montsoreau, Loches, Ussé, Villandry, Cheverny, Nantes, La Rochelle, Brest, Calais, Pau

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ciudateniile francezilor, partea 1

O sa incep cu pauza de pranz. Intre ora 12 jumate la pranz si 3 aici nimeni nu lucreaza (nu stiu cum e la Paris, eu vorbesc de provincie): toate alimentarele sunt in pauza de masa, bancile sunt inchise, nu poti plati o factura, nu poti cumpara o apa. Pe strada e agitatie maxima, dar nu in sensul ca e trafic; lumea se plimba sau sta asezata pe banci, pe jos, pe unde se nimereste, si mananca sandwichuri, sau isi desfac pachetele de mancare aduse de acasa si se pun pe mancat, fara nici o jena. E clar, 2 ore la pranz, nu ai ce face, trebuie sa renunti la orice planuri si sa te asezi si tu pe trotuar sa halesti ceva, ca sa fii in rand cu lumea.
Prin birouri se pleaca la ora pranzului pe la restaurantele din zona, unii mai norocosi dau o fuga chiar pana acasa pentru o gustare copioasa si eventual o siesta rapida.
E ca si cum dintr-o data cand suna ceasul 12, timpul se opreste in loc. Oamenii se relaxeaza. Nimeni nu te judeca daca te odihnesti timp de 2 ore la pranz. Se presupune ca ai muncit destul pana in 12 si vei mai munci suficient dupa ora 2 sau 3 pana seara la 5 sau la 6. Daca stau sa calculez, aici se munceste de fapt 7 ore pe zi, nu 8 sau 9 ca in Romania. Nu ca ar fi oamenii mai lenesi, dar au anumite obiceiuri pe care le respecta cu strictete. In schimb daca te apuci sa mananci pe la 3 sau 4 dupa amiaza deja e ciudat. Eu una mananc cand mi-e foame, nu tin cont de ora, dar aici este imposibil, in primul rand pentru ca restaurantele nu servesc mancare decat intre 12 si 2 apoi abia seara dupa 6. Deci daca te apuca foamea dupa amiaza nu ai alta solutie decat sa-ti cumperi ceva de la un supermarket (care din fericire e deschis la ora aia !) sau sa te infrupti din pachetelul de acasa pregatit cu minutiozitate din timp.
Dupa ce iau masa la pranz francezii isi beau cafeluta undeva la o cafenea, unii din ei se duc in parc si citesc o carte. De exemplu daca iti ia o ora sa mananci, si ti-a mai ramas o ora, nu te duci ca prostu la birou si iti reiei activitatea ci iti valorifici si a doua ora de pauza relaxandu-te pe o banca in parc cu cartea in brate sau stai la o vorba cu colegii pe terasa. Si nimeni nu-ti zice absolut nimic. Asa e normal. E pauza ta, e dreptul tau sa stai, sa nu faci nimic. Doua ore.
Daca ar auzi asta angajatorii din Romania, s-ar cruci. La noi pranzul se ia mereu pe fuga, iar daca stai mai mult de 15 minute la bucataria sau cantina firmei deja esti susceptibil sa primesti priviri rautacioase din partea colegilor, iar daca mai ai tupeul sa scoti si o carte din geanta, deja intreci orice bun simt. Pentru a atinge standardele locale trebuie sa fii capabil sa lucrezi non stop. Ciudat e ca Franta prospera in continuare dar noi suntem inca in profunda recesiune. Cum e posibil? Stau si ma intreb la ce nivel se simte oare productivitatea romanilor.
In orice caz, sa te duci la magazin la ora 1 ziua si sa pupi usa nu e chiar placut. Iar daca nu-ti cumperi paine pana in ora 7 risti sa ramai fara paine pana a doua zi, caci nu mai ai de unde. E inchis peste tot. Orele de odihna la fel ca si orele de munca sunt sfinte. O fi bine, o fi rau, ramane de vazut.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gand de primavara

Chiar daca sarbatoarea de 8 martie are conotatii socialiste la origini, e placut sa avem si noi, femeile, ziua noastra. Nu ca ne-ar baga cineva in seama in mod deosebit pentru ceea ce suntem sau facem cu adevarat, majoritatea urarilor sau florilor fiind daruite mai mult din obligatie, dar macar avem ocazia sa ne bucuram, noi intre noi, femeile, ca existam, ca datorita noua se intampla multe in lumea asta, ca avem un cuvant de spus, iar farmecul nostru poate cu siguranta da peste cap orice, in orice moment al vietii.
Astazi, un gand bun de primavara, cu soare si zambet, pentru feminitate.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The unstoppable French mailman

Forms of modern communication evolve everywhere in the world as digital platforms gain ground in the market. But ever since I have moved to France 6 months ago I gradually realized French people are a bit different than other Europeans, in terms of communication habits. Whereas in most European countries Internet has long ago been crowned as the favorite communication way, in France the post has not yet been dethroned. Emails seem to remain insignificant facing the serious competition with written/printed letters/documents, which continue to be regarded as of outmost importance.
It is true that the number of Internet users increased in size over the past few years, but the percentage hardly reaches other countries’. France, a modern, emancipated country, chooses to remain conservative, who would have imagined?

The postal system has always been a major institution here and the cyber revolution did not affect people’s confidence. The French mailman delivers not only official letters (and there are piles of them!) but also all kind of envelopes containing more or less important notifications issued by banks, other authorities, retailers, bills, etc. Sometimes such papers might contain confidential information. Leaving them in the mailbox is a bit risky, as there’s a small chance someone else gets hold of the letter.

Internet does not currently have so much power in France as it does in other countries. For example, if you send your resume by email there’s little chance to get an answer at all. (I can tell you that from my own experience). But if you apply by post, the chances visibly increase and you will surely receive an answer within several weeks, whether positive or negative. Imagine my surprise when I got a reply by post after having applied for a job online! Unbelievable but true.

Most companies have unlimited access to Internet and even encourage employees to explore its opportunities but seems like thousands of emails are often lost on their way, delayed or deleted without any specific reason, simply because the information does not come along printed on paper, in an envelope and with a stamp on it.

Blogs and social networks’ popularity is undoubtedly growing in France as in other countries, but after 6 months observation and talking to people there is clear evidence that French are not so crazy about sharing their life on social networks. Most of them have a Facebook account but rarely go online or display a visible tendency to deny any request from people they don’t know (unlike Americans, for instance, who seem to be much friendlier to strangers). Apparently lots of parents forbid their kids to use social networks thus intending to keep them away from negative influences.

Every country has its own habits, and each individual is given the option of choosing between email and classic mail, but seems like the French mailman will probably still be busy for the next few years, until people decide to break with tradition.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chinon, an authentic medieval fortress

Chinon is probably not the most beautiful fortress you could visit in France but it surely requires our attention for several important reasons:

- It was built on some ancient Gallo-Roman ruins, dating from the 5th century
- At the beginning of the millennium it was held by the Counts of Blois and then seized by the Counts of Anjou, who fortified the existing castle and turned it into one of their principal residences.
- Chinon was the setting for the famous conflict between Henry II Plantagenet the king of England and his son, Richard The Lionheart and the place of imprisonment for Eleanor of Aquitaine, his wife.
- The fortress is captured in the 13th century by the king of France, Philippe Auguste, who takes time to improve the fortifications and celebrates at Chinon his marriage to Isabella of Angouleme.
- Chinon also witnesses the historical encounter between Charles VII, the future king of France and Joan of Arc. In 1429 she is received by Charles who agrees to grant her an army, anticipating the re-conquest of the kingdom of France from the English after 100 years of war.

The citadel consists of 3 wings: the Fort Saint-Georges (not open for visits, reserved for archaeological excavations); the Château du Milieu reachable via the Tour de l’Horloge (however I didn’t see any clock on top of it) and containing the old royal apartments that can be visited as well as a small museum dedicated to Joan of Arc - rooms are not furnished all quite similar in terms of architecture; and the third wing - the Château du Coudray, which consists in fact of several towers hiding a remarkable military art work: one of them, the Argenton Tower is famous for holding the dignitaries of the Order of the Knights Templar and the Grand Master Jacques de Molay who were later on burned in Paris by Philippe le Bel (1314).

Overlooking the river Vienne, Chinon fortress leaves a powerful impression mostly due to its authentic ancient towers where you can actually go down to the lowest level by taking some very narrow spiral staircases and mysterious passages await you at ditch height. The towers are all a prime example of medieval military architecture, typical for Plantagenet castles.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Repères historiques du mois de janvier

1er janvier 1515
Renaissance - la restitution de belles-lettres… une nouvelle époque commence. Un roi chevalier, lettré, amoureux et politique d’une taille imposante, vêtu de blanc, accède au trône de la France, François I. Il va veiller sur son royaume pendant 32 ans, décidé d’affermir le pouvoir royal, de protéger son peuple et de transformer les arts dans une religion. La plus belle et prospère période du XVIe siècle français débute ainsi sous les auspices de la salamandre qui "nourrit le bon feu et éteint le mauvais".

5 janvier 1589
Cette fois la France est vêtue de noir. La Florentine reine de France, nièce de pape, mère de trois rois, est morte à Blois, à 70 ans, finalisant une époque de conflits religieux sanglants dont elle a toujours été l’arbitre. Savante, constructrice et diplomate, Catherine de Médicis a fait une carière exceptionnelle de femme politique dans un siècle qui n’a pas su l’apprécier. Légendaire veuve noire, image créée par les romanciers, Catherine a encore besoin de notre soutien pour restituer sa réputation de mécène des arts, de la science et de la tolérance politique et religieuse.

8 janvier 1499
La chapelle du château de Nantes ressemble une nombreuse audience à l’occasion du second mariage d’Anne de Bretagne avec le roi de France, Louis XII. Action politique menée à maintenir la Bretagne rattachée à la France après la mort de Charles VIII, le traité de mariage était beaucoup plus favorable à Anne, qui a désormais la maturité et les circonstances nécessaires de régner comme une vraie souveraine, sans aucune influence féminine dans son entourage.

9 janvier 1514
Anne de Bretagne quitte ce monde à Blois âgée seulement de 38 ans, entourée de ces proches, en confiant sa fille Claude à Louise de Savoie, dont le fils François elle accepte finalement comme futur gendre. La dernière reine de France dont la main vaut une province... Cataloguée comme "une bonne Bretonne et une mauvaise Française", Anne a été en fait une autre Isabelle de Castille, autonome, autoritaire, fortement politique dans ses choix personnels - une véritable reine.

19 janvier 1544
Une vie courte et amère pour le roi de France François II, nait à Fontainebleau en 1544, fils de Henri II et Catherine de Médicis et mort 16 ans après... Predestiné à un grand avenir comme son aïeul François I, dont il hérite le nom, il n’a pas eu le temps de s’affirmer. Inexpérimenté et de santé fragile, dominé par deux figures fortes: sa mère et son épouse (Marie Stuart) et influencé par les Guise, François II sauve la France d’un échec politique imminent en mourant d’une otite devenue un abcès.

26 janvier 1477
Tous les événements importants de la vie d’Anne de Bretagne se déroulent en hiver. Le premier est même sa naissance à Nantes en 1477. La loi salique ne jouant pas en Bretagne, après la mort de son père, le duc François II, elle devient l’héritière du duché fortement disputé par la France. Ruiné par une guerre interminable, son peuple sacrifie la petite duchesse en l’offrant au roi de la France en échange pour une paix désirée.

27 janvier 1547
Le plus controversé roi de l’histoire d’Angleterre, Henry VIII, trouve sa mort au Palais de Whitehall après une vie tumultueuse et marquée par un grand nombre de guerres avec l’Espagne et la France, disputes religieuses, conflits avec le pape, six mariages à dénouement tragique, exécutions et hésitations concernant la légitimité de ses enfants.

29 janvier 1601
La reine de France la plus sage et pieuse, Louise de Lorraine, survie encore 12 ans après la mort de son mari Henri III, assassiné en 1589 suite aux conflits entre les protestants et les catholiques. Jusqu’à sa mort en 1601 elle prit un deuil qu'elle ne quitterait plus, donnant ainsi un exemple digne d’être suivi. La "Reine Blanche" a passé les dernières années de sa vie au château de Chenonceau, reçu en héritage de sa belle-mère.