Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Growing up (Part II - My Mom)

It’s me again! Ah! Incredible, I know!

I took a couple of days off this weekend to go home. I did not have the time to take the pictures I wanted to so that I write the second part of my growing up - there should be about a dozen parts to cover all the stupid things I've done! - but I promise I'll get back on it as soon as I have the chance. 

Still, there is another side of growing up that I would like to write about; the part where I always wanted to include my mom in. As most of you know (I think! haha) I’m a single parent child. So of course, that comes along with the struggles and benefits of the situation. Now that I think about it, there wasn’t a lot of struggle involved (nothing that I couldn’t handle), but surely there were plenty of benefits. One would be that my mother is my best friend. So we have our differences, like any kid would with her parent, and yes, she is annoying every now and then, but I hate to admit that 95% of the cases she has been right about things. So I guess I have to swallow my young pride and give her the credit she deserves for being a feisty little momma when battling me on various issues.
The morning when we left Frinton on Sea to return to London and then back home! 
I am and have been the constant and profoundly grateful witness of her struggle to make things happen for me. She has backed me up, pushed me, supported me, encouraged me, kicked me and shoved me onto the right path in any way possible, beyond and above her potential as a human being and parent.

I’m mentally going through the thousand memories to pick one and tell you about it. Ok, here is one. She handmade all my customs for ballet and all my customs for the school plays I was in as a kid during the end of the year ceremonies. One time I wore her wedding tiara when I was Snow White’s evil step mother (who else!? hehe) That’s a lot of sewing right there, for a kid who kept growing very fast (at 13 I was the same height I am now because of ballet). I still have them all neatly stashed away in my secret ballet shrine. And I’m going to think twice about giving them to my daughter if she wants to do ballet hehe

Oh, yes, here is another one. When I had my graduation exams in college. I had 7 exams all in all, only one in Romanian. Everything else in English and French.  Now - mom understands some French and she can speak some back, but English is Chinese in a dead dialect for her. Yet she came over to Sibiu to be with me and she tried to help me rehearse some of the more difficult subjects. It was hilarious. I would repeat out loud stuff from my summary papers and I had to spell out everything so she can follow. I was so scared that I could not remember all the names, dates and God knows what else and somehow I was also under the impression that I needed to know my thesis by heart (all 160 pages of it!) that by 5AM that morning I refused to go take the exams. I was convinced I would make a fool of myself. I cried and I bitched with everything I had, telling her “Ask me! Ask me something and you’ll see I won’t know the answer!” I think I am the main cause of at least half of her white hair, one third from that night alone.

I remember calling her during exams to complain about some tests: “Yeah, I had that Legal French exam. Yeah. It was hard as all hell. Yeah. No, I mean if she gives me a 4 (F) I would be honored. I’m such a stupid cow. An idiot. Like total idiot! No, I’m not kidding mom. Seriously. No, mom! Why do you always expect me to get As? What’s wrong with a B or F? Can I fail just once? What? No! I can always retake the exam in fall. Why not? Others do it! Why am I different! Yeah, fine, whatever. You know I can never study at home! Yeah, we’ll see.”

Mom: “Sooo, how was it? It was easy I bet! You always say that and you never get Fs! I don’t care about your colleagues, I care about you and I know my kid. You’re surely gonna get an A. Well I do because I know you’re that good. Plus you always get mad if you don’t take good grades. B’s no good, and F for sure is not good. I thought you wanted to keep your scholarship. Doesn’t it feel good to have your own cash? Fall? You want to ruin your vacation to study? Just make an effort now. How many more exams do you still have? Just come home and mommy will take good care of you and you don’t have to worry about a thing, just study. And you’re not a stupid cow. You always say that.”

I got an A+.

Whatever. The exam was damn hard. Mela wass right!!! … and mom was right too!!!

Regardless, so we don’t get lost in endless memories, the point is I always wanted to do something significant for my mom. As I see it, the wheel keeps spinning and there will be a time for Mela to do something for her mom. As a student she never let me. “No, stop spending money on me!” and all that crap. Still, every now and then I managed to slip in a gift or two. After earning my first money from private tutoring, I invited mom downtown to have cake together. It was midwinter and my frozen mascara dissolved down my cheeks when I entered the shop, but who cared! Mom had accepted my invitation and nothing else mattered! Then, when I got my scholarship, I took her out to the restaurant which was an immense challenge because she wouldn’t want to order too much so I don’t waste my money. Eh…

Nevertheless, my dream was to take her abroad. I wanted her to fly, to see howt it feels like. To experience things she’s only seen on TV. To let her be the kid for once and I to be the mom and look after her. I knew that on her own she’d never do it. So last year I broke open the piggy bank and said: “My birthday’s coming up and we’re leaving! And you can’t say no, because I deserve it, and I want it and we have the money. And we can’t refuse an invitation from friends either!” Of course, there was an ongoing back and forth for a while but eventually, she said yes. 

I must say, I was a little worried to know she will get on a plane with her low blood pressure and you know, the excitement and everything. But that went away after I bought her a camera – she’s a picture freak! I seized to exist after that. So this is how our adventure in England began. She filmed and took pictures of everything and anything.
We were wondering around the gardens and small streets of Frinton on Sea and she was checking her camera to see how much memory she was left to take some more pictures of flowers... :)
At the Science Musem. We were taking pictures of each other hehe
Two cameras are never enough! :) Even though these were not the originals parts of the Roman Column, she still took lots of pictures from all angles.
And on the Cruise on the Thames she killed the battery. I believe we had at least 4 sets of batteries from home and we bought some more from London :)
She is a much nicer kid than I ever was. We visited the major attractions in London and she waited patiently in every queue, no matter how long. I took her every day to a different restaurant so she can try anything from Indian to Chinese food and even though she’s not into spices and she went for it gladly. We went to the National Art Galleries because mom did a lot of arras (goblen – or otherwise known as the very detailed meticulous embroideries after famous paintings). So she had her chance to see some of those paintings for real and I spent a few hours translating all the info about the authors or simply admiring the beauty of the antique talent displayed along the vast corridors of the gallery.

All things considered it was an incredible time where even the weather was on our side. We did not get a drop of rain all week. In London! Hehe. So now that this essential milestone had been touched, I needed to try my luck again, so this year I asked her where she’d like to go. She hesitated at first but she’s my mom and I know when I stand a chance and when I don’t. And I felt lucky that day. She said: “I’d like to meet the family where we sent the puppy.” (note: earlier in spring we sent a puppy to Munich to an adoptive family).

And Munich it is. October 19, mom and I will be on our way to meet new friends and rejoice old friends.

Here are a few pictures from our little adventure!
- (: just click on the pictures to see them in a bigger format :) -

Also for a more personal approach to things, I posted on Facebook a small video of mom and I in Hyde Park. I say no more :) Here is the link.


At Parkers, mom's favorite place in Frinton. A sort of flower shop and a cafeteria at the same time. And these ducklings were roaming free with their mom around the tables and the flowers.

At the National Gallery of Art listening to the soothing sound of the fountains in the heart of a buzzing metropolis. 

At the Parliament gates when she insisted I take a picture of her and this cop... Poor guy, he was on duty that day but mom took pictures with all the royal guards so she wanted to add the simple officers on the list as well :)

Above the Thames crossing to go to the London Eye.
The North Sea, cold, extremely windy but welcoming and fun to visit on a warm sunny day in Frinton on Sea.
In the capsule on the Lodon Eye. It took forever to get on it but the 45 minutes spin was worth while, like the view.
I took mom to the local Arcade. haha. We got down and dirty with some kiddies bowling, 3D roller coasters and idiot coin games where we never won anything. Then off to the pontoon to get a really close look at the sea bellowing beneath our feet!
HA! The London Eye and our worn selves still hanging on!
There she is! Off the London Eye and to the Aquarium!
She didn't know who this guy was but he looked funny enough to be worth while a picture!
At the science musem inspecting a crocodile skin.
On our way to a small village up Frinton. Mom was asking for directions from a local... in Romanian :) She loved the horse and luckily for her there were a lot of stables around and a lot of nice people to let her pet the donkeys and horses. There was also a small pond swarming with ducks of all sizes and a boy swan :) They told us that his mate had died a few years back and he had never left the pond since :( So they took care of him together with the geese and ducks :)
At British India, an Indian restaurant where the food was, of course, rather spicy. But that was of no interest as long as the waiter kept mom busy by turning that napkin into a hundred shapes, teaching her how to make Turkish slippers and fans out of it :)
At the Aquarium admiring the animals up close.
At Covent Garden. We passed this guy by and mom asked me what he did, standing there motionless. I said "Go next to him and you'll see". She did, I threw in a few coins and he came to life impersonating Mr. Bean. Mom smiled and looked at me saying: "Now what?" "Well, do what he does." This is what came of it :)
At the local pub, having an English breakfast. She loved learning more about the culinary traditions of the locals and she made mental notes about the ingridients and the way they were combined.
Parker's again. This was heaven for mom. I think we were there at least three times and there was quite a long way to walk. But who cared as long as it made her happy? :)
Yes, on the beach being mother and daughter :)
The morning we left Bucharest, on the plane. Before she turned on the camera haha
First day in Frinton, admiring the sea, detailing on the view. It's a must that we always go through every detail and comment on everything :)
Icecream and shopping. Yum!
At the Buckingham Palace. Mom kept an eye out for the guards always trying to take a picture of the special elite forces. I said "Mom, you don't want to be so visible. These guys are not here to serve and protect. They are here to kick ass to protect." haha
In Colchester doing some more shopping. Out of all shops in the world she chose to take a picture before Karen Millen's place. Exactly our kind of shop... and prices!
On the boat with our friends. She's a scared cat when it comes to water. She doesn't know how to swim, yet she acted all courageous out there singing and getting up to face the wind! hehe

Before the wind :)
Our last dinner in Frinton at the Black Boy together with our friends :)
At the local boot fair. We had an awesome time! Literally acting like scavengers. We found so many nice antiques and bought a bag full of stuff to decorate the house, even a book about Michael Jackson's life and two cups of wild berries to munch on while wondering around! You can find a variety of things in there! One of my favorite times for sure!
That's right! It's Parker's again! Now you understand what I'm saying :) I really wanted to buy a damn small tree and bring it home just because she liked that place so much. I wasn't so sure though how it would survive on the plane!
One of my favorite pictures taken at mom's favorite place: Parker's :)

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