When going into the world, we all take experiences, attitudes, energy from the home place. Place where we were born and lived enough to form the basics of our character, our behavior. In a highly mixed world, there are places where you can meet many different cultures and people and learn more about them even if, by coincidence, your previous countries are neighbors and have deep connections. Somehow, we humans tend to like all distant places and not pay attention to places near us! That happened to me as well.
Having that in mind, I thought that by meeting people from Iasi at the foreign lands, I would get the feeling about it and part of that place’s energy!
How the story developed, I got part of the energy, but it was not enough! By eating, your desire rises, says one proverb.
I had a feeling that I consumed only one-third of the meal. Not wanting to be deprived of another two thirds, I slowly prepared to visit that historic city.
Iasi is a famous, extraordinary city in Romania, where Alexander Ypsilantis, a descendant of the Phanaroit Greek family, had the headquarters of “Filiki Eteria” and after an unsuccessful uprising against the Ottoman Empire went to Greece to organize the 1821 Greek revolution against the Ottoman rule. It is where famous Mihai Eminescu stayed, spending his time with Ion Creanga at the renowned restaurant “Casa Bolta Rece.” It is where an outstanding Iasi National theatre exists and the famous Trian Hotel built by Gustave Eiffel! Not to mention the university with exceptional “Hall of Lost Steps” and Copou Park.
I must convey that my visit to Iasi was a complete success, even that nothing more has happened in the relationship which inspired me to go for that marvelous trip… But, it helped me to meet many beautiful people and feel the atmosphere of Iasi neighborhoods. During day and night. It revealed to me the greatness of Eminescu, his patriotism, and his love for Veronica Micle. I even visited the famous Humbold University in Berlin because of him! It allowed me to see the famous Iasi Vasile Alecsandri National Theatre and enjoy the unique performance of Friedrich Durrenmatt’s play “The Visit,” directed by Claudiu Goga. I got the motivation to be the first who connected Chopin and Eminescu, planting seeds for the essay to get published later in the year when visiting Warshaw and Cambridge.
My visit, somehow, released such a potent, incredibly positive energy, even that a disappointment for her not being with me was enormous.
I mentioned to her, I will call her Aurelia for the sake of the story, many times after my visit, that when reading about Eminescu and Campeanu-Micle, I thought that we shared the same destiny, in the sense of the intensity of feelings as I did not die, and she did not have a husband who was Rector of the University of Iasi, which, by the way, as I said, I also visited!
And to straighten the ethics issue, we were both separated.
Sometimes, life happenings are saved deep down in our souls, waiting for the right moment to harmoniously get out in the open, setting off on the journey for memories to unfold and become immortal!
And here it is. The journey of memories presented to you, the readers! You might find it a complete mess, but it is my mess, and I am proud of it!
The story began many years ago when the writer of these words could not understand what would happen and how the affair would have thoroughly affected his life. It started slow, significantly slow, and during years, nonchalantly, and without realizing raised to pure love. After some seven years of acquaintance, one late afternoon, I felt dizzy talking to her. I shivered at her presence. And that was it—the start.
The story reflects Thoreau’s beautiful quote, which I found at Saatchi and Saatchi Gallery while visiting London.
“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…”
This is precisely what happened. But like in many happenings, it is easier to happen than to have a happy ending! However, it is a life experience, and I love it and will always love it!
No, it was not desire, neither passion only. It was the moment on the bench one late afternoon where we shared thoughts about family. When her child asked for some extra money to go and skate for some more time. I still do not know why, but as I said, I had shivers all over my body! It happened. Nevertheless, I kept my feelings for myself only, most probably having concerns about many things I still can not write here. Some things we buried with us because I am taught that reverence is leading over popularity and smart words!
From that moment, we talked about many things. We exchanged our experiences and found out that we share the same values and equivalent pain. At that moment, I asked nothing about her relationships, focusing only on common ground, which was our children and our experiences with them. I started making different pies, sweets to present myself as a talented cook, at least. Simultaneously, she showed me her cocking skills in preparing lentils and pasticcio with ingredients she kept secret! We met for a coffee, exchanging pies and “pasticcio” (oven spaghetti) and talking about many subjects. It continued with some shrimps based dinners. We were steadily approaching the state of “soul mates” It all lasted for nearly three months when one night it happened—the first kiss. I am sure we will both remember it forever and pass it to eternity through our souls!
She knew how to listen, and I was, as usual, and sometimes now, very talkative.
When I asked: “Do you love me?” She replied with her expressive eyes going from down up: “Yes! For today!” This is how we agreed that we would love each other only for a day! Like butterflies, love was to live for one day! And then be reborn the next day! Also, we agreed, after negotiation, not to have the relation for over six months.
Negotiations for the extension were hard and with a lot of laughter and teasing, as love cannot be for leasing! And it was not! It was “extended” four times and just a little more!
We were creating memories to stay for a lifetime. I wish for memories to stay longer! After we passed our visit to this beautiful planet Earth. Like those nights at a café where we were dreaming with the company of genuine organic coffee and quiet, passionate music. When her sweet black boots were on my knees. Or going for shrimps and beer or wine. There I received her first cheek kiss as thanks for an excellent company and super tasty shrimps.
Or unsuccessfully trying to go for a brief trip! Or just walking on the beach and singing with both our voices, not in the choir mode! Or, really “just” inspiring one another, being very inventive!
Two small, tiny biscuits with the shape of Heart put together and photographed by her to perpetuate the feelings, with one sentence added compensating all pages of “War and Peace” of Tolstoy!
It said:” There are some moments….. you want to hold on forever.” We lived moments of eternity rediscovering pure love.
It was the 14th of February, our first 14th of February, and we went for a coffee. She reminded me it is St. Valentine’s Day. The day of love. That’s great, but I do not celebrate it, I replied. Ok, she said. Let’s just go for a coffee.
While driving towards the meeting place, I went to the nearby flower shop where I got one burgundy color rose, tied a red color ribbon, and took it with me. I arrived first at the parking and, while waiting for her to appear, I was inspecting the rose! It was a perfect choice! She came, parked the car near mine, and opened the door. Then I presented her with the rose. Even today, and whenever I remember how her look was, I love her again, for a moment! Memories are wonderwork, sensational prodigy towards our soul!
Not to forget her genuine, deep, practical interest in me and my health. She was there. From day one of my new life.
As we shared all of ourselves. It was so intense that I just did not notice some words said and the message behind them, which is typical for a woman who deeply loves and thinks about the future.
That moment got lost somehow, and we came to an end.
Do not believe when they say to you: “Do not go back” or different expressions for the same opinion. If you feel and work hard on yourself, you might somehow, somewhere, sometime get to know each other anew, even with all nervousness passing by and interrupting humble, subtle feelings of love and respect. Or you can rediscover love again. We settle no limits for us to rediscover love in any way! Fading sometimes can clear many issues and free the mind from ego energies.
She said that we did what we did before the right time! Well, what is the right time? The right time is the time when something happens! There are no plans and programs!
After such a rooted experience of feelings, one asks questions like:
“Who am I? What I am here for?”, and trying to find some light, just a tiny photon, you comprehend that” It seems nobody has found and answer yet. Perhaps, until an answer is found, some individuals could assume that they are here to convert the air they breathe into conscious pulses of love. Perhaps that love will eventually guide someone to a proper answer to what we are here for” ( Thich Nhat Hanh)
Beautifully said, especially that it has to do with breathing! Ordinary breathing which now took the place which was always belonging to it! The place of extraordinary, of magic! Breathing is all that!
We had a talk in her car in the nearby parking where I noticed two drops of tears coming from her left eye! Those tears I still remember as it was a sign that her love was genuine. She had a lot of pain from the past, and she was taught by who knows whom to suppress her deep feelings! Wrong! But at least some change occurred, and she expressed herself briefly!
Before deciding to go to Iasi, I have done a couple, more than a couple actually, unique acts trying to find out how far she and I stand.
The first thing I did was wait for her at the traffic lights and present her with the envelope! Letter it was! But it was not a love or hate letter! It was a quiz! Quiz for her to answer to herself only!
Question 1 was( as far as I remember as she told me she threw that quiz in the garbage)
“Do you still look at my window while passing by sometimes?”
Question 2 was
“Do you smile when you remember how we tried to go to a nearby city?
Question 3 was
Do you still remember our first kiss?
( She said that she might forget all but the first kiss never!)
And another three or four, which had to do with other memories! MEMORIES!
That was without result. Even now, when I write these words, I have a smile on my face! Smile because my actions were original and were coming directly from the soul.
The second envelope I gave her was filled with 5 different color roses explaining each one’s meaning! Pink, Red, White, Orange, Yellow.
There was a reason why I gave her the quiz and roses. To check how deep her consultants told her to forget everything if she wanted to be cured! Come on! Cured from love? You can do that by ignoring?
It is just terrible, I thought! You make your memories, good or bad, with love or hate, and whatever they are, you make them your best friends! Your very best friends!
I was called a clown at the time without her close relative and, most probably herself, to realize that the real clowns are very inventive and emotionally resonant people trying to make others overcome their difficulties in a profound, creative way… It was a compliment without intention—another lesson for all of us. Everything that someone says or does to you can be reverted to the other positive side. And it can make you happy even while experiencing pain.
I realized that the policy of no return was governing her mind.
That is how I decided to find out more about Iasi and go there!
Alone, which is always enough when you have aim! That it was Eminescu sending a message without me knowing at the time!
“For you will die the moment you have in life no aim.” Mihai Eminescu
As my dear Aurelia blocked my phone once, I used another number to sometimes exchange messages.
I decided to give one last try and send the message that I am going to Isai and would like her to accompany me as a pure friend. Difficult to believe, but it would be exactly like that as I had a deep respect for her. Deep and genuine. To sweeten the “offer,” I included two days’ visit to Venice from Iasi. I sent a message, and after less than two minutes, I got a “great” answer! She replied with one word only! “Who?”
Well after seeing that message I was not disappointed, I was happy! Happy that I met her, that I had a beautiful relationship, and that I will visit her home town and meet new people! Actually, that “WHO” reply gave me the inspiration to enjoy my trip and write essays on my website http://www.philosophyofgoodnews.com about that city and that part of the world.
So, as the decision was taken, tickets were bought and downloaded hotel and rent a car boked, and I was at the airport.
Like in all public places, people wander around investigating other people and their behavior, usually to find some inspiration for their thoughts. That is positive thinking applied! Try it. It helps the soul.
Check-in passed, boarding started, and while in the cue looking in front of the lady, till then not well spotted, I heard her voice saying: “Do not look further, you might be scared.” I looked at her restless eyes with all due attention and interest. She was radiating very positive feelings towards me as we started to introduce ourselves. Her name was Liliana, and even not a Shakespearean name, I will find out later that her character definitely was! She was such a refreshment that I thought about why William did not introduce her name to the world before! Reason (that reason is always making us be somehow unnecessary dialectic) why I was thinking of Shakespeare is that I found out that Eminescu was compared with him and called “Romanian Shakespeare”!
If her name was Adriana (from Comedy of Errors) or Alice (from Henry V) or Juliet (from Romeo and Juliet) or Mariana (from All’s Well that Ends Well) or even Ophelia (from Hamlet), I wouldn’t think so much about Eminescu Shakespeare connection! In the end, it was productive as Liliana, without knowing, made me feel more and inspired me more!
Being a London resident, Liliana was only passing by Larnaca, having three days of swim and rest before boarding the plane to her native Iasi to visit her sick mother.
We exchanged contact numbers as I decided to invite her to the theatre performance called “VIZITA” by Friedrich Durrenmatt. I reserved two tickets at Vasile Alexandri National Theatre before as I was very much impressed reading about the history of that magnificent place! We boarded the plane and took off towards Iasi.
Jassiorum Municipium or by Jassic people – Yazyges or just IASI today, is one of the oldest cities in Romania’s ancient Moldavia region. The city with at least 600 years of history.
The city with the first university and oldest Theatre in Romania. City, where in October of 1820, unsuccessfully, Filiki Eteria of Phanariots with Ypsilantis as a leader, started a revolution against the Sultan. It was a catastrophic move as thousands of fighters got killed. City in which poets and many great characters eponym and anonym lived, chewing the air of life, sometimes exceeding their lung capacity! But always with passion!
It was Sunday afternoon when we landed. My first encounter with Romanian soil was thoughtful and curious as I was thinking about Liliana’s response to my invitation while watching her sleep on the plane. She looked at ease with herself with beautiful black hair, straight facial features harmoniously filled with a lovely nose, lips, and eyebrows.
Till I was waiting for rent a car company representative to appear Liliana approached. She informed me that she will probably attend a theatre performance with me on Thursday and confirm it by Tuesday. It was a hopeful beginning of my Iasi stay. I thought that sleep helps people make decisions and wondered if she had a dream! I was going to find out many more than just about the dream. But about that later.
In the meantime, Felix, rent a car representative, and now my friend came, and we finished all the necessary paperwork needed for me to get the car. I got in and started driving towards the center of the city and hotel Trian, where I would spend the next seven days.
I do not know why but while looking at the scenery of the forest I was passing, I felt disappointed that I would never have the opportunity to live the Iasi experience with her, the woman who made me come here!
Her artistic name for this story, as I said, is Aurelia.
It was easy to find Traian Hotel. It is an exceptional place built between 1879 and 1882 by Gustave Eiffel, of, yes, Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty! It was meant to be a theatre first, and due to the debt generated was turned into a hotel. After taking some magnificent photos from the room overlooking the street in front of the hotel, I decided to widen my excitement and go for a ride, using Sunday afternoon empty roads.
During the investigative drive towards Palas moll, I have passed by the Theatre building.
Instead of going to the moll, I went back and passed for the second time to be sure that the building I was looking at, is The Theatre, as I saw in numerous photos before my trip. It was! Still, my curiosity led me to turn back and pass the third and fourth time before deciding to stop somewhere near and walk towards that so impressive building!
While walking towards the Theatre, feelings of respect, admiration, and God knows what else erupted from my inner self. Even now, writing about it, I get goosebumps! Perhaps it sounds kind of crazy; however, I felt that the building was trying to communicate with me, watching my moves and mimic carefully, trying to learn what this invader is looking for in the middle of the night!
Even immovable, or as per our perception immovable, this respectful edifice, opened in 1840, can somehow conquer the attention of passers-by, to outwit and thus to win them not as blind followers, or only admirers, but as active participants, which one realize when actually enters the building! I must say that the standard and quality of the people I have met reflects absolutely the beauty, the history, the purpose of The Theatre!
I cornered the feeling knowing that it will surface in the coming days by obtaining reserved tickets and secondly by Liliana’s company. I went to the Palas Moll and, recognizing that it is just another result of globalization, left in less than half an hour towards another gem!
The Palace of Culture!
While walking around different restaurants and cafes, experiencing the beauty of fountains, I felt alone! Not alone in the primary sense of the word alone but in the sense that I did not have with whom to share all this beauty, as the beauty shared is the beauty doubled!
To send the message to her, hoping that the universe can transfer such deep feelings thousands of miles away, I started to recite my poem written to her one night.
Here it is
Tonight I love you
I feel and write.
Even poems for you
From clean soul
Full of love!
I do not interpret!
Nothing to repeat,
from deep in me.
Said by words
Felt by heart.
And that is me,
Naked as born
I love you tonight!
After some months, I added two more verses
Tomorrow is for sorrow.
Now when I write these words after years, I could change them again.
tomorrow is morrow (another day)
…and tomorrow is
for love to borrow.
You can choose what suits you!
As I was in the romantic and dreamer state while going back towards my hotel, I managed to get lost! Dreamers business!
First time visiting Iasi, first time dreaming while night driving somehow it is normal to get lost for a while. It can be inspirational when you get lost in the city you visit for the first time as it gives you the opportunity if you are talkative and respectful to meet new people and feel the real atmosphere. Something like that happened to me.
I was driving around for some time, not knowing where the road will take me, until I approached a boulevard with side parking for many cars.
Tramp and Trolley bus lines were visible down and up. I stopped trying to employ my sixth sense, as the fifth was alive and working after being in front of the theatre building, and especially The Palace of Culture. I chose a downward direction to go back to the hotel. While driving, I spotted a man in a big car looking at me. Using that eye contact, as my Romanian was near zero at the time, I opened the window and asked him in English where Trayan Hotel was. He smiled and said, “No English,” but he showed me with his hand to continue straight, which I did, leaving him with an overwhelming smile. At the next traffic lights, where I think that I recognized a famous Iasi university on my right, that man drove his car next to mine and showed me to follow him. I did it with pleasure and curiosity. After not more than 5 minutes we were in front of Trayan hotel.
I let him understand to wait for a little, parked the car, and went to meet that good man. I presented him with my card and slowly explained that I invite him next afternoon to join me for a coffee or food at the hotel. He wanted to express himself, but his English was poor. However, I told him not to worry, as we can use our native languages first. I wanted to show my gratitude for such genuine hospitality. He was most likely ashamed and did not respond. Does not matter, as he gave me the idea of what to expect in Iasi! It was the truth! Hospitality and human approach I felt everywhere!
I went to the hotel, took a shower, and went to sleep, satisfied with my decision to come to this extraordinary place.
To be continued for eBook readers and subscribers only.
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Darko Richard Lancelot
Connect and Respect