The Romanian Exile of the 20th Century

Written with a philological subtleness, “The Romanian Exile of the 20th Century” (author Octavian Curpas) transposes the readers into the lives and the vast array of emotions immigrants feel while being uprooted from their own sweet yard, whose smell of flowers and folk songs of youth will ever reverberate in their minds. The trip of self-discovery is sprinkled with ambitions, pitfalls, frustrations, despair and inner-struggle as well as with achievements and rewards. From Sibiu, my own native region to LA, my own adopted City of Angeles, Dumitru Sinu aka Mitica (Mike) has seen it all and has, through trials and tribulations, achieved the much desirable- American Dream. A story of love, hard work, and determination!

Aura Imbarus, PhD Los Angeles, California

Author of Pulitzer Prize memoir entry “Out of the Transylvania Night”.

Beach Books: ‘Out of the Transylvania Night,’ by Aura Imbarus

By Annie Lubinsky

Having emigrated from Romania to the United States to live life to the fullest, Aura Imbarus returned to her native home and family roots when she wrote her memoir, “Out of the Transylvania Night.”

Imbarus, who will be visiting Pages and Barnes & Noble bookstores in Manhattan Beach this week, had originally intended to write a book about the Los Angeles dating scene, but then she received news that her mother had liver cancer and had only months to live.

“I told my publisher, ‘I know I’m under contract, but I can’t deliver the book,’” Imbarus said.

The publisher, who was interested in creating a boutique company that produced memoirs, asked Imbarus to write a few pages describing her last week in Romania.

“How about the last five minutes?” Imbarus quipped at the time.
“I had so many emotions about whether I should leave or not,” she told The Beach Reporter. “I saw my mom’s face and my dad’s face, and my mom was crying, saying ‘Please don’t leave me here.’ She was shaking. Then the plane takes off and I’m sobbing. I relived my childhood in reverse, seeing my parents and grandparents. It was a bubble of time where my whole life passed by.”

“Out of the Transylvania Night” tells the story of the life Imbarus led in Romania and the one she created for herself in the United States. Throughout her life, Imbarus has maintained a powerful connection with her family and a deep understanding of how living in Romania affected her family’s history and her own potential.

“My family was a family of adventurers,” she said. “They owned a carriage business, transporting goods to and from Athens, Transylvania and Vienna. Our family was doing well and had its own coat of arms. We were the fourth family in Transylvania, and my dad grew up with money.”

That ended in 1947, when the communists took away the Imbarus family’s property and carriage business.

“We went from high to poor — we had so much, and they took it away,” Imbarus said.

The communist regime in Romania came to an end on Dec. 21, 1989, when the revolution started. Imbarus knew something had changed profoundly when, during a family shopping excursion, bullets whizzed by her head.

“The president and his wife were shot on national television on December 24,” Imbarus said. “Everyone knew about it, except us in Romania, until we saw the taping of the shooting the day after. We didn’t know if it was the president or one of his five stand-ins.
“The new regime promised transparency, but it never happened. From 1989 to 1996, I was waiting for full transparency.”

Imbarus continued, “I told my parents I wanted the revolution to happen to live a fulfilled life in Romania, but it didn’t happen. It was the wrong system, and no matter how I worked, I could not change it. You want to work, be paid, and enjoy the rewards of a nicely designed life. I felt cheated by the first government, and the second one I felt was not transparent, so I decided I would leave.”

As soon as she arrived in Los Angeles in 1997 with her husband, Michael, Imbarus knew she had come to the place she was meant to live.

“As I child, I’d had a vision of myself living in a place near a coastline with palm trees,” she said. “When I was 14 years old, my aunt passed away and I was told I would get her house. ‘I don’t need her house,’ I said. ‘I am not going to grow old here.’”

Emphasizing her proficiency in foreign languages, Imbarus was soon hired at a hotel. She continued the work on her Ph.D. that she had begun in Romania, and she took classes to earn teaching credentials that would allow her to work as a teacher, a career she loved.

Within seven years, Imbarus and her husband were living the American dream, making good money, buying expensive cars and a beautiful home in Los Angeles.

Imbarus then experienced a series of setbacks. In 2007, her house was broken into, and the heirloom jewelry that had been in her family for generations was stolen. Imbarus and her husband also filed for divorce in 2007. Then in 2008, they lost all of their investments and ending up owing thousands of dollars.

“My marriage ended, my family heirlooms were stolen, and I was broke,” Imbarus said. “It happened so fast. It felt like I was back in 1997, I had to start all over.”

Soon she was dating and writing about her experiences meeting new people — until the news of her mother’s illness sent Imbarus in a new direction.

“The publisher asked me to write about 12 peaks in my life,” Imbarus said. “At that point, I knew my mother had only months to live. I wanted her to read the book, and so I knew it was a race with her time.”

Nine months later, Imbarus gave the story to her mother.

“Before she died, she read the final manuscript and knew that I had signed the contract to have it published,” Imbarus said. Her mother died on the last day of 2008, and the book was published in September of last year.

Imbarus will publish a book on teenagers in the fall of 2011, after 12 years of teaching.

“But there will never be another book like this one. You can only have one memoir,” she said. “Another book will never be of the importance that this one was.”

Meet the author

Pages bookstore will host a reception for Aura Imbarus on Thursday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m., where she will sign copies of “Out of the Transylvania Night.” Pages is located at 904 Manhattan Ave. in Manhattan Beach. For more information, call (310) 318-0900 or visit

On Saturday, Feb. 19, Imbarus will visit the Manhattan Beach Barnes & Noble at 12 p.m. The bookstore is located at 1800 Rosecrans Ave., Bldg. B. For more information, call (310) 725-7025 or visit

For more information on Imbarus and “Out of the Transylvania Night,” visit

Local authors can send information about their books to Annie Lubinsky at annie.beachreporter@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Just Family…

By Aura Imbarus, PhD – Los Angeles, California
Author of the Pulitzer Prize entry “Out of the Transylvania Night”

“Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.”

(The 5 People You Meet in Heaven)

Holidays are the perfect moments to be shared with family. But, how about if there is no family around? Maybe they passed away; maybe they live in another country or you are not close to them anymore. There are so many broken families nowadays, and the notion of stepparents is as common as hello.  Children live with one parent while the other one is totally out of the picture.  In nowadays’ world where everything is related, we are all one; we are all connected, and so the perception of “family” changes along with us. Family becomes all of us, and giving becomes like inhaling, loving becomes like exhaling, and as we breathe, we reach out to each other. Our friends, the ones who have been there for us in sickness and in health, become our extended family. They are not blood related but they are love related. We can choose love; we can choose to love every day, to express our love, share our love and be in love each and every moment with those who we consider blood family and those who could be considered strangers. It is not the bloodline that counts but the lifeline we have.
Life is a beautiful tapestry of emotions, attractions, care, support, and sweetness. Every stranger out there can become a potential family member if we care enough to get to know him. Any outsider can become an insider if we will give him a chance, open up a door for him. We were not born knowing things, but we find out about them by approaching them, discovering them and giving them a chance.
So, then, what is different with people? The ones who are friends now are the ones who were strangers in the beginning and were given a chance. You reached out to them or they opened up to you.  In the end, they got closer to you and even closer until they were labeled extended family.
I have a huge extended family, and each and every member is unique and precious to my life!
Happy Holidays to you and to your family!

Give for the Holidays!

In a classy, upscale environment in BH at the Celebrity Vault gallery, where art was the liaison and the promoter of Help a Life Foundation, a supportive crowd generously donated for a more than complex project of housing and educating orphan girls in Ethiopia. 100% of the proceeds went for bettering the life of the unfortunate ones, who need and rely on this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change their life around.

Among the honorees were Ambassador Taye Selassie; actor Said Faraj, Editor-in-chief and founder of Beverly Hills Times Magazine – Suzanne Takowsky; Editor-in-chief and founders of Bel-Air Magazine – Melanie and Rick Amor; humanitarian and Celebrity Society Magazine’s spokesperson – Tracy Saunders, Curtis Williams, Editor-in-chief of Melrose Heights Magazine, Giacomino Drago from Il Pastaio, Mauro from Mauro’s Cafe at Fred Segal’s, Aura Imbarus, author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated memoir “Out of the Transylvania Night,”  and many more spent the evening entertained by a touch of Africa.

The Ethiopian Dance Troupe along with the West African Drummers brought Africa to
Beverly Hills.  The pulsating drum beats had a crowd of Beverly Hillers trying to get into a packed Celebrity Vault gallery.  KCRW DJ Daylight and Ethiopian DJ Son Zoo kept the theme of Africa going until midnight as the beautiful Help a Life volunteers called “Blue Angels” wearing sequined transparent tops mingled with the crowd.

With the help of our sponsors from Mastro’s Steakhouse and Cristophe Salon in Beverly Hills to the Mondrain Hotel Agua Spa, this red carpet holiday soiree was made possible, and the life of these orphans’ girls will be tailored in better and brighter shades forever.

Aura Imbarus, PhD
Los Angeles, California