De vorba cu George Filip din Montreal – Canada, poetul care nu crede in inspiratie

by Octavian Curpas
Phoenix, Arizona

GeorgeFilipCetatean de onoare si unul dintre cei mai importanti poeti romani ai exilului, George Filip a semnat anul acesta, 2009, cel de al 26-lea volum, intitulat „George Filip din Pontus Euxin”.  Nascut pe 22 martie, in comuna Tuzla din judetul Constanta, poetul isi descrie apartenenta la locurile natale, astfel: „Marea a fost a doua mama a mea, inotam ca un delfin, ma inecam adesea , dar nu de tot si mai tarziu, am numit marea… Marea mea cea Neagra, crezand ca sunt fiul ei.” George Filip paraseste Romania in 1979 si dupa peregrinari prin Austria, Germania si Franta se stabileste in 1982, in Canada. Vorbind despre adaptarea la mediul de aici, George Filip marturiseste: „Am gandit si scris mereu in limba mea cea materna, m-a gandit la Cioran, Eliade, etc. si am ajuns pe malul celalalt al sperantelor mele. Si n-am uitat niciodata ca Dumnezeu este cu noi!…” Din 1984, George Filip locuieste la Montreal, unde infiinteaza Centrul de Cultura Romana. Poetul este de asemenea,  membru fondator al Asociatiei Scriitorilor Romani din Canada si redactor la emisiunea de radio locala in limba romana si la revista “Humanitas”. Tot el pune bazele primei televiziuni in limba romana din exil, al carei director cultural a fost pana la disparitia acesteia. Printre volumele scrise de George Filip se numara „Matematica pe degete” (1974), „Anotimpul legendelor” (1975), „Desant satiric” (1976), „Drumuri de balada” (1977), „Zei fara armuri” (1989), „Poemes sur feuilles d’erable” (1998), „Era confuziilor” (1993), „Din taine” (1999),  „Diana” (2002), „’89 Poeme indoliate” (2002), „Vad lumina”  (2003), „La planet plate – Poemes” (2004), „Singur impotriva destinului” (2004), „Aezii privesc” (2005), „Zilele saptamanii” (2005), „Din oglinda” (2005), „Tara din lacrima” (2006).

„M-am recomandat tantos: poet George Filip”

– Ce anume v-a determinat sa scrieti?
– Niciodata nu mi-am propus sa scriu. M-am pomenit scriind si gata. Stiu doar ca de foarte fraged, jonglam cu cuvintele si le inhamam la rime de ocazie. Cand nu-mi iesea rima, inventam cuvinte: „onica-donica trei salcele, acri, macri palmacele.” Niciodata n-am stiut ca  eram sau ca voi fi poet. Scriam mereu pe la scoala, ba chiar mi-am facut un caiet special. Taica mi-a dibuit caietul, l-a pus pe foc, si de-atunci ma privea cu suspiciune si ii spunea mamei: „Floare, banditul asta este dusmanul nostru.” Il cita pe Schopenhauer. „Floare, savantul asta german zice ca dusmanii cei mai mari ai omului sunt nevasta si copiii.” „Iaca”, ii replica mamica, „stie neamtul ala ce este in casa noastra…”

– Cand si unde ati debutat si cum a fost acest debut?
– Golaneam, flamand, prin Capitala. Citeam, de pe la gunoaie, tot felul de gazete si reviste. Tupeist, m-am dus la revista ALBINA, cu o poezea  despre sarbatoarea majoratului: „Am optsprezece ani, ti-i darui tie, Tara,/Tu m-ai crescut puternic, cu inima de para,/ Cutezator ca soimul si liber pe pamant;/ Ma-ndeamna tineretea sa te slavesc in cant.” Am primit la casierie 198 de lei. Asa mi-am platit baraca unde locuiam si mi-am cumparat lemne de la deseuri, cu 50 de lei tona. In seara aceea, m-am imprietenit cu niste muncitori. Unul dintre ei, care m-a prezentat altora, le-a spus ca sunt poet. Ii aratasem ALBINA. Cand am dat mana cu ei, m-am recomandat tantos: poet George Filip. Am ajuns, din intamplare, in casa scriitorului orb Marin Iancu Nicolae. Mi-a spus ca-mi citise deja poezia si ca sunt talentat. Doamna Dr. Octavia Dimancescu, verisoara cu Antonescu, m-a dus acasa la Arghezi. Mosul cel sugubat mi-a dat cirese si mi-a zis: „Gheorghita… ai talent. Ai grija, greul de-acum incepe. Esti blestemat de muzele cele bune…”

„Metafora mea este desprinderea de realitate si fuga intr-un alter ego”

– Despre ce va place sa scrieti? Care sunt principalele teme abordate de dvs.?
– Eu scriu spontan, despre orice si oricand. Am spirit competitiv si nu abandonez niciodata – nimic. Eu sunt convins ca poezia pluteste in aer si poetul n-are decat s-o culeaga si s-o puna pe hartie. Totul exista. Elementele. Ca-n Tabela lui Mendeleev, exista, dar casutele sunt goale si cineva trebuie sa le descopere pe cele nedescoperite, inca. Asa este si cu muzica si cu pictura, sculptura, etc. Si ideile exista, totul ne este daruit de Dumnezeu, Omul trebuie sa fie doar receptiv.

– Aveti o imagine cheie, o metafora care sa va defineasca stilul?
– Nu m-am gandit la asa ceva. Psihanalist fiind, am observat ca volumele mele, fiindca eu scriu la volum, la metru cub, cum imi spun prietenii, sunt structurate pe tiparele romanului. Eu nu scriu topuri de poeme si apoi le oranduiesc intre copertile unui dosar si le pun un titlu. Nu ! Eu numar frumusel  un vraf de coale, cate se brodesc ele, le numerotez, le pun un titlu si tabar sa scriu. Ca sa nu mi se para ca am mult de lucru, imi pun in fata, deasupra, cite 10-15 foi si zic: „Ce ma, nu le umplu eu ?!?” Si le umplu si tot asa, pana ajung la ultima fila. Volumele mele au, ca romanul, expozitiune, intriga, punct culminant si deznodamant. Metafora mea este desprinderea de realitate si fuga intr-un alter ego. Poate sa arda casa, sa inceapa bombardamentul, sa vina potoapele…, eu cand scriu n-aud si nu vad nimic altceva decat lumea in care am evadat. Probabil ca de aceea am suportat cu atata stoicism viata, emigratia, etc…

„Toate cartile mele sunt copiii mei”

– Ne puteti da o definitie proprie a poeziei?
– Eu consider ca orice poezie pe care o scriu eu, trebuia scrisa…, dar de mine. Poezia este chintesenta chintesentelor unor stari si trairi ale poetului, unde nimeni nu poate ajunge, decat trubadurul-poet, rasfatatul muzelor celor bune.

– Ce titluri de volume semnate de George Filip ati dori sa ne prezentati?
– Toate cartile mele sunt copiii mei. As fi un criminal daca as provoca disensiuni in micul meu trib. Va recomand toate cartile mele !

– Stiu ca pe linie materna, sunteti descendentul lui Octavian Goga. In “Poetul”, Goga vobeste despre truda amara a celui ce scrie, iar dvs. afirmati in “Fericire” ca a fi poet este un blestem. Sa tragem de aici, concluzia ca pentru George Filip, scrisul este o continua provocare?
– Desigur, viata este o provocare. Depinde insa, pe ce lungime de unda vibreaza poetul. Eu, cand scriu, ard, fac realmente febra. Arunc la gunoi tembelele acelea de teorii despre poetii care scriu cu vodca sau vinul sub nas, etc. Secretele artei  sunt investigatia si transpiratia. O provocare? Ma provoc singur. Ma bag mereu in fata, sar in foc pentru altii si nu dau socoteala, chiar asa, bland, cum le par unora.

“Aezii privesc”

– Ati inceput volumul de versuri “Aezii privesc”, cu o rugaciune catre Homer si l-ati incheiat cu un raport al misiunii indeplinite, adresate tot marelui poet. Vorbiti-ne despre “Odisseea” dvs. ca poet, despre ceea ce s-a intamplat intre ruga si darea de seama finala.
– Am dorit sa fiu aed, adica orb, ca marele HOMER, ca sa vad si eu ca el, ceea ce nu vad muritorii de rand. De fapt,  parintele intelepciunii m-a facut un biet reporter – am cutreierat lumea si am scris despre vazute si nevazute. Tot taramul terrian cutreierat de mine a fost o lunga odisee. M-am implicat in odiseea normala a vremurilor anormale si-am pus totul, in caietul meu de reporter – cartea. Sunt chemat la o mare marturisire : de fapt, cartea am pus-o la cale cu muza mea reala, Dna. Mihaela Donciulescu, din Toronto, si ea, poeta. Iar raportul final este adresat in egala masura lui HOMER, dar si raposatului colonel de geniu Donciulescu. Am facut aceasta in semn de recunostinta, fiindca a creat-o si a pus-o langa destinul meu, pe fiica Sa – MIHAELA. Mi se pare firesc, omenesc.

– Dintre poemele pe care le-ati scris, exista unul preferat?
– Nu am doar un poem preferat, ci o multime. Imi plac poemele de dragoste si cele autobiografice. De ce ? Fiindca pe mine nu m-a alintat nimeni, niciodata. Asa ca eu sunt prietenul si poetul meu preferat. Am implinit 70 de ani si scriu versuri de dragoste mai abitir ca pe vremea locotenentei varstei mele. Nu ma intereseaza cati ani am. Nici cat e ceasul, in ce an, secol sau mileniu suntem. Daca timpul ne paradeste prin imensitatea lui, atunci si eu il sfidez si treaba merge foarte bine.

„Contest notiunea de inspiratie”

– Ca poet, unde va simtiti mai inspirat sa scrieti, in Romania sau in Canada?
– Chestia asta cu inspiratia, la mine n-are rezonanta. In Romania, n-am avut tinerete, perioada de tranzitie mi-a fost crunt lovita, iar la sosirea in Canada am simtit ca viata este totusi, scurta si trecatoare. Contest notiunea de inspiratie. Artistul este blestemat sa sufere si sa creeze. Care inspiratie ? La umbra Statuii Libertatii m-am simtit facut cocolos de gravitatie. Pe Caraiman sau pe alte piscuri, mi-a venit sa zbor. Cu apa, ma contopesc  prin densitate si devin delfin. Sub pamint, printre mineri sau speologi, ma simt rama si ma gandesc la viermele lui Dante. Si daca vreti totusi, un raspuns, iata-l : asa cum iubesc continuu, tot asa – scriu mereu si inspiratia mea este DIVINITATEA.

– Ce planuri de viitor are poetul George Filip?
– Am facut nunta, exact in ziua aniverarii a 70 de ani. Am avut nuntasi – buluc. Voi mai face si nunta religioasa, la biserica. Si eu si Maria-Mea vrem ca prin Dumnezeul nostru sa le transmitem parintilor din cer ca ne-am cununat, ca adevarati crestini ortodocsi. Mai am in sertare vreo 15 carti, scriu mereu, si-as vrea sa ma opresc, dar nu pot. Vreau sa-mi public opera pana la ultimul manuscris si dupa ce voi da ultimul autograf, sa ma intorc, cu misiunea indeplinita pe Pamant, la Tatal din ceruri. Frumoase planuri…, sper ?!?

Intre Canada si Romania

– Ce ati dori sa ne relatati despre comunitatea romana din Montreal?
– Romanii din Montreal sunt un trib pestrit de dezradacinati, debusolati, divizati, etc., care L-au cam uitat pe Dumnezeu. Cei saraci trag spre biserici. Cei bogati isi numara banii si nu mai vorbesc romaneste. Ca intotdeauna, prin istorie, Tara nu da niciun ban pe emigranti, fie ei buni sau rai. Noi asteptam de la Tara si Tara de la noi. Este un joc abracadabrant, pe o planeta care nu mai are Dumnezeu. Eu l-am rugat intr-un poem pe fratele meu MIHAI, sa ia el conducerea in ceruri, dar nu mi-a raspuns, inca. Suntem un card de vazatori din soare, prigoniti cu turma si urma ni se face cantec si cantecul ne pierde urma. Asa suntem… si este departe de mine gandul de a fi vreun pesimist !

– Ce va place si ce nu va place in Canada?
– Canada este o tara linistita, feudala, care a facut prea brusc un salt spre tehnica si bun trai. Ca in MASINA TIMPULUI, a lui Wells, oamenii de aici, traiesc intr-o dolce farniente, fara sa-si iubeasca binefacatorii. Este o asezare aproape tribala, bazata pe provincii si alte teritorii, care nu are eroi si oamenii n-au avut de unde sa afle ce este aceea o patrie si patriotismul. Ei bine, asta nu-mi place. Imi place ca aici nimeni nu legitimeaza pe nimeni. De fapt, totul este stiut despre fiecare si de legile prea blande n-ai de ce sa fugi. Oamenii se iubesc si se respecta fara rezerve, dezinteresati.

– Cat de frecvent vizitati Romania?
– Dupa involutia din 1989, vizitez Tara mai in fiecare vara. Am publicat in tara multe dintre cele 26 de volume. Este foarte costisitor. Si toti iti cer bani si toalele de pe tine. In vara aceasta, am fost sarbatorit la TUZLA mea natala, de Sfanta Maria Mica si mi s-a acordat titlul de Cetatean de onoare.

“Imi traiesc clipa cu maximum de intensitate”

– Cum va petreceti timpul liber?
– Pentru peticele de timp liber, nu programez niciodata, nimic. Imi traiesc clipa cu maximum de intensitate. N-am timp sa obosesc, prietenii si multele probleme cotidiene nu-mi dau timp pentru timpul liber. Scriu !

– Ce hobby-uri aveti?
– Imi plac rimele.

– In final, v-as ruga sa le adresati un mesaj cititorilor nostri.
– Citirorilor nostri, adica ai revistei si-ai mei, le urez tinerete fara batranete. Si daca nu sunt cuminti, le voi spune fluvii de versuri, sa vada si ei ce-nseamna sa-ti zica lumea POETUL. LA REVEDERE !

Ilustrata cu flori de cactus – Chandler, Arizona

ArizonaCactusSituat in mijlocul desertului, in marea metropola Phoenix, la numai 20 minute de aeroportul Sky Harbor, orasul Chandler este nu doar un refugiu in fata iernilor grele, ci si un loc placut de relaxare.

Chandler, un amestec modern de tinerete si traditie, un oras in care valoarea face diferenta, reprezinta o destinatie cu rezonanta in pitoreasca Arizona.

Cu o populatie de aproximativ 250.000 de locuitori si peste noua sute de noi rezidenti lunar, Chandler inregistreaza o permanenta crestere in sectorul industrial si educational. Continue reading “Ilustrata cu flori de cactus – Chandler, Arizona”

O ROMANCA DIN TIMISOARA TRATEAZA INIMI IN FRANTA – INTERVIU CU LAURA POP, MEDIC CARDIOLOG LA SPITALUL LAUTEUR, WISSEMBOURG

LauraPopLaura Pop, medic cardiolog, vorbeste cu dragoste despre profesia ei, din care si-a facut un adevarat crez. Pentru ca si-a propus inca din copilarie sa urmeze medicina, Laura Pop a muncit dintotdeauna, cu seriozitate si dedicatie pentru a-si implini visul. In prezent, aceasta este medic titular la Serviciul de Cardiologie din cadrul spitalului regional de la Lauteur -Wissembourg din Franta.

Laura Pop s-a nascut la intai de cuptor 1974, in Craiova. Desi a incoltit in pamant oltenesc, a inflorit in Banat, in orasul de pe Bega, Timisoara. Dupa ce promoveaza cu succes examenul de admitere la Facultatea de Medicina Victor Babes, din urbea natala, Laura se simte atrasa, in primii ani de studentie, de obstretica. Pe parcurs insa, isi descopera pasiunea pentru cardiologie si decide sa se specializeze in acest domeniu. Laura Pop isi ia licenta in 1988, iar in 2005, paraseste Romania, pentru Franta. In prezent, ea locuieste alaturi de fiul ei, in varsta de 12 ani, in orasul Wissembourg.

– Te-am ruga sa ne spui cand te-ai stabilit in Franta si in ce imprejurari?
– In urma cu patru ani, rezidenta de cardiologie fiind, mi-am depus CV-ul in mai multe centre universitare din Franta, nu foarte sigura ca as dori sa plec. La doar cateva zile, am primit raspunsul ca eram asteptata in Serviciul de Chirurgie Cardiaca Toulouse, pentru a incepe activitatea in urmatoarele zece zile. In timpul ramas, mi-am facut valiza in graba, am tras o fuga Timisoara-Bucuresti si retur, pentru a obtine o viza de student de la Ambasada Frantei si mi-am cumparat un bilet de autocar pentru destinatia dorita. In 2005, Romania nu era in CE, fapt pentru care angajarea mea in spitalul universitar era in calitate de FFI ( facand functia de intern), in cadrul AFS. Aceste abreviatiuni mi-au fost relativ straine la depunera actelor, dar am avut o incredere oarba ca erau poarta spre o alta lume.
Dupa sase luni petrecute in sudul Frantei, m-am mutat la Strasbourg, unde am lucrat timp de un an in Serviciul de Cardiologie. Inceputul a fost greu, si fiecare emigrant poate confirma, adaptarea la alt sistem, comunicarea, rezolvarea actelor, dorul de casa;… a fost dificil, dar cu incredere in Dumnezeu am fost intotdeauna sigura c-am ales calea cea buna. La plecare, baietelul meu a ramas in grija parintilor mei. Ca mama, mi-a fost cel mai greu, insa cand esti tanar si motivat, lucrurile se intampla repede.
Odata cu integrarea Romaniei in Comunitatea Europeana si confirmarea mea ca medic specialist, lucrurile au luat alt curs. Apreciata pentru eforturile depuse si confirmata Practicien Hospitalier, in urma examenului national de la Paris, din acest an, am fost titularizata in spitalul regional de la Lauteur -Wissembourg, unde lucrez de doi ani, in Serviciul de Cardiologie.

– Care au fost gandurile, visele, aspiratiile cu care ai venit in Franta, din punct de vedere profesional?
– Mi-am dorit sa pot deveni cat mai repede independenta profesional. Mirajul strainatatii si dorinta de a vedea cum se petrec lucrurile in ograda vecinilor, m-au determinat sa plec. Dar nu m-am gandit niciodata, la mai mult de o experienta. Am avut posibilitatea in Romania, la Timisoara, sa lucrez intr-un institut de cardiologie de rang european, cu medici extrem de pregatiti si competitivi, insa sistemul medical romanesc este bolnav, iar saracia creeaza monstri. M-am gandit ca in absenta mea, lucrurile se vor schimba in bine, dar n-a fost sa fie asa, fapt pentru care si planurile mele s-au schimbat pe parcurs si am decis ca nu-i momentul sa ma mai intorc.

– Cum a evoluat cariera ta aici?
– Multumitor, cu efort, dar munca mi-a fost rasplatita.

– Ce iti place si ce iti displace cel mai mult in munca ta?
– Ca si cardiolog, lucrez cu inima oamenilor si cand spun asta, ma refer la un tot unitar cord-suflet, inclusiv la sentimente, trairi, emotii. Este fascinant si nu cred ca exista ceva similar. Cand faci lucrurile cu pasiune, nu stiu ce ar putea sa-ti displaca, eventual ca nu reusesti sa faci mai mult si mai bine.

– Care sunt cele mai riscante si mai obositoare aspecte in activitatea ta profesionala?
– Boala implica riscuri. Lucrand cu vieti omenesti, nu-ti poti permite riscuri majore; fiecare decizie trebuie sa fie cea corecta, iar balanta risc-beneficiu trebuie sa incline intotdeauna in favoarea celui din urma. Meseria de medic trebuie s-o faci cu daruire, fara sa calculezi energia depusa sau timpul petrecut pentru binele aproapelui tau, motiv pentru care se ajunge la stari de surmenaj si oboseala. Personal, imi pare rau cand situatia este evident pierduta si trebuie sa accept sfarsitul, sa accept ca moartea face parte din ciclul de viata al omului.

– Ce impedimente ai intalnit in aceasta profesie?
– Sistemul medical romanesc nu este pregatit sa primeasa tineri formati in strainatate.

– La ce manifestari internationale in domeniu ai participat?
– La numeroase conferinte si congrese legate de specialitatea de cardiologie, evident.

– Cine sunt cei pe care ii admiri in profesia ta?
– Imi admir profesorii ce m-au instruit, colegii si intreg personalul medical – si cand spun asta, ma refer inclusiv, la infirmierele si asistentele medicale cu care lucrez si am lucrat. Ii admir pentru devotamentul si daruirea lor.

– Esti membra a vreunei organizatii internationale de specialitate?
– Sunt membru al Societatilor Franceze si Europene de Cardiologie si ecocardiografie.

– Cum crezi ca va evolua acest domeniu in urmatorii zece ani?
– In ultimii ani, tehnicile de imagerie, precum si cele invazive s-au dezvolat foarte mult si trend-ul exista inca; se vor pune la punct tehnicile de transplant celular si cordul artificial complet.

– In ce oras locuiesti acum si de cand?
– Eu si fiul meu suntem stabiliti la Wissembourg, oras situat pe frontiera de nord-est a Alsaciei, amplasat strategic pentru nevoia noastra de deplasare – la 150 km de Frankfurt, 125 km de Stutgart si 70 km de Strasboug.

– Prin ce se remarca acest oras, are ceva special?
– Craciunul in aceasta regiune este o poveste de basm. Imi place de asemenea, aceasta zona pentru ca este extrem de verde si frumoasa. Oraselul este renumit pentru muscatele ce impodobesc geamurile. Istoria tumultoasa a Alsaciei si a Lorenei a creat aici, un amalgam de culturi si obiceiuri, ce imbina rigurozitatea germana cu spiritul boem francez. Dialectul zonei este alsaciana, germana vorbita de francezi.
La Ligne Maginot, cel mai impresionant sistem fortificant din timpul celui de-al doilea Razboi Mondial, este atractia turistica a zonei. Acesta traverseaza Alsacia de la nord la sud, pe o lungime de 200 km.

– Care sunt planurile de viitor?
– Sa plantez pomi si flori in curtea casei mele. Dar mai intai, sa-mi cumpar casa.

– Cat de frecvent vizitezi Romania? Cand ai fost ultima data in tara si cu ce impresii ai plecat de acolo?
– In general, de trei ori pe an imi vizitez parintii, iar ultima data, am fost in vacanta de Pasti. Sarbatorile religioase petrecute in tara muma sunt incomparabile. Romania este foarte frumoasa, dar pacat ca nu stim s-o aratam lumii. Care strain are curajul sa o viziteze, daca nu exista autostrazi? Dupa 20 de ani de la Revolutia inceputa la Timisora, as fi dorit sa vad altceva, o tara cu adevarat prospera.

– Tii legatura cu comunitatea romana din orasul unde locuiesti? Cum ai caracteriza aceasta comunitate?
– Da. Membrii acestei comunitati sunt medici tineri, suntem colegi la spital. Comunitatea romana locala este mica si recent infintata, cu aspiratii si preocupari comune.

– Care este filosofia ta de viata? Cine este modelul tau in viata?
– Sa fiu impacata cu mine insami in tot ceea ce fac. Nu am un model clar, am incercat sa invat de la fiecare cate ceva.

– Ce recomandare le-ai face celor care doresc sa urmeze o cariera asemanatoare?
– Satisfactiile merita efortul. Deci, sa incerce.

– Cum obisnuiesti sa iti petreci timpul liber?
– Timpul liber il petrec in general, cu fiul meu si in activitati sportive.

– Ce hobby-uri ai?
– Sa calatoresc si sa pictez.

Dialog cu jurnalista si scriitoarea Ligya Diaconescu despre cum este sa fii proprietarul si directorul general al unei publicatii online cu peste 1.000.000.000 de vizitatori

ligyaNumele jurnalistei si scriitoarei Ligya Diaconescu este sinonim cu dorinta de autodepasire. Cunoscuta realizatoare de emisiuni de televiziune, dar si promotoare a culturii si turismului din Romania, aceasta considera ca intotdeauna exista loc de mai bine si… mai mult. De aceea, daca ar fi sa poata schimba ceva in lumea noastra, Ligya Diaconescu ar schimba doar… conceptia oamenilor.Ligya Diaconescu s-a nascut pe 14 iulie 1960. Vorbind despre inceputuri, despre parintii ei, ea afirma ca deoarece Dumnezeu a harazit-o sa iubeasca frumosul , cultura , sa asculte cum creste iarba, sa simta mirosul romanesc al fanului proaspat cosit, i-a daruit tata valcean… Si pentru ca tot Dumnezeu a harazit-o de asemenea, sa auda muzica valului ce se sparge la poale de Ceahlau in Bistricioara si sa colinde potecile Duraului , i-a daruit mama, din judetul Neamt. De la amandoi, scriitoarea a invatat optimismul si a dobandit mentalitatea de invingator si puterea de a lupta pentru a-si realiza nazuintele. Ligya Diaconescu detine o licenta in finante-contabilitate, luata la Iasi si una in jurnalism, obtinuta la Bucuresti , cu specializare la BBC Londra. Este casatorita si are o fiica, Andrada-Victoria, care a terminat anul acesta, liceul. Continue reading “Dialog cu jurnalista si scriitoarea Ligya Diaconescu despre cum este sa fii proprietarul si directorul general al unei publicatii online cu peste 1.000.000.000 de vizitatori”

"Nu suntem dispusi sa pierdem bani pe cauze pierdute". Interviu cu presedintele companiei URBAN & ASOCIATII

Urban & Asociatii activeaza pe piata din 1993 si este furnizorul nr. 1 de servicii de recuperare debite, prin performanta, comisioane mici, flexibilitate, comunicare si eficienta maxima. Parte a unui grup de firme ce isi desfasoara activitatea in toate zonele tarii, avand birouri in Brasov, Constanta, Cluj, Timisoara, Iasi, Sibiu, compania este membra a ACA International (The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals), ABD (Asset Buyers Division), ALQ (American Lawyers Quarterly). Urban & Asociatii garanteaza calitatea serviciilor oferite, eficienta si profesionalismul echipelor de colectare debite, precum si un comportament ireprosabil in ceea ce priveste drepturile debitorilor si ale clientilor si vine cu cea mai buna si in acelasi timp, cea mai serioasa oferta, preluand costurile pentru clientul-creditor si avansand cheltuielile. Interlocutoarea noastra, Dna. Ina Moldoveanu, este CEO si director de marketing la firma “Urban si Asociatii”.

– Am dori sa ne prezentati pe scurt, misiunea, obiectivele, politica si valorile companiei Urban si Asociatii.

– Experienta si succesele acumulate de-a lungul anilor fac din compania URBAN & ASOCIATII, specializata in managementul creantelor, un leader pe piata de profil. Dorinta noastra de a ne adapta permanent politicilor clientului nostru a dus la fundamentarea si dezvoltarea unui sistem de proceduri interne, conceput astfel incat sa asigure mentinerea relatiilor si parteneriatelor comerciale ale acestuia. Profesionalismul, experienta si flexibilitatea de care dispunem ne dau posibilitatea de a dezvolta o gama larga de solutii integrate pentru managementul si recuperarea creantelor, destinate tuturor tipurilor de companii, atat la nivel national cat si international.

V-am ruga sa ne enumerati cateva din serviciile pe care le ofera compania dvs.

– Urban & Asociatii ofera servicii integrate de recuperare si colectare creante, servicii avocatiale, dar si informatii complete despre firme sau persoane fizice, cu ajutorul www.vrajitorul.eu precum si soft-uri specializate ce ajuta in activitatea de recuperare sau de vanzare.

– In ce consta procedura de recuperare a debitelor si care sunt cele doua faze ale acesteia?

– Procedura urmarita in recuperarea debitelor este de doua feluri: amiabila si in instanta. Procentual, cele mai multe cazuri se rezolva pe cale amiabila, intrucat se urmareste o negociere si o discutie care sa determine debitorul sa plateasca. Compania Urban si Asociatii se ocupa cu succes si de actiunile in instanta, insa aici exista dezavantajul ca depindem de termenele de judecata si deci, nu putem grabi tot acest proces al recuperarii creantelor.

– Care este politica de pret pe care ati adoptat-o?

– Urban si Asociatii a adoptat o politica de pret foarte avantajoasa pentru client, in sensul ca il reprezinta doar un comision succes pe care acesta il plateste numai daca si cand ii recuperam respectivul debit. Comisioanele difera in functie de data la care debitul a devenit scadent si se situeaza intre 2 si 35%.

– Care sunt avantajele, din punct de vedere financiar si al eficientei pentru care ar trebui incercata oferta dvs. ?

– Este mult mai avantajos sa externalizezi serviciile de recuperare debite, intrucat costurile sunt mai mici si se platesc doar la rezultat. In plus, ai garantia ca de problema ta se ocupa o echipa de specialisti si ca iti vei recupera banii.

– Ce ne puteti spune despre serviciile avocatiale oferite de compania Urban si Asociatii?

– Urban si Asociatii ofera o gama variata de servicii, tocmai datorita cererii vaste din partea clientilor de a primi o oferta integrata. Serviciile avocatiale sunt asigurate cu ajutorul celor mai specializati avocati cu care colaboram si se bucura de un real succes, dat fiind faptul ca acoperim toate domeniile de interes.

– Cum a aparut vrajitorul.eu si ce avantaje decurg de aici?

– Vrajitorul.eu a aparut din dorinta de a fi in permanenta informati si din obligatia de a sti totul despre debitori. Realitatea este ca www.vrajitorul.eu ofera informatii complete despre o anumita societate, reprezentand chiar o unealta impotriva eventualelor neplaceri cauzate de datornici. Foarte multe companii isi verifica in Vrajitor partenerii de afaceri inainte de a incheia un business cu ei.

– Urban & Asociatii pune la dispozitia partenerilor de afaceri posibilitatea determinarii bonitatii. In ce consta acest serviciu? Cum i-ati descrie pe cei cu care colaborati in furnizarea serviciilor de consultanta juridica si economica?

– Rapoartele de bonitate iti ofera informatii complete despre o companie si despre solvabilitatea partenerului tau de afaceri, iar rapoartele sunt facute de catre o echipa de specialisti care culeg cele mai proaspete informatii despre cel in cauza.

– Ce este bursa romana a creantelor si ce avantaje prezinta site-ul www.brc.ro?

– Bursa Romana a Creantelor iti da posibilitatea sa tranzactionezi on-line creantele. Oricine poate vinde sau cumpara o creanta prin intermediul acestui site.

– In ce scop a fost conceput soft-ul profesional de recuperare debite Urban Debts Collector?

– Urban si Asociatii a creat si soft-uri specializate in recuperarea debitelor sau de gestionare a vanzarilor. Aceste CRM-uri sunt utilizate de catre toti angajatii Urban si Asociatii, fiind construite ?in house?, in functie de necesitatile unei companii de recuperare debite si pliandu-se perfect pe activitatea pe care o desfasuram. De acest lucru s-au convins si clientii, care au inceput sa foloseasca soft-urile noastre, intrucat le permit o foarte buna gestionare a activitatii.

– Cat costa sa accesezi lista neagra de la www.urbansiasociatii.ro si ce cuprinde aceasta?

– Lista neagra reprezinta o baza de date cu debitori impotriva carora exista hotarari judecatoresti irevocabile. Accesarea acestei liste este gratuita pe site-ul www.urbansiasociatii.ro sau pe www.urbannews.ro

– Cat costa sa raportezi o frauda, infractiune, escrocherie sau inselaciune financiara catre autoritatile fiscale, administrative si penale din Romania?

– Orice persoana interesata poate sa raporteze o frauda pe site-ul Urbannews, GRATUIT si noi o sa mergem mai departe pe ?firul povestii? pentru a face cunoscuta reclamatia la cat mai multa lume, astfel incat sa nu mai pateasca si altii la fel.

– Cine poate sa faca parte din familia www.urbannews.ro ?

– Urbannews se adreseaza oricarei persoane care doreste sa faca ceva si sa dea o mana de ajutor. Oricine poate participa cu content la acest site.

– Care este rata de succes a companiei dvs.?

– Rata de succes depaseste 80% pentru faza amiabila, iar pentru faza de instanta este in functie de multi factori independenti de noi.

– Cat dureaza procedurile dvs. standard?

– Procedura standard dureaza intre 20 si 60 de zile, chiar si mai putin, totul depinde de reactiile debitorului sau de un angajament de plata.

– Care este modalitatea de plata pt. serviciile oferite de compania Urban si Asociatii?

– Plata pentru serviciile Urban si Asociatii se face la momentul la care se realizeaza obiectul contractului incheiat, si anume recuperarea debitului.

Romanian talented blossoms in Arizona

by Roxana Curpas

It is believed that in 1903, the Lumiere brothers patented a color photography process. Throughout the 20th and the 21st centuries, many have developed a passion for photography or understood how to make money from such a passion.

Sidonia AxenteIt happened the same with Sidonia Axente, who immortalizes for eternity the most beautiful, the happiest moments of a couple: the marriage ceremony, and their engagement party. As a confirmation of her great job, after becoming parents, many couples felt only appropriate to ask her to make, with inspiration, the photos that will become the memories of the baptizing ceremony for their child – which made her portfolio to grow in diversity.
She learned the trade of this profession from her father, and she tells us that her professional debut as a photographer was when she was only thirteen years old, even though the passion for photography she carried within her ever since she entered at school.
She’s presently located in Arizona, she has two children, and a husband who’s also her business partner. She’s a natively inclined photographer, who’s practicing for over 16 years the art of photography, and she has never considered changing her calling. She admires Jerry Ghionis and she likes couples who throw everything on the table for the memory of a lifetime!

Sidonia Axente was born in March 1976, at Codlea – the County of Brasov, in Romania – where in fact her parents are still living to this day – the city of her childhood. She never forgets those times – moments filled with wonderful memories – and the dearest image of all is the one of her beloved forest. Se is an only child, of whose mother was a local bank employee, ending up by achieving the position of bank president. Her father was a photographer – the source of the inspiration that she inherited. Sidonia has two children, a boy – named Ernest – and a daughter, Larisa, who’s eight years old. Larisa seems to have already stepped into her mother’s shoes, already claiming the title of the class artist, at school, showing a real passion for artistic painting. Larisa is always the first in her class that turns in the assignments, so she has time to draw in peace, after that.

Sidonia is not only a great mother and a supportive wife, but she’s a formidable professional, a gifted free lance photographer that does not intend to influence the choices of her children’s careers. She intends to give to her children the freedom to choose each one for him/her a way in life. From her own experience she knows that when you do what you love, it is not really working, anyway …

Sidonia is married since November 11th, 2000 with Michael, who does exclusively video productions. The two of them successfully teamed up in business, as well as in life, and Michael is Sidonia’s greatest art critic. Michael, in parallel is also an electrician ? (journeyman) – at the Electricians? Association / Union.

In Sidonia’s case, her academic training – Accounting College that she graduated in Romania – did not help her much. To succeed, in her business – like in any business- the success is not only talent as an artist photographer, but business capabilities, as well.

In Sidonia’s opinion ” if you are not also a go-getter in that profession, you may very well end up with beautiful photos on your walls, and with an empty wallet in your purse ” .

In Romania Sidonia took courses of video-editing and video-operating, classes taught at local television station, in Brasov, by professionals invited to teach and lecture from Romanian National Television – main Romanian news channel: TVR 1. She even wet her feet in TV, working for a while as a camera-woman for the news department, where she gained experience and crystallized a style as a photo-journalist.

In this profession – she says – there are no limits as to what you can do, which made her fall in love with her calling as an artist-photographer. For each new event involving her expertise, she’s open to any new challenges related to all opportunities, regardless if the new comes from people, places or experiences. With respect to the word “failure”, the artist states that she’s not afraid to fail, but that she tries to anticipate the failures and avoid them to the extent possible. She learns from other people’s mistakes; and by quoting her father, she says “ordinary people learn from their own mistakes, smart people learn from other people’s mistakes”.

If asked what would be her project of choice in photography, it would be undisputed the ceremony of marriage, with all that the event involves, starting with the engagement announcement and ending with “trash the dress session”. With that said, it is not surprising that her majority orders are wedding ceremonies, and this type of projects are also the area in which, as a business-woman, she works the hardest to promote herself. Lately, however, Sidonia is more and more required to cover with her gift baptizing ceremonies as well, mostly by people that when they got married they did not understood the need of hiring a professional photographer, specialized in this type of event – an expert to catch on celluloid the true essence of the event. After the fact, all these non-believers became true believers in the concept of choosing the right man (woman in our case …) for the right job. These people, armed with the new discovery are in the search for a Master of Photography, for the baptizing ceremony of their child, and Sidonia knows how to promote her talents and to take advantage of the opportunity, and in the process, the parent-couple gets a photo session, to reward the initial loss (the lack of a professional photographer at their wedding) in which they are educated about the importance of quality memories, and presented with different options as scenarios.

Sometimes Sidonia Axente plays with her gift, by taking photos using her daughter’s “point and shoot” camera, which “it will amaze you with the quality of the photo done by that regular camera”. When it’s about advertising, she does it all, and she’s happy with the results – she thinks she has a great capability to sell her product. At this moment she works exclusively by referrals, but the possibility of starting a professional advertising campaign for her business is a project for her near future. For the moment her business, along with Michael’s, is present on several websites dedicated to this type of business, such as: http://www.Weddingwire.com or?www.Eventective.com.

Going down the memory lane, Sidonia remembers how everything started in Romania, when she was only sixteen. She will never forget her first wedding project: September 5th, 1992. In Romania she had her own studio, opened with her father in 1996. Like any successful business, it takes a lot of hard work, but she did it with joy and confidence, and in 2003 she takes full charge of the entire photo-studio operation. Ironic, when everything started to work as planned, Michael earns for himself and for his family the American dream, with “Diversity Visa Program”. For the family the decision to try a fresh start in the “Promise Land” was not a difficult one, since they dreamed all their life to live outside Romania.

Her first contact with the world outside Romania was when she was 12, right before the Romanian Revolution in 1989, in a memorable trip offered by her parents. They had a month of traveling, with the family “Dacia” and a camping trailer, inside few of the Eastern states: Democratic Republic of Germany (at the time), Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, an experience that deeply touched Sidonia, who suffered by comparison of what her own country experienced at the time. Returning to Romania, she suffered when she realized how poor and limited her own people were forced to live their lives. In all this time, during their trip to Eastern Europe, the entire family had airline tickets to Australia with the intent to petition political asylum. It never happened: they returned home, and not long after the Romanian Revolution changed the communist regime of Ceausescu. Soon after that, in 1990, she went into a new trip – with other children of her age, in excursion – outside Romania, this time in the Western Europe – in Austria. There, she remembers, the group coordinators would administer pills to calm the kids down, who’s energy when experiencing the multitude of colors, products, and smiley faces of all over happy people was hard to be controlled. Sidonia’s perception of the communist society, at her return from Austria was only emptiness in her soul, misery and sadness on the faces of her co-nationals, and the feeling of darkness in all the gray corners of empty Romanian markets. But most of all the lack of hope and the lack of happiness, and the missing smiles of the faces of Romanians made her to forever dream to emigrate. The perseverance finally made her dream come true: after several unsuccessful attempts to “lottery visa”, the sixth time Michael was a winner, for himself and for his family!

Presently, about 90 percent of the entire work done by Sidonia revolves around wedding projects, and she never feels better inspired as she is when dealing with marriage ceremonies. In her opinion an important factor when dealing with couples is to make them feel comfortable with their artist-photographer, and she works for that even from the very first moments, when the engagement ceremony project is on the works. Even though there were instances when she was not able to establish chemistry with the couple, the overall experience is a smooth cooperation and understanding between her as a Master of Ceremony in her field, and clients – the happy couple – in the most important event of their lives: a new beginning.
And an added plus to this strategy is the fact that she is present to the engagement ceremony, as photographer, so by the time when the wedding is scheduled, the mutual acceptance and the comfort is already in place, between the artist, the groom and the bride.

Sidonia Axente chose the field of the wedding expertise somehow guided by her father, on one hand, and by the market demand at that time: Romania of 1992, where with wedding ceremonies an artist photographer would be able to earn a decent living. While specializing in the secrets of this art, she learned to enjoy it, and not to look at this as to a job, but much more as to a hobby with financial benefits… and that even from the times when she was still a high school student. That way she never asked money from her parents, and she learned from an early age the value of the honest hard worked money. Maybe the money were too strong of a factor when she took the decision – a disputable decision, but not too late to be changed, …- of not continuing the higher education, in an university,…
And if in Romania, due to her numerous projects she was over-worked, and the quality of her photos was on the commercial side of the art spectrum, without time to perfect her style into a signature work, since she moved to US she got the opportunity to work and learn from professional photographers, trained here, in America design and arts academies. Her style got personality and her techniques became unique: she’s avoiding the stereotypes by leaving her personalized mark in her works. And the fact that she’s a Pisces – the sign of artists – would not hurt her artistic approach either,… in her profession?

During the years of successfully promoting her talents on the professional market, she had many funny experiences. One is always alive in her memory: her first photo, done in Romania, at a civil marriage ceremony. For over two years she was her father silent assistant: she learned the secrets of the job, by carrying the bag of her father, starting her apprenticeship when she was only 12 years old. And her “baptizing” in this profession came one day, when her father told her: “You take pictures while I?ll change the film-role to the other camera”. Sidonia was already overwhelmed by responsibility of her first “hand on” experience, never mind the presence of the City Mayor and his assistant, and over 60 guests to the couple’s event. She remember that “she froze” and she got sick to her stomach, due to the high emotions … Now she’s laughing when looking back … but at the time it seems like the most serious moment of her life.

Sidonia Axente had been thrilled to take part of “DWF Convention” between 11th and 14th of January (2009) at “Carefree Resort” in Arizona. There she experienced “hands on” expertise from masters of photography of he northern American territory, with international participation as well, in different particular areas, such as: fashion photography, photo journalism, high end weddings, light techniques, sales, marketing business management, etc. The event was honored by the presence of the Australian Photographer Guru Kevin KUBOTA – the receptor of the title “One of the top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World” by The American Photo Magazine. She had also the privilege to meet Denis REGGIE (USA) named “the best in business” by the famous Oprah.

As long term projects, Sidonia is looking forward to become an American citizen, and she dreams to the day when she will have the opportunity to live again in a mountain area, surrounded by grass, and neighbored by the forest – a similar landscape as in her beloved Codlea – the town of her childhood – regardless if this place will be in Arizona, or any other corner of the US.
Like any respectable professional, she believes in the concept of artistic photography, even though in her opinion “the art never ends its possibilities, they are only temporary abandoned”. She never has a problem with deadlines, and “working under pressure”. Even more, she’s prouder of her results done under pressure. Ever since she is in the US, she worked in a bank, but her “day job” does not match her artistic soul: the routine of the rigorous?banking program, with predictable breaks, always at the same time of the day, and endless house in front of a computer screen is not something she looks forward in her “day job”.

For the moment Sidonia Axente in only into photography, but for her future she plans to approach another field, and she is thinking of Psychology.

If asked for advice in her line of work – art photography – she would suggest to whoever is interested, to have a “day job” because of the random orders in this line of work, where you never can predict the income. Also she insists on seriousness and professionalism in approaching any job, big or small. She thinks of herself as a “native born photographer”. She’s somewhat frustrated of the idea that no one told her at her beginnings how much money out of pocket this job involves, how much dedication it takes to become a professional photographer, and the fact that technology can become obsolete in less than half a year.

It is Sidonia’s opinion that she’s far for knowing all the secrets of the photographic art, and the more she learns, the more she realizes how broad the photographic spectrum it is, but she does it with satisfaction, and she looks at it not like a job, but like a joy.
Obviously , nothing can be perfect – like in any profession, the goal is get over it , and move on: it annoys her second hand smoke, especially felt at weddings in Romania, and the “competent advises” of all types , made by “occasional experts” in all areas of photography: light, techniques, etc …, advises that you cannot bluntly dismiss them , because they are coming from your clients’ dear relatives … Once of the sudden everyone knows everything about photography, and the liqueur on the tables at any family event, either is a wedding, or a baptizing, it becomes an inspiring factor … This is how you end up hearing “priceless remarks” like ” Come on , go on, we know that there is nothing will go wrong , it’s good the way it is …”. At the same time , there is nothing more frustrating as a professional photographer than – when you finally put everyone in place for their dream picture – someone in the group finds exactly in that moment something to do, something so important that will take no delay: to tell a joke on the cell phone to an old buddy that is not present …
And that moments are crucial for the well being of the group photo, and the entire project, but hey, “our customer, our master” , so the hack with the professional advise …

This is the reason for which Sidonia would wish that people are not in such rush when it’s about to leave memories on celluloid, especially when about wedding memories. Of course there are couples that have fully understood the need for patience and the need to follow the expert advice of the artist photographer for the exceptional outcome of the entire project, but unfortunately this is not the case all the time.
There is also the type of the client who expects the impossible from Sidonia: she has to do her job flawless, the photos have to be exceptional at poorest, and their contribution should be either none, or at best a passive one: a non-participation in which the photograph has to do the entire work, herself? There is no doubt, the wedding day comes with a lot of stress, and anxiety, hopes and desire for absolute perfection, and it is not easy for the groom and bride to be all smiley and joyful, and especially because of that reality Sidonia recommends her clients to reserve few hours for the after wedding session, when both the groom and the bride are relaxed and disconnected from the prior tensions.

With respect to the photographic techniques, it is Sidonia’s professional opinion that everything revolves around the type of job and situation in the field: there is no universal accepted technique that will work always, in any circumstances, but she recognizes the help of the new computer technology, in which “Photoshop” software can turn a good photo into an excellent picture.

Her tools of choice are Nikon cameras and Nikon professional lenses, and the main sources of inspiration for her are professional publications – mainly in the fashion field – and movies. So are the professional gatherings – like congresses, or symposia, exhibitions – , and she finds herself almost never inspired by her colleagues in the art – photographic field. The Internet, for those who are inclined to study the art of photography, it will always remain the main resource of information.

In over sixteen years since she’s professing photography, Sidonia admits that every time when practicing her calling she becomes another person, whose adrenaline and enthusiasm never decreased, and the critic eye with which she’s evaluating her work is now even more merciless than it was at the beginning.
For the large audience, interested in her projects, and the quality of her work, her portfolio can be viewed on the following web address: www.axenteproductions.com

Shuffling worlds

Laura Potra Walsh was born in November 1976, in Bucharest, a city that she left together with her parents, George and Mariana Potra, when she was 13 years old, to come to Chicago, USA. In 1995, the Potra family moved to Modesto Ca, where Laura currently lives with her husband and daughter. She has two brothers, Julian and Mario, and a sister, Carmen, who live in the relaxed vacation destination, Hot Springs, Arkansas. Her parents also live in Hot Springs, and Laura visits them a few times a year. Passing through Arizona with her husband, Laura graciously agreed to give us an interview.

-Tell us about your educational background. What are your impressions of Turlock? What would you like to tell us about the university and the religious culture there?

After finishing high school, Laura attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, as a Biology major. After her freshman year she transferred to CSUS, California State University, Stanislaus so that she can be closer to her parents who had moved to Modesto, Ca. Later, her parents moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas. During her college years, Laura lived in Turlock where CSUS is located. Turlock and Modesto are neighboring towns located in the middle of the state, in a region called the Great Central Valley, a place conducive to agriculture, due to its mild climate. West of the valley lies the coast of the Pacific Ocean, and just east of it are the Sierra Nevada mountains. San Francisco and the Sierra Nevada hills are less than 2 hour drive from Modesto. Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and Los Angeles, are not too far either. Modesto, as well as Turlock, has many churches, including a Romanian one.

– Tell us about your life after graduating from college? What did you teach? What do you presently do?

– At the university I studied Biology, Math, and Psychology, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Science in Psychology. I was involved in the educational system for a while teaching math at the high school and college level. I was also a social worker and therapist under the Stanislaus County Social Services department, working with children and adolescents who were in their system. I think as long as you like what your doing, most likely you will be successful at it. Currently, I am a stay at home mom for my baby daughter, Anna, who is 11 months old. I like my new profession and I think it is an investment well merited.

– How long have you been married? How would you describe your husband? How did you two meet?How fast did your relationship progress, considering that you were originally from a different culture?
I’ve been married to my husband Richard Walsh for about five years now. He is Irish – American, and we met about seven years ago at Big Valley Grace Community Church, in Modesto, a church that we continue to attend. Rick is 37 years old, has a BA in Communication and a Commercial pilot’s license with Instrument & Multi-Engine ratings. Currently he works for a company that his family owns called AdClub Advertising in Modesto, which is a national recruitment advertising agency.
– How easy was it for you to adapt to the American culture? To what extent did your husband detect the cultural differences among you, if one can speak of such differences? What similarities, of education or thinking, do the two of you have?

When I arrived in the US I was in 7th grade and it was somewhat difficult to adapt to the new culture, especially since I didn’t speak English. However, by the time I met Rick, 12 years later, I was by then well familiarized with the American culture. My husband and I have the same religion, educational level, and political orientation. Not to mention, he likes Romanian food.

You have an investment property in Tucson, Arizona, a university town. What did you find attractive in Arizona, particularly in Tucson? How often do you visit Tucson with the family and what do you like to visit in the Grand Canyon state? Have you considered moving here in the future?
We’ve chosen Tucson because it was a good investment place for real estate. We like the city, unfortunately, we don’t get to visit it often. For now our future plans are to remain in California.

-How often do you visit Romania? When you were there last, what were your impressions of it? Do you keep in touch with the Romanian community in the city were you live? How would you characterize this community?

Since I’ve been in the US, I went back to visit Romania twice. The first time I went with a group of American Christians from Modesto on a missions trip to an orphanage in Bucharest. I’ve also taught Romanian to a number of such missionaries. Big Valley Grace has missionaries in many parts of the world, including Romania. In my last visit to Romania three years ago, I was accompanied by my husband, who has never been there before. During both of my trips to Romania I was able to visit with family and friends who live there. The Modesto Romanian community here in Modesto is very small compared to what I was used to in Chicago and therefore very different.

I understand that you like to travel. How many countries did you visit and which one did you like the most (in what month/year were the trips).

I’ve mostly traveled in the US, including Hawaii. I went to Romania twice, also in Canada, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. I think every place I’ve visited has its beauty. In Rome, we were impressed with the ancient architecture and art. Australia and New Zealand seemed exotic. We were there at the end of November, beginning December, the winter season for us in the US, but summer for them over there.

What did you think about Australia ? What did you especially liked or disliked about the Australian continent ?

Sidney is a renown metropolitan city. The Sidney Opera House and the Hillsong Church were memorable. Hillsong is pastored by Brian Houston, and is known for its worship music that is sung all over the world. In the north west region of Australia, we went to Cairns and Port Douglas, to see the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the world. A beautiful place with a tropical climate. The one thing we weren’t too excited about was the fact that this region is considered one of the most dangerous places to live in the world because it is home to many wild and venomous animals, of both land and water. I remember “admiring” the huge Australian crocodiles on one of our boat tours as the guide was describing the “crocs” surrounding us.

How about New Zealand? Tell us please a few things that you specifically liked about this place?

In the south, we liked Queenstown. The people there are very laid back and friendly and seemed to always have a pleasant disposition. New Zealand is the opposite of Australia in terms of having wild and dangerous animals ? New Zealand has none. There were some very beautiful places to see. There were even some icebergs from Antarctica floating by when we were there, Antarctica being relatively close to New Zealand.
Which country did you find to be the most beautiful out of the ones you visited?
The scenery in New Zealand was the most moving.

Who would you consider to be your role model?

– Mother Theresa is a person that for me embodies the heart of a servant. I believe the life of a Christian should be a life of giving and of compassion, especially for those less fortunate than we are.

The Laws of Happiness

by John Urs

Everybody is looking for happiness. It doesn?t matter if you are poor or rich, illiterate or educated, if you live in USA or in the poorest country in Africa, you?re still looking for this?For most of the people happiness is like they?re chasing a ghost, they think they see it, but they can never say they have it. Continue reading “The Laws of Happiness”