Category Archives: World, near and far

All about places I visit or just happen by.

I’m in Love with Words

I am in love with words.  Blunt statements go far, so why not start the day with one?

I love how simple words strung together can express thoughts and feelings; how those same words can take on a different meaning depending on what part of the world we live in, or what we’ve gone through in the past.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Language is too.

Turning words to the left or to the right, looking at them upside down and using them like they’ve never been used before — I think that’s love, and art.

Words are always expressed with intention and expectation. They invite audiences in, sometimes seductively enticing us on a journey or fighting us into submission to hear what cannot be ignored.

Does one have to be good with words to love them? I don’t think so. I listen to music all the time. Except for one basic guitar chord, I can’t play instruments. Can’t write songs.

Words. They’re all about rhythm and intonation and meaning.

Especially meaning. Yes, words can cut deep. They can fill us with hope and love. Lift us or plunge us into despair. Some folks argue it’s all about attitude — and sure, there’s truth there — but I think manipulation of words can make all the difference.

So, yes, I love dissecting, stringing together, poring over words (I know, I should get out more). Most of all, I love words in visual story format that works better than movies.

I love discovering new words. Recently, I discovered soporose (sleepy, in an unusual deep sleep). At the same time, I love simple words strung together just so.

Like:

Keys / open / deep-seated /                                        memories-long dead

Tell me about words you love or hate. New discoveries, or lovely, old memories.

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La Bella Italia

Crowds, traffic and summer heat notwithstanding, there is little not to love about this belle paseo (beautiful country), which together with Greece stands as the birthplace of Western culture.

Our destination was northwest Italy, the region of Linguria, also known as Riviera dei Fiori (Flower Riviera) which includes Imperia, Cinque Terre, San Remo, Genoa.

No art book, no film, can grasp the reality of literally walking among live history in a country with varied and scenic landscapes that make constant detours necessary: rugged countryside, delightful towns, stairs carved into hills, rock formations, tide pools, serene waters.

As for Italian cuisine, it more than withstands its reputation —  tutto è delizioso!

Italian pace of life is slower than most other countries. Everything is alive with emotion. With stories and music. People take time to enjoy life — somewhat of a strange concept when traveling from the U.S.

Yes, Italy has everything.

Words can’t describe it, so here are a few pictures.

Cinque Terre:

San Remo:

Imperia:

our rental ATOP SERPENTINE HILL:

Genoa:

Bucharest

Home ~ is it a feeling or a place?

When we examine mental souvenirs of time and places, bonds formed and love shared, the definition of home becomes clear.  Or does it?

For me, Los Angeles has been home for the past 24 years. It’s where midsummer night moments led to love, to marriage. Where my house is my place of zen. Where work and family keep me happy and busy.

When I visit Romania, that’s also home. I belonged there for the first 22 years of my life. It’s human nature, I think, to continually belong to the place we grow from.

Bucharest, Old town

So, onward traveler

After we bid farewell to Berlin, our next stop was Bucharest (Bucuresti), Romania.  Like no place in Europe, Romania took no time to connect. I instantly felt at home. Every nuance of the language was clear, every subtle gesture hinting at or replacing dialogue. Perfectly clear. Here, I could recall childhood memories, reclaim old stomping grounds. Luxuriate in an endless supply of affection.

Strangely, perhaps, but customarily, one of our first stops was a cemetery. We made our way down endless pathways to graves shaded by willow trees. Paid our respects to departed loved ones. Lit candles. Cried. There’s something cathartic about standing in silence near a grave under a willow tree. Almost peaceful.

A terrace dinner with family and friends followed. We recalled old times over seafood and spirits. Told stories. Caught up on life events. Expressed surprise at time’s handy work on us all. It could’ve been called the terrace of joy and tears of laughter.

Next on the agenda were Old Town Bucharest, the city center, the People’s Palace (built by the former dictator as his quarters, and thankfully never becoming that). We drove through historic neighborhoods, through streets of long ago, past old schools and playgrounds once frequented with childhood friends.

So many memories, ever vivid and heartwarming.

Bucharest is a much improved city in my eyes, but local opinion differs. As an EU member, Romania is riding the wave of change, one I’d consider helpful for this once communist nation ruled by a dictator. But change is never easy.

Given Romania’s geographic and strategic location (E. Europe & Black Sea), limiting the influence of larger powers has always been a uniting fight. A conversation starter. Well, past and present are worlds apart. While arguing politics comes naturally to older Romanians, the post-Revolution, younger folks, are writing the story of a modern, technologically savvy generation, interested mostly in the future. Maybe better that way, although sometimes I wonder.

Through changes good and bad, the warm, fun and welcoming spirit endures in this land unrecognizable at times, yet wildly familiar.

The land of many castles. Of wooden churches and eastern orthodox tradition coexisting in harmony with western philosophies. Where contrary to rumor, Count Dracula is not a vampire but a national hero. A land once isolated, now open to innovation.

So many conversations in Bucharest begin with … remember when?

Yes, I remember …

… my grandmother’s stories that sort my ancestry going back several generations. I’ll never wonder about that all-important piece of information regarding my lineage: Where do I come from?

Yes, Bucharest feels like home. Yet when visiting, I often refer to Los Angels as home. And one aspect never changes: as happy as I am to visit Romania, I’m thrilled to return to L.A.

So, home, I ask: is it a feeling or a place?

My ties to both Romania and the US run deep. Maybe that makes me a globalized mutt with love for Mexican food and homemade plum brandy.

Speaking of which, here’s to life and travels and the sense of belonging. To home, wherever that may be.

Images: skyscraperpage; happytowonder; euandiromaniatopics

Depression is a bitch

Depression.  It comes and grabs you no matter who you are. Young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, beautiful, ugly, popular, nerd, loved, lonely … the list goes on.

Chester Bennington . The Linkin Park singer/songwriter fought through years of depression, until  just being human, just trying to stay on an even keel proved to be too much. Yesterday was the end of the road for him.

Listening to a radio tribute for the musician, I was struck by the host’s words:  1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men suffer from major depression at some point in their life.

Those statistics mean we all know someone who has dealt or is dealing with depression. Who probably still quietly struggles with their demons.

The list of recommendations is long and easy to find. But I feel inclined to share the major points:

~ Remain nonjudgmental. Give the message that you care and are accessible.

~ Encourage them to seek professional help.

~ Help them get help.

~ And, the big one: Check in.

We all suffer periods of sadness in our lives, but clinical depression is an entirely different animal.

Just get over it, ‘ they say
I wish I could find a way
Living with it day by day
Memories won’t go away

_____

Image: bestclassicbands.com