The Thin Ice of Modern Life

In 1920, Romanian forces in Bender cut out the ice of the frozen Dniester River in order to prevent refugees from entering their newly-won territory.

The Russian Queen of Romania That Almost Was

Have you ever seen this photograph before? It is, quite possibly, the single most important photograph ever taken in the 20th century. The woman on the far right, holding a baby, is Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna Romanova. The young man in the back is Crown Prince Carol. The photograph was taken on July 14, 1914,…

Confessions of a Deranged Russia Lover

WORD COUNT: 1231 Well folks, I’ve tried to hide it, minimize it, and evade all general questions on the subject. Unfortunately for me though, a few savvy readers of this site pierced through my veil of mystery and have now outed me. Therefore, I openly confess: I am a filthy R— lover Yep, the only…

The one who got away

Since I am forbidden from talking about my own case, I thought I’d take a breather and tell you about another case, starring once again the crack units of the Cluj-Napoca police. I assure you that everything you are about to read is entirely true. Two officers in a Transportation Police blue Volkswagen with full…

Romania, where not even the banks understand capitalism

An associate of mine is out of town at the moment and asked me to go to the bank and pay off a small debt that they had, and promised to repay me upon their return. I said, “Sure, no problem.” [[Fast forward to inside bank]] “Hello, friendly lady at the teller window,” I said….

For a Distant Land to Roam

Although now I’ve lived long enough to reach an age I never thought I’d see, there is no way that I can remember a cold November in the year 1891. But I do know that story and I’d like to share it with you today. On a fateful day in a distant and remote mountain…

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Now that The Cat Is Halfway Out of the Bag, I can tell you a story like this one: Not too long ago, on a shockingly cold afternoon, I was standing on a downtown sidewalk here in Unicorn City with the two homeless people that I adopted. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a police car…

Piki, Nebunul Oficial de Floresti

SCENE: Standing on a street corner in downtown Cluj-Napoca at around 8 o’clock at night. BUDDY #1: Oh my god, look over there. It’s Piki. BUDDY #2: Yeah, Piki the officially crazy guy of Floresti. Me: Why is he the officially crazy guy of Floresti? BUDDY #1: Because everyone in that village knows that his…

Maya He

I’m going to tell you a story today that you think you know but you don’t. And because you think you know it, you’re going to have to resist the urge to let your mind race ahead and tell you that there’s nothing new here to think about. In the year 2003, when all of…

Perhaps

Yesterday was, by all accounts, another brilliantly hot summer day. The sun was shining. The cats were flopped on the balcony. The old lady across the street was watering her flowers. All was quiet in centru, the beautiful lull between when the students are gone and the Hungarian Days tourists have yet to arrive. The…

Hoy Me Toca a Mi

I’m not going to lie – sometimes living in Romania gets me stressed out and occasionally depressed. Definitely. And sometimes when I’m dealing with the thousandth instance of idiocy after a long week, it makes me wonder why I live here. Today however I met with someone special. And we spent an hour sitting under…

What is writing?

One day I found my old bicycle, hidden away in the garage where it had lain for many a year I rode it down to the canal and amidst the quiet waters and summer breeze I found a delicious spot to take a nap I was only half awake when I suddenly espied a gorgeously…