Easter Memories from Communist România!

Once upon a time, there was communism in România, a small country in Eastern Europe… For most, it was so insignificant, they called Bucharest, The capital of România, Budapest, which is the capital of Hungary, the neighboring country.
România and Hungary did have one thing in common: Communism!!!

Today, as I get ready to visit with my friends, waves of memories flooded my now peaceful mind.
For millions celebrating Easter was one of the forbidden apples!!!
As a child and young woman I was instructed by my parents to never, ever admit to any of the Easter traditions, not even the Bunny and the eggs! Come to think of it… I have no recollaction of a bunny or egg hunts to delight us, the children who believed in miracles!
WHAT I do recall, was how the colored Shell of eggs was carefully wrapped and thrown away in some public trash can, so that if “they” looked through our garbage, no evidence of criminal activities could be found!

The climax of Easter excitment, which for me lasted until 1981 when I defected from then communist România, was the mid- night celebration at churches allover my homeland! Hundreds of people, their candles like magical stars lighting the dark, mysterious sky…
Our eyes lift to the Heavens, trusting the denied Son of God was real! Faith!!! Many people had Faith but I was confused:
Did He really die and then He came back? Is He really the son of God? Did he really choose to come back in a hateful, undeserving world?
How about our sins? Could He absolve us of all the Evil we did if we believe in Him?

In those times, when I was a child and later a young woman, such thoughts never crossed my mind! Until I was in college I didn’t know WHAT was the book called Bible!
WHAT, as million other youth knew, was the pure practical aspect of this forbidden celebration. Here is WHAT I did know:

Don’t tell people you celebrate Easter! Just family and close friends.
The celebration for me consisted more in the geathering of so many people around a Church, at mid- night, the secret around not disclosing to anyone that I went to Church ! On top of the my list of cons and pros was the feast we, Romanians, faithful or not, indulged in after the mid-night service.

Here is my favorite tradition:

Two people choose a colored egg. There is a technique to picking one with a hard shell, which resists the hard tapping with the other person’s egg.
After both people choose the egg they believed would be the uncracked winner, we held our egg in our hand and say:

“HRISTOS A ÎNVIAT!!! (Christ is risen!)

As we say this, we tap the other person’s egg with the intention to crack ITS Shell!
The other person says:

“Adevărat, a înviat!” (Indeed, He has risen!)

Of course the hardest egg shell is declared the winnet!!!
After we geathered a good amount of shell- cracked eggs, the reward was peeling and eating the “defeated” eggs:)

Memories… like pearls hidden in cracks of our minds!

Hmm… this topic about Faith, God and the son of God … I Could write about it forever in the hope a miracle happens and I stop questioning!
Meanwhile, Nextweek I will make and post my egg salad recipe!
While I am still confused about WHAT is really important at Easter time, I am not confused about the delicious food which comes along with it!
As I continue to struggle, question and be deeply concerned about the Evil everywhere in our world, I force myself to have Faith… to believe!
Meanwhile I, we, could do the best we Could in our small world, in our daily lives!

As I continue to take small steps on the road of Faith, and sometimes I fall, I DO get up and continue to hope the path I walk tips the balance in favor of Good!

If you, like me, are confused and uncertain, please continue to take small, good steps. At least we walk in the right direction…

Happy Easter!
Rodica M.

The Art and Science of Writing…A Hit or Miss Affair!

Writing, as anyone who is involved in this fascinating combination of art and science knows, is an unpredictable process to say the least! Our relationship with the process of writing, however is unique for each of us… or is it?

Many times, at inconvenient times, thoughts travel through my mind at the speed of lightening. I quickly turn the light on in the middle of the night and commit to them to paper, in a note- book, the old fashion way. These thoughts once on paper take a different life of their own… I cannot deny their existance, I have a responsibility!

Many times in the light of the morning they turn out to be totally useless! However, in the darkness of the night they sparkled! In that moment I was convinced of their potential value and uniqueness. I felt an urge, I felt under some sort of moral obligation to catch the thoughts, not let them leave the space of my bedroom and force them to paper forever!
Why would that be? In a strange way, now that I think of the process… I violate the freedom of my own thoughts to wonder as they pleased! On the other hand, they already mine, in My mind… or were they “send” by a Higher- Power to my mind, and if so, I had a responsibility! They became my thoughts, not just fleeting thoughts!

Just as not all artists paint the same picture, not all writers experience the same creative processes. Frankly, that would be very boring of all readers and admirers of art!
I could only guess other’s creative processes but describe mine. After many years of asking myself why I write I concluded that deep rooted inside my heart there is a desire and idealistic hope that a that specific thought might change or help someone in this troubled world and maybe I am just the conduit!

Is this a general trait of most writers?

Do all writers feel an irresistable urge to catch the true meaning of the thoughts visiting our minds at inconvenient times of day or night? Do we all hope some kind of life changing idea would be doomed to darkness if we don’t bring it to light?

Hmm… these thoughts just paraded through my mind and without asking for permission, I am committing them to paper for us to debate.
Officially they became intellectual property!
Please share with us WHAT is your relationship with the thoughts which visit your mind? Do you ” catch” them or let them go?

Buyer BEWARE! How to Protect Ourselves Against ALL SCAMS

Scams! They could be dating, IRS or skin care products, in other words, no area is OFF LIMITS FOR SCAMMERS!!!

The beginning of my involvement with “scams,” was back in 2013 when I decided to share with my readers what happened to me, so it would not happen to them too!

At the time, I posted about an unfortunate and costly experience I had when I was naive enough to believe that a product would be mailed to me as a “trial,” for the cost of the shipping and handling only, a reasonable $4.95, but once the company had my credit card number, they started charging monthly amounts, close to $92.95 and not a one time $4.95!

We are now in 2017 and 1,600 comments later, of which approximately are about other people’s experiences of being scammed, I decided to revisit the topic in an attempt to share for everyone’s benefit what I have learned in the last four years from you, the people who cared enough to share their experiences, so that others might be spared the financial and emotional distress, and also what I continued to experience personally in the area of the never ending scamming world we live in!

At first, I attempted to write about a comprehensive list of a majority of companies to avoid. Their names and how they operate. Soon, I discovered these companies CHANGE THEIR NAMES once enough people become aware of their operation. At that point it became useless to even try and compile a list of probable scammers.

Given the proliferation of such businesses, there are a few easy ways to protect ourselves against ALL SCAMS. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but here are a few suggestions:

1. Buy a PREPAID CREDIT CARD with a small limit and use that card exclusively for your internet purchases. By doing this, at least you avoid large losses.
2. Do business and purchase only through reputable companies which will stand behind the companies they represent. The two reputable umbrella companies that come to mind are Groupon and Amazon.
3. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! Once I purchased a beautiful, inexpensive jacket from an unknown company. The jacket arrived as expected, but two weeks later, my credit card number was used outside the U.S. and purchases of over $1,000 were made.
4. It is important to belong to a good bank or credit union. What do I mean by it? Over the years, many people reported that their financial institutions refused to dispute in their name. A good financial institution, after you, personally, try and fail to resolve the issue, will stand with you and investigate the issue.
5. If you used a card with a high limit and not as suggested a prepaid card with a small limit, IMMEDIATELY report to your financial institution and have them send you a NEW CARD with new numbers.

A few words about phone scams.

Honestly, in order to be scammed by phone, one MUST first answer the phone. My logic is simple: If it is legitimate and important, they will leave a message. Of course, some scammers have the nerve to leave threatening messages.If you receive such a message, consult with someone you trust about the message or report it to your local authorities.

I guess, I am running out of tips:) but I hope the above helps and I encourage you to continue and share with the community YOUR OWN PREVENTION TIPS and stories.

To a safer world!