Category Archives: Memories

An interview: My first appearance on YouTube

At least I think it was my first one. I don’t know if I appeared on the background of somebody else’s video or if someone found funny and filmed as I frantically tried on a bus trip to finish a sentence of a story I am currently writing, while at the same time preparing to get out of the bus. The latter happened just yesterday. But I don’t think I was filmed. Phew!

But the interview I want to tell you about was intended. It was made in connection with the author talk I gave at the SGS School of Creative Writing, at Trekanten Bibliotek og Kulturhus here in Aalborg, on the 2nd of March.

Samuel Mork Bednarz, or Sam, is a student at the SGS and he is also a part of the SGS Social Media Team, where I also participate.

Sam is responsible for the SGS podcast, and currently he is taking interviews with the authors giving author talks at and for the SGS.

I have given several interviews up to this point (this interview took place about a week before the author talk), two of which were recorded on audio.

It was fun to observe myself, the feelings and thoughts generated by these experiences. During the first interview I felt so unusually that I smiled shyly at the recording smart-hone and said “Thank you!” at and to it before answering the first question by the interviewer.

The interview with Sam was filmed and I watched it last night for the first time. Again managing to observe myself non-judgmentally while watching.

Some automatic thoughts judging my appearance did appear but they were short and fleeting. Instead I had fun watching this person on the computer screen, so differently looking and sounding from what I know when I look in the mirror or hear myself talk. I watched her with curiosity finding the things she said so new, and also laughing along with her and the interviewing Sam.

This experience was so strikingly different from that many years ago in Germany as I watched myself on TV after being filmed in our cleanroom at the Institute of High Frequency Electronics of the Technical University Darmstadt. At that time I had assimilated the cliché that nobody liked watching him- or herself on TV. I followed this tradition and said to anyone who would listen how terribly I looked on the screen, while I secretly enjoyed when people objected. At some point they stopped objecting and listening to my ever returning moans about how bad I was. So at the end I was left with a feeling of having failed and not have done enough.

Now I realize that I was thrilled to see myself on the screen. I looked so different. And yes, surprising.

I am glad that I had this epiphany at this point of my life when my children are small, so that I convey to them these moments of being OK with myself and just enjoying all the surprises my life and my true self bring with them.

I wish you all happy self-discoveries and fun watching my first interview on YouTube.


Happy Mărţişor!

It is the 1st of March today. The day when in Moldova friends and family give each other a small sweet sign of love and friendship, a Mărţişor (pronounced [mærtsishór]).

Last year, when I posted about Mărţişor and quoted from my very first book “The Truth About Family”, I was yet to publish my books. Now, one year later, I have self-published three books. And tomorrow I will read publicly from them and talk about my way of becoming a writer. Wow, what a year!

Mărţişor was always a special talisman, a sweet sign that made me smile and remember those days when I was in a trolleybus in Moldova surrounded by many people heading to school and work, with these little red-white pins on their jackets, and trying to hide their smiles about something so seemingly ridiculous, but so wonderful. It is still cold in Moldova on the 1st of March. But only according to the thermometer. Whatever the weather is, this is one of the warmest and sweetest days you can experience in the beautiful country I originally come from.

I’ve had a sweet chat with my sister this morning. I wished her Happy Mărţişor. After a small pause I asked her whether one says something like this, and she answered, “Yes. You just invented it.” You can guess that she made my day with this statement. 🙂

That is why I would like to start a new tradition and wish you all Happy Mărţişor, Happy March, Happy Spring, Happy Year and Happy Life!


Picture: my Mărţişor creations this year.

Summer impressions

You might not have noticed but I was away for two weeks with my family. We visited my parents- and my grandparents-in-law in Germany. We all had a wonderful time.

It makes me smile as I see reactions on most people’s faces when I mention my parents-in-law. It is amazing how the prejudices against in-laws are ingrained into the cultures we grew up in. All those fairy tales and jokes about the awful mother-in-law.

I love seeing how the faces relax when I tell them how much I like my in-laws and that my mother-in-law is one of my best friends.

My family and I try to spend Christmas every year with my parents-in-law as well as the whole of my husband’s family. And we love spending our summer holidays with them. Every time we spend time with them we tank energy and good mood.

Also this summer we had very colourful and wonderful holidays including three celebrations on my Mom’s-in-law birthday.

Here are some impressions from our vacation.

We …

  • hiked on a motor-cross test track close to were my in-laws live:


  • enjoyed my grandparents’-in-law garden, some of us awake and aware of the blooming and ripening beauties:




  • some of us asleep:


  • inspected damages after a summer storm:



  • made selfies:


  • enjoyed the world and ourselves from the top of a rock called Grandfather:




  • went for a walk:




  • enjoyed natural and human creations:



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  • verified quality of Mama’s writing:


  • and finally unpacked our bags today:


Did I exist before reading a book?

I can’t imagine my life without books. I rarely go out of the house without a book.

Yesterday I’ve downloaded an app allowing to read books on my mobile. So even if I go out without a book but have my mobile with me, I am still not book-less. A very nice trick.

I read in several different books during the day. Some I use for reference, some I read for pleasure, some for both work and pleasure.

But I can hardly imagine that I ever existed a day long without holding a book in my hands. These days definitely were present in my life, but fortunately I can’t remember them.

First I copied love of others for books. In my toddler years I imitated my father in reading. I took his books and pretended reading by holding my index finger against the text and making some unintelligible sounds. I was reading. Then I was eager to read what my elder sister read. I envied her in many things. So I repeated her in many ways. Including reading. I picked the books she did. And this is when it hit me. Literally. You can find the story on how I grew dependent on reading here.

Whatever the format, books are incredible creations and creatures, which have lives of their own.

My dependence on them grew so strong that at some point I wanted to create some of my own. And this is what I am doing. Reading and writing books. And I am having a blast. One of the dependencies, which I hope will never lose grasp on me.

Today looking into my notes with favorite quotes I found the following wise words about books from a hilarious and intelligent little book “The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett, featuring a queen who falls in love with books.

So here are the quotes:

“Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not.”

“A book is a device to ignite the imagination.”

“You don’t put your life into your books. You find them there.”

Alan Bennett “The Uncommon Reader”

Pictures: Niklas back in the beginning of 2012, when he was a few months and a year old, happy about a big thick book Mama have ordered for her work.

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True or false: an encounter with a singing legend

I think I once promised to share with you, which of the scenes in my first book “The Truth About Family” are true and which are not. Actually most of them are based on true events, but they were modified in respect to place, point in time and some aspects of how the events took place. The story is good when it has a flow, so the true events took sometimes a different shape or simply were taken from another time and another person.

For example the scene where my father has an encounter with the Moldovan singing legend Nicolae Sulac, of whom my father was a huge fan and who inspired him to have his birth place changed from the one given him at the orphanage to Sadyk (Sadîc), the birthplace of Nicolae Sulac:


“So the thing is that he was walking to the back door of the Palace of the Republic and I recognized him. There were other people entering the building as well. My friends and I were trying to guess who they were. But he looked nothing like what we’d seen from the pictures and from the small TV. He usually sang in a traditional white costume, with stitching at the shirt collar and cuffs. On that day, when I saw him in person, he was dressed in black trousers and a black shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He was deep in thought or in a tune, because his fingers on both hands were moving as if playing an instrument. He walked pretty close to where I was standing. So I greeted him.”

“Did he answer, or did he ignore you?”

I shook my head. “At first he was startled. I guess he didn’t expect anyone to recognize him, so he thought for a second. Probably to figure out who I might have been. Then he smiled, returned my greeting and carried on. …”


This scene is both true and false. It did happen.

But it didn’t happen to my father. It happened to me.

It was in the mid-nineties and I saw Nicolae Sulac coming out of the gates of the main market place in Kishinev. Nobody seemed to recognize him, but there was a slight space around him, which probably was what let me notice him. He was deep in thought and, I guess, he was sure that no one would know him in the middle of the day, in the market place where you would not expect to see someone famous, and the way he was dressed.

And he was dressed exactly as described in the excerpt above.

Later I saw him at a wedding I was invited to. He wore exactly the same cloths, or at least the very same type of them: black trousers and black shirt with sleeves rolled up above his elbows.

He didn’t recognize me at the wedding and I never played music with him (I never played mandolin either, whereas my father did), but I never forgot that encounter.

And after that encounter I became even bigger fan of him.

There are many famous stars, who remain with their feet on the ground and do not become arrogant for their achievements. But what I most liked about Nicolae Sulac is that he was never much interested in himself. In the interviews I saw with him, he always seemed to be surprised about the interest to him, and his private affairs. All he was interested in were the Moldovan songs and his fellow countrymen and -women, for whom he sang and composed those songs. Many of these songs needed a lot of courage to bring out, like the song “Oamenii de Omenie” (title of which can be translated as “Humans with Humanity”) written and presented during the anti-alcoholic campaign during Perestroika years. The song said for example, that whatever you do, a Moldovan couldn’t have a wedding celebration with tea. And that we Moldovans don’t drink wine, we take it for honour. I would interpret this saying as taking it to honour life.

And this is what both Nicolae Sulac and my father did, with their lives and the ways they lived: they honoured life.

Picture: This is me at the celebration of my PhD defence in 1999, dressed in a Moldovan national costume, expressing my gratitude to my German and Moldovan professors and my colleagues at the Technical University in Darmstadt, Germany, for their support during completion of my PhD course.