When we talk of a heart’s desire, we often talk of big dreams and wishes. Here is a story, how a small desire of heart can turn to have a significant influence on one’s life. My sister taught me this lesson and I hold this story dearly to my heart.
It was the time when I was beginning my PhD course at the Academy of Sciences of Moldova. Svetlana was already done with hers for several years and giving lectures in economy to students at two Universities in Chisinau, the state one and the private one. Before starting at the private University, where she led a department, she worked also as an executive director of an economical association in Moldova. Ever since Soviet Union collapsed and Moldova has proclaimed itself independent, my sister had at least two full time jobs at the same time, which was the main income in our family.
The state salaries and grants were small and paid sporadically. So, while being a PhD student at a state organization, I had to have an additional job, too. After helping out in a marketing study, I had several jobs as English teacher for beginners at various places like hotels and economical organizations with number of people reaching as many as thirty. I was also giving individual lessons to those members of my groups, who wished and needed to learn more. I had a really good time. In fact, my sister helped me also here. She helped me getting the marketing job and my first English course I taught.
My sister, my niece, my mother and I lived together at that time. Since both Svetlana and I were working from early morning to pretty late in the evenings, we often had only nights to prepare for our lectures and lessons.
And this was one of the very best times in my early adult life. We worked together at the kitchen table, made tea and bread with butter for short breaks. And we laughed a lot stifling our giggles. Sometimes our mother would wake up and hush us so that we don’t wake my niece Mihaela, who was a baby at that time. My mother joked that she doubted our efficiency when she caught us laughing and suggested that we went to bed and got some sleep. But we always had good arguments why we still needed to be awake and have breaks with tea, bread and butter. And laughs.
Actually our laughs were often connected to what we were doing. I’ve learned a lot from my sister during those nights. Especially, how to find and see joy and lightness in seemingly hard tasks.
It was early time of Moldovan radio stations, which played only music. “Wonderful World” from the band “Black” was a big hit. Svetlana and I were huge fans and four of us, including our mother and my niece, would stop any talk or activity when this song has been aired. And we would listen until it finished. And as it ended we expressed longing for the next time.
One day a friend of mine recorded this very song on a tape for me.
On the evening of that day, my sister and I were again late home and just in time to give my niece a bath and put her to bed.
Svetlana and I worked at the kitchen table after that for a while.
At some point, my sister suggested going to the living room and listen to the tape on our big music center, which my father bought before he died.
We didn’t have headphones back then, and the small table recorder, we had also from my father, didn’t allow fine tuning of the volume so that we could listen to it quietly in the middle of the night.
After some doubt and fear on my side that we could wake up my niece and Mom, and even our neighbors, through the “paper-thin” walls, I agreed.
My sister was always the driving force in her and our daring adventures. Here is a small account of some of her adventures and the counterpart on my side.
Svetlana was using her school bag as a sleigh. That led to the need for a new bag every spring in the least. I changed my first schoolbag for another in the seventh or eighth grade only because it was too small and looked too childish. But it was as good as new because I was always careful, or rather afraid, not to scratch or damage it somehow.
In winter as an adult in her late twenties, mind you, Svetlana used to skate on her high-heeled boots on the slippery sidewalks, while I made small steps in my flat boots being afraid to fall down. Sometimes my sister would catch my arm and say: “Hold me!” and skate further, so that I would have to run beside her and make sure that none of us fell down. And if it happened, if one of us fell, she always had a good laugh, while I was confirmed in my fears and was more careful the following time.
So, also with the song “Wonderful Life” from “Black”, my sister was the driving force.
We went to the living room, took our work with us and listened to the song many times, rewinding again and again to listen to it from the beginning.
About twenty minutes after moving to the living room, there was a terrible crash sound of breaking glass in the kitchen. It was like someone has thrown a big stone into our window, which was rather unlikely in the middle of the night and the flat being on the fourth floor.
Our mother woke up and came with quick steps to us worried what happened. Together, we switched on the light in the kitchen and the bulb was still hanging above the kitchen table. When we looked down, the table and the kitchen floor were full of small glass pieces from the shattered lampshade. It somehow loosened from its holding and fell. We were shocked seeing the damage, especially when we realized that less than half an hour before this happened Svetlana and I were sitting with our heads right underneath it.
Since then we often tell the tale how a song saved us from serious injuries. But actually it was Svetlana’s drive and her listening to her heart’s desire, however small, that saved us.
Pictures: Me and my sister as children. And a calendar sheet from May 4, 1964 saying: “at 18:15 our Svetlana was born”. My father made this note and one for me in his calendar and kept these two little pieces of paper in his notebook up to the day he died.
Happy birthday week and month, my dear, sweet sister Svetlana!
You are the best sister one could wish for!