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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Movie Time: Becoming Jane

My dearest hearts,

**WARNING!!! This post contains a review of Becoming Jane. It may turn out to be an extensive post so please grab yourself a cup of tea and a warm blanket and Enjoy! Be careful and read not this post if you did not see the movie, it has spoilers ;)**
It is never too late to recognise and share the things you love. I have always been in love with period dramas - be it movies or books - and I have never ceased to collect them and share them with the ones I love. Of course this came as a shock sometimes for people who never heard of period dramas... and that made the only connection with the word period that the knew... that being menstruation! :/ When I first told my significant other about period movies he truly believed that those movies were the kind of movies you watch when you are on your period. I beg to differ - I watch them all the time! And to be fair, you don't need to be a lady to like period movies; there are certain period movies that even gentlemen prefer - take for example Braveheart or Rob Roy! Anyway... my love of period drama began when I was a wee lass and I simply devoured all the Jane Austen and Bronte sister novels I found in our library. I cannot remember the exact amount of time I have spent reading and re-reading them nor watching and rewatching adaptations of the books. I even managed to get other people in love with them and that makes my heart happy :) Even though the Bronte sisters did not keep Jane Austen in the highest of regards, for me it's impossible not to love her! As many wonderful and talented and remarcable women of her time, she did not have "all she wanted" but her characters always had a happy ending. Both Jane and her sister Cassandra, her faithful companion, were never married even though they knew love... this is what the movie Becoming Jane also shows us. 
For me, as a Janeite (fan of Jane Austen and everything that is related to her work), it's hard to find something not to love about her. From her writings you can see the modern woman in her, the wit and the gentle manner of writing, of presenting life. She always gave her characters a happy ending, knowing possibly that she will never her one: she choose to live on though her work, which she probably considered her children. And she had 6 glorious sunshined children: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Emma and Persuasion. She also had other unfinished work - to our great sadness... Becoming Jane is the kind of movie that all Janeites should see (if they have not yet seen it and rewatched it, like I did). Some might beg to differ on the love story it shows and some will just go with it - like I do. The movie is based on the assumed love (boyish love, as Tom later on admits it) between Jane Austen (played by Anne Hathaway) and Tom Lefroy (brilliantly adorable Scottish actor James McAvoy).
Now there might be some not-so-amiable ladies and gents who would pick upon this movie but I prefer to take it as it is! They might say Anne is to tall and fair to play Jane, they might pick upon the fact that the romance presented might be in fact just a thing that nowdays we call "fling"... I beg to differ! I rather like to think that Tom truly was the male in her life upon which she constructed the fabulous Mr. Darcy - that every girl cannot help but eventually fall in love with. I love the idea of her bring her model for Elizabeth and her sister, Cassandra, for Jane (Elizabeth 's sister in Pride and Prejudice). It all just falls into place and the way the Austen family is portrayed in this movie... you can definitely see the Bennet's in them ;) and maybe even a bit of Wickham in Jane Austen 's brother!? I love the way the movie was shot, the accompanying music (the OST is just a gem on its own, having the magnificent Adrian Johnston working on it!).
The film is partly based on the 2003 book "Becoming Jane Austen" by Jon Hunter Spence, who was also hired as historical consultant. The final screenplay, developed by Sarah Williams and Kevin Hood, pieced together some known facts about Austen into a coherent story, in what co-producer Graham Broadbent called "our own Austenesque landscape." According to Hood, he attempted to weave together "what we know about Austen's world from her books and letters," and believed Austen's personal life was the inspiration for Pride and Prejudice.
Although it's a magnificent piece of art on its own, it was not entirely well received by the public that was split between the loving portrayal of Jane Austen by Anne and the fact that the movie does not quite stick up to all that was known of Jane. The movie was created for a broader audience, not just the Janeites, hence it is hard to get them content ;) but I am! Just look at the stellar cast and their performance!  Even the supporting actors are extraordinary: Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, James Cromwell! It's a pleasure seeing them pair up! One things for sure that everyone can agree with is the electricity between the main characters of the movie: Jane and Tom - the love affair between the 2 hardly needs any convincing! Both Anne and James are brilliant actors and you can see how well they pair up! One of my favourite scenes (absolute favourite!!!) is the one at the ball, when they dance - the smiles, the movement even if there is lack of words... everything is stunning! Especially considering that at that time, touching was permitted only during dancing :) now tell me how hot/sensual is that?!
Overall, I must admit, I love this movie and I believe I have watched it head to tail at least half a dozen times (if not more!). For sure the soundtrack I have heard more often than that as it is the type of smooth, relaxing music that you can play at absolutely any time! I sometimes would play it at work, in the background, while working on my projects - you try that next time ;) and if you never saw this beauty before, if you like period movies, you are a Janeite fan or you simply like a love story (Spoiler Alert: it does not have a happy ending!) then I wholeheartedly recommend you this movie for a ladies night/smith night on your own with some candles, wine and a box of Kleenex ;) Enjoy!

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves a good period drama
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Monday, 28 March 2016

Thoughts About Easter

My dearest hearts, 

Around this time of year we start celebrating Easter / Passover / The resurrection of our Lord (you pick the appropriate name according to your culture and heritage). Sometimes this celebration falls in March, sometimes in April and sometimes even in May. Sometimes the Catholic celebration comes at the same time with the Orthodox one (quite rarely) and sometimes they are world's apart... like this year! So coming from an Orthodox background into my new family, Catholic, I will celebrate both - more goodies for me! I am a fan of eggs so I'm happy with this arrangement... not sure if my liver agrees though ;)) Joking aside, this celebration has become more and more commercial over the years. If you tell me what the connection between the Easter bunny and the eggs vs. the resurrection of Jesus, I will give you a gift! As usual, when people switched from pagan beliefs to Christianity it was easier to assimilate certain traditions in order to make the newly Christian believers more comfortable. Hence the egg was said to be the symbol of life and the bunny... oh, well I still haven't figured out the bunny part yet!
Easter time, nowdays, is all about going to church to bless the food and then knocking oneself over by overeating... especially after fasting for a long period of time. Kids get "easter eggs" made out of chocolate and "easter bunnies" made put of chocolate as well... they get presents and they have a break from school, yet if you ask them they hardly ever can tell you what this day really means. What do we celebrate during easter time? Did you know that the modern English term Easter, cognate with modern German Ostern, developed from an Old English word that usually appears in the form Ēastrun, Ēastre or Ēostre. The most widely accepted theory of the origin of the term is that it is derived from the name of a goddess mentioned by the 7th to 8th-century English monk Bede, who wrote that Ēosturmōnaþ (Old English 'Month of Ēostre', translated in Bede's time as "Paschal month") was an English month, corresponding to April, which he says "was once called after a goddess of theirs named Ēostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month". There you have it! So what do we truly celebrate? Have we returned to being pagans again? 
Of course it's acceptable nowdays to have some amount of commercialism in our main holidays/celebrations: at Christmas time we have Santa Claus and at Easter time we have the Easter bunny. Of course, we NEED the Easter bunny to deliver the Easter eggs just like Santa Claus delivers the Christmas presents; thus deviating from the real celebration of Christmas = birth of Christ and Easter = resurrection of Christ. It's funny, but as I write this on my android phone, Christ keeps being replaced by autocorrect with Christmas... this phone is doing what we all began to do in our minds and hearts. Replacing the real celebration with fake, makeup, commercial ideas. A mass audience that does not think for itself will be always easier to rule and control! Now I ask of you to stop a moment and think about it... what do you celebrate today? Do you celebrate the gift that God gave you, the gift of eternal life, or do you celebrate the power of money. I make the same mistakes as you do, but sometimes I awake from this "matrix" and think about things... the things we don't need and the things that burden our life's. I want to take a moment today to thank God that he sacrificed his only Son so we would be free. So we would all have eternal life. I always contradict my husband when he says that he will love me until death do us part - love has no ending so I will love him even after death, as I believe in life after. 

What do you celebrate today? Do you celebrate the pagan Easter or do you celebrate the gift that God gave us? Do you plan on feasting away on chocolate and goodies, not giving this idea a thought or will you tell your loved ones about it? Either way, I wish you all a very nice time with your family and the ones you love.  May you have an amazing Resurrection Day! 

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug that sometimes celebrates Easter, because she forgets about its true meaning 
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Friday, 25 March 2016

Warsaw - Restauracja Ceprownia

Dearest sweethearts,

Last December I took my dear friend, who was visiting us for a week, for a short one - day trip to Warsaw. I love these kind of trips because you see something new and change the environment and you don't even have to pack for it. You can be as free as a bird! Ioana never visited Warsaw before so I thought I would show her around the main sites in the Old Town. Now in case you have not visited Poland (Warsaw) during wintertime, you might not know that you need to layer up like an onion. It gets chilly and even though it may be sunny and bright, you may have howling winds that can tear you down! Be prepared! The awesome part is that from Kraków to Warsaw you can have a very comfortable high-speed train that would take you to the Warsawa Centralna station in around 2 hours and 30 minutes! Perfect for a small nap or watching one movie or reading a few chapters of your "ongoing" book. We took the train that gets to Warsaw at a bit after 8 am and the first thing we had planned was a short trip to the Palace of Culture - the Communistic monument that sits right outside the Main Train Station ;) and that is a landmark of this city. Some think it's odd and old and outdated and certainly not beautiful, but I think it holds a certain charisma. Not to mention it provides one of the best birds eye views over Warsaw - 360 degrees! ;) the viewing platform opens at 9 am daily, and that was the first place we went. Downside for this trip during wintertime: it's bloody cold and even more windy than downstairs!!! We were all layered up and still we could not handle more than 15-20 min up there! Make sure you visit this place in warm weather! It's much nicer and last time I have been there, in august, I even used the relaxing chairs and basked in the sun. Oh! Summer...
After getting mortified by the serious winds in Warsaw we immediately felt hungry as a wolf! (As one does when it's bloody cold outside!). We did not want the fast food, that is usually open 24/7 so we tried to find a restaurant that would be open. To my amazement all restaurants/pubs/shops would open up only after 10 am... hence we headed towards the Old Town, the Palace, hoping that in the meanwhile we will find something good open. Sincerely speaking we had no contingency plan and we did not even Google it. We went with the flow, and very close to the Bristol Hotel we found this one Restauracja  (=restaurant, in Polish language) that just had opened its doors to the cold customers outside. It was the Restauracja Ceprownia! I sincerely never heard if this place but we thought we should give it a go. It looked cozy and pleasant and it somehow reminded me of Babcia Malina in Kraków. The restaurant here, although, as far as I could see, is not self service but I am confused how only one lady can manage the upstairs and downstairs when the restaurant is full... maybe extra staff... and I saw some pictures on their Instagram and Facebook accounts that in the summer they have also a bit of outdoor seating! :) Anyway... the place is cozy, done on highlander style: all wood and decorated with old fashioned instruments to help around the house (like buckets for milk and doing butter, made out of wood). It was decorated with soft lights for Christmas/New Year's Eve time and the place had a soft morning glow about it...
We settled down to a couple of wooded benches decorated with handmade yarn covers and soon the waitress came to us and handed in the menus in Polish - English. We went with the "Breakfast continental platter" as we were hungry as wolfes and we asked for hot tea to warm ourself inside out. The serving time was around 10-15 min but we had a good time chatting in the meanwhile and defrosting ourselves with the hot tea, that came in first. I would not say it was the best breakfast I ever ate but we were very hungry and we ate everything, to the last morsel! The cheese and ham went well with the bread and we made sandwiches with the onion and cucumber on top. That was well done ;) but I was really dissapointed on the amount of scrambled eggs received! I think it was barely one! It was a nice idea though to serve it with onion tails. My granny used to cook scrambled eggs like that, and it reminded me of her. Downside to the butter and jam: not homemade! :( I am sorry, but ever since Charlotte (in Kraków) I keep having high standards when it comes to being served with bread/butter/jam! So... verdict: I was NOT content but my stomach was full and happy. I guess you can't win them all... can't you?! 
The location: Krakowskie Przedmieście 7, Warsaw - that would be in the Old Town ;) 
The ranking on TripAdvisor: 53 reviews gathering 4 out of 5 points; #305 of 1574 Restaurants in Warsaw, with the average price of 7 - 14 GBP. 
Opening hours: Sunday and Saturday from 11 am to midnight; Monday to Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm & Friday from 10 am to midnight.
The prices:
- tea (simple, of your choice) - 8 zloty
- espresso - 7 zloty
- tea with vodka or cherry vodka or rum - 14 zloty
- hot wine (150 ml) - 12 zloty
- lemonade (200 ml) - 10 zloty (it can be "cloudy" or classic)
- breakfast continental = scrambled eggs, cheese, ham, bread, butter, jam, coffee or tea - 22 zloty

Would I recommend this place? Only if you can't make it for the Charlotte in Warsaw... or if there is nothing else around open, with a better option than this... I did read a couple of nice reviews (after) of this place, about the lunch options. Maybe one day I will come back and give it a go, but until then... Charlotte is still my "lover" when it comes to breakfast options. If you know a good breakfast place in Old Town Warsaw, around the Palace, I would love to hear it from you. Maybe I would try that next time :) 

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves breakfast
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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The American Experience - Work & Travel

My dearest friends,

It had occurred to me that I have not yet told you much about my "love affair" with the USA. It was brief, a summer fling, but it will always stay with me. The good old USA made me absolutely love 3 beautiful cities that will remain in my heart, but the whole difference between the "old continent" and America could be debated for years... so I will try today not to raise any debates but give an overview over My American Experience. It seems so long ago, but when I think of it it feels as if it were yesterday... the summer of 2007 taught me more than any other summer I had until then and since. I had travelled before, inside the country (in Romania and Moldavia) with my family and my first real extern travel was just one year before, when I went for 10 days to Greece. That was an amazing experience as well! But now it was different... I had just finished my first year of university and I was dead set to try out the USA. Through a good friend at the league of students I was frequenting, I heard about a program that allowed young people (like myslef) to work and travel in America. Well... America sounded like the land of all dreams, where everything could come true, and Greece already wet my appetite... I wanted to travel, I wanted to see the world, I wanted to know how other people think and act... I wanted more than a regular vacation! And the tought of being on my own for 3-4 months, even though it sounded daunting, it tickled my interest. Of course there is a certain amount of money and paperwork involved + the process of passing the exam for the visa for the USA (now that was interesting!)... but I won't write about that! I want to write about America and about how a young girl met head - strong a life that she really enjoyed.
New York Summer Sunset - 2007
The first thing I remember about My American Experience is the flight time... It was my very first flight! Everything was brand new and interesting for me... somehow the 8-9 hours direct flight (one of the very first direct flights from Bucharest to New York, provided by none other than Delta Airlines) did not scare me a bit, and time flew by fast - making friends, watching movies, listening to music and sleeping like a baby... I have no problems sleeping in planes, ever since my first encounter with them! I guess that is when I got my flight travel bug :) I have felt safe in them since the first moment. The thought of being up there, in the clouds, closer to God and all its wonders makes me smile... I even had a time when I flirted with the idea of trying out to be a stewardess... travelling the world and being on a plane enjoying the views... Unfortunately those very first flights (Bucharest - New York and back) I never had a window seat. But that did not mean I did not use the time to stretch my legs in order to enjoy the views from other people windows ;))) We were a large group of youngsters going out there... to see the world and change ourselves in the process. You somehow know that there are certain moments and experiences, in time, that will change the very fibres of your being: American Experience - Work & Travel is one of them! I remember being somewhat shy when talking to large audiences. There are 3 things that helped me out: 1) being a part of the league of students and doing projects with them, 2) the marketing and the communication studies I undertook later on + 3) the trip to the USA.
There are a few things in the USA that make a difference between them and the good old Europe. The first thing you observe when you touchdown in the New York JFK Airport is the scale of it all... Now please bare in mind that it was my first flight and my second airport that I saw (the one in Romania could NOT compare to JFK!). Everything, out of the sudden, seems larger than life... you cannot seem to grasp the differences and even though you are deadly tired with the 8-9 hour flight + the change in the time zone (that will screw you up a lot at the very beginning!) you feel as if you entered in a different, new world. You cannot help smiling wide... I remember another shock when I travelled the first time by the famous Greyhound Lines, the constant airconditioning kept me wondering why people would enjoy the sudden change in temperature: outside it was hot and humid and as soon as you got inside the bus you felt like in a freezer! I remember wondering why I had not brought a jacket! For summertime!!! :/ The ride was swift and silent and I even snoozed for a while, even though I was very scared of missing my stop! The smoothness of the traffic and the lanes and the highways lulled me back to sleep as soon as I tried to focus on the "bright city lights". 
The Lovely Niagra Falls
I can recall that at the beginning, for a week or so, I could not find housing so we were all sleeping at a complex of hotels (cannot remember the name, for the life of me!). All the houses/apartments were taken by  Work & Travel students and the athmosphere was always very positive and joyful. After a while, you begin to gather up in groups from work and someone knows someone who would like to rent a flat or a house or so on... and you start talking and negociating to see if the "new arrangement" fits you :)  That's what I did! We ended up renting the upper floor of a bright white house - 4 rooms, a kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a large living room. That were crazy times! I remained good friends with some of the people, with some I do not speak anymore - you will figure out that you cannot make everyone content, not everyone loves everyone, not everyone is sincere and not everyone looks out for your best interest! You learn as you go... and you grow up by the decisions you make! You will have parties, you will have fun, you will do crazy things that you will remember for your whole lifetime! I remember after a party, late in the night, it was so hot and humid (typical weather for summertime in Atlantic City) that we went outside... the beach was 5 min away by foot, lazy walk... it was 4 am :))) and we went into the ocean, crashing the waves... I am very fond of that memory as I am fond of the friends whom I shared it with!
The Lovely Niagra Falls
You will work your arse off, and especially if its your first time you will try and find yourself a second job, as you will have quite a lot of free time on your hands + you will want to make the money back (the ones you payed for the whole process: plane ticket + visa + the processing by the American Experience Company that you will use). One single job will not pay it out ;) unless you get lucky and have a job that involves huge tips (then, screw you, lucky bastard :P ). My first job, brought to me by contract, was in the Ceasars Palace - Atlantic City, New Jersey; where I was an Employee Dining Room Attendant with 7 $ paycheck per hour. It was a decent job, not entertaining, but I made nice friends there and I learned a lot about the "background operations" inside a restaurant. It was funny deciding I want to take another job... I do not believe I ever had longer working hours since then. I used to go to my second job and then have a half hour break until my first job would start - but everybody did the same :) I remember, back in 2007, when I tried to find jobs via LinkedIn but things didn't add up so I ended up going to the Outlet Shops checking the job openings. I have to say I was lucky to have found the Polo Ralph Lauren opening up positions for Customer Care. I filled out the application paper, I was called in for the written exam and then the talk with the manager and... KABOOM! I got hired! :) Until today I think that was the best job experience I have had! My managers were amazing ladies who knew when to scold you, when to thank you, when to reward you and how to make you smile and make this experience for you more meaningful. I miss them each time I think about them... I was allowed to experience things in Polo Ralph Lauren that I never thought I would see live. I learned about customer care and merchandising first hand, I was given the opportunity to say what I think and act upon my will - to be responsible! It really means a lot to me to know that they wanted me to stay... they said I had great potential and that they saw in me a gem. They had faith and they had patience and they had the power to make you love learning and experiencing new things. I will never forget them and I will always feel grateful for them being a part of my life, part of my experience.
The Lovely Niagra Falls in the nighttime
You will love the people and hate them at the same time - love them for being open and friendly and ALWAYS with a smile upon their face, hate them for being so open minded about the whole ëveryone can have a gun" experience. I always found amazing the ability of all the American people I have met, to be able to smile and greet you from the bottom of their hearts. They will give you the benefit of a doubt, they will help you, they will guide you and they will open their hearts to you - if only you will listen! I learned from them communication skills, how to treat a customer (with respect and with being a step ahead of what he/she wants), how to behave properly in an orderly fashion. I always disagreed though on the violence and everyone's right to have a weapon. I remember vividly the hotel we were living in was pretty close to the area of Atlantic City where there was an all afro-american area of houses. I remember even a shooting in the area and how quiet the street would get. How much I loved my CD-player and my headsets that shielded me from the world and I did not have to answer to any comments or questions. People forget to tell you that the story does not always have a full happy line - it consists of both black, white and grey areas; areas through which we learn more about ourselves and the society we live in!
The Maid of the Mist Ride :)
You will travel and learn more about yourself while travelling. You will extend your horizon and you will look at people and places in a different way. I remember my first feeling when I saw a skyscraper... I felt so small and weirdly insignificant! I remember being in The Big Apple - in New York City - and the first time I got out of bus station I saw the New York Times logo on one of the tallest buildings... I remember smiling wide and thinking that "I was there! I was truly there!"... Sometimes you will need a moment to stop and think and feel that you are there... don't get taken over with the tsunami of "Let's do this! Let's do that!"... take your time and think of where you are and how far you have come... Enjoy it! and love each and every moment this experience has to offer you. Don't wait for things to come to you! One more thing I learned in the USA was being proactive! you need to be proactive in order for good things to come true ;) You will truly understand the value of money and being your own master. You will see how money comes in at the end of each week, via paycheck, and you will face the situation of buying yourself house stuff, food, groceries, things of your own personal usage... putting money on the side... and figuring out what you have left for travel and fun time purposes. That's real life! That's what grown-ups do, and that's what you will learn ;)
Harvard, early in the morning
Of course you learn much more than that, and you feel more deeply than that... everyone experiences The American Experience - Work & Travel in a different way, yet somehow all stories seem to have a common ground of growing up and learning more about yourself in the process. Have you ever went with Work & Travel program to the USA or any other country? How did it go for you? I would love to hear your stories and your opinions :) Do you agree with my story? Was it your first travel as well?

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that hopes you will have the courage/madness to try this experience as well :)
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Saturday, 19 March 2016

Palm Sunday In Poland

Dearest honey buns,

I hope you are ready for Easter, as it is knocking on our doors more and more heavily. In Poland, Palm Sunday is known as Niedziela Palmowa which marks the beginning of Holy Week known as Kwietna or Wierzbna. Now if you need to learn something about Polish people, is the fact that they are stubborn, proud, nationalistic and they never miss a catholic holiday. They always go to church and ever since they are small, they are tought about the way of life in accordance to the catholic church rules. I love seeing the churches filled here, in Poland, and families going together to celebrate. I surely hope that most of them do it from their heart, not for the need to show off or the need to keep a "tradition"- but from what I see, I must admit I think they go for their heart and conscience. 
Picture taken by our beloved Globtroter Guest House
There are many customs related to the celebration of Easter, and in today's case (actually tomorrow, as that is the day of celebration - 20th March 2016) about the Palm Sunday. If you know not the story from the Bible, on Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as "Passion Sunday," marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday. The Easter celebration, as far as I can see, is more important for Romanian people than for the Polish people. When it comes to Christmas, it is actually the other way around... but let me get back to my story :) 
Women carrying hand-made 'palms' to be blessed in church on Palm Sunday, photo: Marek Maliszewski / Reporter / East News
There is an old custom I have read of but I have never seen performed in Krakow... The people would bring to the church a figure of Jesus Christ riding on a donkey while the spectators were throwing flowers and pussy willow branches - recreating the scene from the Bible. Another, more proeminent and lasting custom is related to the Palms. As the celebration of Palm Sunday is in March and not many flowers are in bloom... Polish people come to their inner creative self and do Palms out of tissue and crepe paper along with other dried flowers and pussy willow. They are unbelievebly colorful and beautiful - eyecatching! Probably that is why, along time, Polish people started having a custom made Palm competition - that's right! Every year, palm competitions take place throughout Poland. Two notable ones are held in Łyse in the Kurpie region, and in the village of Lipnica Murowana, southwest of Krakòw. The village of Łyse holds a contest for the tallest and most beautiful palm. People from all over the region work hard for the forty days of Lent to make their entries. The palms in Lipnica Murowana are so tall, they cannot be carried upright and are transported to the main square or church yard by several men who hoist them up so they stand on end. 
Picture taken 4 years back, in one of my favourite graveyards in Krakow
The contests are very competitive with specific rules - no nails or other metal elements can be used in making the palms, only wood, willow, reeds, green branches and paper flowers are allowed.Wires, ropes and lines from synthetic materials are also forbidden. In order to qualify in the contest, the palm has to stand upright without breaking, it has to be raised with no help from machines (just men in trees guiding it and others on the ground with special long pushing forks), and the creator of the palma must be able encircle its girth with his hands. Read more here! They are usually paraded throughout the cities/towns and they end up in the church, where they are displayed for quite a long time. If you are in Poland during Easter I recommend you to go and see them... they are a sight for sore eyes: tall, beautifully made and colorful as a rainbow, you can see how much work people have put into them. I dare you to contradict me in saying that Polish people lack imagination and talent! :) 
A view of last year's Easter Market - the Palms and the St. Mary Church
Do you have your own Palm ready for tomorrow? If not, I recommend you to come to Krakow and buy some of the lovely & colorful ones that are being sold in the Main Market square, in front of the St. Mary Church (Mariacki Kosciol). I have seen them ready for purchase since the beginning of this month and they could also be a nice gift for the ones back home - if you are just passing through/visiting this lovely city/country ;) I don't know why, but seeing the Palms always puts a smile on my face... it is nice to think that people can chanel their creative energies on something positive and beautiful... if only Palm Sunday would be everyday...

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Colorful Palms
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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Why We Love Pushing Daisies

Dearest hearts,

In a world where all people talk about hate and chaos and disorder, I prefer to "look at the bright side of life" and immerse myself in books and movies/tv-series that show the world in a more comforting color. "Pushing Daisies" does just that - for the amount of time that you watch the series, it manages to get you out of the world now, out of the moment, and get you thinking that there are beautiful things out there, in the world, if only you search for them. It gets you thinking that life comes in many shapes and sizes and that even though not always love is returned, life can still amaze you and you would still have your own story to tell. "Pushing Daisies" seems like a fairytale land taken from the 40s... where everything is just a tad more colorful and alive than our world nowdays. "Pushing Daisies" tells the story of Ned - the pie maker - that has a very specific and out of the ordinary gift: he can bring people back to life, only with his touch! 
But there is a downside to that - SPOILER ALERT!!! - if the person/being that he brings to life stays more than a minute alive, another has to take its place (a person in the closest proximity). He helps private detective Emerson in his "quests", but he soon is faced to his childhood sweetheart, Chuck - and yes, she is dead! Of course he wakes her up to see whom killed her, and solve the mistery for Emerson... but he doesn't put her back to "the everlasting sleep"... add to all that the lovely and talented Olive Snook that works at the pie shop run by Ned, and that she is very much in love with him + "Chuck's" 2 talented aunts (the retired Darling Mermaids Darling) and you have yourself a weird but yet very sparkly and bubbly cast. 
Without any further ado, let me share with you why we love "Pushing Daisies" - even though, sadly, it had only 2 seasons to present itself to the world:
  1. Because of The Pie Hole = Ned's pie shop. As he also points it out to the audience: Pie is home. Pie is comforting. Pie can be a slice of sunshine on a cloudy day. Pie can be what you need it to be, at least in this world. And although never too explicitly implied, pie brings people together. I don't think there is one episode with a good and hearty conversation over a piece of pie... it's addictive! At a certain point you might start believe that pie is the secret key to the universe ;))
  2. The uncanny resemblance every episode has to one of the most wonderful movie on this blessed earth: Amelie. From the very first second the narrator starts telling us Ned's story, it was as if I was having a deja vue... watching Amelie but in a slightly different way... starting with their childhood dramas (death of their mothers) to the daddy issues... to the helping of the people they love (most particularly in this case "Chuck" helping her aunts by baking them special pie "enhanced" with homeopathic substances, to make them feel better). If you don't believe me, that means you just haven't payed attention to Amelie Poulain (played awesomely by Audrey Tautou) - SHAME ON YOU!
  3. The main masculine role: Ned, played marvelously by Lee Pace (whom you might know as Legolas elf father in The Hobbit trilogy). Ned is one of a kind, sentimental and awkward (who wears eyebrows like that and still looks good?!), someone who makes you believe that the notion of love/romance in its true sense is not yet gone. How wonderfully romantic is it to know your other half loves bees, so you redecorate the entire roof with dozen upon dozen plants/flowers and at least half a dozen man-size beehives?! Especially when you are not a bee/honey fan yourself! How wonderfully romantic and very "Sleeping Beauty" like is waking up from death your beloved one, knowing that you will never be able to touch, just in order to still keep her alive... ah... love...
  4. The costumes of everyone in this series, but with predilection "Chuck's" wardrobe - magically old-fashioned and I wish I could own them all! ;))) they are all so well tailored and colorful and perfectly fitted it makes me cry... I would love to go back to the times when ladies truly looked like ladies and gentleman always wore a suit with matching shoes. I guess that is one of the reasons I love period movies that much! Remembering that such a time existed gives me wide smiles...
  5. The magical colors though out the series and the way that the story is being shot - makes me think again of both Amelie and the movie that was recommended to us during out photo classes, Everything is Illuminated. I was thinking during the series the same thing as I was thinking throughout the whole Everything is Illuminated movie: freeze the frame at any moment and it will always be perfectly composed and would work out on its own, as a picture. The colors are strong and it is predominantly yellow - green - orange based. It screams out to you, but definitely not in a negative way! Eye - candy!!! :)
  6. The character of Olive Snook - now that's one crazy, amazing, talented little lady! Kudos to the actress Kristin Chenoweth that portrayed her - I remember her from the series West Wing, where she had a totally different role! Here, in "Pushing Daisies" she is a sight for sore eyes. She is the kind of friend you wish you can have: reliable, kind yet ironic, always tells you what she thinks, knows her boundaries and limits yet she always strives to be the best. Now... I really need to mention this: this actress has an AMAZING voice and God blessed her with beautiful singing talent which she shows in this movie. She shines on the screen be it in a scene where is alone or when everyone is gathered up. The scenes where she starts singing always make me smile wide :) 
  7. The references to "The Sound of Music " - one of the best musicals of my childhood. When lovely Olive goes into hiding at the nunnery... well that will get you ticking if you are as big a fan as I am of this oldie but goldie. From the way it is shot, to the music and the way that Olive is dressed... oh, dear me! It's priceless and I am happy the team decided to pay homage to Julie Andrews lovely role as Maria. Kudos to XXX for playing Olive so wonderfully during those scenes!
  8. The crimes presented - yeah... I know this may sound odd, but none of the crimes Emerson & Ned (with the help of Chuck or Olive) deal with are normal/regular/ordinary. They all come with well prepared scenarios that make you wonder... What next?! And I just love the sense of thrill and wonder - gets you thinking and trying to figure out "the trail" before it runs cold ;)) not to mention that even though Ned brings the corpses back to life for 1 minute, they can never tell whom did it... but they can give clues ;) 
  9. The Darling Mermaids Darling - The 2 eccentric "aunts" of Chuck are just full of stories and surprises. The 2 sisters have been quite renounced performers as a duo of swimming "Darling Mermaids Darling". Still in a very fit stage, even with the high content of martini that they have each episode... they are a sight for sore eyes. They most certainly are out of the ordinary, with stories like why do they love Halloween... because the kids in the neighbourhood created a story that they are witches and they transform little boys into birds! ;))) of course they have a parrot that talks and says "Save me, they turned me!" They have a wicked sense of humour!
  10. The old school love story that touches your heart and soul and makes you think true love can cross ANY barrier! Take Ned and Chuck, you would think that their relationship would not work out as they cannot touch, else Chuck would drop dead and never come back to life... but they fight with every barrier that rises: they kiss through plastic foil, hold hands in rubber gloves and they love winters especial because they wear mittens and can hold hands all day! They sleep in separate beds so they would still be in eachothers presence... I think that is wonderfully romantic and old fashioned. They share their thoughts and help eachother in their daily tasks, even though - from the outside - their "dance" so they would not bump into eachother would resemble the "dance" that particles of dust have when being swepped by a tornado... magical and dangerous at the same time! Somehow it makes you think that maybe, out there, there is still a place for pure love :)
Have you ever watched "Pushing Daisies"? To tell you the truth, I almost would have missed it if it wasn't for my best friend - who is a period movie lover like myself. She was the one who recommend it and we have devoured the 2 series in just a few days... it left us thirsting for more, yet I somehow feel at peace with how it ended... eventually something would have happened... so it's better that it ended up all "raindrops, rainbows and unicorns". Do you feel the same? 

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves The Idea Behind Pushing Daisies
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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Learning A Bit Of Romanian Won't Do You Harm

Dearest hearts,

I know Romania is not a popular choice for holidays and it's perceived rather "exotic" and maybe even "dangerous", yet I say to you that you cannot judge a place truly until you have visited it yourself. When I ask people in Poland what they think of Romania, they are usually split in 2 parts: 1) The ones that never been there - and they usually have bad opinions, especially due to the "bad publicity" we get from having so many gypsies...; 2) The ones that have visited Romania or at least passes through it, in their holidays - and I always get a positive opinion from them. They love to tell me a few things: how beautiful and "virgin" our mountains are, how kind the people are and how crazy the drivers get (especially in Bucharest!). It's not hard to get along with people in Romania as they are very friendly and open... the problem that may rise is the language. For example, people my age and younger speak fluently English but if you get to the countryside or try to speak to elder citizen they most certainly not understand you. You might need to speak in German or French or Russian... and that might not be enough as well. If you can, make sure you have an app on your phone that translates you and maybe a little conversation book... in the big cities though it should not be a problem ;) also, if you speak a Latin language (Italian, Spanish) or know a bit of Latin,  you might actually be able to figure out what people are talking about ;) my husband knows a bit of Italian and studied Latin so he can figure out what I speak to my family ;)
Today I wanted to share with you a few Romanian expression that you might hear and not make sense of... if you translate them word by word:

1. A Romanian is not “surprised”… his “face has fallen off” (I-a picat fața).
2. A Romanian didn’t just “do so much with so little”…he “made a whip out of shit” (Face din rahat bici).
3. A Romanian won’t “lose temper”…his “mustard will jump off” (Îi sare muștarul).
4. A Romanian hasn’t just “screwed up”…he “threw his boogers in the beans” (A dat cu mucii-n fasole).
5. A Romanian won’t “try to fool you”…he’ll “throw vapours at you” (Te aburește).

6. Nor will he “lie to you”… he’ll “sell you doughnuts” (Vinde gogoși).
7. A Romanian doesn’t “suddenly get it”… his “coin drops” (Îi pică fisa).
8. A Romanian is not “extremely tired”…he’s “cabbage.” His life is not “chaotic”… it’s “cabbage.” And his room is not “a complete mess”…it’s also “cabbage” (Varză).
9. A Romanian doesn’t simply deem an effort “useless”… he says it’s “a rub on a wooden leg” (Frecție la picior de lemn).
10. You don’t “drive a Romanian nuts”… you “take him out of his watermelons” (Îl scoți din pepeni).

11. A Romanian will not have “the impostor syndrome”… he will “feel with the fly on his cap” (Se simte cu musca pe căciulă).
12. In Romania, things are not “far away”… they’re “at the devil’s mother” (La mama naibii).
13. A Romanian is not “crazy”…he’s “gone on a raft” (Dus cu pluta).
14. A Romanian won’t tell you to stop “wasting time”… he’ll tell you to stop “rubbing the mint” (Freca menta).
15. A Romanian won’t say that something is “cool”… he’ll say it’s “concrete” (Beton).

16. A Romanian is not “nervous”… he “has a carrot (in the ass)” (Are un morcov în fund).
17. A Romanian doesn’t just “keep quiet”… he “keeps quiet like the pig in a corn field” (Tace ca porcu-n păpușoi).
18. As a Romanian you don’t “fool yourself”… you “get drunk with cold water” (Te îmbeți cu apă rece).
19. A Romanian is not “stupid”… he’s “a Venice bush” (Tufă de Veneția).
20. A Romanian won’t “call it quits”… he’ll “stick his feet in” (Își bagă picioarele).

21. A Romanian hasn’t been “scammed”… he “took a spike” (A luat țeapă).
22. A Romanian is not “a drunkard”… he’s “a blotting paper” (Sugativă).
23. A Romanian will not look at you “confused”… he will “stare like the crow at the bone” (Ca cioara la ciolan).
24. A Romanian doesn’t have “unusual ideas”… he has “a curly mind” (Minte creață).

Now tell me, have you ever heard any Romanian people saying this? Have they ever translated this to you? I always give up when trying to translate typical Romanian sayings... they are archaic, traditional and even if they are very funny for us, they make no sense to the foreigners, which is too bad :( Do you have similar sayings that you can simply not translate? Or that you can translate but they make no sense so you laugh either way? I would love to hear your stories :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves twisted local sayings :)
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Thursday, 10 March 2016

When One Has "Special Talents"...

My dearest travellers,

I don't think I have ever told you what a huge fan of applications for travelling I am. Most of all, when we schedule a trip - especially outside borders - we like to use 2 applications: 1) for booking housing (be it a room or the entire house/flat) we love using Airbnb - a platform similar to couchsurfing, where people rent (for money) their rooms/flats/houses, sometimes even in dead straight city center! for a lower amount of money than a hotel would charge you ;) and usually with better views and much more friendly environment; 2) for finding the places we want to visit and make a plan of the trip, according to the map of the city and the days that we have to spend, I love using TripAdvisor - I really love the sincerity of the people grading the places and in 99% of the time, after the trip takes place, I end up doing similar reviews :) I love the profile options and how in time you collect "badges" according to the experience you have - in rating the places and doing reviews (and also adding pictures of your own, if you are so inclined). I think that sharing information about a place visited is important both for the places you have been plus for the people who think of visiting next - it saved me a couple of times from going to really awful places and sometimes it recommend me places I did not even know they existed. So kudos for the awesome TripAdvisor! 
A week or so ago the "Travelers Choice Rewiewers Awards" for 2016 were posted and they also notified me via email that one of my reviews helped Globtroter Guest House Kraków to won it's award! :) it is always nice when you get your ideas recognised in some way or another. I am also in the 10% of the best reviewers of Kraków (due to the love I have for this lovely city that can steal your heart!). I know it ain't much compared to other people who traveled the world... I know I did not manage to visit every continent (yet!) but it's my wish :) but what I see and what I visit and what I try (in terms of restaurants and café and pubs) I will always share to everyone. It is better to know where you should not go, especially if you are new in town. I would have liked someone to guide me troughout Kraków when I first came here 5 years ago. I had friends telling me about certain places but a lot of places I have visited and tried on my own, reviewing them on my blog, on TripAdvisor, and most recently on the Cracow.Today site (specially designed for expat people in Kraków,  just like myself). 
Small details from my profile on TripAdvisor:
  • 72,679 total miles traveled
  • 11% of the world traveled  
  • 88 Reviews
  • 200 Ratings
  • 12 Photos
  • 21 Helpful votes 
  • 10,181total points = Level 6 Contributor
My readers are: 20% from Poland, 19% from the United Kingdom, 10% from the United States and 51% from other countries around the world :)
Top 3 cities I have contributed with reviews on TripAdvisor
Traveling opens up your mind to possibilities you have never thought of before. It teaches you acceptance towards fellow men and gratitude for the things you have. While I was traveling I always thought how wonderfully reinvigorating is to live only from the contents of your suitcase... no extra luggage, no clutter and no unnecessary things... you forget that when you are not on the road. When you travel, when you see the world, you develop "special talents" in finding the perfect spots - and if you are kind hearted enough, you will want to share them. That is what TripAdvisor is for - the community for sharing the moments that define you and the places that left a mark on yourself (be it positive, like my Charlotte in Kraków, or negative - Roast & Toast). 

How about you? Do you use Airbnb and/or TripAdvisor to help you along the way of planning your holidays? Or maybe you are not the DIY type and you like the trips organised by the travel agencies? How much do you trust TripAdvisor and do you have experience with it? I would live to hear your options :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Travel (And Review)
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Monday, 7 March 2016

Why Celebrate Women's Day

My dearest friends,

In case you did not know, tomorrow we celebrate the International Women's Day. The 8th of March is yet another opportunity to tell the women around you how important and precious they are to you. This days roots come from the early 1900s when the inequality between sexes was more than obvious :/ and women started fighting for their rights and campaigning for the change that was truly needed. The very first National Women's Day was rather a political event, and it took place in the USA on 28 February, at the initiative of the Socialist Party of America. Women continued to celebrate National Woman's Day on the last Sunday of February until 1913. In the International Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen, leader of the Women's Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany- Clara Zetkin suggested the idea of an International Women's Day. Her ideas was received with unanimous approval and thus International Women's Day was born. International Women's Day was celebrated the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March.
International Women's Day is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Poland, Romania, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries it has the same status as of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
But woman's day should not be just that... one day in the year when you pay your respects to the women you care/love. I believe women's day should be celebrated everyday, just like I believe that we should celebrate Valentine's Day/Dragobete everyday. I don't believe you need a certain day in the year when you would tell your loved ones that you care and that they make your life better. I think we are unaccustomed of saying "I love you!" from the bottom of our hearts, sincerely, anymore... it became a custom and we sometimes do not really think and feel the things we speak out loud. Now it would be lovely if you could take a few moments and think about that. When was the last time you told someone how much they mean to you? Now think about your mother, the one who gave you life, took care of you and raised you into whom you are now... should you not thank her everyday for all that she has done for you? Do you need a special day to remind you of that? 

Here are just a few reasons why you should celebrate Women's Day:
  • Because there are so many wonderful and talented women out there, that made the world we live in what it is today. Take for example the Free Walking Tour Krakow - Walking Special about The Women in Kraków: I never knew so many wonderful stories about strong and powerful women could be found here! Just as a short example: Marie Skłodowska-Curie that was the only women who received 2 Nobel prize awards!
  • It's a good moment to show how gender equality is NOT the same all over the world. Take for example the revealing movie Suffragette (2015). I love the final touch of the end credit roll with the history of the countries that have right to vote to women... that still does not happen all over the globe!
  • It's a good moment to raise awareness and maybe get yourself involved into volunteering about the cause of women's rights. Even being a part of HeForShe UN campaign would be a start ;) and don't forget: sharing is caring and social media can help make an impact!
  • Women are an important pillar of the society. Women are mothers, sisters, daughters... without women the society would not exist. The basic function of procreation comes within us! We give birth to life, to the future generation! Celebrating women = celebrating life!
  • Because women deserve to feel good about themselves and their role in the world/society/workplace/home. They deserve a break! Women are emotional human being, soft and yielding and dreamy and at the same time capable of greatness. Sometimes they need a recharge, so today it's a good moment to help them relax and unwind ;) be kind and loving to them!
In Poland is extremely customary to go out and see men buying women flowers, no matter if it's 8th of March of not. I believe men in Poland still retain that gentleman like fashion of old times when the men were acting more chivalrous towards women. Don't be surprised if you go today or morrow to the florist and you see huge lines of men waiting patiently in line to buy flowers - it is a normal sight ;) In Romania especially children make this day special as it is even more considered as a Mother's Day (rather than Women's Day). The typical flowers that are given are spring flowers: daffodils and so on. So I encourage you to be nice (at least today) to the women in your life, and buy them flowers. Don't forget to tell them how much they mean to you. I would love to hear how you celebrate the 8th of March, so feel free to drop by your comment :) 

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that celebrates Women everyday!
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Friday, 4 March 2016

Movie Time: The Danish Girl

My dearest hearts,


**WARNING!!! This post contains a review of The Danish Girl. It will be an extensive post and it will have loads of pictures and text so please grab yourself a cup of tea and a warm blanket and Enjoy!**
Even though The Danish Girl did not take the Oscar this year, it was recognised through its supporting female actress: Alicia Vikander - a star rising in Hollywood through movies like the wonderful period movie "A Royal Affair" and the old-type spy movie "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.". She rightfully took the floor at the Oscars, for the supporting actress, due to her skillful portrayal of Gerda Wegener. The movie The Danish Girl focuses on her struggles mainly, than of the ones of the main actor Eddie Redmayne, and delivers a powerful performance. The Danish Girl portrays the very first transgender operation performed on what we call now a hermaphrodite human being.
The movie starts with a couple of scenery shots of Einar Wegener's birthplace, scenery that we can - later on - see also in his beautiful landscape paintings. Einar is a talented and recognized painter in his motherland - action takes place in Copenhagen - while his wife struggles to find her subject that would give her fame as well. Gerda finds that "subject" to be actually the female version of Einar, when one of her friends runs late for her pose for Gerda's painting. She asks Einar to put the stockings on and the shoes so she could see how the light falls on them. As she starts to paint, Einar realises - bit by bit - that he has kept his true self locked up inside and that he enjoys playing being a lady... surprisingly  (or not) the experience makes him smile and blush like a maiden... Their friend comes and catches them in the act, smiles and open-mindedly saying they should call "her" Lili - a very fitting name, I may add... Greek lore associates lily meaning with birth and it is asymbol for motherhood because the flower was said to be created from the breast milk of Hera. The lily also hold masculine qualities as the Greeks held the lily as a symbol of high eroticism and sexuality (the long pistil of the flower suggesting a phallus and the pollen symbolizing fertility)...
It all starts as a game between the 3 friends: Einar and Gerda Wegener and the wonderfully talented arch ballerina Ullla. But the game does not last long, as Gerda takes Einar to Ulla's artists party dressed up as a lady... and he ends up kissing with Ben Wishaw 's character. The slowly start drifting apart as Einar starts feeling more confident and "at home" with being Lili. Gerda starts sketching and painting Einar as Lili and finally gets her break in the world of art, as her work gets noticed and she is requested to come to Paris. They move out and as Gerda's success rises, Einar becomes more Lili and stops painting. They relationship undergoes immense changes yey throughout the entire movie you can see how much they loved eachother (kudos for Alicia and Eddie for being such amazing actors!). Gerda says at one point that "kissing [Einar] was like kissing myself" - when she talks of their first kiss... Somehow I believe she envisioned what Einar truly was and that way inside Lili was just waiting to appear. If you listen to the story you can see clear that the true "man" in the relationship is Gerda, with her strong personality. Einar is the romantic, soft and dreamy "female" side of their relationship.
The true Lili and Eddie Redmayne playing Lili
The way Eddie portrays Einar/Lili would have deserved an Oscar, yet I believe the true star of the movie is not its main actor but rather the supporting actress: Alicia playing Gerda. The way she sustains Eddie's performance is brilliantly done and you truly believe them when they deliver the lines (when meeting the doctor that will perform the operation): "I believe I am a woman" (Einar); "I believe that too" (Gerda). You can feel both her pain at losing her husband but also the support that she truly offers him/her. It is true, Eddie did a wonderful job at capturing the behaviour of a demure and old-fadhioned lady, and his beautiful lines of his face & body help portrayal Lili in a wonderfully delicate light; yet I would have loved to know more about its inner struggles... it's feelings of letting Gerda go, considering how much he/she loved her.
Of course this is a tragic tale, as it is to be expected, considering the times in which the operation of sex change takes place. You have to also take into consideration that this was the very first operation of its kind that was performed - a breakthrough in medical science! The procedure consisted in actually 4 operations done at diverse intervals of time, letting the body "heal" in order to gain new strength for the next phase. The operations took almost 2 years... The first surgery, removal of the testicles, was made under the supervision of sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin. The rest of Lili Elbe's surgeries were carried out by Kurt Warnekros, a doctor at the Dresden Municipal Women's Clinic. The second operation was to implant an ovary onto her abdominal musculature, the third to remove the penis and the scrotum, and the fourth to transplant a uterus and construct a vaginal canal. The last operation was successful yet the body rejected the introduced organs and Einar, now known as Lili Elbe, died.
I still have mixed feelings about this movie... on one hand the stellar performance of the actors, the good soundtrack and the amazing way of filming the picture got me captured and made me shed a tear; yet the subject is so very controversial that I am not sure what I would have done if I were in Gerda's place... to love someone that much that you are willing to let them go and help them make a new life for themselves... that is huge and kind hearted, yet I do not know how well that would go against my beliefs in God and that he made us as we are and that we are good as we are born. You can see so many genetic modifications now, humans that are hermaphrodites - under what "category" would you fit them on?! And should they not have the right to chance themselves into what they really are inside? I still don't know how to answer that... do you?

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves movies
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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Martisor and Zolnierze Wykleci Day

Good morning sunshine! Good morning lovely month of March!

Today it's an odd day to celebrate, for me, as I love both Polish and Romanian customs and on this day, the 1st of March, two different types of events are remembered in my two homelands. Poland celebrates today the "Zolnierze wykleci" (the translation would be "The National Doomed Soldiers Memorial Day") which is a sad rememberance; yet Romania celebrates a very positive and festive "Martisor" day - as the first day of spring, where we wear the symbol of red-white on our chests, for good luck :) I guess it's a yin & yang day for me... celebrating both, so let me tell you a bit more about it.
"The National Doomed Soldiers Memorial Day ought to be an expression of our gratitude for their bravery, their steadfast patriotism, and their unwavering dedication to our traditions. It ought to be an expression of our gratitude for the blood they shed in the defense of our Nation."
+++ Lech Aleksander Kaczynski, President of the Republic of Poland +++

The date of this Polish national holiday coincides with March 1, 1951, that is the day on which officers of the last, IV Executive Office of the Association of Freedom and Independence [Pol. Wolnosc i Niezawislosc, abr. WiN], were murdered by the Communists; among them, their commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Lukasz Cieplinski, nom de guerre “Plug”.

The 'cursed (or doomed) soldiers' (Polish: Zolnierze wykleci) is a name applied to a variety of Polish resistance movements that were formed in the later stages of World War II and afterwards. Created by former members of the Polish underground resistance organizations of WWII, these organizations continued the struggle against the pro-Soviet government of Poland well into the 1950s. Most of these groups ceased operations in the late 1940s or 1950s. However, the last 'cursed soldier', Jozef Franczak (Nickname: Lalus), was killed in an ambush as late as 1963, almost 20 years after the Soviet take-over of Poland.

The term “Doomed Soldiers” was first used in 1993 to describe the soldiers of the armed democratic resistance who fought the Communist regime from the mid - 1940’s into the 1950’s. This term dedicated to the soldiers of the anti-communist underground was particularly well-suited to show the process by which the heroism and memory of these men and women were both excluded and doomed to disappear from our history, and our national psyche.The term “Doomed Soldiers” is also an indictment against the media elites of the III Republic of Poland; an indictment for their conscientious omission, and elimination of this dramatic and heroic chapter of our history - an indictment for amputating history, written in blood and suffering by those who fought and died for [Poland’s] freedom.


The "Martisor" day celebrated by Romanian people as being 100% traditional Romanian custom (although Bulgaria has a very much similar tradition) is a very positive and up-beat celebration of life. "Martisor" is called the intertwined pieces of string: white - for purity and the snow that is melting away, letting spring come + red - the blood flow and nature coming to life. We wear and give "martisoare" to the ones we love and most if the times they are also combined with small representations of good luck (the 4-leaf clover, the chimney sweeper and the first flower of spring - in Romania it is called "ghiocel"). The tradition is that you should wear the "Martisor" from the 1st of March till the last day of the month, when at evening time you should take it off and place it in a blossomed tree and make a wish. It will always come true ;) 
That is a custom I dearly brought with me to Poland and both Marek and my dear close friends know about it. The wishes never fail ;) and I have a Polish friend (who tried this with me one year) that can vouch to that ;) We celebrate in Romania quite a lot in March, as that is when we consider that spring comes (staring with the Dragobete love festival, in late February). We give "martisoare" and flowers and gifts all between 1st and 8th of March (women's day) so I believe March is one of the most festive months of the year :) Have you ever been in Poland or Romania around 1st of March? Can you tell us your story? Have you ever got a "Martisor" as a gift? Did you wear it the full month and make a wish? Do tell! :)

Yours sincerely, 
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves rememberance - yin & yang
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