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Friday, 28 April 2017

A 109 Year Old Citizen of Krakow

Dearest hearts,

When I was small I considered people over 30 to be old. Now that I am 30 myself I don't feel like I had any clue over life and how time goes. 30 years seemed a long way to go... but now I look at my Granny, who's over 80 and is such an inspiration for me, for my family and everyone she comes in contact with. She owns a tablet, a smartphone and has her own Facebook account! She's a woman ahead of the time and I surely hope I can grow up to be like her. A little while back I was reading the local newspapers and I bumped into an article about the oldest Cracovian - a lady that is 109 years old! The oldest Cracovian had her birthday in March and her name is Cecylia Roszak. 
Cecylia is a Dominican and lives in the monastery Grodek, in Krakow. During her 88 years with the order she has been a porter, an organist and cantor. Several times she also acted as a supervisor in the monastery. Eight years ago she had a hip and knee surgery but she recovered well very quickly and did not miss any mess, even if stairs were on the way - it seems to me that she did not see any barrier in her way that would have stopped her from meeting God in prayer, and I think that's admirable! Everyone working with her agrees that she has a sound mind and still has the heart of a child - unfortunately though she closed herself out from giving any more interviews. I think she finds them rather tiresome.  
During the German occupation, the sisters of the Dominican order, were hiding Jews - risking their own life in the process. They were also helping the local population, the local community as much as they could. In January 1944, Cecylia took in 2 children whose parents were brutally murdered. One of them was the harpist Adam Kowner. After the Second World War, he searched for the nun that saved him and reached the monastery in Grodek. He managed to find Cecylia and thank her in person. She was decorated by the Israeli government with the famous medal "Righteous among the peoples of the world". Right now, Cecylia Roszak is the oldest nun in Poland, the oldest resident of Malopolska region and the oldest Cracovian living. May God bless her and keep her safe and strong!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves A Good Story About History And Life
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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Travel Tuesday: Polish Stereotypes

Dear hearts,
Dear travellers of the world,

Welcome to yet another #traveltuesday post from yours truly. It's not a typical post about tips and tricks while travelling, nor a review of a place visited. Lately the travelling I had was mostly inside Poland or Romania so I think it fitting to present you some more information  about my adoptive land, about the land of the proud and brave. That's Poland ;) so... without any further ado, I want to tell you about today of a few Stereotypes when it comes to the inhabitants of this lovely country. Here we are:
1. Polish people are heavy drinkers - true, they love to party and have fun with friends and it's quite often that a regular Jan/Barbara will get to the pub after a hard day a work or even drop by the local Zabka/Lewiathan (local shop) in order to but a beer. They do, although, keep the spirits and behavior under check. They know how to hold their vodka - which is the main drink down here. They have amazing snacks while having a party, like fish or lard on bread, in order for the fat to produce a layer that will help the drinking.
Florianska Street, Krakow, Poland 
2. Polish people love to complain - heck yes! There was even a Facebook page about that: "Poland. Come and complain". They do love to point out the negative issues but I think that's also due to the climate. Have a look at the Greeks with their chilled out attitude or the Spanish and Italian having a siesta under the sun, while having a drink... well Poland does not have that... instead it has cold winters and warm-ish summers. 
3. Polish people don't know languages - well... let's put it like this... elder people know Polish language + Russian or German, depending on the region. Younger people, at least my age, started learning English and Spanish, for example, so it's easier to connect with them. It's true, they love their language and even though most people don't speak it grammatically correct, it's still the one language in Poland that you can truly get things done - especially in the public offices...
Sukiennice, Krakow, Poland 
4. Polish people are more Catholic than the Pope! Well... it's true the country is mainly Catholic and that you can find a church every few metres but that doesn't mean that Polish people follow blindly the Catholic Church. Even the latest manifestation about child abortion prove that - Polish people will always speak up their minds and get involved when an idea moves them or touches them personally.
View over Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland 
5. Poland has very beautiful women - mmm maybe, but also they tend to be very spicy and love to gossip a lot, so you better be careful! On the other hand... have you heard of the beauty and brains of the Romanian women from the Moldavian region? You should check it out ;)
6. Poland loves football - well... Poland loves sports bit I could not say that football is a national sport. Rather ski jumping and handball. It's true that right now Lewandowski is the hottest thing on the market, but he's a drop in the ocean. Either way, Polish people do love sports and they love to exercise. Many people love the mountains and climbing as well. They are quite a fit nation!
Barbican, Krakow, Poland 
7. Poland is a communist country so it's more like 3rd world country, right? - that is also being pointed out when I speak about Romania. There is a similar past between these 2 countries and somehow most of the world thinks these countries don't exist. It's a sad thing to witness, especially that Poland, for example, is the very exact center of Europe.  Is very heart of Europe resides somewhere near Warsaw. If  you have a look over the last 6 years I've lived here I have seen so much change for the better! So many European funds accessed to make the life's of the inhabitants better. As I love to put it, people think in Poland/Romania people live in trees and eat bananas. We never saw a TV. In fact, this is the very first time I "saw" The Internet - isn't it grand?!

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves To Travel
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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Travelling With a 4 Months Old

Dearest sweethearts,

After just finishing the other day travelling from Iasi to Krakow via Vienna, I realised how much children change over time - even within a quite short period. I've first travelled with my little LadyBug Baby Girl on the same route but the other way around 4 months ago. She was 4 months and now she turned 8 months just a few days back, but I can see already the changes so... I just wanted to note this down in case my future self would not remember.
The way from Krakow to Iasi could be, probably, a 2 hours flight max. But there is no direct connection and the fastest way to get from A to B is by plane. Usually you take 2 flights (in case you are unlucky and the flight gets cancelled you'll probably have 3 instead). Even one flight with a 4 year old might be an issue but imagine 3! I really don't know how some mothers mange to travel with small ones alone, kudos to them! But I, for one, need assistance.  

This was my little LadyBug Baby Girl first flight(s). I must admit that if my sister wouldn't have made this trip with us I would have totally screwed things up. We had 3 planes and 2 very short connections - running around with a 4 months old and baggage is a challenge, and there will be baggage! No more travelling with empty hands or just a small bag. With small ones there is no such thing as "empty hands". You will have to pack food (unless you are breastfeeding) and toys to keep your bundle happy and entertained.
Travelling is no longer about entertaining yourself but it's about your little one and keeping her/him safe. I was surprised on the thoughts running through my head while taking off. Never once was I scared of flying, never once have I thought of a "what if" negative situation in connection to flying. Once I stepped in the airport, in the plane, negative thoughts assaulted me... to all the mums out there, did this happen to you as well? It's an odd feeling on how ones mentality changes. I was lucky my little one loved flying - no problems while taking off and landing. We thankfully did not have turbulence.

When it comes to eating if drinking in the plane, even though you will have help and that person will be seated next to you... you can try but at your own cost. My daughter, ever since she was born, is quite a curious lady. She needs to see everything, touch everything and eventually bring it to her mouth and drool over it. She wants to taste everything you are eating! So no chance for any snacks as she will make drop everything. 

The best thing is to try to put the small one to sleep. This may work with some tea/warm milk and a known blankie. That's a trick no one told me about but I see it works: children need a safety net, something stable. Usually that something is a person, but combine that with a toy or a piece of clothing and you hit the jackpot. Kids fall asleep easier if they feel comfortable and loved and if they see/smell familiar things. I don't travel away with the small one without tea/milk and her sleeping blankie. Wrapped around her she is in her "safe spot".
Another thing I thoroughly recommend while travelling with your baby, is having dome kind of system to carry without holding them. You need your arms free. If the baby is under 4 months I recommend an elastic wrap, if over 4 months then go for a baby carrier like the one I have from Madame GooGoo Carriers. They are made in Poland, out if cotton, and they stress on the perfect ergonomic structure that keeps the baby safe and comfortable. I must admit the Madame GooGoo Carrier I have was a life savior while travelling, and not just that time! For more on that here are 5 ways in which Madame GooGoo Carrier saved my life.

What about you lovely people? Have you ever travelled with a 4 months old by plane? How did you cope with it? What we're your tips and tricks? Would love to hear from you as parent to parent :)

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Her LadyBug Baby Girl  
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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Iasi: La Placinte - traditional Moldavian

Dearest sweethearts,

Romanian people have a lovely saying that goes like "la Placinte inainte, la razboi inapoi" - this would translate word to word as "to baked pie go ahead, to war back down". I always found this saying rather amusing but true; nobody turns down an occasion to eat/drink something good but when hardship settles in everyone runs away for their life. Now, my friends, when I heard first about the "La Placinte" place in Iasi, on the Copou Hill, I had formed an idea about it. I thought it was just another sweets place where one could find baked pies and other goodies. I couldn't be more wrong! 
"La Placinte" is a wonderfully rustic and authentic Moldavian restaurant. It's not only a sweets place, but it's a place where the entire family can be invited and everyone could have a good (if not even great!) time.  I've heard that actually "La Placinte" is a franchise from Moldavia (the country), which is also very attractive.  It's a franchise idea that I would like one day implemented even in Poland! It's a restaurant/place that you can't help falling in love with.
From the outside you would tend to believe the place is smaller but once you cross it's doorstep, "La Placinte" opens up like a flower. There is a short corridor that takes you to the big open space - that is gently separated and places for 2, 4 or even more can be combined. The furniture is all wood - wooden benches and tables. The huge plus for families with kids is the fact that there is quite a big corner specially dedicated for them, with tables and chairs from IKEA and toys. Children can have their own fun time while the adults relax. Totally children friendly ;)
The way that "La Placinte" is setup it's quite cozy and I could say creative in the way that it brings tradition back in fashion. I absolutely loved the light filtering through the handmade covers of the lamps! I loved how colorful and funky everything looked like. I can truly understand why this place is one of my Granny's favorite places to hang out with her friends ;) my Granny has class and style!
Of course on the list of things that we tasted was the homemade mint lemonade, which was done with flat water (but I could have chosen sparkly as well) and honey (not sugar, which would totally be bad for the health!). My awesome better half chose to try out some baked beans with sausage and I went for some chicken rolled in bacon with veggies on the side. Of course we split ;) and I must say everything was delicious - the minus was the size of the portion (I would have liked more bacon wrappings...).
When it comes to the sweets... OMG! Indeed you should go to "La Placinte" for the sweets, rather than for the food! We split between ourselves 3 options and each of them was a delicious caloric bomb! They were fingerliking amazing! Even thinking about them now makes my mouth water... makes me wish I could run now and get me some of those goodies.
We tested out the plums with walnut and sour cream, the dark chocolate cake and the piece of resistance - mini pancakes with sour cherry and whipped cream. My Verdict is: pancakes for 1st place, plums for 2nd and the chocolate cake for 3rd as it was insanely sweet, even with the second lemonade chilling it down. It was indeed dark and sweet and soft but I'm not that much into that type of sweet... The pancakes with sour cherry are named "Caciula lui Guguta" ("Guguta's hat") - just so you know what you should order ;)
The waiters were very polite and the WiFi was decent. The bathrooms clean and well stocked with toilet paper and washing gel. The menus come with pictures so there's no way you can get lost in translation. It's a lovely place to take family out in the weekend but also bring your foreign friends to enjoy a local speciality. My mum tried the pumpkin pie and said it tasted as if it was homemade. I think that is always a nice thing to say about food stores the restaurants, and when it comes to sweets at "La Placinte" is can actually agree with that!
The prices:
- mint lemonade - can't remember the price now but a ginger ale for 550 ml was 12 RON
- bacon wrappings - grilled chicken skewers wrapped in bacon - 200/100/50 gr - 24 RON
- beans with sausage - 500 gr - 22 RON
- Pancakes With sour cherry - "Caciula lui Guguta" - 250 gr - 16 RON
- Dark Chocolate Cake... sorry can't remember the price on this one as well but it can't be more than 15-20 RON I guess...
- Plums with walnut and sour cream - 200 gr - 14 RON

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That...
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Sunday, 16 April 2017

10 Things I Loved About "Logan"

Dearest hearts,

When one falls in love with Marvel movies/comics, one falls in love completely head over heals. It's the kind of love that you wish to spread, to share; a love for beautiful and creative things that come from the minds of human beings. I cannot place a certain moment in time when I fell in love with Marvel, nor with DC Comics, but in love I am nonetheless. Of course X-Men movies drew me closer and closer until everything was so familiar and the stories were intertwined so much you just couldn't skip a movie. Marvel has the only fans that are crazy enough to sit tight on their seats while the credits roll, in order to catch a small glimpse on what the next movie is going to be like - that's what I call dedication ;) But now the chapter of X-Men: Wolverine is coming to an end, at least for Hugh Jackman as Wolfie and Patrick Stewart as Professor X.  After 17 years he is sadly RETIRING :((( and the final movie is called simply: Logan. I have seen it, with tears in my eyes. For those who got attached to Wolverine this will be a sad movie, sad times. But don't get me wrong, I'll tell you 10 Things I Loved about "Logan":
1) Logan is unlike any other Marvel, X-Men movie. It's almost like a standalone movie with only Wolverine and Professor X to remind us of what mutants used to be. It's dark, gloomy, dirty, bloody and it has an odd feeling of Mad Max in it! (On several scenes my memory would go back to the old Mad Max movies). Even so, I believe it's the best acting I've seen from both Hugh Jackman as Wolfie and Patrick Stewart as The Professor. 
2) The opening sequence that gives you a clear taste on how dark and sad the movie will be. It's not about a dreamy perfect future, it's about a time when mutants have gone extinct and even Logan is not the mutant he used to be. We learn yet again the hard truth that not all things last.
3) The Humanity of the last mutants and the way that humans are the inhuman ones. It's true, once we learn about something new, something far more powerful than us, we begin to be afraid and wish to destroy that "something". We are afraid of the unknown, yet the idea that a better species, the mutants, should become extinct as they are extremely dangerous... it's a sad idea, yet it fits on how the world nowdays views things.
4) Laura's upgrade - meet Laura, Wolverine's daughter that he never knew he had. She was born in Mexico in a facility that aimed to create "The Ultimate Weapon" - strong mutant soldiers without conscience. Laura comes from Wolfie's DNA and because she is a female, and females need skills both for offence and defence, she has an extra set of adamantium blades in her feet. Sneaky thing that comes in handy, as you will see ;)
5) The X-Men comics - Easter Egg - it wasn't a Marvel X-Men movie filled with cameos and there were no special appearances, and I loved that as it made Logan a standalone movie. I loved that Wolverine picked the comic book up and stated that "comics aren't real life", somehow pointing to Laura that all is not action and glory, but there is also darkness in real life, sad things that happened to the ones you love, friends that no longer are with you, bills you have to pay... and so on. 
6) X-24 or what I like to call Dark Side Wolfie ;) now there was a shock and horror move from the team, when we see Wolverine's claws sinking into Professor X. I gasped and skipped a beat when I watched the fight between Wolverine and his dark twisted pitbull-on-a-leash Wolfie counterpart. They had managed to create the Ultimate Weapon without feeling. Thank God though, in the end Wolverine and Laura manage to destroy it.
7) The perfect trio - when the team creating this movie agreed that they will have a limited amount of actors and instead focus on character development and the dynamics, well... they surely knew what they were doing! The screen lights up when Laura and Logan team up in fights, we roll laughing when Professor X and Logan start bickering like a dad and son couple. It's a perfect mix that gets you hooked up fast! Not to mention kudos to the amazing lady plating Laura - she's not talking half of the movie but her gaze is enough. I look forward to seeing her career progress and I would love to see her become the next Wolverine, as feministic as that sounds.
8) "You're holding your own heart in your hand" (premonition on how Logan will die, done in a previous Wolverine installment) - Wolverine dies rescuing Laura, holding her hand. When he says "So this it how it feels like" I started sobbing... and not just me, but the others in the cinema as well, grown up men included! I am unsure if he refers to dieing or to loving someone like that, to love a daughter, your own flesh and blood... Would LOVE to know what is your take on this ;)
9) Love and Family above all. Somehow it's a given that Superheroes don't get a happy ending though they tasted love. Wolverine tasted love in the romantic way, in the "agape" friendship way as well, but this time we see him in a different light as he comes to accept that he has a daughter. Sacrificing himself for her, for his family, is the only way.
10) All Superheroes have an end. There is no such thing as immortality even in the comic books, even in fantasy land everything has an end. It's one of the most realistic and human movies of the X-Men series. Even mutants have an expiration date when they go meet their Maker. Sadly this will be Hugh Jackman's last movie as Wolverine, Patrick's Stewart last movie as Professor X - I sincerly think they were made for those parts and no one can replace them. They did a terrific job and will be sorely missed. Just think about it, Hugh Jackman played Logan for almost half of his life (until now), for 17 years! The longest running up to date for any superhero. Kinda makes me feel sad when I think of the possibility of him being replaced, even if in the distant future.

The minus, at least for me: A tiny clip at the end of the movie, where Laura (Logan's daughter) pulled the cross from his grave and twists it into a X. I know this is a symbol of Logan being an X-Men but the Christian in me finds the scene repulsive by the fact that it downgrades a symbol of faith. 

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Wolfie ;) and will be missing terribly Hugh Jackman in his perfectly fitted interpretation of Logan
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Thursday, 13 April 2017

A Piece of Polish History: Katyn Memorial Day

Dearest hearts,

Today I will share with you a little piece of Polish history. Each country has its own national holidays but also they have days in which they celebrate or commemorate special moments in the countries existence. Today, on the 13th of April, Poland commemorates Katyn Memorial Day. This holiday is declared by parliamentary resolution by the Sejm, meaning that they are not part of the law and thus they are not listed as national/state holiday. Usually they are working days. The Katyn Memorial Day (Polish: Dzien Pamięci Ofiar Zbrodni Katyńskiej) commemorates the discovery of the mass graves in Katyn and has been established in 2007 - that's right, that's about 10 years ago, and the day may coincide with Easter (Easter Monday).
The Katyn Massacre was a series of mass executions of Polish nationals, carried out by the NKVD (Soviet secret police organisation) in April and May 1940. The killings took place in several locations but the Massacre has been named after the Katyn forest, where some of the mass graves were first found. 
The Massacre started from the proposal of the NKVD chief, Lavrentiy Beria, to execute all captive members of the Polish officer corps - 5th March 1940, approved by the Communist Party including its leader, Stalin.  The number of victims is estimated at about 22.000 people (killed in the Katyn forest in Russia but also in the prisons).
8.000 were officers imprisoned during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland; 6.000 were police officers; the rest were "intelligence agents, gendarmes, landowners, saboteurs, factory owners, lawyers, officials and priests".
The government of Nazi Germany announced the discovery of the mass graves in Katyn in 1943. When Polish government asked for an investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Stalin dissolved any diplomatic relations with it. The USSR claimed that the victims were murdered by the Nazis in 1941. This continued to happen until 1990 when they finally officially acknowledged that NKVD was indeed the one to blame. In November 2010 the Russian State Duma approved a declaration blaming Stalin and other Soviet officials for the order of the Massacre... I guess better late than never to finally show the truth to the world! 

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Polish History 
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Monday, 10 April 2017

10 Things I Loved About The Beauty And The Beast (the 2017 version)

Dearest Disney fans,
Dearest Beauty and the Beast fans,

**WARNING!!! This post is all about the latest Disney movie: The Beauty and The Beast, in human form (Starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast - prince Adam. 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!**
I don't know about you, but I always loved a story where the girl gets to be brave and bold and saves herself and the world around her, rather than waiting for Prince Charming to do the trick! Of course lately Disney has provided plenty of that, with the feisty red-haired Merida to the long blond hair Rapunzel. But in the Old classics the shining Star, the beacon of light and women empowerment was Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Of course the name itself shows that the female main character is a fair maiden, like all the other Disney Princesses but she was special, she was "A funny girl" that loved to stay with her nose in her books. She was one of a kind in a world of damsels in distress, so obviously she was my favourite Princess ;) so I was very excited to see "The Beauty and The Beast" in the new human-CGI form. I wondered if Emma Watson and Dan Stevens were going to make me happy with how they would fill up Belle and Adam's shoes (that's right, in case you didn't know The Beast in human form actually does have a name as Prince!). But without any further ado let me get into the things I loved about the new "The Beauty and The Beast" movie:
1) At first I was not sure about Emma Watson being my beloved Belle, even though I loved her tremendously as Hermione Granger, but after all... they seem to have so much in common (the characters). It was such a pleasant surprise to hear her sing - she has a clear and crisp voice that makes one smile.
2) The Prince/Beast - now I always found Dan Stevens more mature and somehow unevenly paired with Emma but on the big screen it seemed to work just fine! It was a good match, not perfect, but with decent chemistry. In the live action movie we never hear his true name, Adam, and I consider that a great pity :( I always loved that you could tell him apart from all the other Disney Princes.
3) The amazing background characters - can't pick a favourite but I surely love the duo of Lumiere (portrayed heavenly by Ewan McGregor) - Cogsworth  (adorable Ian McKellen), Lumiere - Plummette, Gaston - LeFou (who simply steals the show each time he's on screen!) or the motherly Mrs. Potts and small little Chip. A huge kudos for Luke Evans as Gaston - can't help but laughing at his monologue in the mirror, but you can tell why even his friend LeFou leaves him in the end. Luke Evans managed to show a meanness in Gaston and show him as a true narcissist! He is indeed the best version of Gaston I have ever seen - bringing a fresh new dark side, especially in the scene where he leaves Maurice to the wolves...
4) The new songs - if they don't get you teary eyes then you have no soul! Especially on the one where The Beast let's Belle go and he climbs the tower, quickly searching for sale last good look at her. He knows he is in love with her but he finally understands that loving someone means also letting the other one go. Love is not selfish, love is kind!
5) The one of a kind costumes - I still don't know why Belle's dress (her ordinary blue one, for house chores in the city/home) has a corner up, as if the length would bother her - but that can't be it, as he's a practical (yet dreamy) lady. I must admit all Belle's dresses are one of a kind and made me think of the original movie - the animation. The Beast's blue - like his lovely eyes - coat is just precious; the details are exquisite!
6) The character development - we learn more about both Belle's and Adam's  (The Beast) family. We see why Belle is such a bookish lass, we see her flaws and we see her quirkiness. We see how Adam got to be so self-centered, growing up without a mum (just like Belle) but how he redeems himself and learns to love. We see LeFou being all about how marvelous Gaston is, up to the moment where he realises that Gaston is the real monster.
7) The visuals - the scene alone with Lumiere (played by Ewan McGregor) singing the well known "Be Our Guest" is so beautiful it makes me smile only thinking of it. It was a pleasure watching it in 3D even if I was in a filled auditorium and my seats were on 3rd row and everything seemed to come at me!
8) The infusion of feminism - Belle teaches a girl to read, she is a inventor herself - helping out her father, she even created the (maybe) first washing machine! Plus... she tries to escape from the tower in the Beast's castle by making a rope out of a ill fitted gown! Talk about strength! :) Belle doesn't need to be rescued, she'll rescue Adam herself!
9) The story of Belle's and Adam's past - much more details and information than in the animation and I really enjoyed that!
10) The ending: They die! They all die! And it beaks your heart into tiny little pieces. It got me sobbing... But Not ONLY Me, but the audience as well. It is changed a bit, from the original animation, but I think it was a surprise in a rather positive way. Of course true love wins and breaks the spell. Of course they live happily ever after, even if Belle discovers she has a thing for men with beard... The losing and recovering part is truly delightful!

Pluses on:
- scene where Belle heads to the hills/mountains got me thinking of the opening sequence in my beloved "The Sound of Music" with the song "The Hills Are Alive (With The Sound of Music)".

Minuses on:
- I was really hoping to see Belle playing with daffodils but I guess it was not the season  :( I was hoping for the scene in the library where she swoooshes on the ladder but maybe Emma Watson was afraid of heights :p and... only enough I was missing the scene where The Beast has birds coming on his paws...

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves The Beauty and The Beast 
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Friday, 7 April 2017

Things You Didn't Know About Iasi, Romania

Dearest sweethearts,

A few days back I was sharing with you 10 Amazing Things About Poland that you might not know. Seems to me I should also do my homeland justice and present you some rather interesting things about my hometown, about Iasi. So without any further ado let me get into that:
1) Iasi is the 4th biggest city in Romania, when it comes to the number of people living in it, just after the capital: Bucharest Cluj Napoca and Timisoara. The city grows even bigger if you take into account the number of students that come to the Uni's here. The faculty of Medicine is extremely popular and the "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University in Copou is also very attractive to young people worldwide.  
2) The first printed books in Moldavia (the region) was done in Iasi in the year 1643. You can still visit the house where it was printed - it is a small museum close to the Palace of Culture. 
3) Iasi was set on fire 3 times - first in 1513 by the tatars, 1538 by the ottomans and then in 1686 by Russians.  
4) Iasi was the capital of Moldavia for almost 300 years (1565-1859). It was moved from Suceava by Alexandru Lăpuşneanu.
5) Vasile Lupu created the very first school in Romanian language - you can see it on Stefan cel Mare Street, at the end towards the Palace of Culture. He also established a printer / press in the church Trei Ierarhi - also located on Stefan cel Mare Street. 
The National Theater in Iasi, Romania 
6) Iasi was mentioned the first time in a commercial privilege emitted in 1408 by the ruler of Moldavia, Alexandru cel Bun. That makes the city over 600 years old ;)
7) In 1930 the number of Jewish people in Iasi was actually half of the number of Romanian! There were: 63.168 Romanian, 34.662 Jews, 980 German, 918 Russians and the rest up to 102.872 were other nations, in low numbers. 
8) Iasi has three oldest and biggest Botanical Garden in Europe! 
9) It is very similar to Rome in the sense of being named the "legendary city of the seven hills" - namely Cetatuia, Galata, Copou, Bucium, Sorogari, Repedea and Breazu.
Grand Hotel Traian and The Twisted Red LadyBug 
10) The Grand Hotel Traian in the Union Square is "The" posh hotel in town.  It was recently refurbished and it is in itself a gem. The building is from the 19th century and it is an architectural masterpiece of the French architect Gustave Eiffel - inaugurated in 1882.

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Her Hometown
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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Things I Am Thankful For - March 2017

Dearest hearts,

I don't know about you, but spring always brings a smile upon my face. Seeing nature come back to life again brings joy, makes one think of the positive little things in our life. I'm going to continue my quest, my challenge this year, of being thankful for at least 5 Things / Moments / Memories each month. Feel free to join in - it's an exercise that will help you see the "bright side of life", it will help you see that good things still happen and that life is worth living every moment. Here's my take until now for the month of January and February. For March I am thankful for many things, but here are 5 picks:
One of my favourite pictures from our Polish-Romanian photoshoot
1) My Amazing Husband - I could not have asked for a better partner in life, more knowledgeable, more loving and caring, more perfect than Marek. I don't say this as often as I should, but I love my better half immensely! I'm proud of my Polish half for being the way that he is, everyday, next to me even when he is not physically there. I'm happy he is my husband, the mother of my little LadyBug Baby Girl. He understands the needs that a family has and jumps into, with care. He was the one who proposed I should stay a bit longer home so mum and granny could help and Emilia Elena could stay more with them. I was thinking it and did not say it out loud but he knew it nonetheless. Kocham cie bardzo mocno kotek!
Holding my little LadyBug Baby Girl 
2) My Little LadyBug Baby Girl Turning 7 Months! 2 baby teeth and growing the 3rd one! She's growing more and more precious and funny and sneaky as time passes by. Of course she is totally Daddy's little girl; everyone tells me how much she looks like Marek. I don't know where time flies like that... it was just yesterday I was pregnant and then, poof! The baby was born and I was panicked! Thank God for all the support I had/have from my awesome better half and from my Mum and Granny. Granny became her very best friend :) oh, how I wish she could remember, when older, the time she spent here, in Romania, with them...
Lucia di Lammermoor - March 2017, The Opera in Iasi
3) The Romanian Opera in Iasi - being able to see Lucia di Lammermoor live - now I have never seen/listen to Lucia live and I really wanted to take mum to the Opera before we went away - plane was on the 26th of March. Now... another blessing for the past month was that we rescheduled through plane and I got to spend more time with the ones I love. But... I chose Lucia as it was a first both for me and mum, and it was a success! We both loved it and agreed that the lasses and lads playing had very good condition - especially Lucia, her role was so demanding and impressively portrayed! Brava!
28th of March and the Magnolia tree in front of the City Hall is in bloom - priceless!
4) Seeing the Magnolia tree in front of City Hall in bloom again - Have you ever looked at the bud of a magnolia flower? It’s a tight little pod that stays closed up for a long time on the end of its branch until one day, out of nowhere, it finally bursts open into this gigantic, gorgeous, fragrant flower that’s ten times bigger than the bud itself. It’s impossible to imagine that such a big beautiful thing could pop out of that tiny little bud. But it doeitself. It’s impossible to imagine that such a big beautiful thing could pop out of that tiny little bud. But it does. (Joanna Gaines) I have always loved the Magnolia tree in front of the City Hall.  It was a pleasure to see it bloom in the first days of spring. It usually blooms in April around Easter time and the huge white flowers pop open and smile to the sun. It's a beautiful sight to behold and it always made me smile. I hope that one day my little LadyBug Baby Girl will see it and smile as well - now she's still too little for all that...
Tick-Tock... the Palace of Culture in Iasi and it's marvelous clock
5) Visiting the inside of the Palace of Culture in Iasi after more than 15 years, I believe! I remember being a wee lass myself and doing homework for high school, coming to the central library that was located on the side of the Palace of Culture. Then they closed the whole thing for renovation.  The Palace reopened in 2016 I believe, and it was a must for me to revisit as I did not go inside since high school! That's ages ago! :p But I managed a first even here. I have never been up there to the Central Clock in the Palace. It's a brand new attraction that was not open to public before.  You can go inside only once every hour, with a special guided tour.  It starts every quarter to the hour, so you could catch the mechanism when it sings and sounds the hour. It's quite impressive ;) I would say it's a must if you manage not to get yourself frightened from heights. You will have to climb and come down a set of ladders that are quite steep. But it's worth it! 

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Wants To Be Thankful For The Little Wonders Of Life 
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Friday, 31 March 2017

10 Amazing Things About Poland

Dearest sweethearts,

There are so many preconceptions nowdays about everything and anything and anyone that you can't get out in public without somebody saying something stupid. The image that we make about things we do not know usually comes from the media - be it television, radio, Internet and it's many twisted social media ways. We don't think things through and we do not filter the information we receive, we just take it as it is. I've seen a lot of hate about Poland or simply misconceptions that have appeared from what some heads in certain parties may say. I find it funny, if not downright sad,  that some people believe that Poland is not a democratic country or that women don't have free will. I have been living in Kraków, Poland, for almost 6 years now and I have not been offended in any way for being a woman. And guess what? I had the same pay as my male colleagues.  But let's not get into politics - just yet! - as today I wanted to share with you 10 Amazing Things About Poland that you might not know:
View from Florianska street toward the Main Market Square in Krakow 
1) The largest LED display in Europe is on the Tauron Arena in Kraków, Poland. 
2) 100% of the sewage in Kraków is purified - too bad the air quality is still so bad during winter months  :(
3) Krakow was the first Polish city that preserved the city centre by special legal regulations (Cultural Park).
4) 7 out of 9 species of Polish woodpeckers live in Kraków, Poland. 
5) The first Long Night of the Museums, in Poland, was hosted by no other city than three cultural Kraków.  
6) Kraków is known as the best area for global business services in Europe! 
7) The biggest Film Music Festival of the world is hosted in Kraków, Poland! That's right, you read that well. It's the amazing Festiwal Muzyki Filmowej that I've been telling you about ;)
Adam Mickievic statue in the Main Market Square in Krakow, during World Youth Day 2016
8) Krakow owns the longest tram in Poland. To be mentioned the fact that even the Pope, during World Youth Days 2016, took a ride in it ;)
9) The Main Market Square in Krakow is the biggest medieval urban space of its kind. It forms an almost perfect square - total area of 40.000 square meters!
10) Geographically, Poland is in fact the very center of Europe! It is not actually Eastern Europe, so I guess that is also what makes them even more proud.

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Poland 
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