Hey there, 2015!

So it’s time for another list of resolutions! I let myself be inspired by the internet and here’s what I came up with.
1. Go back to Moksha yoga (now that I have a pass again).
2. Shut off Netflix by 11 pm. And the computer too. And read something for pleasure every night.
3. Flirt.
4. Travel. Get a new stamp in my passport. Go to Mexico for my birthday in February, then maybe visit Montreal before moving to London later this year.
5. Say ‘no’ sometimes. To more work. To outings with friends. To helping others.
6. Dance.
7. Run, swim, exercise – at least once a week. (Yoga does not count here, it has its own resolution this year.)
8. Allow yourself to be loved. Invite love in your life. Make room for a life partner.
9. Try a new bold haircut, maybe bangs. It’ll grow back! (Maybe the one I pinned from Katie Holmes.)
10. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
11. Use my credit cards for emergencies only by removing them from my purse or wallet. Only spend whatever cash I have on me.
12. Do more of what I enjoy doing: knitting, reading, writing, listening to music, dancing, driving.
13. De-clutter my home and my life: give away clothes, shoes I don’t use anymore, and extra anything. Scan all paperwork, and donate all the stuff that I don’t use and give it to someone who will use it.
14. Make more soups. (I haven’t given up on my idea of a soup truck.)
15. Eat with the season.
16. Figure out a top two list of qualities I couldn’t live without in a life partner. One is for sure being smart.
17. I won’t hang out with people I don’t like. And I will hang out more with people I actually like.

Dear mother,

I’ve called you mother for some time now, maybe it was meant to be for me to eventually live somewhere where I can speak English on a daily basis. To me, you are not mama, you are mother. And yes, I love you, mother.
And I loved the fact that we took the time, this past September, when we celebrated your 75th birthday, to share your first encounter with the man who was to be my father. Alexandru. The one I still wish I was named after. When I was a little girl, I used to say that my name is Anca Bunea Alexandra. It never was, but it made me feel closer to my father.
You shared this beautiful story of how you and my father got together, how you knew each other from before, being in the same large group of friends in neighbouring villages, but how you actually saw one another before Silvia’s wedding (who happened to be an old girlfriend of my father’s), when you were both picking up wedding invitations for your side of the family. It was summer, late at night, 10 pm, and you gave him the first wedding invitation. And then you mentioned you were going away on vacation soon, to Sinaia, and my father said: ‘Send me a postcard’. You said, ‘But I don’t know your address.’ And my father said, it’s okay, you can send it to the factory, there’s only one Alexandru Bunea there. And then you went home, told your mom the story of the encounter (I’m sure that you left out the part with the postcard), and my grandma said that you two should go on to seeing one another. And you said ‘But he’s too short for me’. Not that you were tall or anything. Yet, once on vacation, you did send him a postcard. And his brother, who worked at the same factory, picked it up at the gate, and brought it to my father, asking him who is the postcard from. And my father, God bless his soul wherever he is, said ‘It’s from your future sister-in-law.’
What I wouldn’t give today to have that postcard! You were married six months later and then had three beautiful children together, me in the end, whom you loved unconditionally throughout their lives.
Te iubesc, mother! And I will always love you.

Dear London,

This is a love letter. Love at first sight, I might add.
I remember one foggy afternoon, walking out of Heathrow Airport for about 10 minutes and staring at the line of cabs there, arranged the wrong way, and wishing I had more time to visit and get to know you, London.
Then, more than a year later, I took another trip home through London, when I realized that a smaller European airline is offering direct flights from London to my hometown. I was in for a great surprise! Who knew that there are not two, but four airports serving London? Yes, there are: Heathrow, Gatwick, Standsted and Luton. But guess what? The transit system, one of the most efficient I’ve seen in my life so far, covers them as well, when combined with trains. Anyway, I digress.
I landed in London’s Gatwick airport one overcast morning in September. Having had made a friend in Vancouver while waiting for the security control, I met with her again after collecting my small pink piece of luggage. It was good to see a friendly (albeit new) face. After picking up my train ticket, I stayed around a bit helping my friend out. And then she was off, being picked up by the hotel shuttle, then I was on my own in London. Well, not exactly, as I was still in Gatwick train station, but still, my adventure began! I had a breakfast sandwich with an English sausage (what else?) and a cup of English tea with milk (what else?), then I waited calmly for the rush hour to die down a bit, especially because (lucky me!) something happened with the trains that morning and instead of having 5 platforms going through Gatwick, there were only two now. It took a bit of accommodating, a few questions here and there, but in the end I found myself sitting on the train to Luton Airport, along with other Londoners going about their daily lives.
I recognized Europe at once: the houses all huddled together as opposed to the open (wasted?) spaces in North America; the century-old brick buildings mixed in with the new buildings in a graceful way; the well-dressed people who value a nice suit and a classic haircut; the wedding bands on people’s ring fingers showing that commitment is an important part of life. In all, I felt quite at home right away.
(On a different note, I know myself quite well by now, so I can say with a fair certainty that I was actually looking for a new home, never having felt that Vancouver will be the place I live my whole life from now on. I flirted with US cities, but the only one I found attractive was Seattle, which is basically the US version of Vancouver. And to go back to the East Coast again for Chicago, Boston, or Washington, which I only know from movies and TV series, is just not in my future. So I guess I was actually looking for my next home.)
Anyhow, because of the disruption, the train ride took a bit longer than I expected, I was a bit tired by the time I got to Luton, so I grabbed a Starbucks decaf latte and my book (The Martian, by Andy Weir) and eventually fell asleep for 20 minutes or so in the lounge. Luton is a very small and not welcoming airport, but I was on my way home, so I didn’t care much.
Exactly 20 days later, I flew back from Romania to Luton again, it was late at night and, once again, the airport was not at all welcoming. But I was in London, finally to stay for a couple of days, so I bought a bus ticket to Finchley Road, where I had to find a tube station (South Hampstead) and then take the tube to Rayners Lane. Everything went smoothly, from buying a ticket to figuring out where I need to go. People on the tube were very friendly, although it was a bit lonely at that time of the night (11 pm). I then took a cab from Rayners Lane to Penny’s mom’s house on Merlin Avenue (magic, right?), and here I was, hugging Penny’s mom and being welcomed in her home with a cup of (what else?) English tea. I fell in love with English tea right away. There is something I didn’t appreciate before, but learnt to in London: adding milk to your PG Tips tea. Lovely. A staple of London life.
First full day in London. It was grey and sombre, but who cared? I was in London! Ready to embark on an adventure by myself, to take the tube downtown, and roam the streets of London. Unfortunately, another transit mishap forced me into a bus first, then a tube downtown. I had a bit of breakfast, then I was off to the British Museum, one of the most thrilling and exciting experiences I had there. Hours and hours of history lessons, from ancient Egypt and Greece and Rome, to modern day currencies, and so many other things that will be there for me next time around. Because there will be a next time around, of that I am sure. I had a sandwich for lunch, buying it in a supermarket where all London downtown workers seem to have gathered, and then I was off to Buckingham Palace, then Big Ben, then the London Eye. What a magical experience! The weather was on my side and I was able to see all of London! What a treat! I went back home and phoned Adela, a Romanian friend I had in London, and made plans to see her the next day. I spent another night and morning drinking English tea with Penny’s mom and talking until early hours of the morning. Londoners (or maybe just those of Greek origin) are very welcoming people.
Day number two. I met Adela at the Waterloo train station and we went together to have a cup of tea next to Madame Tussauds, then entered the magical land of wax figures and took tons of pictures. We then headed off to Covent Garden, a very quaint and relaxed area downtown, then had sushi for lunch/dinner, took the double-decker, and promised her I will return for another visit. And, who knows, maybe I’ll return for a longer stay.
The night, once again, turned into a long conversation with my host over several cups of English tea, then we both started packing, me for home, and her for Japan, and we went to bed only to wake a couple of hours later and take the tube to Gatwick to get home.
My stay in London, albeit short, was memorable. And I thank you, dear London, for being hospitable to me and allowing me to dream that, at some point, I might call myself a Londoner.

Dear Taz,

My dearest Taz, you will always be my first dog. I know that you weren’t really mine, but my heart was always yours, since the first time I met you in that basement. It was a cold February night and you and Oz were curious to see who this new person in your lives was going to be. I admit it, I was scared of you. Hands in my pocket, all I wanted to do is run up the stairs and get away from you. And your sniffing too close for comfort did not help.
I can’t even remember the first time when I fell in love with you. I do, however, remember the first time I took both of you for a walk without a leash (silly me), and you bolted from me as soon as we were out of the house! Thank God for Oz who brought you back. But then I understood that you just wanted to be free for a bit, and I was a sorry excuse for a dog owner. Good for you for testing your boundaries!
I will always remember our long walks to the grocery store, our playing in the park, our games in front of the fireplace, our summer vacation on the secluded beach, our camping trip when you were the only thing to keep me warm. I will remember it all, I promise.
You gave me so much, I could never tell you how much. You opened my eyes to this wonderful world of dogs, and I will never look at a dog again the same way. Thank you for that.
Well, I hope you’re going now to a better place with no pain whatsoever. You don’t deserve any pain, as you’ve always brought just joy in my life. And Oz is there as well, waiting for you, so you’ll be together again. And even if I can’t be there with you, I hope that you’ll get a hug and you’ll know that it’s from me as well.
Good-bye, my first canine love, my sweet Taz!

Dear Canada,

It’s been ten years since I first landed here. Ten whole years since I flew over the Atlantic from Vienna to Montreal, over a couple of magical places I only read about: the Bermuda Triangle with its mysterious disappearances, and Labrador, the land of one of my favourite childhood character, Apolodor, a penguin from Labrador. Who knew that twenty years later I would actually fly over Labrador? I didn’t even know (forgive my ignorance) that Labrador was a real place!

I like you, Canada, and (mostly) everything you stand for: diversity, acceptance, greatness, nature conservation, beauty.

I travelled from the tip of the Gaspesie peninsula (Rocher Perce) all the way to Tofino, BC, and I’ve enjoyed every minute and mile of it. I liked your East Coast with the lighthouses in Northern Quebec.  I liked your whales on the ocean. I liked your majestic waterfalls at Niagara. I really liked your capital city, both in winter (oh, Rideau Canal) and summer (with its ByWard Market at dusk). I liked your train rides and flying across it from Montreal to Vancouver on a cold February day. I liked your Olympic cauldron by the sea. I liked the never-ending blue skies and snow-covered mountains. And I love your West Coast sunsets. I liked swimming in two out of your three oceans (because, let’s be serious, no dipping my toes in the Arctic Ocean). I enjoyed eating ethnic foods that I never knew existed (raw fish, anyone?).

I appreciated each and every opportunity you offered me, from learning, to working and eventually owning a business. And I thank you for all the wonderful people I met here, who turned into life-long friends or business partners.

I am now looking forward to learning how to ski, to crossing the Rocky mountains by train, to swim in the Kelowna lake, and to take a wine tour in the Okanagan. And to as many wonders as possible coming my way.

Thank you for a wonderful ten years, Canada! And here’s to the next ten years!

Dear Life,

I just wanted to tell you about the things I am grateful for in life.

I’m alive.

I can laugh.

I can read (and write).

I can use the Internet.

Life gives me challenges. Yup, I can be grateful for that too. (But when I say “things couldn’t get worse”, I DO NOT mean it as a challenge.)

I have dreams.

I can have a really good day.

I have time.

Lazy weekends



I got love, many kinds of love.

It’s more of a reminder for me.



Dear Horoscope,

You better be right this time!

2014 is the year of major transformation and rebirth, Pisces. You’re about to undertake such a massive personal renovation project that your inner world will never quite look or feel the same. Of course, this will in turn revolutionize your outer world in the most fantastic ways imaginable. The first half of the year continues to celebrate romance and pleasure in a big and fabulous fashion. The overwhelming abundance of love that started crashing into your dreamy world last summer will continue to flourish straight through July. It’s not a question of falling madly in love — it’s a question of why it seems to be a daily occurrence. The spell won’t be broken until summer, so enjoy this incredible fantasy. Once summer comes you may have to choose and commit.

This lovely Jupiter influence has also been spectacular for your creative life, and will continue to be for the first half of the year. Consider this your second (or third or fourth) childhood as you’re being reminded how much fun it is to play!

Perhaps the best news is that your work is about to totally take off this summer, Pisces. If you’ve been in a bit of an uninspired slump, mope no more! Lucky and generous Jupiter will be moving into your work zone to bring you more work opportunities than you can possibly handle. You’ll have to choose carefully, or you may not sleep until 2015. This is also the year to strive for more balance in all life arenas — especially with money. You’re over owing anyone anything, and this is the year to start putting your creative talents into wiping out as much debt as possible. You know how to manifest like nobody’s business but often forget to put such magic into practice. Once you get a vision about something, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes reality, Pisces.

Love: The outrageously delicious romantic influence that began last summer continues for the first half of the year. Be sure to take advantage of this amorous time to celebrate your current love or to attract a new flame. Either way, the love energy is still peaking until July. Jupiter is a very generous planet and will be gracing your romance and pleasure sector, kissing your stars right up until summer. Nesting and romance could easily feel intertwined under this influence. Your instincts to nurture and be nurtured are exceptionally strong until Jupiter switches out of your sister Water sign in July.

Saturn continues his tour through sexy Scorpio this year, making another sweet and supportive aspect to your very own watery stars. You’re learning deep lessons about commitment, passion and facing your deepest fears when it comes to intimate relationships. You may have never even realized until now that you have some commitment issues. When responsibility starts drifting toward you, you have a tendency to swim the other way. As romantic as you are, you have a deep-seated terror of life becoming too predictable and mundane. You live for fantasy and glamour, Pisces. But alas, reality has a way of catching up to you and asking you if you’re ready to step up to the plate. This is your big decision in 2014: How far are you willing to go for love, and what would you be willing to sacrifice?

The North Node of Fate will move into the sign of relationships (Libra) close to your birthday for the remainder of the year, putting the emphasis on partnering. Considering how influenced you are by your environment, the coupling theme surrounding you is sure to feel contagious. You may find yourself longing for companionship despite your usual solitary bent. You can always make room for both in your life. Find a partner willing to give you that necessary downtime — or rework the parameters with your current mate. 2014 is the year for you to merge your dreams with your reality, Pisces.

Career: The stars are demanding that you find your passion and get practical about it, Pisces. You’re a gypsy and a total free spirit by nature, but this year you’re being asked to concentrate your energies and really focus on your passion. Yes, this means coming down from dreamland and getting serious about your career goals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use those amazing visions you have while sleeping or daydreaming. In fact, the more you use them this year, the more powerful your career. The point is not to keep them separate. Why keep one of your best assets in the closet? You know how to work the powers of visualization better than anyone, and with Neptune and Chiron still cruising through your stars this year, you’re the master at turning imagery into profit. Money tends to be the least of your priorities, but you’re realizing it certainly doesn’t hurt. You prefer glamour and experience, but why not get paid a handsome salary for your talents? Of course you’ll just generously shower any wealth you accumulate on your loved ones — but that should be all the more incentive to excel in your career in 2014.

The planet of wealth and abundance moves into your work sector this summer, so get ready for a pile-up of projects, Pisces. You’ll wonder how it was that you ever complained about not having enough work. This phase — from July until the end of the year — is guaranteed to keep you so busy, you’ll be challenged to keep your head above water. Time management is key to keeping afloat because the demands will be a bit overwhelming — exhilarating but overwhelming, nonetheless. Be sure to get plenty of rest, and strive toward more balance in your life despite your hectic schedule. Refuse to let your health suffer as a result of working harder than ever. Don’t forget you’re hypersensitive to the energies around you and thus require copious amounts of downtime to replenish your energy and imagination. Sleep and bubble baths are essential to a Pisces for maintaining a successful career.

Dear 2013,

I am so glad that you are almost over. I am relived that I don’t have to say two-thousand-thirteen anymore. Such a tongue twister! 2014 sounds much better, doesn’t it? Not to mention that in 2014 in June I will be celebrating 10 years of Canadian life and earlier in March four years of life on the West Coast!

So, dear 2013, I guess you have been a good enough year to me. I met a new good friend that I have lots in common with, Monica from Mexico. I met all the cool people at Strutta and ended up doing so many new and exciting things I didn’t even know existed, let alone me being able to do most of them! I met other beautiful people like Renee who wants to stay in touch with me. I have been welcomed with open arms in Strutta and they think of me as their culture bearer, which is probably the most important compliment everyone has ever paid me! I moved to a better place and I now enjoy a beautiful sunny, yet small, apartment on the 6th floor somewhere in the Olympic Village, overlooking Vancouver with its beautiful City Hall Tower Clock. I finally said good-bye to Mr. B and even posted an online dating profile, although I still have my doubts about the effectiveness of it all. Like they say, I prefer to meet someone the old fashion way, through alcohol and poor judgement. I don’t want to be interviewed for the position of a girl-friend/step mom or to select candidates for the position of partner.

All in all, you have been a pretty interesting period in my life. I am certain I have gained experience and evolved in some ways, even though it is hard to see what exactly I have achieved this year, but let me try and count the ways:

– left a job that didn’t satisfy me; actually, make that two

– drove in car2go around the city to gain more driving experience

– started my own RRSP and other savings initiative

– moved into a brand new apartment that I find too big (and yes, too expensive)

– paid my debts and started rebuilding my track record after the disaster from the years past

– did yoga at Moksha and got celebrated as the longest lasting ambassador there

– ran two races this year: the Sun Run in April and Run for the Cure in October

– met a very promising sci-fi writer, David Simpson, who lives in Vancouver and got a personalized autographed book from him

– travelled a bit, to Seattle by train and to Portland by plane, and to the island to Port Alberni

– played with so many dogs at work and at Christina’s, and I still miss Taz, my first canine love

– had a wonderful summer on the beaches around Vancouver, on my bike, in the sun

You have been good to me, 2013. I shall celebrate my successes and I shall learn from my mistakes. And I shall make 2013 count.

Here’s to another year-long trip around the Sun next year!

Dear Love of My Life,

I’ve been living in Vancouver for the past three years, so here’s where you can find me for now. But hurry up, as I don’t know how long I will be here for. My life has been a thrill so far, but I’m assuming that whatever is next will be as exciting. What can I tell you about me? I lived, so far, in four different cities in two different countries, on two separate continents. I would say that makes me open-minded, adaptable, curious, adventurous, and a bit crazy … I love writing, so much so that I am typing this letter on an old typewriter, one that I would love to take home. One day, Love of My Life, you will see my name on the cover of a book I will write about my life. Maybe even this letter will be a part of that book. I also love reading. I read all sorts of books, but mostly sci-fi and contemporary fiction. Living in Vancouver made me love hot yoga, swimming, running, and other outdoorsy stuff. I am also learning how to be a bit more open-minded about other ethnic foods. It’s going slowly, but I am making some progress. Vancouver also taught me how to love dogs. And how to simplify my life. One day, I will live in my own tiny house somewhere. It will have a loft, with a big bed, a cosy living room, a small kitchen, a veggie garden, and of course a reading room/spot. Maybe I see a dog in my future, not sure yet. It will be a Cocker Spaniel, not yet named. And it will have you as well, the most important (and enjoyable) part of the mix. You will be my partner, my friend, my rock, my pillow, my faith, my spirit, my mirror. And I, yours. We will travel together, I will show you my home country one day, and afterwards we will explore everything else together; one day we will go to Mexico or to the Seychelles together. Then after, we can go to New York, or London, or Paris. Oh, and I want to see the pyramids in Egypt once in my lifetime. Something to do with Stargate, you’ll understand eventually what I’m talking about. I have a favour to ask you: could you maybe teach me how to ski? I can’t believe that I have lived in Canada for almost 10 years now, and still don’t know how to ski. You know how, don’t you?

So, here I am, waiting for you. I know that you are on your way and I am happy to be patient for a little bit longer for you to tell me “I love you, and I cannot imagine living my life without you from now on”. You know where to find me, I’ll make sure I put a return address on the envelope (or maybe I should just stick to an email address?)

Anyway, come into my life, make me whole again, just like the song.

Looking forward to meeting you and to spending the rest of my life getting to know you better and vice-versa. There’s lots to things I want to know about you: where did you grow up, when did you decide to do something important with your life, what do you like, what do you hate, why, where are you coming from, where are you going. We’ve got lots of time.

Yours (and I mean truly),


Hello World,

So happy to be able to share such a joyous occasion with you all. I am typewriting on a very old and authentic machine. You probably don’t remember this, but on my vision board at the beginning of the year, I put a TYPEWRITER. One way or another, I got my wish.