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Making salad "à la russe"

Publié le par Charly C.

Happy new year! 

I have no idea since when you guys read my ramblings here. But with a quick search in my past entries, you'll see that at the end of each year, for the past 2 or 3 years, i tried to post some "End of the year thoughts". See here, here.

This time i decided against it. I have more reasons:

  • All December I had work to do (my main job)
  • I tried to do/did blogmas (see my recent posts or the link)
  • I have this entry where i drew a bit of a line for 2020.

For blogmas day 10, we were supposed to talk about the Christmas menu. And I did. And i mentioned that, traditionally, in Romania, people like to make salad à la russe. 

made by mother and given to us for new year's

I looked through my shared recipes and i noticed that i haven't shared this one yet, despite having made it quite a few times already. 

Well, now's the time to share the recipe! 

INGREDIENTS

We wanted to make a lot of salad this time around because we really like it. This wasn't the best idea ever but we did it anyway, so here we go.

We used for the salad:

  • 2.5 kg potatoes
  • some 4 carrots
  • 4 -5? pickled cucumbers
  • some salt
  • 1 big jar of peas (already cooked, drained)
  • egg-whites from 1 or 2 boiled eggs

We decided to make our own mayonnaise, but to also buy some, in case I fail at making the mayo. I remember the first time I made mayonnaise - it was thick, yummy, and I was proud of myself. 

Most likely, after that, I was over-confident, as the next other times I made it, it didn't turn out quite the same. Oh, well, we live, practice, and then we become better. 

For the mayo I used:

  • 1 egg yolk (from a boiled egg)
  • 1 raw egg -whole
  • some mustard 
  • some salt
  • oil (as much as needed)

For decoration: (you can use what you have on hand, these are the most common things you'll see in Romania, on this dish)

  • black olives - pitted
  • pickled red peppers
  • pickled cucumbers
  • pickled carrots
  • fresh parsley (not other herbs)
  • hard-boiled egg(s)
METHOD

For this salad, we have to boil the potatoes and the carrots, then dice them. The dice shouldn't be too small, nor too big. You want the dice to be actually smaller, rather than larger, so that the salad would have a smoother appearance. 

If the dice are larger, the salad will look as if you made it with rocks and boulders instead of potatoes.

We decided to boil these 1 day ahead. And as you can see from my pictures, i boiled the potatoes for far too long. They shouldn't crack like that. The potatoes should be cooked, but firm for this salad.

Maybe I should have used red potatoes? I have no idea, but almost every time I try making this dish, I overboil my potatoes and they're far better mashed than diced. 

As you can see, I used larger pieces of carrots. I think by weight, the carrots are half the weight of the potatoes, maybe even less than that.  

Given the quantities, you'll need a very large bowl in which you'll throw everything for mixing. 

I suggest that on the day you want to prepare this, you first make the mayonnaise. If you don't want to make it, you better buy 2 bigger jars of mayo. 

To make things better, get the fancier, more expensive brand. It should taste better. The type and taste of the pickles, as well as that of the mayonnaise, are the secrets to this dish.

These 2 ingredients will make or break the taste of the whole thing and will decide if you like it or not. 

So, to make mayonnaise, you have to mix the hard-boiled egg yolk, the raw egg yolk, some salt, some mustard, with plenty of oil. 

The best tool for mixing, I noticed/learned to be the vertical blender part of your mixer. You add the oil bit by bit, and you might also need to add some salt and mustard from time to time. 

If you think the mayo looks too thick (almost like cream cheese) you can add the raw egg white as well. Try not to add it all at once as you could ruin the result, or it may take some time for the mayo to re-gain a decently thick consistency (yogurt-like). 

Once you figured the mayo out, cover it and put it in the fridge to rest. Now you can start dicing the potatoes, carrots, and pickles.

You throw these in the large pot/container along with the drained peas. For reference, I used the pot in which I boiled the potatoes after cleaning it.  

At the end, you can also throw in a hard-boiled egg you diced. This improves the taste of the salad. Don't forget to add some salt in with everything, or this will be a bit sweet and tasteless. This is not something you want.

As you can see, I diced my potatoes in sizes that are a bit too big. They should have been half that size, thus slightly larger than the peas. I also forgot to add the salt. And that's not the only thing i forgot to add. 

Now, it's time to add in the mayonnaise and to get your hand dirty. Mixing with a spoon is fine, but I feel I have better control over the mixing process if I use my hand. 

Once you're done, you can transfer the salad to other containers or plates, for decoration. I used 2 plates and a big soup bowl - i forgot its name. 

 And then, you'll need to use your imagination on decorating these. Nature-inspired decor (like flowers, or the sun) looks the best - somehow it balances out the heaviness of the mayonnaise. Red, orange, and black give it a nice visual contrast.

Above, you can see the decor I came up with. I had black olives in the fridge, but i forgot about them at first. I added some after, but i didn't take pictures anymore. 

Like i said, this is best eaten the day after you prepare it, so that the flavors mix in a bit more. We eat this usually on its own, but with bread. Extra pickles also work, as there is plenty of mayonnaise to make one nauseous. I think it's served before dishes with meat. 

I hope you can give this salad a go and that if you do, you'll enjoy it as much as we do. 

Bon Appetit! 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas Day 10 - Christmas Menu

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all!

So today I'm supposed to plan the menu for Christmas. Except I don't need to because every year we eat the same thing. 

See, here in Romania, there are a set-in-stone celebration dishes. Everyone makes the same food. Rarely there's any variation. 

One of the first things that need to be made for Christmas, or any other big celebration that is, is the cozonac

I personally never made one, so I don't have a recipe for it. As type of food, this is a dessert. By the method used to make one, it is a bread. So basically, it's a sweet bread and traditionally it has a filling made of nuts and cocoa. Rum (the alcohol) or rum essence (flavoring) can also be used in the filling. 

Blogmas Day 10 - Christmas Menu
Blogmas Day 10 - Christmas Menu

Of course, nowadays it is very common for city folks to buy one or a few. In the country side, it is still being made the traditional way.

The cozonac found int he city comes in different shapes and flavors, with some of them better than others. 

Another dish that cannot be missing from the Christmas table are the sarmale. This dish comes from Turkey and if you know that dish you'll know this one as well. 

We have cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling made of rice mixed with meat. Generally, the meat is a mixture of beef and pork. I talked a bit about the filling in this article. 

You just have to take about a spoonful of filling mixture and put it on the cabbage leaf, then to roll or pack the whole thing neatly. We'll most likely receive some Sarmale, if everything goes smoothly this year, considering the virus. 

Sarmale are labor intensive and this is why they're kept for special occasions. These special occasions can include weddings and funerals, especially in the countryside. 

Another dish you'll see is the Oliver's Salad, though it's usually called Boeuf Salad or A la Russe. There's actually a small difference between Boeuf and A la Russe: the former has meat and the latter does not. Otherwise, they look the same and generally have the same ingredients. 

The ingredients are boiled potatoes, carrots, peas, pickles, black olives, and mayonnaise. Everything gets chopped and mixed together. It is usually decorated with olives, boiled eggs, and red pickled peppers. This salad i plan on making. I made it before, and i can't believe i have zero pictures as proof, though i had some pretty ones made. 

Creator & Copyright: Dana Valery from retete-culinare-cu-dana-valery.ro/reteta/salata-a-la-russe-cu-legume-si-maioneza

That's what it can look like and the link will take you to a recipe in Romanian. Google Translate can be your friend.

This salad should be made a day or two in advance, so that the flavors mix well. It's definitely a dish that tastes better at least the next day, and it has to be kept in the fridge. 

The taste depends greatly on the pickles used as well as on the mayonnaise. It's best to make the mayonnaise at home, from scratch as it tastes better than the one from the store. 

Many people would prepare many dishes based on pork, as they butcher a pig a few days before Christmas. The most notable dishes are steak and home-made sausages. 

Some people will replace the pork with a roasted chicken or maybe beef. 

This is it for now! see you in blogmas day 11!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas Day 4 - Christmas Songs

Publié le par Charly C.

HeY eVeRyBoDy! 

Today's challenge is to make a playlist of songs for Christmas. 

Unfortunately, I don't like this type of songs. 

I don't like them because every year, no matter where you go, especially in stores, you hear the same songs played over and over and over gain. 

It becomes tiresome, overdone, and plain boring. 

However, Romania has quite the handful of traditions related to Christmas. I just realized I kinda never posted anything specifically related to this holiday. 

I spoke briefly about some of the traditions but not much details. 

Most Romanians celebrate Christmas on December 25th, with a few that celebrate on January 7th, like the Russians. 

The celebrations include preparing a lot of food, singing carols, as well as various dances and theater plays. In the old days, caroling was done by children but also by adults. 

This custom is still preserved in many villages today. However, it's important to know that each village would have its own caroling group made of both adults and children. 

Customary, only boys and men would go caroling through the village. The girls and the women would stay at home and prepare the meals, wait for the carolers, and do other chores. 

Some of the most popular carols and dances are the ones called "Steaua" and "Capra," meaning "Star" and "Goat" respectively. There's singing involved for both, but there's a dance associated with the "Goat." Another caroling dance and singing is the one with the "Bears". 

As far as the Goat and the Bears go, there's always someone in the group dressed as a Goat or Bears. Usually, the group has 1 goat, maybe 2 at times. There are usually 3 bears in the Bear group. There has to be at least 1 bear, but I'm not sure about how many bears there can be in the group. 

Below, there's a very short clip of the Bear dance, from 4 years ago, at the Christmas market. I don't think there will be any this year due to the virus. 

Across this city, various groups go with either the Goat or the Bears. I'm not sure if this year we'll see any Goats or Bears due to the current situation. 

I spoke more about the Goat and Bear because i like them the most. The Goat is very colorful. I don't think you can meet 2 identical looking Goats, but I'm not sure. She might look different from region to region. 

The Bear dance is loud and one can barely hear the words being sung or spoken. The Bears have 2 red pompoms around the neck or ears, i forgot. They are also supposed to appear closer to the New Year, so usually after Christmas. 

Traditionally, all carolers were supposed to receive some sort of reward from the person receiving them. The traditional rewards are apples, nuts, and a few other edible items. Nowadays, money is the most common reward. 

The Bears however, are supposed to receive clothes. I forgot if new or old clothes. It's best not to receive the carolers if you can't reward them: you'll be followed by bad luck in the new year. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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I Bought a New Tarot!

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everyone!

DISCLAIMER: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. I used these affiliate links to give you the option to check the book out, for yourself, if you so wish, through a well-trusted seller. While I will be very glad if you buy any of the linked items, the decision to do so or not, belongs to you. Thank you for reading!  

We learned that last week, on aug 22 and 23, a yard sale would take place. 

What is a yard sale?

A yard sale here is organized as a gathering of various artisans or authorized sellers. These folks sell either stuff they made or things they don't need anymore, that was collected over time. So a yard sale is more like a small fair or a flea market.

What happened?

So, Anna tells me about this fair taking place at Address1, but then the next day (aka, today) she tells me that the event is at Address2. And This Address2 was closer to us, so we decide to go there. 

And what do you know? There was NOTHING going on at this 2nd location! NOTHING! The place was a decent looking house with a yard. In the yard, i could see some sort of gazebos? made of wood or metal. So they were pretty permanent. The gates were under chains and locks, everything was quiet and almost eerie. 

So we decide to go to the Address1, hoping that the event may happen there. We hop on the tram as it the fastest way to get there, by a weird coincidence. What can i say, public transportation is like that here.

By tram, we only traveled 3 stops, and we reached the general area in which the event was taking place. It would have been quite difficult to go there on foot mostly because of the heat.

We get there, and lo and behold! the event IS happening! But we nearly missed it by passing it by, hahaha. It was hosted in a VERY narrow and long yard. 

There were quite a few people attending as well, so the place felt cramped. Everyone was wearing a mask due to the current situation. Anna didn't have the courage to browse, but i did. 

I saw the work of this local artisan. She made very unique necklaces out of leather and some large beads, as well as some hand-painted greeting cards. I wasn't enticed by anything, especially not her chatty personality. 

Ok, she was trying to make me buy, as she needs the money, yada-yada-yada. But i had no use for any of that stuff. I only wanted to buy something if i REALLY liked it or needed it. Her items, as unique as they were, didn't fit the bill. 

I walked further into the yard and i found this other girl selling a few things. The one thing that stood out to me was her Tarot de los Angeles. Angel Tarot?  

She was asking less than 10 USD for it (40 lei). And i wanted already to buy another deck. And in the only store where I saw a variety of decks being sold, the cheapest was 15 USD? (60 lei). You ight say the difference in price is not big, but every penny matters. 

I thought it would also be a good purchase for my site, BeingObscure.com where i currently offer some interpretations for the Shadowscapes Tarot deck

Why is that? because when I'll be done with the Shadowscapes, I'll need something else to write about. Yes, I do own an oracle deck, but i feel no connection to it, whatsoever.  

In this picture, you can see me comparing it to the (barely visible) Shadowscape Tarot. I must say, this new tarot being smaller, is easier to handle. As such, it feels lighter as well. 

The downsides is that it's in Spanish. See this card? It says "Tronos" not "Cronos" as i see it. So, yea, they really messed it up with the chosen font. 

The deck is complete and in very good condition. The package has some signs of tear and wear, but I can fix that, I believe with some glue and/or clear tape. 

If you're interested in checking out this deck, you can use this affiliate link.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Being a minimalist can be a bad idea in a crisis

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello! Don't take this post that seriously. Really don't. 

I am well aware I posted a few entries talking against consumerism: here - here - here

I basically was wrong in that post, at least to some extent, because we need to consume things in order to survive. 

I am against buying more than we need, I am against always buying the latest releases of anything, and against buying things simply because so-and-so promotes the item. 

Minimalism is the other extreme. There is a whole niche on youtube related to minimalism. 

I started writing this entry on the 18th day of the martial law instated in Romania. At this point, it is unclear when this "protectorate" will end. The other day they said after mid-May. we'll see.

I'm posting this a week before the martial law is supposed to ease.

The thing is, we're not allowed to go out without a pass - we can write it ourselves. who we are, where we go, why, carry the ID, and heaven forbid the paper is wrong. All the stores and malls are closed. Supermarkets, drugstores, emergency dentists, hospitals are the only operating "businesses." And also places like home renovation and pet stores. Other businesses that still operate, the post office, taxis, public transportation, delivery companies. If you need anything else, like clothes, craft supplies, you have to order online. if you have $$. 

Can you see how being a hoarder is now useful? Can you see how being a minimalist is not/was not a good idea? 

Living in a city is also not a good idea. But living in the countryside, in Romania, usually means no running water. See the image below, for a better understanding - seen first in this entry.

In any case, in the countryside, we'd be able to go out of the house, in the yard to attend to the animals, to the food we grow, to the toilet (as in most cases it's separated from the main house where we'd be living). 

As I was saying, as a minimalist, you're probably missing many things you wish you had. As a hoarder, you're probably feeling pretty secure you're not missing anything you might need. 

As a hoarder, you might have:

  • Enough food to last you at least a month
  • Enough cleaning supplies to last you through the lockdown
  • An excuse to use them all up, clean the space and become more of a minimalist
  • Various games to keep you busy and entertained
  • A variety of tools that you can use to learn a new skill or make the things you wanted but didn't have the time.

As a minimalist, you might have:

  • A lot of empty space in the house
  • Not enough food
  • Not enough supplies
  • Just computer or smartphone games
  • No tools for a new hobby
  • A hard time finding in the supermarket what you need
  • An excuse to go buy some things that occupy space, but are needed during an emergency situation
Taken on August 31st, 2019 by me.

Taken on August 31st, 2019 by me.

This "pandemic" taught me that: 

  • Minimalism is not for me
  • Hoarding is not that bad - just make sure not to go out of control
  • You can be more sustainable as a hoarder as you have more items in the house to reuse and repurpose, and you dispose of fewer things, overall. 

Now, these are just some observations. I'm not attacking or praising any lifestyle or choices. 

You might hoard lots of plates and cups, but may have just 4 pairs of shoes and 5 pairs of jeans. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved. 

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Exploring Bucharest - Carol Park (Mausoleum)

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello. This is part 1. Part 2 will soon follow.

So with all this pandemic, scamdemic, going on and having to stay indoors, all we want is to go out. But we can't. 

This reminded me that last year, or so, we went to Carol Park in Bucharest, and I took LOTS of photos. You can read more about this park on its wikipedia page, which has decent info about it. 

So, in 2004, this public park was designated a historical monument, as it is currently 120 years old (it was created in 1900 by Édouard Redont). The park is also the place where the Mausoleum dedicated to the Unknown Soldier is found. The structure is pretty tall and probably is one most people in Bucharest would recognize. 

There are a few other attractions in the park, as you can read on the wiki page, but you can't really approach any of them. I don't think Romanians really know how to take advantage of their treasures. What a shame.

When we visited, on May 25, 2019, they were organizing a lights event on the steps leading up to the Mausoleum.

We were hoping to see the lights on, but we went there too early. When we got in the park, there didn't seem to be many people. But by the time we left, maybe an hour and a half later? There were many more people coming. 

In case you're wondering about the Mausoleum itself, You can't visit it. 

You can just go near it, take a few pictures, and this is it. There are guards there with guns, who make sure people don't go too close to the monument. 

I was mindful not to take pics of the guards, but this sign pretty much says "no tress passing." I'm not sure if we can go up to the sign or not as i didn't feel like trying my chances of getting shot. I'm fairly certain the guards would have tried to stop me verbally first, then physically, and they'd most likely try to shoot as last resort. 

These signs are on both sides of the Mausoleum, and there's also an eternal flame burning. Or there is supposed to be one. I can't remember it, and it doesn't seem like I took a pic of it either. 

There are also 2 of these war guns on each side of the monument. At least 2. 

Curious as i am, i went up to them and took a closer look and touched them. Even snapped a picture of part of the control mechanism.

It was smelling like heavy machinery oil. I didn't try to operate this thing, though it was pretty fascinating to be close to it. I could almost hear it in my head. I could almost see soldiers around me, trying to operate it, defend their country, and trying their best to keep the enemy at bay. 

Of course, the area around the Mausoleum is no playground, and at least 1 plaque tells you so. Just in Romanian. 

Needless to say, there were plenty small children and their parents, running around and playing. 

The view from the monument is beautiful as well. Sadly, I only have something partial, taken from a side. It's still pretty though.

And only just now I realized that the Palace of the Parliament can be seen in the distance. In all fairness, this park is not that far from the Palace. 

Next entry about the park will have a few snippets with the various structures and attractions found in this park.

Stay tuned!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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3 Romanian cakes

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello World! 

The title says it all: today i want to show you 3 Romanian cakes. These cakes can be found in any cake shop and even at the supermarket. Or this was my experience so far.

If you ever find yourself in Romania, I think you should try these cakes, but try and make sure you buy them from a cake shop: they taste better there, for some reason, compared to the ones in supermarkets. Ana Pan is where you'll probably find the best tasting cakes, at least in Bucharest. 

i should mention that we do have many other types of cakes available, but i'll present the ones that are specific to Romania, and not imported. 

Ok, enough rambling: on to the cakes!

 

3 Romanian cakes3 Romanian cakes

Cartof Cake

This is a pretty simple cake, and easy to recognize: it looks like a cocoa ball. It's also covered in cocoa powder and sits prettily on muffin-like baking paper. 

Besides cocoa, it also contains raisins, rum, butter, and of course sugar. It has a moist texture on the inside, though it looks dry on the outside. 

"Cartof" actually means "potato" in Romanian, so i suppose the cake is meant to look like a potato, but it's just a ball. 

You can eat it with a spook or fork, or even directly with your hands, but holding it through the paper it sits on. 

I vaguely remember seeing log-like cartof cake. Besides the shape, there's no other difference. 

3 Romanian cakes3 Romanian cakes

Savarina Cake

This cake is pretty similar to choux-a-la-creme, I guess. 

This cake has a pretty big chunk of sponge-like cake as the base. I think it is baked in a muffin shape, given that it has some ridges on the upper part.

As you can see, they partially cut a slice on the upper part which they cover with a red jelly. They then use a huge amount of syrup, and then they add a good dollop of whipped cream. 

Unlike the choux cake, this one doesn't have any other cream nor pudding inside. 

While it also comes on some paper or cake cardboard, it's best eaten with a teaspoon or fork, off a plate. Some place now sell them in a small but deep enough plastic container, to avoid the syrup leaking everywhere. 

3 Romanian cakes

Excelent Cake

This is another chocolate cake. This layered cake has generous amounts of chocolate cream layers.

This chocolate cream is made with butter, and thus it can be quite heavy for the stomach.  

It's best using some tool like a fork or teaspoon to eat it, though eating with the hands is also possible. This is because it is also served on that specific cake paper. 

The chocolate cream on top and bottom is a different type. The one on top is probably ganache. The slices are about as thick as 2 fingers. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Hallelujah! means something else in Romanian

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all!

This is a short entry, and I want to talk about a cultural shock I had last year, regarding the use of the word "Hallelujah!"

In English, you'd say "Hallelujah!" when something good happened, or when something you hoped for turned out the way you wanted. 

You'd sometimes say "Hallelujah!" to perhaps mean 'Finally!"

In Romanian, though, "Hallelujah!" is used to mean "What's done is done."

It is usually said in bad situations - when you lose or break something, especially something expensive or that you cared about, for instance. 

So, last year, I shook the sheet on the window. Below, at the ground floor there is a commercial space and they have some sort of shades, made of metal, that stand out and away from the building, in a horizontal position. 

If things fall there, they can't be easily retrieved. 

My sweatpants were wrapped in the sheet, and I grabbed everything. 

Before I could do anything, my pants fell from inside the sheet and onto the shade-thing of the commercial space. 

A told their mother, and her reply was "Hallelujah!" 

The shock! the horror! I was wondering, why is she so happy about my misfortune?!? 

It appears she wasn't: she was just telling me to forget about my pants. 

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winter thoughts (2019)

Publié le par Charly C.

winter thoughts (2019)

Desolate. 
Naked bushes scattered on the shalow snow
Make me feel as frozen as the air. 
The cold deserted scenery makes feel welcomed
Others pay no attention -
too much in a hurry to reach their destination
This is how winter nests itself in our hearts. 

winter thoughts (2019)winter thoughts (2019)

Everything is quiet, cold and white. 
In the night, yellow and white lights show the roads blanketed by heavy snow. 
Hungry beasts bear their teeth at anyone daring to venture in the darkness. 

winter thoughts (2019)winter thoughts (2019)
winter thoughts (2019)winter thoughts (2019)

December just started as I start typing this. But knowing me, it will take a while for me to gather my thoughts and finish it.  -As I post this is already the end of January. lack of inspiration.-

However, I need some sort of a conclusion for 2018. It will help me with remembering things when I'll be older. Placing events according to a time frame is not my strongest point.  It does seem like I have many weaknesses, doesn't it? At the very least, one of my biggest weaknesses is (still) cleaning, as we all remember.

I'm sure you remember i drew a couple conclusions at the end of the past years. I'll link the 2017 one here, mostly for myself ... and to be able to compare the 2 years better. 

Last December I made my first resolution for the new year - you know the stuff I'd like to accomplish in 2018. I'll show a picture of it, and then talk about how I did.

winter thoughts (2019)winter thoughts (2019)winter thoughts (2019)

The first picture is last year's resolutions. In the second picture I recorded my workout progress or efforts, along with how much i weigh at the end of the month. The last picture shows my resolutions for 2019. 

I think I did pretty well with working out. It didn't turn into a routine, but I did work out more than I expected. I hope to continue on a similar note and to improve. However, so far throughout January, I failed. I also did pretty well with studying Chinese last year. I think the worst was the calligraphy as I practiced nothing in that regard, though I did write by hand throughout the year. Just not for this specific purpose. 

I also did pretty well with less swearing - while i didn't record myself talking, I always tried to censor out all cuss words. I still feel like cussing a lot, and a times i do let out some cuss words. I was cussing a lot in 2017 - this year, so far I think i cussed once or twice. 

snowmen and frozen naturesnowmen and frozen nature
snowmen and frozen naturesnowmen and frozen nature

snowmen and frozen nature

This winter came early - the first snow fell at the end of November. Of course people had to make snowmen. The 2nd one seen above, was actually VERY small -maybe smaller than the length of my palm? I had to squat to take a picture at its level. 

This winter didn't only come early, but it's also quite extreme. Last week it rained and there was a strong wind that turned the water into instant ice. It froze the grass, the trees, the fences, the parked cars, everything. Some tree branches even broke because of the weight of the ice.  

It looked beautiful - like a forbidden frozen city from a magical land where people were somehow transported. Yesterday, it all started slowly melting. I'm glad I took some pics. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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A disappointing school festival a la japonais in Bucharest

Publié le par Charly C.

So, first things first. This entry is WAAAAY overdue, oops, as the event took place in March 2018. I was so disappointed with it made me delaying talking about it. But I still have the pictures, and I think the idea was rather cute, though some might find it  a bit ... of a cultural appropriation, and you'll see why in just a second. 

A bit of a background

In February of last year, I saw the ad for a school festival, done in Japanese style. In Japanese, "bunkasai" means "Cultural festival ." I believe this was the 2nd or 3rd edition of this bunkasai, and was inspired by the school-life of Japan - most likely because this is the only school in Bucharest teaching Japanese. I learned about the event from Facebook, and it seemed interesting enough to go check it out. Gotta say that such festivals are not done over here, unless things have changed, and I didn't get the memo. 

inside and around the schoolinside and around the schoolinside and around the school

inside and around the school

As you can see fro the above pictures, there was snow on the ground because a couple of days before, a snow storm hit us. 

About the Event

The Facebook ad was mentioning all sorts of attractions at this festival, such as sushi, a haunted house, workshops with origami, caligraphy, drawing and not only, as well as (maid) cafes - basically what you'd expect to see in an authentic event in a Japanese school.

Everything sounded great, at least on screen. But of course, the reality was ... different to say the least.  It was disappointing ... and a bit cringy. Mostly because it looked like a cheap imitation of the real thing - with which i'm familiar only from manga and anime, where it looks different. Add to this, the fact that some of the students organizing the whole thing, were wearing yukata (=a type of kimono worn in summer, made of thin fabrics) in winter! Just no! 

We went there towards the end of the day, and this meant that most of the stuff were over or sold out, if you wanted to buy something. This added to the disappointment. To enter the haunted house [or room, better said] we had to wait in a long line, and we just didn't feel like waiting. 

Let me show you some more pics from that event, though they're not great in any way.

the halls were decorated with large paintings made on paper. art from the drawing workshops, various writings from the calligraphy workshop, and the entry to the haunted roomthe halls were decorated with large paintings made on paper. art from the drawing workshops, various writings from the calligraphy workshop, and the entry to the haunted room
the halls were decorated with large paintings made on paper. art from the drawing workshops, various writings from the calligraphy workshop, and the entry to the haunted roomthe halls were decorated with large paintings made on paper. art from the drawing workshops, various writings from the calligraphy workshop, and the entry to the haunted room
the halls were decorated with large paintings made on paper. art from the drawing workshops, various writings from the calligraphy workshop, and the entry to the haunted roomthe halls were decorated with large paintings made on paper. art from the drawing workshops, various writings from the calligraphy workshop, and the entry to the haunted room

the halls were decorated with large paintings made on paper. art from the drawing workshops, various writings from the calligraphy workshop, and the entry to the haunted room

I hope any future similar events will improve. I also think other schools could get inspiration from it and make their own unique events, or events that are more connected to Romania's identity and cultural heritage. 

We didn't spend a lot of time there, so we left. We went to McDonalds at Unirii Square. We got some fries that we gave to the seagulls on the river. It took them a couple of seconds to eat the fries. I don't have enough pics, and the ones I have are not even good enough, but I hope you like seeing some birds.

A disappointing school festival a la japonais in BucharestA disappointing school festival a la japonais in BucharestA disappointing school festival a la japonais in Bucharest

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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