London, Paris, Cologne, Bucharest

September is our wedding season. For two years in a row, we have been part of beautiful weddings, as you may remember from our adventures in Sardinia. Well, in 2015, we were part of our sweet Mrs. Breakfast at Tiffany’s wedding, I was a maid of honor for the first time in my life. En route we hit a few of our favourite places: London for family and friends, Paris for ourselves, Cologne for a wedding and home in Bucharest for family and friends. To establish September as a bonafide wedding month, I also got lucky to match my week in Bucharest with a dear friend’s wedding. Two weddings in two weeks is an impressive record.

London
We walked around my sister in law’s new neighbourhood in Bermondsey with delicious markets and a lovely Thames walk. They have moved into a new flat with one of the most spectacular bookcases I have seen. The bookcase needs a ladder so that should give you an idea. Our crew here spoiled me on my birthday with a Vivien Mayer exhibition, a visit to the Serpentine Gallery, the discovery of pretty tin boxes full of cookies at Fortnum & Mason.

We reunited with our adventurous friends, who recently finished their bike tour from Europe to China, our we-always-have-something-to-talk-about friends who moved in a beautiful flat on a street called Mount Pleasant. We looked for half a year in Toronto for a place on the same name street in Toronto with no luck. Another pair of friends who just moved to London from Australia whose nuptials we attended in February in Brisbane and yet another pair of friends who have been travelling and working around Europe and North America. The combination of family and friends reminds me that a part of me feels at home in the UK. Ironically enough I write these lines after Brexit, almost a month later after a significant number of people have voted against the ease of such a group living and working in the UK. Although 6 of them are Aussies, three of us were from EU countries and one glorious Englishman so maybe some Commonwealth tweaking is next. Too soon maybe for such a joke. It is easy enough to indulge in feeling excluded and snickered as a Romanian national in the UK but the love I had there outshine the random negative incidents so I am hopeful that people in diverse groups as our own will find their support and their future together. And there were many groups like ourselves, a collection of nationalities and experiences from all over the world building lives together.

I digress back to family and friends. Sadly during this trip we also received life-changing news for the wedding we were about to attend in Cologne. It is incredible how life changing moments and their accompanying details remain fresh in our emotional memory. I can still hear and picture Husband Chris receiving a call and one OMG said too many times.

London.London.

London.Cologne
A few weeks ago would have been the birthday of the mom of our Mrs. Breakfast at Tiffany, the bride. Ali was a sweet lady who has met us and spoiled us silly every time we visited Cologne, as well she attended our Romanian wedding with a lot of joy and elegance, all in all, she was a gracious lady who left the party too soon. We have been lucky to have our parents part of our important life events so far, so being there for a friend who has lost her mom was probably one of the hardest moments I have experienced. It was an experience I felt helpless through, also realizing this was about how to best be there for her and help in any way we could. Being there during those days has taught me so much about how strength and vulnerability can both survive and take us through life when the unimaginable happens. The bride was as elegant and gorgeous as her mom would have dreamed of and although not physically present, the touch and her spirit were felt during a day. Weddings are a celebration of a pair’s love and while that is something to be cherished and a valued, this wedding was special in its quiet celebration of a mother’s love and the kind of life appreciation as only loss teaches. Our bride and groom were gorgeous and I even managed to put together a speech that hopefully brings them joyous memories in years to come.

Cologne.

Paris
Before Cologne, we did manage to stop in our sweet Paris for two days. With heavy hearts after the news, we walked around and cleared our heads and revisited a city which always seems to invite me to come and move in for a little bit. I hope one day we can spend more than 2 days here and there.
We stayed in Latin Quartier as we always do, walked around, did a bit of shopping, went to Petit Palais and enjoyed the gorgeous inner garden. Walked around Louvre and Garden Luxembourg with its amazing sculptures and parted ways in hopes to return soon. Not before some desserts from Gérard Mulot.

Paris.Paris.

Paris.Paris.

Bucharest
Speaking of loss in November of 2015 there was a fire at a rock concert in a Bucharest club where approximately 60 young people died and much more still recovering from the traumatic experience. I bring this up during this post because in the days following this tragedy I followed what happened with a deep sorrow, I felt a deep longing to be back there and to be part of the generation I left 15 years ago. I was 20 when I left Romania so my core is still rooted there and it is still a place that anchors me. After living in 3 countries in the last 10 years and realizing I am happy experiencing the world as it comes, I still find a unique connection to Bucharest and my childhood village. During this event and the days following it, I had the realization that the deep relationship it has with my childhood and the teenage years is what pulls me back and keeps it so alive. It will always be the playground of my development and I will always long for it one way or another and that can survive very well in my emotional space with the fact I do not feel the pull to live and work there as an adult, especially not at the moment. And again loss helps put in perspective my life and how to embrace and how to let that longing take over me when it wants as it shines a light on the child and teenager in me.

Onto the memories of the trip, I enjoyed a few days with my sweet Aunt who is a gem and whose laughter has always made life better. With her, I started doing recorded family interviews. Husband Chris has advised me to do this as an inspiration from Story Corps and I am very happy to have some serious footage to cherish in years to come. We walked around through parks, we looked at carpets, and we laughed and talked about my sweet departed grandparents.
I also interviewed my grandmother, my dad’s mom who is as quirky as a 91-year-old can be. I got spoiled by my dad and stepmother and ended the trip on a high note, with the wedding of my dear friend the Dragon, his nickname from high school. This a friendship that has taken us through many stages of our lives from calculus homework to bridge and also to some healthy debates.

Bucharest.

Until the next catch up, hope the two lovely couples are having the time of the lives.

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