There is more to life

-a poem for my son-

by Andrada Costoiu

 Have you ever felt your heart cartwheeling in your chest?
I did, many times….
When you smile, when you sparkle,
When say silly things as: “I broke the Kumon Bank”,
Because you thought they gave you way too many packets for homework!
Or when you asked if my mom(your grandma) was born during the Civil War, Because you thought she’s so knowledgeable
And knows everything!

You make me happy,
Your thoughts are clear and pure,
I never want to let the society take out the child inside you.

I’ll save the conservative thinking for another lifetime,
I don’t want you to sit properly, behave properly,
Because what is proper anyway? 
I want you to dance when everyone is watching,
To believe in the impossible and to always have hope.

I don’t have a manual, none of us do,
And even us, adults,
Can sometimes feel as bees on the sand. 
But I do know that “Success” is not defined by reaching very rigid milestones,
So don’t let the society dictate your life.

There are so many things that are not quite right in the world today,
But there is so much good too.
You will realize that all things change,
And like the forces of nature,
Everybody has the power to unleash and unlock what they’re capable of.
If more people decide to do good, the balance will tilt to that side,
Be one of these people.


Life is about creating yourself,
Take your time, smile, breathe and keep going.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

St Paul’s Cathedral

by Andrada Costoiu

I am reading a book, it’s called “Letters to the lost” by Iona Grey. It’s a beautiful love story, set in London during WW2. As I was reading it, I came across this passage that’s happening in St. Paul’s Cathedral. This sent me back to the time when I was inside it.

I didn’t know about the Whispering Gallery. I wish I knew; I would have climbed up there.

Brief history

St. Paul’s Cathedral is a magic place that goes back in time. I thought this building was the start, but no!! The cathedral building has been destroyed several times and there is so much history behind it! The first on this site was a Roman temple to Diana, but the first Christian cathedral there was dedicated to St. Paul in AD 604. That cathedral burned and its replacement (built 675–685) was destroyed by Viking raiders in 962. 

In 1087 a third cathedral erected on the site also burned! 

The fourth one, now known as Old St. Paul’s, was constructed in the late 11th century. Its spire stood higher than the dome of the present cathedral. In 1561 the spire was destroyed by lightning (and a resulting fire) and never replaced.  Then this building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London (1666), when it was caught in the flames. The lead on the roof melted and poured down on to the street like a river, or so they say. The building collapsed. 

The present cathedral, dating from the late 17th century, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It was the first Cathedral to be built after the English Reformation in the sixteenth-century, when Henry VIII removed the Church of England from the jurisdiction of the Pope! 
It has survived the WW2 Blitz as it is (with repairs) .  What was the Blitz? It was the German bombing campaign against the UK, in 1940 and 1941. Not only London, but also provincial UK was bombed.  Much of London was lost, including many iconic buildings. St. Paul’s survived probably through a miracle (or maybe because it was protected somehow). Below it’s a picture after the bombings, with St. Paul’s towering over the ruble of London.  Since then, this building had become associated with the British resilience.

Photo credit: BBC magazine

Who was Christopher Wren and how did he came to build St. Paul’s

After the year of the Great Plague in 1665, The Great Fire of London came! The fire happened in 1666 destroyed many of the city’s public buildings, including 88 of its churches. 

Christopher Wren was commissioned to build 51 replacement churches, and that included St Paul’s cathedral. Although Wren was personally responsible for all these, probably not all of them represent his own fully developed design.  Only a few are in Wren’s hand, including St. Paul’s. 

Wren was many things, not only an architect.  He was a scientist and he was one of the founders of the Royal Society (president 1680–82), the oldest scientific society in the world! His work was highly regarded by Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal.

The architecture 

The cathedralis heavily influenced by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The construction of the cathedral took more than 40 years. In 1708, Wren’s son, Christopher Wren Jr, placed the final stone on the lantern, watched by his father below.

I think the most notable feature is the dome. The dome framed by the spires of Wren’s City churches, has dominated London’s skyline for over 300 years. It is still among the highest in the world.

Internally, the church is beautiful ,with impressive arches and naves.

There are famous people buried here.  

The first person to be buried in St. Paul’s Cathedralwas its creator. Christopher Wren died in 1723. His tomb is on the south aisle in the east of the crypt.

The crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral is the largest in Europe. The largest memorial on the cathedral floor belongs to the Duke of Wellington. His memorial took longer to build than the whole cathedral!!! 

Here you will also find the tombs of Lord Nelson, Florence Nightingale, William Blake, Lawrence of Arabia and many others.

Sunday mass, under the Dome

Picture snapped by my friend while going to the mass

I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral on a Sunday morning, with my friends. We were there for the mass, and it was wonderful.

I don’t like sermons that much, I don’t like when people tell other people what to do or not do. But I like when people learn from each other and I also like when people stand together, united in good thoughts.

Probably that’s why I felt overwhelmed, when the chorus and then everybody started to sing. Under the dome, our voices together sounded powerful, uplifting and hopeful. I think that is the definition of being human.

Together we stand, together we can do great things, each of us doing our own bit.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

United Kingdom’s Supreme Court, London

by Andrada Costoiu

Across the street from Westminster Abbey is the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. I wouldn’t have known, if I had not been attracted by the beautiful façade.

This building has a symbolic location, chosen to represent the separation of powers in the UK.  It is located in the Parliament Square, on the south-west corner. On one side there is the Parliament and the judiciary (this building) and on the other side there is the executive (the Treasury) and the church (Westminster Abbey).  This building was built between 1912 and 1913.  

The court is open to the public, so you can visit anytime Monday-Friday, between 9.30- 16.30. If the court is in session, you could also observe cases!  

Pleasantly surprised, I enjoyed this visit very much. It was especially educative, as I wasn’t familiar with the court system in the UK! I found out that it is very different from the one we have in the USA. 

USA and UK Supreme Courts compared

The longevity

I was surprised to find out how young the UK Supreme Court was! 

The US Supreme Court was established in 1790, its existence provided for the founding documents of the United States. Its presence is firmly established in the consciousness of the American public….which prompts my surprise to find out that the UK Supreme Court had only arrived in the UK judicial scene in 2009! This was almost baffling! But I guess it was only then that the judiciary separated from the Parliament. Up until then, the Law Lords, that played the key role in developing the common law in the UK, was not totally separated from the government. 

Cases they handle 

Both courts are the highest appellate courts in their jurisdiction of domestic law. They hear cases of great importance and only a limited number of cases each year.

The Constitution and the absence of a written Constitution 

The US Supreme Court enjoys a higher domestic profile than does the UK Supreme Court. That is because the US Supreme Court is a fully fledged constitutional court.  However, Britain does not have a codified constitution but an unwritten one formed of Acts of Parliament.  In the absence of a written constitution that sets out clear constraints on the role of the UK Parliament, the UK Supreme Court is limited in comparison with its American counterpart. 

The Judges election

In the United States all federal judges must be nominated for appointment by the President.  They are appointed for life and there is no retirement age. 

In the UK they are elected by a committee and then they are recommended to the monarch for the appointment. They are required to retire at the  age of 70, although they may continue to serve until they are 75.

The number of judges appointed to the US Supreme Court varies over time. Currently there are nine Justices: the Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. In the United Kingdom there are 12 judges.

UK Supreme Court judges

The building is beautiful inside.  The courtrooms are adorned with beautiful paintings and art work.

At the lower floor there is an exhibition that details the history of the court and that presents artifacts.

This visit enhanced my understanding of the UK’s judiciary system and it enabled me to compare the way it operates with our own judicial system.  I am grateful for this visit and I think if you’re in town you should go too!

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Time

by Andrada Costoiu

In the language of physics,
It is described as a fundamental quantity,
Absolute and independent in its own nature,
Time moves uniformly or not!
In our known and unknown universe…….  

Time!
We feel ….
The never -ending emotional passing of time,
That’s being human, for a few minutes, for years, for a lifetime!  

Everybody has his time,
Don’t we?
Time is looking down to us from the top of an atomic clock,
As nature puts our lives into perspective.  

Time makes us dream,
Every new year we are wearing our wishbone,
As a promise of good luck.
No matter how it cracks,
we should consider ourselves lucky,
Another year…..more to do, more to feel!  

To everyone who is pursuing their dreams: keep going!
The opportunities are endless,
Time organizes the universe into an ordered series of moments,
But the moments are your own.
Wish, hope, do!
May you find pleasure and good things everywhere, 
and may every moment make you smile.

I’m listening with my dad to The Vienna New Year’s Concert (Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker). It makes me so happy! Peace and love to all of you ….

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.