Two worlds

by Andrada Costoiu

Photo: “Sunset”, by Anna Langova

Swimming, she used all her might to get to the surface,
Fighting the currents of reason that sought to keep her in her world.
Sure and unsure walked hand in hand on the beach where she surfaced,
She stared them in the face,
Took her first breath, and then the first step,
And followed the voice that had long cuddled in her heart.

“Ariel,” the sand carried his whispers,
From the place where he stud locked up in the man made prison.
She whooshed through the sand and she found him,
Trying to bend the bars that ruled his world.

“You are not allowed to love a mermaid,” said the chorus of ethnocentric voices,
Singing decades old rules.  
He saw her, she saw him,
And oblivious they reached for each other,
Bending the bars under the heavy weight of their love.

Unafraid, they walked hand in hand by the wall of “virtue” where others were bowing, relenting their feelings to the man made rules.
He picked a piece of charcoal and wrote “Love!”
Not as a rule, but as guidance…..

They left, walking side by side.
It wasn’t easy for her,
She was just learning to walk into his world,
But she had him…..
And he had her…..


© Andrada Costoiu and, 2020- . 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, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Hunger Games — RACE and other social categories in public policy and beyond

Photo: Photo by Free-Photos at Pixabay

Hello everyone! I’d like to share with you a new blog!

Part of my activities for this summer is working with a very talented and hard working group of students, which chose to spend their time doing a summer internship at the university with me. We are learning about race, ethnicity, social mobility and US immigration policy. This blog will showcase their work during this month. Please check it out, as we will post cool updates frequently!

Hungry for Justice: A Reflection of Society Authors: Snigdha Maddula, Claudia Lin, Taylor Miller, and Rachel Gwon Photo Courtesy Of: IMDb Setting the Scene Written by author Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is a story targeted towards mainly adolescents featuring Katniss Everdeen, a young, courageous figure who volunteers to enter in the annual Hunger Games, […]

Hunger Games — RACE and other social categories in public policy and beyond

The telegram

by Andrada Costoiu

Photo: The envelope for a Western Union Telegraph, c. 1861 (Photo: Library of Congress)

I never sent one. I was born in the Internet era, so for me, the email was and is the standard. Though, sometimes I do like to send the occasional written letter, because there is nothing like it.
Maybe I am old fashioned that way, because I can’t trade the feeling of having a physical book in my hands for the Kindle. I still like the libraries and the smell of books, and one thing that has stayed with me throughout the years is the memory of the University of Chicago’s library, where I have spent a lot of time when I was a graduate student.
But this post is not about books, it’s about the old way people used to send each other information: The Telegram.

The postman fishing out a telegram from his satchel is an abiding image that many of us just saw in movies, isn’t it? I would think is not used anymore today, but…..strangely enough, when I did a bit of research I have found out that in some countries this kind of service is still available.

In the US,  there is the Itelegram:, in Spain there is SEUR, in Italy there is Poste Italiane, in Germany Deutsche Post. In some countries like India, UK, France, this service doesn’t exist anymore.
People still use telegrams for canceling contracts and sending legal notifications, because the message is retained for 7 years in the files and can be legally verified. 

Why am I writing about it? Because I think it’s part of our history. I know the telegraph maybe out of date or seem obsolete, but it represents a really important time period in human history, when humanity was advancing itself ….just as we do today.
Because I am imagining how it felt to have a long distance relationship back in the days when you had no Whattsapp, Facetime and other technologies. Because telegrams made and changed history, and I will give an example about one that changed America’s participation in WW2.

Do you know the heartbreaking story behind the most popular version of the telegraph?

Photo:Samuel Morse, c. 1840 (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons)

Born in Massachusetts in 1791, Samuel Morse studied mathematics and philosophy at Yale. But he was also an artist, a painter. A good painter, although in February 1825 at age 34, when he was invited to Washington D.C to pursue what could have been his big break, he was older than his heroes had been when they created their masterpieces. Here he was commissioned to paint Marquis de Lafayette, who was returning as a hero to the country he helped make free.
Morse’s wife, Lucretia remained in their family home in New Haven, Connecticut, expecting their third child.

While working on his painting in DC, Morse got a letter from his father: “My heart is in pain and deeply sorrowful, while I announce to you the sudden and unexpected death of your dear and deservedly loved wife.” 
Lucretia had died a few days earlier of heart attack while recovering from childbirth. He rushed back to his family, but by the time he got back his wife was already buried. 

SLOW communication. 

So this heart broken man has embarked in creating a technology that might have given him a chance to share a final few moments with Lucretia, or at least to attend her funeral. He wanted others to not have to go through same pain and sorrow. His endeavor took many years and many hurdles, but on May 24, 1844, he sent the first message, from the floor of US Supreme Court that said “ WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT.”

OK! But, we should also say that Morse had learned about telegraphy in Britain, where William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone had already developed a working electrical telegraph, in 1838 – some six years before Morse sent his famous message. Morse’s design did prove to be a more elegant solution, so while not the first, in time it became the most popular.

William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone’s electric telegraph from 1837, which is now held in the London Science Museum
(Photo: Geni/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 4.0

Telegrams were expensive

Yes, they were very expensive!

In 1860, for example, a ten-word telegram sent from New York to New Orleans cost $2.70 (about $65 in 2012 currency). When the transcontinental telegraph opened, the cost was $7.40 for ten words (about $210), while a ten word transatlantic message to England cost $100 (about $2,600). Source:

Stories by Titanic survivors, rescued by the passenger ship Carpathia, say that some of them sent radiograms from on board the Carpathia, but these were very expensive. Other survivors sent telegrams as soon as the Carpathia arrived in New York on the 18th of April. One survivor, Mrs. Dowdell recalled “One man, a barber, had but $1.25 with him, and he handed over one dollar of this to send the word ‘safe’ to his mother.”

Telegraphy – a Victorian version of the Internet

Telegraphy in the 1800s was the earliest form of electronic data communication. Telegraphers created a new language, one of strange abbreviations that only they, understood. 73, for example, meant goodbye; 30 was the number placed at the end of a news story to signify the end. 
Just like we today, we have LOL….emojiis and all kinds of other abbreviations. 

If you want to read more about how it all started, there is a book, which I know of : The Victorian Internet by Tom Standee. I personally did not read it yet. 

By the way, the first transatlantic telegram happened 14 years after Morse’s first message, when Queen Victoria sent a message of congratulations to the American president James Buchanan.

The Zimmerman telegram and WWI

Photo: Cryptic version of the Zimmermann telegram, WWI. Creative Commons

This is the telegram that brought America into the First World War!

Up until 6 April 1917, US remained neutral. Then it joined the Allies, and this is the course of events that lead to it.

Although wireless (radio) was used to send messages in the First World War, the principal means of diplomatic communication was via telegrams sent on undersea cables. In 1914 the Allies cut many German cables, forcing them to communicate via the cables of other powers. German communications were routed through the neutral US Embassy in Berlin, via their cable across the Atlantic. Yet this cable actually passed through the UK and could be tapped by the British intelligence services(source for this information : The official website for BBC History Magazine, History Extra)

British had broken the codes they were using, and so any messages could be read. On 17 January 1917, British intelligence intercepted the Zimmermann telegram. The Zimmermann message was passed to the British code-breaking unit in ‘Room 40’ and it took several weeks to decode. The  message was encouraging Mexicans to invade the southern US with the aim of re-conquering those states that were formerly part of Mexico: Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico and Germany would support this effort with money and arms.

President Wilson was shown the Zimmermann message on 24 February, and released it to the press on 1 March. The wave of anti-German and anti-Mexican feeling grew in the US.

The US entered first World War on April 6th, 1917.

So, yes, these are few interesting facts and stories that I thought to share with you! I hope that you enjoyed it, and that you have learned something new by reading this today!

My poem “The Go Away Gnome” published by Spillwords Press

The go away gnome, by Andrada Costoiu

He was alone,
Lost among garden lamps
Scissors and plastic plants.

All of his friends were gone,
Left for new homes, they all had signs of
“Welcome” or “Garden maintained by gnomes”
or other peculiar signs that made them special.

His sign was “Go away”.
He understood that nobody liked him,
Because they were either making fun of his sign,
Or of his eyebrows that his maker has drawn too high.

Please click here Spillwords Press , to continue reading the rest of the poem. If you read it, please vote for it too! Thank you so much!

Wishing On Dandelions

by Andrada Costoiu

Photo: Martin Birkin, “Dandelion 1″

Dark! Dark!
Do you feel that?
It’s my hand pulling you forward,
Through the dark tunnel of a lost cause,
Where time of your life was already spent.
“Come on! You can do it!”
Do you hear that?
It’s the voice of faith,
Your voice that merges with others,
Me, you, walking the tunnel.
You’re dragging your feet…..
Does it ever end?

Tough! Isn’t it?
Life is tough.
You feel in the holes, you jumped into some,
You crawled through mud chasing your dreams.

Are you tired?
Has your mind and body gave in,
In your organized preparation,
To become who you really want to be?

“Where are we going?” you ask the others,
Walking, crawling through the tunnel,
Next to you.
“We are walking out, keep going!”

And one by one, people come out,
Returning to sunshine and a sky with no clouds,
Returning to the innocence of roaming through the fields, 
To the dandelions,
Waiting to make all dreams and desires come true.
And so they pick another dandelion, 
Wishing in their hearts, and believing that their wish will come true.

Note: Life is a journey, and there are many dark tunnels. It is tough, but I believe that the beauty of the human spirit lies in our hopes and dreams. Keep listening to the whispers of your hopes, keep chasing your dreams, no darkness lasts forever. 


© Andrada Costoiu and, 2020- . 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, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Modes of Minorities’ Integration: Explaining Historical, Economic and Political Factors

By Andrada Costoiu

Abstract. There are a great number of states in which different ethnic minorities coexist, each of them having their own culture, language and history. In some of these states, the ethnic minorities have been subjected to marginalization and acculturation, in other states the minority groups were recognized as being distinct parts of the nation and were granted equal rights of participation in the public arena. This paper attempts to explain why states opt for such different ways of integrating their minorities. It first develops a typology of minorities’ integration and than, by using the example of two nation-states that fit into each type of integration model it discusses the historical, political and economical factorsthat could explain each pattern of minorities’ integration.

You can read the entire article in the Journal of Identity and Migration Studies, Volume 2, number 2, 2008. Click here to access the PDF