Hello : from one mailbox to another

by Andrada Costoiu

I love nature. I do not hug trees. However, this morning when I went to my mailbox, which I have not checked in the past 3 days, I got a sudden urge to go hug a tree ….Why are there almost 30 pieces of election materials in my mailbox? Really , do we need to be invaded with these? And, if we do, do they really need to be HUGE?!!!

This one that I measured from Trump & Dixon is just an example. They are all about the same size, regardless the party orientation, or the Propositions they advertise for.

I live in California. Is it just here? Is it just my area? Does your mailbox looks the same?

I’m so tired of this …..

This is so satisfying

by Andrada Costoiu

Today my son received the Oculus. It’s what he wanted for his birthday……

He’s been waiting for it for a while. And then the box arrived.

I was just there while he was taking off the plastic and then opening the box. He looked at me, smiled and said : “Mom, this is so satisfying.”

Kids…..

Remember, that glorious feeling, when you get something nice, maybe something that you dreamed of …….?

Watching him open the box felt as warm as a hot chocolate on a rainy day….

The twig

by Andrada Costoiu

Ok, no offense to anyone but here is a conversation between my two kids today 🙂. I thought it was so funny😄

My son says : “Rich people will buy anything”

My daughter she frowns first and says : “ Hm! Right …anything anything ?” Then she starts laughing at him and she says ” Anything? Like a twig?”

My son, looking so serious:” Yes, if it’s expensive they’ll buy it . An expensive twig…. yea ….like a 300 dollar twig from Louis Vuitton.”

Note: I could add my own thoughts, but I will leave this post just for my kids:).

Thank you

by Andrada Costoiu

My dear fellow bloggers and readers,
This is not a poem, it is not a post that shares my insights, opinions or my personal research.
This is a post dedicated to you. It is a note of gratitude to you.

As I am approaching a year since I started writing here, I want to thank you all for reading my work, for being supportive and for inspiring me. Some of you have been here from the beginning and you have witnessed my ever-evolving perspectives.

Every day I receive messages and comments on my writing. I want you to know that every “like”, every comment and every minute that you spend reading my work is greatly appreciated. If I had made one of you feeling more understood, less alone or if I bought some kind of new knowledge to you, then to me, that is a success. It makes me happy. 

Social media often creates a culture of self-promotion. But that is not what we are doing here. We write about different topics, we write about our everyday human experiences, and about our feelings and our emotions.

We create. And that is what matters.

While in quarantine, I have finished writing a novel. It is about life in communist Romania during the 80’s. Much of it is inspired by my life and that of my father. I am very excited about it. I think it is a really good book :)> (sorry for being so confident, but I feel truly feel that it is a really good book:)). And with that, I also want to thank you for helping me grow as a writer.

Thank you all for who you are, and for being part of my journey,

With love,
Andrada 

The Vaults of London

by Andrada Costoiu

I talked about this a while ago, but now I really miss London!

Under Waterloo train station in London, there is a place called the Vaults of London.  While you admire the Graffiti on the entrance, you could easily pass by this place! If it wasn’t for my two London friends, Simon and Lisa, I would have not found this UNUSUAL, INTERESTING and ….one of a kind place!

From outside, you would never imagine the immensity inside. It is a long tunnel, all covered in Graffiti.

I hear that they change the art all the time, as new artists are coming to paint or make other unusual art pieces. 

I kept looking up….I almost stumbled and fell, that’s how mesmerizing it is. 

What’s even more interesting is that the main tunnel opens up into more vaults, each with their specific purpose. They even have theatre underground!

If you’re in London, check out this place! Check out their events, you’ll have a one of a kind experience!

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 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 a-passion4life.com, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Novel Collaboration (“Identify”): Chapter 2. Who wants to write Chapter 3? — Lucy’s Works

I think a collective novel project is always wonderful, because being the product of so many writers you never know what’s going to become. It is like an adventure! Here is a chapter I wrote for the novel “Identify” that is Lucy’s idea. If you’d like to collaborate please follow Lucy’s guidelines(which you can find below).

Here are the guidelines and rules if you are interested in participating in this project: Leave a comment expressing direct interest in writing or claiming a chapter. First come, first serve. You must comment your interest in writing a chapter. If you, however, send in a chapter without expressing interest beforehand, the submission will not be accepted, […]

Novel Collaboration (“Identify”): Chapter 2. Who wants to write Chapter 3? — Lucy’s Works

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

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

Origins

by Andrada Costoiu

It can be difficult to get far beyond where I am,
I listen….
I hear the shadows of time uncaught by the sundials,
Murmuring about the universe’s life cycle.

I haven’t decided yet of where to lay the frontier between what is real and what is imaginary,
Because I just want to say “hello” to the unknown.
Where were we before we were born? Were we?
Where does the soul live?

Our heads have been nodding together through the thousands of years,
Our concept of matter remains unchanged,
Atomic events are hovering in the container that is our body and soul,
Trying to balance between finite and eternity.

I am part of the single, fragile human family,
I believe in light and sparkles,
I defy the soul-matter corroding glorification of human life,
For energy, time, matter, all brought together, surpass us all.

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.

Welcome to the British Museum

by Andrada Costoiu

If you are in London and a history lover, this is a place that you must visit. I went in a summer afternoon and I wish I took the whole day, because the museum is so large and so interesting. I think it’s one of the greatest museums in the world!

Where

Do not expect the museum to be on a big street, it isn’t! Its location is not on a little street either (as it’s Picasso’s museum in Barcelona), but it’s not placed on a big avenue. I used my Google maps to find it.

The address is Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom.

When you get there, there will be a line. They, of course, do security screenings and your belongings will be scanned as well as you. But the line goes fast, you wont be there for an hour; the wait is nothing like the wait for some Disney rides :).

The museum is open daily 10.00-17.30. Open late on Fridays until 20.30.

The museum is free, but there are some collections that you have to pay for (if you would like to see them!). I suggest purchasing an audio guide (there is a place to rent these, as you get in the big hall).

This picture show part of the big hall, after the entrance

The guide is very useful if you don’t have anybody else to explain the different exhibitions and to give you a tour. I used it not only to learn about the exhibitions, but also to learn about particular objects that interested me. You see, each display case has a number. If you click on your audio guide on that number, it will tell you a lot more than the written explanations on the displays (if any).

A bit of history

The British Museum was established in 1753. It first opened to the public in 1759 on the site of the current building. So yes, it’s that old! In fact, the British Museum is the oldest museum in the world!

The museum started with the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane.   He was a London-based doctor and scientist who married the widow of a wealthy Jamaican planter. He did not wish to see his collection broken up after death, so he bequeathed it to King George II. At that time, Sloane’s collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds. But since 1753 the collection grew to 8 million objects.

One of the funny facts about the British Museum is that it has been home a lot of cats over the centuries. They say that the most famous guard at the British Museum was a cat :). The cat name was Mike and he patrolled the gate from 1909-1929. When he died, the museum staff mourned him and his obituary was featured in TIME magazine.

The British Museum is popular in the entertainment industry. You might not know but many movie scenes were filmed here. The first movie scene ever shot in the Museum was for The Wakefield Cause, in 1921. Blackmail, by Alfred Hitchcock was also shot here and so were scenes from the Hollywood masterpiece, Day of the Jackal. Most recently, the museum was featured in the movie Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014).

Three of the most popular exhibits at the British Museum are the Oxus Treasure, the Rosetta Stone, and the Elgin Marbles.

What I liked

HM!!! I am going to talk about only what I have seen, because I didn’t get a chance to visit all! 

Rosetta Stone

I stopped in front of the Rosetta Stone for a while and I imagined all these people making the inscriptions. What was it like then? Who were these people? They sure left us something so we can understand them.

The Rosetta Stone has ancient hieroglyphs carved onto it and its discovery was instrumental to the translation of Ancient Egyptian writing. The stone is dating from 196 B.C. .

The Egyptian Galleries, Room 4

This room houses sculptures and artifacts from about 3,000 years of ancient Egyptian civilization. The exhibition is magnificent.  The gallery is located next to the museum’s main entrance.

Room 4 is one of the largest exhibition space and it display only 4% of its Egyptian holdings. That is because it is the place for monumental sculptures…and when I say monumental I really mean it. Everything is gigantic…

This is the colossal statue of Amenhotep III also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent, was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Look at how small people look in comparison to it…

And this is the head of the same Pharaoh Amenhotep III. This statue is dating from around 1370 BC…

This is a giant bust of Rameses II, also known as Rameses the Great. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom. This is why his successors called him the “Great Ancestor”.

Standing in front of these statues made me think about these people in real life like. What was it like to be a Pharaoh? What is amazing? : ).

And there are so many other great things in this room…….but I should’t put up more pictures. You just go and see : ).

The Elgin Marbles, the department of Greece and Rome

The Parthenon Marbles, the Elgin Marbles are a collection of medieval, marble Greek Sculptures. These sculptures were brought to Great Britain in the early 1800s by the Earl of Elgin, who acquired them from the Parthenon Temple in Athens. 

These sculptures were part of the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, built between 447 and 438 B.C.

The mummies

This exhibition is extraordinary …..large, many mummies. It is situated on the 4th floor.

I was looking at these mummies and I was thinking what life would have been like along the River Nile several thousand years ago. It does not take an effort of imagination to conjure back the ancient times. People, like today, believed in afterlife and the mummification was an extraordinary funerary tradition of preparing the body for the afterlife. 

They also have the pictures of the CT scans of the inside the mummies’ coffins. 

I was humbled while reaching the mummy of the Gabelein man.  Humbled by being a human, in front of another person that exited so long ago and that now is on display in a museum….

They named this mummy “Ginger”. They said he is called this way because of his….red hair?  He is placed in the fetal position which was the most common form for Egyptian burials of the time. 

What I would do when I will go again

I would map the exhibitions, because I went in blind and not knowing even the floors where certain exhibitions were. This place is massive and it helps knowing where what you’re interested in is located.

I would go there earlier, not late afternoon. You can spend so many hours in the museum…

I would read more in advance about certain pieces. The mummies, the Elgin marbles and the Egypt exhibitions I have seen are so amazing and I would want to know more before I stand in front of these pieces.

And I will go again…..I hope that you will 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.

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.