Author Archives: Oxana Gutu

Parenting

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Thank you Brussels

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I was on a 4 hour train ride.

– How are you, Madam? It’s ok, not too long?, asked the conductor, as we approached our destination.

– Thank you, it is just right. And how are you? You are the one working all these hours. I am only giving a massage to the seat 🙂

– Oh, thank you very much for asking, a big smile lighting up his face. I adore it. It’s the best job in the world! When all goes well.

– I wish you that it continues to stay well, in all its ways.

– Thank you very much, Madam. A pleasure to see you again on our trains.

A one minute dialogue with a thousand riches in it. People find meaning in serving others. People are opening up when asked with autheticity how was their day/duty trip/behind-the-cashier day. A grateful customer can give meaning to someone’s work. Be kind.

Coffee mug courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott – my kind of coffee fortune telling.

Kids, nature and MPs

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An ordinary day in Strasbourg. Kids are on the river.

An ordinary day in the European Parliament. MPs are in their comfy chairs in the modern tower of Babel.

Let’s switch their places for a while: MPs – on the river and let the kids play in the tower.

As an MP, if you want to have the floor, you’d have to paddle to the chair, against  the wind, the waves, the rain into your face…

If you want to talk to a lobbyist, you’ll have to paddle to the bank (of the river)… .

For committees’ works, you’ll have to do it in the open. Whispering will not work, as the passing by boats can be noisy. And there is no air-conditioning to protect from the boats’ emissions…

Perhaps, this will make the MPs hear the voice of kids, when they demand care for the Earth, nature, the health and well-being of generations to come.

“Across many mountains” by Yangzom Brauen

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“Across many mountains” tells a story of a family who had to flee Tibet to escape the Chinese regime. It is narrated by Yangzom, born to a Tibetan mother and a Swiss father. It is a memoir of three generations.

I learned many new things about Tibetan culture, religion, social structures and Institutions. As the author herself puts it “that’s why I have written this book, in an attempt to prevent the culture, traditions and true story of Mola and Amala’s country from being forgotten.”, as the life of Tibetan refugees and their descendants on foreign lands takes precedence over their native food, beliefs, faith and way of life.

The author touches upon the internal divide of Tibetan people over autonomy vs independence and their struggle to keep the international attention to Tibet and Chinese invasion. It is a personal account, so I understand why some lines befriend cautiousness in expressing views. Still, it requires courage to put on paper the account of Chinese regime’s acts and their impact on Tibetans’ lives.

“Dream big. Heroes who dared to be bold” by Sally Morgan

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7:00 am. I am reading out loud. It is my kid’s wake up routine. It works better than the alarm clock, for both of us.

My latest morning reading is “Dream big. Heroes who dared to be bold” by Sally Morgan. The book contains brief stories of 100 people of all ages and backgrounds from many different parts of the globe who made a difference and brought change. They come from different walks of life: mayors, actors and actresses, inventors, dancers, refugees, bloggers, conductors, boxers, rappers, and many others. They each had a voice and used it. Each story has a “call for action”, an invitation to reflect on one’s talents and abilities, which could be put to good use.

To me, the narrative and some terms are perhaps more fit for an American culture and understanding, so the book may not speak to some who were less influenced by/ are less familiar with a western way of thinking. The personalities in the book do come mostly from the Northern hemisphere. And its title hints to the proverbial “American dream”, at least to me. In fairness though, the author also pays tribute to much less known stories of heroes from China, Agentina, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the world.

Would I recommend the book? Yes, wholeheartedly. Would just suggest to read it with an open mind and use it for discussions with your kid over a cup of tea or hot chocolate.

Merci Monaco

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for such a wonderful immersion into Dali’s artistic journey at Grimaldi Forum

for the wonders of jewelry making by Chaumet

for the new turtles nursery for Samy and Avril at the Oceanographic Museum, which we always enjoy visiting

for our first visit to the zoo, which only got 3/10 from my kid, who knows everything about how enclosures should look like and she is serious about it. Some enclosures are beautiful nonetheless. The zoo is home to 250 animals and all of them were donated, which makes it unique

for the return of the unhindered view on the Casino in all its green splendor

for the best tarte au chocolat at Costa. The lady there also vows to the excellency of chocolate éclaire. Something to try next time 🙂

for an excuisite chocolate ice cream by Marcolini, enjoyed in a true schoolgirl spirit on the stairs of the Opera. It brought back a dear childhood rebelion memory: to eat ice cream in the middle of winter and on the stairs of the bus station

for the discovery of Gaia, an ode to Greek cuisine in the heart of Monaco. I loved the food’s magic power to take you to the Hellen land and then bring you back to Cote d’Azur. We enjoyed the watermelon and feta salad, the cheese pie with truffles and the fish in salt crust. Wine lovers will find there a fine selection of Greek and French wines (to the extent I can judge). Service is personalised and well syncronised on a very busy night

for an amazing view from Le Meridien, which was very generous with us and exceeded our expectations

for the mind-blowing taste of Munegu – a cake born from a blend of panettone and fougasse – from Mada One by Marcel Ravin, to share and enjoy with the loved ones upon return