Friday, August 29, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
- Identifying initial gaps for selecting the right partner
- Preventing new gaps from being born
- Filling newly formed narrow gaps to stop their development into large gaps [that are more difficult to handle].
Like any theory, the gap theory is not perfect. In real life, there probably are many exceptions that work, too.
Choosing a Suitable PartnerI like to watch romantic Hollywood comedies, even though I disagree with the underlying message that there is only one person in the entire world who is meant to be your partner for life. The truth is that we can partner with many people, especially when we are young and flexible. But there should be some common ground. In a movie I recently saw, a young Swiss woman marries a muscular Masai tribeman. Did they have a real chance for a lasting relationship? Yes, a tiny one. Here comes the first gap to avoid: large differences [of any kind]. Love cannot possibly bridge all differences, even though it may seem so in the beginning.
How do you know your new relationship is on the right track for the long term? Although 'it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future', as Yogi Berra pointed out, a good sign is the positive tendency of your relationship: the more you konw your partner, the more you like and love him/her. Your initial blindness turns into heart-and-mind love. The heart part is what you see in movies, the mind one is more difficult. It makes you respect and appreciate your partner, potentially longer lasting features.
With the initial blindness dissipating, you will be able to see your partner in a more realistic light, with [all] his/her flaws. If you can't accept your partner's flaws, move on. Don't expect to change him/her. Issues that annoy you now tend to accentuate over time. It's amazing how many people ignore these early warnings. I know women who got slapped by their boyfriend, followed by apologies, married the guy and became beated women.
Minding New Gaps
Preventive maintenance of relationships lies in communication and sharing. Don't outsource your communication. I got a beautiful greeting card from my husband for our 28th anniversary. He spent hours looking for the right one, with the perfectly worded text. So what's my problem? I prefer a less perfect text that comes from his own heart rather than from a [talented] copywriter. Unlike house cleaning, communication is way too important to outsource to a paid service provider. Keeping it genuine takes the same amount of time and effort, but yields a completely different result.
Spend quality time together and take short breaks to add color spots to your gray routine. Discuss your experience at work, activities and friends over a cup of coffee, keep your partner up to date with your life and thoughts. Sparing negative or worrisome details will result in a widening gap. This happened to a friend of mine and surprisingly [or not] for the 'right' reason. His wife became ill and he wanted to spare her the daily worries to prevent deteriorating her health. With time she stopped being his partner and their long marriage ended up with a divorce.
Once a new gap popped up its ugly little head, don't ignore or drag it. Resolve differences the same day, adviced my aunt Rozsi before my marriage. Gaps became too large to cope with? If you seek improvement, take professional advice.
Have I conducted my own life according to these guidelines? How could I? They just recently crystalized in my head.
Friday, August 22, 2008
After the drawer disclosed its secrets and before we immigrated to Israel, we sold both closets to my friend's parents. I am really happy they didn't go to strangers, but to the nice Vlaicu couple, the parents of Rely (my friend who lives in the UK) and her sister Dora (who made these pictures and some other beautiful ones to come).
Monday, August 18, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The city of Arad has nothing interesting to offer to tourists, but if you are already there, walk alongside the Mures and enter into one of the many restaurants located in the 'strand'. The park, close to the market, features a hystoric monument and a piazza.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Roads: Although I've been worned that the roads are bad, I was surprised to find out how bad they really are. Apart from a few major roads, most roads have one lane for each direction. Overtaking is dangerous and many times you find yourself behind a truck (of which there are many), driving at very low speeds, especially if the road goes uphill. Many roads are full of holes and you need to slalom between them to protect your car. Many roads are also under construction and you need to wait behind temporary traffic lights to pass through the only lane available. In urban localities, asphalt is scarce, many streets are not paved at all. When it rains, the dirt gets slippery and you need to take extra care where you park, to avoid digging in.
On the side of some roads, you can buy vegetables, fruits and dairy products, or local workmanship produces among a myriad of tastelss souvenirs. If you are interested in doilies and tablecloths, it's your heaven. They come in every shape, size and decoration. Unfortunately I have lots of these at home (I barely use 10% of what I have), so there was no point in indulging myself in browsing the endless selection.
Buildings: A new house painting fashion has developed lately, houses are painted in extremely bright, vivid colors. You can find electric pink houses next to orange houses, blue, green and yellow ones. At first this color overdose seems tastless, but my theory is that it's a communist era backlash, when buildings tended to be just gray. Perhaps the over-reaction will mild with time. Anyway, it's preferable to gray.
Villages: Roads pass through village (and city!) centers. Typically, the houses on the main street have 2 windows facing the road and tend to continue inwards, with the other windows facing the back or side. The impression is like they all croud up to get a precious place on the main road. There are no restaurants in villages, just basic food stores, sometimes with a few benches and tables in front of the store.
Cities: At the entrance of every city there is quarter of ugly, communist era blocks of flats and huge branches of chain stores and shopping malls. These stores are clean, western-level with a nice selection of products. The only problem I saw is that if you don't own a car, it's very complicated to reach them and take your goods home.
Service: Don't expect the somewhat phoney "have a nice day", but a lack of "thank you" and even a smile are evident.
Food: The most popular food you can find everywhere is ... pizza. I've been told that the reason for this is that the first wave of investors who came into Romania after the revolution were the Italians. There was one thing I didn't get about these pizzas though: what are you supposed to do with the extra sauce they offer on the menu?
Most restaurants have impressive menus, but they serve the same food all over. Same soupes, same main and side dishes, same deserts and same beverages. When we got tired of the selection, we were happy to find a chinese restaurant in Pitesti. The food wasn't really chinese, but when I pointed that out to the waitress (she asked me how it was), she was very upset. She claimed that both the chef and the owner were in China (not clear doing what). For some reason, Romanians believe that if you use local ingredients and methods, but drown the dish in an "ethnic" sauce, you have a genuine ethnic dish. Sorry do disappoint you guys, but Chinese food comes in bite sizes (not like the fried eggplant meetballs I got), since the Chinese use chopsticks to eat and no knives. In many restaurants, they charge you for items you don't order, such as bread. However, if you insist, they take it off the bill.
A great restuarant we found (it was in the guide) was Bella Musica in Brasov. It is very stylish, located in a nicely decorated basement. Unfortunately, when we got there, it was too early for dinner, so we just ordered coffee and desert. Needless to say, they were superb, and so was the service.
Museums and the like: There is an extra fee for taking stills and videos. However, once inside, they don't verify whether you have paid this fee, when you use your camera. And no, I haven't done that. Don't tell me it didn't cross you mind I did.