Friday, August 05, 2016

The wasteful saver

Listening to what others say and asking your friends what bothers them most about you might be tough; but there’s a lot you can learn. Everyone forms a judgment. They see you through their own lenses and the life experiences that shaped them. So instead of telling them: “You’re judgmental”, I simply say: ”You haven’t walked in my shoes”.
Take, for example, what some would refer to as “food wasting”. Surely you have heard some remind you that “there are starving kids in Africa…”. Well, when given the chance, I invariably order too much food. And, yes, even when I just order the regular “American size” portions, regardless of how good the food is, I almost always stop eating before the plate is empty. When I feel full, I stop and I take the rest to go.
One of my friends, who always makes a point out of licking his plate clean (not literally), told me, not long ago, that he finds my behavior wasteful. And, invariably, brought up the hungry kids all around the world. I felt quite bad for a minute and tried to consider why I never pictured that I was wasteful in my actions before hearing it from him. It’s true, by any account, getting more food then you can eat is inconsiderate, to say the least.  But here’s how experiences shape one – even when they can’t quite absorb it. I grew up under communism, at a time when half a loaf of bread had to last you a week (until you were legally allowed to buy your next ration). I had to learn to make a cube of chocolate last for months, by only tasting one small bite each day. And, while I never consciously thought about it, to this day I save food. I may seem greedy and unapologetically oblivious to the starving kids of the world. But the reality is, your own pain is always bigger than the pain of anyone else. Eating all my food won’t help those who, by misfortune of birth place or circumstances, don’t have any. But saving my leftovers for tomorrow may very likely save me.
So, yes, if I am full, I won’t finish my plate. I’ll keep that for the next day when I might not feel like cooking, or simply won’t afford to buy any more food.

I don’t believe that you can help others when you can’t even help yourself. But I do believe that saving others can sometimes help you save yourself.

Denisa Dobrin (August 5, 2016)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Denisa Dobrin (April 6, 2016)

Yesterday mattered
Tomorrow's gone.
You won the battle, but lost the war.

Live as if today is your last day
Don't let the hatred poison your way.
Victim by fate, survivor by strength,
My greatest wealth is 
just feeling content.

Each deep breath that I take
Fills my lungs with life. 
I'm grateful for smiling
each tear that I cried.

I feel my minutes slip through my fingers
Wasting my life each moment I linger.
Choices I make, they
make me or break me
If gold is God, then I'm still a slave. 
Looking so shiny, makes my palms tickle
Master, I swear I'll behave!
Yesterday's $ is worth a nickel,
Wisdom seemed frail (penny for your thoughts)
Yet it's gold. (Smarts can win you lots)

Yes, I want power and I want riches 
But time is a hunter
And this animal's dead.
So I take comfort over all riches,
I'll let go grudges to be content.

The devil inside

Denisa Dobrin (February 4, 2013)

Oh, every-so-often,
We each have a devil to fight...
Can never make up for
Illusions that we’re always right.

God send me an angel of light
To shatter my pain with his might
Or give me the strength to forget;
Rebuild my fortress of strength

I’ve cried all my tears
And whispered my fears
I’m broken and tied at my thigh
By a huge, scrumptious lie

Blacked beyond all restraint
I’ve learned to hate who I ain’t
In my saddest moments
When “friends” let me down
The devil inside me
Called my careless mind

My darkest despair
I rise well beyond you
And I declare
You think you’re fair
To tarnish my kindness
With your hopeless hell

Miracles happen
If you stay alive
And keep on fighting
The devil inside.

A hope for the hopeless
A heaven for free
While hating the haters
I learn to love me

I tendered a pact with myself
To rise above
Such shallow stunts
That make my peace become dark.
We all need an angel sometime
To remind us how magic we are
To make us grow strong
To help us hold on
Build up our drive,
Deal with the heartbreaks of life
It’s how we survive
The devil inside

I'm depressed

Denisa Dobrin (March 20, 2013)

I'm depressed
For what seems like three years - pretty much since we broke up -
I've been continuously depressed and unhappy
And it doesn't help that she tells me you're happy
SHE tells me that you're happy.
You don't deserve to be happy

Feels like the universe somehow broke loose
Like a black hole somehow ate all the light.
And the night is light and the day is dark.
Which translates into: I can't sleep and I'm too tired to think
But I also can't stop thinking.
Because all you left behind is questions; and confusion.
And each time I say to myself: "Enough! Stop! I don't want to think about it anymore! I'm done!"
... I think about it.

It's darker than the moment when you told me that you didn't love me
Like I didn't deserve to be loved.
Those few words hurt so bad like a verdict
Came down with a vengeance and
Turned my whole universe upside down.
It's inverted.

It's not even that I don't want you to be happy 
You just don't deserve to be happy.
Because you lifted me up and gave me hope
And gave me faith and gave me everything that one should give
And then... You turned your back and walked away.
As if it was ok for us to think nothing that happened ever happened.
Because you think it would've been better "if I never met you".
You can't rewrite history!
You can't undo love, or pain, or feelings, or smiles.
It's not like erasing pictures or calling it quits
It's not like breaking the connections between us will drown the memories.
Saying I don't want to know you doesn't mean I've never known you.

See, I would say that you left me holding everything
But you just left me holding pain
A pain so deep that no ailment can heal it
No "bigger love" can conceal it
You left me holding hopes and heaven and stars and dreams
And you left me but held my happiness hostage.
You left - which still means you were here.

So ... You're happy.  
And no injustice could ever feel this big

There's a scratch at the seams
And something bad will happen
Something really bad
Bad enough to set all wrongs right

Because this is not how the world is supposed to be
You can't make someone so deeply unhappy and then think you have the right to be happy
I'm depressed

Sunday, June 28, 2015

In memory...

I am your memory of me
I am when time stood still.
Unsummoned tempest of your sea,
In search for an uphill.

I will forever be within
the happy and the sorrow,
the sparkle of your Eden glow,
the tear when heartbreak thorn us.
I am the comfort and the pain
I am the omnipresent.

You'll think of me when you can't think,
Yet you'll forget the shallow
I'll disappear with every blink
You'll grow beyond my shadow.

May what I gave become a stem
May what I took be given
For though I WAS, today I AM
Forgive all that's forgiven.
Denisa Dobrin (June 28, 2015)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 15, 2013 - Boston Marathon story...

My Boston Marathon from these past 4 years.
Se spune "Life happens.." ("viata se intampla"). Dar prea adesea altii fac viata sa se intample. Era o zi atat de superba. Si eu eram asa fericita ca m-au ales sa fiu supervizor la autobuzele din unde voluntarii returnau plasele in care alergatorii si-au lasat lucrurile inainte de cursa. Totul decurgea normal. Primele autobuze au sosit exact la timp din Hopkinton. Soferii le-au parcat, ca in fiecare an, nu departe de linia de sosire (de cealalta parte a piatetei din Copley). Timpul a trecut repede in dimineata aia. Multe de facut. De la 8.30 cand am ajuns la Hancock si am inceput organizarile - impartitul jaceketelor pentru voluntari, senvisurile, apa, clasa de intruire etc. - si pana la 10.20 cand am iesit in strada sa urcam un autobuze, nici nu stiu cum au zburat minutele. Am alergat intre cele 4 autobuze pe care le aveam in subordine incercand sa ridic moralul voluntarilor si sa ma asigur ca aveau tot ce le treibuie la dispozitie. Au fost fantastici! Sase persoane pe autobuz; au aranjat bagajele pe numere, ca sa le gaseasca repede cand aveau sa ajunga alergatorii la fereastrele autobuzelor... Un mic set back pe la 11, cand in autobuzul sase (unde aveam voluntari niste liceeni, veniti probabil mai mult pentru a-si lua jacketa oficiala de voluntar la maraton gratis - e in valoare de $80) mi-au disparut momentan voluntarii. Frank Dugan - coordonatorul nostru - mi-a adus imediat o alta echipa, bine motivata. Asa ca totul a intrat in normal rapid si eram pregatiti, pe cat se poate, can au inceput sa fie anuntati primii alergatori care au trecut linia de sosire. Un etiopian, 23 de ani - am reusit sa inteleg din spusele anuntatorilor cocotati pe scaune inalte, in mijlocul drumului. Apoi, dupa 12.30 au inceput ca "curga" si ceilalti alergatori. In afara de vant, conditiile erau perfecte pentru alergat un maraton, din cate ziceau toti. Majoritatea alergatorilor aratau mult mai bune ca in anii trecuti. Cu un an in urma a fost foarte cald, asa ca multi s-au lasat pagubasi chiar de la inceputul cursei, sau nu mult dupa cativa kilometrii. Iar cu doi ani in urma a plouat strasnic. Iar, nu magnific. Anul asta nu aveau maratonistii nostrii nici o scuza sa nu termine cursa. Si intr-adevar, la autobozele mele dintr-o data s-a facut o aglomeratie greu de descris. Voluntarii cautau frenetic dupa plase; alergatorii isi strigau numerele de pe bib... Cand coada s-a marit considerabil am inceput sa merg printre cei care asteptau sa-i intreb despre cursa, ca sa ma asigur ca se simt bine si ca sa le creez impresia ca asteapta mai putin. Asa e cand te tine cineva de vorba...
 Pe la ora doua deja autobuzele mele erau aproape goale. In (autobuzele) 5 si 6 mai ramasesera vreo 10 plase neculese de alergatori. Frank mi-a cerut voluntari pentru celelate autobuze de pe Boylston Street. Am tinut doar doi care sa scoata plasele in fata autobuzului 6 si sa le pazeasca. In autobuzele 11 si 12 voluntarii inca mai lucrau de zor. Aveam o harta a zonei in mana si multi alergatori ma opreau sa ma intrebe unde isi gasesc autobuzul sau unde e zona de intalnire cu familia lor. Am condus o fata din Milwaukee care tocmai terminase cursa si avea crampe spre autobuzul 41, care era pe Boylston. Se plangea ca e nemultumita de timpul obtinut: "nu a fost cea mai buna cursa a mea" - a zis - "m-am simtit rau azi dimineata". Alergatorii care treceau pe langa noi erau din ce in ce mai putin antrenati ca cei dintai. Le spuneam: "Great job! You're almost done walking for the day! Almost there! I could never do this! You're awesome!" si adesea primeam un "Thanks!" sau "You volunteers are great!". "You did the hard work; I just ran all day!" - mi-a spus cineva din Maryland. LOL Puts a smile on your face ...
Map of the Finish Line area and Clothing return buses
 I-am aratat fetei autobuzul ei, indata ce l-am ochit pe Boylston si am intrebat-o daca de aici incolo e "ok". Mi-a multumit si a spus ca-i bine. Am lasat-o. Am dat sa ma intorc spre zona mea, pe James Street, dar ochii mi-au picat pe o alta fata care nu arata prea bine. M-a intrebat de zona de "Family reunion". Deja isi luase bagajul. I-am spus Copley. Arata asa de ametita si plansa incat, privind in jur la multime si la distanta pe care ar fi trebuit sa o parcurga nu mi s-a parut ca mai poate. Zona de reuniune ar fi fost peste bloc de unde eram noi. Dar trebuia sa o faca tur in jurul cladirilor - de unde eram noi. Am intrebat-o daca are nevoie de asistenta medicala. Erau fete cu scaune pe rotile chiar la colt. A spus nu. Dar m-a rugat, daca pot, sa o duc spre Copley. Era derutata. Am mers cu ea pe Boylston spre Copley. Stiam ca sunt baricade peste tot pe traseul principal a cursei, mai ales in jurul piatetei. Dar m-am gandit ca daca o duc pana la cortul medical principal si vad asistentele cum arata o lasa sa treaca prin cort in partea cealalta. In plus, nu ajunsem in anul acela sa vad lina de final. Cu un an in urma mai ca mi-au luat cei de la securitate autorizatiile (credentials) pentru ca m-am dus prea aproape de castigatorul cursei. Nu prea aveam ce cauta in zona aia in mod normal (esti acreditat pentru anumite zone), dar eram curioasa, fireste. Cine nu e? Anul asta fusesem asa ocupata ca nici nu incercasem.
 Mergeam impotriva majoritatii. Alergatorii veneau dinspre Copley. Pe marginea drumului, numerosi suporteri foarte entuziasmati; pe mijloc voluntari care inmanau pahare cu gatorade si apa celor care abia terminasera cursa si megeau spre autobuze sau sa-si gaseasca famila si prietenii. Fata cu care eram a refuzat apa; avea in mana o sticla de gatorade. Mergea schiopatand nitel; se plangea des ca are crampe si nu vrea sa se opreasca; "doctorul meu mi-a zis sa merg; keep walking; don't stop" - imi spune. Nu-mi amintesc, dar mi-a povestit intre Berkeley Street si Clarendon ce cursa calificatoare terminase. Vorbea din ce in ce mai putin, dar eram din ce in ce mai aproape de Copley. De la Clarendon se vedea deja lina de sosire. Nu-i venea sa creada ca o vede din nou. Nici mie. Cate eforturi depuse... doar ca sa treaca o line! Din partea asta cred ca se vede altfel... Nu am fost nicidata in "pantofii" unui alergator de maraton. Am doi prieteni care au alergat anul asta; dar uitasem complet de ei (in afara de un check-in pe Facebook, ca sa le reamintesc: "I support them").
  Am ajuns pe la mijlocul distantei dintre Clarendon Street si Dartmouth... cativa metri pana la intrarea in cortul medical. Fetei ii venea sa vomite. I-am zis sa stea jos pe margine si am facut semn spre un cadru medical. S-a impotrivit si s-a incapatanat sa continue sa mearga. A ajuns-o un baiat cu un carucior sanitar - cam la trei mese cu voluntari care impart apa de linia de final. A impins-o usor, dar autoritar in carucior. se vede ca avea experienta cu astfel de situatii. Mi-a zis "I've got it from here", dar l-am urmat pana ca intrarea in cort. Era multa securitate acolo, printre numerosii assistentii medicali voluntari. Cu amintirea anului trecut inca in minte nu am vrut sa intru in incurcatura. Am faut cativa pasi spre linia de final si vroiam sa fac o fotografie, dar a iesit foarte miscata. Am sters-o. Imi tot trecea lume - voluntari si alergatori prin fata. Cand am auzit prima bubuitura tocmai imi verificam contul de Facebook si setarile camerei foto din aplicatia de pe Facebook. Am ridicat privirea si am vazut un fum gros. Primul gand: "trei sa fie un tun". Nu mi s-a parut normal si era mult prea tare, dar... era Patriot's Day. Ciudat loc pentru o salva de tun totusi si mult prea mult fum. Ceva clar era in neregula. Dar pana sa-mi termin gandul, a doua explozie. Clar nu era tun. Lumea incepuse sa alerge. Vedeam mai bine acum zona - diagonal, peste drum de mine, de cealalta parte a liniei de sosire. Medicii au inceput sa alerge spre zona. Eram intepenita. Jumate din mine facea pasi spre locul respectiv sa vad ce se-ntampla, cealalta jumatate rationa ca ar trebui sa fac ce face toata lumea (in afara de politie si de medici) si sa fug.

 Au inceput sa aduca raniti spre cortul medical. Plini de sange; unii cu taieturi minore, altii mult mai rau. Am ridicat ochii spre zona plina de sange si tocmai puneau in ambulanta un domn care pierduse ambele picioare. O imagine de cosmar - putin spus.
 Toata lumea alerga, unii se mai opreau sa faca o fotografie. Cu toata pregatirea mea de jurnalist nu am putut sa fac o fotografie. Era prea groaznic. Mi-a trecut gandul prin minte o secunda, dar vazand camerele de filmat, mi-am zis: "This is enough coverage". Dilema aceea veche: respecti individul sau te intereseaza doar sa relatezi ce se pretrece. Oricum pana sa ma hotarasc deja inchisesera usile ambulantei. 
Toata lumea tipa. Eu levitam intre cortul medical si mesele cu apa din mijlocul drumului, pe care voluntarii deja le dadeau la o parte sa poata venii pompierii si cateva alte ambulante. Doua explozii de cealalta parte a liniei de sosire... ce insemna? Am auzit cuvantul bombe; si apoi "they think there might be a third" (ar putea fi o a treia) - rezonand din radioul unui politist care a strigat imediat: "Stay away from the trash cans!" (Departati-va de cosurile de guoi). Era gunoi peste tot in momentul acela. Sticle de apa, gatorade, pahare de plastic... nici nu mai vedeai cosurile de gunoi. 

Pentru cateva minute m-am plimbat inainte si-napoi in zona de langa trecerea de pietoni de langa cortul medical. Rationam ca daca ar mai fi bombe traseul pare sa vina dinspre linia de final, deci urmatoarea ar fi in partea cealalta, de mine... Pa de alta parte, cu atata lume la cortul medical, sa pui a bomba acolo ar fi putut trece neobservat (chiar si sub nasul politiei); un psihopat ar fi putut usor gandi ce repede poti face multe victime in acel loc. Dar toate exploziile fusesera pe cealalta parte de drum, in zona pietonala, din cate puteam sa discern. In timp ce incercam sa rationez daca eram in centrul zonei de pericol sau chiar intr-un loc ce putea deveni alt masacru, m-am oprit sa fac in sfarsit niste poze. Politia deja incepuse sa se reorganizeze si sa inceapa sa ne impinga pe toti inapoi. FBI-ul ajunsese, squad-ul de dezamorsat bombe... Am decis sa o iau inapoi. L-am vazut pe Troy - cel de-al doilea coordonator al echipei de voluntari de la State Street - venind spre mine: "L-ai vazut pe Frank?". Taman il vazusem. Imi strigase sa-l ajut sa-i scoatem pe toti maratonistii si voluntarii din zona; erau inca multi pe mijlocul strzii si inca mai veneau ambulante. Vensise si el dinspre aria de masacru.

  L-am insotit pe Troy si l-am prins pe Frank din urma. In timp ce mergeam, Frank ne explica cu multa stapanire de sine planul pe care sa-l urmam Frank e "veteran' al Maratonului - e organizator de 9 ani. M-am oprit la intersectia cu Clarendon Street, langa echipele de jurnalisti sa verific Facebook si Twitter iar. Am incercat sa o sun pe Silvia, una dintre colegele de lucru care voluntaria pe autobuz. Imi trimisese mesaj sa ma intrebe ce se intampla. Aveam semnal dar nu parea sa sune. Am inchis si i-am trimis mesaj sa le spuna celorlati ca pot sa plece acasa; tocmai au explodat doua bombe. Am mai facut cateva poze si le-am pus pe Facebook. Apoi am alergat sa ii gasesc pe Frank si Troy. Cand am ajuns la autobuzele mele deja toata lumea plecase. Erau goale. M-am bucurat ca ajunsese vorba pana la toti. Frank si Troy au venit cu inca doi colegi, si ei supervizori la alte autobuze (erau 54 de autobuze cu bagaje in total). Au pus bagajele ramase in niste barje mari. I-am urmat inapoi pana la Boylston si i-am spus lui Frank ca plec si eu.