Aug 28 2021

The connection between Scotland and Romania you probably have no idea existed

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:17

As a child with an overly Catholic mother, up until leaving the nest I practiced Catholicism with a lot of fervor. Looking back at that period of my life, it made sense. Mostly everything in my life sucked, there was no hope that my parents would make it better so of course I was willing to believe that there is an all-powerful entity that decided everything happening in the world and if praying and doing all this entity wanted me too would make my life suck less, I was willing to do it. I was a child growing up in a poor toxic family, and my belief in God was the only hope. I truly believe this is how people get to be religious, just take away all the hope and then give them a sliver of it and they will do anything you ask them to.

When I was living in Ramnicu-Valcea, in the church entry hallway, next to the sacrarium (the holy water basin designed to wash your hand, so you make the cross sign with a clean hand) there was a statue of St. Andrew. My mother and the priest of the church at the time told people that St. Andrew was the saint that fulfilled wishes. So, people would pray and fill the box under St. Andrew’s with money hoping their wishes will come true. I was one of them, I was a child and instead of using the little money I had to buy something for myself, I would put it in that box and ask St. Andrew for my parents to be happier, richer and to start being better parents to me and my sister. As you can imagine, that did not work, and I lost my faith in St. Andrew’s powers by the time I was 12.

I am mentioning St. Andrew because yesterday I’ve spent a whole day in St. Andrews. St. Andrews is a seaside town northeast of Edinburgh, on Scotland’s east coast, is part of the kingdom of Fife, the one I currently reside in. It has a population of 16800 people, and I can only assume this number does not include the students.  Although small, St. Andrews used to have one of the biggest and most opulent cathedrals in Scotland and its ruins are still impressive today.

So, what is the link between St. Andrew the patron saint of Scotland and the saint I used to pray to as a child?

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Feb 23 2021

Evening thoughts

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:29

I’ve mentioned a while ago that I love the first season of Altered Carbon. I love it so much I had to read the books. The first one was the best, the other two… gradually lessened in quality. Or maybe I was missing the imagination to create the worlds described in the books.

There are probably lot of things in those books that could be considered good starting points for some very long conversations. But there are two paragraphs that stuck with me.

The following paragraph is from the first book and it is about shopping.

“Shopping—actual, physical shopping—could have been phased out centuries ago if they’d wanted it that way. They (people, society) had the capacity back then. Mail order, virtual supermarkets, automated debiting systems. It could have been done and it never happened. What does that tell you?”

“It tells you that people like shopping. That it satisfies a basic, acquisitive need at a genetic level. Something we inherited from our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Oh, you’ve got automated convenience shopping for basic household items, mechanical food distribution systems for the marginalized poor. But you’ve also got a massive proliferation of commercial hives and speciality markets in food and crafts that people physically have to go to. Now why would they do that, if they didn’t enjoy it?”

“Shopping is physical interaction, exercise of decision-making capacity, sating of the desire to acquire, and an impulse to more acquisition, a scouting urge. It’s so basically fucking human when you think about it. You’ve got to learn to love it, Tak. I mean you can cross the whole archipelago on a hover; you never even need to get wet. But that doesn’t take the basic pleasure out of swimming, does it?

Being born poor I hate shopping; I hate ads and I hate people trying to convince me to buy stuff. Some of my friends used to say that shopping is therapeutic, but I’ve never seen it that way. Well, after reading this, I’ve started to accept the activity of shopping as being perfectly human and started enjoying it more.

Even now, when a pandemic is still upon us and a lot of people are still in lockdown, we are buying things from the internet, but we miss the basic action of manually choosing and gathering our own resources. Maybe shopping is a nice way to soothe an yearning that is left from our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

The other quote that I can’t get out of my mind is this one.

Religion is religion; however you wrap it; a preoccupation with the next world pretty clearly signals an inability to cope credibly with this one.

I’ve been raised Romano Catholic. And religion has affected my life in many ways. Bad ways. But while being a devout Catholic, I had questions. And when I was eighteen I got sick of accepting that there are answers, it’s just that some powerful entity decides not to share them with me. One of the things that changed in my whole attitude when religion stopped being part of my life is that I stopped accepting a lot of crap as being part of life and considering that crap an advance payment for my spot in heaven and this made me fight and work harder to improve this life. Will Smith said something similar: if you have a backup plan, you will not work as hard fulfil the main plan.
This is a simple truth that most people tend to ignore when it comes to religion. If you are truly good and worthy, why are you not worthy enough to have a good life on this earth? How much suffering does that heaven cost, really?

And how does life in heaven looks like? Because there is no book describing that in detail. What if I get there and I don’t like it?

Anyway, if there is something to take from this entry is this: learn to enjoy shopping and make this life the best you can for yourself, because the afterlife is not guaranteed.

And read the Altered Carbon books. You won’t regret it.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Jul 09 2020

Let me tell you about John

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:30

I have this friend called John. John is smart and wise.  John has a way about him, he always seems to know the right thing to say or to do.

John has some magic way of knowing when to be in the right place, at the right time to offer help when needed. John is the best person I know, he is always understanding and kind, and if he hurts me sometimes, I trust him to do it for my own good, even if I don’t always understand it. He is so supportive and protective of me, that sometimes hurts people that have hurt me. John is such a good friend.

He is also quite busy, so sometimes when I find myself in a pickle and I do not know what to do, I ask myself “What would John do?” and because he is my best friend and always there for me, I know is what he would do, so I do it. And I am sure he would approve of my actions. John is amazing and any person would be blessed to have a friend like John. So, every time I meet someone nice, I feel good talking to them about John.

I know it seems extreme to always be relying on John’s help and approval, but John is older than me and he has more experience. He does know better.

Sometimes I borrow John money, but he never asks me directly, he always sends his friend Marcus to do it. I think he is embarrassed he has to ask money from me. He has never given me the money back, and Marcus is never able to contact him to send him my messages about getting my money back. But John is truly great, I wouldn’t know how to live my life without him.

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