Geocatching

“People working together can do great things.” – Tanzanian proverb

I’ve never had the chance to go through a tough winter, like the one that just passed, in my whole life.

I remember how strange I used to be in my young life. I even used to pray for heavy snows and tough weather. All I wanted from life was to have white winters.

Of course, I was never happy with the amount of snow my little town back in Romania used to have…

Well, this past winter, I was finally able to say that I had an almost full white winter. All my prayers from my early life brought me what I desired (a little bit late but it was definitely worth it).

How we all might think, most likely, everything happens for a reason.

The park we usually use for Disc Golf is actually a ski course during the winter season. After 3 long months without playing Disc Golf, we decided that sunny wintry Saturday was the day we wanted to go play.

In order to have a good experience, you should never step outside the car without at least 2 discs each, an amazing apple cider, sunflower seeds…

After the 4th basket, the bad luck wanted us to reach the ski slopes. That was absolutely fatal for our day out. We couldn’t finish our disc golf that day.

But hey!

“Respect little things.” – Tanzanian proverb

So we did. We didn’t need too much time to realize that we had the gold in our hands. In fact, we stepped out of the ski course and we changed our day. All you could see were these two mature children playing in the snow with their expensive Disc Golf discs. We transformed the discs into sleds, passing from disc golfing to snow sliding. It was amazingly fun and the wet clothes were not a big deal.

Course after course…

Laugh after laugh…

I was thrown back into my early life and I was happy to use a random object to enjoy going down the snowy hills.

Sometimes it feels amazing to open the box of memories and take some youthful skills for the present. It makes you start to feel different and brings you only smiles and good feelings.

Anyway, that wasn’t the juice of the story…

While enjoying the dangerous hills and walking along the ski trails, we stopped near a large fallen tree as a place to rest. Under this huge tree, there was a hidden box. It looked like a small waterproof container containing a logbook and a pen. I found for the first time in my life: a Geocatching box.

Geocatching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a global positioning system (the famous GPS) receiver or mobile devices and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches” at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.

It was such a great find and I remember being so impressed how many things the world can create during our lives, and we don’t have the time or the chance to learn about them. Or sometimes we are just not in the right spot in the right moment. Or maybe because everything happens for a reason…

Opening that box we found a pen, a logbook and some weed. Weird but true, I know. A small ball of weed was waiting for the next Geocatcher. We added some sunflower seeds, we wrote down the date we found it with a little note and…put the closed container back in its place.

…and,

I want to leave the doubt. Those who know me well, knows if that day I took the weed or not.

You could write a comment below with your opinion. I would love to know and I’m curious what your opinion is. Thank you in advance for leaving a comment!

Now that I know about Geocatching, I will open my eyes and focus more on possible Geocatching spots. I’m curious what the people will share with me next time.

By the way, the unfeasibility of not being able to play disc golf that day taught me two things:

The first: no matter what, find a way to have fun, because you need it. And the second: let your life sometimes guide you towards the unknown…maybe you can have some good surprises.

Life’s good and I’m always amazed how lucky I am sometimes.

Carlos and the Mushrooms Carpaccio

 

For all those who ever heard about the word Carpaccio, I found a really interesting definition.

Carpaccio is a dish of raw meat (mostly beef, veal or venison) or fish (salmon or tuna), thinly sliced or pounded thin and served mainly as an appetizer. The dish was served for the first time in Harry’s Bar in Venice and became popular during the second half of the Twentieth Century. The dish was invented in 1950 by Giuseppe Cipriani.

The ideal preparation of an authentic Carpaccio should be: beef served with lemon, olive oil, and white truffle or Parmesan cheese.

Years later, the term Carpaccio was extended to dishes containing other raw meats or fish, thinly sliced and served with lemon or vinegar, olive oil, salt, ground pepper and arugula on the top.

Honestly I would be really careful in preparing such a particular dish. The day I wanted to impress my companion, it didn’t happen. I saved myself in corner. I prepared for her a salmon carpaccio and a beef carpaccio. The salmon was fine but the beef was a “Big Disaster”.

The main rule is?

When using beef for the Carpaccio, always go with a sirloin.

For all who are reading my articles. Thank you! I would like to remind you about my summer time work experience as a young adult.

The day I met Carlos, my nickname became Delinquente. His Good morning was:

Buenos dias Delinquente!

Carlos is one of those Cuban guys that can take your mind through their narrations and bring you to amazing places and live their life episodes. It was thanks to him I learned my first steps of bachata (a type of dance) and the most nasty Spanish words. He needed only a photo of his amazing home country and some words, in order to transport me there and live vicariously through his amazing life.

I just realized I repeated the same thing in two different sentences.

Sorry!

“Buongiorno delinquente!”

“Hola Carlos!”

 

We were talking in two languages. I was correcting his Italian and he was correcting my Spanish. After 3 months, my Spanish improved a lot by talking with this Cuban Pizza man.

Not cool?

That morning he was preparing the pizza for lunch. He was (and hopefully continues to be) a super pizza man. He was able to make 150 pizzas during the dinner time.

Something you probably don’t know: In Italy, restaurants will never open their doors earlier than 7 PM. Well, wait, they might open but…the treatment will not be the best. Whoever goes into a restaurant before 7 PM will always be marked as a bad client by all the kitchen staff. ‘no stronzo

 

Always good to know for when you will go to Italy on vacation…

He was preparing the pizza. On his kitchen counter he had a glass of white wine with the remaining bottle. His face was already red and he was singing his favorite song:

Corazon Espinado

I was preparing the tables for the lunch when he says:

“Vieni qui Delinquente!”

“Te volio ensegnar alcosa”.

I looked at him like a teacher at school…

“Se dice: Ti voglio insegnare qualcosa.”

 

He rolled his eyes…

He started to chop 4 champignon mushrooms very thinly. Then he put them on a plain plate. He dropped some salt and pepper with a squeeze of lemon on the top. After, he took some arugula from his stainless steel container and covered the mushrooms. Some olive oil drizzled over the top, and he put it in the fridge.

“Alex, esto es el Carpaccio de funghi! Tadaaa!”

30 minutes later, I tasted it and he needed to use the body force to stop me eating it all. It was super delicious…

Every single time I prepare the Mushrooms Carpaccio, I have in mind a boat with a tanned, cool Cuban guy on it and hundreds of lobsters. When I eat that dish I hear Corazon Espinado singing in my ears and I can imagine Cuba’s people.

One day I will visit Cuba, my cool Spanish and culinary teacher. Thank you for making my days easier!

Your Delinquente

Thank you Mr. Postman!

 

 

Have you ever felt that you didn’t thank somebody enough for something they did for you? What if that something they did for you was really important and made a huge impact on your life?

I was cleaning the house and I found somebody’s old photo album with pictures from a war. I couldn’t identify the war, but the photos were portraying the tough conditions of a war. As I was cleaning the bedroom, I decided to change the sheets. I didn’t realize though that I used the short ones. I’m a tall person and once I crawled into bed that night, I could barely cover my shoulders…

That night was the coldest night of my life. The wind and the snow were hitting my muddy chest. I was trying to stop my body from shaking and my teeth from chattering. I was leaning on the trench with a gun in my hands. I was clenching it because of my tense muscles. The night started with the enemy bombarding us with strong artillery. I didn’t remember seeing the water truck coming that week and the food was almost over. I don’t even know why we’re still here and what we are fighting for. Soon the snow became rain and everything became more difficult. The noise of the rain mixed with the explosions and gun shoots made me overwhelmed. The captain ordered us to attack in that moment. I took my gun, I asked to my God to keep me in health, and I raised my head out of the trench. Moments after we shot into the fog, a silence took possession of the night. The enemy stopped attacking. I was cold and tense and I tried to move a little bit. I moved my head. In that moment I saw the Sergeant falling down with a bullet caved on his forehead. I was shocked. While I was looking at him, paralyzed, a bullet launched my helmet far from me. I kneeled, scared, and I took my friend’s body in my arms, trying to stop the blood. The captain was ordering me to leave the body and run to the base. The enemy was advancing and we needed to retreat…

Once on the truck, the unpaved road was disturbing my view. The night sky was losing its darkness. A strong light overcame my eyes, and I felt as if I were passing out. A moment later, I returned to that truck. I was thinking of my buddy Daniel. In my thoughts, I was asking myself…How did we meet? I had doubts. Who is Daniel?

The captain ordered us to jump off the truck and go prepare the base for the final attack…

Everything was ready. The rain wasn’t too helpful. Same position. I was colder than earlier and my beautiful Sarah was in my thoughts. I knew I could die that night and I was so sad because I hadn’t heard from her in the past two months. I was there – alone and wet – under a cold rain that was hitting my skin. I wasn’t ready to die. I could feel tears coming down my face. She promised she would write me. I felt lost and abandoned. I wrote her so many letters without receiving even a word back…

I was counting the seconds, waiting for the enemy. At some point, I smelled her perfume and a strange light shone into my eyes. Then darkness again… a truck turned off the lights. I was able to read only Mail Service. A guy came over to me and asked who I was. He figured that I was the one he had been searching for, and he handed me the letter. I opened it. She reminded me about my promise…

I decided on that night, that it wasn’t my time. I needed to return to my forever Sarah. I promised to her I would return back into her arms. I promised her an eternal love. I needed to keep that promise…

I read her words over and over again. The postman told me that the country thought our battalion was dead. It all became clear – that’s why I hadn’t heard from her!

 

He decided to return to the base and bring the only letter that was sent for this camp. He went there even though we were declared dead more than a month ago. He came there even though he knew the enemy would be there. He honored the country.

That letter reminded me of the promise. That letter was there thanks to the courage of a man. That man, the mailman, had a huge impact in my life. He brought me the necessary strength to fight to stay alive.

Thanks Mr. Mailman!

My Sarah was still there, waiting for me. I was happy… I only needed to reassure her that I was keeping the promise.

 

But how?

A huge bomb exploded on the mail truck, injuring the postman. The captain was loosing blood on the mud. I could hear the others’ screams and cries. I was afraid. I was afraid that I wouldn’t keep my promise…

Another bomb exploded. I looked at my right hand, covered in blood. I couldn’t feel it anymore. I was cold and scared. I was crying and praying. I started to recite Our God

As I was praying, the silence returned and the noises of the bombs weren’t ringing in my ears anymore. The peaceful image was earning a stronger light. A moment later, I was being shaken awake, and I could see her face above me, giving me kisses…

I saw her beautiful face and her sunny smile. I was in her arms, close to her in our bed. I was cold, but happy.

Volunteering makes you feel good

 

 

One night on a warm Italian night I was returning from a night out with my friends. The road I was driving was the famous Via Aurelia. Aurelian Way is also known as one of the first Roman roads.

In the middle Republic, a series of roads were built throughout Italy to serve the needs of Roman expansion, including swift army movements and reasonably quick communication with Roman colonies spread throughout Italy.

This road, due to the fact that it is near to the sea, makes it become foggy on certain nights.

As I was driving on this foggy and dark Via Aurelia, I felt a little bit of fatigue. I pulled over at a sandwich food truck (in Italy we call them Paninari) and I decided it was a good moment for a coffee and a small walk.

Touching that hot coffee my brain was awake. That black and short espresso was strong enough to power me for the 30-minute drive back home.

On the other side of the road, two Love Sellers were trying to trade with a client. I was curious what would happen if the Carabinieri (the Italian military Police Officers) would stop by to see what was going on. I was trying to imagine a way to stop the illegal prostitution in Italy. In that moment I was an expert of resolving country’s issues.

I ask for your apologies for including ugly parts of a country with the prostitution and the thoughts I might conjure up in your head. I hope this article will not make you stop reading my life’s episodes. The point is, that I have to write down the reality and not invent words and truths.

Thanks for your understanding!

The deal didn’t happen, and the German production car tried to leave the gas station. The traffic was more intense in that moment, as the people were coming back home from a Saturday night out. Another car was passing in that moment. The other side of the road (in that spot the Aurelia Way is only a two lane road) was full of cars driving one behind another in a queue. The car that was passing needed an entry back on its side, but the guy who was looking for a companion didn’t make it in time to leave the gas station. What I was afraid might happen, in fact happened. A strong blow between the two cars made me jump. I was expecting an explosion, but thankfully that didn’t happen. I was shocked and felt useless…

As I was watching, I can remember broken glasses, exploded airbags, blood, and people running over to the scene of the accident…

I heard lots of sirens, ambulance volunteers who were first responders helping the emergency doctors.

I need a phily collar and a backboard.

Matteo!” – somebody was trying to find his friend.

He’s loosing too much blood…

Here Delta 4, we need the helicopter…

The morning after that accident, I read the newspaper. The accident claimed two victims. Both of them were from the same car: the client and the escort. I was wrong, that guy took one of the ladies from that gas station…

Almost 4 years after that ugly episode that I was unlucky to witness, I received a call from a friend of mine. He told me that an association of ambulance volunteering would start that same evening, a free course accepting new volunteers. That course had the goal to educate people in how to react during a medical emergency and train you to become a skilled volunteer.

I needed to decide right away. The decision of becoming a volunteer would make me become criminally responsible. That would involve a lot of responsibility. I listened to what he told me, but before he could even finish reading me all the pros and cons, I made a decision. I made one of the wisest decisions of my life:

After 5 months and 2 courses (Basic level and Advanced level) I became an ambulance volunteer.

I learned how to manage an emergency situation, how to execute a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). I learned the proper protocol to use with victims of life-threatening illnesses or injuries until they can be given full medical care at a hospital (BLS).

They were able to educate you on everything you need in order to know how to handle an emergency situation…

I remember my first day as a volunteer. I was proud of myself. I realized how volunteering makes you feel good…

Knowing that you have the potential to make a difference was the reason I accepted to enroll in that class and become a volunteer. Knowing that you might have the knowledge to save somebody makes you feel better with yourself.

Everything happens for a reason. I hope the reason I did the course will never put me in an emergency because it would mean that somebody needs help; but if that would happen, I will be ready.

Spaghetti Nirvana and Ponch alla Livornese

Every single man, at least once in his teenage life, tries an underpaid job just to become summertime money independent.

Most of us decide to take a job as a means to escape from home living far from parents. Many of us because we want to live, work and have fun in a cool sea destination.

As you may be starting to guess, I would like to confirm your prediction, and share with you my summertime waiter job.

Far from here… it was back in Italy precisely…I decided I wanted a car. Like most of the young men, I wanted to be cool and drive my girlfriend around Tuscany using my car.

And what was the easiest way to make good money but also having fun?

Boom!

I took the train and I stopped in Calambrone. This region belongs to Livorno’s Province (within Tuscany). If you drive 10 minutes north, along the Costa Tirrenica, you will reach one of the most chosen destinations of Livorneese people.

Yeah, that “resort” sent me home slimmer & tanned, with enough money to buy a 1996 old Volkswagen Polo car, but also taught me how to handle busy days and how to prepare the Spaghetti alla Nirvana and the Ponch alla Livornese.

I know that everything sounds cool and easy, but it wasn’t…

Allow me to write down the negative effects as a young and unqualified waiter:

  • I was working Sunday to Monday 7 days a week from 7PM till 11/1 AM and Thursday to Sunday from 10 AM till 4 PM. (the reason I kept working there was that I was making almost 50 bucks in tips a day)
  • I made only $750 a month (before tip). Yep, only $750
  • I lost almost 30 pounds in 3 months
  • I destroyed my back carrying the plates
  • I was the only waiter, and most of the time the restaurant was full (around 70/80 people)

Honestly? I won’t do that again and I won’t suggest a work experience like that to my future children. By the way, doing that job was possible only because I was young and thirsty for money.

I will though keep thinking that everything is possible if you want and if you are really ready to sacrifice yourself.

That summer changed me a lot and I understood how difficult it is to wake up and start working for a wage. I understood what it takes in order to be able to put a piece of bread on the dinner table and still have energy for a smile.

As I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, I also learned how to make nice kitchen dishes and drinks.

I would like, first of all, to dedicate some time to those who are still wondering where in the world is Livorno:

  • Livorno is an amazing city in Tuscany. Sadly it is not a tourist destination, even if I honestly think it would easily become one of the most beautiful places to go in Tuscany.
  • Livorno is well known for its amazing sea coast and clear waters.
  • Livorno is that place where every single phrase starts and ends with the word Deh.

 

  • Livorno has the most beautiful terrace in the world.

 

  • Livorno is a pretty town and it has an amazing water channel. I like to call it The Little Venice.
  • Livorno is known for its Ponch alla Livornese.

Well, let’s see what’s this ponch alla Livornese. Before you start reading I would like you to listen to this song

The ingredients: One part rum, one part cognac, one part hot coffee, sugar and lemon peel.

Take a wide thick and flat glass and pour a teaspoon of white sugar with a sliver of lemon peel. Then add a finger of rum and a finger of cognac. Then you should have a coffee incorporated steamer (if you hope to truly obtain a Ponch). Heat it with the steam machine. Be careful and don’t start fast (you don’t want to spit everything out of your glass). Once the sugar is melted, prepare an espresso. Put the glass inclined and fill it with the coffee. It has to be a finger of coffee.

Congrats! You should have obtained the Ponch, with an appearance of 3 levels: The first is the mix of spirits and sugar, the second is the coffee, and the third is the foam of the quality coffee.

If you can’t see all I tried to explain to you, then call me or come visit me in Michigan. I would definitely make you one.

If you have a 3 levels effect, then stop!

poncelivornese
photo: turismo.intoscana.it

Let me explain how to taste it and enjoy it:

1 – Rinse out your mouth

2 – Have a glass of water

3 – Now, with a teaspoon, take the lemon peel and chew it

4 – You should have a lemony taste.

5 – Now take a sip of that Ponch alla Livornese.

Isn’t it the best drink you’ve ever had?

You’re very welcome!

Not let me introduce you to the Spaghetti alla Nirvana. The name comes from the Resort I was working for. This plate was my favorite plate that summer. This plate means a lot to me and I think you should consider yourselves lucky that I’m sharing this recipe with you.

Again, you’re welcome!

Ok, now let’s make some Spaghetti alla Nirvana, folks!

Next time you go grocery shopping, remember to buy all these ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of fresh mussels (yes, with the shell)
  • 1 pack of spaghetti 5th thickness in measure
  • 8 oz. pack of heavy cream
  • 1 pound of cherry tomatoes (yes, red cherry tomatoes)
  • salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, white wine (yes, cheap white wine for cooking), dried chilly peppers, fresh parsley (don’t ever think to use dried parsley).

Now, you better not drink the wine for cooking…

Take a pot and boil some water. Pour 2 tablespoons of salt and mix the water (don’t even think to touch the pasta if the water is not boiling / don’t you ever brake the spaghetti because I might die). You should be able to read on the packaging for how many minutes you should boil the pasta (for the best result, always put the pasta when the water starts to boil and keep it the minutes they write on the package). Now take out the best pan you have in the house. Start chopping the garlic small diced. Drop 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and let the oil become hot (medium heat). Drop the garlic and 2 small chilly peppers without throwing away the seeds. You need the maximum heat from the two chilly peppers. 15 seconds later add the 2 pounds of mussels (actually you already boiled in small water and opened the mussel’s shells), with half cup of white wine.

5 minutes later add the cherry tomatoes (please cut those tomatoes in halves or quarters). Add half teaspoon of sugar to cut the acidity. Mix everything and pour half cup of cream. Wait for the cream to simmer and then turn off the fire.

Meanwhile, your pasta should be ready. Take a colander (I know you know how to use it) and throw the water away. Then put the spaghetti in the pan and do what you should do: Mix your spaghetti with the sauce over medium heat for 30 seconds.

Now heat a plate in the microwave for 40 seconds. Take it out and make the spaghetti nest in the middle. Then add some of that incredible and delicious sauce on the top.

I bet you forgot about the parsley, right?

Take some fresh parsley and chop it really thin. Then let it rain over your plate.

A glass of white wine and your plate of pasta…

Yeah, you’re very welcome! Again!

Isn’t it? Am I right that everything happens for a reason? Just because you read my article, you just learned how to make the Ponch alla Livornese and the Spaghetti alla Nirvana.

I really appreciate you reading this article till the end!

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

Letter to a friend

 

Dear friend,

 

As I sit here, far from the small Romanian city we grow up in together, I have you in my head and I cannot stop thinking of you. I tried many solutions to stop thinking. I even used the same tips from the past, when we were close friends. Nothing. I feel like I have to say something. I know that I have to write down some nice episodes from my memory I thought I had lost.

 

Sorry that I’m sharing our stories with my new friends. I hope you will understand.

 

Do you remember that summer of 1999 when we were climbing that wall close to where we lived?

 

I bet you do…

 

Well, the reason I was climbing that wall was because I was a little big man and I used to have all these personal challenges to overcome. The biggest challenge was to climb the wall that the older guys were climbing without problems. As a young man, I needed to show them that I was brave like them. I needed to prove to them I was ready to be part of their group.

 

The prize was huge and full of benefits:

 

  • I would be able to play soccer, basket ball and other fun games on their team
  • I could go with them to explore the dangerous woods

 

 

That day on that wall, my friend, you saved my life. I remember how I trusted too much in that slick rock and I almost fell. Your hand was there for me. Thanks!

 

Dear friend, I know you will probably read this article and I hope you will appreciate how deeply you live in my thoughts. I apologize for being different than you. I’m sorry I never told you how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me.

 

I remember that winter in the woods when we decided to take a different trail home. That bully’s right hook…I still can feel it stinging my cheek. I’m so glad you convinced me to run and leave the sled behind in order to be safe. Thanks! Again you showed me how much wiser you were.

 

Now that I’m thinking clearer about this episode, it returns so vividly in my head. I thought I had forgotten it, but seems I was wrong. I’m so happy you were there to keep me far from my teenage curiosities. Now a day when I’m talking with somebody about life, I’m really happy for the fact that I never struggled with the cigarettes or the alcohol.

 

This is thanks to you. Thank you!

 

I realize how unappreciative I was with you throughout my whole life.

 

I often ask myself: “what did I do in order to deserve a friend like you?”

 

My dear friend, today you are in my head and my thoughts. I know that I’ve changed a lot during my life and I forgot to call you or tell you that you were in my thoughts. I know that I barely realize you are there for me with every single step I take. I almost started to think that I was lucky in certain moments and not to thank to my Angel.

 

Today I want to tell you something:

 

I always have been lucky to have an amazing Angel as a friend.

 

Your forever friend,

 

Alex

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I remember the first time I stepped on Italian soil almost 15 years ago. There was a restaurant along the highway called Autogrill.

The first thing I saw was this incredible plate with this delicious spaghetti perfectly served on a plate like a bird nests. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Below a poster showing this incredible spaghetti mixed with eggs and pancetta, a guy was sitting there ready to burn his tongue and mouth in order to scarf down that identical dish.

When I heard my father suggest for us to go inside to have lunch, I became excited of the idea. My brain started to guess about the flavor. My taste buds were ready and my concerns of handling the fork and long spaghetti were vanished.

As we walked inside, I looked outside quickly. I turned my head while listening to what my dad was telling me, but the view I had seen captured my attention: the incredible Alto-Adige’s mountains.

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photo: internet

I remember I was so enchanted by the mountains that I didn’t even hear when the waitress asked me for my lunch order.

My dad called my name, and the idea of ordering that pasta plate took possession on my mind and belly.

Before I go further, I would like to mention that my Italian was so bad. I was barely able to count till 10 or say “Buongiorno” or “Ciao”.

I tried my best with my thick Romanian accent, but the lady wasn’t able to understand. Now that I analyze it better, I think I was the one who didn’t have any idea of what that poor lady was trying to explain to me.

My dad left me to see if I was able to manage ordering the lunch on my own but…he came in to my rescue and explained that they closed the kitchen at 5 minutes to 2:00. Looking at my watch, it was 2:07. I was so disappointed as I was eating the fried chicken, the only thing they had left. All the drive back home I was craving that plate of pasta. In that moment, I hated that place and their cook. I was ready to spend even fifty euro in order to have that plate. I remember I wasn’t a friendly journey mate and the silence started to dominate the car.

The sad thing, or if we want to call it the coincidence, wanted me to not have that plate for a long time.

It took to me almost 9 years before finally having my first plate of Spaghetti alla Carbonara. I remember that day I was visiting a small Borgo on the Apennines’s mountains back in Italy.

I was visiting this beautiful Borgo when I stopped for an Italian caffee ristretto in glass when I was talking with the owner of this small Trattoria. I don’t know how we started to talk about his life. He was narrating to me how he met his wife and their first pregnancy. After 45 minutes, I was ready to start a fake phone call in order to escape. The funny thing is that he wasn’t even a person who let you join the conversation and add episodes about your own life…

After other 20 minutes of talking (him) and listening (me), he got into the restaurant side and he started to talk about his steps of becoming a chef and his early life in Rome. I remember I was surprisingly interested and engaged.

He touched the subject of Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Right away I confessed to him my early life experience in that highway restaurant. He jumped from his chair and exclaimed:

“Mo ti ci porto io in cucina e ti preparo il vero ed autentico piatto di Spaghetti alla Carbonara.”

He started the fire and put some water in a pot. Then he took out The Pecorino Romano Cheese (50 Grams), Parmesan Cheese (50 Grams), Pancetta (150 Grams), and 3 Eggs.

Then he started to watch me while he was preparing it. He knew what he was doing:

He browned the diced Pancetta in a pan with 2 Tablespoons of authentic Italian olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic. He opened 3 eggs and beat them thoroughly, adding a pinch of salt, pepper and the Parmesan. He boiled around 350 grams of spaghetti with salt. When the spaghetti was ready (al dente) he drained the pasta and added it to the pancetta. After around 4 seconds he turned off the heat, and immediately poured in the beaten eggs, mixing it well. To top it off, he sprinkled with the Pecorino Romano cheese. Then he made that Spaghetti nest like the one from that Highway restaurant. I was crying and I gave him a hug…

Wait, I didn’t cry and I didn’t give him a hug. I tried not to be too excited.

“Ale, vieni qua li mortacci tua!”

We walked in the restaurant. He opened a bottle of Spumante di Franciacorta wine saying:

“La Carbonara va mangiata insieme allo spumante di Franciacorta! La Carbonara si fa solamente con la pancetta!”

I looked at him and I jumped on that plate. My tongue and my brain were crying and singing victory. I was the luckiest guy because I had the authentic Spaghetti alla Carbonara plate.

Maybe not having that plate of pasta 14 years ago was the right thing. Maybe the destiny wanted to bring me in the right place where to enjoy the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Don’t you think that the things are happening for a reason?

Nkrumah Alin

 

Let’s stop time and bring back those who didn’t finish their mission on this dimension. There are many of them who we considered people with special tasks.

21 years ago…I was trying to convince the older guys that I was ready for my first condominium soccer match. I remember how a friend of mine, Nkrumah Alin, endorsed me. I remember how this half Romanian and half Ghanaian fellow supported my candidacy for the short defense role. Yes my black friend was standing up for me against all the team convincing them.

What makes a young man from Piatra Neamt, Romania be so great and why do I dedicate this article to him: Nkrumah Alin?

Alin was the grandchild of the man who, in 1957, brought the Independence to Ghana. Correct, after all these years, I realized I was playing soccer with Ghana’s first president’s grandchild.

That day he probably wasn’t aware of who he was or what his family sacrificed to give an identity to Ghana. He was indirectly doing what he was born to do:

Standing up for people’s rights

That’s why, every single time I go back to visit his Facebook profile, my heart cries because they called him Up There way too soon.

My friend Alin Nkrumah didn’t finish his mission on Earth and I recall him back…Or rather, I wish I could sacrifice some of my time on this world and give it to him.

Years before his premature death, after his political education degree, he found his way in this world and became involved in what almost all his family is involved in:

Working on a better life for Africa

 

Today my friend, I’m trying to stop my tears and write down the best words to let the world know the amazing person you used to be. Since that day, 21 years ago, you have a special place in my memories and you have the same place at the oval table of people who inspire my day-by-day actions.

I wish you could live your live and bring the huge contribution you were meant to bring to the world. For what you did for, me and for the world.

I wish you could have lived a full life and brought the huge contribution you were meant to bring to the world.

Thank you Alin Nkrumah!May your soul enjoy your new home and endorse this tough world against God!

Thank you Alin Nkrumah!

Prayer to the Great Spirit

 

While cleaning the house, on a random winter day, you could find that something thought to be lost forever.

Prayer to the Great Spirit

O Great Spirit,

Whose voice we hear in the wind,

And whose breath gives life to all the world,

Hear us, we come to you as one of your many children.

We are small and weak.

We need your strength and wisdom.

May we walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold

The red and purple sunset.

Make our hands respect the things you have made

And our ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make us wise that we may understand

The things you have taught our people.

Let us learn the lesson you have hidden

In every leaf and rock.

We seek strength,

Not to be greater than our brothers/sisters,

But to fight our greatest enemy – Ourselves.

To come to you with clean hands and straight eyes,

So when life fades,

As the sunset

Our spirit may come to you without shame.