Photo Credits Dorin Vasilescu

The story of an Italian executive-chef who became an inspiration after waking up paralyzed from a three-month-long coma

“Why can’t you work in your condition?” I ask the man in the wheelchair, sitting across the table from me.

“I am an executive chef. I need to oversee everything and everyone. I need to solve any issue that may arise in the kitchen. An executive chef has to be hands-on and on his feet at all times.”

Image by Hans Kretzmann from Pixabay

The impact of how we are raised has long-lasting effects on the grown-ups we become.

As a person born in an eastern European country in the 80s, I have witnessed as well as experienced on my own limbs, the impact of an embedded mentality that proclaimed physical punishment as the ultimate parenting tool to raise respectful, reliable individuals.

In most eastern European cultures, the most feared object in a household by children was the belt. In most of my friends’ houses, including my own, belts were neatly arranged in a closet room, from the thinnest to the widest. Some parents, in an attempt to show themselves fair I guess, allowed their children to choose the…

Beirut, Raoucheh, Photo by Ela Vasilescu

In the aftermath of the explosions in Beirut, my thoughts are with the people of Lebanon.

It was a sunny day in May 2015 when I received my plane tickets to Beirut in the email. I was working as a writer for the short documentary ‘Finding My Lebanon,’ and its older brother, the full-length documentary ‘Growing Cedars In Air.’ The journey of the crew involved in the project was to be as much challenging as beautiful and personal.

As soon as I landed on the Beirut International Airport, I was immersed in a completely different reality from the one I…

Photo Credits: Dorin Vasilescu, Apuan Alps, Italy

A simple trick to use when faced with any challenge.

I lifted my chin, placed my fists on my hips, spread my legs, and stood firmly watching the menacing clouds gathering high in the sky.

The first time I used the “superhero pose,” I was on a mountain ridge, 2300 meters high. The more I advanced, the more the ridge resembled a tightrope, and I didn’t have the skills of an acrobat. My mind rambled. Instead of breathing in the spectacular view and draw courage from it or be inspired, my chest was pounding, and I kept envisioning my lifeless body lifted in the air by a rescue helicopter. …

Fiction Friday

Photo Credits: @Myriam Zilles, Pixabay

I can see you now. You are a glimpse conceived by a deceiving thought. I never wanted you, but I always imagined I could love you. I picture you in the wonders of others, yet never recognize you as my own. Sometimes I stalk you in my thoughts. I see your future addiction towards us. I’ve spoken so much of you, that in time, you became tangible. The certainty that you will quiver my womb frightens and averts me from your image. You are ambiguous. Sometimes you tell your story.

You spent your path as a certainty, deep inside of…

Fiction Friday

Photo Credits: Matthew Langthorne — Dracula’s Castle, Brasov (Romania) (with permission)

1924. Brasov, Romania

I was a prince. I am a prince. I was a prince.

I was born in a gypsy camp, on a daisy field outside the city of Brasov, near the place where the legends of Dracula were born. My father is the king of the gypsies in the area. My mother is his wife, the mother of his children. There are nine of us. We used to be fourteen brothers and sisters, but Mother brought five of them into this world, purple and not breathing. Stillborns they were called. I am the first boy, the fourth child…

54 days in lockdown. 8 weeks.

When my daughter was around five years old, unnamed feelings overwhelmed her. As she tried to adapt to the different cultures she was exposed to, the languages and accepted social behavior, she was experiencing more and more the need to belong. We watched her in awe, amazed by her ability to navigate the labyrinth of belonging with incredible easiness. Other times it was as if watching a barrel full of gun powder ready to blow because of her helplessness to name the feelings she was experiencing. To give voice as well as hoping to…

Photo Credits: Dorin Vasilescu — Apuan Alps, Tuscan, Italy

Maybe everything will be fine soon, but no, all is not well NOW.

I pace the 500 square meters garden once. Twice. Three times. I stop in the middle of the rectangular green patch surrounded by trees on all sides and look to my right. A neighbor from the third floor is watching me. I don’t care. I take a few more steps and push my shoe under the dirt to check how hard it is. Could I pitch my tent here? Maybe.

Six weeks of lockdown. Six weeks of living mainly on the balcony, finding joy in small things…

Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

A story of finding one’s way back from the dark corners of loss.

I love the taste of beets, sweet and soaked in memories. I travel in time to rediscover lost thoughts about my father.

I’m three years old. My father looks like a giant, his hairy arms like pillows ready to cuddle my head. I can see him in my grandparent’s kitchen, placing me on a wooden stool in front of the sink. He smiles and opens the oven door, the steam rushing outside, enveloping my body in a warm hug. Then, meticulously, Dad uncovers the round, soft core…

The garden of Santa Rosa Cafe, Florence, Italy

I stopped counting the days. All I know is that we are slowly entering our fifth week of national lockdown. I also know that each week, each day looks different and comes with unexpected emotions. We’ve accepted that for the most part.

Every evening I use Medium as my evening newspaper and go through articles, reading about other people’s experiences. I love to learn about the individual experience, each unique, each interesting that brings new views into thought. Most of them have a common piece of advice to get through this period — make a schedule and try to stick…

Ela Vasilescu

Story Hunter translated into a Writer, Editor, and Teacher;

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