connections Ioana Birdu

© Ioana Bîrdu

Connections is an exercise of introspection and honesty, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that had a meaningful impact on our lives.

Connections talks about us all – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.

Did you make up stories when you were a little boy? What were they about?

I did, beginning with kindergarten although I can’t remember those. When I got to school, they were about everything or anything as long as I had an audience. I told the best ones to my friend, Big Sorin, who was mesmerised and kept asking questions about them.

I was usually the main character and I was either fighting sharks on the Danube or saving people from all kinds of bad things. As a sign of gratitude for the stories, Big Sorin defended me from Little Sorin, who always called me a liar and tried to attack me in different ways.

The best thing is that a few years ago I met Big Sorin again and his first question was if I remember how I used to tell him stories on our way home from school. 🙂

What’s the most beautiful memory from your childhood?

The first one. I can’t let go of if no matter what I do. It happened when I was around two or three years old and lived with my grandparents. I lived there until I turned five or six.

It was a snowless winter and the sun had teeth (that's what they said, but I swear I never saw the sun having any teeth). I was all wrapped up in clothes and climbing down the stairs of my grandparent’s house. When I got close to the garden I heard my mother’s voice calling me. I couldn’t see her too well because the I had the sun playing in my eyes, but I sensed her there. I remember her smiling and talking to me and she wore some brown, bell-bottom trousers, left overs from the 70’s probably. I went to  her and all I remember is I was happy. That’s all.

Tell me about a person who changed or influenced your life.

George whom I met when I finished college. At our first beer together - I was going through a period of complete disorientation at the time - I found myself in front of a thirty something year old having the profound sensation that I’m being read as an open book, but in a way that made me feel no threat. And I’m not joking: that person knew all there was to know about me in five minutes.

George changed my life because he was the first person who saw something in me and helped me become more confident. The third time we went out for a beer I found out he worked at RIS (Romanian Intelligence Service) and that he actually was or used to be a spy. This explained some things :).

What have you learnt from your past relationships?

The difference between a monologue and a conversation.

Did a stranger do something nice for you?

Most certainly yes, but I can’t recall a story. What I can undoubtedly say is that I learnt to thank without trying to understand why a stranger did something nice for me.

Did you do something nice for a stranger?

I usually remember these things when the other person stops being a stranger.

When in your life did you feel most alone?

Loneliness is something hard only when you feel alone among people. Otherwise, until a certain point we are all alone. We take part in longer or shorter conversations and conversations lead to connections. The reason  you gather all of us here.

Vlad, 35 years old

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