Liebster Award – Praising and “Prizing” Bloggers

A huge bunch of flowers and thanks to Miss Andi for having nominated me for the Liebster Award. I can only hope that these words manage to convey my genuine gratitude and pleasure to be part of this. Miss Andi and her co-bloggers aren’t music critics, but they have great taste – that’s how they describe their blog and I can endorse the statement, as well as Miss Andi’s talent with words and – hopefully soon – pancakes. I’m coming over for that pancake one of these days, Miss Andi 🙂

The Liebster Award is a new-comer award given by bloggers to other bloggers, it creates a great platform for new blogs to be discovered and build communications. The best thing about this award is that it creates a lot of encouragement and support within our blogging community.

However, the award comes with a price. We have to answer a set of 10 questions formulated by the person who nominated us, providing honest answers and, at our turn, a set of 10 questions of our own. Here are Miss Andi’s questions and my answers:

 

  1. How do you eat your pancake?

 

Fat, fluffy and smeared with chocolate.

 

  1. Do you sing when you cook (Do you cook)?

 

I don’t sing (I have a terrible voice – husband says “swan voice.”) I also happen to have two left hands what cooking is concerned.

 

  1. What would you rather live without? Tea or coffee? Why?

 

Tea. I cannot imagine a life without coffee. I’m a total coffee junkie, I love it so much I take it 20 times a day like some people take the cigarette. It’s almost a fetish, I even pin coffee pictures on Pinterest.

 

  1. To turn off the world do you watch a movie or listen to music?

 

Listen to music, if I have to choose between the two. But I normally turn to books. Coffee and books by the window on a rainy day is my idea of paradise and my kind of unwinding/meditation.

 

  1. Do you stream (music or movies) or prefer physical copies?

 

I stream.

 

  1. When was the last time you went to a record store?

 

Seemingly an eternity ago. I was ten and I borrowed a DVD with Jet Li from Planet Hollywood (with my mom). Does anybody know if they still exist?

 

  1. What band did you last see in a concert?

 

Last concert was Michael Jackson in 1996 with my mother.

 

  1. What’s the best way to procrastinate?

 

Daydreaming.

 

  1. What’s your happy place?

 

The sea. Physical or in my mind.

 

  1. Are you going to do the A to Z challenge in April?

 

Not sure yet. I’m considering adjusting the challenge and making a quiz every day starting with the respective letter, but that would mean some changes in the schedule for the online reads, so I’m still thinking about it. What do you guys think, should I do it?

 

Now, before I share with you my own 10 questions, I’d like to mention that I don’t know if all the bloggers I’ll nominate here are new-comers, but I’ll nominate SOME (ONLY SOME!) of those that I truly believe deserve the award and don’t have over 1000 followers. There are many bloggers I discovered and who deserve a close look, and I’ll link to them in the following Meet and Greets.

Okay, here are my questions, and I hope you’ll take the time to answer one or two of them in a comment, because I’d love to hear from all of you. I’m a people lover and I can’t get enough of you guys.

  1. What’s your favorite pastime (hobby)?
  2. If you had to choose between a book, a song and a movie, what would you choose? Why?
  3. What is your ideal lover like?
  4. What’s your life dream?
  5. What’s your ultimate goal with your blog?
  6. What’s your favorite book or movie? Why?
  7. What do you daydream about?
  8. What was your favorite fairytale as a kid?
  9. What’s your favorite word?
  10. What’s your favorite place in the world? Tell me a little about your reasons for the choice.

 

I nominate the following bloggers:

 

Hyperion Sturm – stories and wisdom

 

Sara Flower – creative writing

 

Dracul van Helsing – comedy writing

 

Gary Lum – special food blog

 

Miriam – Travel Blog

 

Eternal Atlantis – about mythology, history and mystery

 

Rosie Amber – book reviews and book/publishing mentor

 

Stephanie Hurt – romance novels and writing tips

 

Niki’s Simple Life – Inspiring, motivating, mindfulness

 

Mark Fonz – last but definitely not least, cancer survivor blogging to encourage

 

Liebster Award Rules:

 

  • Thank your nominator;
  • Share the award on your blog;
  • Answer the 10 questions asked to you;
  • Ask 10 questions to 10 new nominees (who have less than 300 followers);
  • Notify them via social media.

 

Looking forward to reading from you 🙂

On The Dark Side of your Spirit Animal

First of all, I’d like to thank Arcane Owl for the idea for the article. They wanted to know more about the dark side of their spirit animal, since the Quiz (if you haven’t taken the quiz about your spirit animal yet, you can take it here) focused more on the strengths than the weaknesses, on the bright side rather than the dark side.

Before I go on writing a few of the “darker” traits of the spirit animals, I’d like to tell you a bit (just a bit) about WHY I don’t normally do that.

First of all, I’m sick and tired of the downright dystopian inclinations of our media and entertainment. I’m a people lover, and my intention with these quizzes is to help you discover what’s good about yourself, the strengths you can build on, the traits you can sharpen and use to attain your goals in life.

Our self-esteem is often a wreck of its accord, and we don’t need someone else to hammer the nails in our wrists. Focusing on the bad only weakens the good. Zooming in on the dark only reduces the light. I always have and always will focus on the bright side and will always bring your strengths in the limelight. As a former teacher I know this works wonders, nurtures talent, power and confidence.

That being said, off to the dark side:

  1. Wolf – you can become a victim of false friends. You may warm snakes at your breast. You would go to any lengths to protect those you care for. Sometimes, however, you can go aggressive on the wrong people.
  2. Fox – you’re often subversive and use your cunningness to put others at a disadvantage. You can be vindictive and your honesty bends. You may be forced in situations where your dignity is challenged, and you’ll play the part, but you’ll get back at the offender.
  3. Lion – you’re too proud and often vain. You may have a sense of entitlement, which bothers. You repay loyalty but suffer greatly if betrayed. When hurt, you may fall prey to falsely sweet tongues licking your wounds, to flattery.
  4. Bear – you may indulge in too much relaxation time. Escapism is a danger. Your loves are long-lasting, but you may stay true to people who hurt you. You tend to avoid problems instead of solving them.
  5. Dolphin – you’re often too sweet, trying to please everybody. You may be easily taken advantage of. To top it all, those whom you’ve proved your worth to act all proud and have you prove yourself again and again. You’re terrified of disappointing, a trait which can be used to manipulate you.

These are some of the “dark” traits of these spirit animals. Of my experience I may confidently state that the good outweighs the bad, and that the qualities outweigh the defects by far. Let me know your thoughts in a comment, I’m always happy to read from you.

I’d also like to mention this, because I think it’s only fair to both you and me: Lately I’ve received a great many requests for personal profiles on my Gmail address. As much as I’d love to oblige every request, limited time doesn’t allow it, so I decided to make personal profiling an official offer: 25 $ for a roughly full three-page personal profile with focus on any area of your life. Please write to me at ana.calin@across-language.com.

Best of thoughts,

Ana

 

Pic source.

 

Meet and Greet

Meet and Greet Saturday is here! : ) I’m loving this Meet and Greet project every day more. Since I started it I discovered blogs that bring value to the world, focusing on different fields and approaching them in a unique way. Special blogs, special people, special topics and special approaches. Some of these blogs I’ve discovered from other bloggers’ recommendations, so please, by all means, if you follow blogs that have impacted your life or that you regularly read with pleasure and interest, let me know, I’ll sure check them out. Now these are the bloggers I’d like to introduce to you today:

ThePowerOfQuantumThinking is a blog that addresses sensitive matters in a new way. The author is a rather mathematically inclined man, whose reflections are somewhat different, as the title of his blog suggests. He provides for good and inspiring reads.

MyMindFullLivingDiary. A different approach to mindfulness. It teaches the reader to meditate in an easy, effective and sensoric way. This article has me hooked.

Leadership Freak is a business blog, but Dan’s tips on leadership are valuable in many more fields than just business. It helps us understand other people and their actions, teaches us how to react to them and how to make the best of our relationships.

Looking forward to your recommendations, propositions and links! Subscribe to the blog to get notifications about new posts (personality tests and stories), or follow me on Twitter at @AnaCalinAuth, I’d be happy to know you : )

Meet and Greet

Welcome to Saturday Six of my new project “Meet and Greet!” Once again, I’ll tell you in short what this Meet and Greet project is about:

I read the WordPress Reader as I would the morning newspaper, because the articles in the Reader are often more valuable and positive than the sensationalist and unbearably dystopian ramblings of today’s media. I come to know interesting blogs (true, I discover them often among my own followers) that have something special and authentic to offer. I’m always looking for worthwhile reading so, by all means, feel free to recommend blogs that have drawn your attention – leave a link to them plus a few words about what they stand for. I’ll be sure to check them out, as well as your own blog. There’s nothing better than reading interesting articles with a cup of good coffee, and imagining I’m drinking it with the writer themselves. Sharing is caring!

My recommendations for today are:

IndiHope is a successful (with reason) blog with focus on self-help and personal development, which offers valuable advice. What drew my attention in the first place were the quotes they post, how they rely on century-old wisdom as opposed to “pub philosophy.”

OutAnAbout is Miriam’s journal on her travels, one that goes way beyond mere description, and that captures the “spirit” of the places she visits. She immerses in the nature and surroundings, and conveys the “spirit” with skill. She sends a positive vibe that will charge your day, motivate you and make you start off with a smile on your face. Very inspiring.

Discovermarche is a bi-lingual (English-Italian) blog about lifestyle in Italy, full of culture and adventure and that will brighten your days. On many a morning I travel to Discovermarche with my coffee. I’m considering setting a story in Marche, just because of this blog. Nature, culture, wine, you’ll feel on a romantic journey.

Looking forward to your recommendations, propositions and links! Subscribe to the blog to get notifications about new posts (personality tests and stories), or follow me on Twitter at @AnaCalinAuth, I’ll be happy to connect.

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MEET and GREET

Welcome to Saturday Five of the new project “Meet and Greet.” Inspired by a fellow blogger whom I admire I started this project some weeks ago, and I feel ever more motivated to go on – it goes so well with a cup of hot coffee (Coffee, My Love, My Sweet Addiction, LOL). In the context of this project I endorse blogs that I discovered (yes, often among my own followers) and that have something special to offer the world. Please feel free to recommend blogs that have drawn your attention, and I’ll check out yours as well. Here are my special recommendations for today:

The Richness of a Simple Life -This blogger talks about relevant things in life, and she does it often. Always a good pic, always a good thought, always a good word. You’ll most probably hear me talking about her articles more often.

Rosie Amber – I’ve “known” Rosie Amber since my beginnings as a writer and blogger, and have great respect for her. She’s an avid reader with a special love of flowers. She reviews novels and offers support for authors, and has wonderful tips I wouldn’t miss for the world.

Putting my Feet in the Dirt – This blogger has offered me profound and meaningful minutes with myself, which are a rare commodity these days. You’ll find words of wisdom and real passion.

Looking forward to your recommendations, propositions and links!

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MEET and GREET – Special Blogs

Welcome to Saturday Four of the new project “Meet and Greet,” in which I talk about blogs that I discovered (given, often among my own followers) and that have something special to offer the world. Please feel free to recommend blogs that have drawn your attention, and I’ll check out yours as well. Here are my special recommendations for today:

Mental Health Today – the name says it all; this special blog writes about psych issues of our times. Check out their latest article about codependency, truly enlightening.

Fonz and Cancer – is the very special blog of Mark, who won the battle against cancer and writes daily to encourage others in difficult situations. What he did is huge, and it has given him experience and wisdom from which he can truly feed us.

Leadership Freak – is savvy in the field of business and not only. If you are in a position of leadership or aim for a position of leadership, this is the blog you need for hot tips and teachings.

These are really special blogs worth checking out, for that I give you my word. Looking forward to your recommendations, propositions and links!

RECOMMENDATIONS – Blogs worth reading

Three weeks ago, inspired by a smart, kind and considerate fellow blogger, I started the Saturday Recommendations project, which basically involves my writing a few words every Saturday about three blogs I truly and genuinely appreciate. Here are my recommendations for today, which I give you with hand on my heart – they are worth checking out.

Marta Frant – Marta is smart and witty and discusses matters that are not only relevant, but also interesting, in a funny and classy way.

Biblioklept – paintings, rare and original; the real thing, interesting symbols that are inspiring, and that will send your intellect and creativity soaring.

Camelia Miron Skiba – is a terrific author! Her writing is flawless, her voice unique, she puts a huge amount of work in her romance books (some of them with historic and military flavor). You will most likely hear me talking about her again.

I’m always, always, always hungry and looking for true value so please, if you have recommendations of your own, leave them in a comment (link and a few words, so that I know what the blog is about), and I will check them out. If your recommendations „speak“ to my heart, I sure will recommend them one of these Saturdays. Should I ever ignore a recommendation, please, don’t take it personally. It does NOT mean the recommendation isn’t good, just that it does not „speak“ to me (for example I’ll resonate little with fashion blogs that don’t have a bit of „soul“, such as vintage-gone-hipster or even elegant-sexy).

Looking forward to your propositions, recommendations and links!

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RECOMMENDATIONS – Blogs with varied focus, all of them priceless

As promised, here comes the Saturday with the three blog recommendations I said I’d deliver you guys every week, with the blogs that I’ve discovered, tried, followed and consider they provide value.

Every Saturday I will be doing this, so please feel free to leave me a link AND a few words (even one line will suffice, but I have to know what the respective link is about) about the ones that you consider of particular value, or that you have a special liking for. I’m really looking forward to your recommendations! As always, your opinion is valued and taken into account.

These are the three blogs I have really good words to say about today.

Kristen Lamb is someone who has become special to me. I’ve read her books on social media marketing, follow her blog and follow her on Twitter. Her posts and articles and books are not only valuable because they offer more worthwhile information a page than many of the MBA high-class textbooks that have been through my hands, but also because she feeds us her content with humor and a strong print of her helpful personality.

Sara Flower is a writer, but not just ANY writer. She probes places most of us are afraid to tread, places deep in the psyche where deep sorrow but also bliss are to be felt in really skillful writing. She has a crisp and to-the-point style that I very much like, she’s very visual, and she makes of the darkest depths of the psyche thrilling stories that will keep you reading with your heart in your mouth.

Gary Lum writes about food. Those of you who know me will surely ask yourself – Ana and FOOD? No way! YES. Way. After I got married I got away with bad cooking, because my husband is a master in the kitchen. But since I became a mother, Mr. Right’s fancy recipes of once a day haven’t been able to keep up, so I had to learn. Great thing is, that’s the moment when I discovered Gary’s blog, and his pictures of the dishes he makes and tries have had my mouth watering EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. If you want not only original ideas but ALSO how to make the oldest dishes taste terrific, check out Gary’s Blog.

Looking forward to your propositions, recommendations and links!

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Some Comedy for a Change – Mr. Christopher Milner’s “The Giant Rat of Sumatra”

 

Dear, the Dearer, the Dearest, today is the day when I’d like to make one of my rather rare book recommendations. I couldn’t resist this one. It’s from an author that I follow regularly, because he has such cool, erudite humour that often makes my day.

As you know by now, I always try to stay as honest as honest goes, and will admit this: what attracted me to this author are his absolutely hilarious, super skilfully crafted and witty Vampire Novel series, made mostly of scenes and snippets between characters you come to know and love very quickly. As a gal, I’m totally into THOSE.

But today Chris has published his first novel, a Sherlock Holmes Fan Fiction “The Giant Rat of Sumatra” which gives a taste of his unique brand of humour. My personal opinion is that this book will be especially appealing to men, but us gals can take away a good time from it as well. I’d very much like to point out that Mr. Milner does a wonderful job of keeping spot-on regarding the character, manner and style of the greatest detective the world has ever seen, while at the same time being original. He stays true to the character, but gives us a new, great story.

The book is available on Amazon.com as of today, so go grab it here (“The Giant Rat of Sumatra”) if you’re in for something special, humorous and witty. The book is short, crisp and delicious. Here is the blurb so you get a first taste:

 

A Sherlock Holmes Fan Fiction

The Giant Rat of Sumatra

By Christopher Milner

 

“… the Giant Rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared.”

So said Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson in the story The Adventure of The Sussex Vampire.

The Giant Rat of Sumatra is a comical tale about a sinister plot to import a mysterious beast from Sumatra for a circus performance.  A series of events involving the giant rat and cast of characters run a gamut of emotions as the story unfolds on a 19th Century English circus carnival fair ground.  

Mysterious occurrences aboard the ship Matilda Briggs begin when a cabin boy’s recreation of a Vincent Van Gogh still life painting leads to disaster for the ship and the town of Stamford in Lincolnshire, England where cats are disappearing under diabolical circumstances.

When the doomed ship arrives, something terrorizes the cobblestone alleys of Stamford called the “Devil incarnate” by the town’s Scottish maker of meat pies. An odd cast of characters all converge on the scene, some to solve the mystery and others to help keep it secret.  

Sherlock Holmes is called in to investigate the strange events and in place of Dr. Watson as Holmes’ companion for this adventure is the veterinarian Fred Clegg – a good doctor for a tale involving animals from exotic Sumatra. Will Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Dr. Clegg deduce the reason for the disappearing cats and the whereabouts of the giant rat? Find out in this entertaining fan fiction of the world’s most famous detective.

My very favorite of Mr. Milner are characters that are not in this book, for they were “born” later, but you might want to check out his sexy dominatrix Sherrielock Holmes, and my most favorite (secret crush) Michelangelo the Psychic Lobster (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this episode, you gotta check it out, it’s HYSTERICAL!) I’m telling you, this author is GOLD.

Check out Chris Milner’s Debut Novel, it will give you a very good time, and stay tuned tomorrow for dark suspense and romance with a new episode of “The Marquis” and his epic revenge.

 

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HYPERION Ep. 2 – Short Story for the Coffee Break

Hyperion Ep. 2 – *fiction based on a real person, for whom I’ve drawn up a personal profile (Knight-type).

BLURB:

Hyperion is a former soldier with a secret. A secret that enables him to accomplish more than a normal man, making him among the few who can fight a special kind of enemy. He’s sent to a village by the Dark Forest, where he sets up camp and begins observing his target. There’s little Hyperion doesn’t see coming and even less he can’t deal with, but his target’s young wife, Ligia, does threaten to complicate things. This scene depicts the pivotal moment of Hyperion and Ligia’s first interaction.

***

I set up camp at the citadel in the dark forest. Ice besieged its ruinous walls, and the woods are a frozen killer, so the villagers never come here. The hideout is safe. It takes more than just stolen hay to build a shelter and more skill than wood to start a fire, but it eventually works.

In the morning I pull over the cloak – as shabby as any peasant’s coat and cap – and attend mass in the village. It’s some saint’s day, so the church is packed enough to facilitate anonymity for a while. I keep at the back and my hood low, observing the target. They call him Swine, the Old Loon had said. I identify him by the round stomach and the air of self-importance. Encumbered by a bunch of ass-kissers and a wife, he stands out as a man of status. The mayor, it turns out.

As the throng spills out I seek cover in the neighboring graveyard, close enough to the church to keep the action in my field of vision. The Swine’s enjoying all the attention one can get, except his wife’s. The woman turns, and her eyes focus on me.

I draw behind a tombstone and pull my hood lower, but she still looks in my direction. My eyes adjust automatically in a close-up. She’s younger than I expected. Despite the afghan hanging heavy on her body and the kerchief covering her hair, she has a healthy milkmaid face and rosy lips. Her eyes a vivid blue. I can’t place her anywhere beyond twenty.

I retreat for the day, building a strategy in my head to accomplish my mission. The milkmaid shouldn’t be a problem, she couldn’t have seen my face. There’s nothing to link me to the Swine, so she won’t have a case. I tend to doubt my employer’s version of things, though. The Swine doesn’t fit the profile. He’s greasy, heavy and corrupt, has petty ambitions and a healthy appetite gone wrong. He’s no Night Wraith.

A frozen branch crunches behind me in a certain way. It’s not the winter bone crackling of the forest, nor is it an animal. I stop and pretend to seek my path among the trees, sniffing the air. It’s too icy to catch scents without switching on my own wraith senses and draw attention, but there’s hot, damp breath not far behind. Yes, I’m being followed.

I continue along the slippery cobbles of the riverbank and climb the side of the hill to the citadel. I lead the shadowy chaser to the hut, and he keeps in the safety of my tracks. Fool. I enter the hut. He doesn’t follow right away, and gives me time to start a fire. Maybe he’s considering using it to take me down, or maybe he’s waiting for the right moment. I’m still crouched by the shy flames when I sense him behind me.

I spin round, my fist already clenched in a hammer ready to smash, but the lack of a head at the level where I expected one pulls the emergency brakes. I look down at a wobbly figure in an afghan struggling to keep balance. I grab its shoulders to steady it and take a good look at the face. The kerchief slips off golden locks, and the milkmaid’s wide blue eyes meet mine.

“I’m a friend,” she yelps.

“A strong word. I only have a few, and you’re not one of them.” I suppress my awe and keep my tone free of inflections.

She bites her lower lip, her eyes moving around in search of a proper reply. “I went through all the trouble to follow you here, I deserve a chance, don’t I?”

“Trouble, yes. Why go through it?”

“I was curious, all right?” Now she sounds real. Even her gaze settles, but not on my face.

“And why’s that?”

“You must be kidding. This is a village, no one misses a new appearance.”

“And yet you’re the only one who didn’t.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes, I do.”

She tilts her head to the side, her gaze a bit more daring. She’s beautiful, I must admit. “Were you trying to remain a mystery?”

“I can’t use attention. Or friends.”

“Well, you might avoid unwanted friendships, but you’ll have to bear the scrutiny. A man like you has to put up with a lot of it, I imagine.”

“A man like me?”

Her rosy mouth gives me the sweetest smile. “That hood may cover your eyes, but any girl would be drawn to those lips and the shape of your body.”

The very definition of direct and blunt. I’m speechless for a moment, enough for her to muster yet more courage to look me in the face and take off her afghan. The swell of her breasts under the linen shirt makes it hard to focus.

“I’m Ligia, by the way. You can call me Lee.”

She takes a step closer, but I grab her shoulders to keep her away.

“You’re being reckless,” I say evenly. Something lights up in her eyes, and I know it turns her on.

“You’re being irresistible.”

“Hold your horses, Ligia,” I admonish. Her cheeks go red, and it shakes my defenses. I don’t want her to feel embarrassed.

“You don’t like me?” she babbles.

“You’re married.”

“That didn’t stop you from staring at me in church.”

“I thought you couldn’t see my eyes.”

“I felt them.”

Oh . . . I shake my head. “I wasn’t staring at you.”

“Was it another?”

“Ligia,” but I don’t know how to put it. How to reject her without being cruel. I turn and poke at the fire. I hear the rustle of her afghan as she puts it on, and I can’t resist turning to look at her again. She’s all flushed and embarrassed as she clutches the heavy material around her.

“Why?” I apply a soft tone. “Why seek the embrace of a man who’s not your husband?”

She snorts. “You can’t be serious.”

“I’m as serious as it gets.”

“Have you actually seen who I’m married to?”

“Has anybody forced you into it?” The question’s supposed to expose her as the victim of her own choices, but it hits a completely different cord.

“Poverty forced me into it. That monster forced me into it,” she spits. I rise slowly to my feet. Tears flow down her cheeks, and I’m tempted to stroke them away. I refrain though.

“Why me? There are other young men in town, far easier to reach, and far more available.”

She bites her lip and snorts bitterly, as if I fail to see some obvious truth.

“You may find it hard to believe,” she says, “but following you through the dark forest was the safest option. We both know you’re not here to stay, everything about you states that. Had I sought an affair with anyone in the village, he would’ve found out and killed me. You have no idea what the Swine turns into when he’s mad.” She bursts into sobs, covering her face, shuddering. The fear that oozes from her makes me lose the last trace of doubt. My employer was right.

I wind an arm around her. “Yes, Lee. Yes, I do.”

***

Liked this? Share your thoughts and feelings in a comment. Hyperion’s whole story will be published in a Christmas Story Book for Adults on the 15th of December, so stay tuned for Gift Promotions and other Goodies.

Related posts:

Hyperion’s citadel – where the inspiration came from.

Pic source.

The village 1

Buy Hyperion’s whole story here.

Update on the Drama of a World-Class Ballet Dancer

For Blog Bogdan

UPDATE

Dear friends and readers, thank you so much for your help and support for Bogdan during these last months! Further donations won’t be necessary, but all the prayer you can give. Bogdan has passed away on the 21st of June, “tranquil and without regrets.” These were his words. The disease had advanced very quickly – four times faster than in the average case – and left him with solely the command of his eyes in a matter of months. He will always be remembered, loved and cherished.

R.I.P. Bogdan Nicula

SAVE A LIFE – A world-class ballet dancer paralyzed in full glory

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This is an appeal to all my friends and readers and to the world at large.
Sadly this post isn’t fiction, but the true story of an amazingly talented young dancer, Bogdan Nicula, whom I had the honor of knowing personally fifteen years ago. We didn’t stay in touch, but a couple of weeks ago I was shocked to learn that he struggles with ALS, the disease against which last year people poured buckets of ice on their heads and which nails Stephen Hawking in his high-tech chair too.

But in Bogdan’s case the disease seems to be advancing at a much faster pace than usual. Bogdan now lies on a hospital bed in Düsseldof, Germany, where he used to work as a ballet dancer until December 2014. His family and friends hope to raise the necessary funds for his transport to Thailand for a stem cell transplant, his only chance of survival.

His friends and colleagues, ballet dancers from Bucharest, Constanta and Cluj, Romania, organized beautiful charity ballet shows, but until now they could only raise about a quarter of the necessary sum.
Bogdan Nicula is a valuable, acknowledged artist in Romania and Germany, he danced on the world’s greatest stages includig the Balshoi Theatre, Moscow. For this reason the Romanian press reported his case, and I took the liberty of translating a chunk from an article that offered the detailed story.

View the original here.

The Tragedy of the Romanian Ballet Dancer who paralyzed in full glory. Bogdan Nicula suffers from the same disease as Stephen Hawking.

In less than six months Bogdan Nicula (35), a Romanian ballet dancer living and working in Germany, was forced to leave the stage of the Opera House in Düsseldorf for a hospital bed, now almost entirely paralyzed. His family is struggling to raise the money for a stem cell transplant, Bogdan’s only chance of survival.

He danced on the world’s greatest stages, from famous German theatres (Mainz and Düsseldorf) to the Balshoi Theatre in Moscow, being one of the most talented Romanian ballet dancers known abroad. But Bogdan Nicula’s career was interrupted this fall, after he was diagnosed to be suffering from a  relentless disease, the same one that nails Stephen Hawking – the famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner – to his chair, namely amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It was to raise funds to find a cure for this disease that last year Hollywood stars poured buckets of ice on their heads in what became a viral movement on the internet (“The Ice Bucket Challenge”).

The first signs of the disease

For 25 years Bogdan Nicula worked every day to achieve the best possible muscular coordination, as well as strength, gracefulness and the discipline necessary to attain success as a dancer. He began dancing ballet in the 6th grade, when he moved from a normal school to the School of Coreography in Bucharest, where he managed to catch up the work of two years in only six months.

After graduation he worked at the ballet theatre “Oleg Danovski” in Constanta, on the coast of the Black Sea, and in 2001 he started his international career on the stages abroad as a main dancer at Ballet Mainz and later at Ballet am Rhein, Düsseldorf, Germany. His schedule used to start early in the morning with training and it would end late in the evening with ballet shows. But in September 2014 it changed abruptly. Bogdan began to feel drained of energy much faster than usual and increasingly exhausted. He began having difficulty controlling his arms and legs, and getting back pain. Bogdan went to the doctor’s for investigations. The diagnosis came as a shock.

In Bogdan’s case the disease avances four times faster than usual. By the end of December he was forced to use a wheel chair and since January he’s lying on a hospital bed, almost entirely paralyzed and barely able to breathe by himself. He only let his family know at the beginning of January, when his state worsened and he found himself unable to fend for himself in any way.

The disease evolved at a very high pace

The newspaper “Adevarul” contacted Bogdan’s mother two days before she came back home from Germany. She was at Bogdan’s side and crying. “We found out on the 10th of January. He didn’t tell us before, didn’t want to cause us pain. He’s in a good state of mind, he can still eat and talk even though with difficultly because of the oxygen mask, but he can’t use his arms and legs anymore. He’s a vegetable,” says Bogdan’s mother among sobs. “I pray to God for a miracle, he’s such a good boy, such a loving child. I spend the whole day with him. Friends from the theatre come to visit, they took care of him, he wasn’t alone for a second. I pray to God to save him.”

The family needs 50.000 Euro

“Adevarul” also contacted Monica, his sister, who explained that her brother’s only chance is a stem cell transplant, a procedure that can be successfully performed at the Beike Biotechnology clinic in Thailand. “This disease usually evolves between three and five years, but his case is particularly dangerous. Before Christmas he could still walk and in January he was almost entirely paralyzed. When we came to the hospital in Düsseldorf he was already wearing an oxygen mask. His only chance is a stem cell transplant. We already sent the documents to the clinic in Thailand, and the doctors told us the transplant must be carried out as soon as possible. The problem is that he can’t be transported as a normal passenger, he needs special transportation. The costs for the transport and transplant are very high, around 50.000 Euro,” Monica explained.

UPDATE

Dear friends and readers, thank you so much for your help and support for Bogdan during these last months! Further donations won’t be necessary, but all the prayer you can give. Bogdan has passed away on the 21st of June, “tranquil and without regrets.” These were his words. The disease had advanced very quickly – four times faster than in the average case – and left him with solely the command of his eyes in a matter of months. He will always be remembered, loved and cherished.

R.I.P. Bogdan Nicula

Much love,

Ana