Featured on Delano: My female role model

You can find the article I wrote about my female role model on http://www.delano.lu

The thought of writing about a female role model made me sceptical at first. The minute I got approached to write this text and upon learning the brief, I have to admit my mind got seriously stuck. I kept thinking and thinking about some of the people who have entered my life throughout the years, who might have shaped the person that I am today.

Truth be told, I have encountered a multitude of reverse role models over the years, men and women who have shown me how not to do things or what not to become, but frankly there were few people whom I have genuinely admired or looked up to.

Role model

And yet, I got to realise the bar was standing very high for me and had been set at that level from a fairly young age. There was one particular person, outside my family, who has shaped my life, my principles and values, in what I would argue were the most formative years for my personality – my teenage years.

This is my former high school Latin teacher Valeria Socaciu.

As her first name suggests, which comes from the Latin verb “valere” meaning “to be strong”, Valeria was a powerful and audacious woman who insisted on swimming against the stream. And for this, she was often misunderstood and undervalued by her students and fellow teachers alike.

The truth is, Ms Socaciu was and still is too great and too ambitious for the small, provincial town I grew up in. Her refusal to settle for less than what she believed to be right was difficult to understand by others, especially when it came to the strict grading system for a subject matter that wasn’t as highly regarded as mathematics or chemistry or to her expectation of students to memorise and recite excerpts of the Catilinarian Orations – a set of speeches given by statesman and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero to the Roman Senate.

She was for some, and at times, a sort of “persona non grata” and certainly didn’t score high in the Top 10 Best Loved high school teachers in my hometown.

Walking encyclopaedia

Yet, for me, she showed great intelligence and was a walking ancient history encyclopaedia. She was led by strong principles and never took a shortcut to accomplish what she envisioned for herself or for her students.

I truly admired her knowledge on a vast array of subjects such as history, art and culture and her ability to remain humble and focused, to instil a sense of normalcy in what had been decades of hard work and devotion.

And mostly, in the mind of my teenage self, I admired her for her ability to read and decipher all the Latin inscriptions one could come across while traveling, while reading old books or visiting museums.

I remember thinking of her when I first visited the Louvre Museum in Paris, getting to understand why she was so strict, even harsh at times, with students who wouldn’t take her class seriously. She wanted us to understand that Latin was the basis for the group of Romance languages and that the Roman Empire became one of the key foundations for Western societies.

Fairness & integrity

While I never wanted to become a teacher, like herself, I’ve always aspired to be a smart and knowledgeable person, to be self-confident and remain focused on what matters in life. Years later, I realised she was one of the first people to instil in me a clear sense of what is fair and what is not and inspired the commitment to never compromise on my integrity and stand up when people around me grow complacent about abuse and injustice.

Looking back on my teenage years, I think I resemble her in some respects. We have both been considered ‘‘inadequate’’ when casting our opinions or challenging the “status quo”, we both have strong convictions that fairness and hard work should be the underlying principles in achieving whatever goals we set.

In following my former teacher’s example, I have myself become an ‘‘outcast’’ in many people’s minds but thinking of my high school years this is exactly why I admired Ms Socaciu so much. She remained true to herself even when that made her unpopular.

Have I become so knowledgeable that I can read all the Latin inscriptions I come across in my travels? Far from it. But I have grown even more appreciative of people who are smart and knowledgeable, who remain humble and don’t lose focus no matter how bumpy the road gets. Because in the end, as Seneca once said, “there is no easy way from the earth to the stars” (Non est ad astra mollis e terris via).

Read the full text on Delano’s website here .

Explore the German town of Bernkastel-Kues along the Mosel river

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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018

Last Sunday I wandered around the charming streets of German town Bernkastel-Kues for the very first time. Despite knowing the German Mosel valley relatively well, I have never visited this twin town called the heart of the Middle Mosel and one of the most popular places to visit in the area.

Located nearly 75 km away from Luxembourg City, Bernkastel-Kues is most famous for its vineyards, amongst the oldest in Germany, and boasts a truly rich history spanning over several centuries.

Its colourful half-timbered houses from the Middle Ages, the historic market square or the Landshut castle ruins overlooking the town give you the perfect excuse to stroll around and explore their history.

While winter can be cold and windy, also due to the proximy of the Mosel river, summer is the perfect season to try over 40 hiking trails around the town and across the region.

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The Advent Calendar on the Market Square / © Roxana Mironescu December 2018

But if you do love winter and enjoy the weeks running up to Christmas, it might be worth visiting Bernkastel-Kues in December. The town is home to the largest Advent calendar in the region , which is displayed on the windows of a beautiful medieval building housing the Adler pharmany, located on the market square. Every evening, at 17:30, marks the opening of one door (or rather window), leading to the exhibit of both classic and more recent Disney cartoon characters alike.

Without further ado, I would like to present you the charming town of Bernkastel-Kues with a series of pictures taken by me on 16 December 2018. Enjoy and thanks for reaching this point. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🙂

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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018

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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018
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© Roxana Mironescu December 2018

“Nada que declarar” – a book by Teresa Ruiz Rosas

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If you happen to be in Luxembourg on the 29th of April 2017, don’t miss the chance to meet Peruvian writer Teresa Ruiy Rosa who will present her latest book “Nada que declarar”.  Written in Spanish, the book deals with the theme of women trafficking and migration, through the stories of two women, between Peru and Germany and is currently being translated into French.

The event is part of Time for Equality’s campaign “Learn/Share/Take Action” aimed at raising awareness on human trafficking and modern day slavery by making use of films, books and art. Learn more about Time for Equality here and find more details about the event here.

Teresa Ruiz Rosas was born in Arequipa, Peru in 1956. She studied literature and linguistics in Arequipa, Budapest, Barcelona and Freiburg and was a finalist for the 1994 Premio Herralde de Novela and the 1999 Juan Rulfo prize for short stories, awarded by the Instituto Cervantes in Paris.

Alongside her writing, she also translates German and Hungarian literature into Spanish. Ruiz Rosas lives in Cologne.

Novels:

 El copista

Barcelona: Anagrama 1994, 126 p.

German:  Ammann 1996

Netherlands: Wereldbibliothek 1998

La falaz posteridad

Lima (Peru only): Ed. San Marcos 2007, 368 p.

La mujer cambiada

Lima(Peru only): Ed. San Marcos 2008, 164 p.

Germany: Ralf Liebe Verlag

Wer fragt schon nach ‘Kuhle Wampe.’

Von der Liebe und anderen Gemeinheiten

Weilerswist: Ralf Liebe Verlag 2008, 320 p.

 Stories:

 El desván

Arequipa: La Campana Catalina 1989, 112 p.

German:Gallucci Verlag 1990

 Detrás de la Calle Toledo

Lima: Antares Artes & Letras 2004, 84 p. (trilingual: English, German, Spanish)

Das Porträt hat Dich geblendet

Bonn: Free Pen Verlag 2005, 192 p.

(bilingual: German, Spanish)

Namur avec amour

Copyright for all photos: © Roxana Mironescu April 2017

Located 160 km from Luxembourg-City, Namur (or Namen in Dutch) is the capital of the province of Namur, as well as of the French-speaking region Wallonia, home the Walloon Parliament.

One of the Namur’s highlights has to be its fortress, overlooking the old town and dating from the Roman era. Serving as a command centre of an important earldom in the Middle Ages, the citadel was then coveted and besieged by all the great powers of Europe between the 15th and 19th century. From 1891, it was transformed into a huge park, a real green lung overlooking the capital of Wallonia.

Today, the citadel is open to visitors all year-round, with guided tours on offer in French, English and Dutch. Don’t forget to greet the turtle master – a giant sculpture of a turtle standing on the Citadel. This work of art, ‘Searching for Utopia’, was designed by the Belgian artist Jan Fabre.

You can learn more about the fortress here and discover all of Namur’s hidden gems here.

If you are lucky, (highly recommended to plan your trip) when visiting Namur, you will get the chance to see the unique ‘stilt walkers of Namur’. They are one of the oldest stilt walker groups in the world. Several stilt fights take place during the year, notably around major celebrations such as Easter or Christmas, but also in September. One of the fights is between ”Avresses” – walkers from the New City with the red and white coloured stilts and the ”Melans” – walkers from the Old City with yellow and black stilts. During these fight, the walkers aim to get their competitors down to the ground with their stilts. The losing team has no walker standing on his stilt. On the day of my trip, it was the ”Melans” who won the fight, gathering the crowds of tourists around them, eager to take perfect snapshots of these walkers.