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Chapter 12  Sharing, Smiling and Acceptance (English Translation)

Gabriela Buzura, Turda, Romania: 22 April 2012

Dear Toby,
Today is a special day for you, for several reasons. The most important is that you will meet your maternal grandfather. Also, today you have started your first visit to Romania, your mother’s native country. And finally, today you travelled for the first time in an aeroplane. That’s a few too many new things for one day, don’t you think?

It’s been said it’s important and good for one’s mental health to try something new once per week. For example, eat some food you haven’t tried before; visit a new place; or why not take a parachute jump, or do bungee jumping? You can view this as a game that brings with it cognitive development, flexibility in thinking, and a release of endorphins, which protects against stress in adulthood. Finally, I would say it is very enjoyable.

I’m glad that from a young age you have the opportunity to do this simple and useful practice—with your parents’ help, of course. By the way, your parents are very special people who, besides their unconditional love for you, will offer you excellent guidance towards the necessary balance for a harmonious development as you grow up.

I have learned many things from your parents, and I’m sure I still have loads more to learn, but I’d like to tell you how I met them. When I was eleven years old, I was in fifth grade in school. The first foreign language taught in school was French, and I had started studying it in the second grade. From the fifth grade, a second foreign language, English, was added to the school curriculum. Even now, I can visualise the three-quarters’ page conversation between Tom and Jerry (cat and mouse characters from a children’s cartoon I had grown up with), and that was the first English lesson. I was so happy with the English language that, at home, I re-read that conversation until I had memorised it completely. But aside from that, I was also very happy with the nice and warm young teacher who wrote this dialogue on the blackboard, and who was no other than… guess! Your mother! Yes, this is how I met your mother, who was around 23-years-old, according to my calculations. My love of English brought us together, because I was eager to learn more English at a faster rate. And then I asked her to give me private tuition, and your mother came every Saturday to my house, and she taught me more and more. In this way, we became friends—even more so when we discovered that our families knew each other, and our mothers had attended the same school.

Time passed and your mother went to England. For a while, we kept in touch. Bianca wrote letters to me in which she included grammar exercises. She also sent me birthday cards. And she telephoned me on the day my father died, which meant a lot to me. Even though we had a special link, somehow we lost touch, and for a few years we didn’t know anything about each other. Then in December 2008, I found her again through your uncle, your mother’s brother. I was very happy when I met Nick through a socialising network. I knew that through him I could obtain news about your mother, and that is what happened. But in the end, I started to spend more time talking to him than talking to your mother, and now, as you can anticipate, Nick became my lover, and I hope one day will become my husband and the father of our children. About your father, I can tell you he is an extraordinary man! I have met him four times so far, because he has received me in his house four times, and each time he has affectionately asked me to return. Indeed, he is a special man, whom I admire, appreciate and respect.

But now let’s return to the original purpose of this letter. What do I do to help make this world a better place? Or at least what do I hope to do, which is based on my wish to help people in distress? Studying clinical psychology, a field which requires continual study, I consider it will take me many years to become rigorously prepared to contribute to making the world a better place by putting my aptitudes and skills to use in the service of those who need help and support due to their mental health problems. And yet, through writing this letter, your parents have helped me analyse my behaviour a bit more in this direction to make the world a better place, and I discovered that, actually, I already do a few things in this respect. I would like to thank them, because without their idea of writing a letter to you, I wouldn’t have realised that even small things can have a big impact.

In summary, I share, I smile and I accept. That is how I contribute towards making the world a better place. These are things that are simple, but that have a powerful effect on people, because they hold a special importance in inter-personal relationships. So, my dear little nephew, I don’t have anything else to say, other than to welcome you into this world. I hope you discover the roads less travelled, and on which to walk smiling (in this way, your steps will be full of life), and to accept that the path that you have chosen will not satisfy everybody (this way you will be able to continue your chosen path), and to share everything you will find with those you will meet in your journey (in this way you will become immortal).

Lots of love,
Your aunt Gaby

P.S. Your melting smile has already touched loads of hearts.

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