My grandfather means so much to me. His name was Octavian, but I´ve always called him Bubu (reads Booboo). He recently passed away, at the beautiful age of 92 years. I get chocked up and teary eyed writing this, but I feel like this is one of the ways that I want to praise him for the wonderful grandfather he was to me, for the incredibly husband he was to my grandmother Bida and for the idol I look up at to him to be.
I am so happy that I visited my grandparents in November last year. These are some of the very few photos I have toghether with Bida and Bubu <3
Bubu is from Romania, as am I. Him and Bida raised my older sister Catalina and I for many years during our childhood. Although we came from humble livings, a part of the middle class in Romania I would say, life was very simple, strict and yet so beautiful growing up in our apartment, in a block that for many years I remember being on a list over buildings that are in danger of collapsing during a next earthquake. From the little time I spent watching TV, besides Spanish “telemundos”, Dallas and Beverly Hills, I remember the photos of missing children that would show up after the news… I remember not feeling safe being outside and always being aware of my surroundings.
At the same time, I remember how safe of a life my grandparents created every single day, for myself and my older sister. We had so strict rules and rutines, with extreme focus on school and homework every day – that we knew of not much else. We were so happy and content in our safe and strict bubble. We didn´t have much, but we lacked nothing. I would not trade my childhood and memories for anything in the world!
I know too little of my grandfather´s life. When I travel to Southampton for his funeral next week, I will make sure to learn more of his life. Because it was INCREDIBLE!
* Updated: During my trip to Southampton to be with my family at the funeral of Bubu, I learned that he had not one, but two university degrees! One as an engineer and one as a philosopher. He also held a Phd. in technical science. He was recruited to work in the UN, a position which he held for 5 years, before he went on to be the ambassador for Romania for many years, in 11 countries! He eventually retired to dedicate his time to raise and teach his two daughters, my mom Ileana and my auntie, Roxana, and later on, my sister Catalina and me – goals which he fullfilled with complete dedication. He also did private tutoring lessons of university level of mathematics, physics and chemistry. I am in such awe of my grandfather, Bubu, that words are not enough. *
For fun, he solved math equations. This says a little of just how smart Bubu was.
Bubu and Bida raised two beautiful daughters which both went into medicine and became doctors, and two beautiful grandchildren. My older sister definitely got his love for all things mathematics, physics and chemistry. She is today a math teacher and thoroughly enjoys solving a math problem for fun – just like Bubu! I have so much respect for that, as I am the complete opposite. My brain works best creatively, with words, with pictures, and on necessary occasion, with numbers.
What I know of mathematics, in other words, what has stayed in my head about mathematics, I know from Bubu. I spent hours, weekends, summers and winters doing mathematics, physics and chemistry with him. I so tried to not show frustration whenever I didn´t understand a problem, or to show that I was bored after hours of sitting at the table doing homework – but somehow, I think he always sensed this. Or maybe I wasn´t as good at hiding my emotions as I thought… Either way, he never gave up, we never called it a night, until I could solve the problem on my own, and understood why the answer came out as it is.
I remember how he loved to sip his coffee, but told my sister and I never to sip – it´s rude, he said. I don´t think he was aware that he sipped himself, and of course, we never spoke against him. I remember him and my grandmother laying in bed enjoying a lunch spread and enjoying each other conversation so intently, and so relaxed together.
I remember bits and pieces of my childhood with Bubu. He was the best. Writing this, made be realise just how much of an impact he had on my life. How much what he taught me has made me the person I am today. Not just because of my time with him, what we did together, but because of what values, lessons and life experiences he passed on to me, by being Bubu.
These are 92 beautiful things my loving grandfather Bubu has taught me:
- To be diplomatic.
- To be patient.
- That babies are entertained by the simplest things like a rattle, while sitting on your tummy and you lay in you bed.
- That damp which I see on my glasses when I go from outside in rain, to inside and warm, is condensation.
- How to be calm and collected.
- How to be poised.
- How holding hands feels like the simplest, yet one of the most touching ways to tell someone that you love them.
- Not to take small sips of water and go around carrying a water bottle. Drink when I´m thirsty and that´s it.
- Smile, it lightens up your face and someone else´s day.
- Mathematics. Oh, so much mathematics.
- Physics. Oh, so much physics.
- That I used to love equations, that was the most fun I got out of maths.
- That I could have a career as a detective. Every time he dropped something on the floor, like a button or something small, I rushed to the opportunity to trace his steps back and estimate in which directions the piece could have gone in, if it had bounced several times and so on… Usually I found the piece and it was the greatest feeling!
- Not to sip coffee – it´s rude.
- How to love.
- To always close the top button of a shirt og to wear tops that go all the way up to my neck, as to not catch a cold. “Inchide-te la gat”… <3
- To dress impeccably.
- To work hard.
- To enjoy rutines.
- To watch my health.
- To be strict and clear.
- Wear a hat – it´s cool!
- Dust, thread or small things that your eye catches on the floor that shouldn´t be there, must be plucked up, even if you can hoover them later.
- To straiten the duffles (if a carpet or table cloth has you know the threads at each end…).
- If you are going to do something, do it properly.
- Be successful.
- Have a career – there is no other option. For your life quality, this will mean a lot.
- Take things seriously.
- Say please and thank you.
- Be respectful, always.
- Be polite, always.
- Never cheat.
- Don´t play around too much.
- There is no such thing as boredom. Be productive.
- Don´t curse.
- Stay safe.
- Always let your close ones know where you are.
- Work to make a change in the world.
- Stick to a schedule.
- Laugh – you will feel better.
- Stay classy.
- Don´t use q-tips.
- Time flies.
- Money matters.
- Listen to Italian music.
- Love Italy – it´s beautiful!
- Take extreme care of the things you own.
- Appreciate what you have.
- Appreciate the small things.
- Always be you, don´t be someone you are not.
- Stay calm.
- Watch your cholesterol.
- Enjoy a movie.
- Solve problems.
- Keep up with the news.
- Love your other half.
- Keep your nails short and clean.
- Sleep well.
- Wear slippers inside.
- You have a great impact on others.
- Be smart.
- To love school, because he was such a great math, physics and chemistry teacher – NOT my strongest sides…
- To love stillness and quiet.
- Not to drag my feet.
- Never lie.
- Be at the top of your class.
- Never give up.
- I can learn this, and I will, and I will feel great about it afterwards!
- Watch TV for a short period of time.
- The struggle of life: Life can be very hard. I should always have something solid to fall back on, such as a solid education and respected career.
- To always take good care of the things I own.
- That people can see your whole soul through your eyes.
- What I know of mathematics, physics and chemistry.
- To always walk carefully down the stairs.
- You don´t need much in life.
- Wear glasses – the´re cool!
- Be a good role model to those younger than you.
- Take pictures! I don´t think I have 1 (!!) photograph of myself and Bubu or Bida before the age of 10!
- Life is best when you surround yourself with the people that you love.
- Be kind.
- Be loyal.
- Enjoy food.
- Write things down on paper with a pen or a pencil.
- Solve mathematical problems – it keep your brain alert.
- Make life count. It will end one day.
Te iubesc mult, Bubuletul meu! <3 Insemni enormt de mult pentru mine. Ii multumesc lui Domnul Dumnezeu ca am crescut cu matale si Bida! Ne vedem in cer <3
I love you, Bubu! <3