What’s Your Eleven …? Your Eleven Words I Mean

Book suggestions to get your summer reading list started off right!

What's Your Eleven...?

I Mean Your Eleven Words

Gemini born Tudor Chirila, our famous Romanian singer, TV and media personality, and also writer asks which are the most important 21 words to you, to me, to us all in his book ‘Exercises of Balance'.

I don't know much, but I know my favorite 21 words are...

Dimashq.  Baba (Father). Nini. Essence. Rose. Al Jazeera 5 (The 5th island).  Uncle (Al Midan). Buzza3arabiya (Arabic ice cream).  Apple shampoo. Silk.  Love.


Bucharest. Mamaie. Books.  Health. Travels. Cascade.

Istanbul. Bosphorus. Breeze.

Book suggestions to get your summer reading list started off right!

I was born on the 11th, at 11:00 o’clock 1982 (1010). 3 Times Eleven. 3 Cities.

And since my story has begun in DAMASCUS, I close my eyes, connect to the source, step into the Garden of Roses and enumerate the first 11 words I feel:

1.Dimashq - The earth of Damascus and her unique smell, especially after the rain. A sense of freshness and sour. A blend of old and new.

A mosaic of the variety of civilizations which have lived here. The highest vibration of them all.

An endless connection to that kind “of immortality” which continuously regenerates my soul.

The oxygen to my lungs. The inspiration and wisdom of the brain. The inner mother to embrace...

2.Baba (Father)

Love. His eyes are cascades of Love and tenderness, his soul a spring of joie de vivre and merriment, his heart a fountain of roses and the very essence of Love. A sparkle of Light. The sun in my sky. A kiss on my forehead.  Unconditional Love.

3.Nini (Sister)

 A spring of joy. The definition of tenderness. The hug that melts all negativity away.

A temple of magnified vibration.  The mother ... The solar energy.

The mill of infinite affection and love.

The queen of my soul

4.Essence (Al Midan)

The being is connected to the essence. Al Midani essence. To hundreds and hundreds of years by the very side of the Old Citadel of Damascus in the traditionalist neighborhood of Al Midan. A family who has kept the secret of the Damascene Spade safe to this day... and whose origins have rested unaltered for years. As a first, the youngsters of the family are 'out about', from Canada to the UAE ...

This is a family’s first.

 Who knows what other First I might live soon, very soon?


The fragrance I have woken to every single morning since birth. The petals which have caressed me. The perfume of her heartbeat... The perfume of Damascus 

6.Al Jazeera 5

The Citadel.  The Oasis of Roses. The shield.

Shedding one’s petals to turn them into a symphony of colorful experiences so that one revive in the heat of the Damascene sun.


Alhamdulillah. Thank God. One of the deepest and most meaningful words in Arabic to whisper and reverberate from my ears into the channels of my soul. Nobody says “Alhamdulillah” like my uncle.  Al-Iman. The unwavering faith.

The balanced.

My  Damascene “Gandhi”.  The Wise of My Life.

The one who knows what I feel from a distance.

For he is near and feels me.

Blood is thicker than water, my dearest.

God knows who else is near ...

8.Buzza 3arabiya (Arabic Icecream)

The taste of the goat milk caresses my taste buds as I remember the “kishta” ice cream filled with pistachios of the best quality. Ah, that ice cream!

9.Apple shampoo

And that smell! How could I ever forget that smell? It’s as if I am washing my hair with the squeezed green apple itself.


Petal-like. Velvet and soft materials. The Damasco – the famous material of the capital of flowers.

The materials had been brought from the very heart of Damascus for my father's Juliet.


An imperial capital – the City of Jasmine inspires strength. Stands tall and yet, she is warm.

She is beautiful and yet, modest.

Has a sweet, beautiful talk and she is truthful.

The blend of old and modern.

The grandeur of the oldest continuously inhabited capital of the world.

Her ability to regenerate through Balance and Wisdom. The Depth of her feelings... The immortality of her being.

And with every single word that I utter, I shall keep you alive, Forever and Always.  

For it’s your fire alone that has ever kept me aloof.

Damascus - Damascene Rose

As the seed of their Love rolls from the Bistro on your corner, I  step into the garden of the Romanian Athenaeum.

This is where they met: Mohamad and Letitia. The Muslim Damascene fell for the blue-eyed Christian Romanian and he has loved her for every single moment since he had laid his eyes on her in BUCHAREST - ROMANIA.

And another 11 words come to my mind:

My grandma rulz. I miss You so much. Especially our discussions about guys. I believe I will be needing a chitchat soon.  I am in the phone booth waiting for his call.

2.Clătite (Pancakes)

The Romanian traditional pancake sings my grandma’s stories and wisdom on true Love. On Heritage. Life stories. They are simply delicious. If you haven’t tried them, you should definitely indulge ...


The scenery of the Romanian landscape is simply breathtaking. I have an eternal crush on her mountains ...

You climb up, up, up and that’s it. It simply feels Home. And Balance – Body, Mind, and Soul


The seed of the love for books has sprung right over here

 5.The Romanian Athenaeum

This is where they had met: Mohamad and his Julieta...

More than just a symbol and a landmark of our Romanian culture, to me, the monument transcends poems and books. I perceive the Romanian Athenaeum as a cumulus of keynotes of Love and Strength which vibrate all over the Fetivalului Square, singing stories ...

6.Calea Victoriei

All dressed up in my flamenco white polka dotted black dress, my feet walk the fuchsia Jimmy Choos on Victoriei Avenue. I imagine him by my side. I am dancing my way on the avenue, doing the pirouette time and time again. And whenever I turn, he is there ... For now, all I can see is his allure.

7.The Herastrau Park

Now called King Micheal the 1st Park, after the death of his Majesty - God Rest His Soul in Peace, is by now my longtime partner. The endless walks I have had by the lake,  the deep conversations I have had amidst your vibrating trees, the hours of meditation... The time I have spent with the roses in your garden.  The earthing sessions ...

8. Dorobanti capitale

complemented by my evening rides on the Dorobanti Capitale streets. Capitale means capitals and it's an A-plus area. Each street is named after a capital. e.g. Rome, Athens, Rabat and so on and so forth

 9.Spring in Bucharest

A rainbow of colors and an explosion of flowers everywhere: Hyacinths,  Tulips, Freesias ...

Spring is definitely marked by magnolias. Oh, I am overwhelmed. Spring is just fantastic in Romania.

There is a spring, of flowers literally – not just of Life. I  simply adore it!

 10.My favorite quote

In the man, there is an endless raw of people.

În om e un șir nesfârșit de oameni.

Our National Poet – Mihai Eminescu

The city of my heart.

I dream of buying a house here.

I’d settle here someday later on.

The Council Square, The Poiana Brașov ... The beautiful memories I have regarding this city.

My Country of Culture. The very sense of Independence. Standing on my own feet and deciding my own destiny. I am kidding. I have always been guided through...

The pigeons of the Romanian Athenaeum hand me over to their friends, the Seagulls of the City of the Bosphorus - ISTANBUL, Shelter, Hub, and Friend.

And here You are - Eleven words for Istanbul, too.

1.The Bosphorus

I am gazing at you, my dearest Bosphorus, tumbling my eyes in the reflections of Light on your surface. My eyes follow the traces ships leave behind.

If I were a seagull I’d dive in the waves they leave as a tail upon crossing the Bosphorus and fly my way up and then dive again in the Mabeyn - in-between Asia and Europe. A cross-cultural bridge. A gate towards reaching one’s dreams. All you have to do is “Dare!” Climb on that ship. Be. Be yourself. Believe in your aspirations, cling to them and let go. Just flow together with the ships. Make no mistake, when the time is right, they will disembark you on the Land of Your Dream. But first, you must Dare. That’s the very first step! Dare to step off the straits of Hesitation, Fear or Whatever Hindrance there is. For there isn’t. You are the very bridge. The liaison you are looking for... is right over here

2.The Kahraman Maraș Ice Cream

It’s simply delicious. Or maybe it tastes like my childhood.


The high vibrational, perfect spot of tranquillity for my encounter with the seagulls.

4. The Egyptian Bazaar (Mısır Çarșısı)

Right by the New Mosque (Yeni Cami) and her lively pigeons, the Egyptian Bazaar has been renovated and the black and white tiles simply take me back to the very beginning. . . to Damascus. This is the perfect place to buy the Rose of Istanbul Essence.

5.Hagia Sophia

The Mosque that initially was a church.  May I call You a „hybrid”? Peacefulness and Blissfulness at its best.

 6.The Coffeeshop by the Topkapı Palace

I adore coffee... If coffee were a vice, well, then I’d indulge over and over again.

7.The perfumes and essences of Istanbul

Have you tried the essence of Istanbul?

I would. Especially the Rose of Istanbul ... It’s exquisite!

8.The Food

Fish and seafood by the Bosphorus. If that's not great, then I don't know what is.             

9.The warm-hearted Murat baker

During my stay, I have been privileged to eat the bread baked with Love and Gratefulness by Murat Unlu Mamulleri. The rye bread is simply delicious, and staying away from gluten has been a real challenge.

Every single buy was accompanied by a Muslim blessing, a prayer from the heart or a grateful thank you. I have just loved this bakery.

10.The people of the Seyrantepe neighborhood: the Florist, the Ciğ Köfteci (Bulgur Wheat Balls), the Hair Dresser, the team with the Happy market,  every single person who has smiled and bid me hello during my stay here.  Kind-hearted and merciful people.

All those people whom I haven’t met yet.

I will definitely be missing this.

As I am writing down my thoughts, all the cards pragmatically show that I am to leave Istanbul pretty soon. Unless I see myself on that plane taking me to the shore where I can dance El Flamenco to the rhythm of the waves, I won't believe it. I have to see it.

It’s not that I want to stay. It’s just that I don’t feel that You will let me go. Yes, I know. As strange as that!

 11. The Magic of a City whose mosaic is crafted with chaos, passion, vivacious colors, life, energy, and chameleonic changes. A city which I have never chosen and yet has never stopped choosing me.

And who knows, this time I might be choosing You.

Should I be granted the blessing of choosing You, over me, well then, my dearest, that would mean that I have been blessed with the greatest gift of them all: unconditional Love, baby!

Who knows what’s around the corner?

After all, it began right over here


What's Your Eleven? Your Eleven Words I mean ...? Or let's keep it 21, as inspirational Tudor Chirila asks. Shall we?

Photo Credit: Pinterest

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