Ana was the name of one of my grandmothers. Only now I realize that she was the best coach and mentor I could have ever had. My grandma was for me the living example that everything is possible if set your mind to it. She was a pure “Ardeleanca” (a Romanian region in the NW of the country), married to a Muslim from Albania, both of them being entrepreneurs (confectioners) in an Estern European country before and during the communist regime
When I was 10, it was my grandma who emphasized to me the importance of getting access to the appropriate level of education. In those years, I was attending classes in a remote village and our primary teacher was taking care simultaneously of all 4 grades. While year 1 was having calligraphy, year 2 was having geography, year 3 could have music and year 4 math. The entire primary school was composed by 15 children.
Although she loved me, she carefully guided me through a choice that brought some distance between me and her, but which turned out to be essential for what I am today: to move with my dad in the country’s capital. A better school was the only reason my grandma had when she encouraged me to go to my dad. I know enough people with an admirable educational and professional path although they graduated in smaller cities. My grandma’s main purpose was to protect me, to make sure I would stay away from an unhealthy domestic environment and that I would benefit from the caregiving any child needs.
Furthermore, at 14 years old when I had my first ID and I was supposed to sign for the first time in my life, surprisingly, although everybody was calling me Cristina, my signature was “Ana” and so it is today, despite the fact that I recommend myself as being “Cristina”.
Somehow, “Ana” has always been the way I keep my grandma with me.