This weeks World Mama has come a long way. Alina was born in Romania, but moved to Canada after graduating from Medical School. Get to know this amazing mama, who built a new life on the other side of the world, met the love of her life and started a family. They have encountered beautiful and terrifying things together. Beautiful because of their children, terrifying because her husband got ill. But it has all led Alina to a new path in life. A new way of living and giving back to others. You’ve got to meet this positive and inspiring mama!
My story begins in a city in the East of Romania where I was born and raised. I am an only child. I had a care-free childhood with my parents and grand-mother doting after me. I grew up under communism until 5th grade when our dictator got shot and thus democracy arrived in Romania.
This is not a story about my life during communism. This is about the two big opportunities I had once Romania became a democratic country. The first was to visit France. When I was in 6th grade I stayed with a lovely couple of French retirees for 3 months. While living in France I experienced a completely different life than the one I had in Romania. A life that I never thought was possible and a life that had me longing for more when I returned home.
I went to Medical School when I was 18 years old because this is what every Romanian child who had good grades and loved their parents did back then. Fortunately for me, medical school fit me like a glove. It taught and challenged me every day. I loved every second of it (except for some long, sleepless nights). This is when the second opportunity comes into play. Since Romania was not a communist country anymore, we were allowed to leave the country and visit or move to other countries anytime we saw fit.
So after graduating Medical School, I decided to move to Canada to start a Masters in Biochemistry in Saskatoon. So here I was, at the age of 25, in a foreign country, while trying to speak and understand a language that I only knew how to read and write. My understanding of Canadian English was limited, since I was used to the British way of pronouncing words and Canadians definitely have a different accent.
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I had many funny mishaps during the first months in Canada, such as not knowing how to ask the bus driver where my stop was and deciding to walk home all to the way from University (which was a 30 minute walk – not bad in good weather). Or when my lab partner asked me to bring a bucket of ice for our experiments, but I had no idea what the word bucket meant. Although I asked my lab partner to repeat the word slowly a few times, I still couldn’t figure out what he meant. I surely didn’t need repetition of the word bucket. What I needed was a dictionary.
My move to Canada had many, many positive parts. I made wonderful friends, I saw beautiful places, and last, but not least, I met David, the smartest and most loyal guy I know, who one year later asked me to marry him (which I did!).
We now live in Calgary where we bought a house and had a boy, then a girl, who are now 7 and 4 years old.
But life as parents was not always easy. It certainly threw a few curveballs at us. One was my husband being diagnosed with cancer when our first born, our son, was only 4 months. It was a Thanksgiving weekend in 2009 and we had out-of-town guests. We received a phone call from our family doctor on a Sunday morning to go to her office. Although we were waiting for the results of an ultrasound my husband has done a few days before, it never occurred to us that he would receive a cancer diagnosis. The world fell on us.
We saw three different specialists until we decided to go with the one who not only was highly recommended, but had great bedside manners. Now, seven years after my husband’s diagnosis and surgery, he is still symptom-free and is leading a healthy lifestyle. After my husband’s cancer diagnosis, I spent many hours reading every book from the library and every article from the internet that taught me what changes I can make to our diet and lifestyle to lower the risk of cancer and to be healthy and stay healthy for a long time.
This was the reason why I decided to go to Nutrition School and become a Holistic Nutritional Consultant. Which helped me with the next curveball we received.
Our son was around 3 years old when he had been experiencing poor health for almost a year. Frequent colds, red, painful patches on his thighs and asthma-like symptoms, which required trips to E.R. due to wheezing and breathing difficulty. I wrote about our experience on my blog. After learning in nutrition school that my son’s symptoms were textbook for food sensitivities, I took him to a naturopathic doctor who diagnosed him with gluten and dairy sensitivity. Once I removed gluten and dairy from his diet he became a different child with less frequent and severe colds and no eczema. Such a relief!
We made many changes in our diet and lifestyle after my husband was diagnosed with cancer and then we made a few more after our son was diagnosed with gluten and dairy sensitivity. Looking back, I realize that those two diagnoses (although I didn’t see it at the time) had a wonderful silver lining. They helped our family start eating healthy and (hopefully) live a long, healthy life.
As a Holistic Nutritional Consultant, I now teach mothers help their families make healthier food choices and lead healthier lives, with a focus on picky eating, constipation, and food sensitivities and allergies.When I was in my early 20s I thought life was easy. I thought I could deal with everything that life throws at me. Now in my late 30s, I still believe that I can deal with anything, but I see life in a different light. I now know that there will always be ups and downs. I know that after ups there are always downs. But I also know that after downs there are always ups. I am now more equipped to deal with the lows, but I am also more equipped to enjoy the highs.
Let’s raise a (green juice) glass to the high moments in our life and let’s always see the bright side of the low moments. We might not see it then and there, but it’s always there. It’s waiting for us to notice it.