Euphemisms at times allow the obviously disturbing to appear and sound more palatable.

Gentrification is a process of renovation of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of the influx of more affluent residents.

Some would say the word gentrification is a euphemism.

Another way of describing it is that affluent people have money to invest and see an opportunity to buy into a declining neighborhood, renovate the properties, charge higher rents and move the poorer people out.

Where they end up, who cares?

Currently there are regions with sky high real estate prices that continue to surge.

San Francisco and New York are two examples that come to mind.

The professional female tennis world is blessed with top players from all over the world, many primarily from Europe.

SIMONA HALEP article, By Lbp06 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 wikimedia

In terms of gentrification, there is a long held expression that America walks on the past with a tear down and rebuild approach while Europe preserves and walks with its historical past.

Which approach is better?

Who can say?

Given the long entrenched conflicts in some parts of the world, sometimes is it better to completely tear down the past and start over? Is it better to forget a painful history and focus only on the present and the future?

For many, Romania is a fascinating and mysterious country nestled in a very troubled part of the world.

This writer once worked with a very young stylish elegant dark haired brunette who as we professionally became better acquainted informed me that she was Romanian.

I thought that she was Italian.

I was fascinated by the region but approached the subject cautiously.

According to her, Romanians are often of Italian descent and their history stretches deep into Roman times, hence the name.

She suggested that if I wanted to get a better feel for the region to watch the film Before The Rain. article, Mikado Films Italy photo credit

Before the Rain is a 1994 British-French-Macedonian film starring Katrin Cartlidge, Rade Šerbedžija, Grégoire Colin, and Labina Mitevska. It was directed and written by Milcho Manchevski.

The music was created by the band Anastasia.

The sound track to the film is so moving and penetrating that while it lasts on YouTube, you might want to check it out.

Anastasia – Before The Rain OST:

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and won the Golden Lion award at 51st Venice International Film Festival, alongside Vive L’Amour by Tsai Ming-liang.

As the story unfolds, when a mysterious incident in the fabled Macedonian mountains blows out of proportion, it threatens to start a civil war.

On March 10, 1995, the legendary movie reviewer Roger Ebert shares his thoughts on the film and as usual provides a very simple and respectful way to express ideas on a very complex subject. “If you are the average consumer of news in North America, you have been hearing about the Bosnians, the Serbs and the Croats for years now, and you are not sure quite where they all are, or why they are fighting, or which are the people and which are the places. They are basically all a lot of people who hate each other, and the United Nations can’t do anything about it.

It’s not entirely your fault. The news reports concentrate on today’s violent developments; we get stories we can’t understand unless we already know so much that we don’t need them to begin with.”

He concludes, “This is one of the year’s best films.”

Romania’s Simona Halep is one of this year’s best female tennis players.

In fact, she has been at or near the top for several years and many are hoping that she finally makes a major breakthrough to reach a number one ranking.

Reporting that she missed a chance to claim the 2017 French Open title, related, “Simona Halep looked to be on the verge of claiming her first Grand Slam title as well as the No. 1 spot in the rankings.

Then it all fell apart.

Facing the unseeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in the French Open final, Halep took the first set and led 3-0 in the second. She then had three break points to move to 4-0. She eventually lost the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in her second final at Roland Garros.”

That victory at Roland Garros would have secured the world No. 1 ranking for Simona.

Good news for Romanian tennis would be a welcome occurrence.

For many, the two most famous Romanian tennis players are Ilie Nastase and Irina Spirlea, long retired and both known for their temperamental and questionable behavior.

Simona Halep is a breath of fresh Romanian air. article, By Mihnea Stanciu photos fallout wikimedia

She is popular with sponsors. She has partnered with a cutting edge respected clothing sponsor in .

In November of 2014 she also signed a deal with Vodafone Romania for three years. As of 2016, Simona endorses Hublot watches. As of 2017, Halep is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz Romania.

Thus it’s understandable that many are rooting for her to have a strong 2017 US Open run and place her in a position to make positive history.

On 21 November 2013, she won the award WTA’s Most Improved Player Of The Year for 2013. In December 2013, she was also named ESPN Center Court’s 2013 Most Improved Player.

Simona was the most clicked player on for two consecutive years (2014–2015), when she was awarded the WTA Most Popular Player of the Year prize.

After the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, Simona became the active player with the most consecutive weeks within the Top 10.

On August 3, 2017 at it was explained, “Simona Halep’s quest for the No.1 ranking could get a boost this week at the Citi Open, where the World No.2 took a wildcard to begin her North American summer hardcourt season.

The 25-year-old has had an opportunity to become the first Romanian woman to hold the No.1 ranking in each of her last three tournaments, first at the French Open, where she finished as the runner-up to Jelena Ostapenko, then at the Aegon International. Her best chance came at Wimbledon, where she was two points away from advancing to the semifinals, which would have clinched the top spot, but fell in three sets to Johanna Konta.”

In August of 2017 adds, “She’ll be one of the favorites to win the U.S. Open—she’s gone deep there the last two years, reaching the semifinals in 2015 (falling to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta) and the quarterfinals in 2016 (falling to then-world No. 1 Serena Williams in three sets).

~ She’s finished the last three years in the Top 4, but this will be the first year that Serena Williams won’t be in her way— usually a major obstacle for the No. 2-ranked Romanian.”

Without the formidable American champion Serena Williams competing due to expecting her first child, the window of opportunity has opened up for Simona and the mounting pressure that partners with it.

Expectations are that with super stars Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova expected to compete at the Open, there could be some tough early draws for the top players, including Simona.

Simona lost her previous French Open final three years ago against Maria Sharapova.

Guess who is Simona’s first round draw at the 2017 US Open?

On August 25, 2017, according to the Washington Post, “It will be quite the welcome back to New York for five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova next week at the U.S. Open.

Not only will it be Sharapova’s first major tournament since returning from her suspension after failing a drug test for meldonium, the 2006 U.S. Open champion will get a marquee matchup as a wild card against world No. 2 Simona Halep in the first round.”

Simona is hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself.

In a land of female giants with powerful forehands, standing at 5 ft. 6 inches and weighing in at 132 pounds, Simona uses alternative assets to secure victories.

The informative site shares, “Romanian Simona Halep is the fastest female tennis player on the planet, according to data from Tennis Australia’s Game Insight Group (GIG). The Romanian hit a top speed of 23.04 km/h when sprinting more than three meters.

Using data collected over the last three years, GIG tracked the movement of players over a distance of three meters or more at the Australian Open, reports”

Perfect. Our Romanian beauty has built herself for speed. article, By Carine06 from UK – Simona Halep, CC BY-SA 2.0 wikimedia

Simona Halep has described her playing style as being an aggressive baseliner.

In terms of finishing number one, 2017 could be her year.

It would create huge momentum in placing a new face on Romanian tennis.

The power of the aforementioned film Behind The Rain is very telling.

From her infancy, Romania has been a land mired in brutal conflict.

The educational site is invaluable in giving a blow by blow accounting of a beautiful region drenched in conflict.

The Romans called the people of Romania Dacians. In 101-102 AD the Roman Emperor Trajan led a campaign against the Dacians.

The Romans exploited the rich ore deposits of Dacia. Gold and silver were especially plentiful, and were found in great quantities in the Western Carpathians. After Trajan’s conquest, he brought back to Rome over 165 tons of gold and 330 tons of silver.

A further campaign was fought in 105-106 AD and the Romans crushed the Dacians at the battle of Sarmizegetusa. Afterwards Dacia became a Roman province. Settlers from other parts of the Roman Empire were brought in and the local people became ‘Romanized’.

In the 3rd century the cost of defending Dacia from ‘barbarians’ became too great. In 271 Emperor Aurelian withdrew the Roman Empire south of the Danube.

Waves of migrants then came to Romania. In the 5th century came the Huns. In the 6th century they were followed by the Avars and in the 7th century Slavs.

Meanwhile in the 10th century a fierce people called the Magyars (ancestors of modern Hungarians) arrived.

As we fiercely move up the timeline, in 1940 Stalin forced Romania to surrender the eastern province of Bessarabia to Russia. Furthermore Hitler forced the Romanians to give Northern Transylvania to Hungary and to give other territory to Bulgaria.

Russian troops withdrew from Romania in 1958 and after 1960 Romania adopted an independent foreign policy.

In 1965 Nicolae Ceausescu became ruler of Romania.

Although Ceausescu had an independent foreign policy many say that he ruled Romania with a rod of iron. Mr. Ceausescu was determined to increase heavy industry in Romania but ordinary people suffered abject poverty. They also suffered terrible repression.

The Communist regime in Romania suddenly collapsed in 1989.

Ceausescu’s fellow Communists deserted him and he was arrested. The brutal irony was that while many were happily celebrating Christmas around the world, he and his wife were shot on December 25, 1989.

While it is important to remember the past and sometimes even honor it, in some cases is it better to finally tear down the past and not walk with it but on it?

In his piece for Lonely Planet, one of the world’s best travel sites, Mark Baker shares why he loves today’s Romania. “When I travel, I’m attracted to contrasts. In Romania, that means scenes of overloaded hay- and horse-carts sharing highway space with speeding Audis; or in cities, rows of regal ruins of former palaces standing side-by-side with gleaming new office buildings. article, photo credit

There’s never a dull moment. Bucharest has an unearned poor reputation, but through the cracks in the old facades, I see green shoots of creativity. It’s a city of hidden gardens and quirky cafes. Further afield, the mountains and rural areas are quiet, unexplored and still highly authentic. There’s a stillness and freshness in the air here that allows the mind freedom to roam.”

Simona Halep was born in the Dobrujan city of Constan?a, to Stere and Tania Halep, a family of Aromanian descent.

The Aromanians speak the Aromanian language, a Latin-derived language similar to Romanian, which has many slightly varying dialects of its own.

It descends from the Vulgar Latin spoken by the Paleo-Balkan peoples subsequent to their Romanization.

The term Aromanian derives directly from the Latin Romanus, meaning Roman citizen.

That is her past but fortunately so much regarding Simona Halep is about the present and the future. article, photo By Tabercil wikimedia

In her interviews we meet a beautiful young woman who is refreshing, engaging, respectful, generous in praise of others and vibrantly adorned with a great sense of humor.

She is as fast with a down to earth quip as she is racing to glory on the tennis courts.

In Simona’s quest to become the first Romanian woman in history to become ranked number one, we are passionately cheering her on.

Whether a super star tennis player likes it or not, or even disagrees with it, when you compete on a global stage, so much about you becomes symbolic.

Ilie Nastase and Irina Spirlea are the past.

Simona Halep is the future.

Simona Halep is a breath of much needed fresh air.

This is the new world of Romanian tennis and we are so happy to see it and if she reaches number one…….

Celebrate it.

~ ~ ~

OPENING PHOTO simona halep photo credit Roslan Rahman AFP Getty Images

By Simona_Halep_at_Qatar_Open_2014_Singles_Final.jpg: gabiderivative work: Tabercil – This file was derived from Simona Halep at Qatar Open 2014 Singles Final.jpg:, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Romanian tennis player Simona Halep to train in Australia for 2017 season