It is with great sadness that Concrete has been informed of the death of second year UEA Politics student, Alexandra Madalina Tihan. Alexandra, who was known to some as Alex or Allie, was originally from Romania and came to study in Norwich from 2013.
Alexandra ran a blog, Spices and Youth, where she published her thoughts, photographs, vegan recipes and covers of songs she performed with her brother. In the introduction, she said: “I am a being wanting to be healthy in body and spirit, recovering after something that has lost me from myself.”
Tributes have come in from lots of Alex’s friends. Katie Murray, who lived with Alex in her first year said:
“Alex was the first person I spoke to at Uni, we sat and chatted for ages over a cup of tea. I think she is one of the loveliest, most positive and optimistic person I have met. She was also the most health conscious person I know and always tried to eat as healthy and be as healthy as possible, which is why it’s so upsetting that she got ill. She was also really stylish and I would go to her if I didn’t know what to wear before going out and she would do my hair for me. Alex didn’t want any of us to know that she was ill but we suspected it when she didn’t come back to Uni this year. However we didn’t realise how ill she actually was until it was too late, she’d even promised to come and visit us this term. My thoughts at the moment go to Alex’s family as they were very close knit and I can’t imagine what they are going through right now. I feel lucky to have known Alex and it’s not fair that she is not still with us. I think everyone should check out her blog though, she was a really talented writer.”
Another friend, Albana Aruqaj said:
“It’s quite hard to capture Alex’s character with just words. She was ultimately the kindest and most energetic person I ever met at university and truly one of a kind. It is hard to imagine Alex as no longer in the world, she was truly very rare in that she seemed to savour every moment of life. She had so much promise, so many plans for the future. We will never forget Alex, and we will never meet anyone quite like her.”
Dan Wrigglesworth captured how energetic and positive Alex was, saying:
“Alex was truly inspirational. Her energy and passion for life were just the start of her amazing character. Alex was always so positive and understood what it was to live life and I will always aspire to have that attitude and the ability to always be so positive and brave. I feel lucky to have not only met Alex but to have lived with her in first year. The world is a darker place without her but her spirit, I am sure, will live on through the people she touched in her day to day life. I will always remember her, her positive attitude and the way she always lifted the mood wherever she was.”
Sophie Brinkley, a UEA Society Culture and Media student, knew Alexandra through a society founded by Sophie last year, UEA Humanist Society. Alexandra showed great enthusiasm in joining the committee of the society, feeling that it could bring “something very beautiful indeed” to campus. Unfortunately, UEA Humanist Society was not launched this year, but is to be re-launched in 2015/16 with all events dedicated to Alexandra. Sophie said:
“Alex, we were by no means close. In fact, I hadn’t seen your face in over five months. Through our few treasured encounters, know that I saw the beauty of your heart, and that is a testament to your character. I remember the first time I met you. We had both flunked our first formative assessments and were equally determined to do better. You invited me to your halls to get to know each other and work out where we went wrong. You cooked me this lovely traditional Romanian dish and sprinkled almonds on top. That was the first time I ate almonds. I know you had a passion for good nutrition; I would often check out the food links you’d share on your Facebook page. I’m going to make a meal every now and then from those recipes. We talked about all sorts, and I distinctly remember the way your lovely teeth would peer through this almost permanent gleaming half smile. I remember thinking, she has such lovely skin and hair, perhaps I really should eat better. We then went to the library and started talking about ideas. We spoke of philosophy, religion and love. You told me how dearly you loved your beautiful girlfriend, Andra. That smile, I’ve only seen a smile so full of joy a handful of times in my life. You told me that Andra was coming to UEA, and that you would be starting your lives together. They did start. Andra told me yesterday that Alexandra was the best person she had met in her entire life. Alex wanted to join the committee of a society that I was creating last year. The society did not start up, due to my own personal struggles. However, in the 2015-2016 academic year The UEA Humanist Society will launch, and every event we do and every success we have will be dedicated to Alexandra Madalina Tihan. Her name will be immortalised in her ideas, and we will represent one of those.
“Be brave, be free. Free of people that let you down, free of people that belittle you, free of toxic relationships that leave you dry and unhappy. Be brave.”
– Alexandra Madalina Tihan (1994-2015)”
A memorial has been arranged by the university on Monday 16th March at 12:00, which will include a one minute silence followed by stories and memories being shared. The university flag will also fly at half mast all next week. It was asked that Concrete also publish the following poem written by Alex, translated from Romanian by Noemi Tavitan.
I saw floating above the fluid mass
that something I was looking for.
Strands of matter struggling to reach it
higher than all I was,
higher than my equivocal space
higher than the intergalactic green that trembled.
The zenith stood idle in the drop of air,
beguiled by the crepuscular era.
Volatile matters of non-being covered
the area of crimson volume.
But it was too high,
too high for the terrestrial transience
too high for that traveller,
too high for all that was lost in nothingness.