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Friday, September 30, 2005
Morning fun!
Just when I thought the night is finished without anything good or interesting happening, my colleague R came across this! The Romanian Mint Rubbing Association’s translations of ancient Romanian wisdom! Mint Rubbing means something like completely wasting your time, aka “Cutting leaves for the dogs”. As far as I am concerned, the translation is not very funny for foreigners, but it definitely can make Romanians laugh, mostly because when reading these phrases in English, you need a few seconds to figure out what the Romanian expression is. So enjoy! And a personal favourite - rubbing mint techniques!
posted by Alina @ 7:05 AM   10 comments
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Add-on to my list of favorite beverages
Up until recently I hardly ever drank RedBull. Why? Because I was convinced it really couldn’t help me stay awake. Yet these past weeks (and especially since I started the night shifts) I have been indulging myself with one RedBull every now and then. Do I think it helps? Maybe…Why do I actually drink it? Well, there are more options: the great commercials (not even close), the placebo effect I hope for and the fact that I am desperate after two days with not that much sleep as people are moving in my dorm (one of the pros), the fact that K seems to like it so much (most surely!).

As I said, getting some sleep hasn’t been an easy task, especially with drilling machines in the next room…But tonight, on my way to work, I was suddenly waken up. No, it wasn’t the large coffee I had before leaving, it was the taxi drive to the office. As one of my colleagues called a cab to take him home, my driver thought he should take him, so a 12-15 minutes ride turned into an about 7 minutes one! Well, the adrenaline had a powerful effect. As I was saying earlier to a friend, when you see death right in your face every 5 seconds, you kind of stop feeling sleepy!

Anyway, the happening had its good effect: this shift seemed really short. And now I am back to my posting habit, one hour and something before my shift ends.

Another issue on my mind is my dorm’s internet connection. I hope it will happen soon as I need it just as I need air. I am supposed to do a lot of research, most of it online. So, it is kind of official, my final paper will be on blogs…The angle? Oh, I have no idea about that yet, but I have to have it really clear in my mind by October15-20. I am pretty excited about it and maybe this will be a good enough reason to actually work on it! :)

Other good things related to night shifts: I discovered some really tasty snacks and a really nice smelling Vietnamese soup! My colleague Sabina showed me the way.
posted by Alina @ 5:43 AM   9 comments
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Two down
Well, it’s almost 5 am, which means about 2 more hours to go of my shift. I am quite tired, as I refused any coffee tonight. Not because I don’t need it, but because I hope and pray for a deeper sleep…People are moving in my dorm, so it’s not an easy task to sleep during the day

Other than that, the Buddenbrooks start to grow on me. It is actually impossible not to fall in love with Tony and her childish, yet so full of pride attitude. As far as I am concerned, she’s the character that most deserves to go ahead with reading the 700 pages of this huge book.

I am also sure I amazed my colleagues with my need of warmth…I am always cold, most surely the only one at this floor that is cold all the time. The AC is heating the atmosphere, but apparently, not enough for me. Sometimes I think I am lizard-like: I need a lot of heat and my body loses it way too quickly.
posted by Alina @ 6:05 AM   4 comments
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
One down, four more to go!
My first night shift at the new job. Actually, a lot easier than I expected, especially as it was the first night and I always feel tired on those, as I don’t get to sleep much before work. This time I played it smart: woke up at 5 am, so I got to sleep for about 5-6 hours during the day. It is not 5.46 and in less than one hour and a half I’ll be off to my bed. I cannot really say when time passed. I answered emails, had some chat sessions, no phone calls…yet I didn’t get bored and I never even had time to feel tired.

I also had a long conversation with Tota on messenger, changing opinions on school, work and books. And coffee with or without milk :)

Enough for now, a bit to tired for meaningful writing…
posted by Alina @ 5:51 AM   7 comments
Monday, September 26, 2005
Early on a Monday morning
We had a dry Sunday. We even got to see the sun for a little bit! The weathermen still say it will continue to rain some more, yet I somehow feel I can take it after more than 24 hours of being dry. Or maybe it’s the fact that I am on the night shift this week, which means going to and coming from work with a cab?

K wanted to buy some boots yesterday, so we went looking. Needless to say most of the stores have not moved on to displaying boots, at least in menswear, although it’s kind of cold and rainy outside and although the women’s wear sectors have…So if you want to buy something for the cold weather, don’t even thing of sporty boots, you don’t need that for now!
And if you want discounts for the summer collection, don’t expect that much yet, maybe somewhere in the middle of the winter. So it’s decided, most Romanian stores have a very weird (not to say stupid) marketing strategy.

As for K’s birthday, the celebration was pretty much just the two of us, except for some not planned clubbing. As it was Saturday, the club was so full we could hardly dance. We managed, but when we got out I had that taste in my mouth like I had just smoked a bit too much. It was passive smoking…

So, one week left before the University year starts. I am pretty excited, but not about the faculty itself (I tend to keep it cool after I have seen all the enthusiasm can go down the drain as it happened with journalism). It’s mostly about finally seeing my schedule and integrating it with my work and all the other stuff I need to do for the final paper. I’m also pretty excited about seeing their library and its schedule. I must admit that is more important then the actual class schedule.

As for my reading, the current book is Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks. It is pretty predictable at times, but some parts of it are really enjoyable. I guess I really wanted to see if a certain statement is true: “No one ever loved a German book”. It was a joke, but it gave me a reason to read a book that has been left on my shelf for several months.
posted by Alina @ 6:27 AM   6 comments
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Home is where you feel like it

Today in the car, talking to K. He said something like “Whenever I get close my house, this street especially, I suddenly start to feel better, no matter how hard my day was. It’s because I know I’ll enjoy the comfort of my home in about 5 minutes”. I must say I envied him for a moment. I have never had a place to really call home for more than a few months since I came to Bucharest… Only places that kept changing, or places where I spent most of my time but couldn’t officially call them home…It sometimes made me feel misplaced, true, and it could get pretty depressing. But it also taught me to feel at home easier, considering other factors – people mostly, not places.

Another thing, I am just discovering the wonders of being with someone and being seen by others as part of their life. I started by enjoying a perfect relationship (perfect here means something just as I dreamt of) and now I see others referring to us as a couple and it’s a known fact and nobody is hiding. It’s official for almost all parties involved.

It’s K’s birthday today. And he actually liked what I got him, although I was pretty sure he wouldn’t (I don’t know why, I am really stressed when buying presents to people that matter the most to me). My only regret is that it’s raining and I am pretty sure he had hoped for some sun on this day. But you cannot have it all!

Going back to rain, it’s sixth day in a row. And it keeps coming. Floods and lots of damage everywhere. And I have to wonder, weren’t the first floods enough? How much can this country take? We’re not that good at handling crisis situations, but we surely aren’t going to learn how to if these situations occur every two months! This land and its people really need a break. So, God, what do You think about it, can it be arranged?
posted by Alina @ 7:42 PM   12 comments
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Again, errors caused by rain
As you probably know from my last posts, my morning reading session is very important to me. It’s sometimes the only time I enjoy reading during a whole day. But this rainy weather has managed to spoil this as well.

When it rains, everybody turns to the subway trains. They’re still on time, regardless of the raining cats and dogs status from outside. So everybody tries to squeeze in, pushing and sliding through, pressing you against the others. That means not enough space to breathe normally, making an open book an impossible dream. I actually tried for two stops, then I stopped trying. It was pointless and I could feel the level of anger rising around me. What, you want to read while we hardly fit in this stupid train??? That’s being shameless!

So my nice 25 minutes session turned into some 10-15 minutes (for the last three stops of my ride the train was pretty empty). I’m looking forward to discovering this afternoon’s adventures…
posted by Alina @ 10:41 AM   27 comments
It started raining and it forgot to stop
It’s been raining for three days. So it got cold, wet and unpleasant. New lakes have suddenly appeared around the city, preventing people from doing anything. Traffic jams, crowded buses and trams and trolleys, thank God I take the subway to get to work!

Other than trying to not get soaking wet, some of my friends have been enjoying other fun activities: Sim has been trying to keep safe as the sewerage on her street could not face the water, so the kind people that take care of it opened it up. Thus she got a street and sidewalk covered in water with occasional large holes to fall into. All of us have been enjoying the pretty site of rain pouring into the Pipera subway stop, as we were wondering if the whole place was about to fall apart. It didn’t!

I personally hate rain when it forgets to stop and move along somewhere else. Too little light, too cold to feel like doing anything, too much worrying about not forgetting your umbrella…Hopefully it will stop today or tomorrow at least!

Other than that, I finished Cartarescu’s second part of Journal and moved on t Thomas Mann. I only have time to read on my subway trip to and from work, but it’s still something. As for writing here, that got to happen pretty rarely in the past week and I hope to change that.

As for the support business, it’s a crazy world we’re living in! I’m still enjoying it, but I do have my moments when I could kill the customer on the other end with my bare hands. Instead I shout a RTFM as my colleagues (that’s read the f****** manual) so wonderfully do.
posted by Alina @ 6:56 AM   4 comments
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
The Perfect Sunday
Well, guys, I had the most amazing Sunday! It started with sleeping late (had to recover after the Planters dancing experience) and just staying in bed for another half an hour (which doesn’t happen normally, I just jump out of bed and rush to get ready for work). At about one a clock we left, having a breakfast in our minds which eventually turned to into lunch when we finally saw the clock.

We left the car in Unirea’s parking and walked to Romana. On the way, we saw the Patria cinema and decided to stop and get tickets for “The Incredible 4”. We then went to the McDonalds for a quick lunch and hurried to the movie hall. The movie wasn’t really that good, pretty predictable and not very impressive altogether…But we enjoyed the actual process of watching it (phones turned off and everything) more than the story.

We then did a little shopping, took everything to K’s place and left to meet Cris for a pool session! It was already 7 PM when we got to Texas Club, a bowling and pool club in Regie. We went to the table, Cris and I were at our best in completely sucking…But we enjoyed being beaten by K sooo much! The way we played was hilarious so we couldn’t help laughing at ourselves. And as K bragged about beating us four times, I have to brag about us, two girls that suck at pool, actually winning one game!!!

I was free on Monday, so I used the day to catch up on my reading and have a long walk from Victoria to the University and then to the dorm. I also wanted to have a quick stop in a park, but I made the huge mistake to stop on a bench in front of the Bucharest National Opera. Really dirty around there! I guess they don’t clean it if they’re on vacation…

My Moday’s conclusion? I am brain-dead! Some 150 pages completely knocked my down! Yeah, it is Mircea Cartarescu’s Journal! Yeah, it isn’t the world’s easiest book to read. Still! At least I enjoyed it, although I was really tired in the end…I guess my brain can’t do more than 20-30 minutes of reading at once and it needs some practice which I’ll be more than happy to provide it with!
posted by Alina @ 1:35 PM   18 comments
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Clubbing night
Last night we went to a club called Planters. It was my first time there (actually the number of clubs I know is quite limited, so that K makes fun of me all the time as he has been here for such a short while compared to me and the knows all the hot spots) and I was very curious about how it looked like.

As it was a Saturday night, it was so crowded that you couldn’t drop a needle on the floor. One of K’s friends (we met two friends of his there) said it wasn’t a good idea to come there on a Saturday night. I replied it was a bad idea to go to any club on a Saturday night, as they are all really crowded.

So, the club…A lot of wooden furniture (I have no idea how they keep fires away), lots of smoke and movie-like spotlights (these actually were my favorite feature of the club), lots of girls, lots of guys, some call-girls as well. As always and as anywhere, the girls were dancing while the guys were watching (unless they were not hunting, trying to impress their friends girlfriend or other activities like these).

I also noticed this forty-something couple. She was dancing the whole time, he was not getting into the mood at first, but then they both had a great time. And I was thinking if I and my significant other in my mid-forties were going to have as much fun. Then I got distracted by this group of very young, sexy girls staying pretty close to us. One of them was observing me and K dance so I started observing them. This group of much older guys joined them, they were Italian, and they started dancing with them. Then part of the newly formed couples left together. I was thinking, come on, so much suddenly discovered true love??? Or are they paid to do this? If so, why would they? They all looked gorgeous and pretty smart…I chose tho believe I was not getting it right.

Later on I completely gave up observing others as I kept dancing with K for hours. I realized I was quite lucky to have him share my passion for dancing, for not being one of those girls with boyfriends that only dance when they’re alone or drunk or when trying to mark their territory.

Last night I always had my first Budwiser. Actually, I had asked K to get me a Carlsberg, but as they didn’t have, I got the Bud. When he told me what he had gotten me, I could hardly wait to try the famous brand that had inspired so funny commercials. It is quite good, but I really cannot understand the fuss, it didn’t become my favorite at that instant. I’ll probably stick to probably the best beer in the world! Yet I am sure this will be of no use to the producing company, as I don’t drink beer that much…
posted by Alina @ 12:27 PM   7 comments
Friday, September 09, 2005
Tips on How to Google a Potential Girlfriend
As you all know, or don’t know, I have started a new career in technical supporting. As I come to love and quite enjoy it most of the times, I’ve thought about launching a new WoBM product, called “How-to-articles”, this being the first of a longer or shorter series (depending on the time I have and the mood I’m in).

Our first topic that needs some support is how to find a great girlfriend (or at leas a girl you would be interested in going out with for a couple of times). In a world where time, speed and basically just staying attached to your computer is so important, these tips might actually help.

Why use Google and not some chat room you might ask. Well, to avoid the annoying asl pls first! :) And other stupid questions like “wanna cyber?” after the first “Hi” line. And because you can select several features to add to your search.

The first option is this: launch Google using your browser of choice. Type the system requirements as explicit and clear as possible. Make sure you type plenty of those, to reduce the number of returned pages. Then search all the pages returned by the search engine and use a Pros and Cons list to choose the future person. After selecting that person, you also have to try and locate some type of contact details to get in touch. If this operation is a success, then you can move to composing a funny-interesting-interested-not-a-freak email to send to that person. Then spend days/weeks/months trying to convince her you are the perfect couple and that you should meet.

Now I can sense the “WTF are you talking about?” question in your eyes and the smile saying “That’ll never work” smile on your lips. And to be honest, you are right! That is why we created a temporary workaround until our team can provide a solution for this error. As the workaround is very complicated and the technical details could kill you, I will use an example to describe it.

One day, a certain guy (let’s call him K) was in front of his computer, having his normal busy-busy day. As he had no use for the Internet connection for the moment, he though he should put that time to good use and download something. As he had already decided he liked Morandi’s song “Love me” and as he had heard the band had released some new singles, he thought he should google Morandi mp3s.

So he typed www.google.com or .ro in his browser and hit “Enter”. Then he typed “Morandi mp3” and he hit “Enter” again. He was somehow directed to a weird page (cherry-red and pink and a doggie-clock and lots of text) with a large post about Morandi “Love me”. He felt like reading the post and checking out who wrote it. It was this girl with a weird name for her country, Kayla Vincent, that happened to live in the same beautiful city as him, Bucharest.

He thought she was kind of interesting and maybe if she loved that song so much, she might have more mp3s of the same band. So he looked into her profile, got an YIM ID and typed an offline message.

The second day she replied that message stating she had the whole “Reverse” album which she intended to send via email. As her Internet Connection was kind of slow and she used the yahoo address to send the attachments it took a few days. They kept on talking on messenger and he thought he should send her some songs as well.

Even if he wanted to, he still wouldn’t be able to tell you how this turned into a daily activity: exchanging music, chit-chatting, having fun, sharing thoughts…One day they decided to meet to exchange movies (there was no way to do that via email!) so they went for a drink to a nice little terrace in Herastrau. He also brought some pictures from his sister’s engagement party that he had recently attended. They had fun, and then he drove her home.

About a week or so later, they were going to the mountains together and a month later they had serious problems spending 5 days apart! So, now tell me, isn’t this the perfect workaround? :))

I hope this will do for the repeated demands for a K post.
posted by Alina @ 1:10 PM   29 comments
Thursday, September 08, 2005
New keens
Every morning I enjoy my 20 something minutes of reading on my way to work. What’s not to enjoy? Underground train ride, people constantly bumping into you, no seats, no air, no room. But I somehow manage not to care about that. I open my book (like other people around me do with theirs or with their paper) and enjoy my short reading. Now interestingly colored by this bookmark I love (K brought it to me so this should be a good enough explanation which I’ll complete with a picture later on). Then I get off the train at the last stop along with hundreds of other people working in this area. I look at them and notice the same attitude, busy-in a hurry, got to get a snack, got to get a bottle of soda, got to get to work!

At work it gets more and more interesting every day. Everybody in the department is kinda cool and if you pay enough attention, you might learn something from all of them. So I discovered Sim has a blog in Spanish which was really refreshing (why do I feel like a blog groupie saying that???) and I discovered again people think I’m completely mesmerized with those I dislike. My reaction was no, no, no! Was I not obvious? But then I got to thinking about it. And I realized I only act unnatural about people I dislike. Why?

This is a scenario: a guy from work I cannot stand, an unchangeable reaction that feels so strong (although yesterday I decided I could allow him near me for about 5 minutes every week. He’s kinda smart, still sooooo fake!). The first time I saw him, I kept starring at him, being really quiet (that’s the only time I get to shut up). As deep down I believe not liking someone is bad, I do collect evidence to then hold everything against them and to reassure myself I am right to want to be on a different continent.

A colleague of mine from our beloved Journalism Faculty told me she changed jobs. She’s now working for a monthly magazine. Do they want part-timers? This was my first question. And I realized I wanted to write. Yeah, I am interested in a leisure column or something, something kinda metropolitan, something like “Sex and the city” but without that much sex and with a broader view on relationships (not just love relationships). I would also like to write more here, in my diary, in a novel sketch, in a script-to-be…Anywhere! I’m in a point in my life where I simply need writing as much as I need air.

About Sex and a City, Cris and I decided we should copy a good habit in that series: a weekend morning girls’ outing to chit-chat, relax and have coffee or something. It’s just the two of us for now, but we’re hoping to convince other women to join. We don’t have a clear picture of who to advertise this to, but never mind that. It’s the thought that counts (just as the fact that the road to hell is paved with good intentions does not count at the moment).

I am daily thinking about my final paper (journalism) and which teacher to do it with. I am just thinking cause when it gets to actually doing something, I find something more important to catch my eye. But hey, that is, in the end, just another form of writing…
posted by Alina @ 6:58 AM   13 comments
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Complete irony
This weekend I saw a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in four years. We used to be very close in our first two years on high-school and kept in touch throughout the next two. And after that complete blank. Until now. I remembered asking everybody if they knew something of her, anything, and always getting the same two letters answer “No”. She also told me she had been trying for a long time to get in touch with me. And it just happened now, a month or so before her change of countries. Yeah, she’s moving to Germany! Pretty ironic! She sent me a message saying “I looked for you all these years to tell you I never wanted to loose you”. My answer to that would be: “I found you after all these years only to loose you again”. Should I say thank God for Internet right now? Yes!

Another thing she said that surprised me “You know, people that don’t really know that much stuff are somewhat happier”! It didn’t surprise me as a fact, it surprised me because I sometimes wished I could be a dumb bimbo not realizing what’s going on around her. Funny, we still are a lot alike! And we also have the same name, the same star sign, pretty much the same attitude in what certain stuff are concerned. But is it really so? Can unconsciousness pass as happiness? Can you be truly happy if you don’t really have a correct clue about what happiness and sadness are? I don’t think so!

K is back, it is 14:30 and I’m still so far away from 20.00 when I’ll see him! :) Anyway…The ugly 5-day-period is gone!
posted by Alina @ 2:42 PM   13 comments
Friday, September 02, 2005
Just a bit lonely!
“In a city of infinite possibilities, it’s sometimes better to have only one” – I heard this last night while watching old episodes of “Sex and the City”. If somehow felt so true! Although monogamy seems overrated, not only in the trendy Manhattan, but even here, in trendy-wannabe, choosing to share your love with just one person still feels so overwhelming, fulfilling, exciting.

K is abroad for 5 days. One night down, four more to go…A long time, although for most people it’s a short while…Anyway, it’s Z’s wedding! And although I know there is no perfect marriage, I wish hers to be as close to perfection as possible!
posted by Alina @ 1:50 PM   10 comments
About Me

Name: Alina
Home: Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
About Me: "This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts". It's also where I feel free and my preferred means of expression.
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