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Saturday, July 29, 2006
The New Job
It’s official since yesterday. On the 10th of August I am leaving from my current company and then, on the 14th joining a different one. I will start as a technical writer and if all goes well, continue with PR and marketing, both directions using a lot more of what I have learned in FJSC.

This was not an easy decision. Actually, it was the hardest job related decision I’ve ever had to make. Because I have great colleagues and friends here, because I’ve never have had major issues to deal with and other such painful reasons. Yes, the new job is a quite interesting opportunity and I will no longer work in shifts. Besides, they will grant me the flexibility I need to get to school once in a while.

I am quite enthusiastic about the new company and job, however, I cannot help feeling sad for leaving! Vali, my boss, is already working on making me feel bad. He has given me one of the toys on his desk, a tiny cello singing donkey. He said I should see it every day and feel bad about leaving :).

It will be hard to say goodbye, but I need to move on and follow my own path. Also, I am quite sure that they will remain my friends afterwards. And we will keep seeing each other and keep having loads of fun.

Other than that, I am enjoying my car each day. And I am going to Constanta today with K and Cris, who needs a ride to there. It actually is a quite big day for me and K tomorrow, it’s our one year anniversary and we are going to spend it at the seaside!


Tags: Alina, Career, Love
posted by Alina @ 12:13 PM   21 comments
Thursday, July 27, 2006
No matter what I do and which way I choose, I always end up facing a new crossroad. A path to take, a lead to follow…It’s like each route I might be on divides at a point in numerous other possible routes and the one I choose is again split into two or more, and like that forever! I hope I make the right choice each time I have the opportunity to choose.

Tags: Personal, Alina, Life Choices
posted by Alina @ 12:19 PM   4 comments
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The Red Thing
Remember the red little thing, quite expensive actually that I was telling you about some time ago? Well, here she is, my little mushroom! Actually, one just like her, but that is really not that important anymore:
Ali, I bet you were not thingking of this, were you? Anyway, I've had her for almost a week now, remembering how to drive, learning how to do it in Bucharest and getting used to a new car. It's been only a short while, but I feel she's so me!

Tags: Personal, Cars, Peugeot
posted by Alina @ 8:23 AM   6 comments
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Seeing Old Friends
Last night I saw Mon after quite a long while. Of course, she took me again to a new place for me (and this time quite recently launched), Ai Vecchi Amici (Old Friends’ Place, more or less). We had some delicious desert (I forgot the name and they do not have an online menu) and some quite interesting taste of lemonade with mint.

Let me tell you I loved the place and the impeccable service. What I didn’t really love were the mosquitoes that, as always, loved to bite me…I know have dozens of itchy little bites on each leg.

Mon and I had the needed time to catch up and eventually ended up remembering a lot of events related to our years at FJSC. So many people we used to be close to that life is now leading to different paths! And I did love my time there, although I wouldn’t want to join the journalism field anytime soon.

She was telling me about how people see her as completely changed. Yes, she is quite a long way from that girl I’ve met in our first year at FJSC. We all are, matured in a way, different in another, a bit more experienced, yet still the same crazy bunch!

I also saw Ruxi today, another colleague of the same FJSC third group. Yup, still the same crazy bunch!

Tags: Restaurants, Outings

posted by Alina @ 9:19 PM   0 comments
A night in Cuba
The club called Cuba is considered one of the high-class clubs in Bucharest. It is one of the most popular outdoors clubs, big enough not to have people bumping into you every 5 seconds. Two different sets of DJs provide two different sets of music in different areas of the club. Different types of tables, different types of dancing spots and various types of people.

I went to this club Saturday evening with K and Cris and another friend of hers, Alex. They have this 30 RON entrance fee (about 10 USD) which is then converted into drinks. So for these 30 RON, you get two 15 RON tickets. This policy of turning the entrance fee into money for drinks is quite appealing. You would buy something to drink anyway…What I didn’t like though, is that if you buy something that is worth 8 RON, you will not get change. This to me seemed stupid as they do get the entire cash from the entrance and those tickets are not needed for accounting, I am sure.

Other than that, and a not so appealing restroom (I happen to believe two toilet cabins are really not enough for a club that can hold many hundreds of people), the atmosphere was extremely thrilling. People dancing, laughing, having fun. Guys making a purpose from drooling on the dancers…You have everything you might want from a club!

For me it had been a long time since dancing in a club. So I was quite thrilled to be there, dancing my heart out and feeling ultimately free and happy. I wish I could do this more often, go dance and forget about everything else! Luckily, I have a boyfriend that loves dancing just as much as I do.

Tags: Clubs, Dancing, Entertainment

posted by Alina @ 9:06 AM   4 comments
Saturday, July 22, 2006
The Resignation Spree

There is this accustomed procedure in Romania: if something really bad happens within or because of a certain public institution, the head of that institution will resign. There will be a large media coverage of this issue, of the resignation and of the ongoing investigation when it is announced. But the real culprit and the mistaken way of handling things are rarely eliminated.

Let’s take the latest case for example. Some of you might remember that three Romanian journalists were kidnapped in Iraq. This happened more that a year ago and luckily they came back home with no visible physical injuries. The case was pretty blurry, some voices said at least one of the journalists knew of this plan, nothing proven.

A trial started against businessman Omar Hayssam, Sirian citizen living in Romania, thought to be the head of the Iraqi operation. While on trial, some prison doctor signed a paper stating Hayssam’s cancer was pretty severe, although he had no expertise in oncology and the specialists from the Oncology Institute never agreed on this. Some judge decided to acknowledge this dubious medical paper and release Hayssam. As they are not obliged to, none of the state’s institution tried to supervise him.

The result, not surprising: Omar Hayssam is now missing(RO), thought to be hiding or to have crossed the borders aboard a Sirian ship carrying sheep, which has left from the Constanta port. Gone with the sheep, pretty poetic I might add! The doctor that has signed the paper is also missing; he took a leave of absence soon after the creation of this paper and hasn’t been seen yet.

What the authorities did? Well simple, the heads of three major intelligence and defense institutions have resigned (RO). And the General Attorney of Romania thought of doing the same. This leads to what? Great media impact, political issues and shaking the balance of the political scene, moving the attention towards the future new heads…What will happen to the judge, the police procedures, the customs procedures in the Constanta port and other such ports and the procedures for medical documents? Who will look for Hayssam and his prison doctor? Who knows, who cares? A resignation spree will have enough impact to make most people simple forget about it.

posted by Alina @ 9:01 AM   4 comments
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Things I hate about certain Romanian restaurants

The order is not important in this particular case:

  1. They always have to get something mixed up with your order, no matter how simple or complicated it is.
  2. They always bring the order after an enormous time, regardless of the number of customers.
  3. If they get something wrong and have to change a dish, they forget to apologize.
  4. They sometimes bring more than you have ordered to produce a larger bill.
  5. No respect for the customers – some waitresses end up throwing the plates on the table and screaming…
  6. Most people in this business are stupid enough not to see what’s best for them.
  7. You can always feel the “I’m doing you a favor” attitude.
  8. They do judge you by your appearance. And they do tend to prefer foreigners, as they think they will pay more with less questions.

Note to the Italian gentlemen sitting next to us in Herastrau, at the restaurant we had lunch on Sunday: 2000 years ago, if you spoke Latin in the Bucharest area, you would not have had a guaranteed mutual understanding…The territory was conquered a little later by the Roman Empire. However, my respect for messing up only with about a hundred years.

Second note to same gentlemen: the Chinese and American guys having lunch with you didn’t get it! More details as to why you said it where required.

Note to readers: if you wonder how I know where they were from, well, they have been speaking quite loud.

posted by Alina @ 10:04 PM   13 comments
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Team Building – Valea cu Struti/ Ostrich Valley
One of the things I really love about our company is the team buildings the HR team organizes each year. After having my first such trip after a week of working here, it was now time for my second such experience. Therefore, on Wednesday morning, we (Support, IT and Antispam team) left for Ostrich Valley which is near Bran actually.

The area is called so because they are breeding the said birds here. The hotel where we stayed which is also called Valea cu Struti has these breeding pens where they have 6 ostriches. I first thought they breed them to then kill and cook them (they offer three ostrich plates), but later found out they have to little to do that, so they only breed them and bring the meet from Baia Mare.

We chose to go their by several cars belonging to the employees, so I was assigned to Misu’s car, along with Cris and Valy, my boss. We passed by Ploiesti, Sinaia and just before entering Predeal took a left turn, on the way to Rasnov, drove through Bran and in another 20 something kilometers ended at the Ostrich Valley hotel. The hotel was very cozy and comfortable, too bad it was spoiled by the restaurant staff who, to put it mildly, had skipped all their customer care training.

What can I say about the area? Breath-taking, simply marvelous! Although it rained for several hours each day, we could still get a pretty good picture of the place. I believe it was the best choice of place for a relaxing getaway. The first day was mainly spent having an awfully long lunch! It seemed to finally start at 3 pm and ended near 5 pm...I guess that says a lot about the staff! We then had an HR game planned for the afternoon.

Tried a little pool with Cris, but then we both decided to quit as we were not that skilled and the game was becoming pathetically long...We then had dinner, not long enough after that late lunch, spend some more time talking, then I went to bed, as I was beat!

The second day was my favorite. Three words: All Terrain Vehicle. Also known as ATV! A really thrilling experience that turned into an amazing adrenaline rush! Of course they had only standard suits and not that small helmets though…I looked like someone shrinking over night and trying to fit in the clothes from the other day...It lasted for 50 minutes and it made me feel on the top of the world. Not necessarily because of my heart pumping like crazy.

On a stirring/climbing/down sloping on my ATV break, I turned my head to look around. I was practically on the top of the world, surrounded by a breath taking scenery, people working on the field, amazed of our crazy kids’ toys, birds singing, a mild wind and pure air! Unfortunately, these moments were short, as we had demons to ride!

Back to the hotel, we thought of enjoying the tennis court. Of course, I tried to only play with Cri as we both kinda…hmmm…sucked would be the word! But we had no luck, some other guys played with us. And I cannot say who made more fun of ourselves, us or them. That night we also had our camp fire! A very shrewd attempt to originality of the staff: they made the fire out of wood and a broken plastic chair! But it was fun to watch it and watch other people watch it all the same.

The third day was the day for paint ball! I had this feeling that I should not go, but decided to try it as the previous “never have done this” adventure turned to be so great. But miracles do not happen everyday. Paint ball is fun as long as you can move. When you are positioned into a dangerous looking valley and your only attempt to move turns into a very scary slip, it tends to get boring. Fortunately, I could get away from it with no hits and with several hits on others! Born to be a soldier, what can I say!

The ride back home took us through the same scenery that can simply be worshiped. Back to Bucharest, where I am now preparing for a birthday party for one of my colleagues! We’re going dancing in a club called Cuba – Republica del Sol! Quite ironic, given that it has rained today and is still is really cloudy…

Note: links with photos will continue to be uploaded as I manage to publish them in my photoblog!

posted by Alina @ 10:04 PM   14 comments
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I gotta let me know, should I stay or should I go

I’ve had different conversations with different people about what to do in the future. Is the current job the best? Is the current country the best option? Should one stay, focus on what’s going on now, or simply leave, change everything and try a different career?

It’s a phase we all go through periodically. That day when a question hits you: where is your life going? You start asking yourself if you are on the right track, which are your options, in any direction…

I see friends of mine struggling to get an answer, find a way. I am still safe, have two faculties that need finishing, a masters program that has to be started and completed in the future 3 years, foreign languages I am determined to learn, long term plans I need to stick to. So the job option is a little easy, as I need shifts and a good salary, which let’s say is not getting on my nerves at this time.

However, I such as others, do get tired and frustrated because of bad policies, behaviors that I find unfair, things not moving, and the pressure of having more options becomes higher. But if you have changed jobs once or twice, finding a new one does not seem so evil. You get picky and moody, but you are somehow also a bit cured of the greener grass concept.

Yes, this concept is what drives us, the hope of better something. To this hope we can sacrifice our worm steady place, our no big worries life. A way of getting something new done, of achieving more, of heading to that golden path that we can grasp in the mist.

Leaving the country, working someplace else. For a few months, a few years…A lot of people choose that. Sim moved to Spain, Mon is heading to Canada, Ali is working and leaving in Mozambique, Cristina has been in the US for 2 years now, Mishu is spending the summer working there, my aunt has been in Italy for almost a year, K is here in Romania, along with other foreigner thinking our country is the land of all opportunities.

I for one, due to my ability of adapting to almost any place and any situation and due to probably one half of a gene that is Roman, I follow a very wise statement: Patria ubi bene! So the talk about missing your country, green grass, job security is a bit overrated for me. I believe in judging things by their benefits, obvious and marginal ones. Choose the job that suits you better, the country that better fits your needs…

You miss your family? They are one flight away, one phone call away, one email or letter away! I know people who leave in Romania and see their family once or twice a year because of distance, lack of time and other impediments. But tell that same group of people to move to a different country for a new job, part of them would say they’d miss their family too much.

I also know people who hate their jobs and would never leave them in hope of better something in the future and people who love their jobs but keep an eye open, because you never know!

Maybe the best way is to focus on what you do and where you are, but not ignore other options. Have a clear view of them all and do your best to choose wisely.

Tags: Careers, Overseas Jobs, Life Choices

posted by Alina @ 9:01 AM   13 comments
Monday, July 10, 2006
Double standards and borrowed standards

These thoughts have been triggered by a post of Rain’s and its comments.

What I understand by double standards is the situation in which a person judges and perceived their actions using a set of standards which is then changed to filter the actions of others. This can have to causes: the fact that the person in question treats his/herself mildly or that he/she is harsher with his/her own actions.

While I understand demanding more of one, as I do it pretty often, the other side of the story I always blame. Yes, at times, you know yourself better than others, you know how much you can achieve and how much further you can push yourself, therefore you might be less forgiving when it comes to analyzing your actions. It is not always healthy, as it might develop into a negative attitude, feeling you always do less than you should and could.

But the reversed double standards are really annoying: making judgment statements of others when one knows he/she could not have done better in the given circumstances is really out of line. Pointing fingers and not being honest is quite easy though, as there seem to be lots of such people. I usually choose to stay away from them.

The borrowed standards I happen to find fascinating. I believe they come from our need to socialize, to feel liked by others, to feel we belong in their company and that they would never think of not having us there. This is a sign of wanting people’s attention and caring. Therefore, to have more such feelings of belonging, one adapts to a group’s set of standards and principles. For example one might choose to show and admit to a non-smoking attitude within a non-smoking group while being a smoker. Or try a beer, although one hates the taste just to not be considered a prude in a different group.

The downside of this habit of changing principles with borrowed ones can lead to making certain close friends or groups of friends as they have been lied to, deceived. At this point, they might think the person they thought they knew is a big fake, although it’s just a question of one principle, not all they have adopted.

The worse situation one can get into after adopting too many behaviors and attitudes that actually belong to others is that point where one no longer knows who one is and what one believes in.

posted by Alina @ 10:10 AM   3 comments
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Urban getaway
I finished this week quite tired. Friday, at work, I could hardly wait to get home and get some rest, which I did, after a short pit stop at Unirea with Cris, as we wanted to hang out and talk a little longer. As I felt the urge of getting out of the city but lacked the time, I suddenly thought of the next best thing that I’ve been planning for months. I looked at her smiling and said “Hey, would you like going to the Botanical Garden with me tomorrow morning?”. Knowing her and her busy plans for the next day, I expected a no. But I got a yes.

So Saturday morning I left with K as he was going to work, got of at Unirea and met her in Regie. We then went along to the Garden. This Garden is extremely close to the Journalism and Communication Sciences Faculty, my first faculty. I remember going there to take photos with my group for a photo lab. Hated the whole deal: one camera for about 8-10 students, one hour for all to take about two photos, and of course, perfection demanded although it was the first time we were given a digital camera…

It was different on Saturday…I came here to get away from the city, the car noises and to find myself in a cool, quiet place where I could let all the pressure gathered in the past few months go away…Small talk with Cristina, taking some leisure snapshots, most of them here, it was really paradise!

When we got out, we felt like we should keep on walking, which we did, to the University and then Unirii again, where we also had something to eat. We then split and went home. But on this second walk around the city, we ended up at an Annual Fair of Collectors.

We saw medals, stamps, old photos, old cards, old coins and bills, old jewelry mixed with new one, ancient-looking swards and guns, anything and everything. A good place to shop for something different, if you were looking for a different type of present, a great place to simply look at things you do not usually see. So I took some more photos.

Tags: Bucharest, Botanical Garden, Fairs

posted by Alina @ 8:54 AM   7 comments
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Looking down the list
These days I’m doing my best to keep myself buys. Why? Well, two reason. The surface reason: I am tired of feeling I am wasting so much time. The depth reason: with K moving to Constanta, keeping busy is a way to help me cope with it better.

Therefore I sketched some guidelines for this week and will do so for future weeks. I’ve spent three (starting fourth) days waking up early, blogging and reading blogs for an hour while drinking my coffee, then moving to my hour of reading, then moving to my Turkish lesson (yeah, I’ve started learning it), then getting ready for work and arriving there 15 minutes or more earlier to have my coffee. Sounds busy? Well, still didn’t get much done of what I’m supposed to do.

Weird enough, most of the tasks I’m behind with are work-related. Partly my fault (after 7 hours of work the eight is low productivity anyway), partly the other’s leaves which left us with a larger workload. As for the non-work tasks, well I have a whole Saturday to myself to take care of that…

After talking with Cris yesterday about which path to take in life, I discovered I am postponing this decision of mine. So maybe this is another reason for keeping so busy. I know I still have unis to finish, a master’s degree to start next year, so I would rather spend the next two years getting some more work experience and learning all I can. I have pretty impressive plans, the issue is how to stick to them. Tricky issue…

Related to customer care: I’ve developed a serious issue regarding the word “problem” in any language. A general recommendation is to avoid this word. Use issue, matter, error, but not problem because customers tend to panic. So now, I find it hard to use even in real life. Same for negations. This might turn into a generally more positive attitude for me, looking for the upsides, not downsides, solutions instead of problems. Still, “problem” is a hard word to avoid in day to day life, especially when you use “No problem” as reassuring.

posted by Alina @ 7:44 AM   8 comments
Monday, July 03, 2006
Can you believe the arrogance?
There’s this annoying billboard ad that I see each time K and I go to a movie. I’ve been meaning to write about it, but it simply didn’t piss me off enough until now.

The ad is for the local edition of Yellow Pages and is says “It looks like a book, but it is actually good for something”. Bravo! Literature, science, economy, physics, psychology, history and all the other unimportant subjects that lead to more books being written, here is the truth! If you don’t help people find phone numbers and don’t charge enormous prices for personalized ads, you are good to be thrown away and never be seen again!

I do have to wonder, the company/person writing this ad, did he/she think for a second? Or this great slogan was just puked out of his/her completely lacked of imagination brain? Was it a sad attempt to irony? Was it a desperate act of getting attention? No matter how long I think about it, I still think saying books are useless is plain dumbness.

posted by Alina @ 7:04 PM   12 comments
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Sunday Outing

Today at work, all I could think about was my soon to come (7 hours, 4 hours, 2 hours, 30 minutes) late lunch/early supper at a Turkish restaurant. I’ve been bugging K to take me to one for weeks, as I had this hunch it might be the last such outing in Bucharest. As it tool weeks to finally do it, we went to a newly discovered such restaurant which turned out to be the best I’ve been to.

I will not even try to tell you what I eat until I am familiar with the Turkish names of foods (must learn Turkish, must learn…), I will tell you though that it’s been delicious! No wonder Romanians “borrowed” half their cuisine while being subject to the Ottoman Empire!

The restaurant was the kind I like: the owner greeting all the guests, telling them the day’s specialties, taking their order and chit-chatting and then leaving it all to the employees. Weirdly, this was the first such restaurant with a Romanian name, it’s called “Dumbrava” which is some type of forest, smaller type. However, the name was not too contrasting. Rustic decorations, with some trees appearing out of nowhere near the walls. Definitely will go there again.

There was also a small incident. The bill took forever to be brought as the employees messed up the computer software and they had to do it all over again, after being showed how to and saved by the owner. The wonders of technology, still an amazing miracle to some!

posted by Alina @ 7:52 PM   0 comments
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Saturday thoughts

It is the middle of a weird summer. People coming and going, things changing, decisions to take…Busy thoughts and actions, random events huge or hardly any impact.

Sim had her last day at the office. A day with a diploma from our boss and a goodbye present from us. I will miss her, the first of the team to tell me how things were when I first started working here…She’s moving to Spain with her boyfriend, she’ll start school and work there and she will be happy. Cristina V started crying before we left and I could barely stop my own tears. These are the people I spend most of my life with, about 9 hours of each day, several outings and birthday celebrations and just hanging around. Everyone coming into and leaving this team represents a major change.

We made Sim a T-shirt. On the front, it had a red little devil and it said “I’ll try to be nicer if you try to be smarter”. It is so her!

Today, having brunch with Cris, trapped on the terrace because it had started to rain like crazy, we talked about everything going on. Stuff form the past, plans, need to, have to, wish to…However the “imprisonment” of the cats and dogs pouring away made it all seem so far. No more worries, musts and whishes. Just a quiet, light conversation watching the rain. It all seemed far, like watching a movie and this circumstance did a great job relaxing me!

I’ve made plans for months and years to come. What schools to start/finish, what books to read, what new interests to have and what means of transportation to use when visiting K in Constanta. Yes, he is leaving and moving to Constanta sometime this month. I will see the sea a lot during the months to come!

posted by Alina @ 2:05 PM   2 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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