Saturday, 24 September 2016

Dress code, respect and self-respect

This post was initially published on LinkedIn

The company I work for, BPA quality, has had a summer dress-down period. The initiative was highly appreciated by all employees, except one: me. 


But why wasn't I happy with it? 
Well, I was born and raised under a communist regime; we had to wear uniforms in kindergarten, schools and almost every day life events.

See my only picture as a student wearing my second style of uniform. Yes, it was black and white, a ripped pocket, trousers and a dolcevita jumper underneath. A complete elegance disgrace.


Believe or not, I loved the uniforms and I have never thought they were imposed. I grew up thinking that there is an etiquette for everything and was only fair.
I have never broken down these rules... except for the hair etiquette.

During the communism, girls with long hair were required to wear their hair in one or two braids/plaits. I have never had time for such a thing so I almost never followed this rule.
One day, my history teacher gave me a choice: either put my hair into a braid or leave the class.
I was a very good student and I have missed school just once in my life - and not by choice – I couldn't leave the class. I put my hair into a braid for the hour, but I never liked that teacher again. She was such a communist!!!

Growing up, I looked up to my sisters and parents and they were/are very elegant people.
My mum loved bright and very intense colours, but not to wear them. She was quite formal in everyday life. I have never seen her wearing trousers or dresses, just dark, below knee skirts and white or pale shirts. An inspiration to me.

My sisters were attentive with their looks, especially Alexandrina. She loved high heels and vaporous dresses or skirts. A goddess! I was so hooked by her style. When she wasn't at home, I used to wear her impossibly high heels shoes (and lipstick) around the house. She knew, of course, because the lipsticks were finished in a matter of days, but never said anything.  - Keep in mind it was still black and white photographies era and during the communism regime, clothing, make-up and many other things were considered not vital, therefore, very difficult to find. - This is another story though.

My dad was the worst, he'd always looked into a mirror for several minutes before going out. Everything had to be in place, the outfits were always to be freshly cleaned and the right size. He had the appearance of a president when he was a simple farmer.
I was five when I asked him why is he so concerned with his looks.
He looked at me and simply stated:
“Respect. Remember child, when you are in public, you have the duty to show respect for the environment and the people in it.”
I thought my dad was/is an exceptional human being and have never forgotten those words.

My love for clothing, high heels and deep red lipstick is well known. I am eccentric, a person once said– not a compliment to me – but being told (very often) that modelling would be the perfect career for me, is a hell of a compliment.
I love bright colours, but unlike my mum, I wear them often.
Some people think I am obsessed with my looks. I am not, it comes natural to me and if you read the word above – about my family - you'll understand why. I am an Eastern European woman with different principles and mentality.
I don't spend a fortune on my outfits, but I do spend an awful amount of time searching for the best deals.

Yes, I wear high heels and casual, informal or semiformal clothing at work, but I am not saying that we all have to do that. High heels are difficult and unhealthy, but they are so elegant! Isn't that right? Nevertheless, I don't think I would be happy wearing them everyday in a very active work role.
My actual job is very sedentary, it is extremely easy to wear high heels when you sit for almost the whole day. I am thrilled to have this opportunity.

We are white-collar people and I think a streetwear it is not appropriate in an office environment. As it is not a clubwear, heavy make-up or emo look. There is a time and a place for any outfit (and behaviour).

In a church - dress like a nun, in an office – like a serious and trustworthy person, in a club – do whatever you think is appropriate, at home you can stay naked, but make a distinction. We are humans, we have the power of discernment.


There are written and unwritten rules about everything and it is up to us following them.
I cannot tell people how to dress in every situation, it's neither my place or desire.
What I do feel to say and ask is to have a shower every day, PLEASE.
Deodorants and perfumes don't cover the sweat smell, of the contrary!
Do wash your hair as often is needed. I know some say that it is not good to wash your hair every day – opinions are divergent – but please, do your best. If not for you, do it for others. It is not so difficult and there is always time. Don't invoke this excuse.

Peace.

I thought that it will take me five minutes to write this post, as I had a clear idea about what to write and how, but I decided I would look up online for information and opinions – as always when I write for people – in the end I spent like three hours for just a few ideas.

If you like this post, please feel free to comment or share it with others who might benefit from reading it.
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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

International Day of Peace


Did you know that on 21st of September the world celebrates the peace?
I didn't.
Photo from Peacepandemic.com


I don't have much to say, I never lived a war, my parents have though. The stories I heard are absolutely monstrous.
Sleeping when bombs flow around you, is unthinkable.
They were children back then.
My parents don't tell the story from own initiative, they forced themselves to forget, but I had to ask and they told me. My heart broke, instantly. The terror was settled everywhere in every second. They've seen people dying next to them, planes crashing in the garden, soldiers with guns threatening children...  little girls used to cover themselves in blood so people will spare them... not rape them because they looked disgusting. My mother had to do that many times.

There is nothing worse than war. I do not understand why people still create them.


Let's think and pray for peace today. Let's act peacefully. Let's be nice with one another, and not only today, but everyday, every second.
The universe will hear and listen to us.


May your life be always peaceful. Happy peace day!

If you like this post, please feel free to comment or share it with others who might benefit from reading it.
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Friday, 2 September 2016

Crispy grated potatoes - gluten free

This is for my coeliac (gluten intolerant), vegan (and vegetarian) friends, and of course, for all potatoes lovers.

I was born a farmer - as I already said – and potatoes were grown every year. I can't imagine a life without this tuberous because I absolutely love potatoes. I eat them in every shape and form.

I used to think that this recipe was invented by me when I was eight. It seems that other people had the same idea though. Never mind.
You have no idea how many recipes farmers invent all the time.


This, is by far, the most dear to me. Every time I miss my country and family, I cook it and instantly it takes me back in time, when I used to cook for eight or more people (my family). Inestimable memories.

It is simple, fast and easy to make. You only need fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on your cooking skills.

You need a grater and a frying pan. It is essential for the frying pan to be anti-adherent, but most are, right?

Preparation time: 15 - 20 minutes
Degree of difficulty: low
Serves: 2 people

1. 5-6 medium-sized red potatoes2. 1 + 1 tablespoons oil (I use olive oil)
3. a pinch of salt
4. a pinch of black pepper
5. dried garlic
Optional:
6. paprika/chili (I always add it because I like spicy)
7. grated cheese – If you are not vegan – You'll add this at the very end, when the potatoes are on the plate, still hot.

  • Coarsely grate (on the large holes of a box grater) the potatoes and season. - You don't need to peel them, but in Romania, is unthinkable to not peel the potatoes. We give the skin to the pigs. :D - 
  • Heat half the fat in a small, heavy-based frying pan until sizzling, and then add the grated potato, allow to cook for a couple of minutes (until golden)
  • Turn it over using a big plate (have a look to this video – It is in Romanian, and it's a frittata, but you can see the "moves")
  • Add the rest of the oil to the pan and, slide the potato cake (yes, it will look like a frittata or a cake) back into the pan the other way up. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, then serve hot with pickles (Romanian style) or any salad.

This could be served with fried eggs, any type of meat or fish or plain simple.
So delicious. You need to try it!

Pictures from De gustibus non est disputandum. - On this blog (mine) I have various interpretations of this recipe, most are vegan, and all are to die for!

If you like this post, please feel free to comment or share it with others who might benefit from reading it.
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If any of the above helped you in any way, as a Thank You, visit my LinkedIn account or like my Facebook page. 
That way I will know that my work isn't in vain. 
I highly appreciate your time. 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Compliments hunter or Low self esteem?


Have you ever wondered why some people can't take a compliment?

I have, many times, that's why I thought I would start observing a few people and see what happens.
I've started with myself. Obviously.
As I've confessed in the previous post, I wasn't always been able to accept a compliment without terrible blushing or worse, dismissing it completely. Sometimes I even thought were just cruel jokes, told with the clear intend of making fun of me.
Why was that?
Because my self esteem was very low.
"Beautiful, elegant, intelligent? I am none of these adjectives ... why would anyone see me in these ways?"
I was terrible skeptical and cynical.


Self esteem isn't something tangible, it's all in our minds
So I've started working with my mind - for several years - against it.
It's a been a very challenging and exhausting fight; lost many battles, but won in the end. 
Nowadays, I simply say "thank you" when someone makes and effort to compliment me.
Whoever gets to meet me is absolutely convinced that I am an extremely confident person, fully aware of my strengths. 

Once I familiarized myself with the psychology of self esteem, I learnt how to distinguish a false compliment from an honest one.
It's common for people to compliment someone when they want something from that person.
- I will write a different post on this subject. -

As I said, I have been studying this phenomena for many years and I have noticed quite a few things about women's inability to accept a compliment.
It isn't only and always a low self esteem behind it, sometimes is exactly the opposite. Arrogance for clarity: “I deserve a better compliment. I am more beautiful than most.”

Others are compliments hunters and if you have the bad luck to get into a discussion with these people, you'll come out completely drained of energy and faith in the humans' capacity of thinking.

Here is the first example from personal experience.

Me: You look gorgeous. This dress suits you perfectly!”
The compliment hunter: “You reckon? I look nothing like you.”
Me: Why would you want to look like me?! We are all unique. You have a beautiful body and you're in great shape.”
The compliment hunter smiling: “Oh, no, you're perfect. I should work out more.”
Me:" I think you look great and don't need to burn yourself out. Have a look in the mirror.”
The hunter: “My abdomen isn't flat like yours.”
Me: “You might be right, but I didn't give birth to any child, while you had. You should be proud of your looks. I mean it!”
The hunter: “Yeah, but I don't like myself.”
Me, more and more frustrated: "Why? You're a very beautiful woman. Can't you see that?!"



I looked at this woman and it was clear she's very aware of her looks which didn't make any sense... .
The discussion continued on the same note for at least 5 minutes when I had to excuse myself as I had better ways of spending my time.

A second example of a friend's experience with the beautiful sex (is the name Romanians use for women)
My friend: “You look beautiful today.”
Woman: “What?! So I don't look beautiful everyday, just today!”
My friend: “I didn't mean that, it's just a way of saying.”
Woman: “You don't even mean it?!”
My friend.:” I do mean it, I wouldn't say it otherwise.”
Woman: “You're a horrible person! Stay away from me.”


Third example, different male friend in a relationship.
Male: “You are the most beautiful woman in the world.”
Girlfriend: “Are you comparing me to other women?”
Male: “ No. I just made you a compliment.”
Girlfriend: “You look at every woman on this planet then?”
Male: “You are the only woman in this Universe for me.”
Girlfriend: “How the hell can I be the most beautiful of them all if I am the only woman on earth!?”
Male: “Oh, come-on, you know what I mean...”
Girlfriend: “I have no idea, but I don't want to see you for a while. Trip cancelled!”

Stories like these happen every second. A silly source of frustrations, misunderstandings, aggressions... .
Such a waste of time and energy....
There are so many important things we could focus on, instead we fight over a compliment.

No matter the reasons you don't like a compliment, just say THANK YOU and move on with your life.


Saturday, 20 August 2016

I can live for two months on a good compliment

... said Mark Twain.

I feel exactly the same.
No matter how poised a person is, an honest compliment will always have a great impact, especially if that person has a "No" day.

There are compliments and compliments. I have already written about this as it's something I consider important.


One day, I was with a friend of mine walking back from work. A woman was coming towards us from the opposite direction. I couldn't help noticing the beautiful hair style she was wearing so I said: “Your hair looks awesome!”.
Her face instantly illuminated while she was thanking me.
My friend was blown away and looked at me in wonder.
“Do you realise you've made this woman's day?”
I simply replied: “Yes, I do realise that. That's why I told her what I thought. It doesn't cost a thing to say a nice word to anyone.”

I do that often. I love the look in the eyes of these people, the surprise, the gratitude (most of the time). They clearly don't expect casual compliments in the streets.

You might think I am a very confident person and I can easily approach anyone in the streets and compliment them. That's far from the truth. My heart starts racing every time I have the impulse to say something unexpected to anyone, at any point, but I do it anyway.

Sometimes my compliments are not perceived in the way I intend them. But that's a risk I am willing to take.
Someone once told me that he would like to praise my outlook, but was afraid that I might take it wrongly or it would make me feel awkward.

Flattery doesn't make me feel uncomfortable anymore.
I used to terribly blush, but I have been working on this reaction for half of my life, and now, I can take a compliment with confidence. They are always appreciated, no matter who's the author... unless they are just a pleasantry or made with hidden intention.

Here is an extremely nice and simple example of a genuine compliment.

I was in a grocery shop looking for black olives. A young girl passed me by, stopped and asked where did I buy the dress I was wearing. “ It looks amazing and suits you perfectly! I wish I could look like you.”  she said.
I didn't expect this reaction from just a random person, but it made me feel good.
This was obviously a sincere appraisal. It had no hidden intention as we didn't know each other and was very unlikely we'll meet again in the future.
When I don't feel proud of my looks I go back in my memory looking for these kind of remarks to remind myself that I am a good looking person.
We all have moments when we need a nice word from someone close to us or even better, from a person on a street who doesn't know us at all.

A funny story.

Two lawyers - a couple - happily married for years. One evening  they were going to a posh party. The woman was wearing a beautiful dress and looked ravishing, everybody complimented her during the evening.
Coming home, she said to her husband: "Have you noticed the way I look tonight? Did you even look at me? Our friends told me I looked amazing, but you said nothing."
The husband looks at her in surprise and replies: "Do you remember a month ago when you just bought a new dress and told you you are beautiful? Until further notice, YOU are beautiful."

End of story: The husband slept alone in the guest room for a month.

Don't be tight with your charming words. Spreading myriads of eulogies to random people "in need" won't make you become poorer.
The river of compliments is inexorable and free to use. Be generous.  

What I am trying to say is: Don't ignore the power of words, but if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. 
Some don't follow this unwritten rule, but think that everyone should always say exactly what they think, ignoring others feelings.
Hurting people with your subjective opinions about things, is being mean, not honest. Be considerate of others. Always. Offensive words should be kept inside your thoughts. Common sense.



The tittle is out it is out of the context though. Here is the whole thing.
"Compliments make me vain: & when I am vain, I am insolent & overbearing. It is a pity, too, because I love compliments. I love them even when they are not so. My child, I can live on a good compliment two weeks with nothing else to eat." - Letter to Gertrude Natkin, 2 March 1906

Being aware of your talents, looks, achievements, strengths, is nothing like being arrogant (considering yourself better, superior). It's a huge difference that some ignore. Avoid.

If you like this post, please feel free to comment or share it with others who might benefit from reading it.
Sharing is Caring. 
If any of the above helped you in any way, as a Thank You, visit my LinkedIn account or like my Facebook page.
That way I will know that my work isn't in vain. 
I highly appreciate your time. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

PPI calls - What an issue!

What does PPI stand for?
Pay per incident?
Not in this case.

PPI = Payment protection insurance = credit card insurance, loan repayment insurance and so on.

Does this mean that every time I get a call regarding this, someone owes me money?
No. What it means is that there is a need for an investigation first.
That's the reason you are asked to fill in the documentation you've been sent, if you give your consent.

I am not the right person to speak about bureaucracy or money, though. I bet all of you know so much more about this subject.

My reason for this post is different and you'll see in a minute.

While I was living in Romania and Italy I have never received any of these types of calls.
Just sales or opinion polls.
I didn't even know what were they talking about.
At first, I've got quite scared. I thought  I did something I didn't know about.
--- A car incident you say? When? In Italy or Romania?
No... .

How many PPI calls do you receive a day?
Two, four, seven?
Do you get angry? Even better: How angry do you get?
Do you scream, shout, insult these people?

Take a minute and reflect.

Have you ever thought that they are just doing their job?!
Have you ever considered that a friend, a sibling or even you could be the person calling?
How would you react if it was your father calling?
Would you still shout and offend?

Being an advisor, a seller or working in customer services is a very difficult job.
--- Have you ever tried any of these jobs?
You say you would never, don't you?
I say the same.

But why do we think that? Why do we say we would NEVER do it?!
Simple.
Because when we get these calls, we just shout and insult without considering that on the other side, there is a person JUST like us. A person who needs to earn a living.

Here is a fragment of the second conversation I had with a PPI advisor (from India I assumed).

Advisor: Hello, miss, how are you?
Me: I am ok, thank you. What about you?
A very, very long pause
Advisor: Ah... hmmm... Ok?!?
He was seriously confused and almost ignored my question.
I am guessing it was not on his script.

The third conversation. India again. - My name was pronounced... hmmm... a little different, but it doesn't matter.

Advisor: Hello, miss Gherghel, how is your day going so far?
Me: Great, thank you. What about yours?
Advisor: Mine? Not so good, but thank you SO much for asking.
Me: Oh, sorry to hear that.
Advisor: That's ok. You know what, miss, I have been doing this job for months now, but you are the only person who ever asked me this. Thank you.

You may think I am an advisor and I am trying to defend them.
I am not an advisor and I am not trying to defend them, what I am trying to do is to ask everyone to think twice before insulting any human being just because they are doing their job.

I agree that they call at weird hours, while you are having dinner or spending time with your family.
--- But when it would be a good time to call if you are at work from 8Am to 6Pm?!

I also think that it should be illegal to call you without your permission, but it is not, apparently. At least not for now. 
And it is not true you didn't give permission: every time you are signing something, online (games, social networks, magazines) or on paper, there are always phrases written in very small characters asking for your permission to share your data with third parties.
These are the third parties they are referring to. These and many others.
Your number is not written on the sky or published on Tv, you gave it for free to someone.

Next time you get a call like that, just imagine is your daughter calling.
---- Would you insult your daughter?
I don't think so.
--- Would you like to be offended when doing your job? 
I wouldn't. 

Namaste.

If you like this post, please feel free to comment or share it with others who might benefit from reading it.
Sharing is Caring. 
If any of the above helped you in any way, as a Thank You, visit my LinkedIn account or like my Facebook page.
It would be highly appreciated. 
That way I will know that my work isn't in vain.




Thursday, 28 July 2016

100 - July 30 - International day of Friendship

On 30st of July, the whole world will celebrate the friendship.


"Friendship without frontiers." is our moto today!


You didn't know about it, did you?
I didn't either. And I am a blogger. :(
Not until one of my colleagues became emotional when speaking about it.

It is not quite so popular (yet), but it is worth writing about it as we all have friends around the world.
Especially now, after the UK's Referendum, it is almost imperative to talk and promote this day.
The Referendum's turned people one against another.
Many friendships were lost or weakened.
Many of us feel betrayed, disappointed, not wanted. Some are so upset that are looking to relocate in a different, more friendly country, like Ireland.
It is a heavy atmosphere around the country. - I have written in here about it, have a look if you are interested.
But, as I said, nothing's changed for me. I didn't take it personally. I owe a lot to this country. My English friends who voted "Leaving Europe" are still my friends. I understood their reasons and I know they care about me. The "Leave vote" wasn't against me.

Enough about the Referendum, life goes on. Now it's the friendship that matters.

Paraguay and Hallmark played a very important role in making this day an International one.

On 27 April 2011 the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 30 July as official International Friendship Day - says Wikipedia.

But what is the meaning of friendship?

Friendship is a mutual and agreeable relationship between two individuals.
A combination of affection, loyalty, respect, trust and support.

Skin colour, nationality, gender, distance, nothing matters. There are no frontiers to friendships.


A  friendship doesn't have many chances of survival if only one person is making the effort to sustain the relationship without any or too little help or recognition from the other person.

Friends must have things in common, think alike, react in similar ways = they have to be compatible.
Friends complement one another. 

I have written more in here, please read.

Does that mean that friends never fight or fall apart? 
People always have divergent opinions, small fights are alright. Discussions, clarifications, apologies must take place so peace can be restored. Forgive, forget and move on if you care about the other person. We are only humans.


A friend is the first person you call when you are happy, miserable or in need of help.


Friend is that person who doesn't judge, but it tells you when she/he disapprove your actions.
A friend will listen when you want to talk and will always stay by your side.

There are endless actions a friend would take, you know better.

There are good friends and bad friends, some sustain.
I say: bad friends, are NOT to be called friends at all. 

Is it difficult to tell a friend from an opportunist? 
Not for me.

A person who calls when it doesn't have anyone else at his/her disposal, cannot be considered a friend. It might take some time to realise that, but once you've got it, take the distances. For your psychological sake.
Don't waste your time with people who don't care. 

Friends on line, who never meet in person could be friends a lifetime, but with whom? A virtual profile? 
I have been friends for more than five years with a person. We wrote each other daily, until I realised I needed physical contact. I wanted to watch the person in the eyes when listening or crying.
It wasn't enough for me.

Is is true that friendships between men and women are always based on physical attraction, at least from one side? 
No. I know of many great friendships between genders.

Is friendship a start of a love story? 
It could be. Many times.
But, often, after an intimate relationship with a friend, the friendship weakness. Be careful if you really care for that person.
Ask yourself this question: Which is more important: (good or bad) one time sex or a long friendship?
I wouldn't risk it, unless both of you feel the same.

For me: Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.


Now, why 100?
This is the post one hundred on the blog.
I wanted to write about something special and friendships are very special to me.
I do not have many, but the ones I have, I love them to bits.

Happy Friendship Day!

Don't forget to tell your friends how much you appreciate them. Always, not only today.

If you like this post, please feel free to comment or share it with others who might benefit from reading it.
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If any of the above helped you in any way, as a Thank You, visit my LinkedIn account or like my Facebook page.