Friday, 21 April 2017

Feeling like quitting?

I once helped my brother to make some cozonaci = Romanian traditional sweet bread (similar to panettone) - He lives in Canada, and we had to Skype. It was great fun.... Not really.

My brother is vegetarian (doesn't eat eggs among other animal products) and these cozonaci are famous for the use of loads of eggs. Some would knead the dough only with eggs (no other liquids). Therefore, one cozonac might contain five eggs (or more).

Because I used to cook and experiment bizarre and brave recipes to publish on my blog (reteteindraznete.blogspot.com), I invented a vegan recipe for this traditional sweet bread (no eggs, no dairy).
The result was spectacular! What a surprise!
I baked them like thirty times since my first experiment and every time was a great success. So easy, economical and delicious!

A true Romanian (especially one born in Moldova like me) would never make a cozonac without eggs, so for many, my recipe is blasphemy. Ha, ha... see if I care. :p

My brother tried to bake them before, but they didn't rise, exactly like this time and he was very disappointed. He said that if he can't have the cozonaci he's dreaming for this time, he'll give up trying.
I said that he should try until he succeeds. Again, and again and again. And again. 
"It is not over until you win." - Les Brown
If you really want something, you don't give up, you change, adapt, invent and reinvent until you get it!
If you give up, you'll never succeed!

Last year, I took a tough decision and moved departments in my job. I was very tired of working on the same project for almost two years and needed a change.
Then I wanted to work only three days a week so I could focus on my writing for the remaining four.

It's a long story, but long story short, I now work on various projects and different languages on the same day. I speak on the phone with people far away, and only God knows how much I dislike that. I have never been a phone lover. If it was for me, I would never buy a phone.
Anyway, it's incredibly challenging. I felt like quitting for five months or so. Every evening when going home from work, completely exhausted, I would think that next morning I will hand in my resignation. Then I said I'll huddle up and find a way to make it work for my own good.
And I tried again and again with little success.

Looking for a job is extremely time and energy consuming, I didn't want to do that. This is not my country, and my English is still a work in progress.
I need a part-time job so I could pursue my dream. It's not easy to find a company so flexible like mine, especially now with the Brexit nightmare.

Curious enough is that I love my job, I loved it from the very first day. It involves analysing human behaviour, so it's very much in tune with another big passion of mine.

I was sad, stressed, and disappointed in me for feeling so not up to the new role. I trusted I was going to do great. I did my best, but my best was bad.
I thought it was what I wanted and needed, but it was too much and couldn't handle the pressure. I felt overwhelmed and completely lost.
"Be careful what you wish for," right?

I burst into tears several times during my training and after. I thought I would never make it.
I didn't have time to go to the toilet or make a cup of coffee. I didn't stop to say hello to my old colleagues because I wasn't able to reach my targets. I was very stressed and all shaky. I even lost weight (the only positive side effect). :p
On Sundays nights I couldn't sleep and Monday mornings were rough. I didn't want to get out of the house. The 50 minutes walk at 6 in the morning didn't seem like a great exercise anymore.
Having a shower away from home, getting changed and ready for work in the office toilets started to feel like a terrible burden. I was very annoyed that I had no other choice.
But I forced myself because it has been a free choice to make that change. And I knew the end was close if I wasn't going to do something about it.

So I took a holiday and reflected about why I like the job that much, and how come that's not enough to make me deliver what is expected of me.
I put on the table the pros and cons and realised I was just very tired and not at all prepared for the change.
I went back to work determined to do better, and I have been trying harder than ever to find in this job what I've never had: peace, appreciation, and stability.

But that's a little too much to ask after the Referendum, right? I could very politely be invited to leave the country any moment now. However, I can't worry about something I cannot change.

I think my job is helping me grow personally and professionally.
I believe it makes me stronger and more confident. And I am doing everything in my power to make it work. Not only for the company but for myself.

One of the things that I have in mind when I strive to do the best I can is: If I had a company, would I be happy with an employee like myself? 
And the answer is YES, totally! I couldn't ask for a better one. Unless he/she works for free. :p

Anyway, I am happy now and don't think I'll quit soon. I am extremely busy with other projects, don't have time and energy to waste.

So, if you are in the same situation like I was, when you feel like quitting think about what made you accept that job in the first place.
Make a list with the pros and cons. - I wrote about it before.
Take everything into consideration and be honest with yourself and your company.
Every job gives you something, but some jobs give you more. What do you give to the job?

And after doing that if you still feel it's time to move on, then do it!
It's hard to find a job these days, but when wasn't?!
You think you deserve better? Then work for it, prove to yourself (not to others) that you can do better. I believe in you!

Please, if you appreciated don't hesitate to like, share, comment, or join me on Facebook.
Thank you for your visit. See you soon, amazing human being.



Sunday, 16 April 2017

The clash of eggs - Easter Traditions

Disclaimer: This post was published on LinkedIn last year. It's not there anymore.

Some people expressed their interest in the Romanian's traditions and customs, so I have decided to write a little more about these in case someone's interested. I had to do a little research (while people were asleep), I wasn't sure about some of the details you'll read in this post. Thank you for taking the time to go through it. It seems long, but it isn't really.


photo credit: www.agerpres.ro

Any country has its own traditions. Many are lost during the years, others change or modify, luckily, some are preserved and transmitted from generation to generation intact. Personally, I am very attached to many of the Romanian traditions, customs, and rituals.

Keep in mind that these traditions may vary from region to region, even from village to village or city to city.

In the post, Easter is here, I mentioned a 40-day period before Easter, called Lent. Both Eastern Orthodoxes and Roman Catholics people commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence and to purify themselves.

Partying, dancing/going to clubs or discos are banned. No weddings are allowed or celebrated, although no universal rule would prohibit celebrating the sacrament of matrimony during Lent.

There are many differences between Orthodoxes and Catholics (as we simply call them) traditions, rituals and customs.
The Orthodox Christians seem to have stricter rules than Catholics.

For example, the Orthodoxes will abstain from any food that comes from animals, oil and wine (alcoholics generally) for the whole period - Catholics will give up at the meat (mostly), details a little below.

Why is the oil included? I wouldn't know, it doesn't make sense to me. Hope they know why.


The Orthodoxes have a program to follow:
In the first week of Lent and Holy Week: Monday and Tuesday you can only eat once a day, in the evening, and have merely bread and water.
Only the Thursday before Easter, you are allowed to have two meals. All the other days, just one.
On Fridays and Saturdays = total fasting = No food whatsoever.
Ill people are allowed to eat food with oil.

But fasting is not enough to prepare themselves (as is strictly related to purifying the body), and it must be accompanied by good thoughts and deeds, sexual abstinence, confession of sins (to the confessor) and Holy Communion.



Credit image: www.rador.ro
Many Christians also add a lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional, to draw themselves near to God. But this happens during the whole year.
Roman Catholics will go to church every day (some even twice a day), especially during the Holy week, to assist various ceremonious. 

In the picture below, the priest (in this case the Bishop) washes the feet of 12 people who represent the 12 disciples of Jesus who were with Him at the Last Dinner (when the betrayal happened). 
It is written that Jesus did that for real.

Image credit: Adrian Cuba
Roman Catholics will fast too, but not so strict as Orthodoxes. 

The oil is allowed, and you can eat more than once a day, but never to feel full. 
You are allowed (if you want) to eat meat, fish, eggs, and cheese (milk). 
Fridays it's absolute fast, but if you don't fast, stay away from meat.
Ill, children, and elderly people (over 60, if I am not mistaken) are not required to fast at all.
These rules had changed over the years as my mum says that when she was a child, they were almost as strict as the Orthodox's religion. 
Nowadays, many Catholics give up only to meat, sweets, and alcohol. 

Image credit: Adrian Cuba
Roman Catholic's churches (I don't know about the others) remove flowers from their altars, while crucifixes, religious symbols and statues are veiled in violet fabrics. The priest will also change the colour of their vestments in violet. - Except for the Holy Week, when the flowers come back to the altars and priests will wear the usual Celebration's clothes. - I think is the same in England, Church of England at least.

Saturday night, Christians go to church with candles on their hands to wait for the Resurrection. They will then light them up from a flame which comes directly from Israel.

Image credit: Adrian Cuba
That's just a little information about the Lent customs.

Now, let's go to the eggs ritual which I find quite curious. There are strict rules to follow in here too! 

Because in Romania, on Easter day, people will bang the hard-boiled decorated eggs one against another. This is funny, really, so stay tuned. I thought I should call it, "The clash of eggs!"

An egg has three parts: the top = head, the opposite side = bottom, and the sides = ribs (?!). Yes, it's how Romanians explain this.

On the first day of Easter (Saturday after midnight), the eggs should be hit one against another only head to head. 
The day after Easter, Easter Monday, the eggs can be banged one against another head to bottom.
The days after, bottom to bottom, sides to sides, etc. As one wishes. 

As a general rule, the first one to start the clash of eggs is the oldest man at the table. This man would hit the egg's head against the other egg head held by a partner (child, wife, brother, etc.) shouting the phrase, "Christ has risen!"
The other egg's holder will respond with the words, "Truly, He has risen!"
After that, the broken eggs owners will start crying and wondering why their eggshells are cracked and the others' aren't. (?) Mysteries of God.
The person who's got the eggshell intact will keep banging other eggs until his/her will crack too. Then the banquet can begin. And the sickness follows invariably.... Too much food after a strict vegan diet! 





Why clashing the eggs? Because they need to be eaten, one has to take the eggshell of it first. Or not? 


Why would Romanians have these rituals and traditions which seem strange somehow? Let me reply with the same question: Why other nations have weird traditions? That's why.



This is all about the Easter traditions in my country but there are many others.



Cristos a Inviat! Paste Fericit! Happy Easter!



P.s. I don't actually recall doing this battle of eggs in my family, maybe because it's more of an Orthodox tradition. But my brother just confirmed that we used to do it too. Hmm...

Saturday, 15 April 2017

In the name of love, please sign this petition


I don't know you, but I fight against any sort of discrimination.
Last night I couldn't sleep so I went on Facebook and found an update (posted by a friend of mine) that made me shiver.

I cannot stand people abusing, torturing, mocking, killing any being (human or animal) for absurd reasons.
We have no right to kill someone because he/she's gay. Gay doesn't mean paedophile or necrophile.
Gay people are attracted to humans of the same gender.

Being straight doesn't mean being right. 

What if you were born gay? 
Do you have any idea how hard is for these people to have a regular life?
Would you like to be tortured because you love another human? 
I don't think so. Then why do it to others?
They don't do anything wrong, immoral or indecent. They love like you and me. They have consensual sex.
Humans have many sins, but loving is not one of them.

Stop discriminating gay people. There is nothing wrong with them, but it is a lot wrong with those people who treat them with disrespect.

No law should instigate people to torture living beings.
Individuals who kill are criminals and should be thrown in jail for eternity.

Torturing and killing in the name of religion or God is a monstrosity and should be punished severely.
Loving is not, as long as it's consentient.

Picture from amnesty.org.uk

If you have a soul sign the petition now by clicking here. 

Please, don't ignore this.
Stand up for LOVE. It could be your son, daughter, brother, sister, friend, or even your mother and father who hid their inclination from the cruel and narrow-minded society.
No God would demand his disciples to kill innocent people.
Read what's happening in Chechnya. It's utterly atrocious.

Sign if you're human. 

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Barely legal

Dear reader,

A few months back, I got a call from a not very famous magazine asking me if I wanted to pose for it in a very succinct manner.  Apparently, there is going to be an edition about aspirant writers who have other talents to show to the world… and what’s more attractive than a woman in Eve’s costume?

I’ve always dreamed of having a pictorial somewhere… but, as a good Catholic, the idea of showing my naked skin brought to mind the promise of burning in hell for the eternity, so I politely refused.
“Are you sure?” asked the woman on the other side.
“Not at all,” I replied with sorrow in my voice.
“Do you know that this sort of exposure would attract publishers?”
When I heard about the word Publisher, all my doubts disappeared into thin air. ‘The hell with the hell! I am doing it. I have been working so hard. I deserve this!’ I thought.

Getting naked in front of anyone else than my teddy, was really challenging. As soon as I've taken off my jeans and blue jumper, my face and half of my body transformed in a ripe tomato with white marks. Truly disgusting.
The photograph, a woman younger than me, took a few shots and said it was impossible to do the work.
We had to come with something to make the blemishes go away.
So she brought a few people in the room (a female cleaner, a bodyguard, and a random male who was waiting for something in the corridor) and made me walk in high heels and swimming costume in front of them. A sort of parade. Skin parade.

I really thought that my heart will explode any minute.
The cleaner with long yellow gloves clapped her hands with excitement every time I stumbled and almost broke my neck.
The bodyguard’s expression was impossible to decipher, as he remained impassable for the whole time.
But the random man… wow, that was something completely different than the two above. He looked into my eyes as to see inside my soul, and shed countless of tears. Honestly, his reaction almost made me jump out the window. Pity that the studio was ground floor.

I had to know why was he crying, so I asked, and he replied sobbing like a girl while taking out of his pockets a pair of dark glasses, “I am temporarily blind, dammit! Once in a lifetime opportunity and I cannot see a bloody thing!”

I burst into a huge hysterical laugh and almost peed myself. Ten minutes later, I was good to go.

I won’t keep you further, see for yourself. Just for you to know, the only modification to these pictures were about colour in the first one. All the others are 100% natural.

Please, do not tell my parents, they think I’m a saint. Ha, ha.


This was my first shot - "I am too ashamed."
The second one - "NO, I was mistaken, I can't do it! Leave me alone!"

That's the second time I almost broke my spine. The cleaner was in ecstasy!
About to fell out of the window
Let me know what you think, all right? As you can see, these are quite decent. I can’t turn my respectful blog in a scandalous tabloid.
Plus, I cannot afford to lose my job... just yet.

For the real stuff, you’ll have to wait for the magazine. I think it’s worth it. Ha, ha.

If you are a literary agent, you realise the potential of a writer like me, right? 

If you appreciated please join me on Facebook.
Thank you.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Cut the mustard


As children, many of us aspire to become an actor, astronaut, painter, singer, model, football player writer, athlete, millionaire, doctor, journalist, etc.
Then life happens and we end up working in an ordinary office (if we are lucky), a factory, restaurant, on the streets, and so on.

I am not saying it's wrong to have these jobs, not at all. If you wanted to become a waitress, an advisor, or a pole dancer, then that is a great success for you.

However, many of us are unhappy with their jobs, but if we are asked what happened to our dreams often the reply is simple, "It was a fantasy, unlikely to come to life."

Many of us don't even attempt to transform these dreams into reality often because of others' opinions, "It's a stupid dream. You're twenty-five, grow up already! Dreams don't pay the bills."

We tell to ourselves every day, "I am not good enough, not smart enough, not beautiful enough.... just not enough."

But how come we see these models who don't look that beautiful and are not perfect at all being exactly where we hoped we'd be one day? How did they get there?

We hear and witness exponential successes singers who don't have such great voices or appearances.

We watch movies with actors who seem ordinary, like you and me, but they work in Hollywood and make five successful movies a year.

Angelina Jolie, during a speech (probably after winning an Oscar), said with humbleness, "I don't know why I've got to have this success when so many other people would like to be in my place."
I can't remember the exact words, but this was the meaning of her statement.
I fell in love with her after hearing that, she's a very intelligent woman and deserves every prize she gets. Keep in mind she is not one of my favourite actresses, but she's definitely one of my favourite humans.

Do you think her fame is not well earned? Do you think she woke up one day being a famous actress? 

Many of us believe that these people were born under a lucky star. Raise your hand if you are convinced of that.
I don't blame you, I used to think the same, "Some people are luckier than others."
After twenty years of assiduous research and studies, I beg to differ, Determination is what makes most people thrive in life.

Since I was a child, I have been falling asleep with the illusion that I will be discovered (by pure chance) by someone and become extremely successful overnight. It never occurred.
That didn't materialise even when I started working incredibly hard on my lifetime project.
For many years I thought I was doomed, and stood no chance because of the massive competition.
However, I've never given up, if something, I began working harder and harder. Then I realised that work without the right strategy is in vain.
You can be an amazing painter, writer or singer, but if we don't meet the right people, you'll never break through.
And to meet these people, you need to expose yourself. - Advertising is the heart of commerce. 
Before advertising yourself, you must decide what is that you want exactly. Your aim must be crystal clear.
Then invest all your time and energies into pursuing this dream. You can't leave anything to chance, triumph without incredible sacrifices is possible only for a bunch of people.
If you are unsuccessful by the time you're forty, it's clear that you are not one of those people.

I speak from experience, of course. Therefore, I decided to give up at any other hobby I had, and focus on my only burning desire: becoming a world-known writer. 

Disappearing from all my friends' and family's radar was a sacrifice that cost me greatly.
Writing requires peace and quiet.
Giving up to social life when I live alone, wasn't easy. I am officially a hermit. I just hope I won't end up with a long white beard.
Interrupting the writing to reply to a phone call or a text message, is incredibly hard for me.
Every minute counts.

I have to cut the mustard. For me, it's now or never. 

At this point, I know it's only a matter of time until my talent will be discovered.
My first novel is in the process of being published, and it's just the beginning.

In the unlikely event that isn't really in my destiny, I will die knowing I did my best. No regrets.
I know I'll make it the next time = next life.

Sacrifice is wanting to eat an entire box of Raffaello, but you eat only nine (out of ten).

Image from Pixabay