The Purge – Book Review

The Purge it’s a dark read, a metaphor for all culpabilities that an individual buries within him until one day when everything has to come up to the surface. From this point of view the main character, Aliide, is complicated and you can’t place her in a certain category: the victim, the villain, the selfish woman, the good samaritan, etc.

purificareThe book tells the story of two women: Aliide Truu, who lives alone in the Estonian countryside, and Zara, a girl whom Aliide finds in her backyard one morning and which brings to life all of Aliide’s past.

The plot is set in the early 1990s when Estonia was under the communist rule of the Soviet Union. Unemployment, poverty, inhumanity, sexual violence and military occupation, all together create an incredibly sad and wise story.

The two women are a different kind of survivors – nothing proves that their destiny could have been any different in the given times.

This book wasn’t my kind of read but kept me impatient and waiting for the grand finale.

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Packing smart and traveling light

I remember being a child and going on vacation with my parents. They used to take me everywhere. Together with some big suitcases where I could fit in – it was like packing up our lives to move elsewhere for several days up to a week.
In my first years of traveling I did the same – packed all the possible clothes and shoes, moisturizers and body lotions – all together in no particular order in a big wheeled luggage. What if something happened and I really needed something? I had to be prepared.
And so I did. Until I had to pack for a week in Italy. A small carry-on bag to take on the plane (56x45x25 cm) which is more or less like a school backpack. Can you imagine?
That’s when I learned:
I have to plan outfits in advance. Usually 2 pairs of pants and a skirt which can go with several t-shirts (up to 6) and one pair of extra shoes, goes fine for me. Whatever you choose, remember to always pack your swimming suit.
I have to roll my clothes. Yes, rolling your clothes not folding them saves up space and prevents wrinkles. Putting them in a zip bag and taking the air out – even better.
Toiletries have to be small – travel size.
Band aids and some pills (for headaches, colds, etc) fit in my wallet.
Usual electronics: photo camera, phone and chargers.
– I can buy my book at destination.
Everything will fit in a small carryon bag.

And you know what’s best?
– You are free and flexible on the road
No more waiting in line for baggage checking and reclaim or fear of losing something.
Lavender Gri fits comfortably in the same carry-on and I have a happy Mau and a light travel.
Once you do this, you’ll never make the mistake of over packing.

And then again, less stuff is happiness 😉

My luggage in Germany.


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How to save money for travel – Create it!

Looking on how to save up money for traveling I found so many articles revealing “the secrets of saving”.

And let me tell you – it’s all the same and it requires for us to give up on every little pleasure of life in order to get some more pennies. Give up on cakes, on cigarettes, on drinks, on going out with friends – on everything that gives joy in the present moment so you could enjoy the future – which may or may not be happening.

I have a simple life and I’ve got a pretty balanced life style. If it were to give up on something, I don’t think I would have from where to choose.

I do agree on making a plan (creating a budget) and spending less – on clothes, on processed foods, bottled water, services that are not really needed (magazine memberships, cable, etc).

Selling stuff that I don’t need it’s great too – less stuff, more happiness. I already did my list – mainly books, jewelry and some clothes.

piggyBut to cut out on small life pleasures having in mind that someday (sooner or later) I will be doing X or Y? No way.

So if saving up money for a dream trip doesn’t really sound appealing to you too, try to create that money.

If you already work a lot, it can be tricky and I suggest you don’t do it.

But if you have the energy and the willingness try a side job. It can be from your hobbies (hand-made artsy crafty things), your free time, your skills and qualities.

Start small and go big. Dreams worth it.

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Careers with Sociology degree – En & Ro versions

It’s been 7 years since my Bachelor in Sociology and 5 years since graduated my Masters in Human Resources and Sociology is still a relatively new subject for Romanians and goes through a rough time in establishing a reputation. However, sociology graduates can be found in a wide range of occupations.

A bachelor in sociology should appeal to both careerist’s and the idealist’s people and the truth is that no one with any kind of degree is going to just walk into a job nowadays.

In sociology you can:

  • Learn how business works through the study of economic processes, organizations, institutions, human interactions – therefore sociology is probably better than business studies because having transferable skills will allow you to move between business sectors.
  • Learn how markets are developing and shaping society, culture, religion, family – so marketing is a good choice for sociology graduates. Marketers are interested in mapping society, identifying different types of people and characteristics, lifestyle, choices, behaviors and attitudes in order to target a certain segment of the population for a specific product.
  • Learn how society creates opportunities and inequalities and analyses these. If you add a bit of writing skills then you will have a great start in journalism. You could write on topics like politics, social affairs, social change, do research on certain events. Also this could relate also to an academic career by starting publishing academic papers in different journals or university programs.
  • Also think about combining sociology with modern languages and by all means try to get a scholarship (for Europe an Erasmus Scholarship). This experience abroad will have a huge impact on you and your future career.

Another thing to do is presenting yourself and your skills in an employer-friendly manner. Society considers that sociology “it’s not about the real world” (I think mainly because many sociologist have criticize the social order and the status quo) and so you have to be pretty damn real in your presentation.

Good luck in finding your career path!

Versiune limba romana:

Au trecut 7 ani de cand am terminat facultatea de Sociologie si 5 ani de cand am obsolvit si Masterul in Resurse Umane iar Sociologia a ramas in continuare un subiect destul de nou pentru romani si intampina in continuare greutati in stabilirea unei reputatii. Cu toate acestea, absolventii de sociologie pot fi intalniti intr-o varietate de ocupatii.

O licenta in sociologie poate multumi atat pe cei idealisti cat si pe cei aflati in cautarea unei cariere. Oricum ar fi, in zilele noastre, indiferent de diploma pe care o ai este destul de dificil sa-ti gasesti un loc de munca, nu este sociologia un caz aparte.

Sociologia te invata:

  • despre cum se misca lumea de afaceri studiind procesele economice, organizatiile, institutiile, interactiunile dintre oameni – astfel, sociologia este mult mai indicata decat studiile de business in sine pentru ca iti ofera abilitati si competente care iti permit sa te misti intre diverse sectoare de afaceri.
  • despre cum se dezvolta o piata si cum aceasta creaza in jurul ei societatea, cultura, religia, familia – astfel marketingul este o alegere buna pentru absolventii de sociologie. Marketerii sunt interesati de felul cum este impartita societatea, de diferitele tipuri de oameni si caracteristici, de stil de viata, alegeri, atitudini si comportamente astfel inca sa vizeze un anumit segment din piata in functie de produs.
  • despre cum societatea creaza oportunitati dar si inegalitati si cum le putem analiza. Daca adaugam si ceva abilitati de scriere atunci sunt sanse mari pentru un job in jurnalism. Se poate scrie pe teme politice, schimbare sociala, afaceri externe sau se pot face investigatii pe diverse teme. Toate aceste pot duce si spre o cariera academica incepand cu publicarea de lucrari in reviste de specialitate si programe din cadrul universitatilor.
  • deasemeni, gandeste-te la combinarea sociologiei cu limbile straine si incearca prin orice mijloace sa obtii o bursa in strainatate (Erasmus). Aceasta experienta va avea un impact foarte mare nu doar asupra ta ci asupra carierei tale.

Un alt lucru de facut este prezentarea intr-o maniera prietenoasa dar bine pregatit in fata viitorului angajator.

Societatea considera inca sociologia ca neavand legatura cu lumea reala (cred asta din cauza sociologilor care de-a-lungul timpului au tot criticat ordinea sociala si au contestat status-quo-ul) si astfel tu trebuie sa fii cat se poate de real si autentic in prezentarea ta.

Mult succes in gasirea propriului drum in cariera!

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Angelology – book review

Last week I finally managed to finish Angelology by Danielle Trussoni – a book that I bought, again, because of it’s fabulous cover. Who does this covers? I wanna know.

angelologiaThe story follows the classical good versus evil, man versus fallen angels, different mythologies combined in order to give you the feeling that something big is going on in this world without you knowing.

The concept of Nephilim – a hybrid between man and angel – for me, is beautiful. A creature with the strength and beauty of a angel and a bit of more welfare and malice than anyone human, it’s breathtaking.

Going back to the story – the heroine is a nun – sister Evangeline,leading a quiet life in a convent in New York receives a letter from Verlaine asking for access to the convent’s archives and from here starts a chain of events connected to the secret society of Angelologists and the humans enemies, the fallen angels, in the quest of finding the Lyre.

For myself, the book has a bit too much of descriptive paragraphs. I would have loved to see more action for some chapters.

Overall it was a good book that opened my appetite for the seductive Nephilims.

Also, I saw a bunch of books lately with angels as main storyline. Are they the new vampires?

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my skydiving experience

I’m not a risk taker, by traditional standards I’ve never experienced anything dangerous (ok, maybe until I got on the motorcycle as a pillion for the first time) – I’m just a truly believer that nothing is impossible and you can do anything.

The sky diving experience was a surprise and everything took place very fast. Now I kinda know why people say that skydivers are adrenaline junkies – it’s about that feeling of maximum liberty that one can experience.

 I did my jump at TNT Brothers and I went tandem – it means I was connected to a professional that opened the parachute and did the guiding to the ground. Piece of cake!!

After being amazed by the view at 10.000 feet up in the air in something small and that is not a commercial airplane, a more interesting thing happens. When reaching the right altitude the pilot turns off the engine and puts the plane in a steady position.

And that’s the moment when the plane door opens and you get a feel of the cold air rushing in. You don’t even get to think you’re going to jump when you already are hanging outside of the plane.

IMG_8083IMG_8167IMG_8208 The fall is the easy part – there is no turning back. You get the feeling of falling for a brief moment and then you just enjoy the free-fall and the silence. It’s so much silence and at some point the feeling that you don’t move anymore. After the chute opens it’s beautiful too.

 I wish I did this more sooner. It’s fun, frightening and life changing.

If you never considered sky diving, think again. You might find yourself coming back for more.

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a day at work in human resources field

I’ve always wondered from where it came the typical 8 hours working time. Today I find it not relevant any more – it’s not about how much time you spend working but the quality and success of your work. And more, for me, it’s about the balance between work and life after leaving the office.

8 hours as a working time started in the industry revolution era when people were working all day long and then someone thought about a balance to make things more efficient: 8 hours work, 8 hours rest and another 8 for recreation.
No science behind it, just a norm.

Now about my 8 hours. I’m currently education and training leader with additional responsibilities on community projects for a production site.
Life in a production site office is very different than a  job in an office.

First off, for the support departments like human resources, finance, planning, we have an open space – no single or shared rooms, no cubicles. Everyone sits at their table seeing one another while around are the others working on computers, taking calls, talking over the tables, welcoming visits, etc.

This way I learned to be very focused on what I’m doing and at the same time connected with my other colleagues.

Being in my role you don’t get a real typical day and you don’t get bored with what you do.
The mornings look pretty much the same:
– daily meeting with my department colleagues to share info on what we have scheduled for the day and if there is help needed
– checking our online learning system for different reports on qualifications, skills, trainings that need to be done and reporting further to the management all the updates
– enrolling people into trainings, forming classes, sending invites
– talking with my coordinators and design the training calendar in advance based on what needs to be deployed – site level and department level
After lunch there can be:
– team building event preparation or team event facilitation
– organizational meetings for different types of surveys
– visits to the local school or high school for checking the progress of our programs in the community
– check on the progress of our internal courses (English) or follow up on different workshops
– preparing trainings or presentations for different type of events (weekly meetings), writing or translating articles for our communication program
– meetings with the work groups I’m a member of
– planning and supervising our practice students together with dedicated subject matter experts
– e-mails, visits, new employees onboarding, internal processes that I own and are related to the well-being of employees (seniority, benefits, safety and employees electee)
– regional calls or benchmarking for education and training
– back-up and consultant for employee assistant (my previous role)

In human resources you get variety and  is very fun to work – even in the rough days.

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Birthday gift guide for the man you love

While it might seem tricky to shop for the man you love and some even find it impossible after some years have passed by, for Mau my creativity goes way up high in terms of birthday and name day gifts.

So today, to help you get pass the ordinary gifts (socks, shirts, pants, watches, etc) I will share what I have gifted in the past 4 years.

My idea of gifts for him goes like this:
one part activity (life is about memories and experiencing things, remember?)
one part small useful object to remain with

My gifts went like this:

  • Hand made sterling silver and leather bracelet – rocker cuff, i call it – custom made by a local Romanian artist. I chose the symbols and he artistically interpreted them in sterling silver.
  • Hand made painted t-shirt *yamaha dragstar– another Romanian artist.
  • Hand-glider tour of a beautiful region in Comana.
  • A set of containers for spices (Mau loves them) which can be displayed nicely on the kitchen counter.
  • 30 customs cupcakes – ordered at a local pastry – together with a cake.
  • Cartoon painting – based on what I told to the drawer she made the whole composition.
  • Sky diving – yup, he had to jump out of a plane at my request. Kidding here. We went to TNT Brothers and he had his first 4000 meters jump in tandem last year. And guess what? This year was my turn to jump.
  • Magnetic puzzle from a photo – this is always great for a small surprise.
  • Pilot for a day – another great gift was going to a local airfield and spend the day learning about air crafts, operating them and then taking one motor-hand-glider and fly it under supervision.
  • Balloons – helium balloons are great – you can order a nice bouchet and, at the end of the day, enjoy a good laugh while inhaling some helium.
  • A leather wallet – when it was needed.

    Yup, a lot of flying, airy gifts. Smile on his face, big green eyes. Seeing him surprised and excited – priceless.

And remember: If you have no idea what to gift someone, it’s best to take them out to lunch/dinner (if you afford it, go on a city break or organize a trip for you two) or go shopping together to pick something up.

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Reasons to Spend Money on Travels and Experiences

Most people are in the pursuit of happiness. Like I am myself. Like Mau is. And we found some basic form of happiness in traveling.
We travel a lot compared with other young couples around us. And we wish to travel even more. I don’t think we will ever be digital nomads, to sell everything and go out into the world and blog about it.
At the end of our days I just want us to recall all the golden memories we shared and which shaped who we’ve become.
I like stories and I want to be the lady that has lots of them to talk about without repeating herself 🙂

If we are truly looking to live a more fulfilling life, we have to experience new things rather than buying them.
I’ve seen people that found a way to distance themselves from spending on unnecessary and material items and focus more towards travel, nature, experiences that nurture the soul.

So in this society that tells us to go out and buy, I tell you to go out and live.

1. Experiences are meaningful.
You see, you feel, you taste a bit of freedom, you live a moment that will stay with you for the days and years to come. Of course you pay for your vacations, getaway or trip. The difference is that those are worth it, they connect us with other people, meanwhile an object becomes meaningless after a time.
2. Things don’t make you happy long term.
It’s nice to have the comfort of your house and the latest technology but don’t exaggerate. Don’t buy something just because it’s the latest trend, it’s new or has one or two improvements than your version. I do tend to get emotional with things (I’m a cancer, for god’s sake) although I’ve realized I have way too much stuff. And that doesn’t make me happy. I don’t have a rich life because I have my house full of things.
3. Most of the times it’s all about nature.
The planning, the cost, the lugage, the road till destination, all fades in the face of a beautiful scenery, a breeze of fresh air, a change of sight. Take a look around you and observe. You don’t have a busy life, you just need a change of perspective.
4. Money can be taken care of.
It seems like all of us are saving up enough money – mostly to used it after retirement. It’s up to you what to do with your savings – leave all of it in a bank account or under the mattress or go and live a little. There are always money for traveling and if that makes you happy, go out and experience.

We all want to make our life as easy as possible. Let’s start with a road map.

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Tips and tricks for riding as a pillion girl

Being on a motorcycle is a little bit of excitement, freedom and peace. On the back of the  motorcycle nothing matters anymore, it’s just you and the road, the scenery around. It’s like the perfect ballance between yourself and the world, and I’m just the passenger.

And all these went away when, after a minor incident last year, this season I was so afraid to ride. At every corner, while leaning, I thought we were going to crash. Moreover I was terrified of leaning on the right side – which was strange, I couldn’t explain it to myself either, ”cause leaning on the left is more dangerous, you have the cars coming from the other lane. I used to be so excited every time we went for a ride and I wanted to feel that again.

So, after a small search around the web I did find some advice on what to do and how to act while the motorcycle is leaning.

I cured myself while riding with Mau on long distances and on unknown roads (I observed that when I knew some corner was coming I was panicking) and respecting the rule to go along with the rider and watch over the turning shoulder.

In order to be the kind of passenger riders want to travel with and, as a girl, after 4 years of riding, I want you to remember:

  1. To wear clothing that will offer protection in case of an accident: footwear that protects your ankles, durable pants, an abrasion resistant jacket that zips up to your neck, gloves and of course the helmet (a good, quality one) – this makes you feel safe while being safe. DSCN1598
  2. When mounting the motorcycle make sure to let the driver know it and watch for the footpegs to be down. Try to always get on the bike from the left side. This way you will also avoid the hot exhaust pipes that can burn right through the heaviest pants.
  3. Once you are on the motorcycle plant your feet on the footpegs and place your hands on the riders hips, on the handle bars the moto can have on sides or in the back. In my case, while riding the red girl Suzuki SV I put my hands on the tank and all of my body weight distributes on my hands. When riding the bad boy Burgman I use the lateral handles.bikes
  4. And it’s probably gonna hurt. Not only your hands. Sometimes your legs, if you squeeze too tight, and maybe your back. Let your rider know how you feel, if you need to get off and stretch.
  5. As previously mentioned, a golden rule for me is related to leaning. Motorcycles turn by leaning, not by steering like cars do. Don’t panic and try to position yourself for a perfect turn just by looking over the rider’s shoulder in the direction of the turn – this will put your weight where it belongs.
  6. The helmet will kill your looks. It’s not like in the commercials – big volume, sauvage, nice hair-do after removing it. Try to put your hair in a braid (it’s the best) or in a low bun.
  7. Get rid of your purse, minimize everything you need. Try to use a small make-up bag that can be stored under the saddle.
  8. Motorcyclists are really friendly and they wave at each other while riding. I got so excited the first time someone saluted us. Now I get a feeling of camaraderie and closeness each time someone does the biker wave to us.
  9. Keep your eyes on the road while you enjoy the scenery.
  10. Enjoy the adventure of being free and wild!DSCN1629
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no magic here

We are adults.

When did that happen?

And how do we make it stop?


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