Travel…

As much as you can and as far as you can!

I love travelling! Be it a weekend getaway, city break, eurotrip, exotic holiday, business trip or others. I simply feel wonderful and excited all the time.

Travelling is about experiencing different cultures, different lifestyles and meeting new people. You get to learn so many things that empower and enlighten you. It makes me feel amazing. I’ve been to quite a few places so far and each experience was unique and special. It gives me energy, a sense of freedom and it makes me feel more mature every time.

Saying that different cultures have different values has unfortunately become a cliche. We say we know that but we no longer truely understand what it means. We cannot put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, it is hard for us to understand where they come from or why they have such a different way of doing things. This is why travelling empowers you. You get to meet people, to interact with them and, if you are smart enough, to observe them. You can follow their thinking process, notice how they act and interact amongst themselves and with strangers. Every person is unique but all of us are part of bigger groups and come from a certain a place which influences at least some of our behaviours and the way we tolerate one another.

If you want to know more about yourself travel!

Of course all of the above mean you are open and smart. I have seen situations where tourists are quite annoying and disrespectful.

So enjoy every experience and make it count! Remember that time goes by and you cannot go back. Make your trips count and make yourself happy.
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Monaco

That moment when…

…you quit your job!

When it comes to work I have always been one of those people who strongly believe in the importance of doing what you love and loving what you do.

Ever since high school I have grown to appreciate how much a person’s job means to that person. What you do on an every day basis can and will change you. Getting up in the morning to do something you don’t like will have a negative effect on you.

These being said, I have realised at one point that even though I was in this company for only 6 months the role itself didn’t involve some of the things that make me rise and shine, that challenge me and that help me grow and develop. Luckily for me opportunity presented itself and I will now have the chance to feel all those things again. I am excited and so looking forward to start this new great journey.

I am aware people don’t necessarily look at this with good eyes but that didn’t stop me and it is unlikely to stop me in the future. So I would advise anyone in this situation to have courage and to never stop looking for what they are passionate about. Contrary to what some people would like to believe it doesn’t make you an unstable person. It makes you a brave, ambitious person who knows what he/she wants and acts accordingly. Do not get complacent because it will make you sad or unhappy way to often.

So I am now in a much better place and more satisfied with myself. I am looking forward to this next journey and I will be back writing my stories as soon as possible.

Be brave!

Budapest

There are quite a few things to see in Budapest and one has to give it to them: some of the bridges over the Danube look splendid.

I am not going to talk much about what to visit here mainly because you can simply google it to get the information. What I will tell you is some of my (as subjective as they get) opinions.

I will start by recommending you to go to Szimpla Bar. It’s some sort of pub/club with good drinks and a really nice atmosphere. I would also give you another recommendation but unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the place. I do remember it was near one of the bridges that connect Buda and Pest, very close to the city centre. They had old papers and photos all over the walls and the place looked incredibly cozy.

This is going to be short but Budapest is a slightly cleaner, better organised Bucharest. This is what sums up Budapest for me. Of course the bridges, the Parliament House, the Buda Castle and others are impressive and look fabulous at night so don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I noticed similarities between the 2 cities.

This post is probably disappointing to you but I couldn’t cut it from my list. Although I am not going to talk about it I do admit that I had really strong personal experiences in that place. Maybe this is a secondary reason. I somehow love but also hate it.

One last thing: if you do want to visit European capitals and cities I wouldn’t miss Budapest and neither would I skip Bucharest.

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P.S. The Christmas market is really nice. It’s like a smaller version of the Vienna Christmas Market.

Warsaw and Lodz, Poland

I have been trying to be more organised and start doing some of the things I had in mind for quite some time now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to stick to this. Priorities seem to keep changing.

I recently backed up some of my photo albums and realised I have quite a few stories to tell about places, people and society and I want to share them so that even I can go back and remember them properly.

I should warn you I will now and then make snide remarks towards the lack of…let’s say many things.As a disclaimer I should say it is my opinion which I will express so there might be people out there who disagree (which I don’t mind at all. It’s almost a free world).

So I went to Warsaw and Lodz in Poland in november 2012. It was my first business trip ever.

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I didn’t really know what to expect when I landed in Warsaw’s Chopin Airport. I had decided I will learn things on the spot and see as much as was possible in such a short time. For those of you who do not know, Warsaw is the capital city of Poland and has a population a bit over 1.7 million (at least this was what Google said). The first thing that hit me (it was impossible to miss) was the uniform of the police in the airport. It seemed ‘old’ and unfriendly. I am well aware you cannot have pink uniforms in airports but an unfortunate colour combined with the lack of smiles really makes you fell uncomfortable.

While going on a city tour I saw that (of course) the city centre was very clean and that the buildings have been recently taken care of. The UEFA Euro2012 Championship had taken place there so this was a natural thing to do (sorry, I know almost nothing about football). Needless to say it was rather cold. At some point the tour continued on foot and saw me visiting the Old Town, the National Theatre, the monument of the Warsaw uprising fighters, the Castle Square, the monument of Nicolaus Copernicus, Chopin’s monument and St. Anne’s Church which were all really great to see. Because it’s been quite a while and I was rather nervous during that trip I am sure I forgot some important things from my list but I do remember it was a very pleasant tour.  In the Old Town city centre we stopped for some traditional drinks and I had to taste a ‘softer” vodka with lemongrass as my stomach wasn’t up for large amounts of alcohol.

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I remember eating at an italian restaurant – Piccola Italia I believe – and declaring I know quite a few better ones back home. I confess I didn’t remember trying some local dishes but only because I am a spoiled brat and don’t like most fatty foods (I cringe at the sight of grease).

I also managed to somehow get lost in Warsaw’s Central Station. Luckily enough I found some English speaking people (from a corporate building) to help me get back on track. The mix between old, historical buildings, and new ones (“glass”) was a surprise there. I stopped to pick something up from a Starbucks in which they misspelled my name ( *sad face*).

Up next was Lodz in which I only staid for 1 day and a half. The Andels Hotel was AMAZING. It was built in an old manufactory and had high ceilings and interesting walls. It looked really impressive on the inside and the service was great. It was across the street from the city centre area aptly named Manufaktura. This was another impressive sight.

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To make things better, that evening I went to a Sting concert and when I got back to the hotel I met him in the elevator. He was staying on the floor above mine.

I went to one of the ‘fancy’ bars in the city centre later and had one of the best coktails ever (just look at the picture). Delicious!

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On a sad note, the next day I discovered that when you left the central area the city looked really really bad. Buildings still looked destroyed with missing outside walls and it wasn’t a nice sight. It was sad to think it is the third largest city in the country and that it once was a textile empire…before World War I.

 

My passion project

Inspiration?!  A friend gave me the link to Github’s Passion Projects on Youtube. It was really interesting to watch and listen to those women talking about what they do so it started me thinking. It’s like the question recruiters always ask when interviewing candidates: what is your greatest achievement so far? The truth is that in my opinion most people lie about this because they try so hard to tell the interviewer something he/she wants to hear. So I am going to answer truthfully to that question in this post.

Whenever I think about the things I’ve done so far it is hard for me to choose a single specific thing (not that I’ve somehow brought fabulous changes to the world) and name it my greatest achievement which is why I will go for my passion project instead. So let’s talk about Droidcon Eastern Europe.

Droidcon Eastern Europe is like the Comic Con of the Android world. In exactly 10 days (October, 7-8th) the second edition will take place In Bucharest and it will also be the second time I’m part of the organisers’ team. While I’m not a kick ass Android developer (nor will I ever be since I’m not pursuing this career path), but merely a fresh engineering graduate I absolutely love this event. It is meant to bring together developers, designers and people that work in the industry so that they can share knowledge, experience and learn from each other. It is the kind of event where you can actually feel the energy and emotions of those present. There are people present there with such different backgrounds that can absolutely dazzle you. I know that when first thinking about it you can say that there are tons of conferences, workshops or expos where you could go and do/learn stuff but how many of them challenge and empower you? How many conferences have you been to that have given you the energy, drive and belief that you can do the things you dream of?  How many times have you had the opportunity to be around talented and passionate people? Even without them acknowledging it, this kind of people will make you want to become better and push your limits. I remember some of my colleagues from college telling me that they’re not going to conference X because they are senior and they don’t feel prepared to talk to people with that kind of experience. They were afraid to make a fool of themselves for being at the stage of learning and discovering and I admit that even I felt that way a few times, but definitely not at Droidcon Eastern Europe. Where and when are you supposed to get the courage to do it? Instead of feeling “stupid” among bright people participants should feel empowered and seek advice from them so that they can grow as professionals and individuals. It’s why I wanted to do this project, it’s my only “benefit”. I get to meet and talk to people that are incredible and believe it or not I observe them and learn things from them. It is  the kind of project that I would beg to be able to do or be a part of. I remember the feeling I had after the 2012 edition. When I got home after it ended I said “wow”! It has been a tremendous journey and I look forward to enjoying the 2013 edition.

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Charismatic mess

Last week I went to a meeting which made me think a lot about the combination of skills, education & passion for work. So I threw a look back at some of the things I have been doing and see if I can make better sense of it.

We start with how do you choose a job? How do you know what fits you best? How do you know what you are/can be good at? Let’s say that the luckiest people are able to figure it out. They make a decision based on the answer to these questions and then the job search starts. Well, things will get weird and twisted from this point onward. Because, as I have discovered, it is so damn hard to find something that you like and fits you.  At some point we compromise. We choose to do something we enjoy very much and we pour our heart and soul into it from an early stage. But the thing is, people will take advantage of your dedication and skills. You will keep devoting time and energy and hope it will get better and you’ll be appreciated for what you’re worth. It is true that in doing so you learn so many things that make you a better professional and a better person that when you start having doubts you get your energy from this. But at some point you’re past the learning phase and you feel like you need  to be challenged and you need to be rewarded. After a year or more you will get a reality slap. Because no matter how good you feel about the things you’ve learned and the stuff you did, you can’t always do it almost for free. Because at some point you need to grow up and see that passion and dedication will not pay your rent. I might get judged for saying this, especially since I always advised my friends to try and do something they enjoy so that their work won’t become a burden, but the truth is you do need to earn. If you don’t, it will start tormenting you and you’ll go back to wondering about those 3 things from the beginning. I call this a charismatic mess. You start over and find out that it is annoyingly hard to find people who believe in you and/or your potential and who are willing to offer you a chance to prove something.

In the end, I would say think things through a million times. Try and do what you like, what makes you feel alive and what makes excitement run in your veins but do it carefully. There’s always a trap. Maybe, just maybe, your dedicated and passionate efforts are better put into something in your spare time. 

 

It is indeed a Startup world

You may think this is crazy but I have started discovering more about startups and how they are slowly but surely taking over the market a year ago. I knew there were small companies (web development or app development especially) but was never curious to see what’s behind their portfolio. The problem is I think I never considered the idea of a startup and what it means.

Of course things have changed. A lot! I am now surrounded by people who do great things and work hard to succeed. After I moved to Cluj-Napoca I shortly met the Cluj Hub team and then started coming here more and more often. I don’t have a startup myself but I really enjoy going there to do my project management work. It’s fun and most importantly inspiring. I’ve met a few people that do have startups and saw how they work and how smart, dedicated and enthusiastic they are. These people are really different in a good way. Hats off for the passion they bring into their work and their commitment. I somehow feel like I’m at Open Connect, at Starbucks. I used to feel inspired and get my weekly dose of energy from that meetup. I now feel lucky I get to know these special people here too.

Back to startups now! There are so many programmes, competitions and conferences that I think it started to get confusing. The successful startups I’ve encountered have been founded by groups of friends or maybe just 2 friends sharing a similar vision and wanting to combine their knowledge and intuition. I am skeptical towards one of the conference models where you have an idea and you try to find people to form a team. I don’t see that working smoothly because they are technically strangers and bonding so that they make things work out takes a lot of time. Regarding the competitions or the conferences where you can get funding I am rather curious how they choose one and what are the terms. Because support is extremely rare given purely out of good will. There has to be something there or maybe I am a bit paranoid. Nonetheless, the number of startups in the world is growing. What I am curious about is the impact this has on the big multinationals. They have started outsourcing to these companies and the trend is barely at the beginning. Does this mean that in the future they might consider giving up their employees and just do outsourcing to startups? Is this cheaper for them? Or will startups be bought and integrated into bigger companies?

I guess we’ll wait and see.