Dear Government,

An open letter to the Romanian government and the Romanian protesters

You failed me. You failed the people. You failed the country you represent.
How do you, dear politicians, sleep at night ? How do you pray? How can you ask for divine forgiveness when you rob an entire country? How do you face your sons, daughters, wives, husbands and mothers?


You buy people’s votes and you ‘bribe’ them with salarial increases to take away their freedoms. You take advantage of their poverty and struggles to push your nasty agenda. Is this the “democracy” of 1989?

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So I ask you:
What kind of government would take the people’s rights away? What kind of government would shamelessly go in secret at night to discuss policy? If you are righteous individuals, why do you hide? If you represent the people, why do you fear the people?

Justice became antithesis with Romanian democracy.
But until when? If today we legally overlook corruption that reaches less than 48,000$, tomorrow what rights will we have to give away?

Government! You pushed and stole, you broke down a country until the point of collapse. You starved Romania. Now thirsty people get out into the streets demanding for satiation.

It is frightening. You act as though your face and your name are shielded by a mask. You act as if you are anonymous to an entire country. If you can do this facing 20 million people, what are you doing when no one is watching?

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Dear Government,
How dare you legalize corruption?
How dare you free those that stole millions and put a kid in jail for stealing food?
You put an old woman in jail for cultivating a parcel of land to avoid starvation, but you free greedy politicians?
Shame on you Socialist Democratic Party.
Instead of playing, children get out on the streets and hand out tulips as a symbol of peaceful reconciliation, praying that their government grants them a chance to a better future.

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It reads: Dear police officers, we stand with you! Will you stand with us?

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I am away and it pains me to not be able to stand there with my brothers and sisters. BUT, Bucuresti, Timisoara, Constanta, Brasov, Cluj… please don’t give up! We are all watching over you and praying that you might lead this fight for those who can’t, for those who lost their lives in battle to serve the country, and for those that are to come. With this in mind, I want to thank you for marching. We have the right to protest! And I am proud that Romanians exercise this right!

Mulțumesc!

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Why You Should Stop Making New Year’s Resolutions

How New Year’s Resolutions Kill Your Happiness

I hate New Year’s resolutions! and here’s why;

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They set the mood for huge expectations such as: “I will eat healthy in 2017!” (I saw this one so much these days that it actually makes me cringe.)

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Now, there’s nothing wrong with this resolution. Heck, it’s a reasonable and responsible choice. The problem is that, if you were used to eat only junk food and drink fizz in the past, then such a sudden change from one day to another will eventually, inevitably and most tragically end up in a failure.

You won’t be able to eat healthier right away for the rest of your life. If you want a habit to change and if you want to form another one that will last for more than 24 hours ( *winks at the cake at 1 a.m. *), then you will have to ease into it, to incorporate it slowly into your routine, to make a plan and a strategy, to even get help if necessary.

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The idea is, New Year’s resolutions are a recipe for disappointment. It’s like each year, the 31st of December, people sit down and make a list of ways in which they will create their own unhappiness later. If you fail your resolution, then you will only feel like a failure, like this year is “SO BAD”, like you haven’t changed a bit since 2016 ( which is understandable since its been only 5 days! Take it easy, Jeez!).

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The problem is only with the mindset: “In 2017, I will …” , “Starting January 1st, I will…”, “New year, new me!”. This is a bunch of advertising crap. Make plans, by all means, do! There’s no other way to evolve, to become a better version of yourself, if you cannot envision your future, but you don’t have to wait for the year to change to do so. And just because you didn’t do it January 1st, it doesn’t mean you have to wait for 2018 to become a “better you”. Just do it any day. Make plans as you go, change plans as you go, and most of all make realistic plans. Know yourself first! Then everything will flow.

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If you know you can’t even go get a glass of water without starting to pant, then don’t expect to start running 10 miles on day one of your “new me resolution”. Strategic planing and realistic goals are the key to happy and healthy development, and NOT the changing of a digit from 6 to 7 in the calendar.

With this, I wish every single one of you a productive and happy 2017!
Don’t be too hard on yourselves! Don’t give up even if you have to restart again and again. Remember slow and steady won the race.
And most importantly, remember that mental health and happiness are over every goddamn thing!
Take care of your mind and soul this year.

From Montréal
Avec amour,
Andra

Welcome to Canada: “We Have Long Winters, Maple Syrup and Culture Shock. Enjoy Your Stay!”

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If moving to Canada isn’t the biggest and the longest culture shock that I ever lived, I don’t want want to know what life has prepared for me. I moved to Montreal at the age of fifteen. My brother was only six at the time and thankfully, he didn’t experience any culture shock. He naturally fit in.
It was the opposite for me. By then, I already had time to grow roots on the soil of my mother land Romania. I had the chance to experience real and meaningful friendships that shape me to this day. I also had the chance to have loving, even if sometimes mad crazy, siblings; to live on the coast of the Black Sea and to be subjected to rich cultural traditions that made every season feel like December feels in North America, cheerful and warm to the heart.
Moving to Canada meant for me moving to the land of all possibilities. I had a somehow naïve look on the Canadian society. I felt like Jack when he won the free ticket to America on the Titanic, I felt like screaming “I’m the king of the world!”(in my case however the queen would have been a proper term to employ).

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But sooner then expected my ship sunk too, when I realized that my utopia wasn’t real. Montreal wasn’t as warm and welcoming as I expected.

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There was no beach to bath in the summer, fact that I knew before moving but didn’t realize at the time how much it would make my summers feel dry and endless until living it. The winter came way too soon and lasted way too long. Being used to the crêpes that we eat in Europe, pancakes seemed somewhat odd, puffy like a doughnut. But thank the heavens for the tasty maple syrup! Now I understand why Canadians take so much pride in their maple trees, as to put them on their national flag!

Worse than that was the fact that there were no friends, no family and I couldn’t express myself freely due to language barriers. I felt encaged and I started getting frustrated and I isolated myself from people. Daily life was exhausting, I slept way too much and I ate way too often. By the end of the first year I was unreasonably depressed and I found myself begging my mom to let me go back “home”. I simply couldn’t comprehend how to adapt to the Canadian social conventions. During Christmas time, there are no carollers, no pétards or mini fireworks everywhere.The first Christmas here was plain and it lacked the vivacity of the holiday time I was used to for fifteen years.

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But don’t get me wrong. Everything was good in theory. Judging from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the basis of my needs pyramid was given to me. My safety and physiological needs weren’t the cause of my culture shock. But the top of my pyramid was missing, the part that took me fifteen years to build was taken away from me in the matter of two flights that took 36 hours, Romania to London and London to Montreal. And it became once again a construction site that I had to continuously build up by myself. Belongingness and love needs, esteem needs and the need to know and understand were crucial for my happiness, and missing them was the cause of my sadness.

maslow01However, before the end of my culture shock experience, I was soon to realize that I was wrong on two instances: before coming to Canada for thinking I will find the El Doradoand once living in Montreal, for thinking that, and I quote “I made the biggest mistake of my life!”. Today I am proud to declare that my heart is at peace here in Montreal, so much so that even winter seems warmer and shorter, and now ironically, going back to Europe is the cause for some minor culture shock occasionally.

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From Montréal, avec amour,

Andra

The Spoon Theory (or How to Love Yourself on The Days When “You’re Not Good Enough”)

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I think we all have those days when we feel like we reached the end of our rope, when getting out of bed is hard no matter how many hours we slept, when we have to do so and so but we just can’t. As a result, the blame creeps in … slowly, like a spider, setting a web into our hearts and clattering our mind. I want to speak to the YOU (that isn’t good enough or that’s what you think).

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During those days you may feel like you are less than what your actual worth is. You will feel like less of a woman, less of a man, less of a mother, less of a friend or a sister. Suddenly, every critique you receive is true, every bad look has a reason, and pretty much everyone but you is right. Honestly, the worst part of these days is that they shatter dreams. These days chip the surface of the glossy glass that shelters your hopes, waiting for them to slowly fall apart. All at once, you will never be a surgeon, or a lawyer, nor you will make it to that dreamy vacation spot. These are the days when you lower your crown and creep back into the darkness of your sheets, hoping that maybe, just maybe, this cocoon will protect you until light strikes again (But when?).

 

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I recently read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (which I strongly recommend). In this roller coaster of emotions that Jenny shared with us, she happened to share the Spoon Theory, which might just save the little you that has a disappointing day, which might just help the light strike faster in your cocoon of worthlessness. So thanks to this wonderfully courageous woman that put her heart on paper and shared her emotions “naked” to the world, I am honoured to say that you are always good enough, there are just days when the superman or the superwoman in you needs to wash his or her cape. So until the cape dries, enjoy this break of vulnerability and don’t be too hard on yourself because the lenses you look though today are highly biased by a lack of spoons. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, Jenny Lawson:

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“Do you know about the spoons? Because you should. The Spoon Theory was created by a friend of mine, Christine Miserandino, to explain the limits you have when you live with chronic illness. Most healthy people have a seemingly infinite number of spoons at their disposal, each one representing the energy needed to do a task. You get up in the morning. That’s a spoon. You take a shower. That’s a spoon. You work, and play, and clean, and love, and hate, and that’s lots of damn spoons … but if you are young and healthy you still have spoons left over as you fall asleep and wait for the new supply of spoons to be delivered in the morning. But if you are sick or in pain, your exhaustion changes you and the number of spoons you have. Autoimmune disease or chronic pain like I have with my arthritis cuts down on your spoons. Depression or anxiety takes away even more. Maybe you only have six spoons to use that day. Sometimes you have even fewer. And you look at the things you need to do and realize that you don’t have enough spoons to do them all. If you clean the house you won’t have any spoons left to exercise. You can visit a friend but you won’t have enough spoons to drive yourself back home. You can accomplish everything a normal person does for hours but then you hit a wall and fall into bed thinking, “I wish I could stop breathing for an hour because it’s exhausting, all this inhaling and exhaling.” And then your husband sees you lying on the bed and raises his eyebrow seductively and you say, “No. I can’t have sex with you today because there aren’t enough spoons,” and he looks at you strangely because that sounds kinky, and not in a good way. And you know you should explain the Spoon Theory so he won’t get mad but you don’t have the energy to explain properly because you used your last spoon of the morning picking up his dry cleaning so instead you just defensively yell: “I SPENT ALL MY SPOONS ON YOUR LAUNDRY,” and he says, “What the … You can’t pay for dry cleaning with spoons. What is wrong with you?” Now you’re mad because this is his fault too but you’re too tired to fight out loud and so you have the argument in your mind, but it doesn’t go well because you’re too tired to defend yourself even in your head, and the critical internal voices take over and you’re too tired not to believe them. Then you get more depressed and the next day you wake up with even fewer spoons and so you try to make spoons out of caffeine and willpower but that never really works. The only thing that does work is realizing that your lack of spoons is not your fault, and to remind yourself of that fact over and over as you compare your fucked-up life to everyone else’s just-as-fucked-up-but-not-as-noticeably-to-outsiders lives. Really, the only people you should be comparing yourself to would be people who make you feel better by comparison. For instance, people who are in comas, because those people have no spoons at all and you don’t see anyone judging them. Personally, I always compare myself to Galileo because everyone knows he’s fantastic, but he has no spoons at all because he’s dead. So technically I’m better than Galileo because all I’ve done is take a shower and already I’ve accomplished more than him today. If we were having a competition I’d have beaten him in daily accomplishments every damn day of my life. But I’m not gloating because Galileo can’t control his current spoon supply any more than I can, and if Galileo couldn’t figure out how to keep his dwindling spoon supply I think it’s pretty unfair of me to judge myself for mine. I’ve learned to use my spoons wisely. To say no. To push myself, but not too hard. To try to enjoy the amazingness of life while teetering at the edge of terror and fatigue.”
― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

As always, 

From Montréal, avec amour,

                                                             Andra

So Be Lonely! But “Let it Be Glorious”!

How to cure loneliness once and for all?

If some of you caught the Beyoncé reference, then you deserve an award for having one of the finest taste in music!

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I couldn’t find a better topic for my first article. Why? Because this feeling that we call loneliness is what pushed me to finally start my blog.

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What? Who am I kidding? Yes, I feel lonely. But it is glorious! In fact loneliness always brings the best in us, if we let it. It’s not with sadness that I am typing this article, but with a burning passion that I haven’t felt in a while. Loneliness became a trigger for creativity.
Don’t get me wrong, I love human interaction. I love the warmth of a hug and the reassuring touch of a friend’s hand. I love “Nice to meet you’s” . I love to dance in a crowd surrounded by familiar music, screaming lyrics from the bottom of my lungs. I love late night rides and late night talks. I love to feel the connection of two hearts wired by the collision of two galaxies that are hidden in two different minds.
But as much as I love these wonderful moments, I am tired of all the goodbyes that I suffered. More precisely, I am tired of the emptiness left after a farewell, after someone slowly removes himself from your life, purposefully or by being mindlessly soaked in a new routine. So, I decided to cure once and for all this dreadful disease called loneliness. Mark me! This is the very beginning of a process called: self-love. I found that the only way to cure the recurring loneliness is to learn how to truly love ourselves. Love yourself so much that you won’t allow anyone make you feel sad. Give yourself to people, but without losing yourself in their being. Love yourself by finding out who you are. Find your passions. And when you do, go at full speed. You love writing? (I pledge guilty!) Then instead of feeling lonely, sad or mad because of a person that left your life for whatever reason; write, write like Picasso painted canvas. You love running, then run like your life depended on it. If you love to paint, paint until your hands get numb. Let the burning fire of your passions heal you. And believe me, there are so many things you can be passionate about. Love yourself so much that you will dare do all these seemingly “scary” things you always put aside. Go out by yourself and explore the city you live in. Take a bus or a train and go in a neighbouring city. Take a camera. Capture what catches your eye.
Use your time to become better. Use your time to make happy part of your routine and believe me you will never, ever feel lonely again; whether you are surrounded by people or all by yourself.
I leave you with a friendly reminder from Professor Dumbledore,

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Let’s all take a deep breath and dive in the ocean of our passions!
I’ll be there for you dear reader!

From Montréal, avec amour

Andra