Dec 23 2018

Your duty is to try

Category: Miscellaneous,PersonalIuliana @ 14:36

As you’ve probably figured out by now, from what you’ve read here, my family is the typical broken family, with people scattered all around the world, all of them trying to detach from their past so they can start new and do better, because if you do not want to get cancer the smartest way is to move farther away from the power plant. Don’t stop reading, this will not be a sad blog entry, I promise!  From time to time members of my family do manage to meet after years of not seeing one another and is fascinating for me to discover the people they have become.

I have a cousin that has become a wonderful strong woman that is hell bent on fixing this family through acceptance and communication.

I have a cousin that is torn between his duty to a small part of family that raised him up and gave him a career and the girl he loves that happens to live in a city  too far away from where his life is build so nicely.

I have an uncle that is learning how to live at fifty four, because more than half of his life he spent taking care of his parents in a place that kept him isolated from the real world. And he is the guy I want to talk about. Because he found a type of wisdom in his simple life and his duties that people rarely do. And I consider myself lucky to know him and to be able  learn from him. He got dealt a bad hand, but he did his best and at some point in my life, I decided he deserves more and I set up to help him live the rest of his life the best way possible. I won’t tell you his full life story, I will just list here a few things that I know about him that are really impressive to me.

He quit smoking after thirty years of this nasty habit. He was stressed by the fact he did not have much money and I guess he was thinking about quitting for a while, but one morning he woke up, burned the rest of cigarettes in the house and decided he won’t smoke from that day on. He just acknowledged that smoking is a toxic and costly habit, that he did could not afford anymore and he quit, just like that. It was not easy to break a habit like that, because he went through rehab alone, not in a specialized center, there were no nicotine patches, no other dugs to soothe him. He was living in the country side so he worked the field, drank a lot of water, went to sleep when he felt sick with headaches or feeling nauseous and in two weeks the nicotine was out of his system and he never smoke again.

He was convinced to leave his job and move to the country side by his parents, well his mother basically, because she was the head of the family. She told him he should move back close to family because there is money to be made in agriculture, that they had land to work that could produce a lot of crop that could be sold, but they were old and needed help. And for some reason he believed it and  gave it a try. And here and there there were little successes. He made enough money to buy a horse – that was a nice and gentle horse by the way, I’ve met him, it was love at first neigh – working the fields became easier for a while. He bought himself a motor bike and he taught himself how to ride it, but never got a license, because he never got too far out of the village on it anyway.

He tried getting married, but after getting his heart broken by his last fiancé, he gave up on the idea altogether. He said that his life is miserable and he had nothing but misery to offer, and who would want that? Years after I found out from another cousin he confides these stuff in, that he was in love when he was younger with somebody that went on and married somebody else and he never got over her. Apparently after he restarted his life, he met her again and she was divorced and they are starting something –  so life finds a way.

When his parents started to get too old and needed care, his life started going down the drain. People in my family judged him for drinking now and then. Because the expectation was for him to become an alcoholic like his father, so if he even got tipsy, the hate would flow. But during one visit I talked to him and told him about my university experience and how I drank to forget, to detach myself from a life I did not like, from the me I did not like. The conclusion was that if alcohol is the curtain we put between us and the part of us we do not like, but it is not the solution. If you don’t like yourself and the life you have you have to stop hiding from it, you have to stay awake and find ways to change it all. And I saw his face lit up. For the first time he was not judged, he was not considered a despicable drunk like his father, somebody saw him exactly as he was, a man in a difficult position, a life that was not satisfying to him and a person he did not like. He had accepted the fact that he won’t have a life of his own until his parents died and he accepted the duty to care for them until that moment. There was no way for him to fight it or run away from the responsibility that he realized he took upon himself when he decided to move back in with them.  So he graciously accepted it and fulfilled that duty the best he could. Sure he drank one too many now and then, but he wasn’t and most probably he will never be an alcoholic.

Last year, February his mother died. His father was long gone. I’ve have visited him before and noticed this guy never smiled and  I realised he was plagued by the family disease of bad teeth. So I offered him the opportunity to get his teeth fixed. Told him to go, ask a doctor for an estimate and the money will be wired into his account. The next time I saw him he had a smile that he could light up a room. You probably have no idea that smiling makes you look at least ten years younger. I did not know it either. Now you know why I look so well for my age. :)

Long story short, he fixed his teeth, and since the whole thing costed half as estimated, with the rest of the money, he got him self a new set of clothes and a ticket to Italy. And the rest is a happy story, how he got a job and he is amazed by how much his work is valued and how beautiful Italy is. He has plans to visit the whole country and take in all the beauty Italy has to offer, but he is putting money aside to pay me back and build a self-sustaining clean energy house one day. And when he came back to Romania on vacation, he asked out the woman he loved, because now he was confident that one day he might have something else to offer than misery.

One of the most important thing I heard him say and got stuck in my head and probably gave me a little nudge here and there to try absurd things, is that as a human being you have the duty to try. Of course at the time he was talking about girls, he was quite young then and hadn’t totally given up the idea.

So no matter how ridiculous is something, how absurd, how unreachable,  if you really want it, it is your duty to try. So if there is something to take from this entry, this is it.

Stay safe, stay happy!


Dec 17 2018

Lucky digits 0 and 1

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:13

I work in software development. When I was little I had a serious inclination to Math. My talent almost died during high school because of the lack of a proper mentor. During college, I struggled a little to pass my Math exams. And programming started getting serious quite late for lack of a personal computer. And although I wanted to be a writer or a doctor, here I am a Software Engineer, designing, validating and implementing solutions that will make the job easier for other people. And more than that, I am a technical author and currently, I am making the plan for my fifth technical book.

Reading all that you might think I’m lying, because I can’t possibly have that much time, to have a full-time job and write books. Or you might call me a workaholic. You might laugh at me and say I have no life.

But it’s really not like that. Here’s the catch: I’m not working because of some abnormal psychological compulsion. I’m working because this is my passion. Designing, validating, implementing solutions and improving existing ones is my passion. Sharing my knowledge with the world, explaining my view of things and motivating others to learn and be curious is also my passion. I find satisfaction in every issue implemented properly, in every “Evrika” moment of the people I train, in every “thank you” email I receive for my books and sources.

There is a saying that loving what you do makes work not feel like work. And I love what I do. I feel the same satisfaction for my small victories, that some other people feel when they ran an extra kilometer, lost another kilogram, bought another car, etc. And it is not only about that. I have fun doing all this.

What can be better than building a legacy while also having fun?

And now back to the title, anything in IT is reduced to a collection of bits, each of them with values of 0 or 1. So considering that everything achieved until now did not even exist as an option about 20 years ago, I could say that 0 and 1 are my lucky digits. :D

Stay safe, stay happy!


Dec 13 2018

On being civilized

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:22

I do not consider my own country civilized overall, but there are a lot of civilized people living there that I admire very much because they chose to be civilized in an uncivilized country. They were not educated into being civilized, and they were definitely not coerced into being civilized by a set of rules that when broken lead to serious social and financial consequences.

I have traveled in quite a few places in Europe because of my work, and countries like France, Austria, Germany, UK –  I tend to view as civilized. Although every country is inhabited, and there are people that don’t give a rat’s ass about the rules and regulations, people from eastern Europe tend to see countries in the center and western Europe as being more civilized. Let’s stop beating around the bush – it’s because people in those countries actually pick up their dogs shit. So, as a person from a less civilized country, you feel more confident when living in a more civilized country. At least this is how I used to feel. Seriously this was my brains when I was delegated to Frankfurt: “It’s ok to walk back to the hotel alone at 11 PM, you’re in a civilized country. Nothing bad is going to happen to you!”

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Dec 12 2018

Of living in fear

Category: English posts,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:22

When I was a child I was afraid of God. Seriously, I was afraid of God. My mother was very religious and made sure I was raised in the arms of the loving Catholic Church. Don’t get me wrong, all the church people were great and fortunately, I did not get molested. The good-natured person I am today and my integrity I owe them both to them. But while learning the ways of the church, at some point I reached the conclusion that you could not avoid being a sinner no matter what. I mean there are three ways to sin: with your acts, with your words, and with your mind. And well, we all know kids are so great at self-control, right?

Anyway, back to the topic, for a while I was afraid of burning in hell and I was afraid of all the bad things that could happen to me or the ones I love because I was a sinner. Because we all know, God punishes sinners sometimes by hurting their loved ones.

Continue reading “Of living in fear”

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Nov 20 2018

What I’ve left Romania with

Category: English posts,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:59

There is trend going around on Romanian blogs of writing an entry to tell people what you took with you when you left the country for good. I know it is silly, but I need to post my list because it is quite peculiar.

When I left Romania I knew I did not want to ever go back, except for seeing friends and loved ones. So I sold and donated all I could. I left Romania with two big bags, a small one, my laptop knapsack and a big purse.

These bags contained the following:

  • a few days clothes, some sports equipment and shoes, including running sneakers – because I knew I would get stressed and anxious and running will help me control my emotions
  • a complete set of cosmetics a woman needs
  • my laptop, tablet, phone, adapters, one of my backup external HDD and power outlet adaptors
  • all my small electronics and repair tools for them such as my memory sticks, my soldering gun, insulating tape, all types of wires, including UTP and a hammer(yes, a hammer!) and a bunch of nails – because you never know  what you might need
  • my 24 inch monitor – because I had a book to write and needed an external monitor to speed up productivity
  • an ergonomic pillow and one set of bed linens  – to make sure the monitor will be perfectly covered and will get to UK in one piece
  • a bottle of 15 year old whiskey and 2 glasses – for nights when the running won’t get me tired enough to fall asleep and for celebrating my courage to leave the country, anytime I felt like it
  • all the important documents I might ever need to prove my identity, my studies or work experience
  • 5000£ in cash, for emergencies and rent for a few months (this added to the stress and anxiety)
  • a travel size flatiron
  • a hair drier and my hair starightener – my hair is getting longer now, so I needed these tools

All the rest of my things that I was not willing to part with, such as the piano, have been delivered about a month and a half later.


Nov 14 2018

And since I’m writing about running…

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 14:14

… I’ll continue writing about running until I run out of inspiration. (Yes, I am milking it :D)

Considering how much I love running, you might expect putting on my equipment and go running should be the easiest thing in the world for me and I should always be eager to do it, right? Well, it is not. Getting ready to run is a cumbersome ritual and this entry will describe everything I do to make sure everything will be perfect for me to enjoy a run.

If the equipment is not really fit for purpose I  lose motivation to go running. I know it sounds stupid, but I avoided running when I did not have a pair of pants that could hold my phone in. Seriously now, I understand the clothing industry is trying to convince women they need purses by not making clothes with practical pockets, but FML I would kill for some fitness pants that have proper pockets to put my phone in. Because I hate those elastic bands that are supposed to keep your phone on your arm or those fanny packs. Neither are comfortable nor practical for running. Just give me some tight elastic pants, with huge elastic pockets to stick my phone to my ass or my leg and I am happy.

Continue reading “And since I’m writing about running…”


Nov 10 2018

Of my love for running

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:14

Since I’m obviously having a little insomnia I’m basically just writing to fool my brains into thinking I’m doing something productive maybe it will decide that my body actually needs some rest. It might sound stupid but it works when I’m writing technical books, so I can only try. Probably I’ve written this story before around here, but since the search I did returned nothing, I might have written it in Romanian, so an English version is in order.

I’ve been born in a poor family in Romania – not complaining, not looking for sympathy since things turned out quite well for me, just stating a fact to prepare the context. Being poor as a child pushed me to being really curious and creative. I used all my talents to build toys and invent games and this worked well for a while because it helped me with my social life a lot, but then my friends started being sent to after school activities that my family could not afford. And thus, I saw them less and less, and I was getting bored out of my mind during my new found alone time, plus if my mom saw me doing nothing, she would find something for me to do. So, when one of the sport teachers in my school was looking for children to join the running team I said yes with all my heart. I had no idea what that involved, I was just happy to have an after-school activity. I never took it seriously, but I did go to all the training sessions, I was just glad to be out of the house. My parents never took it seriously either, they were just glad for me to be out of the house too, not all the time, but oh well.

I know it sounds paradoxical, but I was going to training sessions like I was going to church, but never thought I’ll ever get to really compete. Until I did. My sports teacher just enlisted me to a local competition, told me where to be and when. I went, I ran and I ended up finishing second place. It could have been first place, but I just got distracted when I saw some of my mates in the stadium and just slowed down to wave at them and smile. Anyway, I went to the finishing booth, signed my name and went home for the weekend.

On Monday, during recess, the sport teacher just came running at me, hugged me and congratulated me. She was ecstatic. I had no idea that finishing second was that great. And yes, as you probably suspect, I did not take that competition seriously either, so her enthusiasm seems to come out of nowhere. And then she said the magic words: “I put you on the list to start training for the Olympics team.” And maybe I was a child that took nothing seriously, but fucking Olympics? Oh baby, that was … the dream I guess? I just wanted to get out of the house and now I had a shot at the Olympics??? Wow, that turned out well.

So, I went home, told my parents, and my mother was like: “Yeah, yeah sure, good for you child! Now go wash your clothes!”. If that affirmation makes no sense to you, is because I have not mentioned in this entry that I was helping my mother with house chores since I was six. One of the chores was hand-washing clothes, because we were poor and we had this old washing machine that was not working 90% of the time. And now you know why I was so desperate to get out of the house. Anyway, I continued training for one more year and this time I had a purpose: making it into the Olympic team.

My mother and father were born in the North of Romania, and because of their jobs they moved a lot. But after having me they managed to stand still for twelve years in the city where I joined the running team. But every year they had the same routine: when summer would come I was shipped across the country to spend the summer vacation at my mother’s parents. So, they were taking a vacation from parenting. And basically, this is how I ended up with my sister. And when she was old enough, she joined my vacation as well. Unwillingly, I might add.

So, a year into my Olympic training I was shipped up for the summer again. I tried to convince them not to because of, well … I was training for the Olympics, which was pretty fucking important and amazing, you know??? Obviously, I failed miserably, because children have no decision power in my family, not until they can sustain themselves and move out of the house. And their opinions no longer matter then either, because they are no longer members of the household. :))

You have no idea how bad I waited for that vacation to end. I even convinced some of my friends to go running with me at the country side to make sure I will keep in shape. And there it was, almost three months have gone and my parents have returned. I could barely contain my joy thinking of the ride back to my friends, back to school and back to my training. But my parents had other plans. They came with great news. We were moving to a city nearby, to be closer to family, because we were all poor and we had to stick close to family so we will help each other. And it was already done, the flat was sold and our stuff was now in a train being delivered to the little town in the North of Romania where we will start a new life. What was mine and my sister’s opinion about it? It did not really matter. In their mind, they were doing this for us. And my mother announced the move by calling it “a great news”. Bitch, say what???? I know it is not ok to call your mother a bitch, and given I am now living in Scotland – What the fuck, cunt??? Ahem, back to the narrative.

So, we moved to the North shitty city and four years of training went down the drain because in the new city there was no running club. But my love for running never died. So much so, that I still sometimes ditched my responsibilities to go running. I even got some friends into it, and adults in the area were making fun of the horde of kids running around the neighbourhood with no purpose. And they were all lead by “that new crazy girl”.

I kept running all throughout highschool, and at the sports competition for our bacalaureat exam (final highschool exam that you need to pass to be accepted for university studies) I left the whole group of kids from all highschools in the city half a stadium behind. During faculty, I ran along the river in the campus, sometime with a group of colleagues just to stay fit. I had no fat to burn, because I was functioning with beer and coffee. After faculty, when I got two jobs I was finally running to burn fat. In 2014, after the most brutal breakup of my life I ran to clear up my mind and to get myself tired enough to sleep.

And now I’m running to keep my mind and body in shape. Because when I run, my mind runs as well, and it is not limited by the road ahead. My mind wonders back to the past, explaining things I cannot longer change and providing reasons for acceptance and lessons for the future. My mind wonders to the future, estimating where I could be in one, three, five years from now, providing options of little steps I could start taking right now to increase my changes for my long duration plans to be completed. And my mind also sometimes gets lost in the music, in a ray of sunshine, in the colour of a leaf or just gets fixated on the rhythm of my heart, because after running for five kilometres there is a rhythmic noise that I hear in my ears along the music and can’t help myself from focusing on it.

You could say that sometimes I’m meditating when I run, it definitely feels like it. There is this feeling of calm and serenity after a long run and my limbs feel so much lighter that I feel like I am floating. And this is why I do it mostly. The fact that I now live in Scotland where everything is deep fried and I love beer, and both these things happen to get me fat, has nothing to with my love for running. :D

 

Stay safe, stay happy!