Jun 25 2018

Short update

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:17

It is Sunday evening and I barely have time to write anything because I had a full week. Let’s start with the basics.

I finished installing my piano and my desk. The desk is electric and can be lifted up to 1.5 meters. Both the frame and the desk table top were ordered from Amazon and I was scared that I messed up with the dimensions of the desk table top, because when it got delivered, it was huge. When I started assembling the desk frame, I realized pretty quick that I should have went with IKEA, because the instruction that came with it were not so clear, I actually had the impression that the manual was for another product. But I’m an engineer and I managed to assemble it, and when the desk was all set up, I congratulated myself for the decision of not going with IKEA. And the size of the desk table top is just right for all my needs.

Iuliana Cosmina’s Desk

So yeah, things are starting to settle. So much that I got my first Scottish cold. No idea how, but it’s not a surprise. I’ve never been the person with a really strong immunity, my only superpower is that I can take a cold on my feet. It has gotten more difficult with the passing of the years and me getting older, but  it’s still doable. As long as it is not bronchitis or pneumonia, I can function just well. So this is what I did, I went to work functioned as normal. Plus I could not just take a sick leave and miss my fist company hackaton. So, twice a year, at the company where I work now, an internal development contest takes place. Teams are organized and different projects are assigned to them, project that have nothing to do with work. It’s just development for fun. And I suspect there is quite a serious budget for this, because there are even hardware projects. My team build a throwable microphone, in the shape of a bear, with an accelerometer and a potentiometer controlled by an Arduino chip. And because we had limited testing possibilities, we used a NeoPixel LED strip to test it.

Franken Bear

Of course everything ended with an awesome barbecue that my new manager worked on for two days while we coded and prepared our presentations and demos. And drinking was involved; we had quite a few types of beer, cider, whiskey and wine. So yeah, we had a lot of choices. :)

I had to cut it short because on Saturday morning I had to go to a test drive. Yes a test drive. A week ago I decided a car is a necessity for me, that will most likely reduce my time to get to work to 15-20 minutes. So I scanned the dealerships, learned a few tips from my colleagues, learned a little about the bureaucracy involved and I went for it. I will take it home this Friday.

After the drive test I had a walk on Portobello beach, since the dealership I chose was close to it. It was a warm, sunny day and it was full of people enjoying just as much as I did.

Portobello Beach

You would never think to associate sun and warmth with Scotland, but one day like this can convince you of the contrary.

Also, my cat is sick. She has one inflamed eye. So on Saturday morning instead of sleeping late to recover, I had to wake up as early as I could and go to a near-by veterinary practice to ask for advice. So on Monday morning, my cat is scheduled for a check-up and who knows what else, at a different practice than the one I went to, because they do not have an empty spot in the practice close to me. Good news is, the doctor is Romanian. As the representative that spoke to me on the phone about the car. So, apparently there are more Romanians here than I thought. But the ones I’ve met so far seem awesome. :)

During the weekend I assembled my clothes stand and moved the mattress into the bedroom with the window facing East, so I’ll wake up and fall asleep easier. The other bedroom has become itself sort of a wardrobe, because I moved the  clothes stand there and added the ironing board too.

Also, apparently my kitchen fire alarm is quite sensitive, because it went off today when I was frying some onion. It scared the shit out of me and because I was so panicked and opening all windows and doors, so the deafening sound maybe would stop before the firemen arrive, so the onion ended up being burned for real. Wonders of a civilized world …

I look at my situation and it seems so silly to me that apparently it looks like I will have a car before I have a bed. Because, I had not many options when it comes to cars, but when it comes to beds … well, too many options seems to be a problem. Also it is sort of normal to spend 5000 pounds on a car, but 700 pounds on a bed and mattress seems ridiculous.

So, here I am, with a fully furbished house and a car and sleeping on an inflatable mattress. Maybe if this inflatable mattress weren’t so damn comfortable, I would be more motivated to buy a bed, but honestly, if this mattress can take it I might never buy a bed.

So yeah, this has been my life this week, and that is why I did not have enough time to write anything on the blog.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Tags: , ,


Jun 20 2018

You gotta go to the city

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:59

One of the things I am being asked often by people at home, friends and family, since I moved here is if I’m going out. Like the fact that I was not going out while in my country, had anything to do with the country. Well, the answer is yes, I am going out. I am definitely going out more than I was going out in Romania, but this is because I have a home to set up and a new city I need to learn to get around. But I’m not going out to bars and clubs because this is not what I do. I’m just looking for shops and taking different buses. But at some point I plan to go to a bar here and there, but right now I don’t have the time. I am alone trying to set up a house, writing a book and adapting to a new job that is different than any other job I’ve had before. Also, I am losing two hours daily on the bus, I am cooking for myself, I am running a little because I want to try to keep myself as fit as possible. And, I do not have a car anymore, so my mobility is restricted. I plan to fix this though, but this also takes time. So, when should I go out?

I am not on vacation here, I moved here. I cannot wait to explore this beautiful city and this beautiful country, but right now I have other priorities. So, no my dears, I am not going out, not going to the city. I am going to work, then going home, to my cat and my book and since yesterday, to my piano. But I promise you, I will go out. Someday! ;)

Stay safe, stay happy!


Jun 18 2018

19 days later

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:27

Today is my 19th day in Edinburgh. It was not all milk and honey, but overall, I love it here. I was so scared of all the bad experiences as an immigrant in another country that I might have over-prepared.

The fact is, I did not come here to take anybody’s job, I did not com here for a better life. Actually, after taking out rent, taxes and monthly utilities I might be left with less money from my salary, compared to what I was left with in Romania. But then again, if I compare with my situation in Romania, everything could be seen as disadvantageous here.

I no longer have a car, and this hinders my mobility a little but at the same time, “forces” me to walk to a bus station or another. This “forces”me to see the city I live in and almost every day I have at least one moment where I just want to exclaim happily “I live here now!”

The weather here is crazy. In a good way. It’s fascinating really.  First of all, days are way longer during summer. No idea when the sun rises, but at 6 when I wake up, outside is lit up enough to feel safe when running in the park. Sometimes it rains during the day and then the sky just clears up, like all the  clouds have melted away and the sun comes up at 20:00. And the light is so weird it feels like morning again. My brains is a little screwed up by this, I must confess, because I feel tired during the day, but then it’s like I wake up at 20:00. I feel this boost of energy and this eagerness to start a brand new day that is just difficult to ignore and just go to sleep.  And then it gets dark, but not that dark, at 23:00, you can still see somebody’s face without any additional light and the sky is still light blue.

The house that I rented is nice as well, all floor is covered with this fluffy carpet that my cat enjoys rolling on and the vacuum cleaner bought specially for it keeps it in quite good condition.  It is the first time I rented using an agency and in this country this shit is quite serious. The agency is in charge with making sure the place is given to you in pristine condition and make sure it stays that way. Sure, they get a big bonus for that, but damn, it is comforting to know that in case something goes wrong around the house I can call them and they will fix it. The cat loves the house, and loves the garden, she has 2-3 hours a day when she just disappears. And she loves the self inflatable mattress, she didn’t pierce it yet like she did with the yoga balls. :) I am still trying to understand how the thermostat works, but oh well, you can’t have them all.

Also, it is the first time I rent an unfurnished place and there is this feeling of accomplishment that grows with every decision I make regarding the things to buy and how they are arranged.

I am still bleeding money, or at least it feels this way, because I have all these initial investments to make. Once this is done, everything will come back to normal, and my spending will become normal.

As for the new job, things are starting to settle down, apparently there is order in this chaos and there is information everywhere, on how things were designed and they are supposed to work, and they actually work. I cloned the sources and I was able to build and start the project by myself. And that happens every time, I almost forgot how this felt like, because at the previous project I worked on, there was always something crashing.

And the food, I either don’t know what to eat from here, or where, but daamn British  truly can’t cook.  So a big investment that I had to do this week was kitchen tools because I had to prepare my meals for the week. I am tired of sandwiches and wraps. At least the beer is awesome, and there are so many options when it comes to it. So far, my favorite is the ginger beer. I like the little tingles it causes in my taste buds.

There are assholes here as well, I realize that every time I run in the park and I see rubbish thrown here and there. I understand that when you live in a city you are most likely fed up with it and stop seeing its beauty, but why trash it?

Anyway, I am here to stay, unless I die or something.

Soon I will write an article on this blog with all the necessary steps you need to go through to move here without hassle. It’s not an invitation for my fellow Romanians, it’s just a basic guide for whoever is interested to move to another country. Because after 19 days, there is one question that keeps popping up in my head: “Why haven’t I done this sooner?”

 

Tags: , ,


Jun 09 2018

First week at my new job

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:40

I wanted to write this post, after my first day, but as the rational person I am I stopped myself? Because what can be said about the first day? Not much, you meet a bunch of people, you get an access card and you start the bureaucracy proceedings. You don’t really get any opinions and the ones you get are first impressions that are wrong most times. So I avoided writing until now. But here I am, writing about it. So, how was it?

It was different. It is the first time I work with a foreign team directly, from the first day. And it is the first time I work in a truly software company that is not outsourcing. So it is different, I am still trying to figure out if I will fit the team or fit the project. In the beginning I had the impression that this is the most disorganized company I ever came across. But, bit by bit, things started to become clear. Sure there are some corporate things that might make my work more difficult then they should, but the development environment seems to be quite in good shape.

Going to work takes me about 40-50 minutes every morning, and the bus takes me right through the city center. I am a little bit perplexed of how … not “misplaced” I feel here. When I moved to Sibiu, even if I was brokenhearted, I still missed Iasi. But it is not the same here, I miss the people of Sibiu, but I do not miss … “home”. And now that, soon my cat will be here, and starting with Monday I will have a house, so I can begin a new life here, I can build something new. And I can make it exactly as I want to.

And I like this city so much, I cannot contain my enchantment every time my bus passes down on Princess Street, next to the Edinburgh castle, or every time I board a tram. I don’t think I’ve ever been so enchanted with a place I lived in.

Until I get some inspiration, you can relax your eyes with a few pics. I got my RIDACARD two days ago. It is very practical when you get on the wrong bus, because you can just jump off it and jump into the next one, and the next one, until you managed to get where you want to go. This happened to me today, two buses and a tram later, I was home together with my ETEKCITY mattress. Not the perfect time to get on the wrong bus, because the box was not that small, but oh well…

 

 

I don’t know what else to say. I am confident that I made the right choice. But I guess, time will tell.

Tags:


Jun 02 2018

But wait what about the weather?

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 13:09

Another thing that I was asked until it actually started annoying me before I left my home country is: what will I do about the weather? Because one of the many things Romanians hate about UK is the weather. Well, I don’t really care about the weather. Sure, I will have to take care about my vitamin D intake at some point, but for now, it is my third day here and I’ve actually had a little bit of sun in each of them. So it’s not that bad for now.

The way I see it is like this: if the only thing I don’t like about this country is the weather, than this is a good thing.

Here are my opinions about the weather until now. It’s not as sunny as in Romania during the summer, and the weather is not constant during the day. So weather predictions are useless here. During one day you can have burning sun, fog, cloudy with a chance of tempest, light rain or heavy rain. Yes all of them in one day. Yesterday I almost got sunburned in the morning and got soaking wet in the afternoon. But so far the unpredictable weather changes are just funny to me. I hope it stays this way. And now I will show you why the weather is perfect actually. (Yes, this weather allows for the green areas of Edinburgh to look like this)

And by the way, the sign worked. Nobody is smashing the entry door at night anymore. ;)

Stay safe, stay happy!

Tags: , ,


Jun 01 2018

On finding what you seek

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 12:12

When I decided to move to Edinburgh, quite a few people were saddened. Although in Romania I lived in two cities in the last 17 years, I did manage to build some strong connections and some friends. Yes, in this world, that is said to have been wrecked from a social point of view because of technology and in spite of my introvert nature, I did manage to open up to some people that they have become my friends.

Those who were not saddened started making visitation plans. I was congratulated for my decision, for my strength to leave my mother country behind and chorus that I’ve heard quite a few times is the wish a lot of people have to “find what I seek”.

What if I told you that I am not seeking for anything in particular? It’s true, even in Romania, there was not much I was missing. It’s just that Earth is a big planet and I don’t want to die after I lived mostly in one place. Especially since my life has nothing that requires me to stay in one place. Children need stability, so they can develop routines and stable characters. Adults do not. Adults without roots and obligations should go ahead and see the world. And I do not mean  just travel. Move, go live in another country, adapt, grow. So I moved to this country because I could. And if after 5 years I still won’t have roots here, I will probably move somewhere else.

When I lived in Iasi there was an apricot tree in front of my window. I lived there for 7 years, I’ve seen it grow from my own height to 4-5 meters tall and we actually ate the apricots it produced. You know what happened to that tree? It grew up until it hit the electricity lines, and we had to shorten its branches, and its roots grew underground until they hit concrete. That is when the tree started to die. That tree had no choice. If it had, it would have left the city, and go to the forest outside it where it could have more depth to expand its roots. Sure, that tree grew there in that yard, it was his world. But the world is so much bigger.

We are humans, we can move, and technology has helped us reach the most far away corners of the world. Why stay rooted in the city you were born, getting just small glimpses of other cultures and societies? If you really want to grow as a person, you need change, you need to go out of your comfort zone, that is when you will discover new things about yourself that you never thought you had in you.

Also, when you stay in one place for too long you become the person that matches that environment, and no matter how many books you read, how much you travel, your parameters are … well, sort of fixed. You have your own routine, your own stuff that people actually associate you with. And doing something new, or changing something that you do not like about yourself does not seem necessary, because everybody accepts you like that anyway.  Moving to another place, can provide you with the opportunity to reinvent yourself. You can introduce yourself to the new people you meet as the person you want to be, the better version of you,  and then stick to the script until you become that person. After all, it takes just 30 days to form a habit.

What did I change about myself for now? I started meditating and started running in the morning. Not much, 5 minutes of mediation for now and about 20 minutes of running each morning does it. I will increase the periods after it becomes a habit. This was my third day.  Only 27 days to go.

Stay safe, stay happy!


May 31 2018

And we have liftoff

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 14:55

Yesterday I said goodbye to my best friends and to the wonderful cozy mountain city of Sibiu. While taking off I started thinking of all the good times I had there, of all the wonderful people I’ve met and that is when I broke. Yes guys, there were tears, quite a lot of them.

I almost finish reading a book during the flight and when I landed in Edinburgh, I took a deep breath and start planning. There was a plan and a list of all the things to do before I left. I managed to go through all of those steps. Aside from getting the cat over here and transport of my last 5 boxes with stuff and the piano, everything else was taken care of. Well, the cat is taken care of too, since I found somebody to take care of it and make sure she is safely delivered to the company that will get her to me.

Most of the things I have to do here, are already part of a plan as well, an the first item of the list is finding a place to rent. After letting agents ignoring my email, or cancelling viewing because the properties were rented, or dropping me altogether when I mentioned the cat, today I  was given a drop of hope. Two of them actually. So tomorrow I will be viewing a 2 bedroom apartment that allows pets and  that is quite close to where I will start working and a one bedroom apartment for which letting agent just scheduled for me without asking about pets. :D So finger crossed there.

So let me tell you how my day went yesterday, I mean it is after all my first day as a UK resident in Edinburgh. The last two times I was just here as a visitor. Now I’m here to stay.

So, I got off the plane. I had two big bags, one of 20 kg, one of 24, a small bag, of 8-10 kg, the knapsack with the Mac and my small bag. In the airport all was fine, as there are carts to move your luggage around. After getting on the bus, that’s when I started panicking, because if I missed my bus station, there was no way I could walk with all the bags. And what I feared happened, I missed the bus station. So I got off with my bags with the help of a nice Scotsman, that also helped me get on the bus. And there I was in front of the Hilton hotel with my bags contemplating how to walk 16 minutes with my bags, because no matter how good an engineer I am, there was no way to stack them without the proper tools. So I did what every hipster does, I called an Uber. and -10 punds later, I was in front of the flat. I found the lock-box in which my keys were, introduced the code, got the keys and then the lock-box fell apart. I kid you not, it was split into three parts. I was looking at it and I was like: ” Are you f**ing kidding me? First day as a resident and I already broke something? No wonder people hate immigrants!” I managed to put the lock-box back together, not a safe way to keep keys to a building, but oh well.

I opened the door to the building, and the hallway shocked me. It looked like somebody has pissed and slept it there. Well, considering the information that would be brought to my attention later, that might have been a real possibility. But bear with me. It’s not as bad as it seems. I pushed my bags into the flat and I was so happy it was at ground level. The flat was clean and spacious. And stacked full with tea and corn flakes. The wifi was quite good as well. I took some things out of the bags, I made a list with things I needed to buy and headed off looking for a supermarket.

When I exited the building I noticed that the door was not closing. It was supposed to automatically lock when the door was closed only it did not. I locked it manually, using the key I was given.  I found a Tesco express and bought some healthy food, some vegetables for a salad, a device for spreading perfume in the room(because the flat smelled funny) and … a Rekorderlig cider.

The funny thing there is a sign on the door telling people to stop smashing the door, but I guess signs are passive-aggressive so people just ignore them. I made my own sign and stuck it on the door. And I wrote on it that the lock is broken and smashing the door won’t help. Yes, more passive-aggressiveness.  So yeah, if people smash the door, but don’t check if the door is closed, no wonder that maybe some homeless person sleeps here sometimes. After the sign was fixed, I needed to clean the hallway a little. You might think that this is crazy, but here is my theory. When people walk in a clean place, they are more reluctant to trash it. So yeah, although it was not my job or responsibility to clean the hallway, I am going to live here for three weeks, and damn if I will walk through that dirty hallway every day! I’ll get bloody depressed if I do. So yeah, I just got some detergent I found under my sink, thew a little in the hallway, two cups of water and 10 minutes later the hallway was clean and smelling like lemons.

After that I just set up my work desk, took a long bath then went to sleep, because the flat is in a area that is not really noisy. And I slept until one of my neighbours smashed the door. Just great, welcome to Edinburgh!

Stay safe, stay happy!