Apr 04 2020

Hope is the last one to die

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 14:46

The title is a rough translation of a Romanian idiom, and it represents the country I was born in more than I’d like and it is heart breaking.

Although one of the countries with the best internet in the world, one of the country producing the best doctors and software developers, Romania is still viewed as a third word country by most. In my opinion, a lot of things are better now, and being third is not such a bad thing, because to my knowledge there are a few other levels that are a little worse.

Nevertheless there are two things in Romania that from my point of view make it a third world country in the worst way: the education system and the health system.

You might be inclined to say that the education system produces all those good doctors and software developers that the rest of the world knows about, how does that make sense? Well, excelling at something against the system is not the same as thriving because of it.

Continue reading “Hope is the last one to die”

Tags: , , ,

Apr 03 2020

More quarantine thoughts

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:21

I was born in a poor family, a normal traditional Romanian family, where the father was the bread winner and my mother was the home carer. Well, my mother kept the home but she probably hated most of it. That is why as soon as I was able to, she started to share the work with me. Which is ok, this is how children learn to be adults and she did make it fun here and there. Also she always joked that since I am a girl she is teaching me everything so I will be a good wife. And I was a kid and I guess I wanted to be a good wife, since I assumed that was in my future. If I was gonna be a wife, might as well be a good one, right?

It is said that if you want to make god laugh, just make plans. But there is no god, and plans are subject to chance.

I always thought I would meet somebody, settle down, have a kid maybe two. I just thought that was how everybody lived their lives.

Continue reading “More quarantine thoughts”

Mar 31 2020

The 18th day of quarantine

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:10

The end of March is here, and of course it is time for the monthly beer, offered this month by Juan as well.(Thank you Juan!)

He donated the money and although there is a beer picture in this image, I’d like to think that the money from him are included in the 20 GBP I donated to NHS.

And since I have a beer and some blogging time let’s see what how my life has been in quarantine.
Continue reading “The 18th day of quarantine”

Mar 27 2020

Brave New World: The Year of the Covid-19

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 21:59

A few weeks ago our life was still somewhat normal and the Wuhan tragedy was thousands of miles away. It was a distant world hit by a tragedy and it was just a story for us, one of those things that we were mildly curious and sad about. I was reading the news while preparing to fly to Romania for three weeks and I could not imagine I will not be able to do it.

But now it has become our reality and in a desperate try to slow the spread and protect our most vulnerable members of our society we have isolated ourselves in our houses and we are risking our mental health in doing so. And that is what this entry is about, mostly, how to manage your own mind and keep from going crazy while locked in your home and worried about a billion things.

Start by making a list of friends and family members and video call at least one of them daily. If you are not going crazy because you are a loner and used to being by yourself, most people are not. And they might be crazy with worry themselves and not even know how to deal with it. So be a decent human being and be there for people that do not even know they need you.

Be especially careful with your children. When humans develop they need routine, routine means security. Having a fixed routine helps them feel somewhat in control of their life, while learning to live in our society and helps them become confident. This pandemic has disrupted their routine so it is up to you, the parent, to enforce a new one. The initial disruption in routine will make them do crazy things. On the inside they are probably scared, they know something bad is happening, they might even feel your anxiety about this new situation and they will react to it in ways that will surprise you. This is the time to have that serious chat about feelings with your children. It is time to tell them that it is ok to be sad, it is ok to be angry and restless, but lashing out and breaking things will not help and it will not change things. It’s ok to cry, it’s ok to get a pillow and kick it until your knuckles bleed, but hurting the ones closer to you is not ok. Also, keep reminding them them that is not forever and help them cope by helping them to keep in contact with friends and relatives as well. Keep them busy, but also allow them to be alone from time to time. If it looks like they are out of control just punish them by sending them to their room for 30 minutes. Maybe they will box that pillow, maybe they will cry, but they will have time to think and hopefully they will get out of the room when they feel like it and maybe realize the craziness of their behaviour. Of course this works with kids that are over four years old, for smaller ones … you are doomed. But hopefully you are a good parent and you made it this far, so trust yourself that you will make it without scarring your children for life. (How do I know so much about kids? Simple, I never really grew up. :D)

Keep busy. Obviously if you have kids, that part is settled. :D Take advantage of this period being locked inside your home to get to know yourself. Although the TV, and/or Netflix, or Amazon Prime, etc offer a lot of distractions, they also offer a lot of noise. This noise keeps you from thinking and acknowledging the situation you are in. You are locked between four walls. And you probably are in fear for your job and salary. Think very well what you want to do about this. If the company asks to accept reduced pay, you might want to take it. If you are happy with the company you work for, you want to help keep it alive, so you will have a job after this disaster has passed. If you know that the company you work for is danger of shutting down, you have to think fast. Do you have savings? How long will you be able to go on living almost normally until they end? Could you get another job? What else are you good at that you could make money of? If you have garden, it is time to become an expert gardener. Being able to grow your own food is an invaluable skill.

And acknowledge the novelty of this situation. There will be people who will have it worse then you. Help those who you know are worth it and buy a baseball bat to defend yourself from those who will not ask for help in a … friendly way. It’s scary, but you can only start solving a problem once you acknowledge it. So let’s acknowledge the fact that we really, really do not know how long this will go on. Most governments never expected for our civilized society to deal with a pandemic of such magnitude, and they will not always make the best decisions. They will not be able to save, protect and help all of us. So let’s acknowledge that if we do not help ourselves, it is quite possible nobody will. We are all in this together and we will deal with it in different ways. And unfortunately when survival is at stake, being a decent human being is no longer a priority for most people. So acknowledge that too and decide what you are willing to do if worse comes to worst.

I do not want to scare you more then you already are. But most of us have been sleeping comfortably on the pillow of civility, in our decent communities for so long we forgot that for some people laws are just guidelines. Most societies remain civilized not because their member are unable of doing uncivilized things, but because they choose not to. In an uncertain situation, when resources are limited being civilized is no longer a priority.

I really hope for a miracle, and I hope in three months we will have a vaccine or the virus will just mutate into an innovensive form. And I really hope we as a society will become better because of it. But … hope is just a thought. And thoughts are just thoughts. Only actions shape reality.

Stay safe, stay healty and stay sane!

Mar 24 2020

The Apocalypse by Simpsons

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 11:40

Somebody sent me this funny video.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen this episode, but the scene is funny as hell. If we were to exagerate and say this pandemic is an apocalypse, that video doesn’t however reflect the situation in Romania. And this is what I want to tell you about.

Looking at Romania right now that scene is far away from the truth. In Romania the only people that are allowed to urge/inspire people to gather together at this time with no legal consequence are the priests. And they are doing it. In Romania there are people still going to churches, kissing the same icons one after the other in a queue and still being given the Eucharist from the same damned silver spoon.

As for bars, if you have a bar and you open it during the pandemic you are going to go to jail. Double standards much?

As for me, since I was 18 years old, the chance to find me in a church dropped to almost zero, the chance to find me in a pub increased to almost 100. And during the pandemic both are dropped to zero, because the only way I’ll be leaving my house right now is to go try and get some food. I don’t feel any urge to go to church. Why would I? Being religious and going to church has rarely ever helped me much. I don’t think that will change now. Unless churches are converted to supermarkets, then you’d find me there from time to time.

Stay inside, stay safe, stay happy!

Mar 22 2020

I caught it

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 11:47

Yes, I caught the COVID-19. It was only expected really, since the colleague sitting next to me at work is constantly using the bus to come to work. I started feeling sick just a few days after he did.

On Thursday I started showing the first symptoms. I woke up with a very bad headache, I took an ibuprofen and went to lay in my bed to wait for it to take effect. At that point, I just thought I had a headache. I woke up three hours later with a mild fever, shortness of breath and still feeling very tired. The cough was not that intense. I could barely stand because I was feeling dizzy and if I insisted in doing so, in about 30 minutes the headache came back with a vengeance. So I went back to bed. I’ve spent the most of 24 hours in bed, getting up just to feed my cat, eat or brush my teeth. I know the headache is not a symptom that is usually mentioned, but some people do get it. I can only suspect that my brains figured out pretty fast there was an intruder and started intensively working to find a solution. Because almost three days later, the headache was gone, and now on Sunday morning, except some obvious weakness I am pretty ok. Breathing still takes some effort though, but I guess this is expected.

The first two days, the ones where the headache was almost always present were the worst. The last time I felt the headache was on Saturday morning during my sleep. And I dreamed that I was diagnosed with a brain tumour that was pushing against my eyes, and was big enough to affect the cerebellum. That explained the fact that light seems to bother me and the dizziness. I woke up  that morning quite late and the headache was gone. So was the fever. I was still pretty tired and breathing was a little bit weird. I mean, you shouldn’t “feel” your lungs when you breathe, that is not how a healthy person breaths.

I was not officially diagnosed, from what I’ve read on the NHS site, isolation is the first step. Calling 111 is the next if things turn ugly and 112 if things turn really ugly. I guess three days in bed was not ugly enough for me to seek assistance and the online moral support from my friends was just enough to help me ride it.

Anyway, although I still feel pretty tired, I was able to write this article without getting a headache, so I think I’m out of the woods.

I really hoped I wouldn’t catch it. I wanted to believe myself this wonder woman, strong and healthy and able to do anything. But if there’s something I’ve learned about myself in the last two years, is that mistakes from my past, done when I wasn’t smart enough to take better care of myself came back to bite me in the ass. I am more fragile than I would like to be. A flu tends to put me to bed now, my knees become weak after a 20 mile bike ride and the left one sprains very easily.

The good part in catching this virus so early is that I’m done. The symptoms were quite mild, except the three days in bed nuisance. And hopefully now that I have antibodies for it, I won’t get sick again. This means I’ll be able to get back to my normal life and maybe get out a little and help others in need(I do live in an old neighbrohood after all), unless UK panics and makes staying indoors a law.

What else can I say? Since I’m not a doctor, if this was a different bug and not the COVID-19 I will be very very disappointed. If it was and any of you gets the form with headaches that I got, be brave. Sometimes it will feel like your head will pop like a piece of popcorn and ibuprofen doesn’t work. But be brave, it will pass. If it doesn’t, call a doctor for advice. In the UK call first the 111 number  and you will be advised what to do.

This being said, I’m back in business.

Stay safe, stay happy, stay healthy!

Mar 16 2020

Who we are

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:41

Creating content is hard. Creating valuable content is harder. Creating meaningful content is damn right close to impossible.

I say that because, as I was preparing to leave for Romania for a while, I had to build a web page with all details my pet sitter might need to know about taking care of my cat. I initially thought the hardest part might be building a web page with a proper theme, because I am no expert in HTML/CSS and JavaScript or PHP. But surprisingly, the page skeleton was ready in record time and the content… well… the content took half a day. I love my cat and I take care of her very well, as I have been for more than 13 years now. And still, it was difficult producing content valuable for my pet sitter. But since the world is going through a pandemic, obviously going to Romania is no longer an option.

So you can expect a lot of content to be produced in this period. Artists that can no longer interact with their public directly will create videos, and streaming platforms will become better. People that have blogs will write more. If the content will be good or no, I guess we’ll see. Because you can write about the coronavirus a few times, but at some point you have to try other subjects, because people will get sick of reading about how doomed we are.

Anyway, I expected I would have more ideas and more time to write, but ironically, now that I have time, I just want to spend it relaxing, cleaning my house, sleeping, playing with my cat, sewing my clothes. Anything really… I almost feel like I’m just trying to kill time until this ends and I can return back to normal. I can go back to the gym, I can go back to dancing, I can go back to looking people in the eyes from less than one meter away. I’m not sad for being isolated from people. Not yet anyway, I mean, my friends have been more active than ever these days. Maybe because we do not know which one of us has a defective immune system and they might not make it. Or maybe just because now the option of jumping on a plane/train/bus to visit each other has been taken away.

I don’t want to be pessimistic, but what if this virus never goes away? What if it comes back in different shapes every year just like the flu? How will our society look like with most of our lives indoors? Will we build domes with extreme air filtering systems to keep the virus from finding us? Or maybe, just maybe finally we’ll develop an immunity to the damn class of viruses causing all types of flu.

Well, not sure what will happen, but nature is already showing us a little. Since people have started isolating themselves, Venice’s canals have become crystal clear. Italy has been in quarantine and people started self isolating only for the last week. Animals used to human interactions are taking to the streets. Or, maybe they cannot believe that that humans have disappeared and they are checking it out for themselves. Or maybe they think we are gone and they started taking the territory back. It’s a fun thought, right? Nature seems to be quite fast in taking its rightful place. And it is showing us quite quckly just how toxic our society is. I truly want to believe we will learn something from this and we’ll be better after it, that we will pollute less, that we will be more … connected.

And now … after making you think of improbable futures, I’m gonna turn a little into a conspiracy theorist. For years now, scientists have warned us about the ageing population. There are quite a few countries worried about their declining economies because people just don’t want to have children anymore, so the younger generation cannot produce enough to sustain the ageing ones. What if this virus is just a way to fix this problem? Because, apparently old people are the most affected – not Trump apparently that piece of human shit seems to be a bloody cyborg with badly tanned skin. What if our leaders just met in one of those fastuous secret chambers and decided together that this is the only way to fix the crumbling economies of their countries? Just imagine, countries with public pension systems will find themselves with a lot of money in 6 or 12 months. That’s a lot of public money, and public money is quite easy to dip into.

Think about it like that, what do most farmers do with old animals are no longer productive? They take them to the abattoir to recover at least a bit of their value, or they just kill them and eat them.
If we, tax payers are just resources to our politicians, our leaders, what should they do with us when we become… well … unproductive? Well, it seems they don’t have to think of a solution anymore … because this virus has provided them with one. Unless that is the solution they found. ;)

The horrendous thought is that is so very plausible, but we will never know the truth.

Stay safe, stay happy!