Nov 01 2019

Searching for “the connection”

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:18

I am over 30 and dating is brutal at this age. Especially after you’ve been single long enough. Because you have time to think, to analyse your past relationships, how they started, how they evolved, how they ended and why. I use to do this from time to time. Some people might say I’m living in the past, but I don’t see it that way. The way I see it I analyse the data of failed experiments to make sure the future ones do not fail. Or at least to not fail in the same way.

When it comes to love, a scientist would describe it like this: there are 3 stages involved with falling in love — namely lust, attraction, and attachment. Each stage involves different types of chemical reactions within the body (specifically the brain). Along with that, there are different hormones present in the body helping to excite all these three stages (lust, attraction, and attachment) separately as well as collectively. Lust is said to be the initial stage of getting involved with love. The feel of lust is basically backed up or instigated by the sexual hormones within the body. When you are younger and the brains just starts to produce those hormones, things gets a little crazy, because it needs to adapt to the effects of the newly discovered ability. When we get older, things get weirder. Because the logic of past experiences starts to come into play and the brains thinks it knows how to handle the surge of hormones better.

If lust starts it all, how do we explain the way love starts in a world where more and more relationships start on the internet? Or how can we explain the connection some people mention they have felt with another person?

Recently I’ve had more than one person telling this to me: they are waiting to meet the person they feel a connection with. One of them told me he felt the connection when his partner just used a specific phrase in a conversation they were having. Another one, he just looked into her eyes and was hooked. For some, it happened instantly, for some it happened later, because of some context they happened to be in. For another friend of mine, the connection seem to have appeared when he realized they both had the same favourite song.

But, for some it happened instantly, for some… I guess one of the partners, just decided the other person was decent enough to worth their time, thus allowing them to become familiar to that person and then in the context when they were relaxed with each other, the connection happened.

Look at it this way – you want to build a bridge over a river. On the other bank, another person, has seen you and decides to help. The bridge doesn’t happen instantly, unless one of them is a wizard of some kind. And even then, magic has a cost and spells can be cancelled. But, if you coordinate efforts, use good materials and take the time, the bridge you create will be sturdy to sustain the connection for years to come. Because, unless you are some kind of psychopath, this is all we desperately want — a durable connection. And that takes time and work.

But still, maybe the connection these people are mentioning  is the thing that makes the other person across the river decide to start building that bridge with you. So, what would make the other person want to do that? Well, it’s all in the mind really, and in something we call coincidence. If you want it desperately enough, you will subconsciously look for a sign. And you will manufacture it yourself without even realizing.

But there are always the most logical of us that don’t believe in signs or don’t trust them and that prefer to really know the person across the river better before starting to build that damn bridge. Or maybe we’ve just been hurt so many times, and we tried building so many bridges only to have our time wasted and ended up with so many half bridges we’re just too exhausted to try again. Also age and past experience messes things up. With age some rationality of feelings should emerge. But it totally freaks me out when I hear grown men searching for a connection or waiting to fall in love and instantly if possible, because time is precious, they have so many things to do, and they want a reason to decide fast if that person is worth their time or not. But knowledge takes time. How the hell an adult does not know that? It took me more than two months to realize somebody wasn’t worth my time and I’ve lived in the same house with the guy for most of that time.

Think about it like this: how many of your friendships developed instantly? And how many have survived into adulthood? How long did it take you to designate somebody your best friend? Because being in a relationship with somebody, is like having a best friend that you also do kinky stuff with, and live with and make huge investments together. Well, a best friend is not a best friend when you meet him or her. They become your best friend in time, maybe even after some storms have rocked your friendship and sometimes even some distance was involved. (Just ask Marianul how many things our friendship has survived.)

As for me – since I’ve written such a long article about it I guess I owe you some under the bonnet info – the last time I felt a connection with somebody it was the end of our second date, when seemingly out of nowhere he pulled out a red rose. Being still young and a hopeless romantic it worked like a charm on me. As it turned out later, that gesture meant little to him, he did not gave me that flower because he thought I was special, or because he felt something special about me. He just thought that was the expected thing to do when you go out with a girl. So I guess, that was the last time I trusted my instincts and felt a connection. Because it was all me, it was all in my mind. It wasn’t real. I manufactured it because I needed it so badly.

And the mind is very good at playing tricks on you. But yeah, good luck to all you brave romantics for trusting your gut when it comes to connections. I envy your bravery.

Stay safe, stay happy.

Oct 29 2019

The peculiar view

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 3:02

In 2011 one of the companies I was working for at the time delegated me to Dublin for two weeks. For some reason they got me a room in a four star hotel in the city centre. The hotel was called Trinity City Hotel and those two weeks spent there was the best experience I had in a hotel in my whole life.

The room was big and I had a king size bed with the most comfortable mattress and sheets ever. The windows were covered by some heavy blinds, that were covered with velvet on the interior and some kind of leather on the exterior. Everything inside the room aside the sheets, was super velvety and fluffy to the touch. It was an amazing feeling. Anyway, initially I did not understand why the blinds needed to be that heavy. Seriously speaking, they were difficult to handle and I was afraid if they fell off from their support, I would have difficulties lifting them from the ground.

Being a troubled sleeper, I covered the windows completely and just left a small space between them, so a ray of light could squeeze in in the morning, and make it easier to wake up. And in the morning I found out why the heavy blinds were needed.

At 6 am, I was woken up by some sort of alarm. It was not a strong and annoying sound, but it was repetitive. So I got out of the bed and went to look through the window. And I was mesmerized. In what it looked like an interior yard there were a bunch of medium muscular men, running around the yard, doing pushups and other exercises that looked like a warming up session before a more serious physical activity. I thought I was having a weird dream, and after shaking my head to make sure I was not sleeping, I started analysing the rest of the yard. It looked like a Fire Station and the men were definitely firefighters. Their morning exercise was not bad to look at, especially since they were not wearing any shirts and a few of them looked like the ones on those charity firefighter calendars. So yeah, for two weeks, that was my alarm. And believe me, it worked as a charm. And the blinds combined with the three layered windows were designed to be sound proof; and thy did thier job pretty well.

Apparently the hotel owns the front part of the building and the fire department owns a smaller part from the back.

Anyway, every time I happen to tell some people this story they tend to look at me like I have an over-active imagination. I mean, it is unbelievable enough for a Fire Station to be encapsulated by a four star hotel building, but good looking firefighters training shirtless in the morning !? Kinda far fetched, right?

So, you can choose not to believe the firefighters part, but the hotel really exists and I have a picture to prove the peculiar set up.

Surely though, if I ever find myself again needing to go to Dublin and manage to get a room at an acceptable price at this hotel, I will ask for a room with a view to the Fire Station yard. :D

Stay safe, stay happy!

Oct 28 2019

If I ever get around to living

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 8:57

I started writing technical books in December 2014. Why did I do it? Because I had a lot of time on my hands. I just moved to a new city where I knew nobody and I did not have anything to do after work. Sure, I could have done what every millennial is doing and go to the gym. But gym has never been my thing. Also, after the bad breakup at the beginning of the year, I did not want to put myself in the position of even risking to meet anybody else. I felt like I needed to be alone, to fix myself, to finally figure out what I need, or better said .. who I need.

Also, having a technical book to write gave me the perfect excuse to refuse people asking me out. I felt like letting my introvert in peace for the first time in my life. And boy I did it. I wrote the first one and I’ve complained about being exhausted and not having a life because of it until September, when I finished writing it.

I took my three months of vacation, and then accepted to write another one. Why? Because of the topic of the book, this book was the first I wanted to write about in the first place. And that book just got a second edition that will be published in January 2020.

If you think writing this book was easier and that my attitude changed, you are mistaken. I still complained about not getting enough sleep and not having a life and blaming it all on the book. But still, I’ve managed to get promoted at my full time job and managed to make some friends. So it wasn’t all bad.

And after my next three months of vacation from writing, of course I’ve accepted to write another book. And this one has a funny story, because I told my PM at Apress that I just want to do reviews, I did not want to write a book from scratch. But what I got to write was the 5th revision of Pro Spring, and boy that was a lot of work. But that book had a history, being its 5th edition and all and having my name on it raised the sales of my previous books. So 2017 was a great year, because it definitely consecrated me as a technical author, but also because of other reasons. I managed to finish the book two weeks earlier than planned and enjoyed my US vacation fully.

And of course, again I said to myself that I’m taking a one year break from writing to get myself a life. And what did I do? I accepted to write Java for Absolute Beginners, the 9+ way. This book got published last year, and again I wanted a break, but when I was told one of my books will get a second revision I couldn’t say no. And I wrote this one too and when this entry is being written I am on my writing vacation again.

And I actually told Apress this time that I want to take a year off, and what did they say? Sure sure, smart ass, but if Spring 6 comes out, would you be interested in writing the 6th edition of Pro Spring?

Continue reading “If I ever get around to living”

Oct 27 2019

Et tu, Brute?

Category: Funny,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:40

A few of my close friends and those that got to visit my home in Edinburgh got to meet Bob. Bob was my vacuum Robot. It was a Neato Botvac D7 and it helped me a lot by sparing me the effort of cleaning the house. Because it is shaped like a D, it got into the corners as well, so I managed to live for one year without owning a broom. It was quite efficient, silent and the cat liked him.

About eight months after moving into my house he started acting weird. He seemed to foget parts of the house and one time I received a notification that it was stuck and needed help. I found it under the bed, not being blocked by anything. I assumed the software must have bugs, because I did a few software updates, and no software is perfect. Being a software engineer, I know!!!

One year later I decided to buy it a new battery as the manual recommended. The new battery was identical to the old one. It charged normally and Bob did its job exactly once after that. Then it stopped charging the battery.

I did all I could from a software point of view, without affecting the warranty, to no avail. When I gave up I called Neato support. And I had to send Bob to an authorized centre for repair. They sent him back three days later. My Bob was now completely dead, the battery was discharged completely.

I called support again and they told me I should send it to some location and they would replace it. I send it on Monday. Seven days have passed. Almost two months have passed since the last time my house was cleaned. I do not want to imagine the quantity of dust and cat hair in my carpet right now.

I am waiting for them to send me the new robot. And while waiting I decided its name. Its name will be Brute, because if it gets fucked up too, I just want to look at it disappointed and ask “Et tu, Brute?”

But, regardless of the issue bob had, I really love this type of robot. I really hope the new one will be more resilient. But still, its name will be Brute. That is not going to change now.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Oct 27 2019

The one with the menopause

Category: Funny,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:39

After 5 published books and a few jobs where I had leadership positions people that know me tend to think that I am pretty smart. I don’t like to contradict anybody that has a good opinion of me, but if you think I have some natural talent, or that my work is exemplary and my mind is an epitome of organized information let me burst that bubble for you.

My mind is like a hurricane, powerful, quick but also highly disorganized. After all these years I barely know how to harness it. Sometimes I have the impression that I do not remember information and when needed, it just pops up seemingly out of nowhere. Or even more funny, it pops up when I no longer need it.

When I took the exam to finish the first school cycle in Romania, there was a math problem that was really simple, but I was unable to solve it during the exam. The solution come to me three days later, seemingly out of nowhere. It’s not like I was thinking about it after the exam really, I was just on the balcony, lounging in the sun and boom! there it was.

One of the weirdest things that happened to me recently is being in a bar with a friend and recognizing a song and the band and started singing it. And he swears that a few weeks ago I did not recognize that song when he asked me about it in a different bar.

Anyway, I decided to take a break from bragging about where I’ve travelled and what I did interesting and waste your time with some funny things happening in my life.

Continue reading “The one with the menopause”

Oct 16 2019

John Mayer – Carry me away tour

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:53

It was 18th August 2017, I remember it as it was yesterday. I got out of my hotel in Philadelphia, and slowly made my way to the ferry. My heart was beating in my chest with the speed of a hummingbird. I was going across the river, to Camden to a John Mayer concert. It was the first time I was to hear him live after dreaming about it for years. And it was my birthday and I just knew, no other birthday present would beat this.

It was 2010  when I heard his song Say, three years after it was released.

Before that time, I have never heard of him. I was in a relationship with a taciturn troubled young man and running out of ideas to make him open up and let me in. I sang that song in my head while navigating the stormy seas of that relationship hoping that we would make it. We didn’t.

I guess I met his music at an interesting time, when my feelings were in sync with what he was singing. Add in my fascination with guitar music, and there I was, a fan was born. John Mayer has been in a serious competition for the title of my favourite singer with Darren Hayes. In the end I settled it by naming Darren Hayes my favourite vocalist and John Mayer, my favourite guitarist.

I love his music, I love the sounds he can produce on a guitar and I also love the messages in his songs, be it political or personal, there is always a feeling in his songs that I empathize with. I love his music so much, but I must confess, sometimes the line between the love for the music and the love for the man has been blurred a little. I have never been a groupie, but I was jealous of Katy Perry. Just a little.

As I was preparing to take off for Dublin I felt a little off. I usually feel a little off when leaving home, mostly because of the cat. But this was something different. I was a little anxious, but it was that type of anxiety as I have forgotten something important. But everything was there: money – check, passport – check, ticket to the John Mayer concert – CHECK!.

I landed in Dublin and hopped on a bus to the city that dropped me on the side of the Liffey river. It was a beautiful sunny day and the 30 minutes walk to the hotel was an occasion to observe the changes that Dublin is going through. The river bank is being filled with glass building hosting million euro businesses, which I guess is good for somebody. Not for the Liffey river though, because its losing its Irish traditional charm.

I got to the hotel, took a quick shower and headed to 3Arena, where the concert was going to take place.

While drinking a Murphy’s in the 3Arena bar I realized what the off feeling was. I realized what I had forgotten. It was 16th of October, and it was John Mayer’s birthday. When I bought the ticket, in March this year, I just picked a date in Dublin, because I knew Dublin. And I liked Dublin. I did not realize it was his birthday, because I’m not a groupie. :)
So funny coincidence, the first time “we met” it was my birthday. The second time “we met” it was his birthday. I’m curious what will be the meaning of the third time.

Don’t expect quality photos, 12 MegaPixels can only do so much.

As for the concert… it was astounding. 3Arena is not that big and the sound was very good. I could hear his voice and all the instruments quite clearly. I tried to pay attention to every detail, to every chord, I tried to take it all in and imprint it on my brains. I did not want to miss a thing and I wanted to remember it all. The concert started at 8 pm and ended at 11 pm, with a 15 minutes break. While I was there it seemed like it would never end. I did not want it to end.

John Mayer is very talented, but his band does quite a lot of heavy lifting as well. I like going to see and hear him live, because he improvises a lot. When he sings live, he never sings a song the same way twice. And he is so damn talented and so damn humble. Not something you might find about him if you’d google him though. Why do I say he is humble? He said thank you to his public after every song, and he took the time to talk his public, to explain meanings of some songs, or talk about feelings he had when he wrote them. I don’t remember him doing that at the concert in Camden, two years ago. So, whatever he is going through, he is still growing as a person and it’s mesmerizing to see it happen.

Dear John Mayer, thank you for an unforgettable experience. Until next time, I wish you all the best this world has to offer.

Oct 15 2019

The expat syndrome

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 3:20

I’ve been going through a little bit of a phase lately and a colleague that likes to fix things thought that I might suffer from culture shock. As some of you know I’ve moved to Scotland on the 30th of May 2018. Until that time even if I’ve travelled the world because of work or on vacation, I have been a resident of Romania.

I was shy of 35 years old when I decided to move. Looking back, I try to identify the reasons why I did it, but I’ve noticed that every time somebody asks me why I left, I struggle to choose a single reason. While reading this article I tried to answer this question again. The article is named “The 4 stages of culture shock” and after reading that article I’ve realized that I haven’t gone through any of those phases. Does that make me weird?

I do not know why I left, honestly. A lot of my decisions are based on how I feel, and whatever I felt when I made the decision, or what I was going through when I actually put things in motion, I don’t really remember it now. I remember a moment when I was sitting at my desk in Sibiu and asked myself: “What are you still doing here? There’s nothing for you here, there never was. Do you really want to stay here? Because if you get to 40, you might never leave.” So I guess I did it because I was scared of missing the opportunity to do it.

Continue reading “The expat syndrome”