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?”

 

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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.

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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!

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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!

 


May 28 2018

Miss Subways

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:27

I just finished reading David Duchvny’s Miss Subways. I started reading it a few nights ago, just before drifting off to sleep. I would not call this novel a master piece, but it sure fits my literary style of what I like to read. I loved it and I can’t call it a master piece because I’m no literary critic.

It is a surprising read and for the first three chapters I was having doubts which was the real thread of the story. I even asked out loud when Sidhe was introduced if David was on some good marijuana or some hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Overall it is a story about love, of hopes and dreams, of human weakness and strength. Just as in “Bucky Fucking Dent”, love wins against all odds and plots and deals. The book it is also spiced up with references to different religious figures and myths and snippets of writings from Yates, Shakespeare and other classic writers and poets. There are subtle references to the current political situation in the US.

It is a good read and my only regret is that it was so short.

Another thing a devoted fan of David Duchovny will notice is that this book also contains common elements with the “Every Third Though” music album that he released at the end of last year. There is a chapter called “The Sacred Heart”, which is also a term used in the title of one of the songs: “Stranger in the Sacred Heart”. Both the chapter and the song reference the Sacré-Coeur church in Paris, where people go to pray not for themselves, but for others.

There are three things worth mentioning:

  • The book is about a person or two, that wanted to be writers in their youth and never did it because … life got in the way.(similar to “Bucky Fucking Dent”)
  •  There is a paragraph where the protagonist reads a text from her lover and there is a typo in it. Her exasperation with his carelessness for grammar made me identify with her from that moment. That’s why the end of the novel brought tears of happiness in my eyes. Because she gets the happy ending ( or beginning?) I hope for too.
  •  It is funny how David dedicated a chapter to explain how the protagonist’s book made use of a lot of racist and discrimination cliches we are so used to, and still was deemed a good book. Just as his novel has, and I really hope no exaggeratedly sensitive political-correctness envangellist will start attacking the book for that.

I don’t think I have a favorite quote, I think I need to read the book again to pick one. Also, I gave you enough details to make you curious, I don’t want to spoil it for you.

So, buy it, read it and let’s talk more about it.
Stay safe, stay happy!


May 27 2018

This should not be “a thing”

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:01

It should be illegal for a site to provide you a trial membership, but to ask for a credit card, that will be used automatically to pay the membership in case you do not cancel it. This happened to me with Audible. I tried their service, for then minutes, then forgot all about it. The credit card I set up for them got blocked a few weeks ago because of an incident, but being an Amazon company, they decided to bill me this month, because I forgot to cancel the bloody subscription and used the credit card I had registered at Amazon. :|

I know that you pay for your stupidity, I just did. But it seems a little perverse and mean, to provide a service as a trial, but then not even send am email to the user to remind him or her, that they will be billed for it, even if they liked it or not, unless they cancel their subscription. This is also cruel, because maybe within 30 days since I subscribed for that trial, if I would have ended up in the position where those 14$ would be the last money I have,  instead of just buying food for me and my cat, I would have just gotten the wonderful opportunity to listen to books.

Services like this should not be allowed to exist. What good is GDPR if my lack of attentiveness can be exploited?

In a fair world, I would be allowed to try the service and then make a decision for myself if I want to pay for it or not. The fact that I decided to pay for it would be an acknowledgement of the quality/utility of that service as well. Otherwise, is just this big company fooling me into paying for a service that I barely had the time to evaluate and definitely do not have the time for. Because I do think Audible is a great idea and it is really practical, but not for me. And I just got tricked into paying subscription for a month, after the trial ended.

And I repeat, I accept the fact that I payed for my stupidity, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. And if I ever have time for a service like the one Audible is offering, in the future I will not choose Audible just because of this incident.

The conclusion of this post: just pay very much attention with services that promise you free stuff during the trial period. It might not be so free after all.

So, -1 vote from me Audible/Amazon. I just cancelled my subscription.

Stay safe, stay happy!