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”


Oct 13 2019

Fresh start

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 21:57

The best part in having your own space where to post your thoughts is that you can just erase everything one day and start over.

Of course I did not erase everything, I just made most entries written until today private. Why? Because I needed a fresh start.

I have found myself with some free time and decided to change this blog. I’ve decided to put away the personal stuff for now. There is no reason for the whole internet to see the crazy ideas my brains comes up with. I am an adult, I have a job, and you never know what might be used against me.

Do not get me wrong, nothing happened at the job that caused this. Something personal happened that made me decide to have a little more control over the information I let out there. Because just because something is true and makes sense to you, it doesn’t mean people would perceive it as you want it to.

Also, I’ve met somebody who declared himself a master of control. He brags about having his mind and actions always under control. So I decided to give it a try. And since this blog was an actual proof of how out of control my mind actually is sometimes, I decided to start fresh.

Not sure what is going to happen. Maybe this blog will end up being a curated version of the previous 13 years, maybe I will fall back in my old ways. Or maybe I will give it up altogether. You’ll just have to wait and see. Some as me.

Welcome to my brave new blog!


Sep 22 2019

Waiting is wasting time

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:30

Most of my life I’ve been waiting.

Waiting for an answer to letters I’ve sent to my friend when my parents decided to move across the country.

Waiting to go to university to get out of my parents’ house.

Waiting for somebody to come and fix my broken heart.

Waiting for the perfect job.

Waiting for him to notice me.

Waiting for my boyfriend to agree to go with me to concerts or to visit countries I wanted to visit.

Waiting for somebody to appear that would be interested to do the same things at the same time I did.

Until one day, I said fuck this life is too short for waiting! I’ve always been de-synchronized with people. Always meeting them at the wrong moment. I’ve rarely had friends that have the same hobbies or passions or dreams. And in my idiocy, I kept waiting for somebody to do things with. Somebody to share my enthusiasm with. Because I believe sharing your enchantment with somebody duplicates it. And since most times I seem not to be in sync with anybody in my little universe, I’ve decided to do things alone.

Since 2014, most of my vacations have been spent alone. This blog contains quite a few entries about them. I’ve been to concerts in Europe and in the US, and I’ve been randomly choosing Scotland villages and islands to visit during weekends. Here and there I’ve been able to have some companions, but those instances are rare. Sure, travelling alone and being a woman, makes things quite expensive. But it is bloody worth it.

This entry is not about waiting, it’s obvious I’m long over doing that as well.  This entry is about another thing I’ve done alone today: I’ve hiked the Beinn a’ Ghlò. I have a mountaineer friend that goes to the mountains alone, she’s been doing that for years and she is still doing it after getting married, because her free time and her husband’s free time are not in sync either. I’ve always envied her, because while I was in Romania, I did not have the balls to do it alone. I mean The Carpathians are quite big and easy to get lost into with their multiple unmarked pathways and their dark forests. But Scotland is different, because Scotland mountains are bold. As in, they don’t have any trees, and because of that they are very easy to navigate. And the pathways are quite well maintained too.

Short story first: I kinda loathe the way Scotland has named its mountains. What is wrong with the terms mountains and peaks? Why it has to be beinn and munros? I try to have conversations with people and they try to recommend me where to go and I don’t understand a thing. It’s painful and it is frustrating. I understand they want to keep some remnants from the original Scottish language, but I’ve learned English in school, not Scottish unfortunately. Also, aside from those two Scottish terms they also have Scottish names, like the previously mentioned Beinn a’ Ghlò, which I still do not know how to pronounce by the way. To me, conversations about mountains in Scotland sound like gibberish and I really, really hope that will change some day.

The best site I’ve found for getting information about Scottish mountains is walkhighlands.co.uk and this is where I got my information about Beinn a’ Ghlò. I read about it two days before and decided that if on Saturday the weather looks nice, I will do it. Because you never waste a sunny day in the UK. Beinn a’ Ghlò has three Munro summits giving a strenuous day, which means there is a mountain with three peaks. And these are: Càrn Liath (Grey Cairn) at 976 metres, Bràigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain (“Brae/Brow of the Corrie of Round Blisters”, “blisters” referring to rock formations) at 1,070 metres and and Càrn nan Gabhar (“Hill/cairn of the Goats”) at 1,121.9 metres.

On walkhighlands.co.uk I’ve found quite a lot of entries from people doing this walk and they said it takes between 6 and 9 hours. I took me 6, and that is because I actually came back on a different road than the recommended one, actually there was no road, I just slid down the mountain in the direction I thought the parking lot was. And it was… after about 1 hour of sliding and 2 hours of walking. I’m saying sliding because after the lovely rocky formations ended, there were some gravel sections and some muddy sections. Yes, you read that right: muddy. My assumption: when snow melts and ends up creating streams down the mountains, if the mountains are rocky, they just dig their path through stone and they are pretty visible and contained. But because Beinn a’ Ghlò is full of vegetation, the water makes its way through it, splits in multiple little streams and carries all the dead vegetation with it. So you end up with a paradoxical mountain that is both rocky and muddy.

Anyway, it was a beautiful, exhausting day. I’ve been running up and down those peaks, jumping from stone to stone like a gazelle feeling at least ten years younger. Driving back I felt so tired, I just wanted to take a bath and go to sleep. But here I am bragging about it and giving you some eye candy. Meaning, pictures with Scottish mountains, of course.

My walk fits this pic quite well I think.

And the eye candy. Enjoy!

Stay safe, stay happy!


Sep 17 2019

1984 = 2019

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:14

I told you that I’ve read 1984 a while ago. I am still a little bit annoyed with the world that the book depicts. What I did not mention was that before that I went through Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 and  Animal Farm.

And I ended up to a conclusion: these books can be put in a sequence. Imagine this: a world like the one depicted in Animal Farm leads to a world like the one depicted in Fahrenheit 451, that in turn leads to a world like the one described in 1984 and then finally to a world like the one in Brave New World.

I had planned to write a longer article than this about these books and how they seem to connect to one another, but something happened tonight that pissed me off, because I think we are closer to the world in 1984 than we thought. My only consolation is that Brave New World is close and if I survive until then they will pomp me up with Soma big time to keep me docile. :D

Few of you know that this blog until about three years ago was hosted on http://rpx.kicks-ass.net. Even fewer than you know that I used to write also on http://seaqxx.kicks-ass.net. And that is because my then boyfriend owned the kicks-ass.net domain.

Tonight I was having a private conversation with a friend, and Facebook decided to stop me from sending a message with the URL of my old blog because …

So yeap. They are not even hiding the fact that they are reading your private messages anymore. But then again, as long as your messages are stored in their databases, they are not really private, are they?

Take it as you want it, but the next person that tells me that what politicians and corporations do doesn’t really affect me, gets a kick in the teeth.

Anyway, as you can imagine now, me and my friend are having a very dirty conversation to check how restrictive the bot is. Because… engineers.

Stay safe, stay happy and keep your stuff private. If you can.


Sep 06 2019

The problems with self love

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:11

I’ve mentioned here my low self-esteem, but I must confess I’m a hypocrite. I’ve had low self-esteem in the past, really low. And yes I used it as a fuel to push myself forward personally and professionally. I am at a certain moment in my life when I cannot see myself anymore as a mediocre programmer, because I have four technical books published, and soon there will be five of them. I’ve changed about seven jobs, kept increasing my salary, diversifying my experience and trained quite a lot of people. I’m obviously not mediocre, and probably I’ve never been.

From a personal point of view, I have overcome a toxic upbringing and a toxic relationship, I have won a long battle with depression and suicidal thoughts and I’m dealing with ADHD without medication. I might not be completely sane, but I am more sane and socially functional than most people are. So I can’t really say about myself anymore that I am “broken, misfit, anxious, etc”.

I’ve been alone for quite a long time, and all my life I wanted to meet somebody that is understanding, supportive, funny and gentle. That I can share a beer with, that I can share a steak with, that I can share a walk in silence, or an extra-long hike and a good cry here and there. Somebody that would listen to me and fight me when I’m being an asshole without threatening to leave me and without allowing my bad moment of assholery define me until the end of times in their eyes. Somebody with an open heart and an open mind, somebody who would drill me until I explained myself properly and not draw the worst conclusions. Well, the problem is, people like that are hard to find. So I worked on becoming that person myself. And I think I’m quite there. I worked on becoming that person myself because I needed somebody like that in my life. And what I cannot find, I create. Simple enough, right?

And I am at that stage in my life where I truly appreciate and love myself. I’m so content with the person I’ve turned myself into I could just live for the rest of my life by myself. But do you know what the bloody problem is? I could, but I do not want to.

And since I do not want to, here’s the second problem: I like/love/appreciate myself which is good, it’s the right attitude, but how the hell am I supposed to find a totally different person that feels the same way about me? Because if you think there is another person that sees you and understands you the same way you do, you are very very much mistaken. Because you see things about yourself and know things about yourself, that you might never be able to convey to another. And they cannot enter your mind to truly see you and understand you. Let’s make a short conclusion here: sure, you consider yourself great, but do they?

And hence, the third problem: will I be able to feel about his person, exactly what they want me to feel about them? (And for an overthinker like me that is the biggest fear: not of not being loved, but not being able to make the person I love feel loved; or heaven forbid, even hurting them.)

All those articles telling you that you should work on yourself, learn to love yourself, be a little selfish, put yourself first never warn you of the most terrifying consequence: loneliness. When you love yourself the way you want to be loved, you are content, you are in a good place. And the loneliness is most times bearable. And the person to chase away your loneliness should add up to that good place, to make it great, right? Do you have any idea how special that person must be? And how many special persons are in this world really?

Take a look at this quote:

You’re not going to encounter any other relationship in your life that will be as raw, as open and as beautiful as the one you’re going to have with yourself. It’s a relationship that you first must build before you’re able to build with another person.

Problem is, a good relationship with yourself is like having plugged a hole in your bike’s wheel. The hole is already plugged. No air is coming out anymore. The bike is functional. If somebody else comes and offers to plug the hole, well… plug what?

My mom said once to me that we all need to feel loved and we are willing to go through an eternity of hell for just a single moment of it. So, if you love yourself, that need is satisfied. There is no more reason to risk that eternity of hell.

Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just that content with my life with myself, that I am so terrified to risk it that I am willing to suffer through my pangs of loneliness. But yeah, you go ahead and learn to love yourself. You have no guarantee that you will not end up just like me. Good luck!

Stay safe, stay happy!


Aug 23 2019

Emotional scars

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 12:02

I know the title seems like this article is going to be one of those annoying medium entries, but it’s not. I promise you, it is not.

I have this way of viewing the world: I don’t think any of us is perfectly sane. I think we are all mad or broken to some degree. We do not live in a perfect world, and since we make up this world, neither are we. I’ve said this before to some people and they took it personally and felt offended. How can I assume they are broken? How do I dare to make them doubt their sanity? I think the worst thing you can do to yourself is to view yourself as being good, normal or whatever positive thing makes you feel good about yourself. Because when you see yourself in this over-positive light you might stop working on yourself and you might become an overly righteous prick. Maybe. I’m not saying it will happen to you. But during my lifetime I’ve met some people that felt entitled to tell me how I’m being wrong, what I’m doing wrong, what is wrong with me and how should I change to be right.

I am not secretive when it comes to my childhood. My parents were not the worst parents, but they were not the best either. My relationship with them was toxic, there was some emotional and physical abuse here and there, and when given the chance at eighteen to leave them behind and going to study in a different town, I never looked back.

The love of my life died when I was eighteen. He was probably the only one even remotely sane person in my life for six years, he always had something good and encouraging to say and he never made me feel like there was something wrong with me.  Him dying was probably one of the worst things that happened to me. One more emotional scar in my collection.

Because of the toxic upbringing and the hole in my heart, I wasn’t able to make the best choices in relationships either. My last relationship, the way I remember it, seems to have been toxic and seasoned with some emotional abuse. It might not sound that bad, but considering that my psyche was not in such good shape when it all started, you can imagine it was not a joy ride.

It took me a long time to understand and accept everything that happened to me. And I realized the consequences all those events had on me.  There are things about me that I will never be able to fix. But despite all that I am a functioning adult. I can hold down a job and I managed somehow to have a lot of friends that are way more sane than I am. I am aware of some things in my character that might be detrimental to others and I keep them under control and warn them beforehand, so they are aware of them and decide if they want to take a chance of being close to me or not.

That is why I am not keeping my struggles secret. I do not want to give anybody the illusion that I am normal(whatever that means). I want people to know I’ve been dealt a really shitty hand, but despite all that I am where I am. I am very vulnerable, but I am also very strong. If I could hold down a job, train other people to do it, inspire them and make people happy here and there, whatever kind of broken I am, it might be a good thing after all.

Sure, I will never stop working on myself, I will never stop monitoring myself and drag myself to a psychologist if I think I need it. Because I refuse to let my past define me, I refuse to let all this emotional baggage drag me down. I bloomed as a person despite all that. Sure, I wish sometimes things would have been different, but the past cannot be changed, and I refuse to be bitter because of it.

My parents will never say I’m sorry for being a shitty parent! because in their mind the person I am today is proof that they did a good job. So I accepted the fact that I shouldn’t be expecting that kind of closure.

The only thing I can do is keep blooming. Yes, I have some emotional scars. But honestly, with all that happened to me, it is ridiculous to expect anything else. Even rocks get scratched and chipped, by wind or water. I am sure everybody else has their own scars as well. And because I have mine, I know how to relate to people better. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours, right?

Stay safe, stay happy!