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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May 09 2018

Moving on and letting go

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:20

My dear friends we have a problem. As I prepare to move to another city, to another country and start another job, I am getting insomnia thinking of all the things that could go wrong. I am still packing and trying to decide what to leave behind. I am saying goodbye to friends and bleeding money while trying to move everything from Ron to pounds. I just sold my car, that I barely had for a year and a half. And I don’t usually get attached to things, but this car was one of the best investments I ever did. I am happy though, because it is getting some awesome owners that will appreciate it just as much as I do.

The problem that we have is that you see me as this strong, inquisitive, curious and brave person and some of you do not seem to realize how hard this is for me. Because even if I don’t show it properly, because I’m an introvert after all, I am attached to some of you. And it hurts thinking that most probably I will never see many of you again.

And I have to spend two weeks without my cat. And three weeks looking for rent in a country that looks down on Romanian immigrants and uses credit score to decide if you are able to pay rent or not.

And the new job… seems amazing, but amazingly challenging as well. And I am terrified of the culture clashes and the repercussions of me being too blunt and too open and maybe too friendly. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what scares me, I’ve always been good at adapting. Sure between my four walls I will cry in the evening before falling asleep, that is if I can sleep. Because insomnia is one of my oldest friends, that never leaves me alone in challenging times.

And I have a book to write as well and I feel guilty every time I fall behind a page or two.

But saying goodbye to friends is the hardest. Because there are some people that you never think see you as a friend. But they do, it’s just that they have their own life, challenges and responsibilities keeping them busy. And they tend to take you for granted. They always think that there is time. That they will have that beer with you tomorrow or maybe next week. And you think that they are just too busy to see you. They all seem to have so much going on in their lives, that you don’t want to bother them. So we all take each other for granted. You think there is time. That you will maybe meet next week. But you never do. And then somebody moves away, and you realize that you should have bothered them. You should have asked them for a beer, even if rejection hurts. And you should have said yes and got that beer, because who knows what will happen tomorrow.

I am as guilty for taking people for granted just as much as my friends. But I am guilty of being too scared of being rejected. Because if somebody said no to me more than twice, I give up. No need to be a bother, right?

And I am really sorry, I guess I have a long way to go before becoming an adult. I believe after this change I have learned my lesson and do it better next time.

I guess, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Apr 18 2018

End of an era

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:06

In 2014 I was crushed into little pieces and all I wanted was for the wind to blow me away. But the wind did not blow me away, it just transported me to a place where I experienced so much personal and professional growth that when I look back at it, I can hardly believe it. Yes, I look back. Because today is was the day when I prepared for taking flight again.

I am excited about the change, but I am terrified at the same time. I am leaving behind a great team, the most awesome mentor that I never even dreamed I would meet and hopefully some friends that I will get to see once in a while.

I just put in my resignation. I am leaving little cozy Sibiu, for the great city of Edinburgh. I am leaving a mountain city, for another mountain city on the coast of the North Sea, I am leaving a continent and moving to a rainy island.

Today it was a cloudy day in Sibiu, just like most people expect for days to be in the UK. It really did not bother me, I have always loved the rain. And yes, the sun might be less visible from Edinburgh, but that will make me treasure more the days when I can see it.

Last year, when I realized I have outgrown this company and this country I was a little scared I would not be able to leave. I am 34 after all, there are some countries (Australia, I think) that do not accept you if you are over 30. But nevertheless, I challenged myself to leave this country until I am 35. I considered 40 at first, but then realized that age is too far away. Finally I have enough money and enough bravery stashed away to do this. Over the years I have been complaining a lot about Romania, maybe it is time to actually have something to compare it to.

If all goes well, by the time I am 40 I will be a UK citizen as well, because this is a long term plan. Moving to another country takes a lot of effort and investment, especially when you really, really want to take a cat with you. And I do. My cat Psihoza, has been with me since 2007, she surpassed the “pet” designation long ago. She is my partner and my dear friend, well as good as a friend a 4 year old can be, because apparently this is the human intelligence a cat can reach. I would say she surpassed that as well, but I’m not cat expert.

There are 42 days left until I will board a plane and then start the struggle of finding a place to rent and navigating through all UK bureaucracy. I’m not looking forward to it, but I will do what I have to do.

I am now awake because I really wanted to write something for my new book, but I’m stuck in such an ugly writers block, that I want to kick myself. I am reading articles and keep hoping it will come to me, while being stressed of the lack o ideas, moving to another country, finishing the last project I am involved at work and while being worried for my cat. “What’s wrong with the cat?” you might be rhetorically asking. Well, because UK has such strict rules when it comes to pet regulation, my cat cannot travel on the same plane with me. So a specialized company must transport it. And they will take her by car, and the ride takes 4 days. 4 days of being in a box, of being let out on a leash just for somebody to clean the box. I am worried of the stress this will put on her and if she is going to reach me and still love me and forgive me for this.

But I guess, I’ll have to wait, hope and see.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Mar 11 2018

Visiting Edinburgh again – day one and a half ;)

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 11:08

When I stepped out of the airport, I felt the rain on my face and a brush of Scotland wind caressed my face. Although the weather app promised good weather in Edinburgh, clearly this was not the case. But it was not cold, even if while landing I’ve seen some patches of snow the rain was warm-ish.
I took a deep breath and prepared for the days to come. I would be here for 7 days, and I have to make the best of them, even if I don’t make it past the interview I am in freaking Edinburgh and I will enjoy my time here.
I got into the Airlink bus that took me to the city and I enjoyed the ride. There is something about Scotland, the small wet stone houses that makes me think time has stopped here. Although Edinburgh is a capital city, it is not as crowded and as noisy as you would expect. Maybe it is the weather, because when it is always wet and cloudy outside, the tendency is to go indoor to enjoy a hot tea or a beer and good music. So I guess that’s what the majority of the people do here, do their chores first and then just run inside to relax.

I got off the bus in Shandwick place and tried to figure out where can I get bus 25 from. That is the bus I needed to get to my hotel. It was raining again and my hat started smelling like a wet sheep. I remember the smell because when I was about 4-5 years old, my parents would leave me with my grandparents in the countryside and my grandfather had a few sheep I used to play with. So I went to cover into the first pub that promised decent fish & chips.

I stayed there admiring the rain outside, enjoying a beer and browsing the internet searching for means to move around. An slowly my brains started digging out memories from two years ago and I installed the Lothian Bus & Tram app, then got myself the M-ticket application and bought myself 6 M-tickets, because I did not want to look for change like crazy when taking the bus.

You have to understand I came mostly unprepared here. I bought the plane ticket on Tuesday, and my plane took off Saturday at 6 AM. I have prepared my luggage on Friday after 10 PM, because I was out with my colleagues that night. I am expecting to find out the next days that I am missing few things.

Anyway, back to my beer and fish & chips. They were great. I dared to leave and struggled to find my bus station. It is quite difficult to do that when you are also navigating via Google Maps in the rain. I missed my bus by a few seconds and a nice Scottish man directed me to a different one that would take me where I wanted to go. I ran to it, activated one of the M-tickets and got on the bus. And a few seconds later my phone died. Because after the latest update, iPhones die when the battery is at 10%. So I used my Samsung Galaxy S8+ to make sure I got off at the right station(this phone – best accidental investment I ever did).

I got to the hotel. My room is below ground level and is smaller than my home-office, no joke. :)) But it is warm and cozy and I get free tea. So, after all – perfect. :D And this is the moment when I realized another fuck up. I forgot the power plug adapter at home. I had two of them since I was in Ireland in 2011, but they were at home, in my electronics box, because leaving on such a short notice and being such an idiot I totally forgot that these guys have different power outlet standards. The hotel owner had a few, and he gladly offered them to me, but my Mac had this sturdy power plug, with these really thick legs that did not fit in the tiny holes of his adapters. So I went again out in the rain to the closest electronics & furniture shop in hope of finding one. I did not get to the shop, because I found one of those neighborhoods electronics shop that have everything. And they had the kind of adapter I needed. So I gladly bought one, told the guy he saved my life and went back to the hotel to resuscitate the iPhone and plug in the laptop because I still needed to go over some topics to prepare for the interview. Now that I was no longer worried I would be stranded here without the necessary electronics, I stopped at Tesco, got some Twinnings Earl Grey tea, Tyrells vegetable chips, bananas and a bottle of water. Honestly, I could live like this every day here. :D

I got back to the hotel, made me a tea and then warm air in the room got to me and just drifted off to sleep for two hours. I woke up, made another tea and got to work. You see, I needed to send in the third chapter of my book, to check if the publisher wants to go ahead with it or not. So I did my best, reviewed what I had and send it in.

I share my bathroom with another room here, but if it is as big as mine, probably I share it with just another person and I’m find with this. There is little chance we ever need the bathroom at the same time, because I have a weird schedule: I go to sleep late and wake up early.

I felt asleep again with the sound of water dripping, because it was still raining. The monotony of this sound acts like a sleeping pill to me, and it was really easy for me to fall asleep.

And I woke up in the morning, decided to stay another 5 minutes in bed and finally managed to get out of the bed at 7:44 am. I made another tea, booted up my Mac for another few hours of study. The plan for today is to leave the hotel at about 1 PM, go for a late lunch and at 5 PM I’m going to a Jazz concert, because I’m in a damn rich cultural city and I plan to enjoy these things I cannot get at home.

The internet at the hotel is crappy, but you cannot have them all I guess.

Bonus for this post: the park in front of the hotel on a rainy day. ;)

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Sep 17 2016

So far away

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:02

I am waking up on a cozy sofa, sun shining happily in my window. Across the street the light green field is full with seagulls chasing who knows what in the grass. I saw them every morning this week. The city of Edinburgh is waking up slowly. I get out of the bed and start the tea-maker to enjoy my last Earl Gray with milk in this lovely city.

Edinburgh is a city like no other, alive but cozy, full of culture and with a rich past that transpires through every building still standing for more than 100 years and every new building that was build respecting the old casterly exterior. Yes, casterly, as in, looking like a castle.

When people say “the grass is greener on the other side” I like to think they are talking about Scotland now, because the green is greener and more joyfull here. Folks here say it is the humidity that makes the grass a happy green. Believe me you’ve never seen happier shades of green anywhere in the world. And though the island climate does not allow many sunny days, the afire green of Scotland makes their parks and golf courses look heavenly.

The Scots are proud, but gentle people. They are educated, open minded but modest and helpful. They are proud of their history and their struggle to keep their cultural identity alive and kicking. The myths about Scots being greedy are a fabrication.

I love Edinburgh, in only six days it has become one of my favorite cities that I will take into consideration when moving out of Romania. This I say it now, when I am far away from home, in this cozy apartment next to Craigmiller’s castle. I am so far away from everything that I love, from everything that hurts me, from my normality. Maybe I will make this city a part of my normality one day.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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