În mod “downsizing”, adică nu doar mut mobila în casă ci o VÂND

Casa. Masa. Pat. Scaune. Canapea si biblioteca. Scrin. Etajere. Masute. Cosuri. Dulapuri. Cuverturi. Cearceafuri. Farfurii. Cosuri cu flori. Jardiniere. Perne. Si cate si mai cate. Pe toate le-am schimbat. De cateva ori, de-a lungul timpului. Cand ne-am mutat impreuna, pe vremea cand eram doar “boyfriend si girlfriend”, eu si sotul meu am adus in apartament fiecare ce avea. Era un […]

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Cum ar fi daca am canta mai des?

Sunt pe terasa. E seara si s-a intunecat. Incerc sa ma concentrez la teza pe care o am de scris cand aud niste voci melodioase. Intorc capul si privesc catre cladirea vecina. Etajul 6, balcon decorat cu o ghirlanda luminoasa. Inauntru intuneric. Intuneric ce lasa loc unor cerculete de lumina. Lumanari pe un tort. Vocile canta. “Joyeux a-nni-ver-saire! Joyeux ann-iver-saire! Joyeux a-nni-vers-aire! Joyeux a-nni-ver-saire!”. Apoi aplauze. Se simte bucuria. Se simte uniunea. Sunt impreuna. Sunt veseli. Sunt bucurosi. Si ma intreb. De ce oare nu cantam mai des? De ce asteptam aniversarile ca sa cantam? Ce s-a intamplat cu glasul nostru?  Daca cineva canta pe strada sau intr-un magazin, e privit cu ochi incruntati, dezaprobatori. Avem glas frumos, puternic, melodios, capabil sa produca o multitudine de sunete, unele dintre ele imposibil de reprodus chiar si de cele mai istete pasari. Si cu toate acestea, ne cenzuram. Ne autocenzuram. Ce-ar fi daca am canta din nou? Impreuna? Ce-ar fi daca am zambi si ne-am alatura celui care canta de unu singur pe strada? Ce-ar fi daca am canta chiar daca toata viata ni s-a spus ca “nu avem voce”. Ar fi fain, nu? Ei bine, am descoperit in Bruxelles un loc unde ne putem reuni si canta, chiar daca “avem” sau nu voce dupa canoanele muzicale. La chorale d’un soir reuneste pe cei mici si pe cei mari, pe cei cu voce sau fara voce, pe cei cu ureche sau fara […]

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The Driving Challenge

“Oh boy, it was a huge space-ship looking like VW Passat which was parked facing the wall. So obviously to drive it out, I had to reverse. On the gear shift, for reversing it was shown the same direction as for the first gear. I lifted the gear shift (as I did so many times with all the cars that I had driven before) and moved the gear shift towards left and then forward, believing that the car will get into reverse mode. Well, it didn’t. It kept getting closer and closer to the wall.”   I got my driving license while I was still in the early years of undergraduate. Back then I had the time to study for this and it was fairly cheap to do the driving school in Romania (especially if you compare the Belgian fees for driving schools and test ). Then after I succeeded my driving license test,  I just kept my driving license in the pocket and displayed it as a “good to know” item on the CV. I  had no car of my own and dad was never around to drive his car, hence I did not practised my new skills. I continued to be a pedestrian for another 7 years, both in Romania and Belgium. When I moved to Brussels, there was really no other mean of transport available than the public transportation. Then I got a job wich came with […]

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Some thoughts on Brussels Expats’ depression

I’ve recently read on The Economist’s blog that Brussels makes people grumpy and that during autumn/winter Brussels can look like a grey desolated communist neighbourhood. In my view Brussels cannot be compared to Bucharest, anyway, not from the grey communist architecture point of view. I believe David Rennie, the author of that post did not really experienced the impact of Bucharest’s grey view, nor realised the tremendous architectural difference between the two capitals. However, I agree that Brussels can make people grumpy and feeling depressed. Let’s see why and what we can do about it. It is about 8.00 in the morning and I am about to get on the tram. As most of the times, at this time of the day the trams are packed, especially in the doorway. Somehow tram/bus commuters in Brussels can’t process the fact that they would have more room and feel more comfortable in that crowded tram if they would simply move towards the sides of the tram. However they just prefer to block the doorway, to be packed as sardines and shout to express their anger for being stepped and pushed every time the tram breaks abruptly. The result? Grumpiness or depression! The solution? Just simply move towards the sides of the tram/bus/metro and make some room for yourself and the others. Smile, speak politely and be respectful. If it does not help try to remember your favourite song so you focus on […]

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>That long and challenging quest for a job in Brussels

> As many others, I started some time ago the race for another job. The recession didn’t make it easy especially at the beginning. Brussels, although capital of Europe and home of many European headquarters, remains a small city (e.g. Bucharest is twice as bigger and has twice as more inhabitants) where jobs are scarce and the competition is cruel. From my job-searching experience the common setbacks for an expatriate in finding a new employment are: You don’t speak Dutch. Ouch! If you don’t speak Dutch than you’re chances to find an employment in the private sector in Brussels are already diminished by 50%. All the multinational companies present on the Belgian market will demand you to speak Dutch. So, even if you find the perfect job description, even you have all the skills, competences and knowledge job-wised, if they also ask Dutch, don’t even bother to apply. You’re wasting your time. Between a candidate with less experience and less skills but with some Dutch and another candidate with an extensive profile and no Dutch, the company will choose the one who is able to speak Dutch. Not fair, but true. You don’t have enough experience. According to an HR Professional from Secretary Plus, the current job market is flooded by extremely qualified communications profiles in demand for a job. These people, with 5-7 year experience, speaking several languages, had lost their jobs and are ready to take any other […]

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>Smurfs in the living room

> The presence of smurfs in the living room was reported this morning. The little blue creatures were seen dancing, racing, playing football and sunbathing. Books were removed and a whole shelf was taken and transformed into what will be known as the new Smurfvillage. ———————– The Smurfs, or “les Schtroumpfs” in French, are those little blue creatures that enchanted my childhood and no doubt yours too. No higher than three apples, the smurfs live in the woods and most of the time they wear a white cap and white trousers. However Smurfette, the miss Smurf, wears a white dress which matches her white shoes. There is a Papa smurf, said to be more than 540 years old, a Baby Smurf who was brought by a stork from nowhere, a Poet Smurf in a quest for inspiration and for creation, a Greedy Smurf, who is obviously very greedy, and even a Cook Smurf. To meet the smurfs you can have a glimpse here – the smurfs website. The smurfs were created by the Belgian ilustrator Peyo (Pierre Culliford) and apperead for the first time as secondary characters in the stories of Johan & Peewit (other comic characters), published in “Le Journal de Spirou”. But soon after they became aware of their success, having their own comic albums and gaining international recognition. Now, besides the worldwide success and endless adoration, the smurfs also have a shelf in the bookcase of my […]

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