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 […]

Read More →

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 […]

Read More →

>My new work jargon: PTO, CR, PIT

>Ever since I joined the team of a worldwide company active in IT-telecommunication, my work related universe has completely changed. Nowadays I don’t talk about communication campaigns, online tools, branding, PR, Google Analytics or CRM. My work jargon has been completely replaced by a brand-new series of concepts. Of course, I still talk about project management, communication, planning, action plans, milestones, budgets and follow-up, but all from a different perspective.As I am still a new acquisition or a new hire, I am still able to see the differences between my colleagues that have been baptized with the corporate culture and who can’t see that there can be other ways of defining and approaching things or simply expressing himself.Below I will present some items of my new jargon (that personally I found it funny). “PTO”: Mark told to me that he was supposed to be on PTO this week. What on earth is PTO? You’ll laugh. It is just – Personal Time Off. I wonder what happened to “leave” or “holiday”. I suppose it’s more fancy to say PTO, like a some type of special activity that only some people are allowed to do.  The worst part is that people don’t even realize that in a normal English, you wouldn’t actually use – personal time off. “Site visits”: Having an online communication background, “site” for me means “website”. And site visits means nothing else than “website visits” – the number […]

Read More →

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 […]

Read More →

>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 […]

Read More →

>What I love about Brussels is…

> There are so many things that I love about Brussels. Although my home for the last 5 years, Brussels never stops to dazzle me and make me feel proud of living here. Here are some of the things that I love about Brussels: – the cosmopolitan vibes and the European atmosphere; In Brussels you can taste every other culture from Europe and if you are an expat, you will find so many people like you, coming from all over the world – Brussels is the capital of Europe and showcases most of the European Institutions. Go to Schuman or to Place Luxembourg and you’ll find yourself surrounded by expats, MEPs, lobbysts and so on. Visit the European Commission’s HQ or the EU Parliament and you’ll be overwhelmed by the dynamic of the grand surroundings. – the multicultural events, the variety of concerts, the prolific art. For instance, last week it was the Jazz marathon, a 3day marathon of free jazz music broken down into more than 400 concerts of various styles of jazz: rock, soul, lation and modern – the Japanese tour and the Chinese Pavilion – the music in the metro stops. It is cool to listen to Vivaldi while waiting for the metro – the people from all over the world. Go to Havana on Saturday night and you’ll find there at least 15 nationalities – the panoply of options and possibilities that this city offers – […]

Read More →

>What I hate or simply dislike about Brussels

> As an expat myself I have quickly resented the differences between myself and the rest of the inhabitants of the new country that I embraced – Belgium. Living in the capital of Europe for the past 5 years, I have become more and more aware of the habits of Belgians or non-Belgians- “Bruxellois”.  What I  hate or simply dislike about Brussels: – People crowding in front of the exit of the tram/ bus. I don’t get it! Why do we have to be crushed like some sardines or unable to get in the tram, only because a bunch of morons have decided that staying in front of the door is the best thing to do. People, there is plenty of room all along the tram’s corridor and there you don’t risk being asphyxiated. I am extremely frustrated about this, really! In the morning, at the peak hours, it is simply impossible to get in  the tram or bus, only because the passangers sit in front of the exit. So you need to wait another 10 minutes, only because some people don’t have any bit of common sense and stay like statues in front of the door. – Some Moroccons/ Arabs that think if I am not an Arab, I am more likely to end up in their bed.  How many times did I hear this – “Mademoiselle, vous êtes charmante! Un café avec moi?”, “Franchement,  vous êtes ravissante!”- so many times, […]

Read More →

>Bulex – the place to BE, NOT

>On Saturday night was one of the biggest parties in Brussels. Close to Tour & Taxi, in Yser area, a couple of thousand youngsters, or even more, gathered to party all night long. At the beginning of every month, Bulex is apparently the place to be in Brussels. There are several rooms with various types of music: house, techno, rock, world music, and everybody wants to be there. So I tried it – took a taxi, dragged my friends (poor Malcom) and we found ourselves THERE – in front of interminable queue. But it didn’t take long and we were IN – meaning “in the garden”. There, another two queues: to buy tickets, or to get cash. One ticket, 10 euros!!! At least a drink was included in the price. With the shiny bracelet-ticket decorating our wrist as if we were to be admitted to hospital, we got in. (Guess what? Another queue at the entrance). Then the shock! BULEX, the famous, coolest Brussels party – the so called place to be. Actually it was a dump. The “venue” was a huge deserted high-school, ruinously decorated with graffiti, pieces of garbage, posters and drawings. A real place for waste or to get wasted! The big walls once used to be white; in any case, the venue looked like the aftermath of a war, or something not too disimilar. In the long corridors, hundreds of students were walking like ghosts, hobbling […]

Read More →

>Collocation can be wonderful or simply. .. DISASTROUS

>New lease signed. New tenant for my old room found. Deposit recovered today at the bank after a complicated procedure. Hence, what was more difficult has passed. It is time to say “Good bye” and face with a smile a new beginning. Fingers crossed. Compared to the previous wonderful flat-sharing experiences, the collocation this year was extremely challenging. It required a lot of management skills and taught me a lot about people who are not always what they seem to be. Outdoor some of us can be lovely, fantastic, friendly, trust-worthy and energetic. Indoor the same people can be mean, greedy, lacking of respect, tyrannical, sometimes dishonest or simply ignorant. To deal with these kinds of attitude and behavior changes is really tricky, especially when the person in cause used to be a so-called friend or at least acquaintance. It is strange how sometimes you manage to get a long in a collocation with a person that you hadn’t previously met/known, than with somebody with whom you spent nice time in the past or you helped, hence you knew before. I learnt that we can NOT be loved by everyone (it is impossible) and that in order to avoid a conflict, it is better to face it from the beginning, hence generate it and solve it, at least when it is still not very serious. Small misunderstandings can create HUGE conflicts that can degenerate easily in intense animosity, to put […]

Read More →