Rotterdam: a fun city with a funky architecture

When you get a sunny day around here, you better take advantage of it! So, that’s exactly what we did with a 20°C day. We hopped in the car and in 1h we arrived in Rotterdam. As it was a spontaneous pick, like many of our trips, we did not do any research, so we didn’t know much of what is there to see. Nevertheless, about 10 years ago I’ve been to Rotterdam for a day and I remembered that there were some weird shaped, yellow apartments that I must see again. So, that was our quest.

Tiny cupcakes in Rotterdam

The gps took us to the center of the city, we parked and off we went. But first, short stop to the cupcake place, just for benchmark reasons. The place wascute and the cupcakes quite decent.Now, with the sweet stop left behind, we just started walking around the shopping streets, dodging the multitude of people out to shop, eat, hang out and simply enjoy that beautiful sun. I must say that, as in the Hague, I really liked the window displays. They were very chic and playful, something that I miss seeing in Belgium, where it’s maybe too serious and dark. Anyway, it smelled like Spring and it was so so lovely to walk around without the stress of seeing a list of 20 touristy places.

After wondering around for a hour, we decided to ask a local where can we find the yellow, diamond looking apartments. We were aprox. 30 min away, which was perfect, more to explore.  And so we did, passed by the Maritime museum, very cool sculpture and buildings and beautiful bridges.

Alas, after walking for more than 2 hours, behold the funky, yellow apartments that raises eyebrows in terns of architecture and a big frown in terms of practicality. I was so glad to get there, bring back teenage hood memories, explore with Fernando and soak in the sun.

Voila, the yellow, diamond apartments

Aren’t they cool? I was so happy to be there. I really enjoyed the Dutch sense of style, use of colors and joie de vivre. I suppose it was also due to our low maintenance attitude we have towards travelling. We might have not seen all the cool places Rotterdam hides, but came back content. Also, not sure why Rotterdam isn’t more popular and visited. Do go if you’re in the area, it’s a pleasant, funky surprise.

Thank you Fernando for being spontaneous and thank you Dutch people for being so bubbly!!

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I resent low self-esteem!!!

Recently I had lunch with our Sales & Marketing team from work and obviously we were having 10 different conversations at the same time. The restaurant was owned by the parents of one of my colleague. So, we were trying to guess who was family or not among the restaurant staff. Suddenly, I see at the bar a guy who looked just like my colleague and I ask him if that was his brother. He said yes and what stroke me the most was that they both had the same hairstyle. I jokingly said: “Dude, you copied your brother!”. To my surpise, he naturally answer:”Yes, of course, I copied my brother, he alwasy does things better than me!.

I immediately got sad and a bit angry when hearing his words. I just don’t believe in these comparisons, I hate these low self-esteem reactions. I think it’s also because I didn’t feel not good enough when I was a kid. I was in primary school (7 – 11 years old) no matter how hard I worked and how hard I studied my marks were always mediocre. I was so frustrated that my hard work was not sufficient.

Long story short, when I got to secondary school, my hard work finally paid off. I was considered among the best and respected by my different teachers. Afterwards, when I met my primary school teacher I told him straight up that I was now good as well, that I finally had great grades and that I was proud of myself. I know now this is silly, but I realized that I was angry at him and at me.  At him for not valuing me as I deserved and at me for letting myself believe that I was mediocre and that I cannot be part of the best.

I think that was the moment when I started resenting words like “not good enough”, “she/he’s much better than me”, “mediocre” and so on. Don’t get me wrong I’m not delusional and I do have an objective view of reality, but least try not to make it tough for me. So, coming back to my colleague, the second day at work I had a chat with him and told him that he should stop this stupid comparison for a number of reasons:

1) It’s unhealthy. One thing is to feel inspired by another person and a totally different thing is to copy them thinking you’re not as good.

2) I feel it’s like giving himself a reason not to be the best he can be at what he’s talented at, because his brother is better than he is anyway

3) WE ALL ARE UNIQUE AND PRECIOUS! This is my strongest argument, as we have all been designed uniquely and have individual great traits. I’m pretty sure he is better than his brother at many things.

So, next time you have a wrong image of yourself slap yourself really well and try to look at yourself objectively. A practical thing you can do is to just write down everything you’re good at and focus on them and be proud of that.

I’m thankful for all those precious people out there who are encouraging and sensitive to people’s talents and uniqueness!

Serve the City: volunteer, make friends, give hope!

Serve the City

Serve the City

I think these three action verbs can sum up what Serve the City means for me! There are so many needs out there, so many people looking for help and so many resources that are still untapped. If you think you haven’t got much to give, then you’re wrong. Probably, the most precious resource you have is your time.

The Serve the City International website has a very clear and succinct description of what STC actually is:

Serve the City mobilizes volunteers to show kindness in practical ways to people in need. We partner with homeless shelters, refugee centers, orphanages, and other associations, and invite volunteers to offer
practical help and support. Read more

Every week or every other month, you can set aside a few hours to volunteer, meet new people and give hope! Serve the City is not doing anything out of the ordinary, just putting out there the needs of the city and looking for people like you to come meet them.

For example, Serve the City Brussels organizes every week meals for the homeless, activities with refuges and victim of trafficking. Every other month, there’s a focus day, which means that there’s a Saturday when volunteers come together to serve different categories of people in need, like the elderly, victims of abuse, children and so on.

Come this Saturday(17th March) in Brussels and volunteer for different projects. I can assure you that at the end of the day you will leave back home satisfied, content and a little bit tired 🙂  If you can’t make it, don’t worry, just click here and stay updated with the events, there’s always an opportunity to serve! So, go online here and check out if you have Serve the City in your city 🙂

I am thankful for such an accessible opportunity to help!

It’s hard not feeling at home

It’s cool living in a another country than your home country for so many reasons. You get to experience a new culture, new cuisine, meet new people and if you’re lucky enough to be in an international environment with a wide array of people from all over the world.

Home is where the heart is

Most of us then maybe try to search for co-nationals, go to exhibitions or attend different events to stay in touch with our own people.I don’t do this much.

On the other hand, no matter how close of a friend you are with other nationalities, they will never fully understand you, never fully get your jokes or insights that make you click. I have by far more non-Romanian friends and I love them dearly, but they will probably won’t understand why when I was a kid during communissm I only saw bananas for Christmas, or only saw 1 cartoon in Russian that was never translated and enjoy pufuleti or eugenii 🙂

I’ve been having this feeling for a while and it’s not only me. I live in a place where I do not really speak fluently the local language, understand why I can’t throw my rubish any day I want, if I have too much or why I get partial fines for parking.

Being home I realise that this is not fully home either. I love it here cause of the people, food, memories, the feeling of cosy and familiar. But this is not home, it hasn’t been for some years now.

They say that home is where the heart is. My heart is suspended! I have not yet come to a place where I feel fully at home, I am spread into pieces. So, for now I will feel at home, where my heart is. And where is my heart?

My heart’s with Fernando, so home is wherever he is.

My heart’s with Brussels, so there’s another bit of home.

My heart’s with my family and friends wherever they are on this globe, so they are another piece of my home.

My heart’s with God, so home is in Him as well.

Where’s your home? Has your heart found it?

Thank you all of you for making me feel at home bit by bit!

Administration is not my strong point

I don’t like arranging stuff. I think I could be a pretty bad office manager or anything dealing with administration. My former job included doing menial tasks and it was just driving me nuts. My high point of the day was writing emails, as it was the only time that I could be somehow creative 🙂

I know that graduating from Journalism doesn’t make you a journalist, but I do like being creative, I like writing. In my current company, I’m doing online communication and marketing and I couldn’t be happier. I really think I do what I like best and am using my (almost) true potential. I know it’s a weakness not to be able to organize reports, tables, files or whatever needs some admin touch, but it’s just not what I do.

It gets worse daily

Take a look at my desk here. I have to coordinate the agenda at our most important event at work and it’s not my most fun task. Still not done, but getting there

As I spend so many hours commuting to work, I get to listen to audio books. The latest one was emphasizing the importance of improving what you’re good at, so that you can be the best at it. It was also making a point of not struggling to strive at what you’re not that brilliant at. Focusing on it and spending time, energy and money to do so, will only get you to a mediocre level and it’s not surfacing your best qualities.

Let’s say I’m bad at Accounting, so instead of wasting years trying to improve it and try to get a silly job in this domain, it’s better to focus on my communication skills and make the best of it.

What is your strong point? What are you good at and not really giving it the right attention! I encourage you to stop being mediocre at something you’re not good at and be the best at what you’re good at!