Five lessons from my first TedX talk

Just to say I have moved this blog on my website:
http://www.personalskillscoach.com/blog/five-lessons-first-tedx-talk/

I will keep posting here until end of October, so you get the notifications.

Enjoy!:)

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Wonderland – a metaphor and not so much

The metaphor: new (wonderful) chapter in my life

I won’t bore anyone here with any technical details, but thought to document the fact that I have a ‘sole proprietorship’, called ‘All Personal’, which will allow me to provide online coaching services to anyone who needs to work on specific personal skills they want to develop. It’s one of the dreams I’ve dreamt for a while now, so here it is starting to take shape.  The website I have so far says it’s all under construction๐Ÿ‘: http://www.personalskillscoach.com/

What I do want to share here is how fast it was to register a firm and get the admin done. It took five working days, all done online. I went online to the agency that registers firms here in Ontario, read the info and figured out by myself what I wanted to have (because the info was very clear, I’m no expert, just so you know). Then, I started to fill-in an application and stopped where I didn’t know what to do. Before I got to call them and ask anything, someone called me to ask how they can help, because they noticed I started the application and didn’t finish. Imagine my surprise. If you can’t, I’ll tell you, it was a big surprise to me, I needed about 5 seconds (and that’s a lot of silence for a call) to figure out what to say next. Anyway, the guy was so relaxed and helpful. I finalized the application online, while talking to him on the phone. And then five days later I had the registration done. It was so easy!

I’ll share more once I have more, for the time being just know that you can reach me if you need a coach to train your personal skills. ๐Ÿ‘

The Wonderland

Remember my earlier posts when everything was an emotional roller-coaster? Well, this time it’s about real ones, the ones you’d find, for instance, at Canada’s Wonderland. Oh My God! I have some photos but they’re not relevant! Because the feelings you get when you’re riding any one of those ‘monsters’ are indescribable. I’m so far from being passionate about roller coasters, although when I was little I liked them so much! But then, you know, as technology evolved, so did they! And so the roller-coasters I knew when I was little are, how should I put it, a bus ride downtown, maybe even stuck in traffic, compared to these ones today!

I don’t even have to add any comments to these pics:

The kids rode this one, it was their first ride in the park. I documented carefully from the ground…๐Ÿ˜‰

OK, so I didn’t ride that one, but I did ride others because, hey, when you have kids, need I say more? And that’s how you overcome your fears and stuff, sometimes just because there is no other way, no way out, no escape. One thing I took from the weekend was one of the kids saying: ‘the ones that seem less scary are actually scarier than they look’. Duh, me!

This is the reason why I am not posting any photos with my face in any of them, I just didn’t have a face anymore, it was just moving on its own, uncontrollably. What was there to control anymore? Everything was out of that!!

I do have some normal photos, though, well, a few.

My husband rode this one. Oh, did he overcome his fears, or what! ๐Ÿ˜€

They were almost upside down up there.

The park really is huge and the two roller coasters to the right and left are monsters.๐Ÿ˜€

And there’s a normal photo, with a moose and two adrenaline – full people I know!๐Ÿ˜˜

So it got me thinking, apart from the adrenaline shots I was getting after each ride, what was it that made me do it? The job description as a parent? That’s even more insane, because we were exposing ourselves AND our kids to the same kind of terrifying experience, combined with sort of a RISK?! The fun? What fun, when you’re terrified, screaming your heart and lungs out? And then, it hit me: the right-after-the-ride! I felt so proud, for some reason, to have done something I didn’t think I’d do or which I wouldn’t normally do or anyway not very voluntarily๐Ÿ˜ฌ! It was the feeling that it was all for a good cause: make a child happy to have had the ride, challenge and conquer my own fears, and be happy to still be alive and well after each ride. Literally, to quote my daughter after one ride: ‘yey, I’m alive!’, or my son after another: ‘I could so kiss the earth right now!’ Note to self, they were the eager ones for the rides.

Learning point for me: I still prefer a 10-hour flight to any 1-minute roller-coaster ride. ‘Land’ is the key word in Wonderland, for sure.๐Ÿ˜€

๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜โœŒ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿ˜ฑ
 

Oh, Canada 150 – top twent-ish๐Ÿ˜€

This weekend is a long one, celebrating 150 years for Canada. It is also the weekend we are celebrating 122 days (4 months to be more general๐Ÿ˜€) in our new country. 

And so I decided to list a few things that strike me about Canada so far (well, mostly GTA and close surroundings). And by the way, ‘GTA’ is one of the first new things I’ve learned since coming here๐Ÿ˜‰.

So here we go, in order of thoughts and feelings:

1. Niagara Falls. Don’t need to say more, I will never be able to say enough, some bits I’ve put here already:

https://roxradulescu.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/niagara-falls-in-love/

2. Lake Ontario. Because the only thing I need to reach peace is look at it. And I’m so grateful for being so close to it.โค (apparently I’m not the only one).

3. The bus. Any bus or subway or other public transportation means. Because these are places where I’ve seen people making genuine connections, be it for only a couple of minutes. I’ve seen people smile at each other, heard them talking, witnessed compliments made by one senior lady to another (‘I love your earings, they are beautiful’), got instructions and help from the bus driver and felt part of the community by mere participation and observation. Thank you for that!

4. Relaxed style. Which can mean anything from people being nice to each other to signs I’ve seen on the street, such as these ones here.

5. School. And teachers! Because my kids say so, 4 months after moving here! Because teachers are most of all human and because they really observe the children they work with. Because my kids feel encouraged and relaxed and because they feel they are important. Because we get reports at the end of the school year, which are genuine feedback about the kid’s skills, contributions and even talents, while also encouraging improvement points. Because teachers take time to observe each child and then write these reports, individually. Because teachers crack jokes with their students and because no matter what they’re doing they are never too busy to say hello. Because they give me a sense of how much they love their job and the kids they work with. Because they teach so much more than just the subject(s). I’m so grateful for all these and so happy this is my kids’ reality.โค 

6. Toronto. With all its buildings and style, downtown, beaches, buzz, and I know we still have so much to discover!

7. Canadian beer – Molson – because it’s so similar to the Romanian one, that’s easy! ๐Ÿป 

8. Highways and driving on them – I hadn’t driven on such large highways before, and never seen any in the middle of a city! I love it, so thank you!

9. ‘Sorry’ and ‘thank you’ – these are two of the most used expressions, maybe apart from ‘eh’ ๐Ÿ˜€ – and I like that so much. Because everyone is so polite. 

10. The Go bus and train (I decided they needed a separate category), because I feel I’m on a field trip whenever I travel on them. 

11. Street signs, because they’re clear. And because some of them go right where they should – to the heart:

12. Traffic lights, because they’re way in front of you on the other side of the street you want to cross by car. And because the pedestrian green for ‘pass’ is actually white, while the red is a red hand sign to wait.

13. Because number 13 does not exist as a floor in any building ๐Ÿ˜€. The elevator has buttons for 11, 12, 14… ๐Ÿ˜€. 

14. Flags – because they are everywhere! I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s true, and I’m sure it’s not just for the 150 celebration.

15. Turn right on the red light is allowed in Ontario, provided you make sure no cars come from the left side and you give way to pedestrians. 

16. Squirrels. And other National Geographic like beings, such as coyotes. Because only in Canada can you see a squirrel on the 10th floor of a building! Because they’re everywhere and look so funny!

17. Parks. Because they are so many, in the city, out of the city, and so clean. And wild where you don’t expect it, and unexpectedly organized in other places. Because you can decide to have a barbecue and walk on a trail in the same park.

18. Fun and creativity. Because they make the 150 celebration so close to you that it’s impossible not to feel it to the core. I mean, even the church bell this morning was tolling the national anthem in rehearsal for tomorrow. McDonalds has a commercial on TV where people sing the national anthem, while M&M and Coca Cola have special labels for the occasion.

19. Justin Trudeau. ๐Ÿ˜€ Because he is representative for what a politician should stand for in our times. Because he grows the brand of the country constantly, with simple (funny and human) things such as wearing rainbow socks that have ‘Eid Mubarak’ written on them, because the pride parade and the end of the Muslim holy month of fasting happened to be on the same day.

20. Commonwealth. Because we’re in it now and realized we haven’t been before. 

21. ‘Eh’, that’s about it, for now. Sorry! ๐Ÿ˜‰

22. Oh, Happy Canada Day. Because it’s a greeting that expresses the spirit. Because the 150 years celebrations include interviews with indigenous peoples who’ve been here since forever, with refugees who were welcomed here recently, with people who just became citizens. Because they put everyone in the equation, including the permanent residents๐Ÿ˜‰.

It’s going to be a long, long weekend!! 

Happy Canada Day! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ†๐ŸŽ‡๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ“ฃ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

Niagara Falls… in Love

Ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by Niagara Falls. To me, it expressed the untouchable, the vast remote, the unthinkable grandness. Being in Bucharest, Romania, Niagara was to me, as a kid, one of those locations I would ‘someday’, maybe, probably, visit, although not very likely. I have a couple more on the list, Hawaii and Rio de Janeiro for instance. It was between these destinations and the moon for me, same level of possibility in my mind.

So having been, seen, experienced Niagara Falls this past weekend was to me a dream-catching exercise. As unbelievable and astonishing as any other dreams in the ‘someday’ category.

It all started on the highway, of course๐Ÿ˜€. I took hundreds of photos, of which I can only post a few. Everything inspired me, even the road sign to Niagara, I just couldn’t believe I was actually there to photograph it.

Once we got there, the first thing we did was not to go see the Falls, although I was so desperate to! What I’ve learned in all of these years of being a mother is PATIENCE! Because of course we absolutely needed to go to the fun park and go through a maze there, before actually seeing the Falls. Duh, me!๐Ÿ˜‰

So I waited and participated and was totally rewarded for that! The funny thing is the most powerful feelings I had were those ON THE WAY to the falls, not actually getting to see it. Because the water makes such an impressively loud noise, of course, you can hear it long before you get to see it, so the excitement of the encounter grows with every step you take! And that is a feeling I love, I was wowing and ‘oh my god’-ing on the way there, just to finally say “there you are!” when we got the first glimpse of it! I can definitely say my first meeting with Niagara Falls was an act of falling in love with it. It’s all on my face๐Ÿ˜‚.

I could hardly part from it that evening, but again, we just had to go to the fun park, and so we did. The good thing about it is that parents can actually do stuff with the kids, you get attraction packages of all sorts that keep you in the discovery mode, even as an adult. The play, the fun fair, the Sky-wheel๐Ÿ˜, everything is for families together, which definitely kept me in the ‘childhood dreams come true mode’.

There pics are all from the Sky Wheel, great view of the Falls.

Saturday was The Day! There’s loads of options to visit and experience the Falls and we took a few, of course.

The first one was the boat trip not TO the Falls, but actually IN it! ๐Ÿ‘ I still get goose bumps thinking about it, both because of the thrill and the cold I experiencedโœŒ! It was absolutely amazing getting so close to the Falls, that’s when I realized how powerful and infinite it is and how lucky I was to just be there and stare at it! That moment it was just me breathing and staring at the water falling and howling. No matter how I tried to photograph it, I didn’t manage to capture the feeling, I guess that’s down to professional photographers.

This one up is the American part of Niagara Falls.

This is the Canadian one, the Horse Shoe.

Here you can see them both, the American one to the left and the Horse Shoe behind these nice guys in the pic. ๐Ÿ˜˜

The other one we took was a trip called Journey Behind the Falls. Which is exactly this, a tunnel behind it which makes you get even closer and, well, more wet, which didn’t matter anymore.๐Ÿค˜

I have to say, the marketing is perfect everywhere you go and they do make the most out of it business-wise. They take photos of you before you visit each attraction and you can buy them on your way out.๐Ÿ˜‰ The souvenir shops are strategically placed on the way in and out of the attraction, as well as some restaurants. But what they don’t do is cross the line of common sense. All of the marketing and selling is done in specific places, not just anywhere and everywhere. It’s a place you can visit and it’s also a place where you can meditate, especially in the evenings when there are less people taking selfies with the Falls๐Ÿ˜ฏ.

This rainbow wasn’t part of the marketing, though. But could be. ๐Ÿ˜€

A great place to meditate is another one we went to, called the White Water Walk – it’s a walk on a wooden path right next to the river. It’s so wild and it was left like that on purpose. What they tell you before you get down (with an elevator๐Ÿ˜) is to take your time and enjoy and push the button to call the elevator when you’re done. I re-discovered the expression ‘take your time’ and appreciate it so much, because we usually want to manage it, not take it. Taking your time sounds so great, freeing and empowering all of a sudden!

The evening was reserved for a perfect experience: dinner๐Ÿ˜€. NO, I’m not going to post any food photos, simply because I didn’t take any, not interested๐Ÿ˜‰. What I did photograph was the view. We went to Skylon Tower, which has observation decks and a rotating restaurant on the top floor! Well, the rotating part was the floor, so we got to move and admire the scenery while eating. One rotation in one hour, so we didn’t get sick.๐Ÿค“ But there, it did pay off!

The Sunday was reserved for a water park – which didn’t impress us, because we’ve been to Therme in Bucharest, and no water park compares to that! But the kids were happy, so we were too๐Ÿ––.

I couldn’t go home before saying goodbye, so we took another short trip to the Falls, and more pics, of course.

I left feeling so fully charged by the whole experience and I still have images of it rolling in my head and feelings of it going up and down, especially as I’m writing about it. I know that nothing I can write about it can describe the intensity of the experience. And I know it’s different for everyone, but to me it was a dream I caught. Or actually not caught, but lived fully, I let it out in the world again because it’s such a beautiful dream to dream.โค

My reality wake-up call was the highway storm. I’ve seen storms before, but not driven through them. It was rain buckets falling and wind fury blowing. It was the moment I took a picture of that, that I realized we were on our way back home.

Dream on!๐Ÿ˜˜โค๐Ÿ‘

Steps and roots

It’s funny how, in order to get roots, we need to take steps. Keep moving to feel grounded. I guess it’s the direction we move in that matters.

Am sitting at Sugar Beach Park, contemplating on my latest interview. 

And again I am struck that I hardly remember what I said. Whenever I find myself talking about learning, I go into flow mode and can hardly stop thinking about it even hours after the interview is finished.

Well, I am now witnessing a scandal on the beach, not sure what the problem is, but there’s a guy mad that another guy trespassed his property. Police are here, they’re so cool about the whole thing. I heard so many ‘f’ words directed at the police officers that I couldn’t think were either possible or allowed. I mean they’re the police, for God’s sake. But the guy is so angry, that he has no problem using the word against them in each sentence. And they’re handling it quite well, keeping their cool and totally controlling the situation. The guy apparently works for MI5, or so he just said. Anyway, so much for my contemplation, I guess my interview suddenly just went all fine.๐Ÿ˜€

Continuing on our adventure, as Lia spoils me rotten these days, we took a day for us girls and went to the hairdresser’s. Just us, catching up and really getting into the Canadian daily life๐Ÿ˜‚.

On an administrative note, we also got our health cards, which we had to wait three months before actually applying for. It was, as I already expect by now, easy to do, went to Service Ontario, applied and got the temp ones already. That made it possible for us to look for a family doctor to register for. And so, on our way back from Service Ontario, we saw a family clinic and thought to go and register there. To our surprise, the clinic was newly opened last week. And we were the first patients! When we first heard it, we thought we were the first patients for the day, only to find out we were the first ones ever there. Some things are just like that for us, it’s these moments when I feel like we truly are welcome here๐Ÿ˜€. 

Wait, there’s more. We talked to the doctor and she asked us where we’re from. When we said Romania, she said her daughter studies there. We found out she’s studying medicine in Bucharest. I mean, what were the odds! Us coming here, being the first patients to our first doctor whose daughter studies in Bucharest. This is a true story. So there, what more can I say, the universe is with us and vice versa. ๐Ÿ˜€

Coincidences, I think, are those signs that tell you you’re on the right track. Or even if it’s not that, they make you feel good and give you a boost of energy and confidence that keeps you going for the day and gives you a fresh perspective on things. We get into routine quite easily, I found, and coincidences are some short moments that take us out of the routine, at least for a while.

Talking about daily moments, our weekends are now full, because we go out all the time. So many parks to discover and enjoy. Most of the time, in spite of the kids, who want to stay indoor for the usual drill – tablets, phones, computer… Tough luck!

But once we’re out, we’re good.๐Ÿ˜€ By the way, these are not his sunglasses and this is not his usual expression, he improvises.๐Ÿ˜‰

On my way to this beach I’m reporting from๐Ÿ˜€, I passed by this fountain. Couldn’t help to take a pic. Look closely, you’ll understand why I had to take it, it’s just so funny.๐Ÿ˜€

With this in mind, and before it starts to rain, I leave you with the pic of the CN Tower that I took this morning. It fascinates me, I think. Same as the lake.

Peace, love & coincidences. โœŒ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜‰

That’s whyย 

Couldn’t help to take some pics on my run this morning, and so I can now explain why running in the park, as opposed to a treadmill, can be even more addictive. That’s why:

There, I think my ‘that’s why I like it here’ is getting more obvious each day. And I don’t need the words to describe it, just need to notice what’s around me. And take pictures ๐Ÿ˜‰. 

Now, the star of the day is this next photo. Which is not in the park I’ve been to, but Laurentiu photographed it at some point today. And it is in a park. 

Guessed what it is? It’s a LIBRARY in a PARK. Yes! You go, borrow a book, sit on a bench, read it, put it pack, go home. Brilliant or what?

That’s why!๐Ÿ‘

Three months

Remembered today, probably not accidentally, that it’s been three months since we closed the door to our flat back in Bucharest. Yes, I said goodbye to it, I admit it, I mean out loud I did.

And what a ride. Being able to write about it was the kind of therapy for me that would release my anxiety and make me feel connected to everyone I thought, at that point, I had left behind. Well, I haven’t. Everyone is still there, most importantly in their own lives, but also in the memories we share and the ones we’ll have anew someday when we see each other again. I mean we have to admit, it’s usually the close distance that may keep friends from seeing each others for a long time, being busy with life in the meantime, and having that idea, in the back of your mind, that, hey, they’re here, we can meet anytime. Everyone is still ‘here’ for me, just that the ‘here’ is now in my heart and mind. Just so you know and we get this straight๐Ÿ˜€.

On another computer-related note, I had a draft. I had it, I know it, because I had written many short (ok, very short) impressions about stuff that I would put in a longer blog. Ha! I’m so naive sometimes and what better day to admit it than the first of June. My draft has vanished. Gone. Deleted. Or maybe I should worry that I ever believed I wrote it. Anyway, the thing is…

Most of my activity has been split between house-keeping and interview going. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a slave here and no way am I going to get into the gender chores discussion, I’m already tired of it. Vacuuming is not about gender, as neither is parenting for that matter. For me, the cleaning stuff, and all the rest associated with it, was a way of hiding from what I wanted to do and so badly procrastinated! I’m good, yep, I’ll say that! I would do anything that keeps me away from all of the planning I have in mind, all of the reading I wanted to do. I managed to make myself a schedule I would follow and I would also be my own supervisor. It works, with the exception of times when I need to clarify what I’m thinking, or otherwise ideas would make my head burst.

Now, all this also happened because I went to a lot of interviews.

On my way to an interview, I gather all feelings and thoughts coming and going, while headphones are plugged in and there’s Pink telling me to ‘Try try try’… It’s funny how you see things differently depending on what you have in mind. I see the whole interview process with so many eyes and senses I never knew I had ๐Ÿ‘. I’m obviously a bit stressed, at the same time I enjoy the process of talking to people from different companies and industries, and going to different companies for that matter.

I also found I quite enjoy the ride as well. I mean, the fact that it takes me about one hour to go to Toronto gives me time and space to sit down on the bus, read and listen to music or simply admire the view. One thing I’ve kept since childhood is that I still love looking out the window when I’m on a bus, train, plane, whatever. You can tell there were no smart phones when I was a child๐Ÿ˜€. And I kinda kept the habit to this day and I enjoy it so much; it’s these moments that make me realize it’s all happening live, it’s not a recording or a rehearsal and I can either go with the flow and enjoy it or wait for a re-take that will not come.

I take pictures, to, you know, document it.

So then, I decide to make it a great experience, because I get to meet new people and discuss ideas about what I used to do, which brings back nice memories. And also about what I still like doing, and that is learn and share it. I also cannot help but notice the entire interviewing process, the questions, how they are formulated, what the interviewer is trying to get by asking that question, I try to guess how many interviews they’ve had before me and how tired they are. And sometimes, I let myself in the flow of the discussion and that feels great. In a guide for going to interviews I’d say ‘do your homework before the interview, but don’t go there for an exam, go there for the discussion and make some memorable minutes of your life out of it’. Feels good.

Another great thing I did was get certified as a ‘Professional Coach Practitioner’, which meant – you guessed – going to a course on coaching. It was one of the many I’d been to (without mentioning the ones I designed๐Ÿ˜€), but for me they’re never enough๐Ÿค“. So I loved every minute of it. Again, going there for me was two-fold, on the one hand, the course itself and the info, the discussions, the ideas; then, how the course was delivered, and wondering, out of professional habit, how I would have done it. I said two, but there were actually three aspects of it, the third one being networking. Now, networking is usually a tough word that not many people digest. Because it’s working to build your net, right? Such a ‘spidery’ comparison, but it’s true. What I found was, if networking is not done just for the sake of it, but because it draws together people with similar passions and interests, there’s not much ‘working’ left, it becomes fun. I’ll put this in a course soon.:)

Selfie at the course, so I remember๐Ÿ˜€.

I also took these pics on the way there, as I found out there’s a Trump tower in Toronto, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And a Google office and an old Town Hall.

So, now that my thirst for learning has been so fully addressed, I feel good. And I like it here. I think I’m addicted to learning, just as I’m addicted to running. Both activities are tiring at some point, but they both give me my happy hormones๐Ÿ˜.

Talking about happy, did I ever mention I love school here?

Lia meditates. Why? Because first thing at school in the morning, before they start their classes, they meditate. Their home teacher taught them how to breathe and focus on the breathing. She had me at “mom, I’ll go to sleep now, because I’d like to meditate first”. I didn’t cry, I just took a deep breath and jumped for joy on the inside. Perfect! Now I have company๐Ÿ‘!

Rares got a diploma for good character from school. Not that I want to brag about it. BUT ๐Ÿ˜€, he got it because of how he is, not because of something he’s done. And that’s a huge difference! He got it because he is ‘caring’ and ‘compassionate’ and ‘collaborative’ and ‘inclusive’. So when he got home with it I was, you know, ecstatic, while he was so very much himself: cool and chill and unimpressed. ‘I didn’t do anything, mom, they just gave it to me’. And yes, that’s when I finally got to say what I love saying over and over again: ‘Well, you got it for WHO you ARE, not for WHAT you DID, and that’s what’s so great about it.’

And because it’s 1 June today and some parts of the world celebrate International Children’s Day, I end my post here, wishing all of us kids out there to go for diplomas that celebrate who they are, for L’Oreal’s sake, ‘because we’re worth it!’

๐Ÿ˜˜๐ŸŒปโค๐ŸŽถโœŒ
 

Meetings with the unexpected

Chapter 1 – The Beach

I thought the half-marathon experience would be hard to top. I took my time recovering from the muscle pain with some more running on the treadmill and more mouse clicking applying to jobs. It all worked perfectly, I have to (somewhat sarcastically) admit, since my muscles are now nicely aligned again, while my career is still waiting in some corner, most probably observing me some more.

Anyway, I was wrong. The unexpected truly works in mysterious ways (‘work’ here being a key word, ahem).ย  Because it makes way for the most amazing experiences when you least expect them. This is how an invitation to a barbecue on a Saturday afternoon can lead to having a great-hippie-freedom-all-around evening on the same day. Lake Ontario and I have started to befriend since the very first time I laid my eyes on it. What I did not realize is it can have such wildly wonderful beaches. We ended up on one of these beaches on Saturday evening, and I could not believe the similarity I found with the Romanian ones by the sea, especially 2 Mai, of course. And here’s how I got the home feeling again, due to the never-go-wrong combination of waves, sand and fire. I could spend whole nights before a fire on a beach, the mere sound of these two elements combined is enough for me to instantly fall in a trance. The kind of trance that leaves me full of great energy and courage and connection to those important questions in life: who am I, why am I? And also the kind of trance that makes me superficial enough to be able to confidently say “I don’t know, ‘and frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn’, I will always have the sound of waves and fire” and that’s as good of an answer as anything else.

I could go on rambling forever, since writing about it takes me right back there and then, to all the times I stood on the beach, between the sea, the stars and the fire. But I will share some of the photos we took instead, so I can selfishly revisit this post later on, I admit.



Chapter 2 – The Presents
Mother’s Day is all I really have to say to make this one obvious, not unexpected. In my defense, this was the first Mother’s Day celebrated on the 14th of May. Back in Romania it was all nicely wrapped on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day + Mother’s Day, two in one special offer. Now here, I find Mother’s Day is very special, it’s the day when kids serve their mothers breakfast in bed (not my case this year, but wait till next year, haha), when the family goes out for either brunch or lunch or when mothers have some nice time-out at a spa together with their mothers or daughters or lady-friends. My translation is: no cooking and self-caring day for moms. Hallelujah!

Anyway, I got my cards and drawings from my kids, which I obviously loved and which, unexpectedly, made me burst into laughter. No, not all of them.

This one because it’s the billionth time I am convinced Lia is a true artist, be it simply because she is able to give such a beautiful rendition of me. I always look great in her drawings and I always wish her drawings were photos, because then I’d look the same in real life. Well, never mind, what made me laugh is that she can best picture me with my unicorn t-shirt (I have one that says the exact words in her drawing). What can I say, mother’s daughter, she gets impressed with fantastic characters.

She also writes perfect letters and makes perfect self – portraits. ๐Ÿ˜˜

Ma premiere carte en francais!!๐Ÿ˜€

And this one because, well, it was supposed to be in French. And Rares, in his infinite stand-up-comedy style, fills it in with ‘I don’t speak French, so Happy Mother’s Day!’, in Romanian. Laughing as I write.๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚


Chapter 3 – The Question

One of the reasons I’m having fun almost daily is due to diversity. And probably because I observe it, can’t help it, but I realized having a background in learning makes me constantly observe and instantly give a learning meaning to almost everything I experience. Good, bad, don’t know, but can’t help it.

One of the daily walks is to Lia’s school, either morning or afternoon, we take turns (as we are responsible parents ๐Ÿ˜‰). The school is very close to where we live and so we usually walk by more or less the same parents and children every day.

I was on my way back from the school when I hear a boy asking:

‘Where are you from?’

I looked around, shocked, as adults usually are when children address them questions out of the blue. By the way, why are adults so dazzled by children initiating conversations with them? Is it because we don’t take children too seriously, we don’t think they are ‘mature’ enough to start a conversation, are we patronizing them by default?

On topic, again, after the few seconds I needed to recover and realize he was actually talking to me, I dumbly say:

‘Sorry?’

‘Where are you from?’

‘Oh, I’m from Romania.’

‘Hm, I see.’

He was a bit disappointed in saying that, and he frowned. Which disturbed me even more and now made me curious enough to ask:

‘Why?’

‘Because your language is similar to ours.’

And here his tone of voice was that of an almost upset young man. Which eventually made me ask the most logical question of all:

‘Where are you from?’

‘I’m from Poland’ he said, turned around and away.

Well that made my day! I was so incredibly surprised and amused, that I could not stop displaying a full smile on my face, thinking ‘only in Canada’ can you experience this just like that, out of the blue, on your way from school. It was an almost childhood experience for me in Life 2.0.

Unexpected, I’ll be waiting for you some more.โค

 

 

 

Half-marathons are for sightseeing :)

It was my best running experience so far! Well, it was mostly downhill, and that counts!:). Apart from the cold and some wind, it was all perfect, and it looks like I prefer running in cold weather.

I realized it’s not just the running part, it’s the sightseeing part of it that makes me love running. It’s not just me moving my feet until I can’t tell if they still move or not. It’s the road, the buildings, the people, the city, their stories combined. It’s such a crazy-happy-enthusiastic energy all around. It’s as if you could hear all the stories that have never been told, about a past that’s still there hoping to get noticed. It’s such a contrast between the effort and the joy existing simultaneously inside the same person.

And I loved the cheers!

Police officers managing traffic and also encouraging the runners: ‘well done guys, good job!’ One police officer was applauding us. And they had work to do. Because traffic was not blocked, there was us, running on one side of the road, and the cars driving on the other. Police officers at crossroads were great, they were chatting with the drivers and giving them clear instructions and waiting for one runner pack to pass so they could then allow some of the cars to quickly drive in between. It’s unbelievable, but it worked!

Two ladies wearing pink feathers and tutu’s, cheering the runners. One runner tells them:

‘love the outfits, girls!’

‘well, we don’t get to wear tutu’s otherwise, so thanks for giving us the opportunity!’

One guy approaching me, towards the end of the run, asking me:

‘how many photos did you take’?

‘usually about 200 of them’ was my answer

‘wow, ’cause I saw you all the way, that’s cool, good luck!’

And, yes, I took about 200 photos on the way. I will post only a few here.:)

Right before the start:

Houses and people that told stories.

And then, feelings of all sorts.

I cried at the end of the race, I realize now I ran a dream of mine: yes, we’re here, living, breathing, running:), enjoying every day because, hey: someday is today :).

Two months after becoming a permanent resident – flooded

The last couple of days here have been rainy to say the least. Many parts of many cities are flooded, with authorities being very active and involved and saying ‘we need to be responsible and make sure people are safe’. Strike one for me. Not blaming the weather, the people, the moms and dads and kids or whoever or whatever else. No one blames anyone, everybody is working towards solutions and the number one word is people’s safety. 

Strike two for me was this:

Lia’s school organized an international food night, which meant, of course, parents and kids were invited to bring food representative for their countries and cultures. We brought pancakes and mentioned they were ‘crepes style’, which is more similar to the French crepes than the American pancakes. ๐Ÿ˜€ 

First thing in the hallway was this poster above with the values tought daily. They melted my heart and made me so tearful I could start crying right there. I guess I’d longed to see them written down somewhere all along. Not sure what happened, but I could suddenly have a millisecond glimpse of my subconscious being happy.

I had no idea there was more to come. After we tasted the foods displayed, we could go to the book fair organized in the school (where I felt so good going through all sorts of titles and having trouble choosing only three). 

We then visited the classroom, where the kids had created boardgames. For the math class. Well, yes. Maths can be something called ‘math games’. They worked in teams to invent boardgames, make the rules, paint the boards and create question cards. And that’s how you learn multiplications. You roll the dice, pick a card, answer the question and move forward (or backward, if you didn’t get the right answer). I will not comment on that because it’s my dream come true.

The French lab. French cafe music in the background, posters and quotes on the walls. Bingo games on the tables, so kids learn the numbers in French, while playing, well, Bingo. The quotes? I found them inspirational for me, too. Happy tears again.

‘Criticism may disappoint you, but never let it stop you.’

Talking about inclusion, on our way out we found other posters, welcoming kids to school. One of them was in Romanian. 

Emotional flood right before getting out and heading back home, in the rain. โค

PS: There are dim chances that the rain stops on Sunday when I run the half marathon, it will be a personal record of my coldest one so far, with a max of 5 degrees on the day, the morning will probably be around zero?!๐Ÿ˜‰

๐Ÿ‘โœŒ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿ˜˜โค