September 24th 2016, Bucharest, Romania

I had taken Arabic group lessons in 2010, during my second year of Law School. Now, when I think about it, my life chanfed dramatically in 2010 and I did not even realize it at that moment. During the second module, around May, I quit classes. Then in July I started working at my current work place. Of course, I always had in the back of my mind the idea of continuing the lessons. During the third year of law school I was working part time and going to law school, studying and holding leading positions in two organisations – Fundraising Director in Bucharest International Student Model United Nations and Club Service Director in Rotaract Club Triumph Bucharest.

I tried Russian during the summer between third and fourth year. Then, during a blink of an eye I was in the final year of Law School – two exam sessions, final paper, final exam and on top of that my part time job at the law firm. Obviously, I had to quit something.

Then there was the Bar exam and the first year of being a trainee lawyer. No time! Probably false, as now, when I am busier than ever – I go to court in the morning, draft in the evenings, work long hours, I am involved in an LLM etc., I found time for Arabic.

But let me tell you how it happened. Of course it is connected to law. I met a lot of people who became dear to me during The Hague Academy of Private International Law in Hague. Most of them were from Arab countries: Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco. The incidents in Egypt had just passed, but we were hearing of attacks and victims everyday, the Syrian situation – poor enough for two years already – did not seem to go in the right direction. I was quite touched to be at the Peace Palace, the symbol fo peace, listening to the stories of these great professionals and friends being afraid for their families and future, about the atrocities of the war, about the reprecussions on their life, about them having to live in another county while some of their relatives were in danger every second. Right there, at the International Court of Justice, at the Peace Palace I was listening to these sad stories.

I returned home and followed the news everyday on www.lemonde.fr and www.elpais.es, trying to read in French and Spanish. I began listening only to Arabic music. Then I said I should go back to Arabic lessons sometime.

My sleeping an eating were very poor after returning from Hague, where I had the perfect experience of study, evolution, friendship meltingpot. One of these nights I said I should take my Arabic notebooks and look through them a little. There were many handwrittend single pages, an excercise notebook and one single roman letters page which stood out.

It said “The International Court of Justice”.

I could not believe it. It was the divine sign sent to me. The sign I had asked not long before. It is true I was under the emotional influence of a great time in Hague, but uncertainty feelings about my carreer and which direction to take, what to do better were trying me. I had come with many new ideas and ambitions, plans and ideals. There it was, the clear sign, destiny maybe, of what I was supposed to do, of the path to take, of the right way.

I consider the biggest issue of our generation is the endless opportunities we are given at al levvels. I am not talking about money and opportunities are available for everyone. The are not restricted to the wealthy or privileged, as before. So, the issue becomes choosing. Which option is better? Which shall pay off better – now or on the long run? How do I build a consistent CV and not try to chase every opportunity I have.

To end this, I am going to my second private lesson – with the same teacher I had 3 years ago – Friday.

To conclude on the “I do not have time!”  issue, I prepare cards with words/terminations/conjugations with two sides and have them always with me. I sometimes read while I am walking, I read at the crossing stop, I read when I am tired of counterclaims, I read on my taxi/bus ride to work and back.

The conclusion is, there is always time and the best story to prove it shall follow:

One day in summer a professor stood before his science class with a few items on the table. He picked up a large jar and filled it to the brim with golf balls. He then asked his students to raise their hands if they thought the jar was full. A sea of hands instantly shot up – the students unanimously agreed the jar had to be full.

The professor then proceeded to grab a box of pebbles and he poured them into the jar. He picked up the jar, shook it around, and put it back on the table. The pebbles shuffled into the areas between the golf balls. He then asked the room full of students to raise their hands again if they thought the jar was full. The same sea of hands rose up.

Next, the professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. As expected, the sand filled up all the empty spaces between the pebbles. He asked once more if they thought the jar was full. The students again raised their hands.

The professor then magically made two beers appear from under the table and he poured the contents of each beer into the jar. This filled the spaces between the grains of sand. The room filled with laughter.

‘Now,’ muttered the professor ‘You need to understand that this jar is a representation of your life. The golf balls are the big, important things such as: your family, friends, children, health, and passions – and if you ever lost everything and only had these big things remaining, your life would be rich and full. The pebbles represent other important things like your job, house and your automobile. The sand is essentially everything else. It represents the small things.

The professor continues: ‘If you choose to pour sand into the jar first,’ he asserts, ‘there won’t be any room left for the pebbles or the golf balls. Life is the same.

If you choose spend all your time and energy on small things you won’t have room for the bigger things that hold much more importance to you.

What is the moral of the story according to the professor? Make sure to pay attention to the golf balls – the things that are absolutely critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your family. Spend time with your parents. Your children. Take time to see your grandparents. Make an occasional visit to aunts and uncles. Take out your spouse on a dinner date. Play golf with your favorite buddies. There will always be time to do chores, clean, and take out the trash.

Focus first on the golf balls – these are the the things that matter most. Ruthlessly set your priorities – write them down in a file if you must. Remember, the rest is just a bunch of sand.

The professor saw a hand shoot up. He pointed to the student, and she then asked what the beer represented. The professor looked at her, grinned, and said, ‘Thanks for asking.’ The beer is here to show that you that no matter how full you think your life is, there’s always room to have a couple of beers with a friend”.

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