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Looking at the locals, living in a restrictive regime where self-expression and the free propagation of ideas is not exactly what you would be inclined to do, I’m wondering how many live for a dream and what is that dream?

Travelling through tens of countries from Bangladesh to Japan and Argentina to Kenya, seeing different cultures, political systems, schemes of thinking, beliefs, religions, behavior models, my personal dream is to get to the people’s core way of being and understanding them.

Judgment can only be stopped by knowing, by documenting, by understanding, by seeing and genuinely trying to put one in the shoes of the other. We live in a globalized world that is more racist and less understanding and tolerant to other beliefs, cultures and religions than ever.

Before judging someone or something try to understand where they’re coming from, how they think and what they have to say.

I wanted this trip for years and it must be 15 years since I’ve been in a group tour, an itinerary organized by somebody else. While this is the most common route in Iran, when I come back, I have to visit Tabriz and maybe Mashad.

Mashad is a holy city in the East of Iran where Imam Reza (or Ali al-Ridha), the 8th Imam of the Twelver Islam, a section of Shia Islam, was buried.

Globalization: A Basic Text

Closing my eyes, I can see where I am on the world map. So far, yet so close. What about my mission, my life? Where am I? We’re so good with practical aspects, yet with the less tangible we still seem to struggle. At least I do and I’m unceasingly searching, searching. Sometimes I feel like a dog scratching the ground in search of something he cannot see or feel, yet his senses tell him it’s there.

It’s second day and I wished I talked less and listened more. Does human interaction scare me? Does it make me look inside? Simply cannot sleep. Does a story that resembles mine make me sad? Does my competence make me too proud? Do I not take rejection, criticism?

Travel, just like love, is meant to change us. My motto is:

If love and travel did not change you, it means you did not love enough or traveled far enough.

Love, another force that makes the world spin.

I’m working on myself without even noticing, washing away pain, learning to deal with my thoughts, at the border between acceptance and understanding. Between these two doors I walk back and forth.

It’s a long way, a long process. It means dedication to myself and meanwhile I’m trying to observe where selfishness ends and giving begins.

Personal Revolution: How to Be Happy, Change Your Life, and Do That Thing You’ve Always Wanted to Do

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February 10th 2016
I realized why fancy, still waters places don’t appeal that much to me. I like the turmoil of the water, the raging waves, it’s darkness, mystery and underworld secret life.
I haven’t even gone through a quarter of this month’s travels and it’s time to request some more for March. What I know is that I’ll return on the 3rd from Osaka – well, nothing is for sure in aviation, but let’s just put it this way. Then I need to be in Vienna before the 6th to meet my mom attending the annual European Congress of Radiology. Man, this Congress is a tradition to me. Since I was in my first years of school, when she used to go by train from a nearby town, always on the run, one time with my dad throwing the suitcase in the train while it was moving. Oh well, great memories. I want to request Barcelona, but there’s on charm in the city without him.
This is an important month to me, a meaningful one. I feel the progress, the moving forward, but I also feel the weight of the past, of the things I cannot or do not want to let go. But I have to…
Everyting is connected and I know it. What’s the odds that he reads a book about the Romanovs and the first article I see in the morning is about Anastasia the only survivor of the family?
Why do I blame him for being so selfish when all I care is my travels, my books, my readings, my lifestyle, my pictures and my experiences, my feelings, my evolution and my journey?
Texting my mom I have some pain. Adding “but at least it came in days off and not when I’m in holiday”. This is how I see my work, holiday. Eternal holiday. And believe me, it’s a very hard job.
Another not so by chance discussion. […] I might become a war photographer one day, not war correspondent as I like to joke sometimes. Or both. I get flashes of instants, bits of conversations and they connect in my mind in less than a few seconds then I feel a heat in my head. Maybe I’m just hungry.
My feelings are uncertain to random people listening to your dreams and hopes and wishes. People who don’t know you. People who are patient with you, don’t seem to judge you and wait until you’ve finished what you have to say. People who you don’t know, yet they make you feel comfortable around them. Who you could speak with forever, about anything. And some people you think you know…
I’m almost here for one year. Wow! This went by fast. Al Shaqab 2016 equestrian event is already coming up. I remember the enthusiasm I followed the participants. I am a wild horse  in my life, a horse in Chinese horoscope and yes, horse means strength and workforce. Arabian horses are the most beautiful and it’s a symbol of my moving to the desert. And my ancestors used to live on horses. It’s in my blood, too.
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A while ago, when he probably got fired from the job, a crazy colleague of mine posted online. “From penthouses and world tours to jail cells and court cases.”. Well, I’m exactly the opposite.
It’s past midnight and I listen to Scorpions. They seem to be understanding quite well what i feel. “Always somewhere”, “I wanted to cry”, “Are you the one” and “When you came into my life”. Yes, totally me. Ok, and “Dust in the wind” and “Winds of change”.
Source of pictures: www.google.com

În momentul în care citiți acest mesaj eu mă aflu în avion spre Oman, indicând pasagerilor ieșirile de urgență și cum să folosească măștile de oxigen în caz de decompresie.

Povestea

Sunt avocat. Din 2012, când am devenit cel mai tânăr avocat din România, la puțin peste 22 de ani, promovând un examen la care rata de succes este sub 10%. Am lucrat într-o casă de avocatură de top aproape 5 ani. Începând cu anul II de drept am fost, în ordine, intern, paralegal, avocat stagiar și avocat definitiv. Și unii oameni avizați spun că am făcut treabă bună.

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În ultimii doi ani am lucrat ca avocat cu tot ce implică profesia (reprezentare în instanță, redactare de documente nesfârșite, studiu continuu, deadline-uri sfâșâietoare, multă cafea), am absolvit un masterat în limba engleză (la care am fost admisă prima), cursuri postuniversitare, precum și Institutul Național de Pregătire și Perfecționare a Avocaților (studii obligatorii pentru avocați stagiari, pe o perioadă de doi ani). Am publicat articole în reviste de specialitate și din când în când am participat în calitate de speaker la conferințe de drept. Am participat la cele mai importante specializări și concursuri din Europa în domeniul dreptului privat. Pe scurt, am fost implicată 100% în evoluția profesională, iar în acești 5 ani inclusiv concediu l-am folosit pentru examene, cursuri, specializări, teze și am bifat succes după succes. Nu, nu sunt modestă și nici nu am de ce să fiu pentru că totul a implicat studiu continuu și muncă multă, iar totul a venit la pachet cu un preț și cu sacrificii.

Ideea principală

În decembrie am promovat examenul de definitivare în profesia de avocat, din nou fiind cea mai tânără din țară. Cu două zile înainte de examen, însă, mă prezentam (cu legislația profesiei de avocat – cu copertele acoperite, să nu vadă nimeni ce citesc – la pachet pentru că mi s-a zis că o sa dureze mult) la interviu pentru a deveni stewardesă. După interviul final în timpul căruia am povestit despre țările în care am studiat, lucrat, călătorit și locuit, intervievatorii mi-au spus că, pe langă profesia mea, deja sunt stewardesă.

Apoi lucrurile au decurs foarte repede și oarecum firesc. Am luat interviul în ziua următoare. Am devenit avocat definitiv 2 zile mai târziu ca urmare a promovării examenului, am continuat rutina fiecărei zi la birou, iar după două luni m-am trezit în căsuța poștală cu un bilet de avion către nou – de la oraș/țară/continent, domeniu de activitate, religie oficială la limbă, tradiții, obiceiuri, mentalitate.  Doar dus. Am împachetat totul (o viață de om împărțită între 2 orașe), mi-am dat demisia și mi-am luat rămas bun de la tot ceea ce era cunoscut, în mai puțin de 4 zile, pentru a mă îmbarca spre (splendidul) necunoscut.

În ultimele două luni am efectuat cursuri de formare ca însoțitor de bord la unul dintre cele mai performate centre de instruire din lume. Am învățat despre tipuri de avioane, noțiuni de siguranță, acțiuni în caz incendiu, bomba la bord, evacuare pe apă și sol, prim ajutor, modalități de soluționare a disputelor, ospitalitate, tipuri de vinuri și cum să oferi un serviciu la standarde înalte, atât la propriu, cât și la figurat. În plus, am învățat cum să aplic machiajul corect, nuanțele care mă favorizează, cum să obțin cocul perfect care rezistă, cam tot ce și-ar dori o femeie. Am funcționat 6 zile pe săptămână, uneori începând cu de la 3 sau 4 AM într-o grupă de fete deosebite din 12 țări.

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Astăzi încep călătoria vieții mele, un drum al autocunoașterii și autoeducației. Pornesc în căutarea unei nevoi spirituale/interioare în detrimentul uneia materiale. Voi căuta legi nescrise, mai degraba ca cele scrise – ca până acum. Cunosc zeci de legi și valize de cărți de drept, dar nu am niște răspunsuri simple. Vreau să aflu despre mine, despre viață.

Am ieșit din zona mea de confort pentru a mă muta într-o țară în care nu am mai fost vreodată, cu o cultură de care aparțin, dar care îmi este totuși străină, în care nu cunosc pe nimeni și unde am adus cu mine 3 lucruri într-o valiză. Plină de entuziasm și de fericire!

Am urât zona de confort de când mă știu și am schimbat mediul mereu, pentru că doar așa dădeam randament maxim. Am venit fără să știu unde, să caut, fără să știu ce. Aveam tot ceea ce și-ar putea dori cineva, dar caut mai mult. Nu mai mulți bani, mai multă recunoaștere sau mai multe blănuri. Mai mult decât doar … confort psihic, mai mult decât previzibilul dureroasei rutine. O axa proprie.

Eu văd lucrurile simplu: trăiam într-o inadecvare în timp și spațiu pe care am venit s-o corectez.

A fost un început grozav. Am dovedit lumii întregi și mie că pot realiza orice îmi propun. Prea tangibil pentru gustul meu. Voiam să mă înscriu la a doua facultate, dar am plecat la o facultate mult mai folositoare.

Concluzia: “Viața obișnuită nu mă interesează. Anais Nin

Da, sunt unul dintre cei mai calificați avocați din generația tânără și am luat o pauză ca să devin stewardesă și să calătoresc în jurul lumii. Este o decizie asumată complet, o decizie de care sunt foarte mândră. CV-ul meu îmi permite să iau o pauză de ani buni și să fac înconjorul lumii fără a-mi afecta parcursul personal.

Nu mă aștept ca toata lumea să privească cu ochi buni decizia mea și faptul că eu mă simt împlinită îmi dă luxul de a nu avea nevoie de aprobarea nimănui. Lucrurile se așează pentru fiecare așa cum trebuie, când trebuie.

Într-un interviu pe care l-am acordat cu privire la activitatea mea profesională anul trecut am fost întrebată, pe lângă aspectele profesionale, și despre pasiunile mele. Am răspuns:

 

Îmi place să călătoresc, să descopăr culturi și peisaje noi în destinații îndepărtate sau să mă plimb prin colțuri fermecătoare de București, să merg la concerte de muzică clasică la Ateneu sau la Sala Radio, să mă pierd prin târguri vintage, să citesc, să merg la restaurante bune sau să ronțăi ceva în centrul vechi al Bucureștiului și să mă uit la spectacolul străzii, să colind muzeele lumii. Am păstrat pasiunea pentru hărți și geografie de când am fost la olimpiada națională. Pasiunile mele se exprimă în mai multe culturi, limbi și meridiane.”

 

Deci, din acest punct de vedere, nimic surprinzător în decizia mea. Viața e plină de “turbulențe neașteptate”, nu?

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March 23th 2015, Doha, Qatar

Module reminds me the most precious jewel I have is my brain.

Eyes remind me the most precious scent I have is my wit.

Envy reminds me how good I am.

Being nice at all times reminds me how I was brought up.

Rejection of fake-ness in any shape reminds me who I really am.

 

March 22nd 2015, Doha, Qatar

This morning I woke up and I open the windows to breathe the desert rain air. While sipping my strong coffee I put on my make up in my long sleeved, male cut, white shirt. 

It is raining for a few hours and desert people seem to be quite bothered by the unexpected phenomenon. Huge puddles are created as there is no sewage. What for? We ride in the chaotic traffic. My melancholy mode gets activated from Purple Rain‘s notes.
One afternoon later it is still raining and I study Arabic and airplanes stuff while drinking Coke Zero and eating KitKat, as usual.
It is raining in Doha, my favorite season. Tear drops wipe the sand of desert and dust of the newly built city. I am getting my residence permit tomorrow and my first (observation) flights were assigned.

March 19th 2015, Doha, Qatar

It is unbelievable how life can change from a moment to another.

Exactly one month ago I was watching the lights from an airplane, while descending in the desert.

I had received a call a few days before, I declined the offer, hang up. Then I thought: isn’t this what I wanted, what everybody wants?

In a few hours my apartment was almost empty. Next day I quit my job and did some paperwork. I wraped up my whole life in two days, packed in one night. Did not look back.

Now I am in my Doha home, listening  to Arabic music from the nearby hotel sky club. I remember listening to the same song not long ago, dreaming about faraway places, oriental scents and intense spices colors. About this place. A blink of an eye later, it happened.

March 8th 2015, Doha, Qatar

Time files so fast. I am already in the third training week. So far so good. 100% at all tests. I pick up things rapidly and I enjoy playing around.

I am certain now that this is the place where I have to be. Which means I am here with a reason. For now, I do not know it, but for sure I need to help others if training is easy for me. So I do.

I am sitting in bed, listening to What’s a Woman (Vaya con Dios) from a 8 years old playlist and I am dreaming of faraway destinations, choosing airport codes for my first chosen flights. On my list: Algiers, Tblisi, Hong Kong, Delhi, Jakarta, Teheran, Osaka, Amman. Beirut, Moscow.

Could I be any different than the others?

Everybody wants to fly home, I want to fly further away. Everybody wants to go to the Maldives, Phuket and Rome, I want to go to Shiraz, Lahore and Khartom and then Dhaka, Baku and Lagos.

Suddenly the world seems so small, I can go everywhere, I can see, I can experiment, accumulate, see the colors, taste the food, smell the scents, pick the flowers, walk the ground of countries, go to the location of my books, see the flags shattering in their homeland… I feel the need to pinch myself and I am really living a dream. Located in the desert, well-educated and able to go wherever. This is what I wanted!

How life can change in a month. One month ago I was waking up every day going to my 5 years’ time job like I was going to the electric chair and was facing (a sort of) depression. There was nothing interesting in my life, I had retreated in my small home-work-home life. This gotten worse in the last year and someone asked me about my once glamorous life. I did not know what to answer.

The first trainer told us that we always have to remember the purpose for which we came here. As always, mine does not have firm lines.

Tomorrow I am picking up the residence permit and my observation flights are already somewhere in a system, although I do not know them yet. Some other 5 documents are in the oven for me to fly safely and legally. Legally? This reminds me of something I used to do long ago…

February 27th 2015, Doha, Qatar

It is our only day off per week during the training. In Arab countries weekend is Friday and Saturday, Friday being the Holy Day of Islam. I just had a coffee and a chat with my home country girls and I am preparing to go to the Museum of Islamic Art.

There is a mosque right in front of my window so I can hear all the prayers, 5 per day. At first I was a bit confused when I would wake up hearing the call to prayer, but now I don’t even wake up and if I do, at least I am aware of what it happens.

I take a cab and arrive at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar. It is simply amazing and I can say I am more impressed with its architecture than I was with the Guggenheim in New York.

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There are two floors with the permanent collection, categorized by country – which I like, a restaurant and terrace on the ground floor and the library at the top floor.

The architecture is simply delightful, exactly made for my taste. Simple, very full of meanings and symbols, discrete and broken lines, geometry and nature. Light, water, earth, art.

Why I love Islamic Art:

  • for the hidden meanings;
  • for its significance of eternity;
  • it has wide places, filled with light and surrounded by peaceful waters;
  • they have rigor and simplicity and in the same time a sophistication and refined embellishment;
  • the style is clean and outstanding;
  • arcades reflecting their infinite beauty in water mirrors.

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After visiting the second floor I ate a pomegranate feta humus and others salad that came with a lovely drink – tea with lemon and mint – very sweet and refreshing and had a thick mango fresh juice.

From the restaurant and from the suspended bridges on each floors you can see the new area of the city, the tall and modern skyscrapers and the waters of the Bay.

I left the museum to walk by the water and see the lights of the new city turning on at dusk, then I went back to the fourth floor.

The Museum has many interesting activities for all ages such as calligraphy classes.

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I am back home after stopping by at the corner store Al Falaq to buy some food. I cook everyday and I am comfortable in my new home.

The club at La Cigale is loud again and I follow their screen from my bed while I flip through the pages of my Arabic books and prepare for a new aviation training day.

Life as it is!

February 24th 2015

This was the third day of the initial training and the last day of “honeymoon” of the flight attendants. A few impressions so far.

But let’s recap: so, I am a fully qualified attorney at law quitting her position at an international law firm to move to the Middle East in order to work as cabin crew for a 5 star airline.

The change was shocking and not explainable, but not for myself, for the ones around me.

As I said when asked in the first day, I could not be more proud of my decision.

Why did I come? I have written about this before, but the main reasons are: becoming fluent in Arabic, acquiring Islamic culture knowledge and of course seeing (all) the world. While being paid (for it). A very personal decision and purpose. Deep and unable to explain in a way that somebody that asks would understand.

My opinion so far: I cannot believe some other girls were doing this and I was at home having a normal job.

Interesting facts: the airplane does not go backwards, there are no flights close to midnight as it is confusing for the passengers (called PAX) and the meals on the flight are about 2000 calories.

About the city (my experience so far): everybody speaks English. What I loved was seeing women in abaya driving, minding their own business very confident and beautiful.

The training: I love the fact that I am told and explained with patience what to wear, how to walk, what to say, how to say it exactly, what is forbidden and what is allowed, what customer service is, how to avoid transmitting negative messages through body language, how to apply make-up, what the good tones and products are for me alone and how to apply it. Moreover, I am told whom to address if I have a problem or another, if I am sick, if I have a problem with transportation, if something it’s not working in the house (which the company provides by the way), if I am homesick (amazing!).

I learned that I have to anticipate needs, to be genuinely respectful, to deliver efficient and tailored service, to treat all customers equally, the importance of discipline and knowledge of the company products, to be proactive, to understand that people have different beliefs, they are judgmental and I have to avoid any race/religion talks, that I represent my country and the company and guest country even when I am not in uniform.

I was told that it is best to take the positive aspects because the more you bless, the more it becomes a blessing, the more you curse, it becomes a cursing. That it is hard work, that I should be very careful who I trust and that I will discover who I am. Guess what, this is why I came!

How have I changed: I am more aware of my feminine skills, I walk with more confidence and I feel prettier.

strong>Opinions: It is probably difficult for some people to understand my decision, but I never looked for approval. The good opinions: a former law school colleague said he is drying at his office – like I used to during the last year – and said I was “a diva and his muse” for this change, another friend transmitted me that I was his “idol” and he is going to quit, to and my bff said I have launched a trend. Others said I am bold. My psychologist told me that she admires me for “the war I carry inside me”. I am not sure what it is supposed to mean, but I know there is enough energy for a war inside me. From now on I will use it in the most constructive way. Haters say it is not a good decision. Friends from all over the world ask me to visit them.

I am happy.

P.S.: Flight attendants are not stupid. If they are dumb, then they are witty, if they are ugly, they are communicative and pleasant. Over all, they are brave, spontaneous, they have seen (tens of) thousands of people and been to tens of countries, they have what to tell their children and grandchildren, they earn well, they mind their own business while they see the world and acquire hands-on experience.