ASTRA 2016 – Journey Inside the Brain

As soon as you get to Sibiu during ASTRA film festival, you feel something magic is happening. Streets are reminding you at every corner that ASTRA is in town and is about to amaze you.

Streets of Sibiu during ASTRA; Photo by Florin Slabu

The festival will answer some of your old questions, but it will also leave you with new, unanswered ones. Since the festival has several different venues, you walk from a venue to another and you keep asking yourself: “What am I about to see? What emotions and thoughts is the next documentary going to cause?” Well, you don’t have to walk for too long to get to the next venue and you will for sure be served with a new “cocktail of impressions”.

ASTRA film festival is the unique chance to get to see the ideas born all over the world in brains of different people. Sometimes, it even helps you look inside your own brain since it covers psychological and behavioral patterns that we all share. This year’s edition touched a few subjects especially interesting to me and left me with a lot of material for thought at least until the next year’s edition. Let’s take a look!

1. THE APPLAUSE MAN, 2014, 39’

This documentary captures life of a man who has a very unusual passion: to receive applause. His desire to be the object of admiration of thousands of people is simply unstoppable. The camera follows him during his adventures of fulfilling his dreams and lets us understand how his brain works. It is amazing to see how simple some people’s desires can be and yet, there are people who might stand in the way of satisfying those simple desires.

Will the mysterious applause man get the ovation of his life?

The director of the film, Ruber Vermeersch enjoying his share of applause; Photo by Florin Slabu


This documentary crawls into the brains of people with different backgrounds who for their own subjective reasons decided to believe that the end of the world was near and the exact doom’s day was already defined. It shows how anyone can be prone to believing something they thought they never would, given the right circumstances. With the help of neuroscience and behavioral psychology, this film explains steps of believing something and taking it as a fact forgetting the initial doubts.

The most interesting part comes when you can observe the reactions and feelings of the believers realizing that the end of the world has not arrived yet. They experience what they call cognitive dissonance. Feeling that you have when your own belief about yourself is not corresponding to your particular actions and you simply have to admit you have been wrong all this time.

I couldn’t help but remember all those moments in my life when I surprised myself with a particular action and was trying to find different justifications just to keep the image of myself.

Writer of the movie, Kris De Meyer mentioned in the Q&A session that documentary becomes even more relevant in the context of Brexit and the popularity of Donald Trump (He was hoping Trump wouldn’t win the elections) since it shows how easily people can believe something that clearly doesn’t make any sense

Wrtiter – Kris De Meyer, Writer and the director- Sheila Marshall at the Q&A session; Photo by Florin Slabu

3. KEEP QUIET, 2016, 90’

This movie focuses on one man’s cognitive dissonance. The main character, Csanad Szegedi, is a far-right politician in Hungary driven by extremely nationalistic ideas and anti-Semitic feelings. He is a young man who achieved tremendous success by echoing Hungarian people’s anger. At the beginning of the film, we can witness how he is proud of his political activities and is grateful for the success he achieved.

But since life has bigger plot-twists than movies, guess what? Csanad finds out that his grandmother is Jewish which makes him Jewish as well. Anti-Semitic feelings slowly turn into confusion and we are able to follow his path to coming at terms with his “new identity”.
For me, this film demonstrated once again how desperately humans need the feeling of identity and sometimes, we can go great lengths to have one, even if the identity is a controversial one.

After watching this movie, I imagined what if the same thing happened to every racist or discriminator of any kind? I guess world would be a very interesting place to live, full of people asking themselves: “Wait… how could this be?” and involuntarily changing their hateful beliefs.


After an interesting journey inside the brain, I concluded:

If we want our brain not to play tricks on us, we should constantly ask ourselves the favorite question of children and philosophers – WHY?

ASTRA can certainly help not forgetting to do it at least annually.

Me at a Q&A session, Photo by Florin Slabu

ASTRA 2016 – Journey Around the World

Earthrise; Photosource:

Some time ago, I saw a new picture of the earth seen from the moon. The first thought that comes to your mind is: “This is wonderful!”

But imagine that you are an alien and you don’t know what you are actually looking at. To you, it’s just a beautiful, colorful planet hovering in the space. It looks peaceful. It’s hard to imagine that this amazingly beautiful ball has a lot going on. Once you get the possibility to land anywhere on earth, you will realize that what seems so quiet and peaceful is actually just an illusion. You’ll see laughs and tears, love and hate, war, suffering, happiness and sadness that you cannot even suspect just by looking at its surface from the moon.

I go to ASTRA documentary film festival (for the 3rd time already this year) to get possibility to fly from a country to country and learn things I had no idea about.  Sometimes, it is hard to face the reality, sometimes it brings smile to my face, but it gives me possibility to hear “stories behind stories”. In 21st century, it’s not the information that we lack, but the perspective of an ordinary person who will bring a big story to you as something personal and easier to connect with (Logo of ASTRA reflects this idea as well).

Photo by Florin Slabu

So, come with me and explore different countries through the eyes of documentary film characters and then, through my eyes. Are the documentaries subjective? Yes, they are, but  personal stories and experiences started to matter more to me than finding the ultimate truth that is anyway impossible to agree upon.

Note: I tried NOT to include spoilers

TRAPPED BY LAW, 2016, 90’

The action takes place mainly in Kosovo

This documentary follows Kosovo Roma brothers that were deported from Germany to Kosovo unexpectedly despite spending their whole lives in Germany. You get to experience with them what it means to be forced to “drop your identity” one day, for no obvious reason. However, brothers keep their spirits up, joke around and try to make the best out of the situation. They remain faithful to rap music they are writing and don’t lose hope of returning back to Germany.

In this film you can clearly see how impersonal and unfair the law can be sometimes. Once you are trapped by it, it is hard to find your way out, however absurd it may sound. A lot of questions related to second generation immigrants are raised:  What matters more, your origins or or the country you have been raised in? Why do we even have to choose? What do you do when you find yourself trapped in your origin country but you don’t  have anything in common with it anymore?

For me, as a person who had to deal with the EU immigration law to some extent, this film had an important personal value. The documentary motivated me to do a small internet research about EU law and to find out whether or not you automatically receive the citizenship if you are born in EU. It turns out that in majority of cases, you don’t.

Sometimes it seems to me that your passport owns you and not the other way around.

SONITA, 2015, 91’

The action takes place mainly in Iran and Afghanistan

This film about a young Afghan girl, Sonita, just kept my eyes “glued” to the screen wishing for her to fulfill her dreams. She is a girl who lives in Iran, far from her family in Afghanistan, but the harsh traditions that rob women of their rights still haunt her. Her family wants to marry her in order to receive some money from the potential husband’s family.

Aside from being a smart and beautiful Afghan girl, Sonita is a hip-hop artist with a talent of expressing her and her friends’ deep feelings. As you can probably guess, female rappers are not that common in Afghanistan or Iran and singing is considered as something highly indecent. Sonita’s resilience is something difficult to comprehend, yet a great example to look up to. When the whole society, traditions and your family are against your aspirations, it’s very easy to tell yourself that it’s not worth it and just give up your dreams, but that’s not what she does. Even though she is 16 at the time of filming, she seems to have more inner strength than many grown-up women do.

On one hand, her story is very sad because it reflects the reality in traditional societies like Afghanistan and Iran, where women’s faiths are decided by her parents or brothers, but on the other hand, it inspires me and probably every girl that watched it to see a woman standing up for her rights. Sonita is a character that no fiction movie would be able to create. She has almost constant smile on her face that might not be the cheerful smile. To me it reflects her inner strength and a sense of humor she has towards life and her tragic situation. In short, it is a film worth your time!


The action takes place in Pakistan

This film lets us take a closer look at radical Islam and try to understand its roots and devastating consequences.

At a radical Islamic school Red Mosque in Pakistan, thousands of children are taught to devote their lives to jihad. The filmmakers managed to have multiple conversations with the leaders of Red Mosque and listen to their opinion about how jihad is the only true way of living and that this truth should be extrapolated to whole Pakistan and then the whole world.

“Among the Believers” shows how complex these problems are. On one hand, families that send their children to Red Mosque because of poverty, as they believe kids receive free food there. On the other hand, members of Red Mosque whose belief in what they are teaching is strong like a rock and almost impossible to change. In addition, the state that tries to solve the problem of violence with more violence which of course, is not effective. As a spectator, I felt helpless. It really seems that certain problems have gone so far that solution is more than hard to find. However, absence of obvious answers doesn’t mean that we should not be informed about these events.


The action takes place in Ukraine

Alisa is a Ukrainian girl who finds her life upside down after the revolution in Kiev.  This film shows how a young woman can be a filmmaker, soldier, lover and just a girl who tries to figure out how to help her country and find her role in the craziness of war.

Of course it was very emotional for me to watch this film because of the short war in 2008 in Georgia with Russia.

Q & A session with Stephane Siohan, Photo by Florin Slabu

During the Q & A session we had the possibility to talk to Stephane Siohan, that is also a character in the movie as Alisa’s boyfriend and is a French journalist that has been also working in Ukraine. He shared with us that it was difficult for Alisa to draw a clear line between filmmaking and being an active participant of the events. I expressed my admiration for Alisa’s courage to film the documentary since I have heard the noise of bombs only once in my life back in 2008 and my only reaction was fear and sleepless nights.

After this difficult journey, we can go back to the moon and keep staring at the earth from far away. Next time ASTRA takes us on a journey inside the brain of human being.

My article about the last year edition: Don’t Breathe, this is ASTRA!

Why Georgia and Romania should be best friends?

Written by a highly subjective, yet extremely smart and modest Georgian person

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This article is for all those Georgians who have never thought how much in common their country has with Romania and also for those Romanians who imagine Georgia as a faraway country that is yet undiscovered land for them.

Dear Romanians, we are not so far away from each other. We are “Black Sea Buddies”.  So, if you are a superman/wonderwoman that can swim from Constanta to East, you might get to Batumi (Don’t try this at home).

So, here are some reasons why I think it would be easy and beneficial for both countries if we’d be best friends:


We have a lot in common!

Similarities start from our simple human features. For example, both, Romanians and Georgians are warm people, very hospitable and always ready to help. Georgians appreciate witty sense of humor that Romanians have and Romanians could easily keep up with Georgian fun teasing. So, if we would frequently visit each other, there could only be a win-win situations.

Both, Georgians and Romanians love to complain, about government, weather, too much sun, to little sun, other people, themselves, the whole country and anything in the world. It’s just something about complaining that makes people feel better both, in Georgia and Romania.

However, both know how to have fun. Georgian gatherings are usually full of singing, playing guitar, dancing, laughing and of course drinking. Romanian gatherings and parties are also full of fun, maybe sometimes boardgames, dancing, laughing and of course, drinking.

We have lots of dishes in common. Georgians have Sarmale and we call it Tolma. Romanian Mamaliga is very similar to Georgian Ghomi. And Georgian Khachapuri is similar to Placinta cu branza. But there is a lot to discover from both sides, food variety is big in both cases.

Both countries went through communism, which mainly means unhealthy mentality, but once you are free from it, you learn to appreciate your freedom.

Majority of both countries’ population are Christian orthodox. It manifests itself culturally on many levels and forms society’s values that are also similar, as a result.

Romania and Georgia are somehow outsiders in European politics. Romania has been waiting for ages to get in Schengen area and is considered one of the least developed countries in EU and Georgia is not even that far, we are impatiently expecting to get visa free regime for EU. This is why I think it would be a great idea to team up!

Both Romanians and Georgians like mountains, beautiful beaches and good time. Guess what? Both countries also have all of that, so, why not share? Isn’t “Happiness only real when shared?”


Let’s share our culture with each other!

Both, Romania and Georgia love music and arts.

Music: Romanians would just adore Tbilisi’s vast electronic music scene, for example club Bassiani that got worldwide attention and recognition. Georgians, on the other hand, would happily visit Romania for its wonderful festivals and concerts. Many famous artists and bands come to Romania to perform.

Cinematography: When I first watched the Romanian movie “Tales from the Golden Age”, I thought it could have easily been filmed in Georgia because we have very similar past. And the humor of the movie “12:08 East of Bucharest” reminded me a lot of my favorite Georgian movie “Blue Mountains”. Georgians appreciate great movies but Romania has advanced in this sphere much more. So, we could have a great exchange of experiences between the artists and simply movie-lovers as well.

In Romania, there are lots of great movie festivals. I already wrote about one of them before. You can read the article here.

Scene from a Georgian movie Blue Mountains (1983)               
Scene from a Romanian movie 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006)


Let’s explore each other’s cities and nature!

If only, there was a direct flight between Romania and Georgia! Just try to draw a straight line over the black sea, it would be so much shorter, easier, and nicer.

A lot of Georgians would love beautiful Romanian fairytale-like towns as Sibiu, Brasov and Sinaia.

Peles castle in Romanian town Sinaia

And for Romanians, since mountaineering is very popular in Romania, they would love the Georgian mountains that are up to 5000 meters high. They tourists would fall in love with stylish and somewhat boheme Tbilisi and sea-side city, Batumi.  Georgians would be able to go to other European countries through Bucharest. Romanians would explore Asia through transit in Georgia. So, direct flight connection is all we need to open the door to endless travelling opportunities.

Shkhara mountain (5193 m), highest peak in Georgia


Let’s complain together about our communist past and share our experiences of problem-solving!

Here, I mainly mean our political past and present. We both went through and survived Communism. Do you know what that means? It means damaged mentalities, out-dated systems, reversed minds, load of bureaucracy and lost trust among people.

Despite all of this, Romania has accelerated its Economic growth very fast afterwards, has entered EU and is still developing very fast. Georgia, on the other hand, found its way through bureaucracy and reformed public sector completely. Paperwork has been substituted by digital transactions and lives of people has been simplified a lot.

It seems so obvious to me that these two countries could learn a lot from each other. But instead, both look up to Germany and other western countries and try to repeat their steps. Imagine climbing a mountain and seeing someone already being at the top of it and trying to figure out how this person got there but you have someone just next to you. You ignore each other and struggle to climb up. Well, of course it’s motivating to see someone already did the job you’re trying to do but look at the person just like you, the obvious help might be right in front of your eyes and you might miss it if you’re not attentive enough.

So, Georgia could take an example of Romania’s economic achievements and Romania could learn from Georgia’s public sector reforms.


How should we become best friends?

If you are Romanian, am veste buna, n-ai nevoie de viza, nici de pașaport, poți vizita Georgia fără probleme. Dacă ai vrea sfături legat de zboruri si alte detalii, contactează-mă, ne descurcam!

If you’re Georgian, ვიზა კი გჭირდება, მაგრამ აგიხსნი ყველაფერს, ადვილია და თან იქნებ მოგვეხსნას ვიზის ვალდებულება იანვრიდან. პაწაც დაიცადე.

As for me, I am doing my best to fly back and forth, tie the bonds, write awesome articles and I am not going to stop here, I have big plans!


ფაქტის წინაშე

13518203_10157066271010068_2112031919_oსასაფლაოზე ვიყავი. ალბათ ყველაზე ლამაზ სასაფლაოზე რაც კი ოდესმე მინახავს. მშვიდ და მწვანე სასაფლაოზე. ვიწრო მოსახვევები სულს არ მიხუთავდა, უბრალოდ წლები თითქოს თვალწინ გამორბოდნენ და გაუჩერებლად ჩურჩულებდნენ, 1888 -1940, 1913-1977, 1934-? ბევრი საფლავი იყო ჯერ კიდევ ცოცხალი ადამიანებისთვის გამზადებული, გარდაცვალების წლის მაგივრად კითხვის ნიშნით და უცბად მივხვდი სადაც ვიყავი.

შენ გაჩნდი და დადექი ფაქტის წინაშე, რომ ცოცხალი ხარ, ცოცხალი ხარ ეხლა. აუცილებლად მოკვდები, მაგრამ ეხლა ცოცხალი ხარ, თუ გინდა გაიხარე, იცინე, იტირე, იცოცხლე, მაგრამ აუცილებლად მოკვდები და მოხვდები სასაფლაოზე. ზუსტად და დანამდვილებით არ გეცოდინება სად მოხვდები სიკვდილის შემდეგ და საერთოდ მოხვდები თუ არა სადმე. გაიცნობ ადამიანებს. ზოგი ღმერთის ხსენებაზე ცინიკურად ჩაიცინებს, ზოგი ატირდება, ზოგი ომებს დაიწყებს, რომ ყველას დაანახოს თავისი ჭეშმარიტება, მაგრამ შენ არასდროს გეცოდინება დანამდვილებით რატომ ხარ ფაქტის წინაშე რომ ხარ ცოცხალი.

ერთი წამით წარმოვიდგინე ყველა ის ადამიანი, რომლებიც ახლა კლუჟის სასაფლაოზე იყვნენ. ქალი, რომელიც 1888 წელს დაიბადა, ზუსტად 100 წლის წინ ჩემს დაბადებამდე და რა შორეულია ეხლა ეს ქალი ჩემთვის. მაგრამ ოდესღაც ეს ყველა ადამიანი დარბოდა, იცინოდა, უხაროდა, წყინდა, იმიტომ რომ იყვნენ ფაქტის წინაშე, რომ იყვნენ ცოცხლები.

ხანდახან ეს ფაქტი აუტანელია. აუტანელია, იმიტომ, რომ იცი ძალიან ბევრჯერ უნდა გეტკინოს. გეტკინოს, როცა შეგიყვარდება და შენს რომანტიულ სიყვარულში პირველად გამოჩნდება იაფფასიანი ჩხუბი, გეტკინოს, როცა გარდაიცვლება შენი ახლობელი, გეტკინოს, როცა ვეღარ უგებ საუკეთესო მეგობარს, მაგრამ ვერაფერს იზამ, ეს ყველაფერიც უბრალო ფაქტებია, რომლებიც ხდება, გინდა ეს შენ თუ არა.

მე მიყვარს ეს ოხერი სიცოცხლე. მიყვარს, რომ შემიძლია ვუყურო ფოთლის შრიალს, ვიგრძნო თვითმფრინავის აფრენა, ჩავხედო ჩემზე შეყვარებულ თვალებს, ვიცინო მეგობრებთან ერთად და უბრალოდ ხანდახან მავიწყდება, რომ ეს ყველაფერი მთელი გულით უნდა გავაკეთო და ფეხებზე დავიკიდო ის, რომ დილით ყავა გადამექცა და დაბდურა ვარ ან ის, რომ უაზროდ მივახარჯე ფული იმაში რაც არ მჭირდებოდა. მინდა უფრო მეტად მიყვარდეს ყოველი წამი და აღარასდროს მაღელვებდეს ათასი უაზრო წვრილმანი საზრუნავი, რაც ადამიანებმა საკუთარ თავს გავუჩინეთ.

ხშირად იარე სასაფლაოზე, თუ გინდა აღმოჩნდეთ ფაქტის წინაშე, რომ ცოცხალი ხარ.


ქაღალდის სახლი

ქაღალდის სახლი ავიშენე. ფურცელი ფურცელს დავამატე, გვერდი – გვერდს, ფიქრი – ფიქრს და შევაკოწიწე. ძალიან ჰაეროვანია, ნახევრად არარსებული.

მთელი ცხოვრება ვიღაც ან რაღაც გვენატრება. ხან ბავშვობის მძაფრი შეგრძნებები, როცა დამალობანას დროს საგულდაგულოდ დამალვა ყველაზე მნიშვნელოვანი რამე იყო ცხოვრებაში, ხან საკუთარი თავის ძველი ვერსიები, ხან გარდაცვლილი ახლობლები, ხან შორს მცხოვრები ოჯახის წევრები და მეგობრები, ხან ისეთი მეგობრობა, რომელიც რუსავით ძალდაუტანებლად და უდარდელად მიედინება, ხან მზე, ხან თოვლი და ზოგჯერ ისეთი რამეებიც კი გვენატრება, რაც არც კი გვინახავს და გამოგვიცდია. ხანდახან მგონია, რომ შეიძლება გაგიჟდე ადამიანი ამდენი ნაკლულობისგან, ამდენი რამის არქონის და ამდენი ვინმეს არყოლის გამო…

მივდიოდი იმდღეს ქუჩაში და უცბად რომელიღაცა სახლის სარდაფიდან, სარდაფის მძაფრი და წესით უსიამოვნო სუნი მეცა, მაგრამ ისე ცხადად გამახსენა დამალობანას დროს სარდაფში დამალვა, რომ უნებლიედ გამეღიმა. ზოგადად ცოტა არ იყოს მშიშარას, თამაშის დროს ყველანაირი შიშის გრძნობა მეკარგებოდა, ჩაბნელებულ, ნესტიან, ჭუჭყიან და ობობებით სავსე სარდაფში დამალული თავს ყველაზე უსაფრთხოდ ვგრძნობდი და მოუთმენლად ველოდი სანატრელ დაძახებას: “გამარჯვებულო გამოდიიიი”. ძნელია იყო ისეთივე ბედნიერი ზრდასრულობის დროს, როცა საზოგადოების ათასი წესი გეხვევა თავს და დროის მოცემულ მონაკვეთებში უნდა ჩაჯდე: ისწავლო, იმუშაო, დაოჯახდე, დასერიოზულდე. ძნელია ისეთივე სიხარულით გიხაროდეს ყველა პატარა დეტალი. ჰოდა, რა თქმა უნდა მენატრება ნამდვილი სიხარულის, იმედგაცრუების და ნამდვილი სარდაფის სუნი.

ამიტომაც ავიშენე ქაღალდის სახლი. ისე, როგორც ბავშვობაში “შტაბი”. ოღონდ ეს სახლი ეხლა უფრო სევდიანია. ფურცლებზე ადამიანები, მონატრებები, ფიქრები და შეგრძნებები დავწერე. შიგნით შევიპარე და ღრმად შევისუნთქე ის, რაც ასე ძალიან მაკლია. ის, რაც ოდესღაც განვიცადე და სადღაც გამიფრინდა, ისევ ჩემთან მოვკრიფე სათითაოდ და ყველაფერი ისევ ჩემში დავაბრუნე. სინამდვილეში, არასოდეს არაფერი იყო ჩემი და ამიტომ, არც არსად წასულა. ყველაფერი რაც ვნახე, ვიგრძენი და გავიხსენე, ისევ ქაღალდის სახლშია, ჩემთან. ხანდახან ერთ კედელს სხვა ანაცვლებს, ხანდახან შეიძლება საძირკველიც კი შეიცვალოს, მაგრამ მე მაინც ჩემს სახლში ვიცხოვრებ. სულერთია სად ვიქნები, თბილისში, ბუქარესტში თუ საერთოდაც ლამაზქალაქში.

მოდით ხოლმე, მეწვიეთ ქაღალდის სახლში. ისეთ ქაღალდის ჩაის დაგალევინებთ, ნამდვილ ჩაიზე უკეთესს.

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O zi mai calda in Bucuresti

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Poza facuta de mine din geamul biroului


Am decis sa scriu ceva in limba romana pentru prima data pe blogul meu. La inceput voiam sa folosesc si litere speciale din alfabetul romanesc, dar inca imi este foarte greu sa folosesc ă si â unde trebuie. Din cauza asta scriu cu litere latine. Imi cer scuze pentru greseli, pe care sigur o sa fac, pentru ca nu vreau sa ma corecteze cineva. As dori sa fie primul articol scris doar de mine in limba romana.

Am venit in Romania din Georgia acum un an si jumatate , am venit ca sa fiu cu prietenul meu, Florin. Ne-am intalnit in 2012, in Slovacia. Sincera sa fiu, sunt foarte fericita cu el, dar o sa va spun direct: mi-e dor de Georgia foarte mult, chiar uneori vreau pur si simplu sa impachetez si sa plec de aici. Dar NU pentru ca nu imi place in Romania…

Perioada mai grea a inceput acum 3 luni, dupa ce am fost in Georgia pentru 11 zile in noiembrie. Inainte de asta cred ca nici nu aveam suficient timp sa ma gandesc la alte lucruri decat cum sa invat limba romana mai repede, cum sa ma obisnuiesc cu stilul de viata Bucurestiului si chestie mai practice. Am fost chiar foarte multumita pana cand m-am dus in Georgia in noiembrie. Inainte mi-e imi placea ca sunt foarte multe evenimente in Bucuresti si poti sa urmarezi pasiunea ta (oriece ar fi) foarte usor. Asa cred si acum, Bucuresti este un oras foarte viu si plin de lucruri interesante. Dar s-a intamplat ceva in Georgia (nu stiu ce) care m-a influentat foarte mult si care ma face foarte nostalgica.

Bineinteles am inceput sa ma gandesc ce anume nu este in regula aici in Romania sau ce este atat de special la mine in Georgia. Pana la urma, am ajuns la concluzia ca este ceva inexplicabil. Cand esti acasa, ai senzatia ca totul este familiar, ca oameni te inteleg usor si ca oriunde ai merge, esti in tara ta unde se vorbeste limba ta (in ambele se sensuri, figurat si literal vorbind).

Stiam si inainte, dar acum am realizat mai clar ca n-ar trebui sa astepti ca o sa te simti ca acasa altundeva. Este foarte natural si normal ca totul e altfel pentru tine. Chiar daca strazi sunt la fel, chiar daca traditiile sunt similare, iti lipseste ceva. Ceva de neinlocuit. Este foarte important sa intelegi acest lucru si ca esti deschisa pentru o aventura intr-o tara noua, sa accepti ce iti ofera atmosfera noua.

Astazi a fost o zi speciala pentru mine. Aseara a decedat bunicul meu in Georgia si am simtit nevoie foarte puternica sa fiu cu familia mea. Cand am aflat am fost in centrul vechi, m-a sunat mama mea si dintr-o data voiam foarte mult sa fiu in Tbilisi, dar din pacate nu se poate.Cand am ajuns acasa si am vorbit cu Florin, am povestit exact cum ma simteam si m-am culcat mai linistita.

Dimineata asta m-am dus la munca si acolo, am gasit colegii mei care au vrut sa ma ajute cu orice posibil si chiar ma-au ajutat cu compasiunea calda.

Iar la pranz cumparam niste hrisca, pentru ca in Georgia hrisca este mancata ca micul dejun foarte des. O doamna s-a apropiat de mine si m-a intrebat cu curiositatea mare cum se pregateste hrisca. Bineinteles am inceput sa explic detaliat. In curand a venit si un domn ca sa discute si el cu noi despre moduri de gatire de hrisca. Probabil o sa sune un pic „cheesy“ dar a fost un moment foarte important pentru mine, pentru ca uneori exact asta imi lipseste aici ca sa ma simt mai apropiata cu oameni, care nu le cunosc. Momente foarte mici compun o atmosfera mai calda si prietenoasa. Sper ca in curand, Romania o sa devina o tara si mai apropiata de mine. Oricum, daca pot sa ma exprim despre lucruri mai importante pentru mine in limba romana, deja este un inceput foarte bun.


Don’t take it personal

What does the phrase “Don’t take it personal” actually mean? Most probably, someone told you something not so pleasant for you and it does concern you, but they ask you to ignore the fact that it concerns you… Not so easy, actually.

However, lately, I started to think that the whole life is about that: Just don’t take life so personal and you might discover that you are far more happier than you used to be. Well, I am not trying to teach anyone anything since I have myself no idea about life and this is not one of those annoying articles “7 reasons you’ve been living your life wrong”. Nope, this is just one small discovery of mine which I decided to share.

We have very strong tendency to imagine the world revolving around us and it’s natural, we “live in our bodies”, we look at the world from inside our head and it’s hard not to put everything through our filter. Nothing’s wrong with it. But there’s a small detail that changes everything. We often forget that this is just our perspective and every other person does exactly the same, for them, the world revolves around them and not around you. You ask: how is this good or making you happy in any way? God, have some patience and sacrifice a bit of your precious time, will you?

This is how:

When few negative things happen in our lives, we start to think:

  • Why does everything bad happen to me?
  • I bet this person wishes me harm
  • I must be lame and that’s why I am miserable
  • If I try to change something radically in my life, people might think I am stupid

and the final, lethal, all-consuming, making you want to hide under your blanket- phrase:


Whooow, wait a minute and stop here… Aren’t you believing yourself to be of too much importance or threat? Do you actually think the WORLD decided to have some strategy against you? Even Adolf Hitler didn’t have the whole world against him! Who do you think you are?

Exactly this is when we take ourselves too seriously, too important and overly noticable for other people. This is one of the main accompanying thoughts of anxiety. When you feel like you are on the spotlight.

Psychologists actually call this bias “Spotlight effect”. It is scientifically proven that other people notice you far less than you think. Psychologist Thomas Gilovich asked some students to wear shirts that would have embarrassing photos on them for the experiment and they were asked how many people they think would notice those imprints on t-shirts and the results were compared by actually asking others whether they noticed embarrassing photos or not. The experiment showed that people largely exaggerate how much they were noticed.

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On one hand, you might think this is a bit sad. Does it mean that nobody cares about us? No, it simply means that everybody is occupied with themselves, mainly minding their own business. Even if it happens that they judge you, it might come from their problems and inhibitions and by judging you they want to feel better about themselves. What others  think about you might actually have very little relevance and connection to reality. At least people who don’t know you that well.

This is why we should try and stop making up consipiracy theories against us. Walking around feeling under spotlight and believing that everything we do is noticed, judged and important. Life doesn’t happen to YOU, it just happens.

Just think how much freedom and power this actually gives to you. Try and start one of your days realizing that you really are the most important person for yourself and act accordingly. You might notice an interesting paradox that this realization might even make kinder to other people, since you realize now that they are just like you with their own problems, fears and beliefs.

Walk out of the door confidently in the morning. Believe that you can really make anything you want out of your day and your life. It’s really up to you. And if some negative events happened right after each other, don’t feel like some higher power or God is angry at you. It most probably is just unfortunate  coincidence and has nothing to do with you being a bad, worthless person.

Each problem is separate and try to deal with them separately.

Each person is different and try to understand them, try to see how the world might seem for them and you might become much more open to the outer world.

Life just goes on and gives surprises to you every day, accept them and please, please Don’t take it personal, it’s just life. You are not good, you are not bad, you are you, the way you think you are. What other people think about you is just their version of yourself which is filtered through their egocentric minds.

Don’t take life personal, don’t be so greedy, it belongs to everyone, my dear!


P.S. Thanks to the psychologist Anca Bucur who inspired me for writing this post

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