My Greece adventure (2018)

I believe that traveling has always been both a passion and a desire within my heart. It probably surfaced when I went on a family trip back in 2014. I was blessed enough to be able to see three astonishing, incredible and marvelous capitals of Europe: Budapest, Vienna and Prague. It is quite indescribable, the feeling of walking those streets, which have centuries of history and beauty. For the first time, I genuinely saw the importance of traveling, and, most of all, the privilege of learning the vast culture and background of these countries. I couldn’t thank my parents enough for working so hard to give me and my brother a chance to see a part of Europe that not everyone has the means to explore.

For the next few years, because my teenage self wanted bit of independence, I decided to stay home while my parents went on trips. It was a decision that, though kept me from seeing more of this beautiful continent, I do not regret. My theory in life is that you should NEVER regret anything. It’s not that I was ungrateful, because I really was, but I wanted so desperately to have a bit of independence.

But moving on from that, at the beginning of this year, as I sat one night buried deep into my world of thoughts (a ritual formed throughout the last couple of years), I pulled out my notebook I got as a gift the previous year. For a couple of minutes I looked at it, the inscription printed on it shining from the moonlight. It said “enjoy the little things”. It was a concept, which I admit with shame, that I sometimes take for granted to this day. I decided right then and there to write some goals I wanted to achieve this year. And one of them was traveling.

My parents really wanted to see Greece again, and they frequently asked my brother and I to join them on this particular trip. Now, one thing you need to know about me is that I am not a seaside kind of girl. I never enjoyed going to the beach as much as sightseeing/ exploring new places. Still, I decided to go because I didn’t want to pass another opportunity that some may not have, and also because I wanted to spend some quality time with my family. My dad knew how much I loved visiting places, so when he booked this trip, he made sure we would get to see to explore some bits of this beautiful country as well.

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First stop was in the enchanting island, Lefkada, which is situated quite close to the continent, and has Italian influences. This was my third time in Greece, and I have to say that no matter how many times I go, I am always captivated by the culture, the kindness of the people, and the sights. We got to visit the capital of the island, Lefkas, which had probably one of the the most beautiful Greek architecture I have ever seen. The streets screamed authenticity, beauty, culture and history. I had to stop for a moment, take in everything I was blessed enough to see. Dad and I probably took pictures of every little thing/detail we saw. That’s how fascinated we were. No matter how many times we visit Greece, it never fails to captivate our minds and souls.

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If I was enchanted by the first stop, the second one was far more superior in my eyes. It is the kind of sight not a lot of people  have the chance to see every day. It is a holy place, which, in my mom’s own words, is undoubtedly ethereal. Maybe that’s why it took me a month to write this, because no matter how hard I try, I cannot do Meteora justice with my words. We got to visit 5 incredible churches while we were there as well, and see where monks used to live. I cannot express enough the peace I felt while I was watching this view, this gift from nature, trying to memorize every inch and every detail.  I really hope that these pictures will suffice my lack of words, because I find myself speechless even in writing. Lefkada and Meteora will forever have a piece of my heart.

Until the next adventure X oiu

My road to Self Confidence (Part One)

“A flower doesn’t think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms”

There are 7.442 billion people on this beautiful Earth. Though this can be perceived as scary and leaning towards overpopulation of our planet, most of the time those numbers mean more than just a scale or an analysis. We often tend to forget that while we may be going through either an emotional time or difficulties in our lives, someone else out there may actually experience the same things. As humans, it is normal to share, to feel and to experience something similar. With this in mind, I want to share with you the beginning of my journey towards self acceptance and self confidence.

As a child, you never really comprehend what means to be confident. Once you gradually move towards becoming a teenager, everything you ever slightly thought about yourself changes. This is the “teen phenomenon” as I like to call it. It is a period of total confusion and hormonal change both in body and mind. I, of course, was a victim as every single one of you were. I remember the first time I actually gave a damn about the way I looked. I was 15 years old, ready to take my middle school graduation photos and right then and there my inner voice told me: you don’t look great.  After that moment, I began to be more and more aware of my imperfections, of my bushy and burned hair, of my smile, of my eyebrows etc. Having more and more pimples did not help as well. I cannot tell you or even count how many times I’ve stared at myself in the mirror, examining everything I thought was wrong with me. Soon, imperfection was all I saw. For the next four years of my life I would view everyone but myself as beautiful. How is it possible to find beauty everywhere else but not within you? My family would always tell me that I am beautiful, and though these comments were comforting, in the back of your mind you also think : oh but it’s their job to tell me this. 

In this fogginess of low self esteem, I never actually realised that what you feel about yourself is also felt by others around you. Until the age of 18 and even 19, I would not even accept my friends’ comments because I got it into my head that they were just being sweet. After I got my braces off (yes, I did wear braces for one year and a half), just before my 19th birthday, I finally felt a glimpse of that confidence everyone was telling me about. It was a great, but also, only the beginning. As I graduated high school, I started taking care of myself more. Instead of plugging the hell out of my eyebrows, I would let them grow and eventually find my natural shape. I started taking care of my hair which, at that time, unknown to many, was probably my biggest insecurity.  I was grateful of it being so thick and wavy but it was really difficult to manage especially because it was burned. I finally got rid of most of my pimples and my face was looking clean for once too. During this process, I also thought that I had to do this for everyone to like me more, especially guys. Yes, I said it. I wanted to look good for guys. Not the best goal to reach but I have to admit, it gave me the motivation I needed. Now, after I’ve matured a bit more, I’ve come to the conclusion that you should be confident for YOU, and not for anyone else. After all, you are all you’ve got and it would be a shame to continue hating yourself for the rest of your life.

As I am sitting here writing this, I cannot help but stress that I am nowhere near the finish line. I still have days when I don’t feel beautiful at all. Where I am now is probably the best level of confidence I’ve ever had. It is truly fulfilling to be able to get yourself out of your own damaging thoughts. I am really proud of how far I’ve come, and I will continue everyday to feel beautiful, to smile and to be confident. And so, this is just my first chapter, a start of a journey towards self love. I want each of you to know that you are gorgeous souls who deserve the world and beyond. Never let everyone else or even you let you down. You know what they say, you can be your worst enemy.

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A different kind of December 1st

The beginning of December usually means two things: Christmas is coming and, also, my country’s national day. It is a day of joy when people gather around in our city center to see the fireworks with their family and friends. Now, throughout the years have I never really went out on this particular day mainly because my introverted side was giving me reasons not to. Last year was actually the first time that I’ve managed to convince myself to give it a go and since I really enjoyed it I decided to go this year as well.

The night started off normally as I met up with some of my friends in our central park. We decided to first check out the Christmas market since the fireworks weren’t going to be until 8 PM. Honestly I don’t know if this was a mistake or not because even though we literally got squished in that crowd, we ironically ended up laughing so hard as we tried to find our way out from it. Amazingly enough though, most of the people had our flag in their hands while smiling and cheering. For me, that was a confirmation that there is unity, that there is love for this country. Words cannot describe what I felt especially during fireworks. It was a magical moment filled with beautiful music that made you feel like you were actually in one of the Harry Potter movies. Seeing everyone smile and be in awe of how beautiful the sky looked because of them warmed my heart. I guess it is true what they say: Beauty comes from little things. I felt truly blessed that I was able to be alongside people who were feeling the same emotions as I did.

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Before each of us went home, we stopped at a little restaurant since we were all freezing and starving. Truth be told, it is a horrible idea to search for a place where you can warm up and eat on that day. We could barely find a restaurant that had a table available. I think we knew better than to continue searching but we really wanted to spend more time together. Perseverance can be quite rewarding because after almost an hour of searching, just moments before giving up, we found that small restaurant. At that point, I didn’t even want to order anything since even the waiter said it would take a while for the food to come.

After the others ordered, one of my friends asked us if we wanted to play a game. Immediately I was intrigued by her idea. She suggested that we each answer honestly to some questions. I remember the way we looked at each other, unsure, maybe a bit scared, but also excited and ready for what was about to come. To say that we shared one of the most intimate moments in a restaurant is an understatement. The whole world shut down as five people were about to pour their hearts out and didn’t even know it. The first question:“Why would you want to fall in love and why would you not want to?” had pretty similar answers. We all believe that falling in love with someone can be the greatest thing but also the most challenging and there is always that risk that you will get hurt. We each took our turn and listened while the other person was giving their most sincere answer. The second question was: “What would you want to feel when you are in love?” Now this question got us to really think about what we actually wanted. My mind without even having time to process it all, immediately took me to a quote I once heard from The Vampire Diaries: “You want a love that consumes you. You want passion, adventure, and even a bit of danger”. As I said those words out loud, I could feel the others staring at me.  The attention they were giving me was like a door towards intimacy. It is a terrifying yet fulfilling emotion because you get to open up and be vulnerable. Each of us managed to express some things we didn’t know we wanted until they came through our mouths. I will never forget when one of my friends simply said: “I want love, yes, but I have to fix myself first, and I am not there yet”. When you think about it, how can you expect to be treated like the most special human being out there when you don’t do the same towards others.

The truth is, we all need to acknowledge that we are not perfect, that we are flawed  and we make mistakes. It is natural to want love, to want affection and safety but it is also important to work on yourself, to realise that yes, you are going to make mistakes, but as long as you want to fix yourself, everything is going to turn out just as it is supposed to be. We often tend to forget that we are enough on our own, that self love needs to come from within. And with this I want to say that yes, I want to love and be loved in return but at the same time I know I need to be a better person before actually having that chance. Love can be a subject some people would want to avoid talking about, which is precisely why I think we ended up discussing it. Not everyone can allow themselves to be vulnerable around others but they know, all of us know that love is the greatest thing we do.

 

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Exploring Transylvania: Sibiu

There was always something about travelling that intrigued me. Every time I would go to a new place, especially somewhere with so much history I would imagine people from different times walking on the streets that now I am walking on. It is a feeling that I can’t quite explain. If I said nostalgia it wouldn’t really cover the whole picture.

I have been blessed enough to be born in the magical land of Transylvania, which I suppose many of you have heard of. I like to call it the heart of Romania and, of course, my home. It is a place of wonder, where you can find everything from hills to forests to mountains to rivers to breathtaking views. To be honest, when I was little I never really appreciated that I was born here. For me it was just a simple country with ordinary lands. As I got older I got to explore more and more of this incredible part of my country and I fell in love. Everywhere I go is like a portal which is hiding numerous stories, myths and legends. You could even say that Transylvania is our own real life version of a fairy tale. I know that some of you may not agree with me but trust me when I say this, only when you visit this place you’ll fully understand.

Last Friday I went on a short trip with my best friend and a couple of our old classmates from high school. We visited, or should I say revisited one of the most beautiful cities Transylvania has to offer, which is Sibiu. On our way we first stopped at some ruins of a castle which even now gives you a taste of the past. I couldn’t help but imagine how people used to live at that time. This is something I do every time I visit a place like this. I put myself into the shoes of people who lived in that ancient place and create a short story in my mind of how it might have been if I was alive then. It’s a nostalgic and euphoric feeling.

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When we finally arrived in Sibiu, oh boy, I cannot tell you how happy I was. Even with the gloomy weather, inside I was like a kid in a candy shop. It’s probably been my 4th time visiting Sibiu and every time I go it seems like the city gets even more beautiful than it already was. Unfortunately, because of the semi bad weather I didn’t get a chance to take as many pictures of this incredible city as I wanted but I guess there’s always next time :D. We had about 5 hours to explore while praying to God that rain won’t ruin our trip completely. While I was walking on the paved streets, surrounded by old and beautiful buildings, I felt like I was in another century. In spite of having my phone and camera with me at all times, the way which this city made me feel erased traces of the technology for a few minutes. I was no longer living in 21th century, but somewhere far in the past which only my own mind could comprehend.

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Because of these enchanting places I am proud to call Transylvania my home. A land where my roots originate from, a land which can be perceived as a portal to a different time. Let me tell you, the stories you hear about Transylvania are just a small glance. The truth is unveiled when you actually see what it truly has to offer.

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Alive

We all have those days when you’re just struggling. Life is a roller coaster and while I’m just at the beginning of it, I too have bad days. Yet, between all that chaos there’s always something bright. No one can really hate all their bad experiences mainly because they happen for a reason, they guide you towards this foggy road called life. The more I am maturing the more I see that the world around us is of unimaginable beauty. There is always light at the end of the tunnel they say, and I almost agree. What we fail to realise is that between those dark days, right in the middle, there is a small glittering light desperate to get your attention. It can posses any form but most importantly, it’s always small things. And so, I’ve decided to share some moments when I’ve felt most alive in for of short stories. For me it’s a reminder of how amazing and unique life is.

I have this tradition with some of my friends to go on the rooftop of our local mall, mostly after it gets dark, to relax. We even put some music we used to listen to when we were little sometimes to get the nostalgia going. It’s an intimate moment when we are most vulnerable. I cannot say exactly what it is about that place that makes it special, but for us it is. It’s a place of no limits, no boundaries, a different world which separates us from the city covered in lights. The more we went there, the more we felt safe and confident so naturally those emotions awake a slightly wild side. I know what you’re thinking: introverts have a wild side? Well I am here to answer that dilema by saying that yes, we have it but it’s a different version. With that in mind, imagine 5 people screaming from the top of their lungs: “BLOODY HELL” in a failed British accent. It may not seem like much, but for me it’s everything because while I am screaming that, I also get the problems out of me.

This past summer I went to stay at one of my friends from College for a few days. She was so sweet and each day tried so hard to find interesting activities for us to do. What she didn’t know was that I was extremely happy just to be there. She doesn’t live in the city so she is surrounded by forests and mountains. At that time I really needed an escape to fix myself and the fact that I was even able to go there meant more than she’ll ever know. Her dad too was extremely nice and offered to show us around, or to put it into his words, to give us a taste of their home. We hopped on the back of his truck and held on tight as he drove us through their forest and hills. I have never in my entire life experienced that kind of freedom. It was like a drug. I couldn’t stop laughing and at one point my eyes started to form tears of joy. The wind was blowing through my hair and the fresh air of summer made me feel like I was in a fairy tale, like I was living my grandparents’ childhood. Being a full fledged city girl, of course I’ve never quite experienced the countryside life so all of this was new to me. For the first time in my life I truly felt what it means to be free.

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My best friend has a dog and she frequently asks me to join her when she walks him. We have a little area in our neighborhood where people walk their dogs. Even though it’s in the city, the little river near this place gives our neighborhood a taste of nature and piece. You can never fully grasp how a walk can calm you. It’s also a way for us to spend time together since we go to different schools now. She probably has no idea how much these walks mean to me. We can sit down on a bench and just chat about various things while watching dogs play. Being able to do this almost every week has kept me sane during school year. I can shed my problems, laugh and even play with the dogs. I cannot even put into words how happy I am every time we chase after him when he goes too far or when we bring some snacks with us or when we listen to the wind. In fact, the other day my best friend was telling me how much her dog helps and supports her. Right then and there I realised that yes, he helps her, but they also help me too.

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Every night I have dinner with my dad and my twin brother while my mom watches us. It’s become a habit for us, mainly because we don’t get to eat that often as a family. Dad started this since we were in middle school. He knew that we didn’t get to spend time together during the day because he and mom went to work while me and my brother went to school. Mom joined in too and so began our nightly meals together. They would always ask us about our day and vice versa, we would laugh as my mom and dad tease each other. I don’t think I ever understood how important this was and still is until recently. Every day I realise how blessed I am to have the most incredible parents out there who have done everything to give me and my brother the best life.  I now cherish these dinners as they are the most magical moments. It is truly amazing when we all laugh at my brother’s silly jokes or when my dad makes a narcissistic comment. I honestly believe that these dinners make us closer as a family and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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Afraid

 

I am afraid“. These three words are always the hardest to come out of my mouth. I don’t always like to admit it, mainly because I have this idea in my head that I would seem weak. We all are afraid of something and that’s normal, but sometimes it is hard to accept the idea of fear. It consumes us until the loneliness of that dark place becomes too overwhelming. I always have to remind myself that being afraid doesn’t make you weak. Admitting it actually makes you stronger. So, yes, I am afraid…I am afraid that my life isn’t going to be epic, adventurous, amazing and, most of all, inspiring.

Lately I’ve been feeling like I am trapped in this dungeon which keeps me from the outside world. I only know half the way to reach the and and escape. To be honest, I actually don’t know what I want to do with my life, which path I should take, and everyday I become more and more confused. I know that I want an extraordinary life, filled with passion, adventure and even a little bit of danger( quoting Damon Salvatore a bit there hehe 😀 ) but I don’t know how to fulfill those things. I am so afraid that my life will end up being ordinary, and while most of the people want that, I actually don’t. Every life has a purpose, and I want mine to be special, to be inspiring. There is just so much more to this life than ordinary. I see all these people changing lives, doing extraordinary things and I’m just sitting here, doing nothing. This bothers me the most. I guess Belle’s words really represent me, they are a part of me, the part which is desperate to get out. Not everyone understands my desires, which makes me feel even lonelier. My conscious wants to scream, to be set free but I just really don’t know how to do that.

            “I want adventure in the great wild somewhere,

          I want it more than I can tell…

         And for once it might be grand

        To have someone understand

          I want so much more than they’ve got planned”

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I feel trapped and it is terrifying to think that maybe I won’t ever get out. There must be a way out, there must be something to help me escape this blur. It is a very lonely road ahead of me and while I don’t really now it yet, I am ready to face every challenge, every hardship just so I could find who I’m supposed to be. I hope it will be worth it… That I am worthy of an extraordinary life…

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    I want to LIVE