What I’ve learned in 2017

Every year means change, and with change come valuable lessons. I never really understood the true purpose of growing up, of maturing and becoming independent, just like my parents did before me and my grandparents before them. The process is at first slow, or at least our young minds perceive it as such. Then high school comes and just for a second you believe you know exactly what you want, that you know who you are and what life has to offer. This though, cannot be further from the truth. Eventually University knocks at your door, a new chapter which is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. At first, you enjoy the liberties to a point when it becomes almost like a drug. This independence has never been as strong and persistent until now. This freedom is a blessing and a curse. While it can be fulfilling, it can also be blinding. Somewhere along the line, life wakes you up in the middle of an enormous mess.

2017 has been a year of revelations, a year which impacted me in more ways than one. A new piece has been placed in the puzzle of life, and along with it, my perception of myself and what’s around me also changed. I want to start by saying that all my life I had this view that I had to be perfect. I would watch various Disney movies and believe that I was worthy of having what those princesses had. Though it’s an unrealistic thinking, I must admit that I am a dreamer and I tend to overthink some aspects. I carried this with me for a long time and I forgot to actually live in the present. I treated everything in a childish manner and this made me become someone I wasn’t. And so, I’ve learned that yes, you can have dreams, but you cannot wait for God or anyone to make them come true. I’ve learned that it is impossible to control everything you’re feeling. It is completely normal to feel anxious or depressed from time to time. You feel, you care, you love. You are not a robot. I’ve learned that you should not take anything you have for granted. You are so lucky and blessed to have people in your life that truly care about you and love you with all their heart. It is easy to forget what is really important and also equally easy to complain about everything that is going wrong in your life. You forget that others may have it much worse than you but they know how to hide their sorrow better than you. I’ve learned that you can dream like a kid, but you can’t always act like one. This is not a game anymore. It is time grow up, to start your true journey and there are going to be some obstacles in your way which you never even thought of. Although at times they can get the best of you, remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and a lesson to be learned. Also, you are HUMAN. You are bound to make mistakes. If you ever thought you can be perfect, nope, you can’t. Everyone makes mistakes, but you cannot use them as excuses. It may hurt when the ugly truth is unveiled, but be GRATEFUL because though it may seem strange, it lifts a weight of your shoulders. Things will start to make sense and it is up to you if you want to learn from those mistakes, move on and try to be a better person. I’ve learned that God can help you even in the darkest of times, even when you’ve lost all your faith. And finally, I’ve learned that YOU CANNOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. Everyone has their own unique path. The things which others want may not necessarily be what you want. Jealousy is a tricky emotion and can change you into someone you do not recognize. This past year I’ve learned more about jealousy than ever. It can consume you so much that you start treating the people around you in a way they don’t deserve. You may push them away, hurt them without realising the damage you’re making. Always remember what is most important to you. Do not be jealous of other people’s success. Instead, encourage them, be happy for them because you would want the same thing too.

I now close this chapter of my life with the idea that everything I have gone through thus far has made me want to become better. By regaining my faith, I have come to see that imperfection has its own beauty because it challenges you to be a better person. From now on, I am going to remind myself how blessed and loved I am and that dreams can come true if you believe and work hard for them. Each lesson makes you wiser and more aware of the world you live in.

To conclude this awfully long post, here’s to a new year and a new beginning. May all your dreams come true and may you fight each challenge that will come towards you with the fire I know each and every one of you has!

‘Cause every night I lie in bed

The brightest colors fill my head

A million dreams are keeping me awake

I think of what the world could be

A vision of the one I see

A million dreams is all it’s gonna take

A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make’

– A million dreams (The greatest showman)

Xx

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.

 

XX

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.

XX

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.

XX

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 

 

Escape

Everyone needs an escape once in a while. This world is so imperfect sometimes that we have to find a way to recharge our batteries. Most of us want a quiet place, where your thoughts stop flowing like crazy maniacs and try to mess with you. It is a shelter of warmth and security, a mini “paradise” which allows you to escape reality or disappointment. And believe me, I’ve had my fair share of disappointments from people who I barely knew and people who were closest to me. There is nothing we can do about it other than trying to accept things as they are and be prepared for what’s to come. In other words, an escape place is essential to our mind. Some people search for it for years and others don’t realise that it’s just sitting there, right under their nose.

Ever since I was little I was drawn to the artistic side of life. I hated the logical point of view. I wanted to explore, to imagine, to comment and go beyond rational meaning. I was also drawn to drawing. I found this unexplainable joy whenever I would touch a pencil. If only did i know at that time just how much I would need drawing. As I grew up, I began to rely more and more on it. I was a bit of a loner back then, I didn’t mind it at first but at around 13 years old I began to worry about myself because every summer from 6th grade until the 8th grade I would be alone and drawing was the only thing that brought me happiness. I made comics of the person that I wanted to be, this powerful, confident, intelligent girl that could do anything she wanted without caring what others thought. Instead of thinking how lonely I was, I would just draw. My mind would stop shouting negativity as I was holding my pencil.

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After I entered high school for some reason I stopped drawing. I was no longer the lonely girl and I started to change, to shape into a better and more confident person. And so, I almost gave up drawing because I didn’t feel like I needed it anymore. How wrong was I… My senior year was probably the hardest year I’ve ever had to face. On one hand I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life and I was also going through some personal stuff too. One day though, everything changed. Somehow my passion for drawing came back and I was really nervous at first to pick up a pencil again, but I knew I had to do it. I questioned my ability to draw, of course, since it’s been a couple of years since I last made a proper sketch. I was scared that maybe I’ve lost it and I disappointment was written all over my faced as I realised how I’ve neglected a gift, a talent that got me through so many things. At that moment all I could think was “Okay, if I really lost my ability to draw I will do everything in my power to get it back.”

The thing is, when you love something that much you just can’t even process the possibility of it fading away from your grasp. I made my first few lines and from there, my mind stopped worrying. “I forgot how much I loved this” I thought. And from then on I couldn’t stop. Believe it or not, even with those years when I didn’t really practice my drawing, my skills were now better than ever. From then on, a new world was born, a world that will never disappear, a world which will never let me stop drawing ever again because if I really were to completely stop, it would be like losing the ability to breathe. Some people try their hardest to find their escape, and mine has been there all along but I was oblivious of its existence. “This is my escape” I whispered…

 

 

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PS: I have an Instagram dedicated to my drawings if you want to check it out @acourtofartanddreams