Living with Anxiety

Anxiety might be the disease of our generation. We hear about it, we read about it, but few really know the magnitude of a mental instability. Millennials might have a lot of advantages given by timing, but they are also the most unstable generation.

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I still remember as if it was yesterday the first anxiety crisis that I felt, I was at work and this guy that I was seeing was messing with my head for over a week. He was hot and cold, telling me nice things in the evening and breaking up with me in the morning. I started to feel very agitated as if the whole world would collapse on my head, I was unable to concentrate and the most horrible scenarios were running through in my head. Not quite able to cry, but unable to think straight, this state didn’t go away easily. After the inevitable break-up took place, I still felt those crises for a long period of time, although less often, they never really went away.

Even today as I am writing this, I most likely experienced at least one small episode of anxiety. The best definition I could give is the moment when you think about the worst case scenario that could happen to you, constantly worrying about what can go wrong and even when things are going well, imagining that something bad is about to happen. Changes are very hard to accept and I get agitated when I am not in control of the situation. To all of this, I can also add insomnia and bad dreams. This is the manifestation that I get, most likely every person will experience anxiety differently.

There are many ways you can diminish the effects, for me practising a sport or petting an animal usually does the trick, but going to therapy and medication, should always be an option if you are felling the situation is getting out of control. A while ago I went to a few therapy sessions and they really made a difference on how I managed to snap out of a crisis. Today, when I start to feel that I get anxious about things, I try to find a solution for the worst case scenario and analyze if this issue will still matter to me in 5 years. This makes me realize that I can face whatever problem might occur.

If you are suffering from anxiety you should ask for a specialized opinion since it is hard for friends or family to understand what you are going through. It is as if a person without a phobia,  would tell someone with it to not be afraid. All mental illnesses should be addressed, ignoring them will not make them disappear but only get worst. Also if you are having a friend that is suffering from it, don’t minimize the problem, it is not something that can be easily controlled.

 

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The Exclusive Club of the Married ones

Being in my late 20’s, naturally, I have a lot of friends that are either married, getting married or having kids. Although this is part of life and in a traditionalist society mandatory to happen, for me, marriage is not, and probably will never be, the most important event in my life.

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Talking to one of my friends who got married last year, she pointed out how things changed after she said “yes” and how she now became part of this exclusive club where only married people are allowed. Furthermore, she tried to convince me that I should persuade my boyfriend to propose so that we could officially join this club.

I couldn’t help myself from being amused when I heard yet another story about the superiority of the married ones. Unfortunately, many of this fancy club members, not long after the big event, ended up going to another exclusive club, those of the mistresses, only to take a break from the other club that isn’t making them happy anymore.

To me, marriage is a tradition, similar to the Christmas tree, nice to have but not mandatory! I can have an amazing Christmas even without the tree! If I choose to have one is only because that is making ME happy and not because I should do it for the society or for joining a club.

When a couple decides to go through this process, they should be at that point in their relationship where they are happy and stable. They should definitely NOT try to fix their relationship using marriage and should never think that they are about to become the owners of the other person. The “marriage” paper will not be tattooed on the other’s person face, so this is not a guarantee that he/she is now “officially” yours.

Feeling superior only because you are now married, is just wrong and disrespectful to the “other” kind, this will only create a gap between single and married people. Being single is not a synonym for being unhappy, I’ve seen far more unhappy people in a relationship, official or not, than single ones. On Earth, there is plenty of space for both camps, so there is no need for taking sides, if you are happily married then I am happy, just try not to convince me to join you, I know better than you what is making ME happy.

 

 

Traveling: Unlocking Chicago, The Windy City

For the second time in America, I got the chance to visit one of the most famous cities in the country, Chicago, home of Chicago blues and “Chicago-style” Dixieland jazz.

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Although the buildings are not as big as the ones in New York, there is something about Chicago that makes you feel like you are living the American dream. Most of the tall buildings had a pink light on the top in October for the Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in the city center, the Cancer Survivors’ Garden is placed. It is a good place to visit and read the survivor’s stories, a beautiful tribute that the city has brought to its people.

In the Millennium Park, the Cloud Gate is found, but most likely everyone will be referring to it as “the bean”, a modern sculpture that attracts thousands of tourists each day, The stairs in front of it are usually filled with people having coffee and enjoying the sun. For me it was amazing to see a mix of cultures all together having fun, it is the absolute vibe that a city can give me.

During the night the city lights up, the clubs open their doors and line gets formed at the entry of almost all the bars. If you have a chance try a Malicious, Maligned Malört shot, it is probably the worst shot I ever took, but it was definitely an interesting experience. If you had too much to drink, make sure you grab a “Chicago Hot-Dog” before you go to sleep, trust me when I tell you, it is not your usual hot-dog.

Another dish that you have to try while you are here is Giordano’s deep dish pizza. Tastes nothing like pizza, but more like a lasagna on a pizza dough. One slice was enough for me and the boys couldn’t have more than 2 slices, so make sure you are hungry when going to Giordano’s.

The most breathtaking view from Chicago will be from the Willis Tower, a 110-story skyscraper from where you get the 360″ view of the city.  Also, you will get the chance to walk on glass and see the city right under your feet, make sure you are not afraid of highs, it is a rush to walk on glass.

On my only no-work day, I manage to go to the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. In the museum, the Jurassic World exposition was held, so I relived one of my childhoods favorite movie. I highly recommend both places for a cold day when you want to learn some new stuff.

Since my time in Chicago was limited to a week and a half and I also had to work in 5 of the days, I didn’t get the chance to see all that was to see. Furthermore, the weather wasn’t on my side and I had rain in 4 of the days and I couldn’t take the architectural boat tour, but it is definitely on the list for the next time.

 

The Thing I Love Most about America

Traveling around the world gives you a lot of inside regarding other cultures: how they live and what are their favorite activities, but only a few of them offer diversity in the same way North America does. If there is one thing you will get to enjoy in the USA that is definitely the cultural diversity.

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Last time I was here, I was a colleague with people from all around the globe. Unfortunately, they were here only for the experience of visiting the USA and they went back home when summer was over. This time was a little different since I got to work with Americans that were borne in other countries, were living in the US and were American citizens.

Apart from the work environment, if you are to walk the streets, you would see a lot of cultures, a mixture of skin colors, different sexual orientation, and a million fashion styles. Beauty is definitely not defined by any “fixed” standards.

One day as I was getting coffee, I noticed one of the girls from Starbucks was looking almost identical to Rihanna, she had those amazing grey eyes and her beauty really got me staring for a while. Another girl from the office was having Asian features and an amazing purple hair that made her stand out from the crowd. The Brazilian guy that is my colleague has an amazing laugh and the American one tells the best jokes. All very different, but all friends and partners that are working towards the same goal.

Apart from seeing beauty in a thousand ways, you will also learn their stories and more about their original culture. All of this, over American drinks, in an American bar, just as “normal” Americans, feeling integrated into a huge team that oversees all barriers. The fact that we were Romanians was definitely not an issue and none was considering us foreigners.

I was really happy to see that the recent ‘hate’ movements did not get the best of people and I hope that the idea of stereotypes in beauty and normality will be dropped in the future. We are all part of this amazing world and there is plenty of space for all of us, no need for wickedness.

 

 

Ambition and Motivation

Today I am writing this article from a hotel in Chicago. If you would have told me this would happen 6 years ago I would have never believed you, still, here I am. Last time I was in the states I was a waitress and a cashier, today I am a team lead for QA and the hotel that I am staying in, cost more than the money I made in the 3 months I worked here last time. What drove me here? Motivation and ambition.

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Ever since I heard about the possibility of visiting America with the Work and Travel program, I knew that is something that I wanted to do, so I worked hard to gather the money, borrowed the remaining part and left home with a pocket full of dreams. What I found there, was far from the fairy-tale that I imagined.

In the 4 months that I spent in US, I worked my a*s off, from cleaning hotel rooms to being a cashier at an amusement park, from waitressing, to kitchen help and cleaning off golf courses. It was a very long summer with a lot of work and no money. Most of the jobs were already gone by the time we arrived and the ones that were promised to us were part-time instead of full time, so we ended up trying to do any possible thing to gain some extra dollars.

One day as I went to the modest accommodation that I was sharing with 4 more people, I promised myself that I will never let myself be in the position of weeding the golf course or cleaning Jacuzzies, I knew I was better than this.

At the beginning of summer I was thinking that America was a dream place, at the end of it I realized that the American dream was my personal nightmare, so I promised myself one more thing: I will return here, but on completely different terms.

After 6 years of working in the IT field, sometimes even 2 jobs, here I am: on a business trip to Chicago to meet the client we will collaborate with on the new project. I am now alongside my team and carrying more money for shopping that I took home the last time I was here. It was not an easy thing to do and from time to time I get anxiety over the amount of work or the lack of time for myself, but I know that in the end, I need to go forward with my career and make myself proud.

Are you happy with where you are today?

Are you living the life you want?

Are you working on making your dreams come true?

You only get to live once, work for your dreams and make your wishes come true, none else will do it for you.

Training like an angel #VS

Today as I was scrolling down my Facebook wall, I came across a live video showing Alessandra Ambrosio along with her trainer giving us all a glimpse of her workout and inviting us to try it ourselves. Since it was at the very beginning, I went along and did the exercises with them. Here is what I learned in the 30-minute workout.

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Angels have won the lottery of the genes!

Even the trainer said that Alessandra has an amazing body, the perfect proportions (duh!!!)  and she only needs her workout to keep her in shape and her skin&muscles fit. So once again, us – the average people, are sucking for not being lucky enough to have the perfect body.

Angels train with their makeup on ?!?!

Both girls were wearing makeup, the coach was even wearing her hair down. Although they were saying that this is the exact workout they are doing, I have my doubts. I am not particularly happy with this type of example, make sure you remove your makeup before hitting the gym since you don’t want a rash popping on your face.

After 20 minutes Alessandra was already complaining?!?!

I am not a fit person, used to be, but not anymore. When I was a teenager I used to be horseback rider and for 8 years, I used to spend 2 hours a day, 2 days a week at the club. It has been almost 10 years since then and I am not currently doing any sport, running every once in a while, but nothing constant. Yet after 20 minutes, I was not complaining as bad as she was. Either she was pushing herself harder or she was just nervous knowing the camera was on, I just cannot believe that they are less accustomed to the sport than I am.

Keeping a balanced diet is mandatory for having a fit body.

No matter how much sport they make, it is clear that their body reflects their diet. Losing weight or getting fit cannot be achieved only by working out, it can be accomplished by having a healthy diet, mental stability and practicing sport regularly.

Work hard, stay focused!

I love Alessandra Ambrosio and she is one of my favorites angels. Furthermore, I truly believe that these women are coming from a different planet than the rest of us, but also I believe that there is a lot of work behind their success along with a lot of help from their genes. From the outside, their life might appear to be all glam and fun and we might be left to believe that they have it all, but there is also the huge pressure of being in their world.

I appreciate her and the rest of the angels for sharing their workout with us, but I would appreciate it even more if they would try to connect less with the audience and focus more on the workout. Looking forward to the next videos, this first one made me curious to see how the other girls keep their body in that perfect shape.

Traveling: Disneyland Paris

As a little child, I have always dreamed of going to Disneyland, it was the land of fantasies and cartoons, of dreams and princess. Even if today I am no longer a kid, I can still feel as one, so I decided to treat myself with a ticket to the most visited park in Europe: Disneyland Paris.

Located in the 5th area of Paris, Disney now holds 2 parks: Adventure park and the Disney Studios. The day ticket is valid to one of them and it’s 42 euros per person during the week. Make sure you purchase the tickets from the official website if you want the best price. You can also purchase the skip the line ticket, that might come in useful if you don’t want to spend 2 hours in line as I did. Getting to the park is very easy and once you get out of the train station you will get to see the Disney universe all around. The entire town is actually made from the 2 parks.

From the moment I got into the park, I felt I was 10 again! I think in the first moments my eyes had happy tears in them, and I was running around like crazy. Was definitely one of the best days of my life. Bell’s castle is right in the middle of the park and on the way to it, you will get to walk through the American street, filled with shops and restaurants. The amusement park is divided into 3 types of activities: adventure, fun with the little ones and family activities. Make sure you take a map when you get it, you will need to find yourself the way throughout the park.

The lines can be a bit problematic, so make sure you get there when they open, around 10am. We managed to ride the train that circles the park, took a ride on the boat, went to the Pirates of the Caribbean carousel, the Wild West train carousel (where we waited in line for almost 2h) and last but definitely not least the Space Mountain from Star Wars. The last one is the most “terrifying” one since it rides at a high speed and turns you upside down. Furthermore, the screaming of the people that are riding before you are not reassuring at all, but the experience is amazing, adrenaline rush at full speed.

Make sure you wander around the maze from the Alice in Wonderland, visit the Queen of Hearts castle, climb in the tree house, visit Aladdin’s castle and, if you are really patient or lucky, take a picture with your favorite characters. I got to see Minnie and Chip&Dale, but the line was way too long for me to take a picture with them.

All around the park you will find stores with Disney articles. So you can purchase presents for your loved ones and for yourself, clearly. Also when you want to grab a bite, there are numerous places where you can eat while looking at the amazing park.

Personally, I would add the park to the bucket list of all the 90’s kids that grew up with the Disney movies and cartoons. To me, it was like turning back the time and seeing the kid that loved to play and dream. I was at last in the home of the favorite characters that now awaited for me to come and play. All of the costumes and the carousels are amazingly well made and you really get to lose yourself in their world.

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