December 30, 2009

Fasten your seatbelts

I wasn't a big fan of Malev Airlines until recently, to be precise until 30 minutes ago, when I found out that my flight from Budapest to Warsaw has been cancelled. I figured it was crazy enough to be running around from one airport to another on New Year's Eve, yet they managed to surprise me and make the end of this year as memorable as it gets. They're sending me home via Helsinki. I'm so excited and pleasantly surprised (it's the first time in many many years that things with the airlines don't go according to plan) that I'm not even going to file a complaint for not being informed about this change and having to discover it myself. Luckily, I tend to become a control freak every now and then and double check everything, from the tiniest pieces of jewelry I have to pack to the flight schedule.

December 24, 2009

Mix 'em up

I've decided to go pro and take a bartending course.
Starting January 18th, this will be my new classroom. Adding up to the valuable knowledge acquired in the tent.
This is the best Christmas present I could come up with to celebrate my gorgeousness.
I've started counting down the days.

December 9, 2009

Top 3 Poznan

Last week I had to go to Poznan, which is just your average Polish city, neither better, nor worse than other Polish cities. Once I took care of the business aspect of my trip, true to my pub-crawling calling, I started wandering the streets searching for that one place I'd associate Poznan with, much in the same way I associate Cracow with Alchemia, Łódź with Łódź Kaliska, Kato with the tent and so on. Finding it wasn't that difficult, I don't know if because of the red walls, Lenin's bust staring from the window or simply because of the name: Proletaryat. There's tons of stuff inside the pub, from old radios and propaganda posters to flags, medals and portraits, pretty much resembling one of those museums of communism where the owners collected everything and anything they could get their hands on, as long as it was a reminder of the epoch.

However, a pub alone will not convince me to go back to a city that didn't make a very strong impression upon me. But a pub like this + Baudelaire + organic food might do the trick. Poznan is the only place I know, until know, where you can rent a room called Flowers of Evil.

Or perhaps Room with a View. Or Portrait of a Lady. And, according to the owner, this is only the beginning of Artrooms.
The third reason why I'm definitely going back is this place called Ekowiarnia which looks fantastic and serves only organic food in a very cozy atmosphere, the perfect setting for an early morning.

I think I'm beginning to like business trips.

About last night

I arrived at the concert in a state of mental confusion, high on codeine and not at all sure I'd make it out of there alive. However, later on that night Eugene warned us that after the concert we're all going home dead, so I didn't feel so strange anymore. When I first saw the stage, I thought I was hallucinating. Behind the drum kit, there was a huge banner with The Sounds. I knew they were in Poland and they were supposed to perform in Warsaw and Poznan, but I didn't even dare to dream about seeing them opening for Gogol (true, it's not exactly a predictable combination and they hardly have anything in common, except maybe the fact that I am in love with their lead singers). I still don't know how & why this happened, anyway, half an hour later, Maja was on stage, with her perfect moves and perfect looks, super sexy and just a tiny bit vulgar, in her black leather pants and high heels, even lovelier than I'd expected her to be. It was simply fabulous. Made me forget all about my fever. By the time Gogol showed up on stage, I was in a very good shape. Some might say too good. As I was jumping and screaming and dancing, I felt a tap on the shoulder and I was advised to settle down, as people are actually trying to watch the concert. Now I don't know if that guy knew he was at a Gogol Bordello concert, or if he had any clue about the band and the music. And anyway, what was he doing in the first row? Coming from the Balkans, namely from the country that's most of the times mistaken for the land of gypsies, I felt very entitled to be extra-noisy and energetic. It all sounded and felt very familiar :) I even felt very proud when Eugene screamed from the top of his lungs "Respect to all Romani people around the world". Luckily, in a few minutes, people stopped standing still, at least in the first rows, which got us rid of Mr. Complainy Pants and of the couples who figured they found a good place to cuddle right in front of the stage. I find it very sweet when guys are protective of their girlfriends, but if you're gonna drag her in the middle of the pogo, you're gonna let her take it like a man.
I got home at midnight, unable to speak, move or hear.
But I also figured out you can be utterly happy even if you're surrounded by 500 strangers. As long as the music is good.
When I woke up, I counted five bruises and it took me the whole morning to get used to the ringing in my ears. When I started hearing again, I cancelled the appointment with the shrink. I figured I could try fighting dark moods and darker thoughts with cough syrup and drums, at least for a little while longer.

December 7, 2009

Not at all according to plan

I'm in bed with a fever and a throat so sore I don't dare drag one smoke. Tonight I discovered I'm not such a bad cook, then again after all the effort I put in making that soup, I'm not going to admit the contrary, even if it was true. I took way too many pills and the only effect is that I'm rather sedated. Following an old Polish recipe, I mixed tea, vodka and honey in a last desperate attempt to bring myself back to normal. Every inch of my body hurts so bad that I can barely move.
In exactly 18 hours, I have to be in the best shape ever. I won't let a flu spoil the night I've been looking forward to since mid-October. And I'm not going to drag my ass to the concert just to stand in the last row and miss all the fun.
Not with this on stage:

December 2, 2009


I faked my hair colour when I was 15. I faked leather and fur and loved it. I sometimes faked happiness, I faked relationships, I faked tears to get what I wanted, I faked interest in things I didn't really care about. Two weeks ago I wore a fake tattoo, to make sure the real one will look just right. I faked piercings before getting real ones. Now I'm seriously considering fake blue eyes. I faked having control over my life and ended up asking for professional help when I realized I couldn't fake it anymore.
I'm beginning to think I could fake just about anything. With one exception. And that's probably the one thing I should be faking, but my art has not yet reached that level of refinement. I can't fake belonging to a world that I find repulsive in every way. In some particular situations, I can't fake smiles, smell like cheap perfume and pretend we have anything in common. Drugstores should sell antidotes to hypocrisy and the level of shallowness should be regulated by law. And in the meantime, I should find my very own antidote. Otherwise, I fear one day I will throw up right in the middle of a fancy event. And there wouldn't be anything fake about it.

The Masque of the Red Death

"It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade".
Last night, I had a very distinct Edgar Allan Poe feeling.

November 26, 2009

Home sweet home

Being particularly moody for the past three days and in a mental condition that could be qualified as mediocre (and only because I'm being gentle to myself) I decided I could use a break and do some chores around the house. I figured it could take the edge off my anger and anyway it was about time I redecorated, it's been almost two months since I moved in. By midnight, the house was a mess and so was I. My back still hurts because I insisted to move the sofa around the living room and find the perfect setting for the bookshelves. By 2 am, I had scrubbed and polished every inch of the apartment. I was pretty content with the result, so I moved on to doing the laundry. Big mistake. One hour later, my kitchen was practically flooded and in the morning I had some explaining to do in front of my neighbours. I had barely managed to recover after the pipe-changing trauma, and now this. So I called the owner to complain - she's very maternal and seems to have understood I'm not exactly skilled when it comes to house issues, and she sent someone over to look at the washing machine. Turns out it was not just the washing machine, but also the pipes in the kitchen, so as I'm writing these lines, my kitchen is a disaster, I'm in no mood to clean again, my back still hurts but I am very excited about having moved the desk next to the window. I have a splendid view of the Palace of Culture and Science. Tomorrow, some people from the telephone company will come over to fix some cables.
I'm looking forward to seeing what next week has in store for me.
Maybe it's time I painted the walls purple.

November 22, 2009


will be a very good year for cultural & artistic projects. The past few weekends spent in Kato were not only about fun & bartending & friends. I've become immune to most of the things happening around me, and for the first time in my life I feel focused and 100% involved. The ideas are not just in my head anymore, they've become a plan, I know what the next move is, and this gives me the feeling that everything - and anything - is possible. It's finally time I gave something back to the community :) It's gonna be loud, colorful and gorgeous.

November 15, 2009

Let's get out and vote

Next week we're supposed to go vote the future president of Ro. Of course this is a very popular topic, I can't avoid talking about it, yet again I can't be serious about it either, as the one thing that comes to my mind is one of my favourite South Park episodes ever.
The kids have to choose a new school mascot, Stan refuses to vote because the options are a giant douche and a turd sandwich, so he is banished from the city and ends up living with some PETA members somewhere in the woods. And there he finds out that it's always between some douche and some turd, they're the only ones who will suck up to make it so far in politics.

Here's the soundtrack of this week:

And P.S. I'm not voting, so please stop nagging me.

Turn on, tune in, drop out

I've tried to cope with the fact that on the reading list for my MA in Translation Studies there is not a single book on theory of translation, with the lack of updated information about translation techniques, even with the recommendation that we should ask Google for help when in doubt (I thought that goes somehow without saying, and even though I love Google and appreciate all the help & support, I can't actually base my academic career on his teachings). I did my best to translate contracts, letters of attorney, texts about companies and capital and memorandums of association, even texts about microscopes and tools and printers.
When I figured out this is all we'll be doing, I was very disappointed, for it has nothing to do with my future plans and the translations I see myself doing.
I also figured out that lately I've had very little time for myself, so everything I do outside work has to be meaningful and strongly connected to the things I plan to write and do in the following years. I can't afford to waste any more time, except for the 8 hours I spend in the office.
And that's why I'm done with that MA, taking the matter into my own hands and doing some reading on my own, while switching back to Philology, for the time being. And hopefully, by the time I start writing my PhD, I'll find myself at the right Uni, with a better reading list.

November 13, 2009

On poetry & events. From another world

Maybe I'm not the most optimistic person when it comes to literary events, then again, I did have some unfortunate experiences, both in Romania and in Poland. On the other hand, certain happenings and certain people - the ones who power these happenings - are the living proof that you can make a point, a valid statement and at the same time enjoy literature of the finest quality.
Although sometimes they might seem to come from another world. Because of such affirmations:
The thing is we managed rather quickly to convince everyone - that was basically the easiest thing, because very many institutions all around the world are interested to promote their poetry. It wasn’t that hard to convince people of the project and to get the network partners, and the partners we got in Germany, they were just convinced of the concept of an international network that promotes German poetry worldwide and at the same time getting poetry from everywhere else into Germany.
Meet Boris Nitzsche, one of the founders of - the poetry platform I was writing about after my return from Berlin. You can read the whole interview here and, if you read in Romanian, check out the next issue of Noua Literatura.

November 12, 2009

Brave New World

One of the best things about living in Warsaw, and not just anywhere in the city, but in my neat, recently refurbished apartment, is that on a Wednesday night you can just cross the street, sit down and listen to Timothy Garton Ash speaking about Europe and the art of bringing down walls.
The conference was organized by Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique), which is Poland's largest left-wing circle of intellectuals and activists, an intellectual journal, a publishing house, a multimedia internet service and a socio-cultural center in Warsaw. They have recently moved to a new location, and so we became neighbours. The new headquarters are on Nowy Swiat street, hence the very inspired name - Nowy Wspanialy Swiat (Brave New World). The pub on the ground floor is the perfect place to hang out and have a few drinks after the meetings / workshops / conferences, so I think that after two months in Warsaw I finally found the place where I belong.

And a grumpy afternoon

About one month ago, the Romanian publisher of The Book & The Eye contacted me asking if I'd be interested in the organization of an event related to the two books, as The Eye has recently been released on the Romanian market. Of course I instantly said yes - how could I have been so foolish? I had written the most wonderful book-party-proposal for The Book, but the party never happened. So I let myself fooled for the second time, and came up with another idea for a book party. This time, it was even better, as the event was to take place during the Book Fair in Bucharest. So I got all excited and wrote the proposal, from the general concept of the party down to the details about posters and other printed materials.
In the meantime, they gave up the whole book party thing and replaced it with a presentation of the book(s) on the fairground, together with the other books in the SF & Fantasy collection. They still wanted me to speak at the event. I, on the other hand, didn't.
No wonder book events never manage to have a (numerous) public. Because publishers still think their job is done once the book is printed, and most of the times they lack strategy, innitiative and courage. And a business plan. Literature does need these things, at least from time to time, but it is advisable to have them on a regular basis, if we expect people to buy books and, well, read them.

The grumpiest morning of them all

November is a very tough month to handle in Poland. I don't remember it being so problematic back in Romania, what I do remember is that last year I wanted to forget this month ever existed in my calendar. By the end of it, I was totally depressed and it took me quite a lot to get over the mess in my head and get back to my old self.
Luckily, this year things seem to be going a little better, not in the way that my days start with a boost of energy and enthusiasm, but rather in the way that they don't end in tears or dissatisfaction.
However, an unexpected twist of events is threatening my stability and forcing me to step out of my comfort zone, thus raising my anxiety level.
For some reason, the administrator of my building decided November was a good time for us to change the pipes in our flats. This leads to a series of complications, from the mere fact that you can't take one step outside without looking dustier and messier than the workers who actually do work and you'd expect them to be dusty and messy, to new sleeping behaviours, as most likely, starting 7 a.m., there'll be some banging, smashing and drilling that's impossible to ignore. And let's not forget that water supplies are scarce and you never know when the taps run dry. It may very well be on a morning like this. I think it was before 7 that a bunch of joyful workers knocked on my door, just to check if the pipes were ok and to see if the wall needs refurbishing (the answers are yes and yes). Then I heard some strange noise and for a second I thought the whole building would collapse. Let's say I could have lived with that, but not managing to rinse my hair properly and using only leave-in conditioner, now that sucks big time.
So I sort of solve the hair problem, leave the house without drinking my coffee, 15 minutes later I'm at the office, only to find out that the building is being refurbished.
It's not even noon and I'm exhausted, I have a bad hair day, I hate drinking my first coffee at the office, the weather is extra-shitty and in exactly 10 minutes I have a meeting.
Still, I'm very happy I'm not depressed. Over the years, I've had quite a reasons to cry, most of them fictional, true, nevertheless I considered them good reasons. But I've never cried because of pipes and it wasn't exactly something I was striving to add to the list.

P.S. I just published this post on the Learn Polish With Sam & Bilus blog :)

November 3, 2009

Berlin, part 2: all the other experiences

So we've had our fair share of poetry. We found out stuff about cultural organizations and projects, we met some very cool people and experienced the kind of professional yet laid back and relaxed attitude which leads to things getting done with double the fun.
But we weren't there just for the poems and the music.
Despite the fact that I can't stand hearing German - I find it very irritating, which might sound odd, coming from someone who's practically mad about a Slavic language that's not exactly beautiful either - I have to say I caught the virus. I finally understood why some of my best friends were so excited about Berlin. The city is exceptionally user friendly, inspiring and tonic. And even though it may seem random, rather like a puzzle with misfitting pieces, it's so wonderfully organized, that it's impossible to feel at a loss. It feels just right from the very first minutes, as if there was a different Berlin for each, perfectly adapting and adjusting itself to its people. No wonder it felt so familiar from the moment I got off the train. And this is highly unusual for me, since I get anxious in new places, at least until I get to taste their coffee, which is my dating ritual when it comes to cities. Berlin and I could have been a perfect match, if only it didn't speak German.

Since I only had little time to explore it, I decided to give up the "act-like-a-local" routine and adopt the "act-like-the-tourist-that-you are" routine. I must say I find the first one rather overrated, now they even print maps for tourists who want to act like locals, and taking into account the fact that I only had one day and a few hours at my disposal, in this particular situation it was useless to pretend I was something else than a mere tourist.

Meeting Ana was definitely one of the highlights. Since we no longer get to spend that much time together, we seem to have developed a pattern for our once in a blue moon meetings. First there's this unbelievably quick download of information, just to make sure we're updated so that we can actually start talking. Then comes the smart part, which most of the times means we come up with a project or a plan or at least an article that we write together. Later on, there's finally room for other people. This time, there was room for the poets. They turned out to be a cheerful and very entertaining companionship, just perfect for late night walks and talks, so it was pretty much predictable we'd be kicked out of the last pub that was still open and end up in one of the hotel rooms, talking and laughing and drinking our night away. Strangely enough, once we're done with the intellectual and social aspects of our meeting, there seems to be a system malfunction on both sides which most of the times leads to nonsense. This time, we ended up buying Hello Kitty liquid candy and identical caps so that we can be telepathic. Luckily, we were quickly back on track and managed to focus on the interviews and the cover stories we were to write.

The caps did work: back in our respective cities, we were both depressed. I was back in Warsaw on a particularly weird day - All Saints Day, when there's no one in the streets, no shops are open, and it's a challenge to find an open pub. Fortunately, I was quickly brought back to reality, mostly because a friend of mine told me there's no ideal time or place to start doing something - you just have to do it. And that's exactly how it's going to be.

November 1, 2009

Berlin, part 1: the reading experience

I admit I was a bit skeptical. Even though I agree poems are meant to be listened to, I had my doubts about the 5-hour poetry marathon in Berlin. I arrived at Kulturbrauerei at about midnight, to find a packed room, a great audience and a relaxed atmosphere, no signs of boredom or tediousness. It was quite amazing to see all those people who had gathered for a literary night- less than two weeks ago I had a very unpleasant experience in Warsaw, at an event organized by one of the most important publishing houses on the market. Not to mention a series of previous unfortunate episodes, hence my skepticism. But there was no use questioning the good vibe, so I just sat down and listened.

By the end of it, I was convinced of the brainwashing capacities of poetry. I was happy and light and my mood had radically changed. I don't know if it was the poetry, or the fact that I was once again hanging out with people who, to a certain extent, spoke the same language as I did.

All that mattered was that we were in Berlin, Ana and I were finally back in business, ready to explore the wonders of the city, to plan and debate and come up with ideas, skip sleep and make the best of that weekend. We had books and chocolate, so there was little to complain about.
And there was room for poetry on the second night. This time, celebrating the 10th anniversary of, a platform making poetry available on the Internet: 600 poets, 5500 poems, 50 mother tongues and 6600 translations in about 50 languages. The project started small, with no significant budget, but with a great deal of support from local authorities and cultural institutions who simply believed in the power of artistic projects. Or, as one of the organizers put it, they knew Berlin would be nothing without its artists.
" has successfully addressed the seemingly impossible task of linking poetry, the oldest literary art form there is, with the newest form of communication, the Internet. At the push of a button it is now possible to listen to poems read by the author in his or her native tongue"
The event, held (where else?) in a former factory, was absolutely impressing. Simple, to the point, with no faults in organization, bringing together nine poets from all corners of the world and making their poetry available not only in the club, but also on the internet. The after party was one of those parties you don't really feel like leaving, which might explain why I only got one hour of sleep before I was back on the train to Warsaw, a bit sad because it was over, but very content at having seen that it is possible to make things happen.

P.S. I failed in my mission of finding a wheelbarrow (which is odd, half of Berlin is under construction, it shouldn't have been a problem), so I figured the least I could do was to show up at a poetry party wearing my Taczka Runners uniform.

October 30, 2009

Live poesie

I am on my way to Berlin, to test the brainwashing capacities of poetry. After a very crappy week at work and some even crappier nights, mainly because they were spent at the office, I decided to meet Ana at an event powered by the Romanian Cultural Institute in Germany. Theoretically, Ana will be working, as our magazine is one of the partners in the organization of this event. But hey, it's a poetry night we're talking about - we'll mostly be hanging out in some former factory (lately, it seems everything happens in either former factories or mines) reading / listening poetry. Ten young Romanian poets are ready to keep us entertained until 3 a.m, and tomorrow night we're attending a "world wide poetry" party. In the meantime, I'm very excited about a first date with Berlin. Not that I'm not happy with my current situation anymore, but one of the best things about living in Warsaw is leaving it for the weekends. As I'm almost reaching Berlin Hauptbahnhof, I'll stop here, for now, and be back with stories & pics in the very near future.

Girl stuff

Imagine packing all your stuff not in a suitcase, but in a coffin. And not in a funny-morbid way, in true Halloween spirit. A simple smear test could help you avoid this highly possible scenario.

Lately, this ad has taken over Warsaw. Yes, it's a very powerful statement, it's shocking and scary. But it's sure to spread its message and reach its target. Because it speaks about something that's indeed shocking and scary and which we tend to disregard, thinking "it can't happen to me". Well, it can happen to any of us. Every day, in Poland, 5 women die from cervical cancer. In Romania, 6. If we were more aware, if better informed, we'd know it can be cured. And if we were scared enough, before it was too late, we'd do something about it. Before we started packing.

October 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby Okro!

Last weekend held a special significance in the history of the tent. I had planned to attend the opening party ever since I heard the news about the possibility of a second bar showing up in the back yard of the tent that wrote history. Then I saw it under construction and my heart filled with joy when, that one night, I finally got a sneak peak inside. Later, my fellow bartenders made fun of me for so desperately wanting to work there. It wasn't really that funny, as I felt from the beginning that, to an extent, Baby Okro was my baby too, so it was a matter of the obvious I wanted to work there. The tent has a history of 10 years now, and I've been part of it only in the past year. With the new one, now that was a different story. It was practically born under my eyes. For the past two months, whenever I called Pan Janek, whenever I showed up in Kato, the first question I popped was "So, when are we having the opening party?". Eventually, we did. On Friday. Of course I was in Warsaw.
In the end, it's not just the tent. The fact that I know there's a room waiting for me whenever I go back, the warmth and coziness only a family can give you (who would've thought that working in a bar can provide you, as a bonus, with a wonderful adoptive family?), the rainy mornings when I seem to have all the time in the world, the late night shifts behind the bar, they're all parts of the story. The more I miss them, the more I feel the need to fill the void with something that will give me the impression I still belong, even if I'm not there anymore, on a daily basis. And since all my life I've been filling voids with books, I can't think of a better moment to start learning the Silesian dialect. In Polish, I'm more than happy to have a distinct accent. It's like part of my expat identity. If I ever manage to say at least the very basics po slasku, I'll do my best to hide any traces of my foreign accent.
I've never been a fan of driving. Nor did I ever want to have a car of my own. Now I'm beginning to think it maybe isn't such a bad idea. If I did, I wouldn't be here, doing my best not to burst into tears, chain smoking and writing cheesy-over-emotional posts. Instead, I'd be on the road. I'm beginning to hate my lack of stability. Last year, back in Kato, i wept for Warsaw. Now I'm here. Weeping for Kato. Looking forward to adding another city to the list...

October 23, 2009

Army Day

Romania celebrates it today. Normally, I couldn't have cared less. But since lately nothing in my life falls under the category of "normal", I had to care. And not only to care, but to attend a formal party at the Embassy, where I drew several conclusions:
- men in uniforms look better in movies than in real life
- I don't feel comfortable wearing the kind of clothes you're supposed to wear at such events. So I don't really follow the rule. However, I had to wear something more elegant than I usually do and even so, I still did not fit in the picture (I don't go for the classic two piece suit). I was quite happy with my little black dress, but I fantasize about showing up at such a party wearing my little black (eco) leather pants matched with my favorite t-shirt with an adorable red devil playing guitar.
- it's tough being a vegetarian and being invited to celebrate the army. Or anything else, for that matter. You basically have three options. They'll all make you look life a freak: a) carefully study all the ingredients and decide what's right to eat and what's not, b) skip food and only eat cake and fruit or c) skip food.
- it's even tougher being a smoker.
- weather is the hottest conceivable topic. I don't know anything about weather and I can only state the obvious, so I'd better start learning this art fast. Speaking of the obvious, Warsaw was so foggy today, that it was impossible to see the Palace of Culture and Science. Anyone who's ever been in Warsaw, even for a minute, knows it's a sight hard to miss.
- 95% of the shoes were black. No word about my shoes :)
Overall, it was a lovely party and I'm already looking forward to Navy Day.

October 22, 2009

I beat the system everywhere I goes

The initial plan, as suggested by Vero, was to meet her and Ceci in Warsaw on the 8th of December and celebrate our 10th anniversary (are we old or what? We've known each other since forever) here, as the immigrant punks that we are. The concert was a perfect pretext, although we don't really need pretexts. In the meantime, plans have changed, and we're most likely celebrating our lifelong friendship back home, at a date that's still to be decided. However, the concert is still on, so I just couldn't resist the temptation.
Two years ago, back in Bucharest, it was hysterical. Of course, we were all there, in the front row, having almost as much fun as they seemed to be having on stage. I was so excited about the concert, that I actually managed to convince the editor-in-chief of a very serious and high-class cultural magazine, where I happened to be working at that time, to save a page for this story. It was one of my best texts ever.
If I weren't so mad about them and so happy to see them again, I'd take some time to be depressed for going to the concert alone.
And even though my employers are not reading my blog, I would like to informally announce them that I won't make it to the office on the 9th of December. Nor on the 10th. In fact, as the concert will be on Tuesday, I'm planning to take the whole week off, to wear purple, lose my sanity and wits, to read Jonathan Safran Foer and be illuminated, and I'll dedicate all my energy to saving my generation from the east infection. Totally hardcore and made with love.

October 20, 2009


Directory of contemporary Romanian artists.
A very cool project. And I'm not just saying that because I'm in it :)

October 14, 2009


Despite all the warnings, I was so not ready for this:

Neither was Mickiewicz.

What bugs me most is that I didn't have a proper summer holiday. This morning's snow was the end of the illusion that I might take a few days off and pretend I'm on summer holiday in the middle of October. Now I need to go shoehunting and figure out a way to bring all my stuff from Kato.

October 11, 2009

Playing cool in Krakow

The weather in Poland seems to have finally come to its senses. It’s dark, cold and rainy. Just perfect for exquisite shopping at the flea market in Cracow’s Kazimierz, very early in the morning, followed by some tranquil hours when writing is the one and only thing to do.

I arrived in Cracow two days ago to help a Romanian director and film producer who’s documenting a movie. I was supposed to do some translations and then mind my own business. The difference between what I thought I’d be doing and what I actually did was huge. This was not work, it was a fictional bubble that nurtured my brain and warmed my heart, and it was so perfect and round that I even gave up the idea of a night in the tent just because the pieces of the puzzle here in Cracow matched in a way that I had longed for. I felt like myself again, conversations were meaningful and every meeting, every interview seemed to add more sense to the story she’s documenting, but at the same time to deepen the confusion and to bring to light different perspectives, some of them so dissimilar that they bordered absurdity. And even though this is not my project, and my contribution to it was minimal, the trip was very inspiring simply because I spent my time with people who are passionate about what they do, are fresh and creative and believe in the work they do. This made a very valuable point in terms of my current work situation, cleared my mind and the whole picture. It also reinforced my beliefs in my priorities. When I asked A. how she managed to stay focused on her projects, putting a safe distance between her and all the exterior, disturbing factors, she replied with one of those memorable lines that are worth keeping somewhere in the back of your mind, to be brought to surface when overwhelmed by uncertainties: Everything that’s not related to my artistic projects is inexistent.

October 8, 2009

The Nobel Prize in Literature

Awarded to Romanian-born poet and novelist Herta Muller. I'm so happy and excited, almost as if the prize had been awarded to me :)
Details to be found here.

October 4, 2009


A few days ago, in a small shop on Warsaw's Nowy Swiat, the man behind the counter asked for my ID before selling me beer. Friday night. Erasmus party in some obscure hip hop club in the neighbourhood where I spent my first summer in Warsaw. The bodyguard wanted to see my ID before letting me in. This morning, in the store next to Asia's house, in my beloved Ligota, I got my Marlboros only after showing the saleslady my ID. She studied it for about a minute and then told me I didn't look 25 and she's still not sure she should sell me those cigarettes.
They probably don't know it, but each of them made my day, simply by asking this question, which used to piss me off when I was 16 and wanted to buy beer and / or cigarettes. I just love to see the wheel turning and to find myself in similar situations, having completely different reactions. Gives me the illusion of universal equilibrium, even if it's only a matter of minor, yet essential details.

October 2, 2009

The aftermath

So the bubble popped, leaving me with a mild trauma that still disturbs my sleep. I did the math and figured it's going to take me a few months, a trip to Slovenia, three pairs of shoes, countless hours at the library and about five evening shifts in the tent as to fully recover. It was only this week that I finally came to understand Warsaw. All this time, I claimed we had a special connection, a bond that was beyond words, but I was so far from the truth. After the most intense and stressful ten days in my life (this is what I get for having wanted a real job, with an office, a schedule and a shitload of responsibility) I grasped the meaning of the word zbombardowany (bombed). Much like the city during World War II, I was a wreck. And had to start the rebuilding process from the very basics. On Sunday morning, having shipped the last group of guests back to Bucharest, I managed to catch my breath and hop on the train to Kato. And life seemed to be getting back to normal. I'm still far from having settled down, and under normal conditions I would have complained about the mess I'm in, but the past weeks have taught me a very valuable lesson: there is always a solution, even in the most desperate and edgy situations. So I was finally able to sit back, relax, and congratulate myself for having pulled through.
One year ago, I was in the process of adapting to a new city, crying my eyes out and wishing to go back to Bucharest, as nothing seemed to make any sense. The pieces of the puzzle just wouldn't match. The awful start is now just another reason for me to make fun of my impatience and crisis-management issues. Much in the same way, I'm dealing now with another brand new beginning, which puts ten times more pressure on my head, but which I seem to handle with a greater deal of calm. If growing up is all about being less hysterical and finding creative solutions to all thinkable and unthinkable problems, then I'm determined to stop fighting the ageing process. However, my biggest wish for next October is for it to find me in the middle of something. Anything, as long as I'm in the middle. I love beginnings, I'd start over and over again, as long as I don't have to do it in October. I'm afraid I'm developing a pattern and, if things carry on like this, I'll have not just a pattern, but a phobia.

September 22, 2009

Reality check

The bubble is about to pop. I'll finally be able to see Warsaw. I'll meet other bartenders, not just the staff at Coffee Heaven. I'll go dancing. I'll go back to the tent. I'll buy notebooks and post-its and go to school (yes, they accepted me. I'm doing an MA in translation studies at the University of Warsaw). I'll sleep.
As I was walking home, I passed a group of yuppies. Every now and then, perfect strangers do know exactly what to say and when to say it. Even if they have no idea you're walking by, thinking about the very same thin: the shit starts in two days.
This is one of those few times in life when I'm happy that every beginning has its end.
When I'm done, I'll tell you a story about the old ladies in Warsaw.

September 20, 2009


Once again, I feel like I can change the world. I'm not afraid the world will change me. And even if it does, I have a feeling it will be for the better. One more week, full speed ahead, and then I'm back to my normal life, back to my friends and the ones I love.
I'm so tired, I don't even know my own name anymore, but looking back at the past two weeks, I am very proud of everything I've done.
Now all I need is a few days to sleep and eat.
Apart from some minor sleeping and eating disorders, everything is going just great.

September 17, 2009


Every now and then, I enjoy a good crappy movie, that does not require any kind of contribution or implication or interpretation. Sometimes, I even like them more than I'm ready to admit. That's why I'm not going to give any titles or even any clues about the latest good crappy movie I've seen, as it seems to have had quite a strong influence upon the deepest darkest layers of the self. But because lately these deepest darkest layers have sent me all sorts of signals, I couldn't help but remember the movie.
The weird dreams are back. As if my life wasn't complicated enough. Sleep is hardly relaxing, resembling hallucinations. Every morning I need a few seconds to remember where I am and why. I can't rest, I can't breathe normally, and because during the day I'm too busy to have time for panick attacks, I think I have them in my sleep. The nights are greenish-bluish-blackish, shady and noisy, and when I do manage to crawl out of bed I'm relieved to discover it was just (another) bad dream. However, two nights ago, there was a malfunction in the current pattern. I had a totally Disney dream. It was still greenish, but the green was nice and comforting. We were barefoot (the hippie-nightmarish dimesnion of the dream), the grass was wet and it sparked as if sprinkled with diamonds. And we were dancing salsa.
I still feel like dancing. Once my life is back on track and all the checklists checked, I'm determined to take dancing seriously. Ready to go pro :)

September 9, 2009


I betrayed my agent. This morning I went to see another apartment. It was love at first sight. Once I'm done with planning a million events at work, I'll dedicate all my time and whatever's left of my energy to organizing my housewarming party. Until then, I felt the need to celebrate with a new pair of shoes. It recently dawned on me that it's going to be kinda tough being in my shoes, so they must be as pretty and as reliable as can be.

September 8, 2009

Where the Devil says good night

It has always been my dream to have an agent. Ok, maybe not always. As a little girl, I was convinced I'd grow up to be an archaeologist, move to Greece, study old rocks and learn The Iliad by heart. In the meantime, I gave up that thought, and all that's left of it is a trip I'm planning on spring break, from Sparta to Troy. Then I wanted to have an agent. And now I do. He's not exactly the kind of agent I had in mind, mainly because he's not in the publishing industry. But I still like to hear myself say "I just got a call from my agent".
So today I got a call from my agent, and we went to see some apartments. Because my agent didn't take the time to get to know me, he made some horrific errors of judgement. He took me to the quiet, green and peaceful areas in Warsaw. Where there's nothing but trees (he's also blithely unaware of the fact that I spent a year in the forest in Ligota, so he can't fool me with some parks), old ladies walking their dogs and / or their grandchildren, churches and grocery stores. In the end, I told him I wanted something in a noisy area, without trees, preferably near a bridge, and that I was lookng for some other kind of entertainment than the one provided in church. And then I popped the question: "What about Praga?"
Of course everyone warned me about Praga, the unsafe neighbourhood which people tend to avoid when looking for a place to rent, otherwise quite popular among artists, renowned for its hip coffee shops, galleries and parties.
My agent was not happy. He told me Praga was either for people who were born and raised there (I find that sweet, it means everybody knows everybody), either for poor people (I find that discriminatory and mean - for a moment, my agent sounded like Cartman "no way, dude, Kenny's family is poor, they live in the ghetto") or for artists, since they are easily accepted there (I find that perfect). He told me Praga was the place where the Devil says good night - far from the city centre and dangerous, where there's nothing much left to do after it gets dark - unless, of course, you're willing to take a risk. So he went on and on about the residential neighbourhoods, but I was not listening anymore. Without knowing it, he had just offered me the perfect reason for a drama of small to medium proportions. What he meant to say was that responsible people, who go to work from 9 to 5, need a cozy and safe home to go back to.
What I meant to say was that I needed a place that will match my out-of-office personality and lifestyle.
Unfortunately for me, I looked responsible. And it was me who fixed the appointment at 5.30, after work.

September 6, 2009

My first night in Warsaw was one of those perfect Kato nights.

to be continued...

Later edit
I barely got to smell the cool Warsaw air on my way from the airport to the hotel room, while trying to keep my enthusiasm within normal limits. Only this time, it wasn't just the enthusiasm of finally being reunited with my dream city.
In a way, I was enthusiastic about going back home.
Kato has never seemed so beautiful. The tent and its people were everything I hoped for, and a little more. I had missed them so much, and of course I assumed they missed me too, but once we were back together I figured it wasn't just an assumption, it was as real as it could be. Hearing them tell me we were finally back to normal (5 minutes after showing up in the tent I was already behind the bar, back in action) was one of the nicest things I heard in the past few weeks.
It was the best night at work (yes, now I have another job in Warsaw. A day job. Yet to be seen if it rises up to the standards of this blog, if it's worth being mentioned here.)
... followed by a perfect Sunday morning - in the tent, where else? - and a lovely lunch with Pan Janek and his family. When they told me I could spend my weekends at their place, and that I'll always have my place behind the bar, I got so over emotional that I felt the need to change the subject before I started crying.
So this means I'm back to my old pattern: two cities, late night trains and always having something to look forward to. It worked just fine between Bucharest and Brasov, I don't see any reason for it not to work between Warsaw and Katowice.
And because of this pattern, I'm back to my old self, the one I'm so happy with: energetic, ready to change the world, ready to take on any challenge. Happy to be in my shoes. I know now how it feels to be grateful for what you have.

August 25, 2009

The left ear

In Romania we love papers. For every situation, thinkable and unthinkable, there's a paper. A formal request, a petition, a memorial, a letter or an application. As if I didn't have enough of these things on a daily basis at work, where I suspect we'll end up writing petitions requesting permission to write petitions, today I started putting the pieces together for my MA. Given the fact that I'll be studying in Warsaw, I figured it won't be a big deal (I still have this tendency of idealizing Poland - nothing can go wrong there, nothing works against you). I was particularly impressed by their online registration process, which gave me a very good reason to complain some more about my own Uni here in Bucharest. For about five minutes. Then I discovered it's not easy at all. First comes this part of the registration, then the fun begins. Of course, it all comes down to papers. Apparently, Poles love them as well. When I came to terms with the fact that I also need to print my entire academic record, I finally faced the absurdity of the situation. The guys at the office in Warsaw informed me I cannot mail all these docs. Someone has to take them to the office. But it doesn't matter who does that. Doesn't have to be me, it can very well be some random person. I kept thinking about this, trying to find a reasonable explanation, and in the end I gave up, trying instead to find a random person with spare time on their hands.

And there's another thing I can't understand. The pictures attached to my academic record have very strict dimensions and characteristics (which makes sense), there's only one type of acceptable background (I'm ready to admit this also makes sense) and they have to be semiprofile, with the left ear visible (does this make sense?) And here's the irony: I have a picture that matches the description in the tiniest detail, but it shows the right ear - I took it shortly after shaving the right side of my head and I was very happy to expose it. Before getting my haircut, I pondered over the decision quite a long time, simply because I didn't know which side of the head to shave. And deep down inside I've always wondered if it would have looked better the other way round. Now I know my doubts were actually a premonition. The left ear knew her fifteen minutes of fame would come, sooner or later. I just didn't expect the University of Warsaw to have anything to do with it.

August 24, 2009

I used to be famous

So this is how they get you

The beginning was innocent enough to fool me. It looked like this: getting there early in the morning, exchanging polite smiles with the rest of the people in the office, asking thousands of dumb questions (South Park strikes back - I kept hearing the voice of Mr. Garrison in my head: Remember there are no stupid questions, just stupid people), trying to get everything done during the day and happily riding my bike back home. It lasted for about a week.

The first thing that worried me was that extra quarter of an hour spent at work. It is my firm belief that once you stop working freelance, you trade a limited amount of your time for a limited amount of cash. I thought it was an accident and tried to ignore it, until the next day, when it happened again. It didn't take me long to spend some extra 30 minutes at work. Not to mention I started smoking less, because I didn't have the time to go out of the office and smoke. This is another downside of the whole sharing-the-office issue. And anyway, you can only smoke on the corridor, which is still better than being kicked out of the building. 

When I spent a whole extra hour, I figured I had a good excuse, because I was just about to meet Ceci downtown. By the end of that day, I was starved to death (no time to eat, either, and anyway I hate eating while I'm working, unless of course I'm in my room, sharing some quality time with my laptop and writing whatever is it that I might be writing at that point), pissed off for having broken my rules, even more pissed off atfer having figured out that my rules were rather naive and it was going to take a lot of effort to stick to them.

However, in the meantime I managed to submit the translation for The Eye of the Moon, even though it took me quite some time to edit it, over and over again, just for the sake of having all the characters and all the fun to myself before sharing yet another brilliant Anonymous novel with the world. I did share it with my Mom, who's the master of proofreading, and unfortunately she came up with a very elementary and unproblematic explanation for my fascination. I'm still wondering if she's right, and if my efforts of putting the whole story in a theoretical framework  were marvelously useless. The other good news is that starting this month I've come up with a new column for our magazine, dealing with Eastern European writers, books, editors, translators and everything else that comes with the pack. I'm already planning a few interviews, none of them in Poland at the time being, so I'll have to slowly start planning my trips to Slovenia and Croatia, to begin with.

Getting back to the job thing, today I totally crossed the line. Not only did I spend the extra hour at the office, and probably would have spent another one if it hadn't been for the power cut, I also brought a file home, thus profaning the very last stronghold - Ceci's living room, which I am squatting at the time being. As I sat down with my laptop and lit a cigarette, it dawned on me that I've showed the file enough kindness by taking it out of the office, for a bike trip around Bucharest and a lovely dinner with Ana, and I figured it needed a good night's sleep in my bag. 

August 20, 2009

The Sekalog

Survival guide for the working class:) Bilus dixit:

1. keep fit

2. don't let work overwhelm you

3. don't booze

4. breathe

5. escape from the self *this seemed to be the toughest part, since I'm so in love with myself. A compromise had to be reached, so the fitfth commandment was changed to: escape into the self

6. be creative, which really means "make room in your life to be creative".

With some exceptions, work is quite alright althoug its fictional potential is almost inexistent. But this is mainly because I was never a fan of absurd in literature. However, it might prove to be an anthropological challenge.

My Mom calls me every morning to remind me I have to go to work. I have a hunch it will become a habit.

August 9, 2009

2 wheels, 1 happy girl

And they say money can't buy happiness. One thing's sure: they can rent it.

I just rented mine and parked it in Ceci's kitchen. She was nice enough to host me for a while, as I have to spend a few weeks in Bucharest, training for my new job. And then they'll ship me off to Warsaw :)
I stopped questioning my future, put all my worries aside and decided to go with the flow and see what happens. So I'll spare you the nasty details of my decision making process, my fears and expectations regarding this new chapter in my life. For the time being, I'm learning to accept (radical) change and deal with it. And it's not as scary as I thought it would be.

August 4, 2009

Taczka goes global

It's a Kato tradition and no one can deny it. But we're taking it one step further.
Packing our Taczka T-shirts wherever we go. Pictures with a wheelbarrow, wearing the club's "uniform", are a must.
Keep an eye out, you'll be hearing from us again ;)

Przemek and Jules in UK
Yours truly, back home in Romania
Szabot in Croatia

Owca in Poland - outside Kato (Pieniny)

All of my love

Even though I am perfectly aware that in a certain way this was the end – my mornings won’t start in Kato and my nights won’t end in the tent, I’m somehow incapable of being sad. But not because I don’t regret it, rather because it feels like I belong there, in a way that I can’t fully explain. It almost feels as if I’ve left home for the second time, much in the same way I waved goodbye to my city and moved to Bucharest. Of course, once in Bucharest, I’d do my best to escape from it and run back home for the weekend.
Away from Kato, I can now bet things will follow the same pattern, and I’ll be more than happy to go through the whole packing procedure every Friday or at least every other Friday. Since I’ve had my fair share of tears in the tent, I left the city feeling relaxed and happy and anxious to see what happens next. Almost like reading a good book. Captivating, surprising and mind-blowing.
I hate those moments when it is expected of you to look behind and draw the line. That’s why I don’t have resolutions on New Year’s Eve and I can’t make a list of the things I’ve learnt in Kato and the way they’ve changed me. However, Asia was so right when she told me that what I’ve seen here in Kato (and especially Ligota and the tent), what I’ve learnt, that’s mine for good, and it’s an experience that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to gain anywhere else.
But definitely the best part is the one which was totally beyond my control. It’s as if one year ago, someone knew I was about to dive into the unknown and wanted to make sure I have my safety net. So last year I’ve been offered this safety net, which I had time to test and become comfortable with. And now I’m ready to jump, because back in Kato there’s a bunch of wonderful people and we’ll be just three hours and a phone call away. That pretty much puts my mind at ease.

July 30, 2009

All the papers you can fit in one bag

Landed in Bucharest few days ago. Need to catch up on my writings and my readings, since the last days in Kato have been mostly about working, saying goodbye, drinking, working, making promises and rememorating those first days of October, when I showed up out of the blue and was intorduced to everyone as the new bartender. Very much like camp.

Meanwhile, I've developed a theory about destiny and Kato and my future, it's rather cheesy but on the other hand quite accurate, that's why I'll be posting it here as soon as I'm done with the marathons in the city: (1) the ordeal of coming back after a scholarship and convincing the University that I did come back with a full pack of ECTS and (2) the selection process for my possible future job. As part of this process, yesterday I had to write a formal statement, according to which I did not collaborate with the Secret Police back in those years when communism was still around in both theory and practice. The thing is, I was 5 when communism became history, at least theoretically. And yes, my parents, my grandma, my aunts and family friends keep telling me what an exceptional kid I was, but I was no genius, so the odds for the Secret Police to have roped me in were... zero?! Yet, to some people, this makes perfect sense. After all, that's what the law says - and we can't fight the law, can we?

Later on that day, taking some papers from one office to another, I got stuck in the elevator at the Faculty of Letters. The elevator is probably older than the building itself, and the building does have a history of more than a century. And there, trapped behind bars and with a dim light above my head, I smoked and waited for somebody to rescue me, while trying to make this moment a special one - a time of reflection, of developing a life-changing philosophy. Instead, I was just standing, waiting and dragging on my cigarette, with my head empty like a baloon. Very special indeed. 

And now I'm off for the second part of the marathon, anxious to see what this day has in store for me. 

July 21, 2009

Twist of events

I have a job interview in Warsaw.
I'm also trying to come to terms with the fact that I'm leaving my job in the tent.
I'll be in a book.
My own book is a mess and seems to have a life of its own. I'll have to take some time off and deal with it.
On Monday I'm flying back home.
Warsaw is gorgeous and I am very much in love with it, nothing has changed.
I'm still undecided about the MA. And this job thing makes the decision even more complicated.
I'd like to take a week off and go to Italy, which is very strange since I don't like Italy.
Two nights ago I dreamt we were serving raspberry-and-sand cocktails in the tent.
Don't forget to vote.

July 16, 2009

A questionably nice surprise

Two days ago, I met Asia and her friends in the tent to celebrate her birthday. My good mood, knowing I was about to meet some people I hadn't seen for quite a long time, and that I was about to enjoy a fun night out at the workplace, did not predict in any way the melodramatic and somewhat embarrassing outcome of the night.
The bomb exploded the minute I set foot in the tent. I wanted to turn around the very next minute, leave the bar without any further explanation and never come back. By some sort of magic, I managed to control my emotions. For a while.
There she was, sitting behind the bar, pretty, young, with her beautiful brown locks: the new bartender. It should've crossed my mind that with the new bar soon to be open for business, with me leaving Kato in two weeks, there would be someone new showing up, sooner or later. I just didn't expect it to be that soon, and I certainly didn't expect to find her there, without some kind of previous warning. So I did what any sane person would do. I sat down with Asia and her friends and kept staring at the new girl, while trying to run a decent conversation. Of course this only lasted for about half an hour, after which I was incapable of any kind of conversation, decent or not, smart or completely idiotic. There I was, having beers with some of our regulars, while the new girl was pouring us the beers. Well, not me, because whenever I wanted a refill, I'd make sure Magda took care of that. I was sad and disappointed and I couldn't hide it. The one place that had really felt at home, that gave me the feeling I was part of something and I belonged somewhere, in a city I disliked and had nothing in common with, had slapped me in the face so hard that my eyes filled up with tears almost instantly. For a while, I managed to hold them back. Unfortunately, a few hours and several beers later, having observed the new girl in the tiniest detail, I couldn't control my tears. The tent has witnessed a lot, but I somehow doubt it's seen any of its bartenders crying because of it. Which was very frustrating, in the end, for several reasons. First of all, Sanchez would have never ever cried in the Tapioca. Second of all, I'd rather be caught wearing no perfume than be seen crying in public. And third of all, I had no real reason, except my oversized ego which just couldn't tolerate the thought that I was replaceable. Not even replaced, just replaceable. The good part of the story is that most people in the tent are normal and nice and tolerant. Top of the list is Pan Janek, who in the end explained the whole situation, which was in fact a matter of the obvious (they really, really need new people), gave me a hug and sent me home, telling me he expects me to show up the next day and to train the new girl.
And that's exactly what I did. Having calmed down and with a more rational approach to the whole situation, I showed up at work yesterday. For two hours, I did nothing but talk to people, occasionally selling beer to my favourite clients, and let her do the rest of the work. By midnight, I was alone behind the bar and happier than ever before to be there.

July 13, 2009

My perfect weekend

On Friday, after being kicked out of the library, Asia and I decided it was time for some cultural delights. So we adventured to the northern part of Kato, ready to explore the workers' district and planning to visit the art museum. After a trip that seemed to take ages and to take us out of the city, we reached our destination. Like the neighbourhood itself, the art museum was deserted, so we practically had the naive art exhibition all to ourselves. And then we voted our favourite artist. There's a voting fever in the air, wherever I go, whereer I turn, I can vote for something. Not that I actually do it all the time, but I have this option. Unless spent somewhere by the sea, summer can really suck, so maybe that's why we spice it up with votes and charts and statistics.
The houses in Nikiszowiec look identical, and there's nothing but houses in the entire district, except for the market which has a post office and a church. It used to have a bar, too, but something really odd must have happened, since the bar was closed and it seemed to have been in that state for quite some time. So on our way back to Ligota we stopped for a beer at a very optimistic bar, one that wishes you "happy holidays" in the middle of July. I was hoping we'd get presents, too.

In the meantime, back at the tent, we're in business with the new bar. Well, almost, since it's still a few weeks to go until the grand opening, but the new tent is in our back yard, raising a lot of questions about the kinds of drinks we'll serve, the heating system, the inauguration party - questions we obviously answer with an evasive "you'll have to wait and see", as we also have to wait and see. I'd suggest putting bourbon on the menu. The new bar is quite controversial among the old bartenders: Titior claims he won't ever work there, Magda thinks the scond bar doesn't really fit in the backyard of the first bar, Jacek is wondering how we're going to split the shifts and Pan Janek is busy trying to keep everything under control. As for me, I'm quite happy and enthusiastic with our new baby, mostly because now I really feel I'm part of this from the very beginning. I've heard so many stories about how the tent began 10 years ago, but it is only now I am able to tell a story of my own, from the very beginning. So yes, if I'll be around, I'll work in the second bar, even though rumour has it this bar will be a non-smoking place, and my fellow workers keep teasing me about it.

Sunday morning I took myself to the movies. Nothing compares to having the whole cinema to yourself, so that you can fully enjoy the life of Mademoiselle Coco avant Chanel. I wore my mother's pearls and later on went shopping for shoes and boxes. As I started packing, I realized I was starting to say goodbye to the city. After almost a year, I'm not expecting anything more from Kato. If, however, something is going to happen, I'll consider it a nice surprise. But as far as I'm concerned, I have no expectations. And for the first time in my life, I have no idea what the future holds. And I'm sort of enjoying this freedom, for I know it won't last forever.