This is for you, Mimi!

I met Mimi in 2007 when I moved to Bucharest and I started working my first real job in Oracle. I was new to the city, had a few close friends, but I was eager to bond with my new colleagues. I was young and not very sure of how to fit in the new world that I was entering. I met Mimi my first day there and I knew instantly that I would like her. She was beautiful inside and out, friendly and it turned out that we had friends in common. So we started talking and going out together. I remember the Tae Bo classes we took together and how she helped me move house only 3 months after we met. She offered to come carry my stuff with her boyfriend in her car. I think she had this power of seeing when people were struggling and needed help. And she always offered to help.

We continued being friends and colleagues but once I changed jobs and moved country, we mostly talked on social media. She followed my adventures and I, hers. I now realise that she was constantly present in my life, even if it was only by a comment or a like at one of my pictures or blog posts.

I read one of our chat conversation back from 2011. I had recently moved to Switzerland and I had started this blog for a few months. She wrote to say that I had a voice that could touch people and that I should always keep writing, that she felt like I was talking to her when she was reading my posts. She told me to dream and talk about my dreams because they can come true if we believe in them, her words: Believe beyond the means. Her childhood dream was to be a fashion designer and she was very proud that she had started pursuing that dream. (Story about Mimi is the name she chose for her brand)

This weekend, our Mimi passed away. She was one of the victims from the fire that happened in a club in Bucharest. She was there to support one of her coworkers that had a rock concert with his band. From what I understood she was also doing the costumes for the band. I wish she would have not gone to that concert and club, but Mimi had to be there close to her friends. There is no way she could have missed it.

I now know that the legacy she leaves behind will never die. Her words and the lives she touched will continue to live forever. I can only feel sad that I did not talk more to her in the last few years, that I did not tell her how wonderful she is. I should have done it every chance I got. We think we have time, and that we will be here tomorrow but that is true until one day…Take the time now and every second to spread love and kindness around you. This is what Mimi did all her life and I will do my best to continue to do that for her and for all the people around me.

With Mimi at a company costume party somewhere in 2009.

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Photo in the header from here.

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My Birth Story

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I though long and hard about writing this post, since it is such a private matter. What made me decide to share my birth story is the fact that I remember the curiosity I had before giving birth. I wanted information and I wanted it from women that I could trust and that had been though this. So besides the experience from my close friends, I was also reading birth stories from women that were sharing them online, from fellow bloggers that I follow. It was very helpful to read stories that were not exaggerated, that were real and not just hear random comments of how painful and terrible vaginal birth is. I had heard that all my life and I wanted something else. I can only hope you find me sharing my experience as helpful and if you are pregnant, please keep in mind that every birth is different and the way we process this experience is entirely up to each of us. So here it is!

I can’t believe it has been almost 3 weeks since all happened. Here is the sequel of events from the 21st of November when our boy chose to come into this world. One day, that changed everything for us.

12.30 am I woke up dreaming that I was in a scene from Vampires Diaries (this was the show I had been watching all week – don’t judge) and went to the bathroom thinking it was just my usual toilet routine from every night. After a few moments I realised that I was spotting and that there was a slight pain in my belly. I gave the wake up call to my husband and we started monitoring my pain. Also we called the hospital that told us that we should come in if we think it is the real thing.

2:00 am We arrived at the hospital where a midwife monitored my contractions for about half an hour. There were only 30 seconds long and every 5 to 7 minutes apart. I was not dilated, my water had not broke so she said we should go home and wait and see what happens. Also she mentioned that everything might stop and that it could take another week until the baby would come. I was the face of disappointment when I heard one week and thought no this can’t be, this baby is coming today.

3:00 am Home again, in bed trying to lay down and sleep. Impossible since my contractions were now getting stronger and were every 5 minutes. I was doing my best to breath properly through them and that helped ease the pain quite a lot.

7:00 am Laying in bed was becoming unbearable so I started walking through the house and breathing. By now my contractions were around 40 to 50 seconds long and between 3 to 5 minutes apart.

8:00 am We called the hospital and told them the status quo and they said we should come in. As soon as I got there they put me in the delivery room.

10:00 am I was dilated 3 cm already and my contractions were stronger and stronger. I was already feeling sick to my stomach and the midwife said it was time to decide what pain relief I wanted. I went for the epidural as I knew I could not bear much more pain at this point.

11:00 am They did the epidural, which was not at all painful. I did not feel much and after 10 to 20 minutes my contractions were just noticeable on the monitor. I also got oxytocin to increase the contractions. The next few hours were quite relaxing, however I still did not manage to sleep or eat. And that was bad because it only made me weaker for what was about to come.

3:00 pm The baby’s head was not fully engaged and my chances for a C section were 50%, so they decided to break the water. Again not painful at all.

4:00 pm Baby’s head still not engaged so they gave me more oxytocin to increase the contractions and they said that if in the next half hour his head is not in the correct position, they will have to decide if I get a C section. At this point I was so against C section that out of desperation I started talking to the baby and singing and praying for him to get down and be in the correct position. My prayers were answered, that by the next half hour they gave the news that he is good to go and that I was 8 cm dilated. I still needed to get to 10. More oxytocin and stronger contractions, the epidural was still on so I was not feeling them.

5:00 pm I was at 10 cm and they stopped the epidural since I was about to start pushing and they needed me to feel the contractions. This is when I really felt I was in labour and that the ground under me was shaking. It was not a pleasant feeling, I was doing my best to follow the indications of the midwife, of my husband, but I was exhausted and out of energy and everything felt ten times harder. Also I went from being very cold and shivering to being incredibly hot, so my body was not really working with me. Still the pain was not that bad, it was manageable, but because of being under so much pressure, I am sure my brain was exaggerating everything.

6:40 pm Since my pushing was only getting me so far, and they were seeing the baby’s head, they decided to call the doctor. I was not very aware of what was going on by now, so when the doctor came, he looked me straight in the eyes and told me that he is going to help me get the baby out and that I needed to work with him and give a few more pushes. He mentioned the vacuum and part of me was thinking, I just hope the baby’s head won’t be damaged. What happened next was surreal. I remember feeling the pain of the vacuum and then out of the blue there was no more pressure just relief.

7:08 pm Luca Albert Belc was born and I felt like I had been to the end of the world and back. He was 3570 grams heavy and 50 cm long. There was happiness, tears, fear, curiosity, everything mixed and his little face. I remember seeing his lips and thinking they are so big…

My husband was with me throughout the whole thing and it was incredibly helpful to have him there. Nothing compares to sharing this experience with him. I would not have it any other way.

And our first Mother and Son photo session from today. Daddy takes the best pictures!

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10 lessons learned as a couple

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These days we are celebrating 2 years since our wedding. We have been living together for quite a few years before, so getting married was not really a big change for us, it just made it official for others, since for us it was as official as it could be. Our relationship has grown and evolved through the years and now we are about to face the biggest challenge of all, going from two to three and being a family. I thought that since we are both stepping into the parents roles this year, I would put in writing the things that I have learned so far from sharing my life with this great man. (I believe each couple has their own dynamic and besides love, the little stuff we do each day make a couples life. Yes. There are the important milestones, like the first I love you, moving in together or getting married but if the everyday dynamic is not working then those things won’t happen). So here are 10 lessons learned from our everyday life together.

1. Feel free to express your thoughts, no matter how silly or meaningful you think they are.  I am very lucky to be married with my best friend and to be able to share with him everything that goes on in my life. It is incredible hard to keep things from each other just because we are so used in sharing everything. One example is giving each other presents since we always end up revealing them before our actual celebration day. Traian’s birthday is in September, but he already received his gift because I kept picturing his happy face when he would receive it so…why wait?! Life is short…:).

2. Find time to try new things together. We like eating out every now and then and even if we have our favourite places we always try to go to new restaurants as well. Going to a concert or driving out of town for a few hours just to take a walk in an area we have’t been before are among our fav activities as well.

3. Pursue your own passions: My blog is my passion, he loves cycling, taking pictures and playing video games. We each have moments in which we do that individually and we love having that time to ourselves. It is so relaxing to know you have that time for yourself.

4. Help each other with the household tasks. Living with someone is not always easy especially if one is more organised then the other. Keeping a house clean, paying the bills and other daily chores can become a pain if only one of us carries the weight. Finding a balance and helping each other out can avoid having discussions about stuff that usually have a simple solution to it. I do most of the cooking but Traian is always helping me with the cleaning.

5. Have fun together. Traian loves good music so one of our traditions is to spend a nice evening at home (usually Fridays) listening to new music while having a glass of wine (I am skipping this at the moment) and enjoying finger food (I like to throw a mix of everything I have in the fridge on a platter or have a cheese fondue in winter). We end up having the best of time, laughing and discussing all sorts of things from our hobbies to our plans for the future…. We end up being so relaxed and when you wake up the next morning with a slight hangover you can’t help it feel young again. And just to be reminded we can still have fun just the two of us is the best feeling of all.

6. Forget the small arguments. Everyone has discussions that start from nothing and that can drag on because we all love to be heard and be right. Traian is organised and extremely punctual. As an organised and control freak myself, I still think he sometimes can be exaggerated. For example, we end up discussing why we have to be at a friend’s house at 5 o’clock sharp when there is no official party or hour, just a casual evening with friends. It always helps not to forget where the other one is coming from and why he is doing what he is doing. In the beginning we could get really upset from all stupid things, but as we got to know each other we learned to let the small things go. Still this is a work in progress since there are days when stress, hormones and mood swings (yes, pregnancy I am hinting at you) take the best of us.

7. Always remember what you admire about each other and verbalise it. Saying words of encouragement to each other or simply saying “I am proud of you”when it comes to professional of personal achievements makes a huge difference. We all need to feel that what we do counts and hearing it from the person you love the most is always good.

8. Prioritise intimacy or “sexy time” as one of my girlfriends calls it. Your bedroom is your kingdom so find out what works for both of you and just go for it. Some couples find that scheduling sex works, we did not try it so far but maybe after the baby is here we might need to…:).

9. Always make time for friends and family. Unfortunately we don’t live close to our family, but we always make time to Skype with them. Most of our friends are common, but we also have separate girls or boys nights out. We love to entertain and we are lucky to have close friends that make up for our families not being around.

10. Spoil and take care of each other. Traian makes breakfast each weekend and sometimes during the week when we wake up in the same time. I love that and I feel like it is the best thing to wake up to the smell of coffee. In return I make him sweet treats that I know he likes, even though he says I want to get him fat :).

And if you are in the mood to read some more about relationships I have found the below very interesting as well:

8 things I learned about marriage from Joanna Goddard, A Cup of Jo

A test to help us identify the way each of us likes to show love: The 5 love languages (found on Cupcakes and Cashmere).

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Pictures from our wedding weekend.

xo, Andreea!

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Keeping the connection alive

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Something has been on my mind lately, ever since couples around us seemed to struggle more and more with communication issues. One thing that stroke me was when one of my friends told me that he felt neglected because his partner was on the phone all the time, either work, either Facebook etc and there was no time left for just the 2 of them.

Having a full time job and a blog myself I was immediately drawn to the subject. If you think about it, the time spent online exceeds sometimes the actual face to face conversations we have with people in a day. This is the world we live in after all: we’d rather send texts, e-mails or use chats instead of picking the phone or meeting someone in person. It’s certainly easier and less time consuming for us and cheaper for the companies that employ us.

But aren’t we just letting all of it slowly take control of our lives? We might not like to admit it, but we can be so absorbed by it all that we don’t even realise it. Everyone does it, so isn’t it normal?! Well, the moment it affects our relationship than this normality has just become our worse enemy. And if left unaddressed, it can be the cause for a lot of other issues. I mean if both partners are fine with it, then don’t let me be the one to burst your bubble. But if your significant one points it out, then you might just give it a second thought.

And here comes communicating and understanding your partners needs, connecting with him instead of the devices around us. As I said juggling work, blog, family and social life (that so much of it is planned online) is no easy peasy, but when we come home, after an exhausting day, we just need to relax, sit together and have a good talk without keeping an eye on the social networks.

Isn’t having an actual conversation just so much more interesting then nodding your had in approval while you browse though your phone? And if you feel like you are not good at making conversation, or you don’t get as much as you would want from the talks you carry even with your most significant other, then I suggest reading this article. It points out how important it is to ask better questions. Instead of a plain and generic: “How was your day?” you can try: “How was you meeting with…?” ” What did you have for lunch today?”  “How is your colleague/friend doing?” I mean by just asking better questions we can get so much better answers then the plain: “It was fine.”

I would love to know your thoughts on the matter. Do you struggle with keeping technology under control? Are your conversations always meaningful?

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I added some pictures that we took last fall and that seemed somehow appropriate. (I just can’t have a post without pictures 🙂  Sweater, jeans and necklace from Zara, clutch from H&M, all old.

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