things i learned, writing

writing || happiness, productivity, and success is cultural | my trip to romania

helloo world!

I got back from my 3-week solo trip to visit family in Romania a couple days ago. It’s been an absolutely astonishing past month for me. I had a blast spending time with my (apparently pretty big) family, making new friends, and embracing new experiences. I was also learning so freaking much every single day, but it was weird because I wasn’t exactly processing it as fast as I was absorbing it. Only this last week have I had some down time to actually sit and think about everything.

on growing up and acting on instinct

Aside being “proof” in a sense of the excitement of the month, this was also a very significant situation for me to be in. I feel that growing up, at its core, all comes down to the transition from having to learn and think over everything to being able to finally confidently rely on a set of values you’ve built up. I found myself making choices based on instinct and what I intrinsically felt was right in the moment, rather than stopping to analyze every little thing. This was empowering for me. 

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my projects and ideas

There’s quite a lot of projects I’m eager to get started on and it’s funny because past me would have been overwhelmed at the sheer amount of tasks and ideas in front of me. But a little escape into another culture, the act of getting by in a myriad of situations with only what I could fit inside a suitcase, and three weeks spent living each day as it comes was good for me. The blog is one thing I really want to update with posts and stories ASAP, hence why I’m sat here at my dining room table writing this while listening to an 80s hits playlist. I also really want to work on my storytelling skills.

my projects are:

  • write blog posts about things – lessons and stories – as they happen! I say this often, and to me it seems like I’m not getting anywhere with this goal. But I’m certain that over time and after a little constant self-induced nagging, I’ll accomplish this eventually.
  • improve my story telling skills. More than ever before, I’ve been overwhelmed by waves of bliss lately. That’s the best I can describe it – it’s that magical “high on life” emotion you get when things are just splendid. Like you are just so goddamn content right now. And I also feel like my life is getting interesting. I’m amassing funny, inspiring, striking stories and I want to be able to tell them in a way that is captivating and does them justice. So yeah.
  • read and learn more. I sort of took a prolonged break from academics what with my strange conclusion to my final year of high school. I’m looking forward to starting a new academic challenge in the form of university, but I also want to work on staying in the zone by reading a little bit each night.
  • relax. This could be a whole book, but I’ll settle for slowly advocating for this lifestyle through my future YouTube videos and blogs. But the culture in romania (and in the magical place called summer vacation) is so different from mine normally that the sudden shift was really great medicine for me at this point in my life. In summary though, it’s about the idea that you’re worthy and incredible whether you accomplish something or not. You’re not defined by your expectations of yourself, your success, your appearance. Work on being YOU and really sinking into and relaxing in the face of that truth.

cultural differences and productivity

I was asked a lot what I thought about romania while I was there, so I was often reflecting on the differences between the two countries and cultures. Aside from the superficial differences of infrastructure quality, standard of living and government operations, there was one big change I felt in the way people went about their lives.

In North America, people are always doing something. Not only is one’s career of massive importance, but leisure time is spent getting things done – visiting festivals, hiking, dining out.

Maybe it was the fact that I visited during the summer, and it could also be because of the people I was with, but in Europe I think the culture is one of fewer expectations. Not necessarily lower ones, but just fewer. Family is more important than career, and leisure time is often just sitting around listening to music, drinking a beer, and eating sunflower seeds with friends.

For me, this was a really new thing. I’ve always thought it a strange idea to simply “get together” with friends without any plan of action in mind. It made me uncomfortable – both that it would be a waste of time and that it would somehow be awkward or boring.

But in reality, there’s a lot of fun to be had if you simply allow yourself to.

That is, when you let yourself enjoy things without the barriers that we create around what qualifies as fun in the first place.

I’ve certainly come away from my trip with a refreshed outlook on the sources of stress in my life and an appreciation for keeping things simple.

Till next time!

ioana

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