What am I working on at the moment and a great sushi place in London

I am working on this awesome project for Global Citizen Blog where I am a contributor, when I am not a nanny or an interpreter, that is :)

Romania celebrates Children’s Day on the 1st of June and I dared my Romanian friends to share the highlights of their childhoods with me.

It was quite interesting to observe the process. At first they were like: “hmmm, ok, but I don’t remember much…let me see, maybe tomorrow, I am not good with writing, you know…”

After countless reassurances from me that they would do fine and a couple of paragraphs would suffice and that I would do the literary arrangements upon translating anyway, they sat down to work. Almost all of them ended up writing one paragraph after another after another, formed of words of incredible emotional power, as if a door to something magic was opened by my dare.

The writings were sent to me with messages like: “writing this made me cry” or “I should have been nicer to my grandparents” or “I miss being a child” and so on and so forth.

All in all, I am happy with the results so far. I am now translating the stories and trying to put the material together. If all goes well, it should be published on Monday. I will keep you posted, I am sure you all like a walk down the memory lane, don’t you? :)

Meanwhile, you can read some of my old articles on Global Citizen Blog: I Travel, Therefore I am and  My Country, My Grandma. These two are my personal favourites of the lot.

As for today, due to a cancelled interpreting booking (I still get paid, though), I ended up having lunch with boyfriend. I was craving sushi and he suggested this little gem at Piccadilly Circus, at 61 Brewer Street. Taro is a tiny place that looks more like a canteen than a restaurant but I love the worn out look on shops and eateries. It somehow gives me a sense of authenticity and a feeling that the owners are more concerned with the quality of food than with the interiour design. And the quality of food is precisely the reason I eat out.

And boy, don’t they cook fine! I had Chicken Gyoza (grilled chicken dumpling filled with veggies in Japanese style) and Tempura Sushi Roll with a nice sauce on the side and I must say it was the best sushi I ever had so far.
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Boyfriend had this thing below but I forgot the name. And it looks just like it tastes: DELICIOUS.

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I am sorry I can’t say more about the food, I am no food blogger, as you can see. I don’t know how to critique food, I can only say if it was good and if I would go back to Taro again. And the answers are YES and YES :)

What other sushi places do you recommend in London?

Thought of the day, advice of the day and a nice pop-up for you in London this Friday

Living in London makes me think every day about how beautiful globalisation is. Things like a Romanian girl and a French boy sitting in a kitchen in London, eating guacamole and fois gras on oat crackers and tomatoes with cheese while speaking in English become so random that we will soon forget to notice their charm.

Also, how we get to know at least one person in pretty much every major city we travel in the world is also kind of great. Makes the respective place even more hospitable and fun, right?

Anyway, back to my very common life :) I had the day off today so I spent the morning browsing my local charity shops in search of hidden treasures. I found a shop with all books 50 p (what a bargain!) and I bought some, of course.

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Boyfriend doesn’t know how to cook and I am being understanding and supportive, meaning I am buying him books and dare him to try recipes. He has just accepted to do all the ten fish receipes in the Fish book by Rick Stein :) And this is how you get your man to cook, ladies. You are welcome :)
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I did some grocery shopping as well, I bought some essentials for my fridge and ingredients for guacamole, my new obsession.

In the bus on my way home there was this very sad, touching person, asking people for some change for food. He apparently had a sort of a mental health problem. He broke my heart in a matter of seconds. I rummaged through my pockets for some change, but I only had a couple of quids. So I opened the shopping bag and looked for a thing he could eat right away and found a yogurt can. Good enough. I got off the bus and then it hit me. I had some apricots as well, I should have given him those too, stupid me.

I can’t stress enough the importance of being kind to the less fortunate. While a couple of quid and a sandwich makes no difference for you or me, for them might mean a break till tomorrow when they have to figure out their next meal. I tend to be reluctant in giving money to people that look hooked on alcohol or drugs, but then I know how usually vice works as a coping mechanism with a very harsh reality. We must be selective and not support the begging mobs, yes indeed, but I think at an empathetic level, one can tell the difference from real and fake pain. So, give people. Please, GIVE!

Speaking of charity, what do you think of this pop-up serving cold tap water in Shoreditch this coming Friday?

“A new arrival joins East London’s trendy mono-food scene this week, opening on Friday 29 May for one day only. The pop-up, called H2Only Bar, doubles as a call to action by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. It is promoting the charity’s H2Only fundraising challenge, starting at 5pm on Friday 2 June, where supporters commit to drinking only water for 10 days.

Taking stark minimalism to a painfully sharp extreme, the bar simply houses a single cold water tap, together with cardboard cups. Best of all, each drink is free – so you can get as many rounds in as you like while encouraging all your friends to sign up to the challenge.”

As for me, I continued my day with a cheeky nap in the middle of Wednesday and I loved it! I have such a long, busy day tomorrow. Sigh.

May you all have a lovely Wednesday evening :)

My long weekend and a lovely book for you to read

I didn’t go anywhere this weekend. Boyfriend went to the countryside in France and I stayed behind, to enjoy my studio flat while I still have it. My boyfriend and I are moving in together in three weeks time and I know I will miss my own space. We will be living in a one bedroom, but still, the days when I have the flat for myself will be few and only the loners can understand me :)

I had some Interpreting bookings on Friday, watched Star Trek Into the Darkness on Friday night (it has Benedict Cumberbatch in it and I had no clue about it, what a lovely surprise!), read a beautiful book on Saturday, booked a plane ticket for a weekend in Oslo in August and missed my yoga session because of a totally random nap.

The book I read is The Skeleton Cupboard by  Tanya Byron. Stories of crisis, sanity and hope inspired by the author’s years of training as a clinical psychologist. The stories follow not only the patients’ dramas but also the humanity of the trainee psychologist, her fears and doubts and her mistakes. For instance, before a patient dealing with panic attacks comes for his appointment, the author is asking herself: ‘What if I have an anxiety attack?’

What I have learned from the book is to embrace my weaknesses as they are only traits of my humanity and turn them into strengths. I am a firm believer in the possibility to convey negatives into positives with a bit of effort and a lot of will.

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On Sunday I went for coffee at Old Street. Shoreditch on Sunday morning is pretty amazing, so quiet and so still, after the Saturday night chaos. On my way home I stopped at a local Greek eatery in my neighbourhood for a Gyros and for some Greek language in the background. I miss Greece so much it hurts but I don’t think I am going to see it this year. We are debating between Greece, Portugal and Vietnam for our summer holiday and I am pretty sure Greece will not be the winner.

Here are some pictures of the Old Street. Always work in progress, this London of mine, eh? Do follow me on Instagram for more pictures of London.

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How was your long weekend?

I am a nanny

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I declare myself an interpeter/writer/nanny. Yes, I work three jobs that couldn’t be more different from one another but that have one thing in common my LOVE. My love for English/words/children.

This nanny job I have should have been a temporary gig until I decided what path to take in my new life in London. With a background in travel industry and marketing, my fate would have been a 9 to 5 job in an office. I spent a lifetime in offices, I have come to dread it so much that I decided to indulge myself in my nanny life a little bit more.

Being a nanny is not an easy job especially if you are not fond of children at all times, even when they throw tantrums and scream as if they are being beheaded or something. If a tantrum annoys you to the point you feel like shouting or even worse, hitting the child upside the head, then please never become a nanny.

I don’t mind tantrums much. Ok, sometimes they happen when we are in a hurry going somewhere, or in a packed bus, but all together I am fine with it. Children have the right to be upset just like adults have. While we can contain ourselves, they are just forming these skills now. And they need our help. Also, the best part of tantrums is that they are followed by lovely cuddles. I find children’s cuddles the most heartwarming.

Apart from tantrums, being a nanny is awesome. It is the best job I have ever had. As a nanny you get to play, full around, spend hours on end in parks, museums, playgrounds and all sort of outings. Ok, sometimes you get to read about fifteen books of which ten are Peppa Pig books and this can be a bit overwhelming but you will survive.

Nannies are paid well, at least in London. A nanny probably makes what a Junior in Marketing makes, but without the long hours and the pressure. A nanny also gets love. The best kind of love, that is. A child’s love is such a precious gift, priceless, I dare say. Children love unconditionally and with all their might, even when they don’t like you that much. I might sound extremely sad to some people, but the love of these three children I look after is probably my biggest achievement in life to the date.

Also, their love came when I needed it most: starting over in a foreign country, clueless about what my next step should be. This job and these children gave me purpose and at the same time they were my anchor in this new city, in this new life.

But, unfortunately it doesn’t take only lovely children to make a nanny job amazing. It also takes a lovely family. I was lucky to get one. The children’s parents are both role models to me. They have a beautiful marriage and they are on the same page when it comes to the children. They treat me with utmost respect and demand the same from their children. Not even the tinniest rude comment towards me is accepted from the kids or to treat me as if I am their servant. They have to put their dishes on the side and tidy up their room even if they have a nanny. And the parents not only tell them how to behave, but they set an example. They do what they preach and I admire them for this. Being a good parent is harder than being a lousy parent but it pays off.

Being part of this wonderful English family three days a week helped me a lot adjusting to the culture. Seeing them in action, parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles gave me an idea about what is accepted and what is not accepted in the British culture.

I have changed a lot during the past year and a half, since I’ve been with them. The changes came organic, bit by bit, totally unplanned. That is the beauty of changing, I guess. One day you simply realise you are an improved version of yourself.

Also, having this job three days a week gave me something I never had before: four days weekends. I swear I never had so much time in my hands, not even when I was in school. I enjoyed the easy life for a while but then I decided to do something useful. So I went back to school. I studied Community Interpreting, in my attempt to stay away from offices for the rest of my life.

This year I have started my interpreting job and my writing gigs are starting to add up. But I still cannot give up being a nanny just yet. I am seriously considering doing it for one more year, at least one day a week. No other job puts a smile on my face like the nanny job does. And going through life smiling is my goal.

It is all a matter of perspective

It is incredible how fast time goes by. I can’t believe we are in May already, where did the time go? It feels like yesterday it was New Year’s Eve.

I was thinking the other day how I’ve done nothing constructive this year so far. I have this terrible gift of belittling myself. On my list of failures: not writing much, not having booked an exotic holiday, not getting fit, procrastinating everything, all the time. I was about to slap myself, I am telling you.

But then the positive results of plenty of sessions of therapy kicked in and, with a bit of effort, I was able to see the lovely bits of my life. In 2015 I moved into a studio flat, I started working as an interpreter, I had a lovely holiday in Tenerife, I decided to move in with my boyfriend,viewed flats together and chose a pretty one bedroom at West Hampstead, put my flat in Romania on the market, finally cutting my ties with my mother land. Don’t I look completely grown up and accomplished when looking at my life like this? Moral: it is all a matter of perspective.

The most touching moment by far was welcoming at the airport one of the British survivors in Nepal, and having a cup of tea with him and his family, listening to some incredible stories. I admired his positive attitude and how he was making some of the things that happened to him sound rather funny. I would have probably came back with a huge PTSD if I were him.

But this is not about me or him, it’s about the Nepalese people that were left without nothing. I am kindly asking you to spare a fiver and donate it to a charity of your choice. It will not make a difference to you, but it will make a massive difference to them. In other words, please don’t pray for Nepal. Donate money instead.

P.S. My studio flat is up for grabs, if anyone is interested. Turnpike Lane, £750 pcm, bills included. Check the add here and share it to your friends.