If you follow me on Instagram you probably know I went to Perugia this past Saturday, the 21st of October, at the Eurochocolate Festival that takes place there every year. The trip was organised by some students of my University. They rented 2 busses, very nice ones by the way, bought us breakfast and took us to Perugia in 2 hours time. We were all pretty much the same age, so things went very well, aka we had a blast.
We got there at about 10am and had time until 4:30pm to wander around. And let me tell you, it was great. Besides the chocolate itself, Perugia is a very nice town, very old and semi-high up in altitude.
My friend and I managed to find a pretty desolated spot where there was a great view, along with some benches to relax on, with the chilly mountain air.
Besides this amazing view, the town centre was packed with tourists, as well as with guests from a wedding that took place there.
We then found an even more photogenic place, after wandering into a bookstore and coming out with Beyoncé’s first CD. Oops.
And here is all the chocolate that I bought, which was not an exaggerated amount.
This last 18th of September I started University and let me tell you, I could not be happier. I love new beginnings and this is the best one yet. Leaving behind all that was dragging me down was something I desperately needed.
I decided to pursue a degree in Business and more specifically Economics at the Sapienza University of Rome. Classes have been going on for the last month and I feel amazingly accomplished regarding the notions learned and the people I have made friends with. Getting to Uni in the morning is not the easiest voyage, but it could be worse: I take the train and walk quite a lot, but I do not mind.
The books are indeed intimidating but once you get into the mood of studying and learning it all flows better. My professors this semester, all women, are great and teach in a very pleasant way. I also got lucky regarding the time the classes are taught: from 9am to 1pm. Very, very lucky indeed.
I love learning how a business is started and what is needed, how the state regulates the privates, and also how law works. Math is the one subject where I feel more advantaged, because the professor is teaching things I already know.
My exams are in January and I have started studying here and there, but I still have to get serious about it. All in all, I am extremely happy and excited with how my life is going.
I cannot believe this is real. I finally finished high school, after 5 intense and gruelling years (yes, high school lasts 5 years in Italy). The feeling has just started settling in even though when I am writing this 2 weeks have passed since I took my last exam.
I am content with the way my finals went. Could have they gone better? Of course, it can always go better, but I was well aware of what I have done during these 5 years and what my limits were (aka the math part was not really my forte).
I must say that I was not stressed in the least during my exam weeks. Yes, it was overwhelming but what was done was done and no late night study sessions could mend the spaces left behind. I was calm and collected, despite experiencing a very harsh UTI when I took my first exam. I know, it might be too much information, but it is what it is.
Now that all is said and done, I think I should reflect on what these last 5 years have meant and what they have done for me.
When I started high school I was a completely different person, and I really mean it. I was extremely shy, awkward and would not socialise whatsoever. Thankfully, I then became friends with a classmate of mine who was and is my complete opposite. She helped me become more open to opportunities and talk more. From then on, despite some people not believing in me, be it because I am female, be it because I am Romanian, I thrived. I often came out on top, regardless of whether I studied or not and that made people angry. The fact that I was respectful to everyone made people angry. And now, despite everyone’s doubts and comments, I am a happy woman, who feels fulfilled and who is extremely, extremely excited to move forward in life, and that means going to university.
I cannot wait (I mean, I can a bit) to start this new chapter in my life and take you guys with me. Thank you so much for reading.
This is probably one of the most annoying words in any language. Annoying, depressing, tear-worthy. I have encountered it few times in my life and I wish I had not.
Admitting I have failed at something makes my stomach turn and my brain get angry. Simply because failing is my fault and no one else’s. I cannot put the blame on my teachers for getting a bad or mediocre grade. I cannot put the blame on supermarkets for me gaining weight.
Saying “I have failed” is tiring and infuriating, so much that whenever it happens, I get cranky the whole day, until I have interiorised my failure and I am ready to move on. Admitting my failures is a process that has to happen in order for me to have mental clarity and sanity.
If I were to find the root of the problem, I would go as back as primary school. I was not used to failing. I always had top grades and was considered a nerd. That went on during middle school, getting admitted to high school with the highest grade possible. High school, on the other hand, was a low blow. Teachers expect more than average and they are not willing to give you more than you worked for; sometimes they do not even give you that. Of course, my behaviour changed too: I started working harder and smarter. I understood what they wanted and tackled the skills I lacked.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard I worked, I sometimes failed. Usually, that happened in math (surprise…not). It has never been my strongest subject and it still is not. I have admitted that, despite my pride, and I moved forward, doing what I can.
Failing, or getting a mediocre grade, at math is not acceptable, but it is not catastrophic either. What hurts more is getting a mediocre grade in a subject I usually am one of the best at. Not getting the maximum in Italian or History or Philosophy stings for two reasons: firstly, because it hurts my pride, secondly because people have high expectations of me. This last part is something I am still struggling with.
Hearing my teacher say “I expected more from you” hurts more than them saying “You sucked at this”. In the last case, something must have definitely gone bad, where I could not have done anything to mend it. In the first case, it is all my fault, because I have set a certain standard that people, and also myself, are accustomed to and now expect.
Failure and expectations go hand in hand, especially because when I fail, there are always people who cheer. When you almost always are the best, people start rooting for you to fall. Had you been less stellar, your fall would not have made so much noise.
I guess failure itself is not so bad; everyone encounters it in their lives and it is normal and part of being human. What matters is how we deal with it and what we take from it. I believe in the “You win or you learn” motto. That is what life is all about: progressing and learning, which most often than not, are quite the same thing.
In March I went on a trip to New York City, which lasted about 9 days. This trip was the culminating event of a course I have been taking since November. This course is called National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN). It is a branch of the Model United Nations (MUN), aimed at high school students.
The whole course lasted from November until February and it focused on diplomacy, diplomatic language, modern history, geopolitics and such. We then did a simulation in Rome, in a parliamentary room, where students from Central Italy came together to work as one.
Finally, we had to go to NYC to take part in the big simulation, which brought together students from all around the world. I was part of the Economic and Financial Committee (ECOFIN) and I was representing Mauritania, alongside a girl from another part of Italy.
Let’s get started with the trip.
We left on the 13th of March from Fiumicino Airport, in Rome. All of our flights were operated by Iberia, so naturally we had layovers in Madrid.
The flight from Rome to Madrid lasted 3 hours and was uneventful. There we had about an hour layover, but since the gate was pretty far, we had to run there to catch our flight. The next 9 hours, strangely enough, passed quickly. I saw the film “Arrival”, which was neat.
Finally, we arrived in NYC at about 7pm. It was quite late, I had no internet on my phone, thinking that I could catch some wifi. That did not happen. It was very very cold as we waited for the car which would take us to the hotel.
We finally arrived at our hotel, Hilton Midtown. It is a very nice hotel and the room was cute, once you figured out how the heating worked. The elevators were also quite a challenge.
We were 4 girls in the room and let me tell you, it was such a mess that the cleaning lady refused to clean it. That was quite a hint.
That night we went out for McDonald’s in Times Square. It was so so cold that it started lightly snowing. We got back towards midnight and then we went straight to sleep, too tired to function.
The next day, on the 14th, we were faced with Snow Storm Sally. At the beginning it was cute and new, but then we had to face the cold and the metres of snow. We had breakfast at Joe & the Juice, near our hotel, where I had a protein smoothie.
We then tried to go to the Museum of Natural History, which was closed. I was on the verge of a nervous crisis as we walked through Central Park, in the snow storm, with our guide who was not a good enough guide and did not know where she was going. Fortunately, I made a new friend who I am still on touch with and we took a taxi back to the hotel, instead of walking.
I was so cold I felt like crying. We ended up just staying in the hotel for the rest of the day, since it was so cold.
On the next day, we actually started working. But before that, we finally visited the museum! As always, we had to hurry to make it in time for the Opening Ceremony, so we only had an hour. A friend of mine and I managed to visit almost everything.
After this, we got dressed up and we attended the Opening Ceremony, after attending a couple of briefings on the rules of procedure and such.
The 16th was the most intense work day, since we had to attend 2 sessions in the afternoon, while in the morning we attended a conference. That evening most people went to the Empire State Building, but I was not feeling well and remained in my room.
The next day we attended our last two sessions and we were finally free to go. We visited the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), that was close to our hotel.
That night we also attended the Delegate Dance, but I only stayed and danced for a bit, since my feet were killing me, having worn heels all day.
The next morning we left for the UN Headquarters and we attended the Closing Ceremonies. It was nice, being seated in the front row, and watching people make their speeches.
In the afternoon we visited the Guggenheim Museum. I liked the way it was structured on more floors and how there were little to no stairs.
On the next day we went to visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and then the Brooklyn Bridge. We had to walk quite a lot to get to the subway station, since there was a marathon going on.
Before going to the Brooklyn Bridge, we visited Wall Street, where I was excited to see the statue of the Fearless Girl.
After that, we visited the 9/11 Memorial. It felt surreal. All the names written there really gave it a spectral atmosphere, and despite there being hundreds of people, it was silent.
Finally, we arrived at the Brooklyn Bridge, and we walked all the way to Brooklyn. It was tiring, but it was most definitely worth it.
On the 21st of March we left. Unfortunately, our layover in Madrid lasted 6 hours and I fell asleep on the table. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. We finally got home on the 22nd.
What I left out of all this diary entry, so to say, was a very deep emotional experience which saw its beginning and end in the same week, only to leave me heartbroken, then mend my heart and then break it again a couple of days ago. But this experience would not have been the same without my heart experiencing a whole array of emotions, from love to panic.
I must say that a couple of months ago I made the most amazing discovery. While I was walking the streets of Rome, and more specifically Piazza Venezia, my friend and I entered a store, which turned out to be heaven.
This store is called Tiger, or Flying Tiger, depending on where you live. It is a variety store which provides very low cost items, but they do not adopt the .99 method, which means that their prices are whole.
They have everything, from kitchen supplies and particular spices to notebooks and iPhone cases. They have anything you can wish for. I fell in love and I am not exaggerating. Their only flaw is that they do not offer online shopping, which is pretty sad, since I would have raided the whole store months ago. One more particularity is that they switch their merchandise quite often, so if you want to buy something in bulk, you should.
Let us get going with this haul.
I am basically obsessed with notebooks and agendas, sue me. Therefore, this was the perfect occasion to splurge, but not too much.
I bought a beautiful black notebook, which has brown paper inside. It cost me €2 and I use it as an almost daily diary, in which I write my thoughts and feelings. I also talked about it here.
I then got a big powder blue agenda, which I still have to find a use for. I cost a bit more, I believe €6, but it was worth it. I unfortunately dirtied it with some chocolate, something I hated myself for, but it is still beautiful. This, unlike the previous one, has blank paper on the inside.
Next up, I bought a tiny glittery pink notebook, which I also have to find a use for. It was €1 and I could not resist its prettiness.
I then got 2 photo albums, and I honestly regret not getting more, since they do not carry them anymore. I do, however, hope that they will bring them back, since they were the perfect size for my photos. They cost €5 each.
Last but not least, I got the cutest keychain ever, inspired by the Fendi ones. There were many colours, but I liked this one the best and I believe it was €3.
I also posted it, along with my nails, on Instagram a couple of days ago.
I hope that you liked this mini haul and thank you for reading.
I have thought long and hard about making this post, since it is mostly an impulsive one, based on recent events in my personal life.
The word “focus” seems very hard to materialise in our lives, especially nowadays, since everybody seems to lose said “focus” of what they truly want in life. What I mean by that word is complete and utter determination to achieve a certain goal. It is up there with other words like “ambition” and “drive”. It is something that you create and you work with. I do tend to judge people by how these three entities manifest in their lives and I admire people who have the same goal-driven mind like me.
The problem arises when this focus has to be shared by various aspects of one’s life. For example, I am the kind of person completely focused on school and on a future career, so when something else comes into my life, like a possible love interest, my focus unfortunately shifts. I say “unfortunately” because I have noticed, every single time that has happened, that when my focus has to be shared by more than one aspect of my life, the initial goal loses importance. I lose focus of school and my grades go slightly down. I lose focus of keeping myself happy and I start focusing on keeping the other person pleased, which is not how things should be.
I would love to be the kind of woman who can manage all aspects of her life impeccably, but I am not, at least not right now, not at this age. The ability lo balance various aspects of life comes with age and experience, which means that for now, I will have to settle and keep my focus on one single goal.
I have seen the same thing happen to friends of mine, in slightly more drastic ways, such as being almost left behind in school. On a good note, that has not happened to me and it never will, since I will make sure it will not.
The whole purpose of this post, besides trying to bring comfort to other people who might feel the same as me, is to also keep me accountable, to make sure that I do not make the same mistakes and that I do not lose sight, that I do not lose focus of what I truly want in life.
If you ask me, I must quote Beyoncé : “Make sure you have your own life before becoming someone’s wife”. Yes, this might take it to the extreme, but if, for a relationship, you have to let go of your goals, then let me tell you it is not worth it, since your career is the only certainty in this hungry and fast world. Your work, your grind, your hustle, whatever you want to call it, should be the main focus, and once you have that checked, then you can share your focus with whatever else may please you. But for now, I need to get back in my lane, the fast one.