Inspirational people

Proud of who I am - a year on

Let go of the past




A year ago, I was metaphorically speaking sitting at my almost empty desk with my bags already packed (they had actually been packed for months) ready to spread my wings and leave behind a place that had caused me and my family endless misery.

What I learned was that civil servants have traded their souls, their happiness for an empty job and a good pension. I really mean this. And what a heavy price to pay it is.

Luckily for me, this was not my first job in my life - and as we Romanians say, I've seen a lot of water flow under many bridges, so I had plenty of experiences against which to measure everything that was going in Victoria. And boy did it score poorly.




From the lack of professionalism and integrity of the management to the hypocrisy of a system eager to pretend that the "king has beautiful clothes" when there were none, from the brainwashing, box ticking exercises to an environment where bullying was part of the norm. These are not my words, you can find them on the Myers Briggs career evaluation service. An amazingly false environment where truth about the system is only whispered among people you really trust (and repeated extensively in confidential staff surveys) ...... to cut a long story short, everything about the way the place reminded me of Communist Romania, all top down instructions, no listening, no attempt to help, to develop, and yet I was in the middle of the cradle of democracy.

Standing up for ones views was the equivalent of professional suicide and departmental isolation. I know it! I've done it! I've been there and I still have the scars to show.

Anyway, I plan to write bits about my experience in the Civil Service in time. Why? Because I am Romanian.

Having lived in this country for 8 years, I can honestly say that I'm proud of who I am. I'm proud of the level of dedication my generation in Romania showed in our top jobs in marketing, advertising, publishing, media in general. What we had at that time was a hunger ... hunger for knowledge, hunger for results, hunger to learn, have fun and a huge respect for the enlightened mangers some of us were lucky enough to meet and to learn from.

For me, I'm speaking here about Reese Palley (read about his adventures here an American adventurer, sailer, writer, an intuitive advertiser, a pioneer, a man who did not believe in compromises and who inspired us in the ad agency he established to think outside the box and believe in our ideas. Do check him out guys, you will be inspired by his adventures, I can promise you that!

Another man who made a huge difference in my life was Michael Holscher (read a bit about him here another American. What he was able to do was to surround himself with the right people for the right job and then give them the freedom to use their creativity and instincts, standing against those proposing safe, well trodden ideas. He was prepared to take creative risks and I'm sure this is why our achievements were way above any expectations.

When like me you are lucky to meet people like Reese and Mike, it's easy to spot a fraud, it's easy to see through the layers of empty words. We learned to stand up for ourselves and our rights and I treasure this more than anything.

Inspiring people and Vietnam

IMG_1913I don't know about you but my heart jumps up and down with enthusiasm when I meet inspiring people. It just does and you know what? It motivates me to try harder, push through more boundaries, say with more conviction "Yes you can" do whatever you want. Are you still "on the fence" complaining bitterly about how life is?

Let me introduce you to Hannah, the owner of "Divine nails" in Eastbourne. I came across the shop yesterday, by accident (or better said serendipity) when I was just wondering around the town, taking a street less travelled in an attempt to get to know my town better.

So, I noticed the shop, went inside and decided to treat myself with a gel acrylic manicure. Hurray! Ladies, there is nothing better than a bit of TLC! And pampered I was, for 90 minutes, getting to know Hannah, a delicate and talented Vietnamese artist. Yes, I do think that what she does is art.

Her story is classic .........comes to England to learn the language with plans to go back to her country to embrace a career in translation- then she falls in love with a fine Englishman and her destiny changes for good.

As an  immigrant myself I know well the thinking process that goes to ones mind when one gets married, settles ............ the next question is .... and now what? What can I possibly do in this country to earn money? The first thing that one thinks is .........OK ... do what I used to do in my country does not take long to realise that it's a no, no at least at the beginning, next comes the big word RE-INVENTION. Yes, one needs to reinvent oneself ......... again and again until one finds a place in the society.

And this is exactly what Hannah did, retrained and a year after graduation had the courage to start her own business. 5 years down the line she has a small but successful business, thinks about employing a new person and starting a family. This is a success story!

For the lucky ones who live in Eastbourne or the neighborhood you can find her shop in 3, Mark Lane. You will become a regular customer there and then.


And of course we've talked about traditional food and I was reminded of the cookery book I asked Santa to bring me in 2011 and I'm still waiting for. It is such a lovely book ......a combination of travel, cookery and photography.

I feel in the mood for one of my favourite movies now ...... INDOCHINE!







PS Talking about inspiring people. Do check on the link below. If you are interested in connecting with your spirit guides, then join Lisa Dieken for a 5 weeks course starting on January 16th.

The vibrant colours of the Algerian markets are on Terminus Road


I am nostalgic! Is it because of the grey December days in Eastbourne? Who knows? Suddenly I miss the Romanian markets, the colourful stalls full of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables (the mountains of juicy cabbages, red potatoes in cone style packs, the egg shaped red grapes, the red onions, perfumed quinces) negotiating with the stall owners, chatting with the occasional neighbours one meets in between the stalls.

There are no proper street markets in Eastbourne. The supermarkets, hypermarkets bring you shiny products in plastic bags, hygienized ( I really miss seeing some earth on the carrots and potatoes), tasteless most of the time but looking gorgeous. So much form without the substance!

5 years down the line and ................ there is HOPE! 6 weeks ago a couple of Algerians, absolutely adorable, decided to risk it all, blend their natural negotiating instincts, customer care and taste of fresh produce and open a shop in Terminus Road. What a discovery it was for me!


It is not only a shop! It is a place where you are encouraged to try exotic (for me) products, you are mentored  how to cook them, and all of this with a genuine smile and warmth!   What an asset for Eastbourne! May their venture flourish and I do hope that the Eastbourners will support this young but oh so needed venture.

So, remember! The best and cost effective fruits and vegetables in Eastbourne can be found at 223 Terminus Road close to the Pier end! See you there!

Jonas Gerard and the art of free painting

Painting seems to play a bigger and bigger part in my life! I wake up wanting to touch the brushes and experiment with the tubes of colors, go through the day doodling in my journal and meet the evenings with an art book in my hand. Be it face to face or on a virtual level, being part of like minded tribes is uplifting and nurturing. If you are inclined to try your hand at painting or sculpting or playing with clay or just expressing yourself creatively in general ..... look for like minded people, look for the people who are out there already  doing whatever you want to try.

Have a look in your own community, move into that virtual one that is the special interest community, start networking, connecting, and in no time you will see yourself in the middle of it all ....... in the middle of creative expression.

The other day one of my fellow painters introduced me to an amazing artist who absolutely took my breath away. His name is Jonas Gerard! Have a look at the video below and we'll speak a bit later


OK now that you've watched this video .......... what do you think? What did seeing Jonas paint do to you? What are the feelings that he brought to the surface in you? Happiness, joy, fun, optimism, love, ..........we are all touched in different ways. In my case the freedom of expression was overwhelming and I felt the need to shout and say YES, YES, YES ......... this is creative expression ....... free from judging, free from any expectation, free from planning ....... it's the brush, the music, the artist channeling messages from the universe. That's all!

Where can you start? With a white piece of paper, a few paint tubes or juicy pens, a cup of coffee or tea or whatever you fancy and ....... that's all ....... this is enough to ............ meet the "you within" and get a creative dialogue going! This dialogue will impact on your whole life!

Jonas Gerard is genuine and authentic! An artist through and through! And guess what .... he is a self taught artist!