At least 50 things you can do with a sock

Last evening, I watched a video which reminded me of an older post on 50 things you can do with a brick, but also brought some motivation for a new one on 50 things you can do with a sock :)

50 things to do with one sockThe challenge was to think about it …and not Google it (very convenient thing since I am using my computer and not pen and pad). Here we go:

1. baby scratch protection (yes!!! recent influence)
2. wipe the floor
3. if you are a guy, works as funky underwear
4. toy, draw a mouth and beautiful eye and it turns into a hand glove puppet
5. hat for your cat
6. wait for Santa
7. fill it with sand and play Oina (Romanian National Sport)
8. keep baby chicken (cheek) warm … awwwwww … cheeks are so cute
9. works as a handkerchief (Dexter used normal handkerchiefs to knock down his victims with chloroform… this might be quite expensive over the 8 seasons of 12 episodes)
10. remove your mascara/ lipstick (desperate measures)
11. clean the laptop keyboard (yup, clearly socks are good for cleaning and wipping)
12. choke someone (hei, only as a joke!)
13. ponytail
14. brush for a larger painting
15. use is as a rope and make a knot to connect stuff
16. filter milk, make cheese (hope to god its a new sock)
17. cover your eyes under the sun when lying on the beach
18. use it to pick up hot stuff
19. hide things in it
20. store earrings
21. scare girly girls with a stinky one
22. yes… that, guys do it … sticky thing
23. create different patterns on Easter egg
24. start a fire
25. small trash bin, collect stuff you wanna trough away but want want to be visible in your garbage bin
26. wipe your leather shoes – they will glow nicely after
27. make sweater for your small dog
28. feet softener, use feet cream and keep it on over night. since we just have one sock, you will need 2 nights :)
29. create shadow/ cover light
30. instagram it :D
31. doll dress
32. cut it into long pieces, add paper and use it as homemade curlers
33. blotter
34. put in your cold beer bottle
35. catch a bug
36. put it over your shoe an jump in one leg (not to mess up the clean floor or your room when you don’t have time to take your shoes off)
37. too lazy to open the door to your friend? put the key in the sock and through it out the window
38. soak it in vinegar and put it on your forehead for headaches
39. cut one side and make a hip bracelet/ arm warmer
40. cover something you don’t wanna see
41. use it as a bandage
42. remove nail polish/ use it instead of wool disks
43. scarf for your hamster
44. turn off candle
45. cover for your phone (so hip – haha)
46. keep your money in (baga banii la ciorap – incredibil ca m-am gandit la asta atat de tarziu)
47. make a small pillow for niddles
48. cover one of the wheels of a desk chair. it will stop moving
49. soak it in water and water delicate flowers
50. keep one leg warm :)

How did I get to this? Lately I am into BBC Documentaries. I believe they do come with a bit of drama and exaggeration, but the topics presented are very appealing to me. Below a very interesting one on Intelligence measurement.

I have to admin that I’ve found it a bit more difficult and took more than 15 minutes to create this list (comparing to the brick one).

Any other ideas?

9 Days in Incredible India

This story is about India. It’s a longer story, as India is a big country :)

Background information
You see, I have no memories of what I thought about India some years ago. But if I still know myself, probably I did not like it.
Then … I’ve met Indian people. Most of them very charismatic and outgoing. I started to learn about the country from its best promoters – Indians. Therefore a couple of months ago I decided to go to India. Before this I was advised to by westerns or westernized friends and colleagues to take care of/with …mostly everything. Add to this reading all the latest news on violence against women.
However, my Indian friends did a better job with presenting the country, than all the others. Maybe I was open to the idea of going to India this spring also because I also come for a country that is mostly criticized by people that have never seen it …or again – maybe because Indians are really charismatic.

New Delhi
So….there I was: New Delhi Airport at 2 AM. I flew in from Shanghai so the plane was full with Indians and Chinese. Should I mention that I was already feeling uncomfortable? I am tall, my hair had a light color and my clothes were German (read that as – simple and boring/practical).
One very good friend waited for me at the airport. He came with another friend of his. We went by car to New Delhi’s center and nothing seemed to be similar to what I was advised to take care of. The New Delhi Airport was huge, clean and modern…not to mention full of all types of internationals. Streets were perfect; sidewalks as well. It was already 3 AM we were passing the area of the embassies.
Second day it started pretty early with Indian Breakfast. I went to India with the idea of trying everything that is on my plate. Well to be honest, until the end of the trip I did not see big difference between Indian Breakfast, lunch and dinner. My taste is not very cultivated in this direction.
Center of New Delhi is full of colonial buildings. The smoke, dust and dirtiness are destroying the view. But people looked happy to me…or at least – not depressed.
One of the first stops was a bazaar. You have to pass a security filter to enter the bazar. You also have to pass security almost always when entering a public place – airport, mall, bazaars, metro or train station. I was expecting actually more aggressively and negotiations from the sellers…more like Turks do in there Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. They were quite nice and very polite.
We took a tuk tuk. I was for the first time in a tuk tuk … so that day we used the tuk tuk 3 more times:) It’s very exciting as you are super close and exposed to the traffic. Not to mention cheap, cheaper than most things and a lot of things are cheap in India.
New Delhi 2013One of the stops in New Delhi was the mall…probably a comfortable place to be. Security Check to pass first. Next Security Check was at the metro. About 1 million people use the metro every day in New Delhi. And first wagon of the metro is only for women. They can also enter the other wages, but men are not allowed in the first one.
In the evening we went to a bar that for me looked very familiar – except of course that the proportion men/women was’t balanced.

The day next was the start of a 4 days road trip: from New Delhi to Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur with return to new Delhi and Chandigarh as final destination.

Agra
Day started early with my second Indian breakfast. First destination was Agra, and despite the fact that there is a highway in between – we took the regional roads for a richer cultural experience. Right next to Delhi, there is another city – Gurgao, where most companies have their offices. This looks like most new European neighborhoods, a bit chaotic, but somehow since everything is new and big – fits OK, not great but – OK.
Then the traffic started to be bad and I remember that I was fascinated with the fact that my friends did not crash the car yet. Actually entire time in India I did not see any car accident. Traffic was impossible. I think you need to grow up there to be able to adapt to that craziness. I did not understand any rules, even though driving rules are not too different around the world; nothing made sense, cars were going on both senses on both sides. Every minute you will have a truck coming from front on your sense, and you had to pull over and avoid it. All in all, it took us 4 hours to reach Agra, even though Google maps said that takes 2 via the highway. We saw Taj Mahal from a hill. It was beautiful. 5 minutes later we were in a parking lot, surrounded by camels, horses and many, many people. Some guy approached us and showed us his badge.
He was a guide tour. He looked suspicious; he looked like he wanted to trick us. That was my thinking, but my friends talked to him. He was indeed a guide tour and he helped us with getting the right tickets and avoiding the waiting line at the entrance. There were hundreds of people, if not thousands; all have to go through security check here as well. Indians pay 2 rupees, foreigners 750 and get a guide. I think is totally worth it.
Taj Mahal is marvelous, every piece is stone and every piece that looks like a painting is just different type of stone, combined in beautiful floral patterns. It took 22 years to be build and Shah Jahan, emperor in the XVII, dedicated it to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal,as symbol of his love. He had 3 wives, first two did not give him any children, Mumtaz Mahal gave him 16 (as per information received from my guide). My first thought was poor guy…. she probably tricked him.
Taj Mahal
We continued our way to Jaipur. It was supposed to be a 6 hour drive. Of course it was more. Before leaving Agra we got stacked in a jam. Agra is incredibly poor. It’s not fair for India if tourists go only to Agra. Poverty here is at its best.

Jaipur
Before reaching Jaipur we wanted to stop at Chokhi Dhani, a sort of Indian amusement park. We got lost again; googlemaps took us to a village that had small streets and many-many people on the streets – all men. It was scary for me. But we’ve got out somehow and my friends found Chokhi Dhani. It was so relaxing and ended with a great dinner, authentically Indian… everything, including an elephant ride and a henna tattoo.Chokhi Dhani - ElephantChokhi_Dhani, Next morning we went to city center of Jaipur, guided by another Indian friend. Jaipur is a great place to shop. I have my own Bengals now. Jaipur is called the pink city because most of the buildings in the city are painted in the brick color – which they call pink.

Udaipur
Next stop was Udaipur. About 4 h drive on the highway. Here we went to the best restaunts I have ever experienced. On the lake side, under the stars, with fresh green grass under my feet and with excellent food. We spend two evenings in Udaipur and unfortunately I do not remember the name of the restaurants, but they were both recommended by the hotel we stayed in.
Udaipur seemed to be the city of kings. We were tourist so of course we have visited the best places. But for me, the city was nice also for its inhabitans. Jaipur has better living standards than Agra an Udaipur was better to its people than the previous two together. It was set up near mountains, benefiting from natural beauty to which it has been added castles and temples and …women on motorbikes. I was in India so of course I looked a lot at Indian women. Women in this city looked strong to me, especially young girls. Furthermore the city was full of as with girls on motorcycles – more than that, it felt very safe.Udaipur

Chandigarh
We went back to New Delhi, but having the final destination Chandigarh. In the train, we received better food than what you usually get in airplanes and great ice cream. From here on … only air conditioning and freezing. Every closed had ai reconditioning and Chandigarh it’s a bit in the more in the North of the Country so its always a bit chilly comparing to rest of the country.
Chandigarh looked like a different place all in all. People looked different, they were all dressed modern, streets were clean, and houses were nice (+almost no homeless people). I’ve spent about 4 days in Chandigarh and met excellent people, all ex AIESECers or AIESEC alumni. They have a pretty strong local organization with hundreds of exchanges.
A, funny enough but here I also had the best chocolate mousse ever.
For me, Chandigarh was about people. I’ve met wonderful people, very friendly and natural and driver and entrepreneurial. I felt inspired there and I am still thinking about the people that I only met for such a shot time.ChandigarhI had to take a plane from Chandigarh to New Delhi. I was the only non-Indian in the plane. They offered me glass of water and I took it. Only to realize that it was tab water and I cannot have tab water. So for 30 minutes I “took care” of the glass because I was ashamed to return it to the flight attendant.
When I landed in New Delhi it was 2 AM, now it was 11 AM. The Airport was full; they have a shuttle every 20 main in between terminals. I mention this, because I was really happy to see it. I did not want to jump in a taxi. I needed about 3 h from the moment I reached the airport until I reached my boarding gate. It’s a big and very crowded place. To enter – you need to show your ticket. They don’t let everybody in. Big country :)

All in all, I’ve spent 9 days in India and I loved everything and every moment!!!!
Thank you, TJ and thanks to all your wonderful friends that took their time and made this trip wonderful!

Possible route (probably not 100% accurate as we had many detours)

Possible route (probably not 100% accurate as we had many detours)

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Christmas Shopping List – Familiy and Friends

Christmas is close and this year I started sooner then ever to prepare the presents for my family. Or at least the idea of getting presents for them came into my mind much earlier that before. Until now:

Day 1, Friday – got a little sick, slept right after work
Day 2, Saturday – went out to buy presents, was distracted by friends with breakfast, lunch and movie
Day 3, Sunday – well, all shops are closed on Sundays in Germany
Day 4, Monday – right after work, really determined – stopped by friends. Evening continued with tea and soup.
Day 5, Tuesday – went out, reach the shops!!! bought 3 dresses for myself
Day 6, Wednesday – ready to go shopping right after work. Forgot my wallet at home

hope is still there…

Amazing Krakow

Second week of 2012 I went to Krakow together with some friends from Singapore, Brazil, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Romania, Russia and Hong Kong. Leaving aside that it was extremely funny for me to see all the people that live in countries that have quite high average temperature freezing to death after getting all excited and playing with snow for half an hour, Krakow and the places around were amazing.

Our plane was supposed to land in Katowice, an airport that is about 80 km away from Krakow. However, due to heavy snow we landed in Krakow. Lucky us. Our hostel was in the heart of the city and I will recommend it to any group of young people that are searching for a hostel in Krakow. The hosts we cool and incredible nice, rooms were clean and breakfast was served in a very friendly atmosphere, plus it was almost delicious.

The city itself is welcoming. Quite difficult to get lost and if you do, there will be lots of people that will be happy to help you. We went to several bars, pubs, restaurants, traditional restaurants. I am sorry that I am writing about this trip only nine months after it happened because I’ve forgot all names. However I have a feeling all places in Krakow are like this. Once you enter, it’s just hard to leave. I am not sure that is their unique selling point: maybe the prices, maybe the drinks, maybe the fact that they were friendly but full of personality, or maybe because it was snowing and each pub, bar or restaurant was nice and warm.

There are many things to see in Krakow except bars, clubs and pubs. The Main Market Square, Wawel Castle, churches and other classical buildings you find in most big European cities. The touristic info point as well as other local agencies are very helpful and offer good and free advices.

However the highlights of our trip were a day in Wieliczka Salt Mine and our visit to Auschwitz.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is quite close to Kracow. We went there by bus, as they have buses that take you directly there. The mine was built in the 13th century and produced table salt continuously until 2007. Its huuuge. Has dozens of statues, three chapels and an entire cathedral that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners. The oldest sculptures are augmented by the new carvings by contemporary artists. I found it quite romantic. I think we walked for about 5 km. Our guide was Polish. He started the tour by knowing his group: Anyone here German? Nobody. I understood what that question was about when we were close to one of the lakes in the mine. He took pride from the fact that almost no accidents have happened in the mine. Ah, 7 German soldiers died there because their boat has turned over when they were going across the lake, he said. Then he smiled. Well, seems legit, lake was about 1 m deep and salty …

We took pictures like crazy though the entire trip. We were happy, atmosphere was excellent, city was great, food was wonderful, and love was in the air.

We arrived to Auschwitz and suddenly everyone became silent. No more photos. Of course we were allowed to… but everybody was caught in the story, we were walking like zombies after our tour guide. No one smiled for a second. I did learn about Auschwitz in school, from Romanian history books. My friends as well, they also learned that something terrible happened in Europe during the Second World War. Being in Auschwitz in January, having snow falling on your face, seeing the concentration camp and listening to our Polish guide talking compares to no book, no movie, no stories that my grandmother told me (she was a young girl during the war). I was wearing two pairs of leggings, god know how many pairs of socks, muffler, winter jacket, boots, hat, gloves. All that and still freezing. According to our guide big majority of people were killed a few hours after reaching Auschwitz. The ones that looked young and healthy were used for labor. Life was unimaginable. Auschwitz is a place to see. We walked for hours and hours. Our guide explain that is is only a small part of it, as some other parts were destroyed already or closed to public. And the plan to extend it, but the war ended. It’s hard to understand by reading a blog or a book what it meant for women and kids to sleep on concrete during winter time in shelters that are suitable to host animals. But not in winter time. I grew up in the country side. I know how much better you can take care of animals during winter time. Auschwitz is a place to see. I have many things in my mind about that day, it was an extraordinary experience that will stay alive in my mind for long. Fortunately they have some projects to protect the remaining of the concentration camp. Buildings are made of wood and only by time – weather conditions will destroy them. As well, after the war ended Polish people used materials from the concentration camp to rebuild there homes. But European countries support preserving the historical prove. Germany contributes with majority of the budget. But Auschwitz is a place to see, not to talk about, its a place to experience.

We returned home talking the flight from Katowice. It was quite an adventure to reach there early morning when snow was coming from all sides and wind was also blowing. Krakow was an amazing experience and I will go back :)

Summer holiday in Gran Canaria

For this summer holiday I wished for a location that is far enough to feel I am in a new place, but still not far enough for high costs and long travelling. Plus, I don’t really have a passion for applying for visa so going to a place that is part of the European Union looked rather appealing.

Research was short, the Canary Islands are part of Spain, and so they must be speaking Spanish there – big plus for them cause I was already seeing not being able to speak Turkish or Greece as a downside for the holiday. Don’t get me wrong, to most countries I been, don’t even have basic knowledge of their language (and I basic I mean ten – twenty words only), but this time I felt it should be easy to get around and not need to start every conversation with “Sorry, do you speak English?”

Anyhow, so after 30 minutes o research on the key words “European Union holiday destination”, Gran Canaria seemed like a vey good option: many flight connections from Germany and very affordable accommodation options.

Same day, together with Alina we booked the tickets and promised to research and see how we can best pass time in Gran Canaria. A thing that we never did. Work and fun were always more important so we decided to go with the flow and see on the spot what is to do.

Anyhow, the time came and we flew from Dusseldorf to Gran Canaria with a Condor flight. I hoped for a nice movie during the flight, but damn it – they had exactly one of the two movies I’ve seen at the cinema this year. Never mind! We landed. Google car was there. Right there when we were exiting the airport. So cool, I have only seen it once before. Anyhow Ocean, Ocean everywhere.

Bus to La Playa del Ingles. GPS. GPS sucked, every time pointing us to almost opposite direction. Anyhow we had the photo of the apartment we were supposed to stay in. Apparently Google was wrong; our apartment was a block away and much nicer that what we expected from the pictures. GPS failed also when searching the office from where we wanted to rent a car. So we decided to do it the old fashion way – with a map and intuition.

First day we went for live music and swimming in the Ocean. I think it was also the moment when we realized that this is how we want to spend the holiday. So for the rest of the holiday did what most people that are 70 years old do: wake up, enjoy breakfast, go to the beach, come back and enjoy lunch, have a nap, go to the beach again, come back and enjoy dinner and then go for a walk next to the Ocean. It was freaking one of the best things ever.

Every day we put tonnes of sun protection lotion on our bodies. Alina even twice as much as me and for me was more than in entire life combined. Not to get burned, we have sensitive skin since we live in a country with almost no sun for two years. Hope you see the irony. Cause I love sun and I love to get burned and I love to get tanned.

Anyhow, except that we rented a car for a couple of days visited the northern part of the island and some good parts of the south and south west. I was just very happy to be alive when we returned the car. Main roads are great, excellent, but in a moment of craziness we decided to take only the ones where cars are going both ways, but there is space for only one car and on you right its just free fall – either into the rocks next to the Ocean, either just into to rocks.

We were in Las Palmas for a day and went to “the mall” searching for stuff to buy for friends. However “the mall” (something, something with a wale) was in quite a bad neighborhood, with curios people on the streets (and by curios I mean – did not feel safe at all, it was extremely dirty and looked freaking poor). Finally, a police car passed and I felt safer. Feeling went way went they started weaseling and smiling at us. All in all, we kindav had no direction when we were in Las Palmas cause we wanted to see everything. Good part is that some areas we decided to see only from the car. North of the island looked very different then the south: weather, water, beaches, rocks – everything more extreme, so we decided to stay in the south. Seemed all English people moved from Playa del Ingles to Puerto Rico, a city in the south west of the island. It was very nice exactly as I like the water to be: clean, green, a bit pool. However since it had not one single wave and Alina loves waves we decided to spend only one day in Porto Rico.

The highlight of the trip was the day we spend on a boat. Some guy approached us in Playa del Ingles and presented us the trip that was starting in the port of Puerto Rico. We booked a place on the boat and two days later went searching for dolphins and whales and we found them!!! In the freaking deep ocean water! Dolphins are either really friendly creatures, either attention whores, cause they started jumping around the boat, driving everyday crazy with happiness. Latino music, Spanish food, internationals throwing up, swimming with the fishes in the little gold that had the cleanest water in the world and some rides with “the banana” and a speed boat were also included in the tour. Very nice and very affordable, they even arranged transportation in between the two towns.

Did some other stuff around there: went to several clubs and restaurants (nothing special – at least for me) and had really long walks on the beach, freaking 15 km long walks, but what I loved the most were the waves and beach of Playa del Ingles, the afternoon naps and the view from our balcony.

Graduation Ceremony Photos

Something that I do not have and regret.

The day of my graduation coincided with the day of national advertising competition for which I had signed up. When entering the competition, I had to make a bound: I should be in Bucharest, on the stage

, presenting together with my team the advertising project we had to make.

Competition lasted a few months and a few weeks after I signed up, my University announced the day of graduation. Freaking coincidence: exactly the same day and almost the same hour when I was supposed to be in the competition, in Timisoara, my University town (550 km away from Bucharest). If I would have dropped out, entire team would have been disqualified… rules were strict and I did not want to disappoint my team. So, at the moment decision was very simple: I will skip the graduation ceremony and play my part in the competition. Competition was great.

However, now … every time I see photos of people graduating, I remember I did not wear a robe, nor through my hat into the air… My parents did not come to see me graduating and we have no photos together from that day :(

Maybe I should sign up for another master and this time actually go to the graduation ceremony … or maybe its easier to just join someone’s else graduation, borrow a hat and fulfill one empty dream.

 

Forgetting people

I simply refuse to leave friends or acquaintances in the past, in particular the ones that had great influence on me. How one can just stop talking to a person only because there is no proximity?
Of course we have less things in common and almost

nothing to discuss anymore, but how can you just stop talking to people with whom you spend so much time together until a certain point? High school friends, work colleagues, AIESEC people, neighbors…
Its awkward when I say “Hi” and have no plan what to say after this, but how else to keep in touch to people that were close before?

Not seeing the forest for the trees

One day, a man was walking through the forest. He runs into another man that was cutting wood with an ax. The ax looked unsharpened so the first man asked the man that was cutting the trees – why not sharpen the ax? He could then cut trees faster an

d easier.
No time for that – the answer came. I have to cut down so many more trees …

Sometimes we get so caught up in the small things, in urgent things that need to be solved fast, fast, fast and we do not give ourselves time to think, to sharpen our skills, to improve or change the tools we already know. We just go ahead with what we have and suffer disillusionment when a lot of effort brings so progress back.

Wear Sunscreen: same thing always new

First time I have seen and listen this video was long time ago, when I participated in my first AIESEC conference in 2007.

I guess every AIESECer knows it, as well as many others since it has millions and millions of views on YouTube. The video c

omes in different versions, with different visuals, but the message stays the same as well as the result it has on me after I watch it.