My Reaction to Future and Past, as Read to me in a Coffee Cup

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Recently, I found myself in a block of flats at one of the ends of Bucharest drinking coffee in front of an old lady. It’s only been parties and trouble so far and we were now putting on our *mystical*, though, with my solid background in philosophy, I came in as a skeptical soul. I thought, ‘Seriously, I’ve crossed paths with hundreds of espressos – what makes this one more magical than the ones that nurtured me through exam period?’ Whatever the catch, maybe t’was high time to get in touch with the Anghel spirituality and possibly find out why the universe keeps screwing me over. Leaning over the table, watching closely as the woman turned over my cup and began to read, I felt my inner voice coming alive to ruin the moment for me. Here is the transcript with my tacit reactions on the right:


‘Start looking to God’ – Hell, I’ve barely started writing my dissertation. Faith can wait.

‘You will be married, twice.’ – Hold on. Twice? What about my other three potential husbands? So far, I had a complete set of British banker, Russian oligarch, Serbian truck driver, Mexican drug lord and gay husband. How could I ever choose?

‘You will have children.’ – Didn’t mention if I actually have to look after them. I am now afraid of the unknown.

‘You had a cheapskate partner.’ – Damn right I did. The guy bought me a sexy toy, allegedly gave it to me as a gift, and then asked me to pay him back for it. Yes, I have been to some dark places in my love life.

‘Chubby woman in your family loves you.’ – My mom lost weight, so that leaves Grandma Anghel. I’m down with that. All her conspiracies ultimately end in love.

‘Somebody whose name begins with C, V, M, F, P / with glasses / brown eyes / curly hair longs for you.’ – I know a lot of people. Unless she can also predict a Facebook algorithm to single them out, I’m not even going to bother.

‘You suffered so much, you almost died.’ – Yes, that would be my year in computer science.

‘You spend like crazy, you love luxury, you’re finicky, you’re a loudmouth and your sleep is sacred.’ – Fact.

‘You’re in for some money.’ – I wouldn’t have it any other way for Christmas.

‘Your parents are divorced.’ – … thank God.

‘You have a lot of success with men.’ – Quantity over quality. Like I told the guy at Tesco who wanted me to share my ice cream with him: ‘This is becoming a liability. I am now on a mission to become fat and ugly and hence, I am not sharing my ice cream with anyone. Now scan that damn thing and give it to me.’

‘You will receive a unexpected inheritance.’ – Let me just say that I always knew I had a kingdom somewhere. They say that you should ‘let the sea come to you’ – well, here I am. Waiting.

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Bucharest and I, we broke up.

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Lovers may come and go, but there’s nothing like the love of an entire city.

For some of us, Bucharest has been a game changer. My friends were able to find careers, romance and generally a purpose here and, to me even, the city was an end in itself. I never derived any long term benefit from my time in the capital but with everything seemingly so spontaneous, Bucharest kept me hooked on a high frequency of unforeseeable events for years. Never mind drugs, the Bucharest experience was the real deal – and what a ride it was! His charm was so invasive, that I recently began considering a life here, the stable kind, with a job, routine and apartment. If England didn’t want me, I thought, I could always seek refuge in the arms of my Bucharest, right? From a distance, whilst contemplating at my desk on that God forsaken island they call the United Kingdom, it would all soon fall into place.

Until today.

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Bucharest makes me feel bad for being alone. He nags me when I sit by myself at a table. He sends people to look at me weirdly and tightens the air around me, so that I can’t have any peace. And it’s getting ridiculous. I used to be a big admirer of the judgmental culture he fosters over the land, thinking that it builds character. The fact that I would spend an hour prepping myself to get out of the house became a dear ritual, along with placing the highest expectations on my public appearances. With all the time, patience and eagerness that I had as a student, the standards were acceptable so long as he gave me the hit. However, it has become subtly obvious that I no longer have the energy to play with Bucharest as I did, by his rules. Not only that, but even he doesn’t seem up for the game these days.

Unlike the old times, Bucharest now barely delivers on his promises. He took away the hit. He gives me bright lights and cafes, wild clubs and nights to remember, but today he showed me that it’s nothing more than the magic of anticipation he’s been working on me all along. Too much build-up for not enough substance, which I settled for so long as I could afford to loosely allocate my time. Now, the blind spots have become too costly. I can’t overlook the hours I spend in taxis going from A to B, so much so that I can’t even stand the manner of time as it passes. To quote a classic, ‘time had lost its patience’ and, with that, I lost my patience with Bucharest fair and square. For 8 years’ worth of escalating episodes, today, he let my expectations down gently, in one message. He said ‘I’m sorry, darling, I can’t make it anymore’ and so, my dear Bucharest, if that’s how it’s going to be, then I’m out and on my way to London. Ne-om vedea cand ne-om vedea.

Undoing the Curse of Applying for Grad Jobs

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Being a final year sounds to me like being in labour for 10 months. They say that it’s painful and that you have no choice but to keep pushing. Not only is there a dissertation to be written and re-written, but you also need time to cancel your Facebook profile, to think about what’s next and, more importantly, to do something about it. I suspect this is where grad applications come in. Unless you’re doing a masters degree to delay contact with the real world (which I am not), grad jobs are the latest #trend in coping with your new adult life. Rumour has it that they pay well and can even restore meaning to your work after graduation. All I can say is let’s just hope this is more than a myth.

On that note, I’m writing this article because I am applying for grad jobs at the moment and I really need to get myself into thinking that every damned application is worth it. With internships, I used to gamble my chances because the alternative was spending a free summer in the sun. As of July 2015, that alternative will DIE and, with it, a zombie alternative will emerge, involving spending the rest of my young adulthood living with my parents and shopping at Primark – so not my priority.

But enough complaining. I’ll save that for later posts. For now, using the power of suggestion, I will lay out the benefits of pushing through those endless, tedious, mind numbing grad job applications:

1.    For one thing, as you get ready to sell yourself, you get to look back over your achievements and realize that you haven’t been so useless for the past 3 years (unless you really were and your CV is 2 paragraphs long – in that case, I would recommend therapy)

2.    Never say no to a chance of using your written communication skills. These days, it’s pretty hard to give up hashtags, getto jargon and ‘like like’ in casual dialogues. I’d say job that applications have the power to keep you speaking Human more than anything else.

3.    All those interview and online app questions set the scene for some serious introspection. ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Why do you want to work for the company? How do you handle failure?’  These questions have a point in that they kind of guide you through the thinking process you’d otherwise use if you weren’t so desperate, impatient or unmotivated. It would be good practice to consider these issues anyway but the problem is we don’t, because we’re too young and wild and free to care yet, so thank you, multinationals, for keeping us down to earth.

4.    Let’s not forget about those online numerical, logical, situational reasoning, killmenow assessments. Personally I hate them but they remind me of a good piece of parental advice: ‘In life, you will have to do things that you don’t like – it’s unavoidable. What speaks about your character is how well you handle them’. So if it’s timed math tests that speak about my character, SO BE IT! – I will practice the crap out of them until I score max points and move on with my life in glory.

5.    I hate to admit it but Snoop Dogg is right: keep your mind on the money and the money on your mind. So I might as well try coding this next one:

     if (grad job) {

     salary && bonuses == Marc Jacobs, Adidas, Estee Lauder, maybePrada

     else

     Primark}

Did anyone say Primark? Ok, it’s time to start another grad job application.