Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: I will start by saying that I don’t enjoy this type of question; it always makes me nervous regarding what to say. In groups where I have to introduce myself I always turn red and start to stutter when my turn comes, because I don’t enjoy talking about myself. Also I never really know what to say, what to select as relevant or revealing about me. But, for the sake of it, here goes!

I’m a young lady who six years ago left her family in Iasi to come study here in Bucuresti. Moving here didn’t exactly ‘change’ me, but rather helped me learn how to take care of myself and break the chain of friends I had back home. This was particularly difficult for me, as I can be of a very solitary nature and often find it hard to find the motivation to engage in conversations. After the ice is broken it gets easier for me, but in the beginning all I do is watch and be silent. If you ask my friends, maybe they might say I have a bubbly personality, but this is just something I do with people I trust and know. So there you go, I can be quite closed at first. When they first meet me, people usually say that I am full of myself, which in a way is true but in a whole different sense.

Q:  What are you doing right now?

A: In this very moment I am listening to the rain and the radio while I type. Also, I am smoking a cigarette and cursing the keyboard because it is old and very difficult to type at. Tomorrow I will be doing my job, which is related to administrative management, European funding, PR and thrills like that.

Q: Do you enjoy what you do?

A: I used to, now I’m not so sure anymore. I know I can be good in my field, but have recently lost my motivation and interest. More and more, I am starting to think of building a guesthouse by the sea, setting it up to be as comfortable as possible and receive guests. I want to cook, keep the rooms tidy, have music playing all the time, maybe even do a bit of gardening – why not? To build a place where people can come and fall inlove, or write, or heal or whatever they feel like doing. Not a hotel, more like a Purgatory close to Heaven.

Q: Do you have the money for it?

A: No, of course not. But I feel this will be worth saving for, rather than buying an apartment here in the city, doing the same kind of job every day while paying some enormous sum to some bank. I also plan to get a dog there, a bloodhound.

Q: What else do you enjoy except daydream about this?

A: I try to keep my days busy. I often have trouble falling asleep, so having a full schedule helps me. Listening to the radio also helps.

Q: Do you have any favorite bands or genres?

A: Yes, but I’d rather not mention anyone or label anything right now. I guess you can check out my YouTube or Last.fm profiles if you’re really interested, though I haven’t been scrobbling as much as I used to.

Q: What would be ideal for you, what do you need and expect from someone next to you?

A: Having patience with me. I trust I know which decisions to make and which direction to take, but dislike being told what to do and how to act/ think. I get the best results with people who demand of me, but leave me to my own rhythm of evolution. I find great satisfaction in people who manage to see into the little tricks I use in conversation and behavior, so I keep them close.

Sitting together and not feeling pressure to talk is good, I mean I value speaking my mind and hearing what the other has to say but I don’t like having to do this every single moment of my existence with somebody. There are times when you should just enjoy one another’s company without suffocating from it. Also, I tent to crack, so after maybe 10 or 15 minutes of silence I will usually say something anyway about what I was remembering or thinking about, but people have to offer me this pressure-free time and the decision of if/ when to speak.

Q: What do you value, what do you care about?

A: I care very deeply for my family. I relate to their spirit and sense of humor, which I want to keep with myself. Having a sense of humor really helps, especially if you’re shy and want to avoid exposing yourself too much. It’s a refuge for not having to engage in anything you don’t feel safe with. I guess I have been using this trick for quite some time. When I’m not making jokes I tend to become very melancholic, dreamy and closed.

I value open hearts. I don’t like duplicity, frustration or meanness in people. Ambition is not on my hot list either, at least not in the sense it has been given in our society (I relate more to ‘duty towards oneself’ rather than to ambition). I tend to look for people who I suspect of leading ‘double lives’, meaning on the outside they work hard, are passionate about things, love to learn and seem easy to talk to, but on the inside are consumed by personal dilemmas and questions, demons. I like to call them ‘seekers’. You talk to them and the planet seems so big and wonderful and diverse, five or ten minutes later it seems just so small and approachable. It’s really stupid for me to be saying this, these are just things I look for and shouldn’t have to spell them. I don’t like saying anything unless it cannot be expressed otherwise than in words.

Q: OK well it seems to me that you’re just avoiding conversation because you’re making yourself be scared of nothing.

A: Sounds like something I would do, yes. But I’m trying to answer your questions right now so I guess this is my first step. I’m actually taking advantage of this interview in a way, because it helps me see what I naturally select to say and in how many words. And how clearly.

Q: Are you satisfied with yourself?

A: ‘Satisfied’ is such a huuuge word, you know? I’m a work-in-progress project and I cannot dare say that I’ll ever get there. I cannot know if I will, there are no guarantees included. I can only try. and try. and try. If you are necessarily hungry for an answer, I’m not dissatisfied.

Q: I see you’re trying to back me off.

A: Yes, I am. Next question, please.

Q: What do you remember about yourself as a little girl?

A: I remember being very sissyish and getting upset when things didn’t turn out as I wanted them. I remember having a long line of playfriends and not being included very often in my two brother’s activities. They took care of me of course, but we rarely played together as there is a significant age difference between us. Also, maybe my fluffy girlish nature didn’t appeal to them back then. I don’t remember being very imaginative and didn’t particularly excel in anything at school. In high school I realized I was good at English so I pursued that, but I never dedicated myself to any systematic study of it. I knew it by ear, found it easy to speak and didn’t feel I had to work in any way to be good at it. Also, I enjoyed reading very much, because it helped me live and feel something else than the limited number of situations and emotions I was exposed to. I escaped from a lot of things by picking up a book. People also encouraged me to read, and let me be while I was reading, so it was perfect for being left alone. Now that I look back I realize it would have been good if I had some sort of guidance in my lectures, but recommendations were usually made in a very non-helpful manner. My family just placed a book in my room and said “read this, you will like it” and at school of course they recommended approved stuff from the curriculum. They used to give us this long list of books to read during the summer holiday, and it never occurred to me that that was just a list you had to select from, I truly believed that unless I read them all I couldn’t go back to school in September. So I read them all, excepting only the ones I couldn’t find at the library.

Q: So you wanted to go back in school, you didn’t like summer vacation?

A: Of course I did, because I got to sleep till late and go visit my grandparents. But I loved going to school, because it gave me something to do during the day, which seemed so long and empty. At school I had something to do and I was free, as at home my father paid very much attention to what I was doing and if I leave the house how long I will be gone. In his unique style, he was trying to not allow me run wild. Back then I didn’t understand this and just wanted to get away, so school was perfect for me.

Q: Did you have friends?

A: I had friends, but few friendships. I don’t remember anybody from my kindergarten, from primary school and high school I only still talk to two girls, and my friends from college and I manage to synchronize a outing after weeks of planning, so…

Wait a second, I gotta pee.

(gets up, goes to and comes back from the bathroom)

Q: OK, I wanna ask you some more about this. Do you feel alone or something?

A: No, I don’t feel alone. No, wait, there are two answers to your question, and it depends on that you are actually asking me. If you mean if I feel like there is no real friendship in the world and that you cannot find people to communicate with or if I feel like nobody understands me, then the answer is ‘no’ because this would be just panic-talk and the truth is I have a number of people who I can open various subjects with in such a way as to actually leave from the discussion more light-hearted and with at least the promise of a answer to some of my dilemmas. If your question refers to feeling alone in the face of life, ‘fundamentally’ alone let’s say, then the answer is ‘yes’, I feel like it is only me who will have to carry my burdens, and that’s exactly the ways things should be. Maybe this is why people look for lovers who share the same type of weights; they overlap so much that when you divide them by two the result is easier to carry than it would be if you were alone.

Q: What is your stand on love right now?

A: That it’s the most beautiful thing in the world and that everybody should do it. We’re all looking for it anyway. It’s so close to me that I don’t even want to open the subject.

Q: Last question then. Is there anybody you admire and who was influenced you over time?

A: I never had a mentor, though maybe it would have helped me to have one. I tend to look at everybody realistically, and have filtered from each what appeals to me. From my mother I got dedication, my brothers gave me validation that it’s ok to be different and stand by yourself, and to take situations and people with humor.

My late teacher Mr. Murariu took me out from my shell, showed me that I have more potential than I had originally hoped for then taught me to be curious and pursue all the things that attract me. He also gave me my first steps in debating, which I turned out to be disastrous at due to my shy nature, but nonetheless influenced me enormously. Also it was my first contact with people my age who shared my interests, who later on got to be my friends, hung out with and helped me stop feeling so marginal at school.

Genoveva, who is truly the warmest heart I know, managed to cool off my rushing mind and showed me that speeding from one idea to another cripples my ability to see shades. I would have liked to say that I managed to borrow her ability to make people trust and open their hearts, but I think I am still learning this lesson. Gentleness can be very challenging to get if it’s not already in you.

Also, with close help, during the last 3 years I was challenged to explore myself very much, and are still cartographing myself.

Bucuresti, 11th august 2011