Danmark, tak for alt!

A long overdue post… And since words are failing me, and since a picture is worth a thousand words…




Never pictured myself doing this:


… or being greeted by Santa on the bus - with Danish Christmas sweets! I’m 100% sure public transport does not get better than this!





Learned about a lovely Danish tradition over bonfire, thanks to my neighbors:


… and got to practice some Romanian traditions too:










… to be continued!

Take care of yourself. If not for you, do it for THEM

Have you ever noticed how we will often be worried about our loved ones, and insist they do the good, healthy thing; but we rarely do it for ourselves? Isn’t is amazing how many of us will be MORE concerned with the health and well being of others, but not with our own?

Yes, it shows great altruism; and yes, maybe we often think we’re strong, and WE can take it, and that’s why we ignore or postpone to take care of our own health issues.

But if we care so much about the well being of our loved ones, maybe we should look at things from another perspective: if we ignore our own health problems, chances are that one day, this burden will fall heavily on the shoulders of our loved ones: they will have to deal with the sickens of their child / spouse / mother or father. With OUR sickness.

So if we’re not motivated enough to take care of ourselves for our own sake, then maybe we should do it for our loved ones: why put them through the hassle of dealing with our sickness? Why put them through the dismay of having to take care of us, and deal with our sickens… because we were not motivated enough to do it ourselves? 

By not taking care of ourselves, we eventually end up hurting the people around us. Because, like it or not, at one point, they will have to take care of the problems we ignored and deemed as unimportant.

So if you (like most of us out there) aren’t motivated enough to take care of yourself for your own sake, then at least do it for them; do it in order to spare your loved ones of the burden of doing it for you.

Although I’ve had this though for quite a while, the “trigger” to write this post was this ad for quitting smoking, which shares a very similar idea:

A sad day for Romania, a sad day for DEMOCRACY

The Romanian state is shamelessly raising against its citizens and going against the 2nd article of the Romanian constitution: “Romanian national sovereignty belongs to the people, who exercise it through its representative bodies constituted through free, fair and regular elections and by referendum.”

Only one day after the National Day of Romania, american company CHEVRON forcefully enters the fields near Silistea to install machinery that will perform exploration of shale gas in the ares. (side note: similar exploration has been BANNED in our neighboring country, Bulgaria)

Residents have been protesting AGAINST this for over a month: villagers have been sleeping in tents to protect their lands for weeks on end. But today, they have been forcefully picked up in vans and some of them have even been physically assaulted by the gendarmerie. According to the local press, two people had to be transported by ambulances to nearby hospitals.

Fences have also been put up, blocking the NATIONAL PUBLIC ROAD, so that there is no access to the village where these ABUSES are taking place. Not the press, nor regular citizens are allowed to use the PUBLIC roads to get to this area.

This is an ABUSE and all those responsible should be brought to justice!
"What’s been done in the dark WILL be brought to the light!"


I’m running a Half Marathon on Sunday. Would you like to sponsor my chosen charity?

Dear friend, old friend, acquaintance or complete stranger :) ,

As you may already know, this Sunday I’ll be running the Bucharest International Half Marathon. I’m using this occasion to raise money for a non-profit organization: HOSPICE Casa Sperantei provides specialist care for children and adults in Romania during the final stages of their terminal or life-threatening illness. They rely heavily on fundraising and donations as they do not charge patients or their families for these services. So far, I managed to raise over 500 lei for them.

If you’d like to help too, you can sponsor my run by making a donation directly to me, or using this page: http://www.justgiving.com/alexandraharet-bihm-2013 (you can pay by credit card or PayPal). Literally, every penny counts, and your donations can be anything from 5 -10 lei to whatever you think you can afford :) Just know that each donation, no matter how small, will help Hospice to continue their invaluable work, and is also a great encouragement & motivation for me to finish the race this Sunday.

Help make this run worthwhile!
Thank you :)


(picture from last year’s race, when my team and I managed to raise  1600 lei (~370 Euro) for Hospice)

The friends we make & the people we judge


As a general rule (and life principle), I try to keep myself from judging people too soon - mostly because I have been proven wrong on more occasions than I care to keep count.

But one thing I noticed for a long time now, is how you can tell a lot about a person by the kind of people they are friends with; the people they surround themselves by. I know, I know - you’re thinking "Dooh! it’s common sense!". And maybe it is…

But from what I’ve come to know so far, this is probably the single reliable judgement we can pass when we meet new people. And I honestly think it can work to our advantage, as a good predictor of whether or not we’ll like these new individuals we’re introduced to.

For example: if this new person you’re meeting hangs out with people you already know and are not particularly fond of (this is my nice way of saying “you really don’t like them”), chances are you won’t like this new person very much, either. On the other end of the stick - if you like the friends, there’s a fair chance you’ll like them too. Yup, just as simple as that.

This has proved true for me with pretty much every occasion. Sometimes, even when I really, really wished it hadn’t :) But, as with any “rule of life” - surely we have yet to discover the exceptions; and may they be only pleasant surprises of people who impress us in unimaginable ways, just as we are ready to write them off :)

The plan is…

imageUnlike the last one, this New Year has caught me with absolutely no plan. None. Nichts. Nada. ничего.

At first, I felt a bit uneasy about it, but now I’m kind of excited about the idea of just going with the flow - maybe for the entire year, why not? It’s unexplored territory for me, a daring challenge, an out-of-the-comfort-zone experience, and overall a great chance to grow.

By this time last year, I had a full list of ambitious goals laid out for 2012, on different aspects of life. Carefully planned out, the majority have been achieved, and I even went a little further, in one or two areas. But this year has caught me with an empty list. Or, as I like to think about it now, an open list.

For someone who used to have everything planned out (almost) all of the time, this certainly is a nice twist in the plot. Besides, as I recently came to realize, this is also a great way to find your equilibrium: just shift from one edge all the way to the other, and then finality find your balance in the middle. So basically in this case: from having everything planned out, to no plan, and then hopefully find the middle way.

So my dear, dear 2013 - bring it on! Come what may!

First trip to Spain dragged along a lot of other firsts!

During the last days of my Barcelona vacation, I realized: I had done a lot of things for the first time in this trip. And it’s a good feeling, once you get past the fuzzy anxiety of the unknown.

1. First time in Spain. To me, going to a new county is always a nice experience, as I get to meet new kinds of people and customs, hear new languages, and more. So needless to say, I was very much looking forward for this autumn’s trip to Barcelona. Though I may have had expectations too high for the city itself, out outings to L’Estartit, Montserrat, and Tarragona were very nice, and the country left an overall positive impression on me, even though it did not make it to the top of my places-I’d-like-to-live-in list :)

2. First time on a roller coaster. 

I’m no big adventurer, but I do enjoy trying out new things. New experiences put me out of my comfort zone, they’re usually a nice challenge, and most of the time I leave feeling better or discovering something new about myself. And this seems the best way of getting to know the world and myself.

So here we are: 4 friends out to conquer the Port Aventura - an amusement park in Salou, an one-hour drive from Barcelona. My friends suggested we start off big, so we embarked on the Dragon Khan, the 3rd largest roller coaster in the park and one of the world’s top 10. Also, my first roller coaster ride ever. Now, for a person who gets shaky even when walking on a high mountain top, this was a ride to remember. I am pretty sure that what I felt during the first 3-5 second of the ride was pure panic. "Holly crap, how do I stop this thing?". But once I got pasted that and realized it’s all safe and I ought to enjoy the ride, I did. Oh boy, I did! :) I was clearly more uneasy than my other 3 friends, but enjoyed my rides nonetheless. And the other 5-7 that we took afterwards, in even taller and faster rides. 

3. First time eating seafood. 

When I’m travelling, I like try to dive deep into the foods and drinks of the place. So I ate a lot of seafood (octopus, squid, prawns, clams), paellas, drank some local beers and sangria. I thought I wouldn’t like most of the foods there, but I was wrong 90% of the time. I must have disliked only 1-2 things that I tried during my entire stay. 

4. First time I ate cactus fruits. From both an actual cactus plant, and from La Boqueria as well, for comparison. They taste funny, that’s all I can say :)

5. First yoga class. 

On our last day in Barcelona, we decided to watch the sunrise on the shore, make a photo time lapse and do some yoga on the beach. Unfortunately, the sky was a bit too cloudy for us to get a good time lapse session out of it; but yoga was quite an enjoyable success. At first I couldn’t help laughing and giggling, but after the first couple of minutes, I changed my mindset and decided to make the most out of it. I enjoyed feeling my mussels at work, without doing anything too demanding.

Why some planning IS a good idea

On my latest trip to Barcelona, I was a bit sneaky with my visiting plans. I had just the right context, too: we were visiting with a couple of friends who’d have been to Barcelona before. So I figured I could just sit back and go along with whatever they will suggest. Well, almost.

Since Barcelona is a big city with some major tourist attractions, I put the main ones down on paper, just to make sure I don’t miss them. Also, I did a little research on the plane, about tickets to different attractions, opening hours, and the like.

The trip was just fine, we had lots and lots of fun, without having much of a plan beforehand. But on my return, I must admit I felt like I skipped along through this vacation. I remembered how I used to research my previous destinations, and how - even though at times it felt like I was overdoing it - it was a pleasant starting point on my vacation. And I missed it this time.

For example, had I done my homework properly, I would have known that…

- Catalan, the official language in Barcelona, is in fact a distinct language, and not a Spanish dialect - as I wrongly assumed.

- Casa Milà is more than worth a visit on the inside as well; just taking a couple of pictures with the exterior (like the one below) is not that relevant.

As a conclusion: although travelling with no specific plan is a lot of fun and allows you to do everything you feel like doing, a little reading before your trip won’t hurt and will be a good “resource” to quickly skim through if you find yourself with a little free time.

It can also be a general insight into the culture you’re about to meet, hence making it easier for you to understand certain things about the place and the people. Like all the inscriptions around the city reading “Barcelona is Spain” (we were like… “whaaaat?” - but it turns out some of the locals resent the Spanish culture, and consider themselves Catalans with no connection to the Spanish culture whatsoever).

Lesson learned!

Challenge accepted: double the team, triple the distance and five times the donation!

On October 7, 2012 I will be running together with 3 friends a 42 km in the team replay race - that’s 10.5 km each. It’s a distance I’ve never ran before, but I’m confident it will be a great accomplishment for all our team members.

I will support Hospices of Hope and I need your help! I’m trying to raise at least 500 lei (~110 Euro) in donations for this race. So if you can and want to support our challenge and help raise the sum, you can make a donation of 2, 5, 10 Euros (or more), using this link: http://www.justgiving.com/alexandraharet.

Literally, every penny is greatly appreciated and a huge encouragement for us!

Thank you for making our run worthwhile!

Below is a photo reminder from last year. We ran the 3.5 km Fun Race @BIM 2011

BIM 2011: we ran the 3.5 km Fun Race


In 2011: we were two gals, running a 3.5 km Fun race each, raising 100 lei in donations.

In 2012: 4 people, running a team relay (10.5 km / each), raising 500 lei in donations.

… And it was a big challenge for all of us! In fact, for 3 of us (me included) this was the first time we’d run such a distance. I had finished my first 10k run just a couple of nights before the actual competition; I was extremely nervous and pretty much terrified at the idea that I won’t be able to finish it. When I actually did, I remember having to fight back a few tears (I was so happy).

So anyway, the day of the race arrived; it was a nice Sunday morning, and the run was simply aaamazing! We finished the entire 42.20 km in 4 hours 11 minutes, which is about 10-15 minutes less than our initial estimation. Personally, I finished my race in just under one hour. Priceless.

This is the photo we took after finishing our first team relay race:image

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