All posts by Violeta

Day 1

The countdown stopped. Huh… and a count-up began.

Romania welcomed us with delightful weather, warm and sunny after weeks of wet and icy cold. We landed at midnight. We made our way to the apartment and slept for two hours. Woke up early, had coffee and watched the hills brighten up. There is so much to do, I don’t remember the last time I felt so overwhelmed. I have 4-5 projects running in parallel and I wish I could do everything at once, but no matter how much progress I make today, tomorrow bursts over us with the same weight and speed. We ought to pace ourselves so we don’t go crazy.

Day 1 accomplishments: we got our iPhones activated with 1 years service: 17 euros a month, unlimited calling and 2 GB of data. Not too shabby. The fiber optic uber fast internet gets activated tomorrow, another whooping 12 euros a month:) Picked up the car through Tia’s friends. We just need to go and install the winter tires later today.

We installed our Anthropology blue knobs to the kitchen, the MacPro is up and running and Conrad started work already. Made plans for the permanent resident card, meeting with the Wanderlust shipping company on Tuesday, meeting with my lawyer to discuss the business registration. Life is so busy …I hoped I can curl up on the couch with a book and watch the snow fall, but that’s way down the line. Conrad manages to remind me to breath and relax – as I seem to have forgotten. Romania has an interesting effect on me – it gets to me just as I arrive. The drivers are all crazy, and I times I think I could get lost in the grey. Conrad is my connection with the true reality of cheerfulness.

The growing pains are almost physical.

 farewell


It’s ok to leave a party while you are still having fun. It’s recommended. Think of the alternative.
I thought I didn’t want the attention of my departure during open store hours. My colleague shot this and sent it to me. It made me cry… I have been so happy here. The time spent at Apple didn’t just fulfill me in the grand scheme of things. It helped me discover my strengths and passions in a professional setting while it challenged me to the bone. I have come home utterly exhausted but deeply fulfilled. For over four years I got ready for work with a smile on my face, and left work with a grin. I got to love people and be loved back. I feel it in my bones that I have changed the world while in Los Gatos.

A proper send-off

We have been so honored by our friends and family these past few weeks: Wind beneath our wings. Thank you for your love and support as we venture out to new worlds and are called to exciting challenges.

Conrad was hilarious last night sharing his view. To summarize: we are leaving because we’re sick of you all;) we are debt free and bought a home in Romania so we can do petty much whatever we want. A'(prime) back to Romania after 7 years: continuing to pursue and enjoy the coffee industry. We are not moving there to get rich – not financially at least. We are moving to Romania for what we have to offer, not for what we expect from it. We sold everything here and we are starting fresh there. We have been designed in such a way, that together we were meant to adopt and live on grace and share it abundantly. Our story is unusual, so we shall not try to make it mundane.

Thank you for your prayers. We go free and trusting that God will lead the way. And we shall miss you all dearly!

What shall we be known for?

“Who am I to do anything about anything?” It’s a very tempting thought. It’s lazy and cowardly. “What if I make a fool of myself? What if nobody will want to listen or join in or follow?”

Moni said the other day, as she was giving us an account of her business journey with ups and downs and yet a successful story. She said that if she has anything going for her is the fact that she adapts. I thought to myself “hmmmm, I am pretty adaptable too” but I know I take my time to assess my domain, to get to know people, to build relationships, to strategize to work smarter not harder. But that is not my most obvious trait. I don’t waver. If I set my mind to do something, and if by chance I also share it out loud, it must happen. Unless God slams the door really hard in my face. Otherwise, I follow through. I find a way. I keep the promise to myself. And this has served me well. All those great ideas, or all the big and small projects could have been cancelled or brushed under the rug on the account that we are busy… too busy for greatness. I never regretted being stubborn, though I am rather flexible otherwise.

In May a handful of women from PBC will come to Romania for a women’s conference. I feel strongly that we are called to it. In preparation for it, I plan to host weekly get togethers with women and no homework. I plan to go over the Formed… series. And we will all have to commit to it. Every day we make time to eat, and we make time to sleep and rest. Our minds and hearts need nourishment as well…

Conrad and I want to open our homes to life and friendship, serving and feeding others.

We have no idea how to run an importing and distribution business, but we are willing to learn. We will make mistakes I’m sure, but we shall enjoy the process.

And there’s that exciting plan to open our home to children. It’s fills my heart with joy thinking about it. And I have to say this out loud. We are committed to adopting even if by a miracle we may get pregnant. The curveball thrown a few years ago just helped us look at life through different lenses. Together we make a great team, and it almost feels as if we were meant to adopt all along. God works in mysterious ways, and I really don’t need to stress about the details.

Two more weeks.

A new era

I woke up to a Friday 8 AM shift. Nothing unusual about that. Except it’s my last work day. I arrived 5 minutes early and went about my day, with an Open Training and a few Personal Trainings. And I was apparently glowing. Life is about to change, and I see it and feel it happen, and it feels just right. I interviewed the last person for my position, and this week I have been so honored by my leaders, through their kind words of affirmation, hugs and lingering smiles. I have been involved not just in building and training my successor but interviewing them for my role. Full circle.

Mom has a saying “leave the party while you are still having fun”. I have always followed this advice, even before I heard it. And it feels the same leaving this party. As I begin a new adventure, I hope and pray that I will continue to carry on the torch that was strengthened during my 4+ years at Apple. You can be successful in business, following your heart, speaking up, speaking the truth, working with integrity and being generous with your time and resources. I have had the opportunity to have tough conversations, be feisty, be confident, be kind.

I have learned to keep my composure in stressful circumstances, take action, be informing and timely, I got to learn a new side of business appropriate humor, learn on the fly, listen, delegate, persevere, plan, gain perspective, learn about myself and understand others, negotiate and motivate others, set priorities and solve problems creatively.

At noon I had lunch with my team, and it felt natural and cozy. But as we were wrapping up Natalie said that this is the end of an Era. This team was formed a long time ago, and I am not taking for granted the tightly knit vibe.

Burke Williams. ‘Nuff said.

I just had a long weekend off. We spent the last “first Friday” in Santa Cruz watching the sunset and then crashing all kinds of parties, saying farewell, enjoying other people’s company, getting energized.

Saturday we cancelled our AT&T contract and then spent the entire afternoon getting pampered at a spa in Santana Row. Last time we went there was for Allie’s wedding.

This time was special. The four of us, relaxing. I felt like a soft noodle after 50 minutes of exfoliating and massage. The jacuzzi, the soft whispering, the dim lights, the free and abundant fruit and tasty lemonade. The smells and the heat, the bubbling water, misty rooms, and ice towels by the jacuzzi.

Last week I had a spur of energy, as I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t feel as suspended. I keep remembering that faith is not having a clear plan and path ahead, but trusting even when a positive outcome seems nearly impossible.
We found a buyer for our car.

We has the most delicious and lavishing dinner, paired with my new favorite: lemon-drop. We shared stories, laughed wholeheartedly and made great memories. Mom is so cool! And she has two equally amazing daughters. And I am privileged to be part of the family.

Out of body feeling

I feel as if I am slowly disintegrating from this world, to reembody myself elsewhere… physically, even though it’s just mentally and emotionally. Conrad calls it checking-out, and maybe it is. Regardless, it is exhausting as I try to stay present.

During my last week of breaks I still take walks in Los Gatos and I realize I have memorized cracks in the pavement, houses, trees… I love the neighborhood, and moving on makes me appreciate it even more.

The pressure of making the best of our last month can take its toll, though the most pleasant and memorable days are the regular, no-pressure ones.

We love spending time with friends, and we like our goodbyes to be short and sweet. And we are so excited about the new adventure!

October came and went

It’s the end of October, and the world oscillates between windy nervous red-yellow-brown leafs and yellow sunlight, and blue air with misty streets. There’s anticipation and there’s a deep sense of giddiness about the near future. What we do lately – I try to pace myself, in layering a wide variety of responsibilities and tasks (moving to another continent is not easy feat). Conrad is in a good productive season with breakthroughs and great steady work for the clients we have.

Occasionally we stop and ask ourselves and each other “are we insane to embark on this crazy adventure?”. The conclusions always make us more determined. The reality checks are perfect interjections.

A few years ago life was on a steady course. Great jobs, steady routine, a home, food, clothes, technology, a great church and community, and vacations… but the soul searches for things out of this world. Also, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So we decided to switch it up: Starting our own business, adopting children, pursuing affordable traveling through Europe are well defined and attainable dreams.

We are not going to Romania to get rich. At least not in a materialistic way. Yesterday I got to say hi to Arnold Schwarzenegger. I still play with the latest and greatest technology and I work with the most innovative and famous company. And I am grateful and everything I learned I take with me. Apple will always be part of my business DNA. We are determined to start our own thing.

I sometimes get discouraged about Romania as I read the harshest articles, and pessimistic outlooks about our politicians, about the increasing shallowness in the new generation, about how fed-up-with-the-system people are fleeing the country or encouraging the reader to do so. To them I say: go live outside the country if you are so disgruntled. Try it out. Maybe it will shake up some sense and gratitude. On the other hand, if you are to stay, pull up your sleeves and let’s get to work.

Conrad and I are hopelessly hopeful and positive (I let him rub-off on me). And that can be bothersome for the pessimistic bunch. I mentioned at some point that no matter how impeccable one’s track-record, the pessimists will always doubt. I am tempted to justify our decisions (the move, the business, the adoption) to people, but I am afraid it will get tiring fast. I acknowledge the noise. At times we will share our perspective, other times we will tune out the noise and smile.

A few weeks ago a friend and pastor who loves Romania deeply made a statement: during communism the Romanians’ love for Jesus was pure, their passion unaltered as the oppression and challenges and we faced were outwardly. Today we face very western temptation: greed, pride, laziness, envy. The temptation is the numbing of our soul.

Here is the reality about Jesus: he came to show us the Way and to give his life for our sins so we can Live. We distort the truth to make it palatable, and we whisper about Salvation. I have been in school when talking about Jesus could get your family in big trouble and persecution was a real thing. And yet, I remember being brave about it. Today I tend to be more censured, not out of fear for my life but because it might be offensive to someone’s ears. The oppression in this era of extreme freedom of speech is subtle and yet more effective. No past or present experience will go to waste…

Here is a quote by my former boss. It’s famous and it’s inspiring. I love sharing it during this season as it applies directly to our current decisions. We did not buy the one-way ticked to Romania because of what Steve Jobs said below, but it sure is cool to hear him especially say it.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I am painfully aware at times of what I’ll miss. This week’s delights were the joyful “burrito boys” and impromptu dinners with friends, drinks with mom and birthday dinners with family.

Dilemma

It has been a stressful week. After coming back from Seattle we jumped right into the business of life. On top of colleagues calling out sick, launch mode still on, meetings to attends or host, Wanderlust business setup and stretching out of our comfort zone, finances to figure out, car to sell, crap to buy… Here is my dilemma. Favors. Mostly pay it forward favors.

I have been in a position to carry stuff back and forth, to and from Romania for the last 9 years. And most of the time it has been just fine. As we agreed to doing it, we always found a way, even though at times it was a stretch. We have been helped by others in the same way and are tremendously grateful for it, as we know full well what it entails. But this time we are weighing every shirt, every cable, every personal item or memento, as we rule it in or out of our moving to Europe luggage. Imagine packing everything you have into two suitcases. Everything! We haven’t gone shopping in a few months, as the idea of packing it, whatever that might be, is daunting. That being said, I caught myself promising to bring over stuff for people. And a promise once made I willingly carry it to fruition. But yesterday I caught myself grumbling about it. So what is it? I stop to analyze it coldly: is it a matter of inconvenience, or am I rightfully entitled to say no without feeling guilty? Where do I draw the line?

Rhetorically speaking: Why do people do favors? Is it to upkeep the karma? Or to get favors in return? Is it because it’s easy for the one doing the favor? Are we balancing the value for effort? Is gratefulness expected?

I don’t believe in purposeful favors. A hand doesn’t wash the other consciously. It kind of happens. And if you ever did a favor to someone expecting an equal response, you are bound to be disappointed.

When you have, give. When you are in need, ask. I have no other wisdom to share, but just hope to gracefully let go of the stress incurred by our move, and live in the present.

Seattle

It’s finally Thursday. I sleep in, watch a chick-flick in bed, I FaceTime with my parents, then finally pack one hour before hopping on the plane. At 2pm mom drives me to the airport just after we pick up Caleb from school. On the way to SJC we all take turns in describing step by step the making of imaginary delicious things.

At 6pm I land and meet Conrad in Seattle. It’s my first time visiting the Emerald City. I spend the whole flight at the window, left cheek kissed, warmed and reddened by the sun. It’s a gorgeous day, with fog covering low the Pacific. I can’t help but pray with joy the whole way. I talk to God and I feel so grateful and happy. I feel light and hopeful. No matter where and how our life turns, I feel at home in the present. I have lived fully and faithfully so far, and I hope and pray that God would continue to be my light and guide.

Seattle turns out to be amazing. It started with a smooth sunny landing seeing Mt. Rainier covered by snow. We spend the first evening with friends, as they went about their family routine. They are inspiring. The gentleness and kindness with which they interact with their three kids makes me smile. Throughout the evening the kids played energetically with each other ages 12, 7 and 2. Self awareness, freedom in playfulness, kindness… A willingness to help the adults, without pleading or negotiating.

This morning our host shared with me a brief conclusion from their bible study last night: changing the way we think, even when we seem alone in the process, much like the prophets of the Old Testament. We are not called to go with the flow, but to stand firm and see and follow God.

It’s our last night here. Conrad is making pretzels. I hear the boys downstairs and again, I can’t help but smile at the delight I feel getting to know them all a little better.

Seattle is wet and colder, and I love it. Makes me daydream about home this winter.

This week my parents signed the papers to buy an apartment very close to where we are moving. It’s surreal. While I know we will miss a lot of dear family, friends are nature here in California, in this new cycle Romania is pulling like a magnet.