Monday, December 19, 2011

Praying for a Happy Egypt

Am not discussing politics in the following lines. Opinions here are my own.

I've been fortunate to get in and out of Egypt during two weeks of relative rest. While I was so happy to see friends and people I thought I will never meet again, I couldn't kill this feeling of sadness breaking through whenever I thought about Egypt. December 17th, things got ugly again, so after watching these people beaten to death (please don't watch if you can't handle it) I decided to write about it, and ask you to pray for Egypt, again!

I don't want to get into details related to the conflict in Masr (the Arabic word for Egypt), #Egypt is one of the most tweeted words in 2011 so am sure google will return some relatively fair results if you are curious to learn more about the political situation, Mubarak, the elections and more.

But I do want to talk about the people. After being told for so many days that I look like an Egyptian (:D SMILE) I'd like to tell you a bit about my dear Masreen! First of all they are some of the most peaceful people I have ever met, and patient and warm, my second family away from home....the concept of revolution and violence is all new to them. After decades of dictatorship and strong control over any act of violence (you wouldn't have wanted to be a martial arts instructor in Cairo- might have lead to a serious record) these people are now victims of terror. I know it's a hard word but what the military forces are doing it is pure terror.

End of November. After some days of unrest friends say it's safe for me to go there, so I go. I trust them with my life so I knew they will keep me safe...However except a crowded Cairo, the awesome food and a even more mad traffic I couldn't recognize much. People are afraid and hopeful at the same time. Obviously the violence from January left strong marks in their hearts. They lock their doors twice and live today like no tomorrow...but they keep praying for tomorrow...and it is pure beauty to see them so passionate and excited about the NEW Egypt.

For three days I learned and heard about their elections :) I even managed to go voting and WHAT an experience!!! Imagine old women (since women and men vote separately) blessing their country and coming out of the voting rooms full of hope. Brave 70 years women voting for the first time in their lives! Must have felt really great to know you finally have the chance to pick the party that could make a difference in Egypt. And one by one they colored their fingers in purple and hurried to tell their friends to come voting asap to avoid the endless cues. Yes cues, people stay in line for hours, ordering from pizza hut and getting drinks to make sure they don't miss the unique chance of voting!

For other three days I learned about hope. I was afraid to ask about January so I focused on the future. People want work, want chances, want to see their economy booming, want to erradicate poverty, want their kids to have access to education, want to share Egypt's great history with the world. The streets and cafes were no longer crowded with tourists...their absence is strongly affecting small businesses and the economy. Even large companies see how their clients shift to other countries...needless to explain how this will influence incomes, employment and business development. And why? Cause some still have the interest to show Egypt is not safe and cause unrest.

And despite Egyptians being so peaceful, they feel the threat or better said they don't want to miss the chance of change! And for various reasons they become more and more united in their resistance- students fight for their futures, poor people are ready to sacrifice their lives so that doctors and engineers keep saving their families and make a difference to their country. Many act like there is only NOW and NOTHING to loose. I admire that. It is not foolish it is BRAVE (I got Latin blood running through my veins- we fight:) ). In a country with about 100 Mio people and a relatively controlled freedom of speech I don't think there are better ways for Egyptians to protest for their rights. However I'd love to see them safe and I feel sorry for them having to go through this.

And I am sure they also know this is just the Beginning. Democracy and economic development take years or decades. There is a very long way to go, but Egypt is on the right track!

I'm very proud of my friends who stand tall, keep working hard and look after their kids while waiting for things to get back to normal. Since politics take time, we can try "speeding up" this by praying for them and for the beautiful Egypt I have been fortunate to discover three years ago- it is about Pharaos, the Nile, culture, history, desert, exotic landscapes and more, so don't hesitate to get yourself there:

Last but not least, TAHEA MASR! Thinking of you and ISA we'll see each other soon:)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How was your 2011?

Almost there :-) Time to be thankful and think about what we did this year, plan to do but failed...or succeeded...people who touched our hearts, places we've seen, new things we just discovered or old wishes coming true.

My 2011 was pretty colorful :D ....and very very very happymaking!!! Actually I've been having this feeling for the past 6-7 years, that every year it was so much better than the previous one, although I thought things could not get any better than that :-) Pretty cool, huh?

So why was my 2011 happier than the years before?
  • I got married...ta daaaaaaa! It can only happen once and it could have only been to my precious Master, so this time, honestly, I have no idea how 2012 can get beat that :-) Although statistically, I think it will! and got to have so many friends and colleagues coming to my wedding even from far away, which was more than awesome! Plus did I mention I am still getting wedding gifts?
  • got to go back to my lassana Sri Lanka...which is kind of a dream coming true cause I never expected to happen that soon. But now am pretty convinced it will happen again ;)
  • had my family around for one more year, which with dad's condition it is always the thing I cherish most...and this year hasn't been that easy, must admit. But with God's help we will have him back for Christmas and to kick 2012!!!
  • bro got back on track, opened this new restaurant and am very proud of him :D. Plus I got the chance to go wild and set up another Facebook page! ha ha ha
  • we subscribed to a gym in our area and I started my interval training powered by my new and pretty pink Gymboss timer. No 6pack so far but feeling GREAT- and since husband is so nice he makes sure I get lots of complements coming :) !!! So a bit of thank you to Zuzana from for her cool but killer workouts!
  • did some nice Romanian road trips with mum and dad and got to see some unique places of my country...which is kind of cool cause I think I know other countries better and mine...but not complaining :D
  • back to Africa...3x :D I just love everything about Africa (except the political and poverty issues which we kind of need to contribute more ourselves), so please shoot me :) And this time I went to new places like Kenya and Uganda where I met such nice and lovely people. Need to get back someday...maybe 2012? :-)
  • I was part of and did some cool things work wise also- as in @ IBM :) but won't go into that as I am not sure how I should describe them. Anyway, my job still rocks, I love the people I work with and all excited about 2012.....and am not kidding, really love them, even made one of them my bridesmaid :DDDD
  • made new friends- please don't ask me to mention you all :) , lots of, maybe best thing about 2011 is how close I got to some and how blessed I am to have them in my life for the years to come
  • got 3 wisdom teeth more left for 2012...:(
  • hair got longer, for a kid traumatized by not having long hair like the other girls this is a big achievement :D
  • learned to cook some new things, something that highly excites me so has to come here!
  • also ate some pretty awesome food...and lots of my favorite fruit PAPAYA :D...yes that is an achievement as I had to go to Sri Lanka for not that easy
  • sorry for disappointing you, but things like new car, new house or new whatever don't belong here....yet...but I got a nice Gymboss in case you didn't get that yet? awesome to train with!...and since I am a girl after all some pairs of new shoes :D
  • learned to play this piano piece- which is a big achievement since I kept playing the sheets I studied in school. but just loving Yiruma too much and couldn't stay away :) You can check it here...slightly improved in between.
  • no painting this year but 2011 not over yet. So I think I will have a session soon ;-)
  • have been pretty safe and healthy all around '11, pretty happy and felt lots of lots of LOVE and hopefully made the ones around me feel special also.
  • also think I've changed a bit, personal transformations continue to surprise me but am embracing them and trying to make the best out of them. Exciting to see myself growing/ changing/ evolving while still trying to keep what I think people love most about me! Hope will manage that!
  • last but not least getting to travel to Egypt this lots of happymaking to come :-) with very nice& happy friends, with my very happy Toffy and lots of happy happy food!
Plus the happy season is just about to begin- lots of work for the Happymaker ;-) Already starting to feel like Santa's little helper! So much HAPPYMAKING left for 2011!!!!
How was your year? Hope at least as good as mine!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to happymaking in Sri Lanka

First of all please allow me to express my disappointment- "happymaking" is a pretty bad word in Sri Lanka and not very sathutui=happy :-) And the irony is that it doesn't seem to be such a pervert society at all- if I may say that- don't get mad people! However still an incredible place for some real happymaking!!! There is nothing that can't be found here- unless you are after a white Christmas- Sri Lanka definitely has them all. And after my last visit there I kind of picked my top happymaking activities- see the list...feel free to experience some if you ever get there :-)
  • sunsets at BUBA bar in Mount Lavinia- to start with :-)
  • mad rides in threewheelers or tuk tuks- a perfect alternative to any boring taxi!
  • sunrises on the east coast- Trinco or Arugam Bay are great places for that :-)
  • papaya and pineapple juices
  • look for dragonflies- there are 117 species in Sri Lanka of which 52 are found nowhere else. pretty cool I must say!
  • go for an evening safari- watch elephants bathing, try to spot a leopard in yala- I failed on the last one but guide said it chances are 90% if you take 5 safari rounds...only had 2 :-)
  • leave the main roads and go for the red ones- the red soils of Sri Lanka will give a very extraterrestrial look to all your pics
  • look high- there are magic birds everywhere! and I mean everywhere. Colourful peacocks, pigeons, doves, green bee- eaters, indian rollers, kingfishers, can be seen almost everywhere, meaning even in your hotel's backyard! Enjoy the view!
  • take a late night dip in the ocean- the Indian ocean is never cold :-)
  • go snorkelling in Trinco- if you're a fan of exotic fishes and corals a boat trip to Pigeon Island may be a good alternative to spending a day in the sun :-)
  • experience food- from desserts to rottis, tuna steaks, crabs and other sea food goodies and if you got the guts for some super hot curries.
  • climb the Sigirya fortress!
  • go baila- as the name says it, "dance"- feel lucky if you'll find yourself in the middle of a baila dancing crowd. Still on my list :-)
  • learn about tea- visit the tea plantations and factories, have some real Sri Lankan black tea- BOPF quality :-) See how Sir Lipton built his empire and think about it next time you'll have some ice tea :-)
  • look for trees- must admit I couldn't recognize ONE single tree in Sri Lanka. But glad I got to learn how a rubber, papaya, mango, aralyia and teak trees look like. Still fascinated with the vegetation. And won't even mention flowers!!!
  • enjoy the sea spray- after all you are on an island!
  • go surfing in Arugam- must admit they have a pretty happy surfers community. Watch out for magic drinks and local surfers:-)
  • feeling hot? Check what the "time capsule" has to offer and discover Little Britain! A short visit to Nuwara Eliya or Haputale will make you regret you didn't bring a sweater. And you get to see people wearing slippers and beanies in the same combination. Outrageous! Plus you get to see so much of the British influence in terms of architecture, tea and hobbies. And check for strawberries farms- all your dreams can come true :-)
  • discover the gem shops in Unawatuna or go for a gem mining experience in Ratnapura- perfect place to see and learn about gems...and of course shop. From precious blue or padparadcha sapphires to Sri Lankan moonstones, everything is there. Won't even get started on this #happymaking topic :-) !!!
  • learn about Buddhism and Hinduism- there are so many temples everywhere (and also some famous one like the one in Kandy) that you can't say you missed them. Lively colours, vibrant incense smells and chants- from simple religious manifestations to pure esoterism.
  • go hiking- World's End, Horton Plains or my dream for a next visit- Adam's Peak- breathtaking landscapes and lovely tracks.
  • learn some words in Singhalese- although I still think it is a pretty acoustically "brutal" language I must admit there are some very melodic words I got to like. maybe a bit like the country itself :-)
  • learn to play carom- the local version of billiards...they say :-)...more like backgammons to me :-)
  • watch a cricket game- if you have the time and the interest, Sri Lankans are pretty proud with their players and fond of this sport.
  • visit a school- I just love the Sri Lankan white school uniforms. Such a peaceful outfit for a country marked by years of war. Always brings a smile to my face.
  • shop for fabrics- batiks- you don't have to love saris to find something that pleases even the most picky fashionista :-) Incredible colours and fabrics can be found almost everywhere (after all Sri Lanka has one of the top apparel industries). Something to take home and turn into a cocktail dress or a cute table clothing!!
  • experience cinnamon- after all it is the cinnamon country (90% of the world's production comes from here)! from spicy main dishes to yummy ice cream I don't think there is any cinnamon based dish you can't find here.
  • go whales and dolphins watching- still on my to do list! same with the rainforest experience! so much to do here that I didn't have time :(
  • get a Sri Lankan book- there are some incredible English writing authours! So far my top favorite is Nihal De Silva. Check "The Road from the Elephant Pass", "The Giniraella Conspiracy" or "The far spent day". Good lecture for your flight back and something to make you coming back :-)
Last but not least find a MACHANG :-) Think one can't leave this pretty country without getting some best friends to come back to! And how am I glad that I have found mine!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happiness Vampires: The Sagas

Prologue: I know you may expect this from a Romanian but this is not another Moonlight story :-)

Once upon a time I told you about being a good Happymaker and not trying to work your happymaking magic with people who have no intention to be happy or don't believe they can even be... Well let's say such people split into two cathegories:
  • unhappy and harmless
  • unhappy and true Happiness Vampires
Now as a self proclaimed Happymaker and coming from a country that makes all my small talks focus around one single question wherever I travel (although I must admit, since the INNA mania people are no longer asking me about castles and vampires) I thought I should say something about the Happiness Vampires and how to fight them!

1. How do you identify them?
Easy one- can be a friend, a colleague or if you are unlucky enough someone in the family (that's the worse since u can run but not hide forever) who is constantly miserable, declared pessimist, negativism's BFF, complains about EVERYTHING or insists on one particular topic, but main point is that HE/SHE NEVER DOES ANYTHING ABOUT IT! .....easy so far.

2. Why is this bad? I know you may want to help them...or are a good listener...and have a huge heart, but there are some limits :-) First I'm telling you, these people enjoy being miserable or are too lazy to do anything about it. And am 100% sure they will find something else to require your full attention even if you help them sort out their current issue. So it's bad because you spend lots of ENERGY, you invest too much TIME in this, it may also get expensive and last but not least you may start feeling bad about not being able to do anything about it and doubt your skills in helping out.

3. Opportunity costs- I'm an Economist after all :) so think that everytime you invest too much of any of the above (Energy, Time, Money and Feelings), SOMEONE ELSE, who may badly need them, won't get them.

4.What to do?- of course you may not have the strength to walk away nor the heart to phisically hurt someone to teach some discipline...but there are ways:
  • Change the topic, space out, take off- if you can :-)
  • Find another victim aka some fresh blood- eg "I can't help you but X would be more than happy to give you a hand"
  • And last one- the serious one- HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE- ask them what are they doing about it, show them not doing anything about it is wrong...let them talk but to some extent...check again what they are planning to do about it. And be persistent about it! Ask them every time what they do about some point if they don't plan to do anything about it they will stop complaining or best case they will actually DO something about it.
Epilogue: Got more suggestions? Add them below and let's join forces :-) Garlic and Silver for everyone!

the Happymaker

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sunsets & Sunrises

There is something about sunsets and sunrises that makes me so happy and extatic that I don't even think I have enough words to describe it. First of all I see them so seldom, I miss them, I dream about seeing one, I imagine the lights, the wind, lots of anticipation :-) Then the colors: vibrant orange, flashy pink, shades of blue, purple and red melting in the clouds and sinking in the sea or hiding behind a mountain (however I prefer the sea). I could swear the sea is stealing the sun from me, ray by ray...but it's ok, eventually I'm getting it back the next day, more shiny and luckily bigger :-) And how all the shapes turn black, dark trees, dark birds, dark silhouettes as if they don't even matter anymore- out of focus. Am sure time stays still when the sun goes up and down, too bad I can't prove it and you may not believe me...but who cares, I will still get my piece of eternity :-)
Know everyone loves sunsets and sunrises, but remember to smile when you see one, don't think one can get a happier view for free :-) #happymaking

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I ♥ U

About LOVE. Again. But slightly different :-)

Think about love, something are born from, grow up with and yet see it as such a scarce resource. My case: guess about until the end of high school I found it a bit uncool to tell my family how much I LOVE them. Then, nature wise you do fall in LOVE, with the wrong guy, think it's a super unique feeling,imagine all kind of scenarious on confessing to him, if to say it, if it is what it feels like, then he breaks your heart, you swear never to do it again, 3 months later you fall for it again. A word that can literally change everything and yet something we say much to seldom. A feeling we are so scared to put it in words.

Must have taken me years to realize it's just an word and kind of just the beach before putting my feet in the wet sea. And it's something any person, no matter of religion, can confirm it: we are being loved by our God, everything around us was made out of love, we are being taught to love not only the ones we'd like to but also our enemies, the less fortunate one, the people who hurt us or those we think we don't know well enough to feel anything for them.

So if love is in everything and everywhere, then why us not being part of sharing it? Snobism? Selfishness? Misconceptions? Laziness? Do we really think it's something we should only keep for certain people in our lives? Or are afraid people won't understand us and think we are exagerating with such a natural feeling? Do we really care about it?

Have been so happy since I've realized this. FYI was one of the reasons for the #happymaking affair. It's ok to love, and ok for me to tell my friends that I love them and miss them, for me to be nice not only to people I know well or are nice to me. And in case you wonder, it's also ok for my close family, they don't think I love them less because I cherish and share more love :D

Anticipating happy moments.
And much love to give and take.
Can only wish you the same,

the Happymaker

Monday, June 13, 2011

The.Happymaking.Wedding. VIDEO

And so we got married :-) Here is a short video in case you have missed our happymaking wedding day!

the Happymaker

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Loving this short but super awesome video. Please watch it :-) Forget chocolate, go for a simple smile and you'll live happily& healthy ever after. Find out why! ;-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

My grannie

When was the last time you did something for your grandparents? Or paid a surprise visit to you uncle? Or invited them for lunch? We are so busy with ourselves that IF we got kids we look after them and best case after our parents. Although sadly enough, many of us do forget to look after their parents even when they're getting old and need us the most. But let's assume we do that. How about grandparents? So very often we assume that we look after our parents and our parents should look after theirs, but let's admit it...when they all get a bit old, it is us that needs to look after them. I feel lame when I think of that- eg I never call gradma...or maybe once a month (luckily she is visiting us pretty often)- but I always assume that mum calls her and one way or the other don't do it myself.

Don't like myself for that. Get dragged in all kind of activities, talk to all sort of people and yet, sometimes I forget to check on my grannie.

Last week I got legally married and managed to have some happymaking with my grannie- we did our hair, driven mum mad :D and most important I got to wear a Romanian outfit she made for me while she was younger and her vision better.Her dream of us wearing Romanian outfits came true. Was happy and she was even happier as everyone was inquiring about the outfits and was congratulating her for the masterpieces :-) Plus now she saw all her grandchildren getting married!!! Big achievement I'd say :-)She likes me to print her pics, to tell her about all the places I went, to make her an exotic cocktail or bake bread with the cooking machine and save her the time. She loves me playing the piano, singing with her, bringing her flowers and just talking to her. She loves remembering grandpa. I'll try spending more time with her, while I still have her around :-)

Keep your eyes on your grannies and your arms around them! Cherish and enjoy them while you can!

Love, yours
The Happymaker

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

African Happymaking Dress - aka- Fashionable Mentoring

First time I went to Kenya and opened the African Woman magazine I discovered the awesome and colorful dresses Sylvia Owori is designing. Unfortunately that was during my flight back :-( I love having clothes from different geographies so I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't get anything African for my multicultural wardrobe. When I've been told I will go to Uganda I researched and found out she has 2 shops in Kampala ;-) Got to one of them during a lunch break but couldn't find anything interesting:-( Disappointment #2
However today I got lucky and had a very fashionable IBM day :D First I discovered that one of my Ugandan mentees- Adella- has a fashion magazine and second while having a drink with my other mentee Nordreen (I know, Ugandan mentees are the BEST!) we got into the other Sylvia's shop and tadaaaaa: my dress was there, Sylvia was there (check pic), what else can I wish for :-)

Never thought shopping can get so happymaking! Felt so happy to let her know her dress will fly in a couple of hours to Romania and that I may wear it for my engagement party!

And here I am with my super fashion magazine editor and mentee Adella Ahebwa:-) Keep your eyes on the PHASION BUK- someday this lady will be a STAR!

So: BYE BYE UGANDA- will miss Kampala, the orphanage, the IBMers, the Nile, my daily matoke, my mentees, Sylvia Owori's shop, my swimming pool and my chota dost Kamal :-)!

Friday, March 4, 2011

At the top of the stairs there's HAPPINESS

ALOHA my special friends! While on a work trip in Kampala, Uganda (you can see pics here) and spending way too much time with my ipod, I realized that The Formations got it all wrong> actually I can't believe the happymaker has such a song on her ipod :-) What's wrong with these guys and seeing the darkness at the top of the stairs?

Are we always anticipating that after great happiness a complete misery will follow? Or that we don't have the right to be happy for too long? I know being happy and sad alternate during our entire life but...from here to saying NO to any chance of being happy just because afterwards one may be sad is .....kind of...sad?

What about love, laugh, run, dance, dress as nobody sees you and nobody cares? What about the hours people spend planning their careers, lives, dinners out or vacations- are people also including some 30 mins being sad in the forecast? If so then, that's a lot of wasted energy :-)

I won't go back to why being happy, thankful and optimistic in this life, but just want to make some remarks when it comes to "stairs":
  • at the top of the stairs are OTHER stairs. So save your thoughts for when you reach the top, if ever :-)
  • enjoy the climbing> running, jumping or however you decide to do it, enjoy it! You may never come across these stairs again.
  • color your stairs in red, yellow, blue or green. Make sure you use all colors you can think of :-)
  • if you get tired, stop and sit. You don't have to rush to the top, the climbing makes all the money. Don't be afraid to take a break!
  • if there are many stairs ahead take a friend. Climbing in two is more fun, plus is good if you have someone to catch you in case you may stumble and fall :-)
  • don't measure: it's ok to climb one or more steps at a time. Surprise yourself!
  • stairways may be straight, round, ladders or elevators > don't allow people to tell you which one you should pick!
  • leave marks and don't be afraid to go one step back. It's ok to look down and it is very nice when you can go back to finish something you once started.
Wish you dream of floating stairs, I know I might now :-) Can't wait to make some more steps on my #happymaking stairs tomorrow!

PS:I found these nice rainbow stairs at a nursery next to the Airtel/IBM office in Kampala Kololo. Wish you could see the faces of the kids :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Countdown to Happiness

Tonight is the night my parents have always been waiting for, just that they don't know it yet :-) And do not dare to tell them! Can't wait to see their happy faces and tell them that WE're getting MARRIED. Left them almost last because since we only decided on Sunday, I wanted to make sure we will have a full happymaking weekend to celebrate this :-) To Bog's friends (don't feel less special, the Master hasn't let anyone know yet- he is still waiting for me to change my mind act surprised).

Now I am posting this for 3 simple reasons:
  • am happy about it and can't sleep since the decision :-). Can't wait for God to give us His blessings and marry my favorite boy in my favorite church!
  • writing it down for all our friends who CAN'T believe it- trust me you won't have to ask again!
  • there is a #happymaking lesson for you:
8years ago he proposed me, 8years ago I said yes without blinking and ever since he's been my #happymaker. Of course a wedding was in plan at some point but there has never been a rush. So slowly we got there, plus I got a full month without travels to plan it.

The happymaking lesson is for my other friends who are out there waiting to make the same decision: DON'T overthink. People have been getting married since forever. If you feel it is the time don't wait for him to rent an aeroplane and to propose you again or don't wait for her to leave hints that she wants to get married. Just go for it. And if you still need inspiration, listen to Mr Bruno Mars, the boy is right :-)

PS: Wedding will be this SUMMER. Facebook invitations, funny prints and all the fun will follow. I'll share the magic date. Would be honoured to have you with us :-)

#the happymaker

Friday, January 21, 2011

About Gems, Fairy tales and Dreams

Last night I had an awesome dream: I was a fairy and we were having flying lessons. It was pretty easy, just spreading our hands and rapidly taking altitude, then controlling our balance while going up and down towards a valley. We were supposed to get some water and come back to the fairies' garden :-) I remember us wearing some lovely white&silver dresses, people not being able to see us...and some evil creatures (dressed like lady GAGA) trying to get us- but luckily they couldn't fly :D.

Anyway since I do think that staying a child is more important than trying to become an adult, and since I can't help you having my relaxing&lovely dreams :-), I decided to share with you a story I have written in December '10. It was a St. Nicholas' gift and it is about a girl with a sapphire heart! I called it The Legend of the Padparadcha Sapphire and it's all inspired from and about Sri Lanka... of course:). The pink-orange Padparadcha sapphire really exists and comes from there and luckily is not expensive as the blue may get one someday :)

Hope you'll like it, think of your fairy tale and have happy dreams!

PS: or least you have learned about a new gem and can surprise your wife/girlfried/daughter :-)