January 17, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Connections – Alex

Connections Ioana Birdu interviews

© Ioana Bîrdu

Connections is an exercise of introspection and honesty, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that had a meaningful impact on our lives.

Connections talks about us all – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.


Did you make up stories when you were a little boy? What were they about?

Yes, all the time. And each time they all started with two people who became friends.

I’ve always been interested in drawing and when I was a boy I decided to create and write a book, without knowing what that actually meant. So I began drawing characters and maps of cities and wrote stories about a fight between light and darkness. I don’t know how the battle ended 🙂

What's a beautiful memory from your childhood?

Those autumn Sunday mornings when I went outside, in the yard, right after breakfast. Everything was still green, covered in dewdrops and the air had that particular freshness. Add to this that serenity specific to autumnal beginnings.  

Tell me about a person who changed or had an impact on your life.

Once I met someone who surprised me with a truly balanced demeanour. I found it almost unreal, comparing it to my previous experiences. I believe it overlapped with my realization of how I always get into this unhealthy behavioral pattern, every time I fall in love with someone.

I think it’s fantastic how this coincidences appear. It’s like someone gives you the right answer when you ask the right question.  

What have you learnt from your past relationships?

I’ve learnt to communicate what I feel in a clear, simple and direct manner. I’ve learnt what acceptance means and what I’m looking for. That age and maturity are not a package deal. That it takes two people to build something and that a relationship is something really fragile.

Did a stranger do something nice for you?

Yes, a taxi driver wished me the most beautiful thing: “May you have a beautiful, sunny day and many smiles from lots of people!”, accompanied by an honest smile.

Did you do something nice for a stranger?

Yes, for a five year old girl. I gave her the most precious treasure I had: my figurine collection (around 200 pieces). Fortunately it’s in good hands now.

When in your life did you feel most alone?

In the evening, every now and then, when I hope to hear the SMS tone, before I fall asleep.

Alex, 29 years old

September 10, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Connections – Andrei

 

connections Ioana Birdu

© Ioana Bîrdu

Connections is an exercise of introspection and honesty, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that had a meaningful impact on our lives.

Connections talks about us all – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.


Did you make up stories when you were a little boy? What were they about?

Yes, I did. When I turned 5, I received my first PC. This happened in 2000. I enjoyed playing on it a lot, initially in Paint, then playing games from floppy disks and a little later from CDs. When I wasn’t spending my time in front of my desktop, I wanted to bring the same experience in my “fighting” against the robots and cars I played with in real life, so I tried to mix the stories in a big one, throughout multiple days.

Outdoors me and my friends from the neighbourhood loved playing with plastic guns or even real gun replicas. Before we started playing we always thought of a script inspired from PC games and afterwards put it in action everywhere we could.

What’s a beautiful memory from your childhood?

I still remember the sounds and the image of my father teaching my mother how to ride a bike in large, repetitive circles in our yard.

Tell me about a person who changed or influenced your life.

I won’t give a name or too many details for personal reasons. The only thing I will say is that she taught me so many things during a year and if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be so mature and the person I am today. Thank you.

What have you learnt from your past relationships?

Relationships helped me in life, career and work. They’ve helped me make friends, lovers and enemies. They’ve helped me grow up and head towards roads I didn’t even imagine. I see relationships like an organised chaos that everyone needs to create.

Did a stranger do something nice for you?

I can only use the plural here. I’ve met lots of strangers who taught me patience and introduced me to a spiritual world.

Did you do something nice for a stranger?

I offered them my time.

When in your life did you feel most alone?

I can’t tell if you mean it in a negative way or not, because many of us consider or associate loneliness to something bad, anti-social. Honestly, I can’t say if I ever felt alone in a bad way but I can tell you this: loneliness is vital for me. I love doing many things alone because it gives me a state of well being. I find loneliness to be a way of escapism and daydream.

Andrei, 20 years old


Want to be part of this project? Just answer the same questions and send them to ioanabirdu@gmail.com Or reflect on them and keep it to yourself, it will do you good 🙂

June 16, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Connections – Vlad

connections Ioana Birdu

© Ioana Bîrdu

Connections is an exercise of introspection and honesty, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that had a meaningful impact on our lives.

Connections talks about us all – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.


Did you make up stories when you were a little boy? What were they about?

I did, beginning with kindergarten although I can’t remember those. When I got to school, they were about everything or anything as long as I had an audience. I told the best ones to my friend, Big Sorin, who was mesmerised and kept asking questions about them.

I was usually the main character and I was either fighting sharks on the Danube or saving people from all kinds of bad things. As a sign of gratitude for the stories, Big Sorin defended me from Little Sorin, who always called me a liar and tried to attack me in different ways.

The best thing is that a few years ago I met Big Sorin again and his first question was if I remember how I used to tell him stories on our way home from school. 🙂

What’s the most beautiful memory from your childhood?

The first one. I can’t let go of if no matter what I do. It happened when I was around two or three years old and lived with my grandparents. I lived there until I turned five or six.

It was a snowless winter and the sun had teeth (that's what they said, but I swear I never saw the sun having any teeth). I was all wrapped up in clothes and climbing down the stairs of my grandparent’s house. When I got close to the garden I heard my mother’s voice calling me. I couldn’t see her too well because the I had the sun playing in my eyes, but I sensed her there. I remember her smiling and talking to me and she wore some brown, bell-bottom trousers, left overs from the 70’s probably. I went to  her and all I remember is I was happy. That’s all.

Tell me about a person who changed or influenced your life.

George whom I met when I finished college. At our first beer together - I was going through a period of complete disorientation at the time - I found myself in front of a thirty something year old having the profound sensation that I’m being read as an open book, but in a way that made me feel no threat. And I’m not joking: that person knew all there was to know about me in five minutes.

George changed my life because he was the first person who saw something in me and helped me become more confident. The third time we went out for a beer I found out he worked at RIS (Romanian Intelligence Service) and that he actually was or used to be a spy. This explained some things :).

What have you learnt from your past relationships?

The difference between a monologue and a conversation.

Did a stranger do something nice for you?

Most certainly yes, but I can’t recall a story. What I can undoubtedly say is that I learnt to thank without trying to understand why a stranger did something nice for me.

Did you do something nice for a stranger?

I usually remember these things when the other person stops being a stranger.

When in your life did you feel most alone?

Loneliness is something hard only when you feel alone among people. Otherwise, until a certain point we are all alone. We take part in longer or shorter conversations and conversations lead to connections. The reason  you gather all of us here.

Vlad, 35 years old


Want to be part of this project? Just answer the same questions and send them to ioanabirdu@gmail.com

February 2, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Andreea

connections

© Ioana Bîrdu

 

This project is an exercise of introspection and honesty, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that have a meaningful impact on our lives. Connections talks about all of us – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.


Did you invent stories when you were a little girl? What were they about?

Of course I did and I keep doing it. When I was little I liked to play theater with my grandma because she raised me and I spent almost my entire time with her. When I woke up in the morning, I went to the kitchen where I hid behind the door while she worked. I was counting on the fact that with the radio turned up and her being caught in her work she couldn’t hear me come. But she obviously knew! Nevertheless, she played my game and walked through the kitchen as if I was invisible, which was something I loved. So I was hiding there until it seemed it was the right time to get out on the stage and surprise her. Then she exclaimed: Ionicaaa! (I’m also named Ioana after my grandfather, her husband, whom I never knew, but everybody who knew him says we are alike; I was born at approximately one year after he passed and in a way I was like her life belt, because she could direct all her love and attention towards me).

I asked her: 'you really had no idea I was there?' And she said: 'no, not at all, are you invisible?' And from that point we made up an entire dialog about my superpowers and how I could be whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and how when you have an authentic inner freedom that you develop and you believe in, nothing can stop you.

Another favorite story was with my aunt, Mariana, who, by the time I was 7, played Santa for me. Every year during the holidays she called me on the phone and asked me questions about my year and I was telling her poems, being sure that I was speaking to Santa.  She was also my partner in discussion. Whenever she came to visit us I waited for her like a real host with my plastic tea service and snacks and I spoke in an affected way just like I thought adults were acting in those kind of situations. I have many stories like these and all of them are dear to me.

What’s the most beautiful memory from your childhood?

I have many memories of my childhood, it was a joyful one! However, one of my dearest involves my grandmother, with whom, as I said, I spent the whole time until I started going to kindergarten at age 4. I love her and she is dear to me because she always acted like I was a grown up and included me in all her activities. For example, I will never forget our walk to the doctor, the same route I would later go to highschool and university, where she was going to these galvanic baths. I used to explain to the doctors why I brought my grandma to see them. And while she was getting her treatment, I was walking through the hospital talking to doctors or nurses or whoever I happened to bump into. I was a curious kid, but not a tactless one; I always wanted to understand things around me. And here I am today writing stories, and it looks like ever since those times, I naturally developed this ability to interact with people, ask them questions and try to understand them.

 

Tell me about a person who had an impact on your life. 

There are several people who were more than welcome in my life and that taught me a lot in a given period. I’m not a declarative or full of effusion person from this point of view and I don’t want to use big word such as “changed my life” because the impact a person can have in your life depends on how much you allow it. The people I would like to mention are my parents, my grandma, my childhood friends, my highschool friends who are still my friends and Stephan, who is my mirror. Meeting him two years ago made me feel, for the first time, that I wasn’t alone. Alone in the sense that I wasn’t the only one seeing things the way I do. And this brought me comfort and joy, a state of wellbeing that stays with you whether that person is close to you or not.

Professionally, the majority of people I’ve worked with were people who taught me a lot, who believed in me and who sometimes gave me more responsibility greater than I thought I deserved and for that I thank them!   

What did you learn from your past relationships?

How much time do you have to read it all? Either way, I will shorten all my learnings in a well-known quote: “Never do to others what you wouldn't have them do to you”.  In a nutshell I self-educated to take each person as she is and not try to project on her my needs or expectations because it’s unrealistic.

Although many of us have a tendency to exaggerate the image of others for the better or for the worse, most of them are pretty clear in their intentions, throughout their behavior and not their words. This happens because we are often led by the most powerful instincts that we have in us, fear and desire for self-preservation. If you learn to read people, read their behavior and the words behind their words, everything becomes easier!

Did a stranger do anything nice for you?

Yes, many times! There are small gestures that reveal someone’s goodwill and I always appreciate them. For example, being allowed to pass in front of someone in a supermarket queue when they have a bag full of groceries while I only have a bottle of water. Or those moments when I wait at the pedestrian crossing on a rainy day and see a car coming my way slowing down so that I won’t get sprayed with dirt while it passes me. I notice all these things and say thank you in my mind every single time.

What about the other way around, did you do anything nice for a stranger?

Yes, I also did nice things for others. The most frequent one is feed the people who need it. If I go to a restaurant with my friends and there are leftovers I always ask to have it as take away and later give it to someone on the street. I hate wasting food and there is always someone who needs it and it’s such a simple gesture to do. It’s a thing I encourage!

When in your life did you feel most alone?

I am someone who functions very well on her own and I don’t usually suffer from loneliness, I actually enjoy solitude the vast majority of time. I like reading and writing and think about what’s important to me and to my life. And yet, I felt alone two times during my childhood: when one holiday, the hotel elevator went up several floors with only me inside and one summer holiday, at the seaside when the small inflatable boat I was standing in got carried away. My parents still say that I was barely moved by the wave a few feet, but I was downright terrified and I'll never forget the strong feelings of helplessness and fear I had.

Oh, and there’s one more. When I was 10 I woke up one morning and heard my mother crying and I knew my grandma died (one day before she had a heart attack and got admitted to hospital). I felt alone because I knew a very important person in my life was gone and I was never going to see her again.  

Andrea, 30 years old

Want to be part of this project? Send me your answers at ioanabirdu@gmail.com

May 18, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Barrie

Sometimes we go through experiences that overwhelm us. We feel alone and helpless, or need someone to share the little things that bring us joy. Other times we rush into judging others without knowing them or having any idea about the things they’ve been through.

I started Connections in a time when my life didn’t look very colorful or happy and it served as a self therapeutic exercise. Then more people got hooked into it and I decided to take it further.

This project is an exercise of introspection and sincerity, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that put a mark on our lives. Connections talks about all of us – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.

It’s a project that continues to do me good and I hope you’ll get something good out of it as well.

*

Did you use to invent stories when you were a little boy? What were they about?

Not that my old brain will remember.

What’s the most beautiful memory from your childhood?

My best memories date back to 9 months living on my grandfather’s farm when my Dad was away. I was young but everything is vivid – if I had to pick one, sitting on my Grandpa’s lap while he drove the tractor; he let me steer and I thought I was driving!

Tell me about a person who changed/influenced your life

I had a senior military boss who gave me an opportunity to flourish and the belief that I could do well. The best mentor I ever had.

What did you learn from your past relationships?

Life is too short to be unhappy – sometimes you need to be brave and set off on your own to find the freedom to be happy. Sometimes, that is a selfish – but necessary – thing to do.

Did a stranger do something nice for you?

Not yet – how cool would that be?

Did you do something nice for a stranger?

I always try to buy a coffee for people I see on the street and offer a few coins and some words of encouragement/a listening ear.

When in your life did you feel most alone?

When I separated from the mother of my children … it was the right thing to do for the adults – but I ache still at the lost time with my children.

 Barrie, 50 years (32 in my heart)

*Want to be part of this project? Send me your answers at ioanabirdu@gmail.com*

April 5, 2017Comments are off for this post.

Rodrigo

Sometimes we go through experiences that overwhelm us. We feel alone and helpless, or need someone to share the little things that bring us joy. Other times we rush into judging others without knowing them or having any idea about the things they’ve been through.

I started Connections in a time when my life didn’t look very colorful or happy and it served as a self therapeutic exercise. Then more people got hooked into it and I decided to take it further.

This project is an exercise of introspection and sincerity, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that put a mark on our lives. Connections talks about all of us – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.

It’s a project that continues to do me good and I hope you’ll get something good out of it as well.

*

Did you use to invent stories when you were little? What were they about?

I used to play with action figures, mixed with all the toys. Building huge cities across the house. My parents’ legs covered by mattresses was mountains, hills. The track in the carpets, roads. Other thing about inventing stories I would like to point out. The video games was pretty.... simple. And added to this, there was the fact that they were in English. My friends and I barely understood its stories or mechanics, so we INVENTED, and I mean, A LOT. So someone, for example, invented that in a motorcycle game, there was a trick that you would be able to enter in a house and have a lunch and sleep a little.
We all tried for weeks to do the trick. Back in my memory, there was a whole world inside those games. It is with a bit of melancholia feeling that I look back to those games in emulators to see that most of the fun was just in our heads.

What’s the most beautiful memory from your childhood?
The infinite freedom in the afternoons with street friends. Dirt roads, bicycles by our feet.

Tell me about a person who had an impact on your life.
A history teacher, who taught there was many views for the same reality. He gave me a copy of "Chariots of the Gods?" by  Erich von Däniken. I think there I earned the right to be curious.

What did you learn from your past relationships?
There is no free-ride when you talk about relationships. The persons involved will be touched and marked, somehow. And I don't see it in a pessimist perspective, by the contrary, there lies the beauty of it.

Did a stranger do something nice for you?
I cannot remember anytime where someone helped me, without me asking first for help. Usually I like to be in the other side, being the stranger who helps.

Did you do something nice for a stranger?
Often. I like how people react with disbelief at random acts of kindness. There is some kind of magical, humane touch in it.

When in your life did you feel most alone?
At night, after college or work, in a daily commute, at rush hours. I believe it is that small period where all the hopes of the day where lost and new one did not born yet.

Rodrigo, 28 years old

*Want to be part of this project? Send me your answers at ioanabirdu@gmail.com*

October 25, 2016Comments are off for this post.

George

Sometimes we go through experiences that overwhelm us. We feel alone and helpless, or need someone to share the little things that bring us joy. Other times we rush into judging others without knowing them or having any idea about the things they’ve been through.

I started Connections in a time when my life didn’t look to colorful or happy and it served as a self therapeutic exercise. Then more people got hooked into it and I decided to take it further.

This project is an exercise of introspection and sincerity, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that put a mark on our lives. Connections talks about all of us – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.

It’s a project that continues to do me good and I hope you’ll get something good out of it as well.

*

Did you use to invent stories when you were a little boy? What were they about?

Yes. Somehow I got the idea I was good at writing, although It wasn’t something i later developed because of my law carrier. Nonetheless, I do remember how i used to sit on a chair at my grandparents house and tried to write meaningful stories that i would later read to my grandma. I can’t remember what they were about but i know for sure my characters were people with no super powers. I think this is why I always loved Batman, he had cash, no super powers.

What’s the most beautiful memory from your childhood?

My childhood is filled with beautiful memories. I don’t believe in fate or luck, you know. I do believe that all the good things that happen to us are our own creations, results of our past actions. But not to completely disappoint the adepts of Good fortune, i believe humans can get lucky once in their lives and that is when they are born in a certain family or environment. That’s the only fact you have no influence upon and that is pure luck. Having said that, I consider myself one of the luckiest people alive. So my memory will have to be a family portrait, one Sunday evening, all gathered in our living room, three generations, probably with the TV on.

Tell me about a person who changed or influenced your life.

My grandma who stood by me until I was 20 years old. She was a teacher and before I got to first grade she used to teach me how to multiply on the beach. I was her last student, probably the one in which she invested the most. And i believe i made her happy. Even now, when i do something i think would make her proud i wink at the sky.

What did you learn from your past relationships?

To better know myself.

Did a stranger do something nice for you?

It was my first time at Garana Jazz Festival and I was there camping. And even though my father advised me to set up my tent like a church, up in the hill and not near the swelling river, where the animals might come to drink water, i set it up 2 meters away from the river. It rained for an entire hour, the river overflowed and took our tent with it, until some friends managed to save it. And there I was soaking wet, in my slippers with all my clothes wet, in the tent. There some people allowed me to stay in their van, gave me a shirt and a shot of pălincă [romanian brandy].

Did you do something nice for a stranger?

I rather keep this to myself.

When in your life did you feel most alone?

I haven’t had too many moments like this. No matter what they were, I’ve always had my safety places where I knew I could always come back to. Nevertheless, loneliness in small portions can be therapeutic. We tend to forget this, but the moments of solitude we have with ourselves are very healthy. I have this moments when i run. I’m all mine for an hour.

George, 28 years old

*Want to be part of this project? Send me your answers at ioanabirdu@gmail.com*

October 21, 2016Comments are off for this post.

Silviana

Sometimes we go through experiences that overwhelm us. We feel alone and helpless, or need someone to share the little things that bring us joy. Other times we rush into judging others without knowing them or having any idea about the things they’ve been through.

I started Connections in a time when my life didn’t look to colorful or happy and it served as a self therapeutic exercise. Then more people got hooked into it and I decided to take it further.

This project is an exercise of introspection and sincerity, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that put a mark on our lives. Connections talks about all of us – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.

It’s a project that continues to do me good and I hope you’ll get something good out of it as well.

*

Did you use to invent stories when you were a little girl? What were they about?

Oh my, i invented entire universes. I daydreamed a lot and still do. I used every detail or experience: if i raced the kids near my home, i saw myself on a running track. If we were stealing cherries, there I was with my gang and Steven Segal. In Vietnam. In the puddles. Nothing was too small, nothing was unimportant.

What’s the most beautiful memory from your childhood?

I don’t know if this is the most beautiful but i always laugh out loud when i remember it. I can’t remember how old i was, but i know my mom had sent me to a summer camp. It was the first time i saw the sea and out of too much enthusiasm i went to the shore and hugged the first wave. It put me to the ground, i got a little dizzy but i was feeling fine.

Tell me about a person who changed or influenced your life.

The people you chose to listen to shape you. The people you chose to see show you who you want to become or the person you don’t want to be. I can’t just pick one. It’s all of them. The ones who knew to say the right thing at the right time, with honesty and great care, even though they knew that sometimes I wouldn’t like what i was hearing. I appreciate them greatly.

What did you learn from your past relationships?

To trust myself more, to be more selective. I’ve also learnt not to judge people based on the first impression, and to have the courage to be myself. To love full heartedly.

Did a stranger do something nice for you?

Yes, absolutely. They’ve offered me trust when i needed it and i hope i can do the same for someone else.

Did you do something nice for a stranger?

Some stories are meant to be kept not told. 🙂

When in your life did you feel most alone?

Hm. Loneliness is a temporary thing (sometimes, never a bad thing, it teaches you). If you look around you you’re never completely alone. You just have to let time to pass for a while and to want to see. But what do I know? There’s a long way till far away.

Silviana, 27 years old

*Want to be part of this project? Send me your answers at ioanabirdu@gmail.com*

October 21, 2016Comments are off for this post.

Raisa

Sometimes we go through experiences that overwhelm us. We feel alone and helpless, or need someone to share the little things that bring us joy. Other times we rush into judging others without knowing them or having any idea about the things they’ve been through.

I started Connections in a time when my life didn’t look to colorful or happy and it served as a self therapeutic exercise. Then more people got hooked into it and I decided to take it further.

This project is an exercise of introspection and sincerity, a way of traveling back in time to reflect on some of the moments and relationships that put a mark on our lives. Connections talks about all of us – the experiences that bring us joy or sadness, the little things we might take for granted, the people we meet.

It’s a project that continues to do me good and I hope you’ll get something good out of it as well.

*

Did you use to invent stories when you were a little girl? What were they about?

I recall many russian stories, but i’m not sure if they were my own inventions or if it’s because my sister used to read me a lot of them from that book everyone had as a kid.

What’s the most beautiful memory from your childhood?

I lived in a house that had an orchard, a flower garden and two big magnolias. On my way home, struggling with a very heavy backpack, i met my mother  back in the garden, weeding the flowers. She did that for hours, even days. And on the alley leading to our house i told her all about my life. I did it for hours, even days.

Tell me about a person who changed or influenced your life.

Adrian Jicu, my high-school romanian teacher. He recommended me The Illusions of Romanian Literature by Eugen Negrici. Then he kept recommending me critique and changed my way of thinking. He taught me to search for arguments and counter arguments, to debate and be curious. And this is the most important thing in life: to be curious.

What did you learn from your past relationships?

No matter how much you learn in a relationship it’s not enough for the next one.

Did a stranger do something nice for you?

A stranger once gave me a luggage full of Bucuria candies.

Did you do something nice for a stranger?

I write letters to a carrier from Ardeal.

When in your life did you feel most alone?

Three summers ago when I took a vacation to Malta alone. I left with 5 books and 500 songs on my ipod, but i haven’t read a word nor listen to a song.

They were 10 incredible days. 🙂

Raisa, 25 years old

*Want to be part of this project? Send me your answers at ioanabirdu@gmail.com*