On one hand I see a lot of great changes in Cluj and in Romania in general. We are a nation that is hungry, that is willing, and surprisingly flexible and adaptable.
Not in every aspect though. Self interest, connections, discounts, genuine grumpiness and genuine kindness – nobody fakes niceness in customer service, driving and parking, we have a long way to go. Maybe it’s just the big city behind the wheel hectic feel.
The adaptability I see it in my parents, who are always alert, keeping an ear and an eye open to what they might improve or adapt to. I think I would find it exhausting after a while but I commend them for it. It’s what helped them adjust to a huge move, across the country, after 35 years of living in the same apartment. And they are positive and keep busy.

One challenge I see as I returned is the old relationships, clicks and growing apartness. I always took myself more lightly and took everything as compliment instead of letting sarcasm bruise me.

I thought I could reconnect people, mix them in … help the see relationships though my eyes, maybe feel the freedom. But I forget my journey freed me, the people I met, gracious or challenging alike. Not taking things personal is a first huge step, but when we are insecure we trip.

I have always been in great terms with family, but leaving and returning was like a huge software update that made issues we didn’t know we had, surface. Thank you Genius Bar for this lame analogy. One needs an extra amount of strength to push ahead, day in and day out, in a world that sees differently.

A strengths finder test I took at work, revealed that one of my strengths is Positivity, and it lists a few pointers for capitalizing on this asset, or simple ideas for action:

• Explain that your enthusiasm is not simple naivety. You know that bad things can happen; you simply prefer to focus on the good things.
• You may get your greatest joy by encouraging people. Freely show your appreciation of others, and make sure that the praise is not vague. Consistently seek to translate your feelings into specific tangible, and personal expressions of gratitude and recognition.
• As you share your Positivity talents, be sure to protect and nurture them. As necessary, insulate yourself from chronic complainers, and intuitionally spent time in highly positive environments that will invigorate and feed your optimism.
• Because people will rely on you to help them rise above their daily frustrations, arm yourself with good stories. jokes and sayings. Never underestimate the effect that you can have on people.
• Avoid negative people. They will bring you down. Instead seek people who find the same kind of drama and humor in the world that you do. You will energize each other.
• Deliberately help others see the things that are going well for them. You can keep their eyes on the positive.
• You probably will excel in any role in which you are paid to highlight the positive. A teaching role, a sales role, an entrepreneurial role, or a leadership role will make the most of your ability to make things dramatic.