Before I start elaborating on the title, let me briefly introduce myself… it is a copy paste of what I wrote in the “About me” on my profile, but just in case it’s not very convenient to go back and forth with the links…
Hey hey! I’m Arina, 28 years old, my hometown/country is Chisinau, Moldova. For this academic year I’m in Zurich (Switzerland), I’m a visiting scholar at the University of Zurich… but so far the plan is to be back home at the beginning of July. Before, some 10 years ago, I was a high school exchange student in the USA (Michigan state). And not so long ago I did my Master’s degree in Bologna (Italy). Study-wise, I’m in the field of Management and Economics, but independently specializing in music industry.
And work-wise… a great part of my experience is connected to music industry. I worked for 4 years with the Moldovan music band “Zdob si Zdub”. Not continuously, some of that time was during my Bachelor studies in Moldova, then I returned to the band after my Master. This was a very rewarding and fun experience, with twice going to Eurovision Song Contest, releasing albums, participating at festivals…
In my early adulthood, some friends and I formed a youth NGO. The friends elected me as the leader of it. This was a great practical school. We did it mostly voluntarily and based on time availability, but we managed to run several projects that involved fairly many people.
As for hobbies… listening to a lot of music, always keeping an eye on the new one; travelling - but except my USA experience, so far I’ve visited only Europe; hiking…or better let me say - walking …enjoy the performing arts, I mean attending theater plays, dance performances and of course concerts of all kinds of music; I like taking pictures :)) but here is the link to my ‘journal’ http://arinacretu.tumblr.com/ it’s mostly about my hobbies
I do a lot of the free time activities alone. Now I’m trying to remember where, when, and why this “habbit” started… (some time thinking here) and I’ll say - in the USA, 10 years ago, because it was a new place for me.
Until 18 years old I spent all of my time in Moldova, except a few holidays in Romania and Ukraine, together with my family or friends. There was basically a group of people that I grew up with, we were doing many things together, I felt always active and full of energy. When I was 16-17 years old, I participated in a contest - the final result of it was - a few high school students were selected to go for a year in the USA, to live in a host family, to study in an American high school, and receive a small scholarship for own expenses. This was an yearly contest and it was pretty popular… I participated because ‘I should, many are doing it’, it was a good excuse to miss some classes …and because “what if?”
There were several stages to go through, every time less and less people, but I still didn’t feel like - I might be one of the finalists. So one day i got a phone call with - “Congratulations!” I was - “wow, thank you!” but in the back of my mind - “hm, what should I do? should I accept it? of course i should, this is such a great chance! many wanted it and you got it! but it’s 9 months far away from home…and i never lived far from my parents…and there will be completely totally only new people, what if i don’t like it? i cannot return home until the end of the programme.” i knew i am a very independent person, but still… my parents encouraged me to go, although i’m sure the heart of my mother was saying “no”
and it was a wonderful year and that experience influenced me a lot… my host family was very cool, the school was very good, I met some of the best teachers ever and some great other students… but still there wasn’t the feeling of belonging to a group, like I had at home. And I was finding myself doing some activities on my own.
I was attending some school clubs in arts and sometimes I was staying alone beyond the club hours… well, generally painting is not really a group activity then another thing, maybe the most important one in this matter - in the USA most people drive, but I liked and still like to walk. It took me one hour from school to home and I was totally fine with it. I got a walkman in the USA and it was great listening to some music and walking. In Moldova, one of my best friends and I lived in the same apartment building and we studied in the same class… so every day we did the walking together (but that walk was only 15-20 min on way). In the USA I lived in a small town and walking along the road was ok, lots of nature, nice houses… but it was funny that many people were stopping their car and were asking me - are you alright? do you need a ride?
also, there I got my first camera and i started to attend a photography class at a Community Center. thus another activity in my life - walking around and taking pictures of nature. and I took a Computer Graphics class in school and I discovered another enjoyment - own photo manipulation in PhotoShop.
And really, never thought of it before, but namely these activities helped me to be more comfortable with being alone… and not depend on others.
hm, my story is becoming very long…
when I returned home, my friends and I had another high school year to go… and afterwards we went to different universities. Although physically not far from each other, we had different schedules, new colleagues. Anyway we were meeting frequently, we were also running the NGO together. And of course adulthood means building your own path…
After the US experience, I really wanted to do my Bachelor’s at home… but in the same time that experience opened some other new interestes for me, that would involve going abroad - for travelling and for live concerts. I attended many local live concerts before going to the USA, but I never let myself think that I could attend a superstar’s concert. And in the USA those superstars seemed so close, they had concerts not far from where I lived, but no one that I knew was interested. There I couldn’t go alone… instead I told myself that “next time” I will go alone, somehow. The artists that i like still don’t perform in Moldova… but they do in Romania. So in 2006 I went on my own to Bucharest, to see Depeche Mode. It’s a one night bus drive from Chisinau to Bucharest… another night - back.
The concert was fabulous and I told myself “I want more”. That time I stayed at a guy’s place and I didn’t personally know him, I met him via an online forum. During the concert I got acquainted with some people sitting next to me, they also gave me a ride after the concert. It was such a great experience, all together. But many people at home were thinking I’m a bit crazy to do this…alone.
Then this activity became more frequent… I started to know more people here and there. Then I went to Bologna for 2 years, for my Master’s. Now I’m in Zurich.
I’ll try to sum up
I travelled alone to Belgium and The Netherlands. But it’s partially alone, because there I’ve stayed at the place of some people that I knew, except attending Werchter Festival (2008). Well, the whole 3 weeks trip was organized due to the festival I went there with my tent, my sleeping bag and enjoyed it for 4 days. I was alone, but met some great people on the way or on spot.
I’ve been alone to numerous concerts of various magnitute… at some point I also joined CouchSurfing.org and sometimes I was travelling to a new place and meeting up with locals that were also attending the concert/festival (and staying at their place).
Alone I wandered through Barcelona, Copenhagen and the surroundings, Paris, some places in Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Germany. At the end of May I’m going to Berlin, alone. Anyone from Berlin?
Of course, there are people that go to places much further and less organized… but this is not to compare with somebody. I just wanted to say, although it took me so many words, that certain life experiences taught me to freely do something social on my own. Of course it is nice going to a theater play with somebody that is also interested… but if there is no one like this around, why should I deprive myself from the pleasure of attending a theater play? Maybe at that event I’ll meet someone with whom I’ll enjoy another event. And it happened so several times. I got the surprised “Alone?” for so many times… but I’m not ashamed to say a firm “Yes” and also show surprise that they are surprised.
p.s.: I’ll post it now, 1:30 am… sorry, no editing was done