3, 2, 1… 24! [en]

One year ago I started early with my preparations for that time of the year. You know, when your birthday is right around the corner and all you can think about is how you want it to be this year, and you can’t wait to see all the people you love under the same roof and just enjoy your time.

Last year, I made my wish-list one month before, just in case. I enjoyed special moments with my people then. And, even if some relationships have changed since then, my memories stay beautiful, and the surprise they gave me – unique. I was really sorry for letting them wait for me in front of the door, for 2 whole minutes, while they had my ice cream cake ready and the candles lit on it. They were so cute, and when I played the recording and saw that they were so close to losing hope, aww………….. But all is well when it ends nice 🙂

anamariapopa.com blog post ziua mea 16 decembrie sagetator happy birthday princess ice cream bubblegum marshmallow cake tort inghetata

Now, one year later? My wishes remain the same. I don’t wish for material things. My most precious present are my people, the people that I have in my life. If some of them decide to be a part of it for a long time, I appreciate them. And for those who leave, that’s it, it’s their end in my story and I become happy for the experience I had with them. Anyways, I am gonna add to my last year’s wish also – I’d like to get to know people that know the meaning of being human, and not in how they look. But in the way they act, people who are open-minded, who know how to make best use of the soul they’ve got, who like to communicate, who know what respect is.

And I would also like to add one more thing! At 23 years old, at the end of the most screwed up year of my life, I realised that no matter what happens in this life, no matter what I win or lose, nobody can take away my experiences, the stories I’ve lived. So I set a goal in this life – to live a life full of experiences worth telling, no matter the closure.

Unlike last year, I now find myself in Austria, far away from my lovely people. But they somehow manage to make me not feel the distance, and to still feel them close to my soul. These are my people, the people that hold a special place in my heart. And I only wish for them to stay there as much as possible, because I really like it the way I feel now.

As to the rest, happy wishes to everyone, no matter the age or place! 😀

Receiving is an art…

Giving is easy, we all love to do that especially when it comes to material things. How about receiving?

I think we can all state, after looking at the people around us and including ourselves, that we might be pretty good givers, but we fail at the attempt of receiving – gifts, compliments, help, you name it.

Well, giving and receiving are key aspects of a complete experience when it comes to human interaction. Imagine if all of us would be great givers, who would receive what we feel the need to give? I know now, receiving isn’t easy, but how can we change that? And this one is a decisive question, not only because of the season we’re in.

Let’s look at it this way – How giving to others makes you feel? Do you feel appreciation? How about pride for making another person happy? So, it’s all about you. No problem, we all are kind of egotistic and do things in order to make ourselves feel better. Even when we help others. Let’s stop here for a second and look at the other person. How does he/she feel? Maybe, the thing you just offered saved them a lot of trouble. Or money. Maybe they truly needed your gift. Maybe they didn’t know they need it, and you just made them realize that. Again, it’s not about you – it’s about them.

So, why not let them give something back? Why not let them make you feel the way you made them feel? And eventually, in the most egotistic form, let them be like that for a change! Let them feel great for giving.

My personal opinion? I think we don’t know how to receive anything because of one single reason – We don’t know our worth. We don’t know what we deserve and we can’t accept the fact that someone figures it out (figures us out) better than ourselves. In the end, isn’t all of this about us and us only?

The next time you find yourself in a situation like this, remember the next: Those two – giving and receiving – should be a part of our daily experiences. If the giving part comes natural and we don’t always analyze its benefit, the receiving one is vital to our mental balance and spiritual connection.

Life tip: Accept compliments, enjoy gifts, appreciate the people you have around, make the most of every little thing that is given to you! How can you do that? Improving your communication skills would be an idea. A ‘thank you’ is nice, but how about ‘That is so sweet of you to say that’ or ‘I really appreciate you noticing that’? If you’re bold you can even try an ‘You made my day!’.

I challenge you to use of those at least once a day for a week, then watch your perspective change 🙂


anamariapopa.com blog post art of receiving giving keys of life holiday season winter christmas presents gifts surprise image

31 Days Challenge, Day 25 – My Vienna

That I was in Vienna when I turned 18, you already know thanks to my Day 17 post. But what you don’t know is that my memory box also has stuff from there.

So, on our way to the Schonbrun Palace, me and my mum had a fight. I really can’t remember the subject of that, but I do remember it made me so mad that I started to ignore it. So, there we were waiting getting on the subway, when I saw an empty seat so I went to sit there. On the chair, there was an Airways chewing gum. I smiled and I thought – ‘Hey, this should be in my memory box’. I have no other comment on that, but it made me smile.


anamariapopa.com blog post ana maria popa memories 31 days challenge vienna travel le meridien hotel december featured image


I’m addicted to chewing gum, but I haven’t used a single pill from there!


On another note, I really liked the cards that the hotel had for every room. So much that I kept one. Mine had an eye. my mum’s had lips. I saw that there were others with legs, hands, noses, etc.


anamariapopa.com blog post ana maria popa memories 31 days challenge vienna travel le meridien hotel december 2008

anamariapopa.com blog post ana maria popa memories 31 days challenge vienna travel le meridien hotel december


I loved this hotel, even if the staff was gay. Yes, they had pretty boys wandering the halls of the hotel… Oh, and I also loved their breakfast buffet!!! Like really, they had everything and anything you can think of. And if they didn’t, they would made it especially for you! It was an incredible large room filled with food and most importantly, sweets!

Oh, I do need to go back there!… *feeling melancholic*

31 Days Challenge, Day 16 – I heart Burberry

burberry beautiful surprise present omg blog post anamariapopa.com ana maria popa wallet featured image


I do and I am not sorry. I think it’s the most classy, stylish brand ever. I only discovered it recently, like 6 years ago. And I loved their pattern, their logo, their commercials. I think ‘obsessed’ is the word…

But I was in highschool and I do not come from a rich family. So I had no chance in having a Burberry item of mine.

The year that I graduated from highschool and went to university was the year that I thought I deserved a Burberry thing, even if it was the smallest keyring. So I was in Zurich on vacation with my mother and her husband and I wanted to go into the Burberry shop. There, I honestly got lost in all the items they had. From a keyring I asked to see a wallet and my mother was encouraging me – ‘Let’s see that one, but what do you think about the other one, etc’. At some point, I brought my feet to Earth and started looking at the prices too, not just the items. It was far from what I had planned to spend, my well-earned money.

That was the moment that my mother took one of the wallets, the one that I liked best, and told the girl working there to wrap it as a present. Honestly, I was stunned, words can’t even describe the feeling… I started stutter and my face turned red, I couldn’t breathe and I almost started crying. My mum then hugged me and told me that I deserved it, because of the fact that I managed to graduate highschool on my own (she was out of the country for the last two years) and to get into university all by myself. I think that was one of the few moments she told me she was proud of me.

The girl working in the store asked if I was a only child and since I couldn’t talk, my mum told her that I was. The girl then smiled and said that it’s obvious. She made an art of wrapping my wallet as a present. I loved it. The next days I would unwrap it gently, not to get anything torn or damaged. I would just take the wallet out from the wrapping, look at it, touch it, smell it, and then I would put it back, just the way it was.

I still kept the wrapping, just the way it was back then, 4 years ago. Even the seal is intact.



burberry beautiful surprise present omg blog post anamariapopa.com ana maria popa wallet



I unwrapped it and used it in my first day of university. I felt proud! Oh, and P.S.: I still have it and love it!


Now, I know this may not seem like a big deal. There are people who receive this kind of present for getting a good grade only.

I can’t be a hypocrite and say it wasn’t about the Burberry wallet, of course it was. But most of all, this memory is about a great wish of mine that I couldn’t have made real at that point, all on my own, with my own money. And it was an even greater surprise given the fact that I didn’t know about it, it wasn’t planned, my mum just saw the spark in my eyes looking at the wallets, and the sadness that I couldn’t afford one.

I think this is the biggest surprise and the nicest present I ever received. This one or another – when my mum was having a business trip to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and she bought a plan ticket for me to join her. I can’t decide yet… Hmm.

31 Days Challenge, Day 14 – Angel

This is my angel. I received it as a present from a dear friend at Christmas time, a few years ago. About him – I wrote here. Regarding this memory, nothing else to add. It’s just somehting I love and I still feel it inside.



angel post blog anamariapopa.com ana maria popa white christmas blessed happiness smile image



Him, the guy who gave me this angel?  He was my highschool sweetheart and my deskmate for the last three years of that time.

During the first year I didn’t even talk to him, he was just this weird but funny guy, a buffoon. And then, one day I wanted someone to keep me company on my way home. And he was available. So we started talking and getting to know eachother. Not after long, I moved at the same desk as him. We were both kids and liked eachother, but really shy.

One day, there was this rainy day and we wanted to spend time with eachother, but none of us had money to go to a coffeehouse or somewhere out, so we started ‘traveling’ by bus. We would take the bus from one point to the end and act just like teenagers inlove do. But we wouldn’t kiss, because we were too nervous.

In the evening, he brought me home. The day was over and it was the conclusive moment. We would go like before as friends or we would kiss and be girlfriend and boyfriend… We stayed in front of my building, not knowing what to do… It was kind of like this:

‘Me: Okay, I guess this is it…

Him: Yeah, it seems like it…

Me: Okay then, goodnight – as I turned to go into the building.

Him: Ana… – he whispered softly.

Me: Yes? – I was answering hopeful.

Him: You know, when it started raining I gave you my headphones so they don’t get wet…

Me: Oh yeah.’

I felt really-really stupid and started looking for his headphones in my purse. That’s when he came closer to me and kissed me.

What followed was amazing, 4 years of love and memories and experiences and growing together… 🙂

31 Days Challenge, Day 7 – Obsession

Yes, I admit it, I was obsessed with Maroon 5. Even more, I had a big crush on Adam Levine.


maroon 5 post blog anamariapopa.com ada levine meme



All this until he became someone’s husband.

And I love London, did I mention that?

So, when my trip to London in January 2014 happened at the same time as the Maroon 5 concert in London, that was it. I would like to thank all the people who made this possible, like Maroon 5 for having the concert, Adam – my Couchsurfing host, Mark – my Couchsurfing friend who helped me get a ticket, easyJet for flying me there, my parents for getting me the plane ticket as a present for my bday and last but not least, to myself, who bought the ticket and planned all this, as a present for birthday, yes.

I got really lucky finding a ticket, since this concert was being held instead of the original one in July 2013 that was cancelled. So the tickets were the ones bought for July and the few ones that were still available in January had a price around 150£. Thanks to my friend Mark, who had an extra ticket, I was the lucky one to have it for 60£. Thank yoooouu, Mark!

About the concert, it was amazing, I loved it, but I got really annoyed with the steward at the O2 Arena who didn’t let me take videos. Pictures were okay, but no videos. Like, why?! It’s not like the whole arena was taking videos of the concert, she had to pick on me since I was the one staying at the beginning of the row. Still, I had one taken, you can view it here.

Robin Thicke was the one to open the concert for Maroon 5 and he was lovely. Not as lovely as Adam, of course, but I was moved by his live performance of Dreamworld.


maroon5 concert london uk concert anamariapopa.com blog post couchsurfing


P.S.: You can see a synopsis of my trip to London here.


31 Days Challenge, Day 5 – First Friend

She was beside me when I was little. I met her at the age of 1 and she kept me company everywhere I went. She was my first friend and I’m happy to find her again and again in my childhood pictures. Here we are at the seaside.


anamariapopa.com blog post memories childhood doll child ana maria popa featured image



She was real, just not human. I received her as a gift from the aunt that raised me and taught me how to draw tables for math.

Her name was ‘Cutie’ – translated from the Romanian ‘Drăgălașă’.

We even had a big fight and I threw her on the ground. That was the moment she got her name. My grandmother told me I hurt her and that she didn’t deserve that, because she was a cutie. So after that episode, we would be best friends. And she stayed with me until kindergarten, when I established other friendships, with people.


anamariapopa.com blog post memories childhood doll child ana maria popa


Still, she has a special place in my heart and my memories box.