Monday, December 04, 2017

One Word for One Year


I was ecstatic to get a job with the world's leading weather forecasting center. I was going to work for an international company with the best in my field, I was going to live just outside of London, I was offered a very generous wage, I had just started online dating a European man. Everything was lining up nicely. It was the Fall of 2008. And then within a week of setting foot in the UK, the reality proved to be different, in an unpleasant way. I lived through 2009 trying to be strong, to make it, to adjust my attitude. But I ended up depressed, drinking lots, and getting away from the UK whenever possible.

I changed jobs again and I was going to start 2010 with a new job in the Netherlands. With disappointment and bitterness still lingering around, I could not build my hopes up. So I decided to focus on one thing, and one thing only - let life happen and just observe. Yes, I committed my 2010 year to just observing with the curiosity and open-mindedness of a child.  Observe was my word of the year.

This is how it started for me - a simple tradition that takes away the pressure of New Year's resolutions and gives me focus, by choosing One Word and inviting it in my life for One Year. And year by year I cultivate valuable and lasting skills - I learned to observe without emotional attachment, to accept without judgment, to embrace without fear.

Would you like to try this? Would you like to know my One Word for 2018?





Sunday, April 23, 2017

One Scientist Marching for Science



I never thought I would be a Scientist one day. May be a high school math teacher as my parents would have liked, or an engineer - as I decided as an alternative to a musician (my first career choice, curbed by my parents). But when faced with the prospect of another year working as a seamstress or switching  to a refrigerator store manager, I started to warm up to the idea of pursuing a PhD. It was my Master's degree advisor's idea and my mom enthusiastically encouraged me. Four years later I was a Philosophy Doctor in Environmental Sciences and a budding expert in Remote Sensing of Clouds and Satellite Winds.

Science is a cruel mistress, and I can attest to it. Throughout my career I have been plenty enthusiastic and motivated, but also frustrated and bitter to the point of quitting. I have worked with some great people, scientists with integrity, passion and expertise, but have also dealt with ego, politics and unfairness. Somehow the curiosity and care for nature, the admiration for technological progress and the frontier nature of science, together with the conviction that I can do it (even if not the most industrious of scientists) have taken me through 17 years of Atmospheric Science.

I signed up for the March for Science 2017 about a month ago. Reading all the posts on the Facebook page - the personal stories of why scientists became scientists, kids' first steps in scientific activities, gratitude for science saving lives, and looking at the variety of signs in the Chicago march I grew a new appreciating for science - one that we are many and we are strong, that we can make a difference in this world in the face of political and economical challenges. Following the wave of marching friends scientists around the world strengthened my believe that we are strong together and we can safe this planet Earth!



    Melbourne, Australia (Paul G.)


    Paris, France (Christelle C.)


    Portland, Maine (Jaime O.)


    New Haven, CT (Ash H.)


    Los Angeles, CA (Jenna K.)

 



Chicago, IL

   PS. I dedicate this post to my parents and a few scientists I have worked with that have guided me in the world of science and made me the scientist I am today - Vitchko Tsanev, Erwin Ferdinandov, Roger Davies, Chuck Long, Tom Ackerman, Lary DiGirolamo, Paul Menzel, Chris Velden, Peter Bauer, Peter Rayner, Peter Steinle.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

A tea cup full of love









Wind brought the seeds from somewhere. Rain grounded them. Sun caressed them all Summer long and a field of herb flowers grew in the mountain valley.
Bees traveled every day, made love to the herb flowers, leaving pollen behind – saving the herb’s life, taking away nectar, returning loyally to the Queen bee and the hive. Honey was made out of that love.
I put a spoon full of golden honey in a cup of freshly brewed mountain tea, and as I close my eyes and take a sip, I inhale the scent of beautiful herb flowers and hear the bees buzz. My cup is full of love.

August 24, 2016

Life’s demands


Yesterday Life wanted me to be strong – for the friend who confided in me she is considering a divorce, for another friend who finally lost it at work and quit her job, and for the one who needed no preamble to tell me  “My Dad passed away”. I was strong and there for each one of them.  As ‘there’ as one can be thousand miles away. I sincerely wished the world was smaller so I could offer every one of them a real hug.

Today I didn’t have to be strong. The aftertaste of yesterday made me feel vulnerable. It was my turn to call a friend and say “I miss you. A hug would be nice right now.”  

Jan.28, 2016

No Exit















It’s a beautiful summer morning and it’s Friday. Having just read ‘An Actually Useful Guide to Madison, Wisconsin’ I set on an ambitious journey of trying every single place it recommends for food, drinks and entertainment.
The article is written by Elissa Goldberg for BonApettit.com, but the low down of what to do in Madtown is given by Trevor Gruehn – the director of Bradbury’s Coffee.
Bradbury’s Coffee is claimed as one of the best three in town, so why not start my exploration there. It is located in a quaint corner space with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and it offers a pleasant view of The Children Museum and the busy crossing of Hamilton and Dayton streets. The cafe itself has an industrial feel with its bare concrete walls and high ceiling, with dark wooden tables and asymmetric tables layout. So far so good!
The barista I order my cappuccino from seems a tad melancholic (may be only in comparison to my super high energy level this morning), so I pretend not to hear what he says – he has to repeat his words to me and this tiny effort brings him in the moment, makes him conscious. This trick always works!
I sit on the one end of a long to-share table, a family with two toddlers in the other end. On my other side, two young professionals are conversing. As I sit down and exhale I realize this won’t be a lovely, quiet coffee time. ‘…there isn’t enough chocolate on it. I can’t taste the chocolate from too much banana’ – the blond 4 y.o. complains. “…this crepe is too thick” – he goes on whining. ‘…I’ve been working so hard on this article and I’m so glad it’s finally been published…My students are keeping me so busy all summer long…’ – the young man on my right switches between bragging and bitching with the same annoying high pitch voice, and loud, so unnecessarily loud.
And then I notice the guy in front of me, he is reading a book. Actually, it’s his book that catches my eye (ok, the guy is handsome too!) – ‘No exit’ by Jean-Paul Sartre. I’m in love with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre’s love story.
The irony of the situation however is that ‘No exit’ contains the famous Sartre’s quote ‘Hell is other people’. Is it really? And when we find ourselves in hell, do we want to have an exit, or no exit is just fine? Is human hell good for us, will it build character?
My cappuccino arrives, Trevor himself brings it to the table – he appears friendly and very professional. I take a sip – Bradbury’s Coffee is truly as good as they say, as the rest is now just white noise…and No Exit is needed for now.