Archives January 2014

Portable careers for accompanying partners, creating a new you

With increasing Global mobility and companies opening new markets it is very likely that international assignees bring along an accompanying partner (A.P.)

The journey of the accompanying partner is usually a parallel and different one of the assignee.

Starting with the fact that usually the A.P. has left a job and now has to redefine him or herself as well as going through the process of dueling the old being and embracing a new version of themselves that most likely differs from their expectations.

While the assignee can point directly to goals and accomplishments, the A.P. finds a blurred area where they feel the strain of moving, setting up, socializing and getting things done, but at the same time unable to materialize their accomplishments.

Usually the A.P. feels aimless, confused, lonely and in self-doubt unaware that moving globally is by itself a set of challenges and situations. Most of us think that random things are happening to us, but when understanding the process and effects of cultural shock we are able to understand the structure behind and take a step further to redefine our careers and lives as expats.

The Portable Careers workshops opens a door into living and enjoying the art of living and working globally, understanding that through all the moves and apparent chaos you have gain skills and resilience.

If you would like to know more about this, contact [email protected]

Ximena Reyes is the Partner and Director for Intercultural Consulting


Grief, the uninvited emotion

As expats we tend to understate grief. Maybe because there is so much to get done that you feel that there is no time for sadness, maybe because you need to show yourself strong in front of the children or your spouse, maybe because you have such a great opportunity (or better lifestyle) so who are you to complain, right? But grief doesn´t go away for lack of acknowledgement, instead it gets deeper inside ourselves.

When we consider expat life there is always loss: it might be a specific place you liked, or a job, or close friends, relationships, food, weather, language, even smells could be felt as losses.

When we hurt our body we don´t hide the wound, we don´t cover it and just continue with our lives. If we leave it unattended chances are it might become infected and we could end up with a much more painful experience. When we pretend everything is fine and we hide our pain, our grief, we are doing exactly the same thing.  We are encouraging an infection.

Grief is a normal emotional response to a loss and expat life is full of them. Unfortunately, among expat communities there is not much “permission” to talk about this. Unresolved grief is commonly found among expat communities. Sometimes it could be due to lack of awareness, maybe some hidden losses, or lack of permission to grieve, a lack of time to process, etc.

It is crucial that you allow yourself to go through the grieving process. This does not mean to be negative about your new life but to allow yourself to find out whatever you might be feeling about things left behind.

Acknowledgement means a lot more than it seems to. Recognition and validation of our feelings are crucial for resilience. Placing words on our emotions is important for the healing process to begin. Allow yourself to mourn your losses, accept the sadness, whatever your might be feeling, give yourself permission and embrace it. Grieving is tricky; all the unresolved grief comes back to you with each new loss.

So the holiday season becomes even more complex since we tend to look back, analyze how the year went, our gains and our losses and plan for the New Year. What could be better than a fresh start, right? But we need to cry for our losses to get one. There is no way to go through the experience “unmarked”.  Back to the wound example, with the appropriate treatment, we can prevent the infection. The scar will not disappear. That´s right, you will still have those marks but it doesn´t hurt anymore. Just as in our body, our expat life can shape us. It is an experience that might change us but we will not necessarily be traumatized by it. Acknowledge of losses and grief will allow us to live a more fulfilled and enriched experience.

Author: Paula Vexlir

Paula is a Psychologist that supports the Spanish-speaking expat community worldwide. For more than ten years she has been providing counseling to expats for their acculturation processes (cultural adjustment, parenting issues and trailing partner´s challenges) and for any other situation they could be facing. By offering an online service she can support Spanish-speaking expats worldwide.

If you would like to learn more about this, join one of our workshops Feel at Home by sending an email to [email protected]City Compass collaborates with Paula Vexlir, expat psychologist, Director of ExpatPsi.

This article is a Fragment of her article published in Expatriates Magazine Issue 3.

Contact: [email protected]

Ski courses for children

by Irina Chirileasa

So far the winter hasn’t been itself lately and many winter sports enthusiasts still wait for the snow to come. The artificial snow, however, is the only thing that keeps this winter season up and running, otherwise it would have been totally compromised.

But don’t hang your skis or boards just yet, because there is still hope for a classic snowy winter in Romania. And besides that the season brings some good news for children who love winter sports.

Trails with an easy difficulty level to initiate youngsters into the mysteries of ski or snowboard, can be found in almost all areas: Kalinderu (Prahova Valley), Bradul (Brasov), Transalpina ski area (Valcea) Sureanu ski area (Alba). In general, a ski pass for children is less expensive than adults (somewhere between 60 and 95 RON ).

If you like Prahova Valley, then you should know that in Busteni there is a Fun Park equipped with all kinds of facilities for children: baby ski, slide, and track transport.

In Azuga the season novelty is a conveyer belt for beginners, also a favorite for the children.

If you chose Transalpina ski area during this period, the snow is about 30 cm tick, and a pass for children up to 14 years costs 60 RON .

It is known to be quite expensive, but skiing is very good for children, stimulating growth and reducing the risk of obesity. In Poiana Brasov, for example, for a private hour with a ski instructor you will pay around RON 80, but there is also the possibility of a family pack which costs RON 250 for an hour.

In Prahova Valley (Busteni, Azuga), one hour for one person costs RON 80, and for a group of 2-3 persons the cost is RON 75 per hour.

At Vatra Dornei, a lesson for beginners costs RON 80 per hour and for a three-day course you will pay RON 450.

Let’s not forget the cheer pleasure of sledding, so wherever you choose to go to the mountains, do not forget to bring the sleds.


Following the footsteps of Mihai Eminescu in Bucharest

On January 15 Romania celebrates the commemoration of the national poet Mihai Eminescu. Controversial, mystified, remixed according to ages interests, blasphemed, wrapped in a mist of mystery and shameful disease, we remember him, however, organizing poetry recitals, book launches and exhibitions, conferences, lectures, film screenings and special courses for the study of poems.

There are few places in Bucharest where the poet worked, lived and loved. On Calea Victoriei corner with Lipscani we can still see the building that was once the Palace of Dacia Insurance Company and in 1877, the editorial office of ‘Timpul’ newspaper, where the poet worked between 1877 and 1883.

As for where he was going after the hours spent at the office, there was a time when on 5 Buzesti Street was a little nest where Eminescu and Veronicla Micle (his lover at that time and also a writer), used to live. Unfortunately, the house was demolished in 2010 due to some political interests.

Read more about the poet and other famous Romanian authors in our art special section.



Mastering the art of working and living globally

by Ximena Reyes

It is an exciting journey to live in a different place than your original home and see different ways of doing things, but although it may sound exiting for many, it may turn in to an extended negative state of mind for some.

So here are my 5 key ideas for you to include in your 2014 resolutions

1. Flexible, flexible , flexible

Even when you think you are flexible, let’s not forget you have left your known environment and, you may underestimate the level of flexibility required. You may perceive this as being compliant or not being strong, but remember that you are in a learning process, you are new to the scene, you need to be as malleable and easy going as possible in order to get enough balance and insights. In this way you will reduce friction and frustration.

2. Do not make conclusions, do not assume.

This one is one of the hardest, moving to a new place challenges everything you know, everything you consider, logic or common sense, suddenly IT IS NOT. But not because you are in a crazy place and living with lunatics. It is because they as a group have found a different way to approach a problem based on certain elements that you may not be aware of. So don’t jump into conclusions, wait and observe in order to understand better.

3. Give your self space to complain.

It is ok to be in the unhappy zone. It is normal to wake up and want to stay in bed. Your brain has been working a lot making sense of things and you have to gain your status and recognition again. So allow yourself to get some perspective and energy BUT do not stay long there.

4. Reduce the pressure.

Make sure you have an activity or a way to release the pressure and avoid  exploding when the pressure has piled up. You are put to the test to perform and function upon arrival, the avalanche of things happening is overwhelming, so give yourself a nice treat, you deserve it.

5. Learn more about making it the easy way. 

Join one of our workshops and speed up the process of understanding and reducing the cultural shock, understand better the place where you are and use it as a tool for your day to day activities.

For more information get in touch with [email protected], Partner & Intercultural Director



Top 5 movies worth seeing in 2014

2014 promises to be a rich year in terms of movies. Many productions with strong titles announced huge budgets and great actors. So to help, here is a list of 5 movies we are most looking forward to see this year:

Grudge Match

Who ever thought Sylvester Stallone will not play in another boxing film than Rocky was wrong. Grudge Match will be released this Friday in theaters and consists of Sylvester Stallone , Robert De Niro and Kim Basinger . The movie announces a spectacular confrontation between two retired boxers.

I, Frankenstein

The movie directed by Stuart Beattie will appear in theaters on January 24 and is expected to be an action movie that sees a battle between two races of supernatural beings.

The Legend of Hercules

The film will be launched in Romania on January 31 and presents the original story of the Greek mythical hero Hercules. Exiled and sold as a slave, Hercules tries to use his formidable powers in order to escape and return to his own kingdom.


A movie with a budget of 110 million can’t possibly fail. The story of the half human-half robot cop returns to our attention, arriving in theaters on February 7.

Need for Speed

Need for Speed game fans should mark their calendar on March 14, when Need for Speed launches the movie, which seems to be very promising. The lead actor is Aaron Paul, known for his role in the ‘Breaking Bad’ TV series. Chilli M and Dominic Cooper will also make their appearance in the movie.



Bucovina: a tale of apples and pastries

by Alexandra Duță

Also known as the land of beech trees where tall, blonde, blue-eyed and kind-hearted people live, Bucovina is the place where the earth keeps warm even in winter time and the dishes are refined to everyone’s liking.

The historical region of Bucovina, now divided between Ukraine and Romania, covers the northern part of the latter and represents the most fruitful Romanian land in terms of history, linguistics, traditions and religious ancestry.


There are six of them, one more spectacular than the other, from north to south: Putna, Sucevița, Arbore, Moldovița, Humor and the crown jewel, Voroneț. Called by some the Sistine Chapel of the East, the latter displays vivid frescoes painted in the perfect cerulean blue. Go round the main church and you’ll be rather surprised to discover the northern wall has its unique paintings almost wiped out due to the north wind.

Red, green, yellow and blue, each monastery has its own historical charm as the monastic residents share old time legends sweetened with their soft regional accent. Do not leave the monastery without enjoying every bit of a finger-licking lunch. Our tip is to ask for rose and raspberry sherbet as a dessert, you’ll be amazed. Then test your bargaining skills at the nearby permanent fairs for the most whimsical woven peasant blouses and other artisan objects.

The best way to visit all-important monasteries with a single tour is to hire a car transfer; check for availability with local guesthouses in Gura Humorului. We highly recommend guided bicycle tours and leisure walks to Humor and Voroneț monasteries as they’re located within reach of Gura Humorului city center.


The locals from Bucovina are most proud of their ancient craftsmanship: the art of decorating eggs. The egg is carved, dyed or painted and, even though every technique is spectacular, perhaps the most exceptional is the ornamentation of the egg with six layers of colored wax which creates a unique texture. A visit to the largest egg collection in our country would be well worth it for a chance to assist the artist herself while she decorates the eggs with archaic symbols belonging only to land of Bucovina.

The Egg Museum – prof. Letiția Orșivschi

+40745 869 529 +40230 239 212

[email protected]


The northern village of Marginea shelters more than 30 potter families, distinguished bearers of the unequaled tradition of crafting nacreous black ceramics. They are proud to share each stage of the manual production as visitors are welcome to join the process of preparing the clay, molding it barehanded on the potter wheel, applying stone polish and finally burning the pots in sealed ovens.

As the renowned Sucevița stud farm is close at hand you shouldn’t miss the chance to take a recreational ride or enjoy an equestrian show. Magopat Family Workshop

+40 745 922 949

Forest Ecvestru Park

622a Sucevița village +40 744 628 154


Covering the Eastern Carpathians, the thick forests of Bucovina, a wildlife haven indeed, are pure bliss for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, bird watching and of course, mushroom and berry picking. The local star is the fleshy porcino along with the chanterelle, both enriching the taste of the zesty baked appetizers and pickles. The enthusiasm for this mushroom rises every autumn when locals from Vama celebrate the Porcino Festival (between September 1 and October 15).


Bucovineans are truly passionate about food. Their cooking tradition has been influenced in the past centuries not only by the local ethnic minorities but also by the Orthodox heritage. Vegetable sour soups and hot peppers (borș cu ardei iute), nests of meat stuffed cabbage rolls and polenta (sarmale cu mămăligă) and tinted trout (păstrăv la baiț), all topped with organic sour cream. The local housewives’ cooking techniques can only be matched by monastery kitchens where exquisite fasting or vegetarian meals are prepared. These are entirely homemade, including the bread. Nonetheless, the masterpiece of cuisine is by far the freshly puffy and delightful poale-n brâu, a cottage cheese and raisin filled pie.

Every dish is thoroughly matched with the finest Moldavian wines, from the rich flavored farmer harvest to the award-winning boutique wines.


At the heart of Bucovina, this charming little town knows no dull moment regardless of the season. The Ariniș recreational area includes an Olympic-size swimming pool, heated during winter, floodlit sport courts and an ice rink. In wintertime, bare limbed apple orchards with their ripe fruits still hanging are the most inviting places to enjoy a glass or two of fresh apple juice and perhaps a soothing massage after a ride down Șoimul ski slope located in the immediate vicinity of the town. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the close-by Cacica salt mine for a look around and a bath in the salt-water pool.


Hilde’s Residence Boutique Hotel

2 Șipotului St., Gura Humorului

+40 230 233 484

This would be the most chic with a hint of traditional guesthouse. Raluca, a thoroughly Bucovinean host, will welcome you with the finest of borș from Rădăuți – a free range chicken soup seasoned with fresh sour cream – and other local treats as the freshly squeezed apple juice.

Casa Călin Guesthouse

1 Horia St., Vama

+40 230 239 225

Widely famous for their lively traditional picnics, at Casa Călin each day is an epic journey across the local cuisine, beautifully finished with a unique demonstration of the reverse painting on glass technique. Naturally, this would be accompanied by a glass of fizzy fir tip syrup.

Inima Bucovinei Guesthouse

833 Frasin +40 230 340 067

With the largest playground in the region, Inima Bucovinei is entitled to be considered the children’s heaven no matter the season. Meanwhile, the adults are invited to catch dinner from the nearby trout pond, everybody enjoying later on the sizzling fried fish and steamy polenta in a rustic ambiance at the sheepfold lodge.

Bucovina Lodge

17A Dimitrie Cantemir St., Vama

+40 330 080 382

At the edge of the thick spruce-fir forest, there are few things to match the peace of mind at the sight of the mellow sun setting behind the hills surrounding the sleepy village of Vama. The smoke curls twist and twine above the tiny rooftops while a few tired children drag along their sleds. Inside the lodge a savory smell of home cooking tingles your taste buds.



67 Unirii Square, Rădăuți

+40 230 565 551

[email protected]

This place is highly appraised for its traditional Bucovinean dishes, authentic setting and excellent pricing. Make sure you take a walk or a cab to the restaurant, as it doesn’t have any parking space.

Orso Bruno

1 Putnei St., Rădăuți

+40 742 188 538

Cozily located at the heart of Rădăuți, this is the best Italian restaurant serving the most sought after pizza in the county.


9 Curtea Domnească St., Suceava

+40 230 523 627


68 Sofia Vicoveanca Blvd., Suceava

+40 230 220 099

Feel at Home Romania in 4 steps

by Ximena Reyes, Partner & Intercultural Manager

Feeling at Home happens when you feel comfortable, when you have the tools to lead your team at work, when you have insightful information about how and why things work on a certain way. When you understand yourself better, in order to connect with the new place.

1. Setting up Romania

This is the first step to have a solid platform and start the process of Feeling at home. The avalanche of events happening when you are new in town can be overwhelming; your mind is on constant attention trying to understand all the new habits, language and more.

Wherever you are working internationally, you should speed up the adapting process by learning about the place. You will be surprised by how many things that you find incoherent or nonsense actually have an explanation, and a reason to be.

Most importantly you will withhold yourself, from making conclusions or assumptions.

City Compass Setting up workshop includes:

– Intro to Romanian mind set, history and key themes

– Practical up to date info for daily living in Bucharest and Key places in Romania

– Professional trainers with real global experience.

For more info contact: [email protected]


New ice skating rink in Sinaia, Romania

A new 600 sqm skating rink was opened at the end of 2013 in Romania’s mountain resort Sinaia, in Prahova Valley.

Located in the city’s Dimitrie Ghica park, the Arctic Park Sinaia skating rink will stay open daily between 9:00 and 23:00 until March 2, 2014, and is equipped with lighting and sound systems.

An entry ticket can be purchased for RON 15, while renting a pair of skates costs RON 15 for 90 minutes. Sinaia city residents have free access to the rink from Monday to Thursday, between 17:30 and 19:00.

Restaurant review: Vecchio

The Old Town is full of good restaurants for all tastes so choosing is not always easy.

But as someone has recommended us the Vecchio restaurant, we went for it.

I had passed by it many times without really knowing its name. I vaguely remembered that the building the restaurant is located in, at 16 Covaci street, has some historic importance.

The adjoining building at number 14 used to host the headquarters of the newspaper Timpul, where Romania’s national poet Mihai Eminescu used to write, along with a host of other famous Romanian writers.

The restaurant itself is located in a building, which used to host the Cafeneaua Istorica coffee shop – apparently the coffee place where the elite who wrote for the nearby Timpul liked to pass time and find inspiration. We’re talking history here, 18th and 19th century, and art. So if you fancy the idea of spending time in a place that Romania’s national poet Eminescu used to visit quite frequently in 1880 and 1881, this is it.


But don’t go just for the history, I did not, I learned the history part while being there, and a bit after. I went for the food, and I was not disappointed. But above all, I was impressed by the service. It is not very often that I see waiters who just know when to pass by your table, always filling your glass of wine, gently suggesting solutions (such as four teaspoons for the desert which was initially meant for two people, while the other two were probably leering at the cake). So in Romania, where in most restaurants you have to almost beg silently for your waiter to do you a favour and approach your table, being at Vecchio where people were attentive (as the norm should be everywhere!) required some getting used to in the beginning.

Now the food. I started with the broccoli soup, and I also tasted the Tuscan tomato soup, both of which were delicious. A good start. On our table there were also bruschetta with anchovis, but as I currently refrain from eating anything wheat-based, I had to pass. It looked tasty however.

Then for main course, two of us had the salmon in flavored herb crust, one with potatoes, the other with carrots, and they were both tasty, and nicely presented. (I should know, I have been watching Master Chef, I now judge plating!) Somebody else in our group got the risotto with seafood, I liked it but they said that while they also liked it, they’ve had better elsewhere.

The prices are on the average to high side, I have seen much higher prices elsewhere for worse food. For four people, with soup/appetizers, main course, one shared desert and wine, the bill went to around RON 380 (or EUR 86). To check the menu (also with English translation), go here.

Vecchio is an Italian restaurant – they have pastas and pizzas, but that will have to be for another time there, when I decide to indulge in some wheat-based food. I think a restaurant should anyway be judged based on at least two visits, so bear in mind, this was my first.

While enjoying our food and our wine, I realized there was something in this place that made me feel good. Was it the interior décor? Was it he fact that I saw a nice, round Italian oven which I hope to one day have in my large kitchen too? Was it the company, or the waiters’ almost undivided attention? Either way, it was enough to get me hooked and promise myself I’d return to see what else it has to offer.

Vecchio, 16 Covaci st, Old Town, Bucharest, +40314309578,

by Corina Chirileasa, [email protected]