Expat Fair 2 Bucharest 2016, April 16, Willbrook Business & Convention Center

Expat in Romania? Have no worries! You are not alone! We invite you to the most important event designed especially for you, the Expat Fair. Here you can connect with your new city, learn about the expat lifestyle, add value to your new experience and expand your personal and professional network.

JOIN US on the 16th of April 2016 at the second edition of the  Expat Fair in Romania. The one and only event that will offer you all that you need from the expat community to start up your new life in Romania.

The Expat Fair is the ideal event for the expats who want to have a smooth transition into a new country. It answers an increasing need for a fast and unimpeded integration and creates meet-and-greet opportunities for the expat community.

Still in doubt? Take a look at the first edition, and see how it was, through the “window” we open here for you.

The fair will be hosted by Willbrook Platinum Business & Convention Center – a venue embraced by the Baneasa woods, an elegant project in which environmental considerations contribute to a fundamentally superior building: more comfortable, more efficient and more appealing.

We are welcoming all internationals who live, work and study in Bucharest, both newly arrived expats and long-standing residents, individuals, and families alike.

Enrich your knowledge about the Romanian culture, have a look at the stands of different service providers and their special fair offers, get informed, join the customized workshops, meet new people at the casual networking session and discover what Bucharest and Romania have to offer!

See below the workshops confirmed so far:

Culture & children’s play – the importance of an international environment and how this affects play;
You better jump –  From expat to being a part of the community;
How to become a hero as an expatriate – by making yourself replaceable;
Living and working in Bucharest as a foreigner in 2016 – is it cool or overestimated? a panel discussion with insiders on expat experiences in Romania.

You can do all of the above under the guidance of our confirmed partners so far, such as: King’s Oak –  British International School, ICUnet.AG, Hotel Cismigiu, Gosselin Mobility Romania, Grecu & Asociatii, JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, DSBU – Deutsche Schule Bukarest, Questfield, AISB American International School of Bucharest, AmCham- American Chamber of Commerce Romania, Santa Fe Relocations, AGS Movers Bucharest, Rilvan Moving & Relocations, My Romanian Store, Nordis Expat Properties,Terra Carpatica, Ramada Hotel & Suites Bucharest North, BWFR Business Women Forum Romania, City Compass Media/Romania-Insider.com, AlphaCab, Club Snagov, PQB Communication Designers, Eventbook, Eventlink360, Ametras, Roedl&Partner, Smybox, Consuela Dezso, Alexandra Pasca Photography, Kathrin Weident Photography, Willbrook Platinum, Flavours Food Design and more.

The Expat Fair is organized by the City Compass Group – a ‘feel at home in Romania’ service provider for over eight years, with top quality English-language media – online & print, customized city tours and team building services and intercultural consulting.

The event is warmly supported and endorsed by several embassies, expat communities and corporations that gather a large number of expats.

Don’t wait for too long, take action today and join us!

Sighișoara, at the medieval core of Romania

Sighișoara citadel is one of the places one should not miss while in Central Romania. It doesn’t even have to be during the highly popular Medieval Festival that happens every year in July.

Read More

The Case for Happy Expat Couples – on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year

The starting point is very simple: Many expats have partners and naturally they want to relocate together with them. Now three questions come up: What do you do as an expat’s partner? How can you find a new happy balance as a couple at your new destination? And should the company take care of their expats’ partners, and if yes – how?

Expatriates’ partners do not want anymore to just follow and sacrifice their own agendas. These are good news. The vast majority wants to see new opportunities for themselves.

The Everyday Side: Options for Integration

When both partners want to follow their professional ambitions as Dual Career Couples (DCCs), in many cases this works well, especially within the EU. Learning and Development are also frequent choices. Many spouses decide to register for courses of any kind – mastering the local language, or doing their MBA. (Anything is possible: In Shanghai, some spouses become ‘certified luxury shopping consultants’.)

If a couple has children, some decide to focus on spending time with them, or take an international assignment as a convenient time to enlarge the family with new offspring. Charity activities are one more popular option. And in order to find new friends, the good news is: a wide range of formal and informal social platforms has emerged in all major expatriate destinations, of course including Bucharest.

The clear recommendation for employers says: Invite and include partners at an early stage of nomination and preparation of an assignment.

The Emotional Side: Finding a new balance

However, all these smooth solutions do not always come by themselves. Risks include frustration, boredom, loneliness, missing the career and the friends back home, feeling lost, and the challenge of cultural adaption in everyday life.

In order to reduce the risk of frustration and unexpected surprises, it is vital to exchange expectations in advance: How and when will we spend time together as a couple? For example: If commuting requires that on an average day the partner leaves at 7 and comes back after 8pm, this is something the partner should know in advance and learn not only when the assignment has started already. Or – even heavier: In some real cases, spouses learn only late that their assignment is planned for 3 years (as the company thinks) and not only for 1 year (as they thought).

Considering business dinners for introductions with stakeholders, kick-off meetings, and troubleshooting: attention and time for partner may suffer. Especially at the beginning of an assignment, there will be a painful gap between the available leisure time which the expat has, versus the leisure time his or her partner has. After two or three years, this situation may well be reversed – with well integrated partners, and expats having more time available than at the busy beginning.

In retrospective, many couples say that their assignment has become an especially intensive time of their relationship and that the special life situation – even including the hardships – brought them emotionally closer together.

The Business Side: How do companies address this?

Obviously, these challenges are not just ‘a private issue’. When couples are out of balance, the expat’s performance will of course suffer. Indeed, there is one main – and frequently underestimated – risk for failure of assignments, in terms of quitting early: emotional challenges in the private couple situation. Smart companies consider not only the single cases of failed assignments but also the strategic impact: Only if the overall situation was perceived positive, the expat will recommend an international assignment to his talented colleagues back home. If not, the company may have a hard time finding future expatriates.

So how do companies care for their expatriates’ partners? Some provide just financial packages, and call them for example “compensation for partners’ career interruptions”. However, more and more have decided to provide “Spouse Assistance Programs”. In the US, this has been the standard for many decades already, in Europe in the meantime the majority of companies do this as well.

These programs include three kinds of support: Practical-technical (relocation and immigration); professional (career opportunities); social (integration opportunities). In all these three areas, you find premium solutions at City Compass Intercultural Consulting, your local expert for couples who relocate to Bucharest – and count themselves lucky.

Further Reading:

Andreason, Aaron (2008): Expatriate adjustment of spouses and expatriate managers: An integrative research review. In: International Journal of Management. 25(2), S. 382-95.

Brown, Robert J. (2008): Dominant stressors on expatriate couples during international assignments. In: International Journal of Human Resource Management. 19(6), S. 1018-34.

Cole, Nina D. (2011): Managing global talent: solving the spousal adjustment problem. In: The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 22(7), S. 1504-1530.

McNulty, Yvonne (2012): Being dumped in to sink or swim: an empirical study of organizational support for the trailing spouse. In: Human Resource Development International. 15(4), S. 417-434.

Rosenbusch, Katherine / Csehb, Maria (2011): The cross-cultural adjustment process of expatriate families in a multinational organization: a family system theory perspective. In: Human Resource Development International. 15(1), S. 61-77.

 

A weekend with snow at Straja resort

Winter sports lovers in search for new places to ski and snowboard, can choose to spend a weekend in Straja resort in Romania. Located in Hunedoara county, in the Valcan mountains, Straja has the biggest ski slopes in Romania.

The 9 km of slopes are evenly divided for skiers and snowboarders of every skill level, whether beginner, advanced or expert, everyone has a few runs in there. The longest ski run, the Telescaun is nearly 3 km and takes you all the way back into the valley if the snow conditions are friendly. The most challenging slope for experienced skiers is the Canal ski slope, a with 1.5 kilometers length. Other easy ski slopes in Straja are Platoul Soarelui (400 m), Sf. Gheorghe (700 m) and Constantinescu (1.7 km).

Above Lupeni city, Straja Ski Resort has fan-shaped runs, regular grooming and a tourist complex that offers numerous accommodation options including over 200 ski chalets, hotels, hostels and private villas. Visitors can also enjoy the 350-year-old history of the local coal-mining town, Lupeni. The nearest airport to Straja is Sibiu International Airport (SBZ).

You can reach the resort from Petrosani or Targu Jiu, which are about 230 km from Bucharest, going towards Romania’s west.

Intercultural Consulting new partnerships and services

We offer in integrated training concept combining Romania-specific intercultural business and cultural insights with an emphasis on facilitating the interactions and operations of your employees.

We are proudly announcing our partnership with ICUnet.AG, European leader in cross-cultural management.

 

Benefits

>  Matching of international working styles

> Clear mutual expectations

> High-performing teams

 

Our 7 promises

–> We tailor our trainings

–> We know Romania

–> We generate solutions

–> We facilitate operations

–> We understand cultural differences in business

–> We understand your business needs

–>You benefit from our experience with over 400 projects for over 50 customers in Romania

 

The 6 most requested approaches, solving the 6 most frequent business needs

 

„Working successfully in a multinational corporation“

­Your request: Onboarding of junior talents at your multi-national corporation

Solution: Your employees meet specific expectations of international customers and colleagues even better

Content: Develop excellence at pro-active communication, sense of responsibility, customer-orientation, and out-of-the-box thinking.

Business Target: Increase customer satisfaction, reduce conflicts and escalations.

 

„Excellent performance at international meetings“

Your request: Confident and successful presentations of your employees at international web-conferences and meetings.

Solution: Provide strong presentation skills for your team members

Content: Clear understanding about international audience expectations, and ways how to meet and exceed them.

Business Target: Increase the standing and the visibility of your Romanian site within your corporation.

 

„Leading Romanian Teams successfully“

Your request: Romania-specific leadership skills (for expatriates).

Solution: How to lead and inspire Romanian teams successfully.

Training target: Develop cross-cultural leadership skills.

Business target: Create high-performing local teams.

 

„Cross-Cultural Facilitation for M&A“

Your request: Smooth international M&A integration.

Solution: Benefit from diversity as a strategic resource.

Content: Develop smart solutions for cross-cultural challenges.

Business Target: Reach a fast break-even.

 

„Successful Change Management“

Your request: Move your international organization from A to B.

Solution: Benefit from shining examples and don‘t repeat the epic fails of others.

Content: Win all involved people in favor of their new roles, tasks, responsabilities.

Business Target: Implement your new structure better, faster, smoother.

 

OUR TRAINERS

 

Thilo_Beyer_photo

THILO BEYER, from Stuttgart is a passionate ‚business culture ambassador between Romania in Germany in both directions and both languages. He represents our first-rate cooperation partner ICUnet,AG. After graduating from Berlin and Iasi universities, he has supported more than 25 Western companies in Romania since 2006 – IT, BPO, automotive, retail, life science, finance, construction, FMCG etc. Together with his team of multi-lingual business culture experts from a wide range of backgrounds, he takes care for well-designed solutions with a clear international focus.

 

Oana PascuOANA PASCU, Business Development Manager, Intercultural Trainer & Local Expert Transylvania

Graduated Business Administration in Tourism and is currently the Business Development Manager at City Compass being actively involved in the business environment in Bucharest. With more than 7 years of experience as a trainer she delivered sessions on Communication, Leadership and Intercultural Preparation. Oana has been an expat and a repat herself after having lived, studied or worked in Romania, Hungary Portugal and Switzerland. Originally from Brasov, Oana delivers in English and Romanian.

 

Ximena Reyes - new photoXIMENA REYES, Senior Intercultural Consultant, Intercultural Trainer

Intercultural Trainer, and Senior Intercultural Consultant, has a solid international experience. Delivers intercultural trainings for global leadership and is an active member of expat groups and associations. She is the ambassador for Internations Romania. Has lived in Russia, Germany, Sweden, Romania, Chile, and Ecuador. Ximena delivers in English and Spanish.

 

Volker MoserVOLKER MOSER, Co-founder and Partner, Intercultural trainer

Volker is a Partner and Co-Founder of City Compass Group and runs its media business services. He also works as a City Compass Intercultural Consultant and is specialized in trainings, workshops and consulting services, targeted to the needs of international executives and their families coming to Romania. Delivers in German, English and Romanian.

 

Cristian PaulsCHRISTIAN PAULS, Co-Founder and Partner, Intercultural Trainer

Christian is a Co-Founder and partner of City Compass Group and currently lives in Vienna. After his studies in Germany he worked in different management consulting and training functions for 9 years, 4 of them in Romania. Christian brings a vast experience of international work assignments, besides Romania he also worked in Turkey, Russia,Ukraine and Iran as a management consultant for manufacturing companies. His training experience covers intercultural trainings, team development and lean management workshops. Christian delivers in German, Romanian, English and French.

Bogdan Popa 2015

 

BOGDAN POPA, Cultural Historical Expert

Born, raised, educated, and currently living in Bucharest. Holds a PhD in History from the University of Bucharest and, as his title describes best, he is a cultural and historical consultant for City Compass. Been featured in several international TV-documentaries about Romanian history and delivers tours in English, German and Romanian.

Please contact us at [email protected] for more details or a personalized offer.

 

Cross-cultural immersion – brain is like a cultural sponge, the organ of culture

By MIhaela Iordache, guest writer

Inteligence is not fixed, so it is the obvious conclusion that you can change age as you learn for example. Knowing how you learn gives huge insight and implications for people of any age. The brain is flexible, we call this trait ‘brain plasticity’.

Cultural IQ for Global Leadership 

In today’s business world it is critical to understand the way how the business function relates to cultural and social influences. The way to develop this competence is quite provocative at least.

Leaders are expected to be able to adapt to change rapidly and handle the complexity of interpersonal relationships in order to minimize the ambiguity of cultural differences in values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.  We now talk in terms of Global leadership, about CQ, or cultural intelligence also known as intercultural competence.

We talk about intelligence of course we talk about brain.  We are happy to see a growing research and recognition of brain’s plasticity and of the coevolution of culture and the brain makes it clear that cultural and neural processes are interrelated.  The neuroscience of culture is here to make clear that the brain is wires to enable social behaviors and to adapt to new social models and patterns.  The brain wiring or rewiring is a result of the coevolution of culture and brain. How? Well if a cultural practice must adapt to your neural constrains, and then also the brain adapts to the specific cultural practice. It’s a party in your brain as other circuits are wired as a result of learning – adapting is learning- and particularly implicitly learning. The brain is like a cultural sponge, the organ of culture.

So what does this mean? Is the brain made of plastic?

Well no. The plasticity or neuroplasticity is the process that reorganizes the neural pathways in the brain. For example, this happens when you learn new things or memorize new information.  Neuroplasticity means new neural connections and the ability of the brain to change itself.  Your brain is like the command center that mediates your everyday experience.  It changes throw experience, learning and behaviors. So everything you do repeatedly and continuously over time, commonly known as habits (of behavior or thinking), are built in your brain as a neural path.

Culture modifies the brain

“Neuroplasticity research has shown us that every sustained activity ever mapped – including physical activities, sensory activities, learning, thinking, and imagining – changes the brain as well as the mind.” (Norman Doidge in “The Culturally Modified Brain” in The Brain That Changes Itself)

For example, if a child is transferred from a city to another city, and then to another continent and another city between birth and age 8, he developed his emotional intelligence and communication skills. Young children are exposed to new connections more than adults.

Being multicultural literate is also a great advantage of raising children in different cultural environments, I believe more opportunities are offered both on personal and professional levels.

Neuroplasticity and Cultural Tasks

Patterns of brain activity change when the person actively engages in certain psychological tasks on a regular, repeated basis. For example, Tibetan monks who are highly skilled in a meditation practice involving “unconditional compassion” show a strikingly greater volume of a high-frequency brain wave. Similarly, driving a taxicab in a complex, European city like London without any modern navigation devices year after year increases the volume of the posterior part of the hippocampi (the area in the brain that plays a crucial role in spatial navigation). This is remarkable because hippocampi are known to “shrink” as one gets older. Culture plays a critical role in all of these tasks.

It provides insights into the complexity of the brain and helps us to understand why so many questions and problems related to our brain remain unresolved.

However, relating what we know about neuroplasticity to metacognition, and understanding what is required to build and maintain brain fitness enables us to apply that knowledge to our everyday lives and personal goals. The rewards are life-changing.

CQ for everyday life

Cultural intelligence goes further. CQ is described by the ability to function skillfully in a different cultural context.

A person that is able to empathize and work well with others from different cultures, acknowledging different values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors in order to anticipate, act and react in proper ways, is a culturally intelligent person. CQ has three critical elements in order to build effective intercultural interaction: cognitive, motivational and behavioral. It is more that adapting to different cultural norms and values (motivation), more than adapting to an unfamiliar environment (interest and curiosity),  in order to respond to ambiguity and engage effectively and appropriately in intercultural interactions.

CQ motivation is a person’s interest in engagement with people and the culture itself – the CQ motivated person enjoys learning and applying what she has learned with interest and confidence, gets comfortable with ambiguity that comes when crossing cultures. CQ behavior is the person’s ability to engage with others through language and nonverbal behavior that is developed through trial and error.

The process of cultural intelligence is important as it focuses on the experiential aspect of what one learns and re-learns after reflecting on the experience.

 

How to best support expats at work

International companies having operations around the world are investing a great amount of resources into shaping their teams and getting the right talent.

So how to speed up the process of adaptation and facilitate things for the newcomers?

Information empowers, one of the main thing expats mention as a hindrance is “not knowing” this goes to practical things but also to more elaborate elements, and this is why I always recommend expats to stay up to date wherever they are.

Usually what happens is that not being able to speak the language keeps them isolated from current affairs and mainstream news.

So 3 quick steps into “knowing” faster:

1. Register at Romania-Insider.com to receive a daily digest of Romania’s current events in English, every morning you will be able to screen quickly through the main topics and be able to understand better what the locals are discussing or wondering about.

2. Join your community association or an international group, by this you will be able to expand your contacts, and by doing it increase the options to receive insightful information from people in similar situations.

3. Do something out of your routine, and be flexible to get lost, find new things or understand something better. By planning or leaving one day to “go with the flow” you will be able to give yourself time and space to “control” the unknown

If you would like to know more about how to support expats at work, contact [email protected].

Restaurant review: The Artist – for all senses

By Roxana Baicu, guest writer

Located on the edge of Bucharest’s historic center, The Artist offers emotions and unique experiences created by the Dutch chef, Paul Oppenkamp. He plays with modern cooking techniques, revealing flavor, texture and colors in complex recipes. Overall he is adding a new dimension to our culinary experience.

Enjoying a dinner at The Artist reminds me of words from the father of Molecular cuisine, H. Blumenthal: “cooking is about intuition and emotion; about following your instincts, trying things out, having fun. Much of the pleasure of eating comes from the flavors, textures and aromas you coax out of the ingredients, but a lot comes from the memories and associations and nostalgia that food evokes. Great and memorable meals come from somehow tapping into these feelings and capturing them in the food on the table. ”

A dinner at The Artist involves all the senses simultaneously. If you are into creative and experimental molecular cuisine, give The Artist a try. As far as I can think, the place is a highlight in terms of dining in Bucharest.

Foie Gras and Smoked Eel with Red Beet Marshmallow / Brioche, Paired with Lacerta, Muscat Ottonel 2012

foie-gras-the-artist

Oxtail Tortellini, Parmesan Foam / Mushroom / Truffle / Smoked Salt paired with Domeniile Dealu Mare Urlati, Incantation 2009

parmesan-foam-the-artist

Duck Breast Steamed Eggplant / White Soy / Sichuan Pepper / Chili Pears It was paired with Aurelia Visinescu, Anima Syrah 2011

duck-breast-the-artist

Brie Cheese Parfait Celery / Granola / Fig / Vanilla Paired with Barros, Tawny Porto

brie-cheese-the-artist

72% Dark Chocolate Mousse, Violets / Organic Merlot Tea Forte / White Ganache, Paired with Purcari, Ice Wine, Republic of Moldova

dark-chocolate-mousse-the-artist

The Artist: Nicolae Tonitza Street, Nr. 13, Historical Center, Bucharest, +40728318871, [email protected]

source: romania-insider.com

8 March – Woman’s Day in Romania

Every year, on March 8, Romanians cerebrate the International Women’s Day, and Mother’s Day. The custom, similar to all customs in the countries that celebrate the day, is for men to give all the women in their lives flowers or gifts. Female teachers receive small gifts from their students too, whether boys or girls. The idea that the female teacher is the equivalent of a mother figure prevails.

On Mother’s Day, there are usually flowers at every street corner in Romania, either in shops, malls and supermarkets, together with gifts for the occasion and special offers. The peasant markets are more colorful than ever as a lot of people come from the rural side of Romania with huge bags full of fresh flowers picked from their gardens.

In your search for gifts for the woman or women in your life, have a look at our online guide , where you can find a wide list of flower shops and jewelry stores as well as restaurants and pubs where you can take her out for a nice dinner.

 

Restaurant review: Readers Cafe

I had never been to the Readers Cafe before but, on my first visit, I spent about four hours there to make up for lost time. I wish I had discovered it earlier. Partially this was exactly because of the fact that many others did not seem to have discovered it, which makes it a nice quite place to eat, have coffee and meet friends.

This time I was there for business, meeting several business partners. In between everything, there was time to check out the menu, try out some things, and get a feel for the place.

Before we go into that, however, let me just say that this cafe/lounge/bistro is not where you’d expect it (not in the Old Town!). It is in an office building on Iancu de Hunedoara boulevard, close to Victoriei Square. You gotta love this building – it’s called Metropolis, and years back when I was writing about real estate I was so impressed with it (I still am). It used to be a printing house, and the owners kept some elements of the former building in the new one – like the brick facade.

So Readers Cafe is inside this office building, a bit tucked away, like many good things are. But it is easily reachable as you enter the building, close to the entrance to the Mega Image.

The whole first floor is a non-smoking area, which is brilliant nowadays (and ever since I quit smoking a few years ago). It is nicely decorated and you will know what I mean when the waiter explains to you that you have to go through the circle of books to get to the bathroom! Now that’s an experience!

Kudos for making the place feel so cozy, with nice couches and antique chairs, all in a glass office building.

I was amazed to see how many food options they have on the menu, most of which at reasonable prices. When I was invited there for a business meeting, I thought this was a cafe and we’re going to drink coffees and tea, and eat some cookies. But boy, was I wrong! When I arrived my business partners were already ordering food (it was between 11 and 16, when a lunch menu is also available, including soup!).

The salads were very good (ok, probably by now some food afficionados have already discarded me and this review for saying a salad can be very good. But I’ve had so many salads thrown into a bowl directly from the supermarket bag, sprinkled with some Parmesan and served at three times the price that I can definitely enjoy something well done)

Then the pasta – I’ve been recommended the Linguine al pesto, which a friend says are delicious, and very reasonably priced. On my next visit, I’ll try those. The friend who tried it was happy with both the taste, and the size of the portion.

They even have sushi. That’s a must try on my next visit. Sushi in a cafe in Romania? If you’re curious, the whole menu is here. Ah, and the wines, lots of wines on the menu.

So all that being said, I only have two negatives to add (one of which is, on second thought, a positive): why not put a bigger sign so that people know you’re there, and why not call yourself something more than a ‘cafe’, since you’re obviously much more than that, and doing a good job at it?

Ok, none of these are real negatives, and perhaps I should take them out completely (and even change the headline). This place should continue to be for insiders.

Readers Cafe, 56-60 Iancu de Hunedoara Blvd., Metropolis Center, Ground Floor

+4 073 READERS/ (+4 0737 32 33 77)

by Corina Chirileasa, source: romania-insider.com

 

Restaurant review: Alioli, the Spanish restaurant in Bucharest

By Roxana Baicu, guest writer

If you’re into Spanish traditional cuisine, Alioli is your place!

You’ll find it on Popa Tatu Street close to Stirbei crossroads near one of the most beautifully landscaped gardens in Bucharest – Cismigiu. The restaurant is the first choice among the Spanish community in Bucharest offering a great variety of good food, very nice Spanish and Romanian wines, a relaxed atmosphere, a passionate owner trying to ‘put on the plate’ to his customers a great experience at decent prices.

This time we went there for lunch and were unintentionally inspired to park the car 3 minutes by walk from the restaurant. This way we entered a bit into the atmosphere of that old part of the city while admiring beautiful details of the old houses on our way.

We’ve been several times to Alioli with friends or for farewell parties and have always had a great time.

For today’s lunch we were looking for very fresh seafood, savourous traditional Spanish dishes, a smiley staff and efficient service. We realized once more that this place is a must-go if you’re looking for an intimate, family run place.

alioli-2

As you enter the restaurant, you notice the friendly set-up, the walls decorated with photos with some of Alioli’s happy customers. Many times you are welcomed by the owner himself, Sorin. The music is either low or off when it’s crowded and you really feel you’ve entered a cozy, vivid restaurant in Spain.

Despite other places with inconsistencies in client experiences, this restaurant continues to serve delicious, authentic Spanish food time and time again. Portions are more than generous and of very good quality.

On this occasion, for example, each of us ordered a different appetizer and entree and we were all thoroughly pleased to share. It seems that sharing dishes is actually a custom in Spain. Wait staff could not have been more accommodating to us throughout our meal. First thing upon arrival we were served the Alioli sauce and toasted bread. After that, we imbibed everything from fruity sangria to icy gins, while devouring crunchy-tender shrimps and the Gazpacho Andaluz to start, continuing with the Mejillones picantes, Mejillones a la Marinera and much more seafood.

Many times we shared the paella for two and it was as good as the one I had in Spain. This time we had the Fideuá de Marisco. Everything else on the menu is great too: Meloso de Mariscos, Paella de Mariscos, Almejas a la plancha, Pimientos de Padrón (from Padrón, Galicia).

alioli-3

Much of what is served there was grown or reared in the vast and beautiful Spain. Try the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota- it is prized for its unique taste, created in part by the aroma of sweet acorns that the pigs feed on. When the slaughtering time approaches, the pigs are only fed with acorns and olives, for the best quality of jamón Ibérico. The jamón is cured from 12 months up to 4 years before it is ready to be sliced and served. I find the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota very rich and intensely flavored. It is very well paired with a traditional Rioja wine.

All in all, the atmosphere was fun and we truly enjoyed our time in Alioli. We found out that Alioli stands for „oil and garlic”, being a Catalan word.

Despite feeling way too full from so many dishes, I indulged a “Tarta de manzana con helado de vanilla” and at the owner’s advice, I tried the ‘Bombon’, the Spanish ladies’ coffee. Quite a treat!

I think every single one of us left impressed with both the service and the food. Sorin is a great host and most of his staff speak very good Spanish and English.

Be sure to reserve in time especially in the weekends..or you can try your luck, anyway!

Alioli: 4 Popa Tatu St., +4021 311 80 27, +40721 38 49 83

The relevance of providing Ongoing Post-Arrival Support

By Ximena Reyes

International assignees are expected to perform upon arrival to bring their skills and expertise from the first day, to contribute with their added value to the company.

Companies have understood the importance to speed up the process of adaptation by facilitating support with Settling-in assistance, an invaluable platform for families and spouses. This is usually an orientation to the city, available schools, residential areas, basics of daily living (shopping, healthcare, transportation, etc.)

However though this first platform is covered few is done on the long term, once the urgency of the initial few weeks has passed.

Initial chaos of an international relocation is usually concentrated on the basic needs. Routines have to be created, the brain is constantly making sense of the new place, but once this is done, most spouses are left to fend for themselves. Once the initial overwhelming part of setting up has passed comes a new stage when expats have to redefine their identities, reroute or prelaunch their careers.

HR support in this new stage is vital since it will help them to consolidate their experience on a new location. The more savvy expats that have managed multiple locations are resourceful enough to tackle challenges as they come.

Ongoing support on the forms of expat specialized coaching and psychological support are now considered a second stage into smooth running and facilitating a more successful international relocation.

If you would like to know more about this contact Ximena Reyes Partner and Director at City Compass intercultural consulting [email protected]

 

Martisor, Romania’s spring celebration

On March 1, Romanians celebrate the coming of spring in their own unique way – through the symbolic martisor (or trinket). The tradition is said to have originated in Roman times.

Martisorul are small objects that women receive on this day from men, as a symbol of their respect and admiration. Initially made just from two twisted threads of wool, one colored red and one white, the trinket has evolved, incorporating a small piece of jewelry or something hand crafted attached to the red-white lace. The red is said to represent the summer, and the heat, while the white represents the winter, and the cold. Some people say that the two colors represent love and honesty.

Men offer martisoare to women between March 1 and 8 as gifts, and most Romanian women expect to receive something – either a trinket or its more expensive version, jewellery with a red-white thread, or a flower, during this period from the most important men in their lives, as well as from colleagues and business partners.

Women wear the martisor all March, as it is believed to bring strength and health for the year to come. Some women pin one or more ‘martisoare’ on their blouse, while others just wear a red-white lace on their wrist. At the end of March, the red-white threads are tied to a branch of a fruit tree, said to bring wealth.

Women too can exchange flowers and trinkets during this period, but it is not a must, some choose to do it, others not. Some decide to give trinkets only to some close friends and family, rather than to every woman they know and happen to meet during that period.

On March 8, Romanians have another celebration – Women’s Day. It’s the day when, as a sign of respect and gratitude, all women should receive flowers and gifts. Women’s Day ends a cycle of celebrations, which begins on February 14.

 

Effective HR support help families to adjust better

By Ximena Reyes

For over the last 20 years, research has shown that a key factor for international assignment’s failure is generated by spouse’s dissatisfaction. In this specific point it is extremely relevant that attention and support is given to the accompanying partner, mainly because during an international relocation the success is reached by working as a team where each part tackles the different challenges and things to get done.

Most trainings and workshops are considered for the person with the international assignment as this is clear and most times the accompanying partner is perceived as a passive almost ornamental element in the equation. While one side can have clear goals and achievements the other part is left with the sensation that time just passes by and that their time is spent on irrelevant daily tasks.

As Yvonne Mc Nulty mentions in her book “The Trailing spouse survey” expatriation is “a gain and losses event for the trailing spouse” mainly because this part of the process has been less documented and it has been given less attention.

However with coaching and training it is possible to understand that resilience and ability to manage complexity are key skills for a successful international assignment.

The objective of these workshops is to gain awareness of the skills gained, of the real process behind the daily life routines and to develop a clear understanding of the process of cultural shock and how this will impact the relations and roles within a family.

More and more Human Resources are investing in providing adequate expat spouse support beyond the logistics of house hunting, the ongoing Post – Arrival support, coaching sessions, psychology and support groups are now giving an extended frame in order to cope with the balancing act of moving, adapting, accepting, integrating and most of all to have a successful, meaningful international relocation.

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

Ximena Reyes is the Partner and Director for Intercultural Consulting

Dragobete – Romania’s traditional celebration of love

Western Europeans and Americans may have St Valentine’s day, but traditionally Romania has its own special day for lovers, celebrated on February 24, so 10 days after Valentine’s. It’s called Dragobete, and people familiar with Romania might have heard of it, because it has became quite popular again in recent years. The youth in large cities are celebrating it again, maybe to rebel against the Western ways?

But only the name and the symbol seem to have stayed, as Dragobetele used to be a complex celebration – perhaps it can still be found in more traditional, remote villages.

Dragobete was the son of the old lady called Baba Dochia, who marks the return of spring. Dragobete’s other name is the bird’s fiance or ‘head of the spring’, because it too marks the beginning of spring.

On Dragobete, girls and boys dressed in holiday suits usually meet in front of the church and go searching for spring flowers. Then, they sit and talk around the fires lit on the hills in the village. At noon, the girls go back to the village running, each followed by the boy who fell in love with her. If the boy catches the girl he chose, and if the girl likes him, they will kiss in front of everybody. This kiss signals their engagement for one year, and Dragobete is an opportunity to show an attachment in front of the community. The traditional saying is that Dragobetele kisses the girls (Dragobetele saruta fetele in Romanian).

Dragobete traditions vary from region to region. There are a number of Dragobete customs in rural areas, many of which are not kept up by modern Romanians. The tradition also says that those who take part in Dragobete customs are supposed to be protected from illness, for the rest of the year. Region to region, even the date of the holidays varies, on the Wallachian plains, including Bucharest, it is celebrated on February 24, but in other areas, on 28 and 29 the same month.

In some areas of Romania, married women have to wash their faces with snow so that spring finds them joyful and healthy. Another custom is for a young girl to eat a salty bread baked by the eldest woman in the household, then place some basil under their pillow. During the night, if they are to get married withing 12 months, they’ll dream their future husband. The explanation is that the salty bread would make them thirsty and they’d dream of a man who brings them water.

Source: romania-insider.com

The Town of Knowledge

The Town of Knowledge (Oraselul Cunoasterii) will be opened on February 15 in Bucharest and aims to be an interactive museum for children, an environment where children’s creativity is stimulated and are actively engaged in learning.

The concept is new in Romania, but exists in other countries like England, France, Japan, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, etc.

Objects are displayed in the museum without posing a threat for children, and they are allowed to interact with objects, to experiment, to follow their curiosity and give free rein to ther imagination.

The museum will have various theme rooms such as: the aquatic laboratory, IQ room, air games room, mirror zone, the senses area, and many more.

The program is as follows: Monday-Friday: 9:30 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday-Sunday: 9:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Prices: children between 2 and 18 years, RON 32, adults: RON 18, family pack: 60-85 RON.

More information can be found here.

 

Going out on Valentine’s Day

Either in love or not, single or in a relationship, the Western tradition of Valentine’s day has taken over Romania. As every year, pubs, clubs and restaurants come up with themes events on Valentine’s day. Expect the whole package: flower prices up, hotels and chalets in the mountains booked, restaurants full.

We prepared a list of places where one may find perfect for a romantic evening with the love one.

Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel – a romantic dinner at Roberto’s restaurant. Italian menu, live jazz music and a special package accommodation starting with 375 RON. More info here.

Radisson Hotel – candlelight dinner on Valentine’s Day at Sharkia restaurant. 240 Ron/ couple. Find more info here.

At Intercontinental Hotel the offer includes a dinner for two in one of the two restaurants and accommodation for 295 RON/ couple. More details here.

Also, in our online guide you will find a list of restaurants, pubs and clubs where you might choose going.

 

Building relationships part of the job description?

By Ximena Reyes

In some countries there is a clear and rigid separation of personal and professional, these two areas are not supposed to be blurred since it would imply that someone is unable to be objective and rational when having to make decisions. Any decisions that have included a gut feeling or an emotional based starting point are not supposed to be trusted.

Trust, what people trust changes across cultures, if there is a culture that is relationship oriented, like Romania the trust will be put on the person that leads a project not on the project itself. Knowing people becomes an important factor when wanting to get things done. Because if you know people it means you are good, you can be trusted.

So to aghast of many professionals coming from other parts of the world, work is about doing the work and not about getting to know people.

However, their missing an opportunity to create pillars that will later on become useful when needing something. When needing your team to go the extra mile, and this is how the two worlds meet.

If you haven’t done your job of dedicating time to build those relationships then you won’t have anyone running with you the extra mile. Because you may be thinking task, they are thinking trust.

So if you include the building relationships as part of your planning and job description, then it will be easier to get things done and lead your team.

Most of the time people reject this idea because it just conflict with everything that they have learned and considered valuable, but don’t forget that every place has a different set of rules and that it does pay to invest time knowing and sharing, including time to build those relationships.

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

Ximena Reyes is the Partner and Director for Intercultural Consulting

 

How Michael Dell missed his chance to enter the Russian market

by Ximena Reyes

When doing business the first wrong assumption is that it is all about money, it is but how you become a trusted partner or provider requires of Intercultural awareness in order to understand the mindset of your counterpart.

On January 2009, Michael Dell from Dell computers, shared the panel with Vladimir Putin, in the World Economic Forum in Davos, as his turn to speak came, he started by prizing the Russian accomplishments like providing internet to remote areas and the talent in the IT sector, then he closed by saying: ” So my questions to you (Mr. Putin) is how we as the IT sector can help you broaden the economy as you move out the crisis.”

Nothing wrong with this question as it had follow the structure of complimenting, describing a situation and then taking a step forward to become part of a solution, with a very well intended offer.

Mr. Putin’s answer started with ” you see, we don’t need help, invalids need help, people with limited capacities need help” and then he spoke for 10 more minutes.

To many of the people who attended the forum, the reaction and answer by Mr. Putin was odd and difficult to understand, and this is exactly why, intercultural business understanding and intercultural communication training is required for anyone doing business internationally.

If we look at the words used by Mr Dell, the all well known and used, “How can I help you” as a business opener, as a gesture that shows good will, they are not offensive by themselves. However, if one looks it from another perspective It does put one of the parts on a superior position while the other part has to reach out for help.

In this case it was not just about the use of the word help, it was the context, the place , the people surrounding, the exposure and loosing face.

If you want to know more about how to do business internationally, contact [email protected].

 

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.

Robocop

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.

source: blog.likeit.ro

 

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.

THE PAINTED MONASTERIES

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 ART OF DECORATING EGGS

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]

MARGINEA BLACK POTTERY

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 www.ceramicamarginea.com

Forest Ecvestru Park

622a Sucevița village +40 744 628 154

www.ecvestrupark.ro

MUSHROOM PICKING

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).

BUCOVINA, TASTEFULLY YOURS

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.

A DAY IN GURA HUMORULUI

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.

HOTELS

Hilde’s Residence Boutique Hotel

2 Șipotului St., Gura Humorului

+40 230 233 484 www.lucy.ro

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 www.casa-calin.ro

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

www.inimabucovinei.ro

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 www.bucovinalodge.com

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.

RESTAURANTS

National

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

www.orsobruno.ro

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

Latino

9 Curtea Domnească St., Suceava

+40 230 523 627

www.restaurant-latino.ro

Mosaik

68 Sofia Vicoveanca Blvd., Suceava

+40 230 220 099

www.hotelsonnenhof.ro/ro/restaurant-mosaik

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.

vecchio-3

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, www.vecchio.ro

by Corina Chirileasa, [email protected]

Understanding a place through popular proverbs

by Ximena Reyes, Partner & Intercultural Manager

Proverbs are known for being a concrete saying, popularly known, that expresses a truth for the local ways.

Well known “cut to the chase“ or “time is money” are nutshells of a wider mind set encapsulated on these phrases. They are clearly pointing us that you should spare unnecessary introductions or explanations and go directly to the core part of the message or go directly to the relevant part.

While this is highly viewed and appreciated in western oriented cultures, it may be a turn off in more circular thinking cultures. The same way will be perceived as weak for being expressed without anything relevant around it, or it will be perceived as desperate or rude, by using relevance of time but forgeting about timing.

One of the phrases that caught my attention in Romania is “Graba strica treaba” (English version: Better safe than sorry), which means that things done in a hurry won’t be well done. In many cases I have noticed that people is being meticulous while performing a “simple” to me task. My reaction used to be to proceed an explain on a very lineal, logical way, to me, how they could speed up the process, but in 90% of the cases I still had to wait.

So if things are going to take some time it is better to lay back, and use the time you feel it’s being wasted to learn or to think how many of the proverbs back home, can explain the way you are and your own mindset.