Be Available

MY PEOPLE is a new category I added as a celebration of my 30th birthday, where I want to document all the people that have made a difference in my life and that inspire me, and maybe you too, to be a better human being.

Today I’m sharing about a special woman. She is one of the Music Academy secretaries in Cluj. She is always a busy lady, not a dull moment for her. She alone organises the students’ and the teachers’ schedule and the exams and the grades and graduations and paperwork and complaints and taxes and … everything!

We know her as a secretary but she’s probably a manager at heart. Oh, no! She’s probably Wonder Woman!

You know how you meet so many managers that are overwhelmed with their work and with their responsibilities and they lash out at you, and you think…why become a manager if you can’t handle the entire weight of being a manager. Well, she’s not like that. She owns it, she rocks! Even when she’s overwhelmed.

The one thing that stuck with me all these years was her AVAILABILITY TO HELP.

There was a 3 or 4 hours window on her door schedule when students were allowed to see her and ask for help, but when you bothered her outside the schedule she never scolded you about it. She figured if you came in, you must have an urgent problem that only she can help you with and she would never send you away. I never saw her taking notes, but she never forgot to fix the problem you had. And if she wasn’t the one that could help you, she never sent you blindly to a different office. She first called to make sure she’s sending you in the right direction and made sure they are aware of your problem and ready to help you.

She knows everyone by name, where they’re from, what their grades are, what problems they’re facing and it feels like she makes it her job to be interested in your well-being.

If you’re thinking that I was an awesome student and was easy to work with, you are right. But this woman treated everyone the same.

She is irreplaceable.

This is Gabriela Vaida. 378492_10151131973725612_1981458073_nGenuinely interested and available to help. So honoured to have her as an example and so happy that I can celebrate her character and her beautiful soul!

Feminist Friday


23 thoughts on “Be Available

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  1. Ioana, what an amazing theme for a series of blog posts!!! YOU are an inspiration to think of celebrating others and giving thanks to others as a way of marking your 30th birthday.

    I was struck by the selflessness and compassion of Gabriela. I am one of those people who can let my stress get to me, overreact, and lash out at others. I never WANT to act this way, and I hate myself when I do it. I look to the people I know who are like Gabriela as a source of hope, that maybe one day I, too, can learn to better regulate my emotions and not get carried away by catastrophic and alarming thoughts. In the meantime, though it’s hard, I’m trying to practice acceptance when I do overreact, so that I can “bounce back” quickly with joy and gratitude rather than stay stuck in anger and frustration over being angry. Sigh. One thing that struggling with these thoughts and emotions has helped me understand is that when other people are rude to me or are short tempered and “mean,” there is usually a lot more going on under the surface than I can appreciate.

    Happy 30th birthday! You are such a bright light! Keep shining!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. πŸ˜€ Thank you, Lulu! That is so kind of you! I’m having the exact same problem as you…I overreact about anything and everything and I’m trying to set these examples for myself, cause I figured there must be more to me than just this and I know I can channel that strength at least by following these people… πŸ™‚ I’m glad you noticed how awesome Gabriela is and how rare it is to find people like her. I thought maybe some would find her ordinary, depending on communities, I guess, but she’s definitely extraordinary! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I admire what you are doing, both in recognizing the extraordinariness of the “ordinary” people in your life, and in your efforts to explore why you overreact to things and what you can do about it. Actually, it is very comforting to know that you struggle with overreacting. Even though we’ve never met, you seem like a kind-hearted, genuine, good person. I feel less abnormal and “bad” knowing that a good person like you can also struggle with difficult emotions and overreactions.

        “Emotional regulation” has always been challenging for me. When I was growing up, I never learned a healthy way to cope with stress, anxiety, strong emotions (even positive ones!), or unexpected events. It’s really no wonder that I developed an eating disorder. I’ve come to understand that my interpretation of a situation and what I tell myself about it determines how I feel and how I react. I tend to think a lot of alarming thoughts, predict a lot of terrible outcomes (that are often pretty unrealistic), and I have a very dichotomous way of seeing things (good/bad, black/white, right/wrong). It is one thing to know that I can change how I respond by changing how I think, but it is another matter entirely to actually tell myself a different story. The thoughts are so, so, so subtle that I barely notice them most of the time, and then I don’t catch it until I am having an emotional outburst.

        Anyway, that is just me. It is nice to not be alone, though. I’m really looking forward to reading more stories of the inspiring people you encounter. Happy Birthday!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Most of the times I am considered a good person because I have good intentions, but doing good doesn’t always work for me, my damn mouth ruins everything :D, but the stories…I got them, it is quite terrifying to live in my head, I freak out SO easy. I start imagining the worst situations just to be prepared??? Who does that? I just recently watched some of Eckart Tolle and Brene Brown’s videos on stress and relationships and I decided I’ll give their ideas a try, I literally have nothing to lose. Thank you, dear Lulu! I feel encouraged knowing I’m not the only one struggling! ❀

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Good luck! It is always a work in progress. I am always reminding myself not to be too hard on myself when I “fail.” I think that recognizing where the weaknesses are and struggling to address them is actually a big victory!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. What a very heartfelt tribute. Would you consider linking it to my Feminist Friday column next Friday? It is a space I dedicate to women who inspire and I invite anyone to link and share their stories about inspirational women.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! All my photos are gorgeous when I’m grinning :D. But yes, I have to think of her every time I have to slap myself out of frustration sometimes. She is just wonderful and I rarely get to meet and have this sort of people contribute in my life…just wonderful πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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