We are sisters.
Along the years the space between us straightened and widened constantly. I am working now on creating a communication channel between us which is free of instructions, prohibitions and barriers, even if we are far away physically. A channel which allows silence to be a message carrier as well. Not an easy task.
The illusion of the physical world, the separation between us in body, in space, in time, is quite convincing because it is so- we can see that we are contained in different bodies, we have different forms and faces, we need two tickets if taking a bus. But this separation is only an interface to something more, something common to all of us. Not to get lost on the surface is the purpose.
What I am most longing for, in all relationships, is to have this kind of channel open, a gate to the soul,to the unseen. Only in this way can we ever understand each other and learn the lesson of love.
This conversation is centered on her most recent experience outside Moldova, which is in a way the continuation of our common story outside Moldova. My father started a few years ago being squeezed by desperate life conditions.
What makes us go away today? Is Moldova still a no man’s land?
Let’s listen to her voice now.
1.Where are you now and what are you doing?
I am in the Netherlands now, in a small town in Gelderland province, Nijmegen. I am here for an exchange financed by the European Commission which gives me possibility to learn, in a practical way, about entrepreneurship from other, more developed, start-ups. I am also learning how to generate added value for the business that I launched a few years ago in Moldova. (* Estradi)
2.Since you’ve spent the last few years in Moldova, what impressed you now when you are in Nijmengen?
That’s true, for the last 4 years I lived in Moldova.When I was in the airplane, about to land in Amsterdam, I was impressed by the green strips of cultivated land, seen from above. The greenhouses, the windmills impressed me, how organised and blended in everything looks.
Then, when I was on the train, getting closer to Nijmegen, I found inspiring the aesthetics of the public space , smiling people and very loud birds.(*What language did the birds speak? 🙂 )
I arrived late during the night so I couldn’t ignore the transparent windows. I could see everything inside the houses! I was too curious not to peek inside! But, the people and what their activities were nothing out of the ordinary only their openness impressed me, their willingness to share their intimacy with the “outside world.”
This doesn’t happen in Moldova.
3.What was your view on the “outside world” from Moldova before leaving ?
I did not see the outside as a refuge or an escape. I believed, and still believe, that it is possible to succeed in Moldova if you are ambitious, someone who has moral strength when inserted in a corrupt system. This strength is needed in order to maintain your integrity and vitality at the same time.
The most attractive fact for me is the available possibilities to which I did not have access before or were out of my reach when in Moldova.
For me it would be more suitable to say that Moldova is the “strangeness”, the “outside world”. I am referring to the corrupt system and the lack of opportunities that people are facing there.
4.How do you see Moldova now from Netherlands?
Moldova seems far away from here. If I close my eyes and think about the country I grew up in, I see my parents and a few people I care about. I see Piața Centrală (*the central market), full of fruits, vegetables, simple people with big hearts. I see forests and the wide wheat fields, poppy flowers and lavender.
From here Moldova is beautiful. A country of hard working and talented people who are not cherished.
5.Did you meet a lot of Moldovan people there? What are they doing? How is their life going?
I met only one Moldovan family here, my hosts. This family makes me proud of being Moldovan. I got in touch with this family when the Erasmus entrepreneurship platform matched me with Geta Rasciuc, an entrepreneur from Moldova who is developing an innovative product- a smart baby carrier which is now in a prototype phase.
After a contest, to which she contributed with an idea, Greta became part of Rockstart Digital Health Accelerator. Besides developing the business, Geta and Sorin (*the husband ) are growing a big family – 4 children who are now studying Dutch at a local school. I met also other Moldovan people in Hague, in Rotterdam. All of them are busy studying, working etc.
6.What was the most difficult thing that you had to face in the beginning?
When I first arrived here it was difficult to adapt to the new environment, to understand how life works here, how to plan my days and choose the priorities in order to do both, develop my business and contribute to the growth of Greta’s business. Dutch to me sounds quite difficult, sometimes it is a barrier. The Netherlands, on the other hand, is a country where English is spoken widely.(*Guess what: Vandaag is een goede dag! :))
7.How does a day in your life look like?
When you live in the same house as little children do, you get up quite early. They go to school so the whole household is up! This is how I start my days as well. After breakfast I go to the office, drink a cup of coffee with my colleagues, if they are there. If not, I enjoy the silence and I plan my schedule or read something inspiring. One of the last days I read a report about the future and the trends in sustainable textile industry.
After that I start working. My role here is to take care of communication. I write for the newsletter or articles, I post on different social media channels. After having done that, I switch and start thinking about my business. This implies most of the times calculations, checking reports, posting on social media, responding to clients, managing the production, if there are products getting done.
I usually stay at the office until late, until it gets dark outside, and here it gets dark at about 10:00PM. Netherlands’ days are very long. Sometimes I have different meetings for possible collaborations. But I did not have that many, only a few.
8.I know that you want to continue the exchange even after 3 months, the initial agreed period. Is there anything that would stop you?
The European Commission approved the extension of my exchange.(*You got that right, dear Commission) . At the moment the biggest difficulty is the legalization of my stay. I am here as a Moldovan citizen (*Moldovan passport) and I can stay in a Schengen country for 90 days out of 180. In order to stay another 3 months I need a residence permit or a visa. It was difficult to find out information relevant to my case. It took me two weeks to get an appointment with IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service). The program which brought me here does not have an established plan of action for situations like mine. The participation of an entrepreneur from Moldova is unexpected, unforeseen so I had to cut my way thought. (*Moldovan alien that is).
9.You are a small entrepreneur from Moldova, do you see any chances in developing your activity on the local market or would you prefer to start anew there in Netherlands?
My ambition now is to start here from the beginning, but I don’t see myself bound to this place. I will use everything I built in Moldova, part of the activity will remain there and I will continue working from here on the distribution.There are chances to grow on the local market as well, but this is not my purpose. On that market the buying power and the outlet are quite limited. Also, from there it is difficult to expand toward the outside, because not exposed to your targeted market.
10.What is your dream, your desire which keeps you up at night?
I want to become everyday a better version of myself, to strengthen my ability to learn, to understand. To have a positive impact. To contribute to the creation of the world, the whole evolution, through my daily activities. I want to live a meaningful live. To feel accomplished and happy with the choices I take and determine the course of my life.
11.Is is possible to live in Moldova following your dream?
I don’t know, maybe, but life brought me here. I choose to believe that this it the right way. (*Got it! no more patriotic questions :))
12. Would you like to say something to Tania from the past, a not so far away past?
Let go. Trust. You are good enough.
13.How is Tania from the future, what is she doing, what is she feeling?
She trusts her own forces and abilities. She is OK with her choices. She smiles more. She asks for help when needed and also accepts it. She is less hesitant in launching herself towards new challenges.(*And I am still your sister! Right?)
Thank you. Take care!