So, once again, it seems like I just cannot stay in one place for more than a certain amount of time. But, usually, my moves to different places are aimed at improving my circumstances or my facilities to perform my work!
Sadly, the move to Floresti was a bad one. During my 8 months living in Floresti, I only received one client who was willing to travel to the studio, and even they managed to get lost on the street that I was located and combined with other issues, I decided that the money saved by living in Floresti did not compensate for the lack of business and increase in commute. So I had to say bye bye.
A 1 second decision changed everything!
So, I was walking to Lidl, and they had managed to completely dig up the entire sidewalk, exactly at the point where you need to cross the road. It was raining, it was dirty and that for me, was the final straw. Having to step across holes full of mud and water, just because they mayor of Floresti doesn’t know how to manage roadworks properly (or hired a terrible contractor), was just enough to push me over the edge.
Floresti has the potential of being a fantastic place, but sadly, the leadership and general attitude of the people responsible for that area, just makes it a complete joke. I apologise to anyone who would be offended by my stance, but when you consider the huge differences in standards between Cluj-Napoca and Floresti, situated only 5km away from where I used to live, it’s literally inconceivable that simple things like street cleaning are practically non-existent.
Having to literally jump across a completely flooded street to get to my front door, because there wasn’t any drainage or actual surfacing on my street was quite embarrassing, and not the sort of place I would like to invite potential clients also.
Once again, I apologise to anyone who may feel offended, but this is the fact of it. Romania is a beautiful country, and sure, every country has it’s problems, but some of these problems are totally within your control. The surfacing of this street was not the direct responsibility of the local government, as it is technically a private street, but implementing requirements for appropriate drainage and surfacing for new developments is a very basic requirement and not a luxury. That being said, it would be very nice if the local government of Floresti would offer schemes for surfacing which can vastly improve the quality of life and general appearance of the area, as well as reducing the amount of dirt and mud which gets carried into the streets.
Every day, I seen posts about “dirt not being cleaned from the roads”, but this dirt was carried out onto the streets by the residents who refused to contribute towards the costs of proper surfacing, or the original property owners for not making the investments to ensure a decent quality finish for the development.
So yeah, I’m little sour about the experience I had there and there are definitely areas of Floresti which can be quite beautiful, for example this scene was just 5 minutes walk from where I was living.
It’s just a shame to have so much beauty ruined by people.
So, what happened next?
Well, as mentioned earlier, a 1 second decision changed everything. During my walk to Lidl, and having to climb across the hole in the floor to cross the street, I decided to write to the owner of my apartment in Floresti and inform them that it wasn’t working out for me.
To my surprise, she seemed to understand my decision and I immediately started looking for new apartments. I put out a post on Facebook, asking if anyone knows a good agent or location to find a property at a good price in Cluj, up to a certain budget.
I received a response quite quickly, recommending a somewhat new agency which made efforts to locate properties for students, but obviously, they were open to other suggestions too. I contacted them and they wrote back to me almost right away to discuss my requirements.
Within a day, I already had a viewing for a place in the very centre of Cluj set up. However, the problem I had, is that I still had to wait an entire month before I could move, due to my guarantee / deposit at the old apartment in Floresti.. but that didn’t stop me packing things up in a hurry.
So, the agent I was speaking with told me that he feels that the location that he suggested I go to visit is the “perfect match” for me, and he managed to convince me to go and see the place, even if it’s not possible for me to move for a month.
I must admit, I nearly decided to not go and view the place, because I thought it would be totally pointless to view a place and possibly want it… then not to be able to have it. I didn’t have the money to pay for 2 rentals in one month and I was sure that nobody would be willing to hold a place for an entire month without any form of income on the place.
So, I ended up going to view the property and honestly, it was pretty much exactly what I was looking for. In fact, it was even better than what I was looking for. A little over my intended budget, but considering it consisted of around 60m and was located on Bulevardul Eroilor (the centre of the city), it was very much acceptable to pay a little more for the place than if it was outside of the centre.
There were many people viewing the property at the same time as me, and I was talking with both the agent and the owner, expressing that the place is pretty much perfect, but that my hands are tied, due to me not being able to move in for an entire month. I was about to wrap up my visit when the agent informed me that the owner seems to think that I would be the sort of tenant that he would like to rent to, and that he would actually be prepared to hold the apartment for an entire month, if I could pay the deposit now.
Luckily for me, we received a bonus at work, so I actually had the money for the deposit, and well, needless to say, I jumped on the offer right away. In fact, I even gave the agent a double handshake to let him know that I’m 100% committed to this and asked him to pass on my thanks to the owner.
So, it was official!
I’d just managed to get myself a great place, in the centre of the city, with nice high ceilings (perfect for the studio) and in fact, it was more of a house than an apartment. The only “apartment” aspect, was that a part of the house had been divided at some stage to create a separate dwelling for another person.
I even have a little garden which I can make use of, which will be awesome for inviting people over and having some nice cool drinks during the upcoming summer! Admittedly, there’s some work needed on the garden, but honestly, I’m prepared to put in the effort to make it a great space!
Well, here’s the most painful part of moving from one place to the other… and that’s the actual MOVING part. And it was actually physically painful too. I was pretty much carrying things on a bus from Floresti to the new place in the various collection of bags that I have managed to accumulate during the 5 years that I have been living here. In fact, some of the bags I have, belong to stores which are no longer even in business!
The next hardest part was actually dealing with the unpacking of all the items and finding a place for them, planning the studio and the wiring of everything, and of course, moving the larger items, such as the refrigerator and studio fixtures.
Then came the part where I had to deal with the transfer of internet contract, well, in fact, the cancellation of my existing contract and having to set up with a new company, as my existing provider doesn’t offer coverage in the centre of the city.
Unfortunately, the person who was renting the place before me, didn’t make any effort to clean up after herself, but I decided to do the cleaning myself, in exchange for the keys earlier, therefore making my move a bit less of a rush.
After a good clean up, the place looked like this:
And then the stuff arrived… and well, that was the part where finding a place for everything was the biggest challenge.. Also figuring out where the studio will actually be mounted, where to plug things in and how to make the space efficient.
Anyway, after about a week of getting things sorted out, I finally managed to settle in and relax! One of the first things that I noticed when staying here the first night, was that it’s amazingly quiet, considering the main road that runs through Cluj is literally just outside my door. I expected to at least hear cars or people, especially on weekends, but apparently.. that’s not the case!
Once the furniture arrived, I managed to get everything pretty much set up how it would be most of the time, when not taking photos, and finally I have a nice space to chill, hang out with friends and “call home” :)! I’ve moved to so many places since being in Romania, but this is definitely the best one and I didn’t mind signing a contract to stay for at least 2 years.
Setting up the Studio!
Well, originally, the plan was to have the studio mounted on the roof, along the side with the window as that would have been literally perfect. But then I realised
that a 100 year old building doesn’t have a concrete ceiling, as all of my previous places had… so I had to re-think this plan entirely.
The problem I faced was the fact that the large window in the main room spanned pretty much the entire wall, which pretty much meant that there was no space to mount the backdrop, but placing the backdrop on the opposite wall was a bad use of the space, but something I would need to accept.
I was about to plan the room around this idea, until I decided to take a quick measurements of the wall and was very pleasantly surprised to learn that the studio equipment will actually fit perfectly against the main wall which has the window. The only small problem will be that I cannot rotate the blinds which are currently there, instead I have to pull them entirely across when I want to open them… not really the end of the world.
I must admit, it was still a little worrying to put this system up on the wall, especially due to the age of the building, but after a bunch of stress tests, it’s definitely secure enough to hold the backgrounds…. in fact, it’ll even hold my weight, so yeah, it’s fine.
Now the studio is set up and at the time of writing this post, I’ll have my first shoot tomorrow morning with a colleague and his kid!
So that’s pretty much it!
A serious amount of stuff has happened since the last post which was only back in January.. but as long as I continue going forward and not taking steps backward, then I guess it’s all in the spirit of growing!
If there’s any room for a final thought on this post, it would be, “as long as what you do makes you happy and pushes you closer to your goals, jump right in deal with anything that gets in your way, rather than worry about what might happen. If I hadn’t decided to send that message and view this place, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of what I wrote in this post.”
Thanks for reading!