Don’t wanna brag or anything, but I’m descending from a very noble breed. It’s like a pedigree for us, the Romanians born in the mid-80s. We are the proud representatives of the generation with the key hanging around the neck. It’s like one of the first items in the basic survival kit every offspring had to learn. Only then came the others – don’t talk to strangers, say hi when you see someone you know and don’t stick your fingers in the nose. But first of them all – we were taught how to proudly walk with that key hanging around our necks everywhere, with the price of our future maturity.
But hey, this article is not about me, nor my noble genes. It’s about another generation, the generation with the broom leaning on the entrance door. [Admit it, if you’re part of my generation you just said “whaaaat?!”] But not if you come from Moldova! You see, we, the generation with the key, were taught not to leave any traces of our absence from home, when going on vacation, so that the villains won’t invite themselves and ravish our homes. On the other hand, them, the generation with the broom, were taught to leave a broom outside every time they went for a holiday, as a silent message for their friends coming to visit. While we were taught how to keep out from bad people, they were taught how to keep up with good people. And it shows!
For sure, this was the first lesson I received at my arrival in Chisinau, at the beginning of August 2019, as part of my series of visits to all Pentalog Delivery Centers, with the view of increasing the awareness of the events we are organizing in all the agencies (click to read the first episode of the series – Pentalog Cluj: The Untold Story of the Kitchen Groupies). The message from Chisinau people was up and clear in everything they did: No time to focus on the bad, look how much good is everywhere around! We don’t have problems, we had solutions and now we have something to use them on! There are no strangers in this world, but just friends we haven’t met yet!
And when this kind of thinking guides your actions, you surely must be living in a world full of Bucuria!
1. Bucuria is coffee first, wine after and pies in between
I used to love coffee. Hot, sugary, milky coffee. Maybe with a sprinkle of vanilla. I thought that’s the best you can get from a coffee. But that’s because I haven’t tried Lean Coffee before! In a cozy atmosphere, early in the morning, with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and a bunch of post-its in the other, the Chisinau PentaGuys start their day by shaping the best version of themselves. They discuss, they analyze, they take and offer arguments, they are time-wise and invest in the ideas worth spreading. Of course, they could have chit-chatted about the weather and about how great one extra hour of sleep would have been, but no, they don’t. And that’s a reason more why they are that awesome!
Evenings are for wine and it couldn’t be any different, given that the largest underground wine cellar in the world, Cricova, is deliciously resting in this country. Maybe they have a rule (not sure about it, just wild guessing) refusing wine to the whiners, truth is that neither evenings are dedicated to tired excuses for what went bad during the day or for praising their weariness. And, if you ask me, that’s not a little thing at all.
Be it the morning Lean Coffee, the midday Pie Planning (always wondered where the Romanian saying “La Plăcinte înainte” came from, but no human could turn his back to the Moldavian pies, this I swear!) or the evening Wine Review of a great day, the spirits are always up and the Bucuria-feeling is floating in its natural habitat. Pentalog Chisinau taught me that mixing business with pleasure is not a bad idea at all, and that’s because they have the mastery of turning any innocent pleasure in a reason for a learning experience.
2. Bucuria is the bird in the hand of Pentalog Chisinau
We live the times of change and evolution. It’s understandable – to a certain extent – why most of us are eager to always step outside the box. Why we are eager to think differently, act differently, be different. Why we are eager to avoid any kind of routine, to jump between things, to never settle. But is it this always a quest for evolution? Or do we sometimes run because we are afraid? Afraid to stop and look around? Afraid to get engaged in the long run? Afraid to learn how to change what we don’t like in the current environment instead of constantly changing the environment?
One might call it indulgence, involution even, I call it loyalty and courage, and that was another lesson Pentalog Chisinau taught me. Here, I came across loyal people like nowhere else before. Loyal to their families, to their homes, to their intimate universe. Loyal to their country, present in all the socially, politically, economically goings-on from the past and present. And proud of this! Loyal to their guiding figure, Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt, a conqueror and a weariless spirit. Like they are. Loyal to the new people they met, eager to make them feel welcomed, all warm and understanding, curious and outgoing. Loyal to their working place, to their colleagues and mentors.
I’ve witnessed people talking about their 12-14-year activity at Pentalog Chisinau like they were hired the day before. Like they were indulging in the sweet illusion of a new beginning. Like everything was new and challenging and was designed especially for their desires. And I guess so it was. And I guess so it will be, as long as they will constantly aim at fixing the environment they love (be it their home, workplace or country) instead of simply changing it.
Don’t translate their loyalty by resignation or limitation. You would be very wrong. Their loyalty is being at ease with their decisions and working their way out of living a life of running. When they find something they love, they stop, they set the camp, lay down the arms and start making the best out of that place with all their heart.
3. Bucuria is not about the years in the life, but about the life in the years
Not once have I heard Chisinau being described as a grey-headed capital. A city with few young people, with not so much going on, pretty still and lifeless. We all talk about the years in our lives, but what about the life in those years? Do we fully live them, or we just leave them behind?
The best Bucuria lesson I received, revealed in front of my ears before even arriving at Pentalog Chisinau. I was strolling around in the central park, idly looking for the way to the agency, when I heard it. I made way following the sound. And there, in the stillness of the green park, under the mild rays of the midday sun, surrounded by the curious eyes and stone-still feet of those we call “the young generation”, it was the freshest and juvenile picture that music and life have ever painted before my eyes. No other proof of youthfulness could weigh more for the fact that I was breathing the air of a vibrant city!
It wasn’t easy at all moving on from that scene. Actually, it’s more than a month now and I still haven’t.
This lesson of counting life instead of years had no “saved by the bell” moment during my week at Pentalog Chisinau. I was constantly surrounded by their enthusiasm for what they are, what they have and what they can do to improve. I witnessed their constant involvement in the education of the youngsters, of how they help them develop a passion for IT through technical events adapted to their understanding. I found out about CoderDojo, PentaStagiu, Open Days, Internships, partnerships with the local university and the first Lego League. I witnessed their belief that more women should be engaged in the IT world and how they actively promote this. They made me part of their passions and how these replenish their days at work. I watched their easiness of flawlessly speaking 2 or 3 languages, without counting the foreign ones; and their humbleness in doing so. I bowed in front of the way they managed to make every guest feel at home and I was doing this while enjoying a cup of coffee (Regular, not Lean) in their own hand-made Brașov office. Could have enjoyed it in their own Cluj office, Paris office, New York or any other. I understood, soon, very soon, why Bucuria candies couldn’t have been born in any other place of this world.
There is an old saying that goes like this: „When you love what you have, you have everything you need”. The author is unknown, but rumors say he/ she used to leave a broom in the door every time he went out on a holiday. The good news is that there is no broom in the door of Pentalog Chisinau, so if you are curious to meet them and see with your eyes what I felt with my heart, the door is always open.
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