Four years ago, Florina Stoica (38 years old) decided to quit her very good job in a multinational company and try to do something else. Theoretically, she had everything she needed, practically, she felt that a change was necessary. She decided to go to UK for a masters degree, that was the beginning. Now, four years after that step, she is in UK with all her family, her husband and 5 children, changed her life completely, is good with herself and happy. And she spreads happiness and kindness all around her – every week, voluntarily, she teaches Romanian children from Liverpool their native language, history, Romanian culture and civilization. She is deeply involved, works with heart and is so happy, feeling she can do good for others and for her country, somehow – helping children never forget where their roots are from.
Florina worked in a multinational company, in Romania, for more than 10 years. Theoretically, she was more than ok, practically, she felt that a change was necessary. “The idea was like that – it’s warm and good where you are used to be, but every 5 years you should change something about your job, make one step forward, move from that place where you feel comfortable. You are no longer satisfied and probably neither the company”, she says.
They went to London, to one of her cousins, on holiday, and she loved the city a lot. She wanted to attend a masters degree in IT field in Romania, and her husband asked her – if you like London so much, why don’t you attend a program there? And this is the way she left – on December 1-st, 2015 – the national day of Romania.
From London to Liverpool
After getting to UK she found out she was pregnant and that the girl had serious medical problems. It was their fourth baby – now they have five – and it wasn’t easy at all. Doctors said her girl will die after she was born – she had malformation of the heart and Down Syndrome – but she survived, now she is three years old and they keep on fighting, together.
Because of her daughter’s illness they got to Liverpool – the doctors told her it was the best children hospital in the country. She had never been there before. “I looked over the train map – it is said that if you change the place you change the luck, also – and it was so true”, Florina says. Family joined her, and now are happy parents of five – the first child is 10, the last member who came into the family, a baby girl, 1,3 years.
Teacher for Romanian children
Because she needed a flexible program, to get to the hospital when they were called, she started looking for something to work on her own. This is how they started to work on cultural projects – they still do.
And this is also how she discovered a project that became part of her heart. The Ministry for Romanians all over the world had a project for Romanian schools in expat communities, to help children of Romanian immigrants to learn the language, the history, geography, culture and civilization of their native country. She applied for such a project and started working on it but, when it ended, after 2 months, she knew she couldn’t give up.
Volunteer work, because of love
She told the parents she wants to go on with this project, and she did – they pay a small tax, 5 pounds/a week for classroom rental, and Florina keeps on working with children, voluntarily. She also volunteered in a British school, to learn the system, to help her into her work with Romanian children.
Because there, surrounded by them, Florina feels she is into a magic world – she simply loves every moment spent together, and feels she does something good, useful, that lasts. She is trying to adapt her style all the time, to have classes as interactive as possible, so that children learn with love – and they do. They learn Romanian language, history, geography, about famous Romanian writers or traditions – many of them are born away from their native country, but she helps them learn where they are coming from, what are their roots. Maybe, one day, some of them will decide to come back, or maybe not – but to know where you are coming from, what your roots are, is essential.
Between 15 and 20 children attend, once a week, classes of Romanian School “Nicolae Iorga” in central library from Liverpool. Not once, Florina, who now works as an assistant in an accounting company, used her own money for the project – and does not regret at all. “It’s volunteering made with heart, I promised myself I won’t give up. There were times when I had to use my own money to pay for the classroom, but when you do something from your heart it doesn’t matter. All the time something came up that determined me not to give up – I put all my heart in there, I find myself into this project, I love what I’m doing”, she says.
Besides learning, children made traditional Romanian shirts, “ii”, or shoes “opinci”, cultural events have been organized on different occasions.
The courage, the lessons
Florina and her family are part of those very lucky people who had the courage to get out of their comfort zone – where it seemed warm and safe, but it wasn’t ok at all. The change was profound and complete, and she is so happy with their decision – no regrets, just enjoying every moment, be happy with small joys, look always forward, with both heart and mind open.
“Until you don’t end a chapter, good things can’t happen. There aren’t half measures, like that you’ll always be tied up – it was so good in there. You give up easily if you know you have a warm back-up solution – otherwise you have to fight. It was warm for me, but I wasn’t satisfied – we have a routine here, also, but I feel we are living it”, she says.
She doesn’t know if they will stay in UK – maybe at one point a better option will come up. Being always open to adapt, if it’s better, is more than beneficial to you – but not many people have the courage to do this. “If tomorrow I have to move to America I have no problem with that – I don’t find a barrier in this. If you have the will, you do things – if I have Queen Elisabeth’s phone number, I call and I want to meet – it’s not someone, it’s a human being. I don’t block myself in some stereotypes”, she adds.
PHOTOS FROM PERSONAL ARCHIVE
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