Mihai Muntean, originally from Romania
How long have you been at Walltopia and what is your position?
For the past month and a half, I am one of Walltopia's graphic designers.
How did you get to know about Walltopia?
Because I am into climbing, I first heard about Walltopia when searching for climbing gyms in Sofia.
What was your drive to apply for a position at the company?
Again, because I am into climbing, I was hunting for a spot here for some time. When seeing the opening on Facebook, I just quit the job I had and applied. Thank God it worked out :)
How does being a foreigner affect your work life?
I learned how to smile more, for a start. Whenever people talk to me too fast and I don't understand, I just smile and nod my head the Bulgarian way.
It can be a bit frustrating not understanding everything that people speak, but sometimes I think it is a blessing.
And how do you feel about living and working in Sofia?
Az ubicham Sofia! I just love Sofia.
When coming here, not knowing the Cyrillic alphabet and seeing Cyrillic signs all over I was thinking “What the hell are you doing here Mihai?”. Now, after 4 years, I can't think of any other place I would rather live. Well, maybe except the Mongolian plains :)
I love Bulgaria's nature as it is very similar to Romania, I love the parks here in Sofia, I like the fact that you can have a beer on the grass in a park (something completely illegal in Romania) and I even enjoy the traffic in Bulgaria (as Romanians are the worst drivers in Europe).
What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time at Walltopia?
After one month and a half here, I can't say I invented the wheel.
I am a little proud though of the photos I took during the WICS event we hosted in my first week in the company, and I am very proud of being able to climb a 6b in the gym downstairs after a couple of weeks of failing miserably :)
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge here at Walltopia was, I think, getting in the mindset of the company and getting a feel for the design lines, which might be a bit blurry from time to time. But my colleagues are helping me a lot, from filling simple “molba's” to finding assets on the server. Thank you :)
The biggest challenge in Bulgaria was the language, which I am still learning. I think I am fortunate that I'm coming from an ex-communist country and I am used to almost everything I see here.
How has your mindset changed since you came here?
Again, after 1 month and a half, it is very hard to realize this. I think it has, I'm a bit more calm, a bit more open to suggestions.
As for coming to Bulgaria, I realized we are very close as people and I would really love to see a closer bond between our 2 countries, especially since we are on the last 2 places or the first 2 places in the Union, depending on what the topic is.
Is it essential to be a climber, in order to do your job well?
I don't think so, but it helps a lot. If not for what we're designing, at least mentally and physically.
What do you look forward to on a Monday morning?
The colleagues, the climbing, the coffee, the new challenges.
What’s your favorite Bulgarian word?
I have a lot! First one is прахосмукачка (vacuum cleaner). The second one is a phrase, счупи кракa (break the leg) and another one would be махмурлук (hangover), all for different reasons, but mainly because for a Romanian speaker they sound super funny.