Monday, June 18, 2018

A Lifetime Ago

This past weekend I was in, or rather near, Schladming for a wedding. I had a great time with lovely people. It was also the first time ever I had been to the area in summer, with the second of my two ski weekends there only having been this January. To be honest, this cast a tiny melancholic shadow over my visit as it truly felt like a lifetime ago. During that mini ski-trip I was extremely happy and at the time fully assumed it would be the first of many away-weekends with the person I was with. Not only that, but going on a ski trip with a love interest had been a secret dream of mine for a very long time. Less than a month after said ski trip, the situation began to turn sour rather unexpectedly and it turned out that the happy ending was not meant to be. Surprisingly, I for once handled a disappointment that would have previously caused me to turn into drama queen mode big time like a GROWN UP and followed my own advice, much to the disbelief of some friends of mine. I'm still very much in grown-up mode for the most part and overall very happy and content with my life. Sometimes, though, I am reminded by little things like smells or other non tangible triggers that certain happy times just have to be cherished for what they are (were!) and should not be over-analysed for potential they simply don't have. Perhaps this lovely wedding weekend managed to override my bittersweet memories of the area and I'll be back with "neutral" feelings next time.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Off the beaten track

This Wednesday, I had a doctor's appointment in Vienna's 18th district early in the morning. When I was done, I walked down Währinger Straße towards the centre as the trams there are currently diverted due to roadworks. Not only did I discover a nice coffee shop where I grabbed a coffee to go, but I really loved walking in areas of the city that I otherwise rarely visit. Even more so, the rest of the journey to my office with tram line 5, mainly through way less chic and gentrified parts of town was a route that was more or less unknown to me. The sight of inflated air mattresses and miscellaneous pool animals I spotted from my tram window somewhere in the 20th district made me incredibly happy and made me look forward to Nice, where I'll be in August:
Since getting up earlier than usual is not a problem for me in the summer months, I am contemplating walking all the way to the office (30 mins away by public transport) one of these days...

Monday, June 04, 2018

Projects

Whenever I visit my parents, I bring some DIY "project" or other that I typically manage to finish while there. I either do it in the garden or on the living room sofa while my parents watch TV in the evening. I am usually not that keen on the programme they watch (nor TV in general) so I either read or do something crafty. The latter is immensely satisfying and I seriously love doing creative things with my hands, but yet I rarely do it at home in Vienna, and this seriously bugs me. I am very spoilt by my parents and am treated as a guest in the sense that I don't have to do many chores, unlike in Vienna, where I have "things" to do. If I am really honest, though, this only accounts for about 20% of my creative inactivity whereas the greater part is due to me falling into a YouTube hole once I park myself on my comfortable living room furniture. I start watching one video, then end up watching more. Then it's 11 p.m. all of a sudden. Ooops. At best, I watch YouTube while doing something more productive, but more often than I would like to admit I don't get round to all those projects I have ideas for and I can't blame anybody but myself. Whether the solution is escaping from my flat that obviously triggers my idleness or unsubscribing from all my dangerous time-stealing YouTube channels, I don't know. Until I find a way of getting my act together, I enjoy the products of the little DIY I actually DO and for the record, I don't get to enjoy my living furniture not that often anyway. Which is another story altogether.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Friends

Lovely gift from one of my besties from the Firm

Last week I met our team's former intern. She left in March to take on her first permanent job that was advertised with a fancy title and really interesting sounding description. Truth be told, I almost envied her, it sounded so cool. I was really happy for her to have landed such a great position. Two months on, she is quite desillusioned and told me that she was little more than a glorified admin and afraid she would gradually forget everything she had learnt at our company. She was not even sure if there was a silver lining on the horizon and she should stick it out much longer. My first question was "But the people there are nice, aren't they?" (For the record: they are). This really shows my personal priorities: I could pretty much work in a coalmine or a chain gang and would be willing to bear it, just as long as I had nice colleagues. This was the case at Household Name from the very beginning - the fact that this lovely intern messaged me to say she missed me is evidence enough and I get on well with every one of my team mates, continuing to bake for them just like I had done for my previous colleagues and all that. 
Even so, it has mainly been a strictly-work relationship and I sometimes miss the after work socialising I had enjoyed with colleagues from the Firm. Funnily enough, when I first started there, I was not quite prepared to erase the boundary between colleagues and friends quite so vehemently and sometimes felt like I was a member of a cult of some sort. Fast forward 10 years and it really struck me that the division between work and life was once more very clear now that I was the new kid on the block. Just as I had almost resigned myself to the fact that it might stay like this forever, I began hanging out with a colleague (not in my immediate team) who in fact started the same week I did and whom I had hit it off with immediately, outside work. It really makes me happy to have a friend and confidant at work...and somebody to tell my friends and family about. A few months ago my mother quite probingly asked what my colleagues were like, adding "Dad also said to me that he found it strange that you don't talk about your colleagues any more. We felt we knew all those people from the Firm just from your stories".  
I know quite a few people who actually prefer to keep their business and private personas separate and like to keep a distance to work mates. I am SO not one of them and once more got proof that my appreciation of my workplace exponentially increases when I find a true friend there.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Thrill of Chill

When this post goes live I will still be in London (if everything goes according to plan, of course). I am writing this a few hours before heading to the airport, to yet another weekend away. Actually, it was the first mini trip abroad I booked this year, when my calendar was still completely empty. Since then, it has become more than full with one weekend after another in a different city. Truth be told, I am now actually looking forward to not going anywhere and spending a few weekends in a row in Vienna, not doing anything in particular, but enjoying being at home. I still have a few week(end)s to go before this happens. While I do still enjoy travelling and experiencing new things just as much as I used to, I have come to realise two things in the past months: there's a difference between business trips during the week (which I still miss) and having weekends to recharge at home, and being away pretty much every weekend without down-time at home. The other thing is that the world probably won't end if I lose my frequent traveller privileges in the near future and won't get bonus miles and lounge access. You might have to remind this crazy chick of her own words, but I am determined to not overbook myself again next year and appreciate some "me-time" in Vienna.  Just chilling at home seems such a sweet promise all of a sudden...

Monday, May 14, 2018

#homeiswherethelakeis

This Hashtag is one I frequently use on Instagram, just like a previous colleague who is from a ski resort town in Styria likes to post photos tagged with #homeiswherethemountains are. Well, the latter is also something I identify with, but this lake really has a special place in my heart and despite the fact that I left Kagenfurt, the town where I was born, aged 18, whenever I see the turquoise blue water of the Wörthersee, I get flooded by a special kind of happiness and so many warm and fuzzy memories of childhood summers spent sprawled on a towel reading books and begging for ice-cream. 
I don't think it makes a difference how much time you spent at a certain place in order for you to fall in love with or get to hate it. It's all a matter of context and what you associate with it. The "endless summer holidays" of my youth were in fact two months long (not bad either), but in retrospect feel like half a year, every year. The lake always played a central role in them and no matter that my family went on summer holidays abroad, too, and also spent a significant amount at our weekend house near Lake Ossiach, my nostalgically fogged brain has recorded the equation: summer = Lake Wörth indelibly on its hard disk, never to be erased or questioned. As soon as the gates of Strandbad Klagenfurt open in May, summer has officially begun for me.

Monday, May 07, 2018

The Perfect Travel Companion

As you know, I went a little crazy on the weekend trip front recently and still have some more lined up. Some of these trips, I have made on my own, but for the most part, I travel with friends, or my Mum. While I have a pretty large circle of friends, the circle of travel companions is quite a small one and there are quite a few friends whom I love to bits, but would never choose to go on a vacation together. Here are my top criteria for the perfect travel companion in my book, which, in a nutshell boil down to should not be complicated.
  1. Should be open-minded and curious.
  2. Should be interested in art and culture, but - like me - dislike any kind of guided tour and audioguides.
  3. Should be open to travelling on public transport even if we can afford a taxi.
  4. Should not be stingy, nor deny themselves that scoop of ice-cream only because it costs 1 € more than at home. Likewise, should not argue or get stressed if I want to treat them to something, which does not oblige them to return the favour, either.
  5. Should be willing to spend some time apart occasionally, even if we are on this trip together (e.g. let's meet in an hour while you visit your favourite shops and I visit mine).
  6. Should not be a slave to a must-see/must-buy/must-eat list they compiled back home.
  7. Should not condemn any type of restaurant as "touristy" only because it is near a place of interest or is not in their list of recommended places.
  8. Should not sleep until noon or take ages getting ready. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to set my alarm either, unless I have an early flight to catch, but I don't want to waste half the day waiting for somebody in the morning.
  9. Should be flexible and not go into panic or sulky mode if something out of our control does not go according to plan.
  10. Should not be bossy and unable to compromise...
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