Monday, January 20, 2020

Wishless Happy

...would be the very unidiomatic literal translation of a phrase we use in German when we want to express that we are so content we can't think of anything to wish for. You can also reply with this expression when the hosts asks you if you would like a second helping or if there is anything else they can do for you.
Myself, I've always found it a super lame reply when I was young and this was the standard response of my grandmothers or other elder relatives to the question what they would like for their respective birthdays. As a child, I had countless wishes, of course and I could not believe why in the world anyone would reply that and deprive themselves of cool gifts form their wishlists. Everybody had wishlists, was my firm belief.
Now it is the very answer I give myself to everyone who asks me what I would like for my upcoming birthday. I can't think of anything I want or need that I can't buy for myself and I really have everything right now. Frustrating reply for anyone in need of a gift idea, I know, but that's how it is. There's only one even more annoying level: replying that all you want is "good health and world peace". Well, I value both, but for now I won't verbalise this and just assume that this is implied in my reply.
Part of me is scared I'll get five handheld mixers or electric blankets now...

Monday, January 13, 2020

Ooops, I Did it Again

Buy another (third!) set of ski gear to store at another place in order to have the utmost flexibility for spontaneous ski trips. #sorrynotsorry
I have to admit that a dream of mine came true. Ever since I became pretty enthusiastic about skiing in my twenties, I secretly wished I had a boyfriend who shared my passion. You might think that this is not a difficult thing in Austria. Well, it is when you are together with someone who is not in fact Austrian as was the case with my first long relationship. After that, I did manage to go skiing with men who I wished were my official partners, but they weren't. Definitely better than nothing and I did have a good time, but it was not the same.
Now I have found someone who describes himself as a skiing fanatic and for whom snow-capped mountains in the sunshine are among the most beautiful things to see, just like they are for me. Getting to spend the day indulging in my favourite sport together with my favourite person makes me incredibly happy. If you see someone on the slopes with a wide grin on her face, that will be me!

Monday, January 06, 2020

A New Decade...

2020. New decade. Leap year, too. For some reason, I did not even have this on my radar until New Year's wishes started coming in with a focus on the new decade. While I like the look and sound of this new date, it does not really make a difference to me that it's a new decade and I don't have any special resolutions for it. It's shocking, though, how quickly the past two decades have rushed by, I can still vividly remember everyone's apprehension on the New Year's Eve of 1999 when we were not sure whether the ominous Y2K would defeat us all and render electronic devices useless. It was almost disappointing when nothing happened. 20 years ago I was still in my first job and in my first long-term relationship. At the time, I probably thought that 20 years onwards, I would still be with both. Well, I left first the relationship and then that job and so much has changed in my life since. Both work-wise and relationship-wise, I think I have grown up and developed a lot in the past decade. In a nutshell, I learned how to draw boundaries and to listen to my gut feeling, leaving situations that don't feel right, much sooner. When I say "learned", it does not mean that I did not have the necessary information before. I was just not confident enough to apply that information and act on it. Now I am and I am very happy about that. I am not sure what I will say in retrospect about the 2020s and what small or large epiphanies I will have had in that decade. I shall report!

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019: The Year that Proved Me Wrong. And Also Right...

It's all about rockets and planes...trust me
2018 was the year my friendship with Bestie Boy really developed and I experienced (platonic) male friendship of an unprecedented level. I seriously enjoyed it. Often, though, I caught myself seeing (or should I say "using"?) him as a surrogate partner for hanging out with after work, dinner, weekend breakfasts, weekend trips, attending after work events with...you name it. It worried me that I might not only become too emotionally dependant on him (a few arguments that left me very upset heavily hinted at that) but also that I had become very complacent and was not even looking for a real partner at all anymore.
At the beginning of 2019, I decided to change that and I remembered a colleague telling me about her "serious empirical research" comparing various online dating platforms and ultimately deciding that one of them (not surprisingly the one where she ended up finding her current partner) was the best. It was free and did not require a Facebook login or giving away questionable personal information so I decided to give it a go and sign up.
In the past, I had already had subscription to the usual suspects of those premium platforms were you allegedly find "serious" partner material (...mehp) and the few dates that came out of it were mostly disappointing and less pleasant than your average job interview. Waste of time, mostly. The only positive by-product was one decent man I am still friends with. I call him my "culture friend" as we sometimes go to classical concerts or the opera and he really is a very nice guy. I didn't fancy him and told him so immediately after our one official date, but he was fine with just hanging out as friends. Other than that: nothing to write home about and I kept telling everyone that I was an "offline person" and the whole online dating thing just wasn't for me as I found it too artificial and random: you set a filter and yet somebody just outside that age-bracket, for example, might be the very person you would have fallen in love with had you spotted him at a bar. Online, however, he would not have made it through your rigidly woven net of sometimes random criteria. And me, I had plenty of criteria back in the days! Not considerably older than me (wouldn't mind younger) ... noticeably taller than me ... preferably without children ... non-smoker, no tattoos or piercings...grammar skills non-negotiable. Over the years, experience taught me that it was pretty unrealistic to expect to have childless eligible bachelors beyond the age of 35 presented to me on a tray, so I was more lenient on the "comes with child(ren)" front. Other than that, see above, give or take.
When I signed up to that recommended platform, I decided to remain passive and let myself be chatted up, so no active "liking" on my part at all. For the first few months(!) the main/sole purpose of my subscription was to take screenshots of the rather interesting specimen who liked me and send them to Bestie Boy and Chiquita in our WhatsApp group. There really were not any serious leads at all. Writing on their part never seemed to go beyond "What's up?  or Where do you live?" I never replied to those as the latter question in particular made me rather uneasy. At some stage in summer, I changed my user name to something a little more original, if you so will and it increased the rate of more "literate" sounding contacts. One in particular immediately caught my attention with his witty and intelligent lines and as you may have guessed it was Highflyer, the man I am madly in love with. Even though I was immediately hooked by his "chat up line" I almost dismissed him as his profile details were not too convincing: rather unflattering headshot with bike helmet (does he even have hair? If so, what colour? I hope he's not blonde?) and, much worse, marginally shorter than me. My finger hovered over the "not interested" button. I was torn. Past experience had taught me that men were very "creative" with their online profiles, thinking nothing of making themselves considerably younger, taller, slimmer and uploading pictures of their prime that did not resemble their present selves even remotely. What if this guy was actually a head shorter than me IRL and had "rounded up" his height generously to increase his chances? Bestie Boy turned out to be the best wingman ever by telling me to "see for myself", i.e. first meet him in person. Had it not been for this initial nudge, I might well have proved my prejudices right and clicked him away because he did not meet my criteria.
What can I say, by the time I finally met him in person, I would not even have minded if he had lied a little (he had not) anymore and I did actually tell him a little later that he would almost have slipped through my net.
So, it turned out online dating actually is for me after all even though I almost fell victim to my own prejudices...

Monday, December 23, 2019

Cheers!

In German Christmas is often referred to as the "holiday of love", i.e. the time we spend with our loved ones whom we give gifts to. Even though I literally only exchange gifts with a handful of people these days (for which fact I am indeed thankful) it is definitely the time of year when I am at my most sentimental and generous and think of less privileged others more than usual. Charitable organisations know this and in the month of December I probably found letters encouraging me to donate money in my postbox every day. Last week, I gave a tiny box of Lindt chocolates with "Thank You" on the cover to my favourite "barista" at our office canteen. She is a young Slovak girl who, unlike the other staff, is not only friendly and quick, but who also remembers the orders of her regulars, one of which I am. I really appreciate the fact that she knows what type of coffee I want and just gives me a nod to ask if it will be the usual. When I got my coffee I handed her the symbolic thank you and she beamed from one ear to the other, clearly pleased by my gesture. Small things like a compliment or friendly smile can contribute to make someone's day, provided they are sincere and not come across like copy/paste smalltalk.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas. All About Tradition

I've mentioned before that I am a creature of habit when it comes to holidays and just as I enjoy (meat in broth) fondue at my parents' on Christmas Eve every year, my "Extreme Keksing" ladies advent gathering has become a tradition and it's the reason why I need to finish baking before that date. Well, it took place last night and I was busy prepping all weekend, hence no proper post. Bear with me and blame traditions...

Monday, December 09, 2019

Image

For as long as I can remember, these two facts about me were carved in stone: I can't sing and I am bad at sports. I have repeatedly been asked not to sing out loud (and each time I was not offended, but sympathetic, rather), but recently got the feedback that my singing is not that bad actually. Hmmm. Not so convinced, myself, but nothing keeps me from singing at the top of my lungs when alone in my car anyway.
Also, I still remember being the clumsiest child in my class at PE by far to the point of my teacher asking me if I have had a traumatising experience with sports as I was literally shaking with fear when asked to do some gymnastics "stunts". 
I still hate running (why in the world do people do that voluntarily?!) unless it is with a purpose, i.e. to catch a bus, hate cycling uphill as it makes me want to vomit, but I am a passionate skier (and pretty decent at it), really enjoy badminton and swimming outdoors is one of my favourite pleasures in the summer months. 
Maybe I'm a mildly sporty, comparatively tone deaf singer after all? Sometimes it's hard to give up an image that has defined you for years.
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