Monday, April 24, 2017

Coincidental

Now that I am in my final weeks at the Firm, it is only natural that I am in a bit of a retrospective mood. One of the things I will forever remain grateful for is the opportunity to get to visit countries off the tourist track and meet interesting people there, some of which have become friends. This past weekend, I was in Sofia with Mademoiselle (who could understand why I love the city). My last business trip in my previous job role took me there pretty much exactly a year ago and I missed it. I miss frequent travels to CEE and CIS overall. Be that as it may, we were having lunch on Sunday in a new restaurant next to our hotel, catching up with a Bulgarian colleague of mine, who is currently on maternity leave. Our table was right next to the door and suddenly a party of 3 (a man and 2 women) come in with a pram. Turns out I know the guy pushing the pram- a former Lithuanian (!) business partner of mine, who essentially was part of the same former life that took me to Sofia. He was just as surprised to see me and it was a crazy coincidence (it turned out he was in town for a conference and had taken his wife and baby plus a friend for the weekend), but then again it completely made sense as my business trips to Vilnius happened during that period of time when I would come to Sofia regularly and both the friend I met for lunch and that Lithuanian university professor were reminders of my not-so-distant past.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Singled Out

Do you know the feeling of having been singled out to experience something awful? Asking yourself "Why me?!"? I'd have to lie if I said I didn't, knowing all too well that like envy (which I really never experience) or jealousy (oh, yes, been there) these feelings are completely futile and destructive. When the Empress and I were in New York, we also visited the 9/11 Memorial museum on the site of the destroyed World Trade Center. As can be expected, it was very moving to relive that historical day right in its epicentre and see and hear so many sad things. It must be like the ultimate monument of WHY ME?! for everyone who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks that day.
The first quarter of 2017 has been quite weird and unexpected in many ways for me and at times my enthusiasm at the beginning of this year has seemed ridiculously naive and hard to switch back on. Nonetheless, I remain excited and positive about what the coming months will bring, knowing that it is up to me myself to make good things happen. Whenever I am inclined to put my name down for the VIP guest list of the latest Pity Party, I remind myself that this is SO not my crowd and hopefully never will be. Life can be unfair indeed, but so far, I, personally, really have not had much reason to complain. Unlike a colleague at the Firm's Stockholm office whose husband was one of 4 people who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and sadly lost his life. We should all sometimes take a look behind news headlines to remind ourselves that most things can be regained or replaced and hopefully our own mundane first World dilemmas fall into exactly that category.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happily Ever After

This past Saturday, a dear colleague, known here as M.C. got married to another lovely colleague, who is one of the funniest men I know, by the way. It was a happy ending to a love story of Telenovela proportions, some of which episodes were "produced" right in front of my eyes for months. Suffice it to say, there was drama and suspense galore and this budding relationship was fodder for A LOT of gossip and disapproving shaking of heads. Guilty as charged. It was heartwarming though to now see this union which was obviously meant to be get the official seal of approval. Bride and groom radiated happiness and it was a beautiful wedding. Often happiness you have to fight for seems all the sweeter and more deserved, but I still naively wish that dating/loving/marriage would be simple and straightforward, with clear communication, no casualties on the way and no tears for anyone involved. One can dream.

Monday, April 03, 2017

From Meltdown to Midtown

Last week, on Tuesday afternoon, something happened to me that was like a badly scripted Hollywood movie. I received bad news that hit me really hard. Worst of all, I did not see it coming. Silly me. What is worse, I had interpreted the "IMPORTANT!!" in my calendar invite as a good sign and had been giddy the whole day. I'll spare you the details, but I had a little meltdown. And then another on Wednesday. And then, on Thursday, I left for New York with the Empress for a long overdue girly weekend break that we had talked about for years. The perfect diversion if there ever was one! As I a writing this, I am still there and enjoying every minute of it. Admittedly, the weather could be (a lot) better, but otherwise no complaints! I had last been to NYC in 2008 (twice that year, in fact) and had almost forgotten just how awesome this city is. Highly recommended if you need a change of scenery!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Escape Artists

What would you do if you had long weekends every week and were "young", free and single with a nice disposable income? Let me guess, you would say "travel". Followed by "finally getting XY done in the house", followed by "taking up a new hobby". Am I right? Well, I have a confession to make. It sucks if you have all this free time on your hands and few people who are on the same schedule and available to entertain you when you want them to. Case in point - 90% of all after-work events in Vienna take place on Thursday nights. This is wise planning as for many people, Friday is the least demanding day of the week at work and they can go home earlier. Still, my dreams of being able to sleep in on Friday mornings pretty have much remained pipe dreams as I can literally count my Thursdays out since October when my new part-time schedule began on the fingers of one hand. Not the end of the world, but a source of continuing frustration for me. It's not that I can't find things to do on my own (I grew up an only child after all and quite enjoy me-time), neither is there a lack of projects I could (should!) tackle at home, but I can't help feeling cheated of all the fun times I had envisaged.
Luckily, though, just as I am about to toast myself in a pity party for one on the occasion of the boring long weekend ahead of me, typically at least one friend contacts me, who is just as eager for company and wishes to drown their weekday sorrows in a cold beverage or two. Here's to laundry unironed and windows uncleaned!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hanging Out With the Kids

With very few exceptions, as an adult, I never really had friends who are considerably older than myself. In fact, when I was in my twenties, I found it positively odd that some people I knew counted people in their mid-thirties and even forties as friends and invited them to their birthday parties and weddings. When I started working at Coma HQ I was the youngest in my department and one of the youngest employees overall and only gradually realised that you could have fun and things in common with people older than yourself even when their lives and personal circumstances were quite different from your own.
Now, the situation is reversed and I have a lot of friends considerably younger than myself. This year, several of my colleagues who I get on really well with are turning 30, which makes me 1.5 times older than themseves. Eeek! On Saturday night, I was at a 30th birthday party, wondering what I must look like to attendees in their mid twenties. Will they wonder what such an old fart is doing there, or if I am one of the hostesses' mother or aunt? I used to be so intolerant and agist myself,  I would not even blame them in the least...

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Artist is Absent

For my birthday this year, Snow White gave me the hardcover edition of Marina Abramovic's autobiography Walk Through Walls with a lovely inscription. I appreciated the gift, but since I was not aware she had even written a memoir, I did not feel the urgency to start reading right away. I was familiar with her work, of course, in part because my parents were subscribed to ART literally for decades, in part because I often read about high-profile performances, such as The Artist Is Prsent in the media, or saw them advertised. I had never been to any of her performances myself and have to admit that this genre of art is not really my kettle of fish, most of the time. 
When my Mum recently was in Vienna, she saw the book next to my sofa and got quite excited. I know that she loves reading autobiographies of interesting women in general (I do, too), but since my mother is an artist herself, she was of course extra interested. She started leafing through the book and even though she is not all that keen on reading books in English, she asked me if I could lend it to her. I offered to give it to her to read first, but as she was in Vienna by public transport, she did not really fancy carrying this fat hardcover monster and asked me to bring it with me when I visit my parents for Easter. Well, since she was so intrigued, I took the book and started reading...and got completely sucked into the story until I had finished it. It is well-written, interspersed with photos. In a nutshell, it documents the life of a woman completely and utterly committed to her work. Besides, the difficult relationship with her parents and her passionate and ultimately disappointing long-term relationships are deeply moving. 
I am always in awe when somebody lives their passions and feels they have a mission and can't stop until their work is completed, be that horticulture, teaching, or inventing technology - it doesn't matter really. Some people are just so completely consumed by their Master Plan and willing to endure and sacrifice  everything in order to complete it. In comparison, I feel ridiculous leading the "mehp" kind of life of the majority of people who do not burn for what they do in their job that pays the bill and don't really achieve grand things after hours, either. 
I guess New Year's resolutions are just as good in March as they are in January.
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