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.

Monday, December 02, 2019

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Christmas!

Every year, I love preparing my little flat here in Vienna for Christmas and going all out with decorating, baking and all the rest. I would not miss it for the world! It is slightly ironic, though,  as I've never actually celebrated Christmas here in Vienna, but always in Klagenfurt with my parents. This year is no different, with the exception that my "Happy Merry" lightbox reflects my current mood very accurately. For me, Christmas is a family affair and I don't think along the lines of "All I want for Christmas is YOU" at all. Highflyer has to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year anyway and even if he did not, I would expect him to celebrate with his family. For me, birthdays (as in: mine or my loved ones, not Jesus') are way more important and I do expect the royal treatment then rather than on Christmas. Christmas time for me is a tradition more than anything and an excellent excuse to indulge in some of my favourite things: gift-giving, baking and decorating.

Monday, November 25, 2019

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Had to be...

Before I properly got to know Highflyer, in the early "negotiation" or "interview" phase, so to speak, he asked me what I was looking for in a man. I wanted to give it proper thought and not fire away instantly as is my usual modus operandi, but deliberate carefully before putting it into writing. In a nutshell, I told him that (in addition to being drop-dead handsome and funny, obviously) I wanted someone who treats me with respect and does not see himself as a victim of circumstances, but who takes action. My definition was met with approval and things proceeded smoothly from there. As I was writing my reply, I was actually aware that "being treated with respect" sounded a) pretty obvious and b) was a rather cheesy cliché. I have since come to realise that despite being both, it really is one of the things I missed most in past "it's complicated" scenarios that, back then, I so wished would turn into a serious relationship. It's simply not enough for one party to treat the other with respect, it has to be mutual (unless of course one of them is a masochist and likes to suffer or being made awful...) in order to have potential. Clichés truly can be wonderful, sometimes...

Monday, November 18, 2019

On Being the Antichrist. If not Worse.

As a notorious people-pleaser who wants to be liked, if not loved, by pretty much everyone, it took me a while to come to terms with the fact that, in a certain circle of friends, I seem to represent Evil Incarnate. I used to considered myself an (emotionally) intelligent, environmentally-conscious, waste-avoiding person and even now slap myself on the shoulder for not buying that sexy fruit or vegetable flown in from faraway countries even if there was no locally grown alternative.
All my efforts are annihilated completely, however, by my passion for air travel (long-distance even), persistant use of Uber and the like and the fact that I not only buy clothes and accessories whose origin I can track down to the very person who produced them. Mind you, I really don't buy from brands who are notorious for their sweat shops and have considerably cut down on the instant-gratification spending I was known for in my twenties and thirties, but I don't look at every label to put it back on the shelf if it was not produced in a country where bad practices have occurred.
So, whenever I meet with said circle of friends, I more or less anticipate the inevitable lecture and I have stopped defending myself or even mentioning what I've been up to recently as it invariably involves highlighting some bad behaviour of mine that negatively impacts the climate or human rights. It's not that I approve of everything that my friends do either and you can count on me for being that person who often blurts out the first thing that comes into her mind, but I have made a conscious effort not to be so openly judgemental as I now know first hand how uncomfortable it can make you feel to be singled out as the baddie in an otherwise rather homogenous group of people. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Good Karma

Last week, I briefly felt like the world was conspiring against me. The night we returned to Brisbane, the Australian's car broke down (the "coolant" alert came on  on and when we continued to drive after refilling the coolant tank with water, there was steam coming out of the bonnet and we spent a long time waiting for the service guy) and had to be towed to the garage. Also, my suspicion that I had NOT left my expensive beloved noise cancelling headphones at her place in Brisbane before leaving for Airlie Beach, but rather left them in the seat pocket on the flight from Cairns to Brisbane was confirmed. Plus it turned out I had left my travel adapter for electrical devices plugged in my hotel room in Airlie Beach. I was really frustrated and angry at myself. 
Even though I pitied my friend most for having to potentially purchase a new car (hers is a 2005 vintage) after likely motor damage. I suddenly got a panicky feeling of doom and gloom and weird foreboding. The fact that I had left/lost those things despite having made a deliberate mental note (obviously forgetting that my mental capacity was at "low" these days) not to. After a series of seriously stupid actions on my part, most famously leaving my handbag at the supermarket, I really was concerned where "this" all was leading. What next?
I could barely sleep that night and kept spiralling into a vortex of "what ifs", also slightly miffed that Highflyer who had texted a few encouraging words did not seem to grasp just how much this concerned me and how much I wanted to be comforted right then. 
The next morning after reclaiming my headphones at the BNE airport Lost & Found (Yay, it was as easy as that!) we were encouraged to take an earlier flight than the originally scheduled one, which we did. Once we had checked in our bags and proceeded to the gate, I suddenly wondered if this was exactly the kind of scenario you read about: somebody catching a different flight from the one they had planned to take, without notifying anyone back home. That person was lucky as the original plane would tragically crash, causing relatives to experience a tearful "miracle". Or, was it the other way around that the news reports focused on people who ended up dying because rescheduling their flight? Which would it be? As the reason for us being put on the earlier flight was a forecast thunderstorm and likely delays caused by it, I was mildly concerned. Well, we obviously made it, as did all other Virgin Australia planes that day and by the end of the day, that visceral feeling of foreboding slowly evaporated.
In fact, the Australian was right when she said she believed in good karma (she had given an elderly lady a lift with her car the same day it broke down) and she was right. Not only could her old car be repaired at little cost, but I was reunited with my headphones and all was good in the end. Even more so, our flight SIN-MUC on Saturday night departed on time and was not cancelled due to Lufthansa cabin crew strike like the Thursday and Friday services were.
All's well that ends well, but I suppose the lesson for me here is to be more vigilant and attentive if only not to have to experience this kind of vague panic and frustration at myself again.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Summer Child

As I am writing this, I am in Brisbane, Australia, enjoying perfect spring weather that feels more like summer to me. While I am definitely NOT one of these people who ever feel the need to "escape" from European winter and never want to spend Christmas by the beach, these weather conditions and scenery truly recharge my batteries and all "autumn ailments" like dry hands that want to be moisturised every time I wash my hands or cracks in my finger tips that are either caused by (over)heated rooms or cold outside temperatures...or both (I am still trying to find out what causes these) disappear immediately. Summer temperatures and blue skies really makes me happy and more energised and even though it gets dark here very early in the evening, it really feels like longer and more productive days and I am enjoying my "bonus time" to the fullest.
I do look forward to returning to foggy and chilly autumn in the Northern hemisphere, but I know already that my next visit to Australia (maybe together with Highflyer who has never been?) whenever that may be, will take happen around the same time of the year when I can sneakily extend summer and fill up my vitamin D reservoir before embracing those dark winter months back home.

Monday, October 28, 2019

1995 Revisited

When this post goes live, I will hopefully have arrived safe and sound in Australia, somewhat recovered from jetlag. I planned this trip with Chiquita months ago when Highflyer was not on the horizon. As the trip got closer, so did my dread of being separated for 17 long days from him. Yes, absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, but, seriously, my fondness-level is off the scale already and I don't need any trials to prove that. At the same time, I was looking forward to the trip.
I was reminded of my US/Canada roadtrip with my Mum in 1995. I had just got together with Mr. TD and was madly in love. The other people on our 3-weeks-trip were a family friend and her teenage daughter, who had met her first boyfriend only weeks before and was in a sulking love-sick state all of our trip. Myself, I lived for payphones that accepted VISA cards. Every few days I would make expensive calls to Mr. TD's parents' landline in Istanbul. More was not affordable on a student budget and even that was more than our teenage travel companion had to work with and I think she kind of hated me for the advantage I had over her. When I was not talking to him on the phone, I felt this visceral longing for my boyfriend that had me counting the days until our reunion, but at the same time made me feel guilty for not fully appreciating this once-in-a-lifetime trip, a generous gift of my parents. This time round, I paid for everything myself, but I still feel I owe it to myself and even more so, my travel companion, to enjoy the moment...which I will!
Even so, I know I'll defintely be counting the days until our (hopefully happy) reunion in Vienna.
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