Monday, July 27, 2015

Things that Made Me Happy Last Week: Week 30

1. The fact that I had a (super nerve-racking, but at the same time, entertaining) visitor in Carinthia.
2. Revisiting some places where I had not been in ages, such as Landskron (see picture).
3. Realising that I really have switched off from everything work-related completely with no temptation whatsoever to check my work e-mails.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mini Bucket-List

I've now completed 3 out of my 13 weeks out of the office and enjoyed every one of them. I already mentioned that my manager tried to convince me that I would come back "a changed person", which almost sounded as if I had to change a gazillion things about my life before being allowed to show my face again at the Firm. I have no such intentions, only a few plans (see my book project and yes, I have written 3 chapters so's a start). Let me list what I would *like* to do this summer, but what I definitely don't regard as a failure if it doesn't get done. In my book, outdoor activities take utmost priority and I am more than happy about the great weather (give or take a few thunderstorms) we have had:
1. Try SUP (done, but I want to do it again, hopefully with less shaky knees)
2. Finish some DIY projects (made 10+ bracelets last week, which gave me a great sense of accomplishment)
3. Look at my Russian language materials and revise before resuming my 1:1 course in October.
4. Check social media and e-mails less often (not very successful so far)
5. Don't obsess about a certain person too much (not that successful either and somewhat related to 4.)
6. Resist the urge to buy stacks of magazines for the lake and read some of my book backlog instead (not doing too badly on that front)
7. Switch this blog to a new template or new provider altogether (looked into it, but don't want to do it half-baked and am also afraid to f*** it up and lose the archive)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Things that Made Me Happy Last Week: Week 29

It was a rather tough week with a death in the family and a severe thunderstorms in our area, but there were plenty of things that made me happy nonetheless.
1. Finally getting down to tackling some DIY projects...with materials that had been sitting around for ages.
2. Spontaneously trying stand up paddling...which turned out to make me super dizzy, but never mind.
3. Booking the last one-way flight for my September adventure (Australia+Japan). All flights and hotels are booked now and I am getting quite excited!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Toy Or Why Are Camera Cases So Effing Ugly?!

My trusty compact camera has had a blind spot on its lense since my last visit to Almaty, which triggered "project DSLR" to resurface. I had already ordered the Pentax K50 in January when Ricoh Imaging (who own Pentax) had a cashback offer, but then Amazon could not deliver on time and I cancelled my order. Well, this time it worked and I ordered this pretty baby in white + additional lens. Bag fetishist that I am, my next thought was to look for a nice protective case aka camera bag. "Nice" being the deal breaker. OMFG, have you ever done research into camera bags? Unless my web-searching/online shopping skills took a sudden plunge for the worst, the whole genre seems to be stuck in a time warp and all I could find looked like the bag equivalent of trekking sandals - dull, masculine and screaming "I'm damn practical, hence I can be as ugly as I want to, duh!". I searched some forums, which yielded links to "feminine" bags with camera pouches inside. Ok, these were comparatively easy on the eye, but made of faux leather (nowadays marketed as "vegan leather"... best marketing ploy ever), which I don't like.
Long story short, I decided to make something myself and packed a nice piece of Japanese cotton fabric I bought on my last visit to Tokyo. My Mum had all the requisite accessories for my project sitting around in her study and so I made the little cases pictured above that allow me to just pop camera and extra lens into any bag big enough to fit them. Result!
Pretty pleased with the camera's performance, too, by the way.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Things that Made Me Happy Last Week: Week 28

1. Swimming in my favourite lake in the world.
2. Being able to cycle pretty much everywhere, unlike in Vienna. O.k., I could do that there as well, but I find it either too dangerous or inconvenient.
3. Rediscovering the joy of reading old school "offline" books, as in printed on real paper. I missed that. To be honest, I hadn't read much else than magazines or blogposts for months.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

So, How's the Book Coming Along?

Today I have been on vacation/sabbatical for one full week. It was the first time since my university days that I was in Vienna for so long without being at work. Very nice indeed. I got a lot done, met friends every day and managed to go swimming almost daily. My Russian teacher remarked yesterday that I looked so refreshed and relaxed, and this is exactly how I feel despite the heat we have been having. 
I have tried not to annoy (working) friends too much by rubbing it in every time we talk or meet just HOW awesome it is to be on this long holiday. However, they have found a way to (ever so slightly ) annoy me in turn by asking from day one "Sooo, how's that book of cours coming along?" or "How many pages have you written already?" I deliberately *announced* to pretty much everyone that I was planning to write a book (i.e. at least begin) when on my sabbatical. This is very contrary to my usual policy of not talking about projects before they are finished, just because I wanted to put a little pressure on myself this time. However, I never intended to stick to a rigid schedule and attack the keyboard from day one, but start whenever I feel like it and also make use of my time alone (I will be travelling solo for almost the entire month of September). 
In fact, I really enjoyed being away from my laptop a bit as it is after all something I associate with work. So. Book. Coming up, I promise, but at my time.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Things that Made Me Happy Last Week: Week 27

1. Perfect summer weather of my sabbatical so far. Just like those first days of summer vacation in my youth. I am sure we didn't have sunshine every day, but memory, she's a biased b****.
2. Being able to go swimming on weekdays. The bliss!
3. Dates with friends almost every day and night.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Giddy with Excitement

Today is my first day of 3 months off work. I am so beyond excited, you have no idea! Yesterday, as I was wrapping up various things and killing hous before it was an acceptable time to shoot off some e-mails and activate my out-of-office autoreply, I felt exactly as I did when I was at school and I had blissfully long summer holidays ahead. To be precise, it felt like that summer after graduating from high school when I also had full 3 months to look forward to before university started (normal summer school summer holidays are 2 months long). But even that summer was not quite as carefree as I was a little bit apprehensive what uni would bring and if I had made the right choice of subjects to take (I completely changed my plans about 3 times that summer). Later on, as a student, I would usually have exams to study for in autumn or (rarely, being a spoilt only child) a summer job that interrupted the sweet laziness. 
My manager, to whom I am very much grateful for so readily signing off my sabbatical, kept insisting that "you will come back a changed person, you will see", but to be honest I don't really have such BIG expectations at all. All I want to do is enjoy 3 whole months of no obligations, no work, no exams, nothing, but doing things I want to do with people I want to see, at a pace that suits me. Sure, I could wait until I am retired, but who know can promise me that I won't have some ailment that will prevent me from doing so. Why postpone if now feels right?
A digital detox is probably the best thing to do while I'm gone, but I am not sure if and to what extent I will be able to pull that off (sad internet addict, me), so you can expect to see the odd post here in addition to the usual weekly ones. Stay tuned.
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