Monday, September 17, 2018

Belonging or: One Year Later

Last Friday, THE annual company-wide event took place: a relay team triathlon with hundreds of participants. From what I found out, it always takes place in September. Last year, the triathlon hype completely bypassed me and on the day it took place I had a hearing with external training vendors with 2 other colleagues at the office. It was only when I saw photo and video coverage on our corporate Facebook channels and heard colleagues rave about the fun they had, that I realised it might be worth going the next year. I always only intended to attend as a "fan" (every team gets to nominate one fan to accompany them and cheer them on) until I ended up agreeing to sub for a swimmer that dropped out the day before. As it is not a "real" triathlon, i.e. with considerably shorter distances, the 250 m of swimming was not such a big deal and I did have great fun. The biggest revelation and partial contributor to said fun, however, was that as I was in and around the event tent, I met and said "hi" to many people I got to know during the 14 something months I've been with Household Name by now. Had I attended last year, less than three months after I started, I would definitely have felt the need to stick to the few colleagues I already knew (which might well have annoyed them). I am not a shy introvert by any means, but it does feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable when you are in a huge crowd and basically don't know anyone. Way different this year! As I was sitting eating overcooked pasta with my best work friend (the one I wrote about here), whom I have decided to call Bestie Boy here, bitching about people analysing our sporty performances he agreed that it is actually incredible how many people we now both recognise. I realised that this sense of belonging was something I had missed. At the Firm, I was one of a handful of people with the longest tenure at the Vienna office and  felt I knew "everyone" at several other offices abroad, too. Also, the sheer size of Friday's event made me think of the many company events I attended in the past decade. Well-organised fun events that were some of the greatest memories of my time at the Firm...where in retrospect it probably also took me a year to feel I really belonged, but my nostalgia made me forget that detail.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Something to Look Forward to

This past weekend, I was in Klagenfurt, getting to enjoy the lake weekend that I had forgone due to the wedding I had to return to Vienna for last month. The weather was beautiful and I got to go swimming just as planned. 
The Friday I arrived, my Mum also received the itinerary for our trip to East Canada in less than two weeks time. It is a package tour (my birthday gift) and I checked out the hotels that were listed and made a seat reservation on the Lufthansa website for the two of us. What with all my gazillion weekend trips this year, I had not put too much thought to that trip until very recently, to be honest. Now that the trip is getting closer and we have more details, I am looking forward to revisiting a country that I had only visited once, 23 (!) years ago and am beginning to paint those vague images I had in my head with bright colours. Our roundtrip includes a visit to Niagara Falls, which is definitely a bullet point on my bucket list that will be ticked off.
In general, I love having things to look forward to (well, I guess that's human nature and not a rare condition): trips abroad (or to my parents' and the lake), meeting friends I have not seen in a while, dressing up for going OUT out, trying a new cake recipe that I know my colleagues will appreciate, getting started on a new DIY project, you name it. Pretty much every Monday to Friday I am seriously looking forward to the weekend and this is actually some thing I think I might miss when I am retired or be in the lucky situation (not that likely in the near future) that I won't have to go to work any more.

Monday, September 03, 2018

My Happy Place

As I am writing this, there are no blue skies like last Monday when I took these first photos on the last day of validity of my 3 months card for Vienna's municipal outdoor pools. I managed to use it 28 times, this summer, 3 more than in 2017 when I first decided to get such a "season ticket". While there are many more pools to choose from, "Strandbad Alte Donau" which I also discovered only last year, became my absolute favourite. Not only does it only take me 15 minutes from the office, but I simply love its charming retro flair. It is a place where I can switch off the minute I pass the gates and get handed my locker key for the changing rooms. When the weather is not so great or I have plans later that evening, I only go there for a quick swim, others, I catch the last rays of evening sun and read until closing time or meet a friend whom I introduced to this gem this summer. 

I love the no-nonsense 1960s (?) architecture, the many flower arrangements with great attention to detail and all the (mostly elderly) regulars that play cards, share slices of watermelon and run after grandchildren. For children, old-school entertainment is provided and I once got really nostalgic when I saw a group of them peacefully draw on the concrete tiles in front of the changing rooms with crayons, no electronic device in sight.
I would not mind owning one of those houses along the banks of the Old Danube, but looking at them is okay, too. I particularly love the sailboats that are the icing on the cake of my postcard-perfect escapist vacation mood.

Example of the omnipresent flower arrangements:

My friend likes to lay by the old wooden bridge, which is pretty impressive, too:
From your sunbed you look up to the sky and the tops of some seriously tall trees:

Looking forward to next season!


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