Sunday, August 25, 2019

Going Strong

I am not a very competitive person at all when it comes to professional challenges (sometimes so to a shocking degree), but I am weirdly competitive when it comes to childish and completely irrelevant things, such getting my money’s worth out of my 3-months ticket for Vienna’s summer pools. It will expire in two weeks and I have already used it 32 (!) times. I even went swimming when the weather was cold and grey, which meant that I sometimes was completely alone in the pool. I did not only do it to get value for money, but this little piece of plastic motivated me enough to go despite the weather.
This is just one example of silly competitiveness that keeps you motivated and makes you challenge yourself a bit. Doesn't hurt anyone in the process, but rewards you with a sense of accomplishment you get addicted to.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Tan Lines

I was recently talking about watches with a friend when she mentioned that she only ever wore hers in winter as she tried to avoid getting a tan line on her wrist. Whaaat? I could not believe it! How can you regard this as an unattractive thing?! Watching the progress of my summer tan on my wrist was so incredibly satisfactory when I was a teenager and I still love ALL my tan lines. I do not even want to have a seamless tan.
When I was a teenager I read a novel neither the title nor author of which I can remember. What I can remember vividly was that it was a coming of age story with a passage about the protagonist trying to impress the object of his juvenile desire and outdo his competitor by placing a love message in mirrored letters (cut out of newspaper) on his chest and patiently roasting in the sun until he was tanned enough for the white letters to be clearly visible for her. A true labour of love in my book!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Autopilot Holiday

This week, I am on my annual weekly summer vacation in Klagenfurt. As I spent the first eighteen years of my life here, I am of course still very familiar with the town. Last week I was in Nice for the tenth time (not counting my first visit passing through with my parents as a child). In autumn, I will be in Sydney for the fourth time. After Vienna, Sydney is probably my favourite city and thanks to a three-months work stint there, I have fond memories as I do of other places I have visited several times. 
Everybody understands that I come back to my birthplace where, after all, my parents live. Definitely not everyone understands why I am so keen on visiting Nice in the heat of summer or spend hours on planes to visit Australia, that many Europeans regard as a destination you visit once in your lifetime and then you're done.
For me, returning to places I have already been to (provided I liked them in the first place, that is) is a form of luxury and I relish the feeling of moving around like a local after a while. 
It is exciting to discover new places and to get to explore new destinations, but it is just as exciting not to have excitement, in the sense that there are no sights you feel obliged to tick off, no must-see places to take pictures of and most important, you can just navigate the city on autopilot, knowing exactly where you want to go. Despite that, you still discover new corners and get to witness gradual changes over the years, but you don't need a map. 
In a sense, I am addicted to this autopilot feeling and I also love being able to show other people my favourite spots like I did in Sofia, where I visited for the 25th time this June.

Monday, August 05, 2019



For most part of my adult life I absolutely despised cucumbers of the raw variety. I loved pickled ones in the form of gherkins, but I really, really gave cucumbers a wide berth, painstakingly removing them from Greek salad and elsewhere. In short: cucumbers and I just did not get on with each other. Until, suddenly, about two years ago, I started craving these baby ones I kept seeing in supermarkets and I have since often bought them as a snack for the pool or lake in summer. I am still not a fan of the big old cucumbers with thick skin, but can also eat these now.  Isn't it weird how our tastes change as we age and we suddenly enjoy something we used to hate? And it's not that I had never tasted cucumbers before and just decided I didn't like them like I am with sea creatures with tentacles or some Austrian traditional food of the very "rustic" variety (black pudding for example) that I won't even taste. Even weirder, when I met up with l'Italiana who was possibly an even worse cucumber-hater when I had last seen her, it turned out that she, too, now really loves them. What next?!?
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