Monday, April 26, 2021

Off Grid

On Saturday afternoon I had arranged to meet the Empress for a walk in Lainzer Tiergarten, a popular recreation area in the outskirts of Vienna. Unfortunately Google Maps, which I always use for navigation in my car, did not direct me to the main gate where we were supposed to meet, but to a different one (20 minutes apart by car) which I did not realise until I parked my car as where I ended up, there was absolutely no mobile coverage. I asked a lady how far I was from the other gate and decided to take a shortcut through the park while restarting my phone several times, not sure if there was simply no reception or if there was an outage by my phone provider. Unfortunately I had started walking into the opposite direction and when I asked a group of elderly hikers if I was on the right route to the main gate, adding that I could not use my phone, they confirmed "oh yes, there's no phone coverage here." At this stage I was not sure whether the Empress would still be waiting at all and decided to walk back to my car and call her (back, assuming correctly that she had tried to contact me in the meantime) as soon as my mobile network was accessible again. Eventually I ended up at the arranged meeting point pretty much one hour late having had to circle around for a parking spot as well.
I felt both flustered (I hate being late!) and stupid (are we really that useless and non-functioning without our mobile phones?!) and it reminded me of a similar situation a few years ago when my phone slid out of the back pocket of my jeans on a bus in Zurich and it cost me quite some stress and money to get it back. I suppose it's that feeling of helplessness, knowing that actually everything is fine (I'm okay and in no danger, the sun is shining and my friend won't get cold waiting) and yet it's extremely awkward (I was putting myself in her shoes knowing that I would be extremely worried if someone whom I knew to be always on time did neither show up, nor answer their phone and messenges only yielded that one dash telling you they had been sent, but not delivered yet) and annoying. With few exceptions (elevators, a few buildings with very thick walls, and my office actually) you do not expect to not have any signal in Vienna...and it's not that pay phones are still a thing. If there is one learning, I'll check the suggested route on Google Maps next time before setting off...

Monday, April 19, 2021

Not All Rosey, But All Good

Apart from the fact that it was a pretty action-packed and long week, work-wise, last week also burst some of my expectations or rather, things that I had been looking forward to simply did not happen as planned. One of those burst bubbles caused major frustration for a minute or two, but as the saying goes, when one window closes another opens, and it actually did. I was reminded of many moments the past when I was in the middle of throwing a Pity Party with a capital "P" (mostly because of love-sickness) at the same time feeling guilty about taking myself and my tiny insignificant problems so seriously in view of other people having it so much worse. Let me just say, a global pandemic really helps to put things in perspective and so, after shedding a few crocodile tears, as we like to say, I pulled myself together and rolled eyes at myself, happy that I was healthy, in a well-paid job and above all, got to spend so much time together with the man I love and who I have so much fun with, every single day. That being said, it's okay to feel a little under the weather even if there may not be such a "good" reason for it, as long as you don't let it out on others.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Another One of Those Things...

Just as I had never imagined myself as the type to enjoy living in a little village the only shops of which are a BILLA and a horse (!) butcher, nor as someone who'd bake her own bread (have not bought bread at a bakery or supermarket this year at all), I always found "gardening" one of the top 5 most boring subjects of conversation and pitied people whose lives seemed controlled by the need to water their plants, rake leaves, protect vegetables and flowers from hailstones, etc. Having a garden of my own was never a priority of mine, but ever since the rocket salad I planted last year grew like weed and survived the winter frost I got a little hooked and asked Highflyer to "donate" a stretch of lawn to my project. I have now sown a medley of edible and purely decorative stuff, partly forgetting which I distributed where and am now waiting for those flowers and vegetables to slowly emerge from the soil. I'm taking a very chilled approach and the garden furniture I ordered weeks ago and which is scheduled to arrive later this week probably excites me more, but still: the joy of a (tiny) garden! This pandemic has changed me in more ways than I would ever have imagined and I'm not mad about it...

Monday, April 05, 2021

Opposites Attract

These days, when you hear the word "test", the first association is probably "Covid test". Well, we've been taking plenty of those, too, recently, but I got Highflyer a different, and more expensive, kind of test for his birthday. Well, actually it was more a present for myself and I felt slightly guilty as he bravely clicked through all 177 questions while I kept him motivated with the promise of dinner. It was the Gallup/Clifton Strenghtsfinder test that I'd been eager for him to take for a long time. If you have ever worked in a corporate environment in general, and in an L&D environment in particular, you will have come across different types of questionnaires that are used as a team building instrument. They focus on preferences, psychological wiring, leadership and communication skills and are called HBDI, DISC, Insights Discovery, PCM, Wingfinder, etc., etc. My personal favourite has always been the Strenghtsfinder (fun fact: some colleagues of mine pronounce it "strangefinder") assessment that evaluates your strengths and talents and, among other things, lets others (i.e. your team mates when used in a work environment) understand better why you are so good and quick at certain things while you really dislike and are not great at others. There are 34 strengths (in the cheaper version you only get your top 5) and I have experienced that people can really relate to their results. My top 2 are "adaptability" and "empathy" and I can definitely relate. 
Why was I so interested in getting Highflyer to take the questionnaire? Well, because I was convinced (and ultimately was proven right) that his strengths would be very different from mine. It turned out that his top two, "analytical" and "harmony" are in fact at the very bottom of MY list, i.e. 34 and 33 out of 34 whereas my top two rank in the bottom third of his list. Is that a good thing or a bad thing now? You can interpret it either way, but I personally find it fascinating as I find it proof for the theory that a) opposites attract and b) that people who are apparently wired really differently complement one another in the best possible ways. In fact, we have not had a single disagreement in all the time we've known each other (the past 12 months of which we've spent more or less joint at the hip, thanks to this pandemic) and are so great at communicating I often catch myself thinking "wow, it can just be so easy! Who'd have known!". I don't think we could be more different in the way we approach things and our general look on life, but we are actually an example of the main message of using this evaluation in a team setup, i.e. that in order for a team to be successful and work well, you should not hire people who all share the same strengths, but combine different ones. Yep, not only works in the workplace.

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