Monday, February 28, 2022

Upside Down and Personal


It was- a weird week. Russia invaded the Ukraine...a country that is not much farther away from Vienna than our westernmost province of Vorarlberg. My work-week did not end on Friday due to all-day workshops on Thurs-Sat, which deprived me of a proper two-day weekend. Just like the previous week I had quite a bit of in-person social interaction (fingers crossed that the tests continue to come up negative) and I was once more reminded to not postpone things and to seize the day. On Friday morning, having just checked the news headlines to make sure Putin had not declared war on the EU yet, I received a text message from a friend that I had to read twice to make sense of and to truly absorb the meaning She informed me that her husband and nephew had died in an avalanche in Switzerland. Just like that. I had briefly seen both her and her husband on the slopes in Carinthia on December 28 and now she is a widow. When I mentioned this to a colleague later that day, she asked if it was the same case of the 52-year-old and 18-year-old she had read about on a news site the day before. I googled and yes, the almost identical short article had appeared in almost all national newspapers and more. I had read so many factual reports on similar incidents before, thinking "tragic", but then forgetting it. Obviously it's different when you know the people behind the headlines. Just like the statistics of dead soldiers and civilians in Ukraine who are either just numbers or personal tragedies.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Social Butterfly

After having lived an extremely isolated life for almost 2 years, with minimal social interaction and not more than an average of 2 dates with friends in an average (non-lockdown) week, this past week was absolutely exceptional. Two dinner invitations, 2 restaurant visits with friends, a surprise party for my birthday at Frida's and a breakfast date. I also broke my personal Covid-test high-score, doing 4 PCR and 4 home antigen tests last week to be on the safe side. I could definitely get used to leading a less reclusive life again and it was so nice to see some people whom I had not seen for months and to catch up with them in person. I also got spoilt with extra special birthday gifts including art and jewellery. My friends are the best and it's simply great to see (and hug) them again.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Alone at the Ranch or: Split Personality

I have mentioned before that the biggest life-changing event for me, after that certain pandemic, of course, of 2020 and beyond was the fact that I discovered my "rural" or rather "suburban" side. I seriously would never have imagined that I would prefer to spend a weekend in a semi-detached house in a little village that offers no sights, nor retail opportunities. Well, it's become more extreme even: I prefer to spend time there even when Highflyer is not around for several days as is the case at the moment.  For once, my home office set-up is better and more comfortable with better internet, too. The fridge is better-stocked and all my baking equipment is here as is my Cricut and other DIY stuff. Also, it's nice to have more space and be able to look (and step) outside into the garden and to go for a walk without meeting anyone other than rabbits or deer. It's a bit like a "retreat" of sorts even though the novelty has long worn off now and I have definitely left my footprint pretty much in every corner.
Whenever I am in Vienna, though, I immediately think "aaaah, how lovely to see people and be able to get things from shops as opposed to ordering everything online. And all the beautiful buildings! And all the things I can do! And isn't it nice to eat out for a change! I feel like a tourist in my hometown and still instantly fall back into city-mode without the slightest effort.
Somehow I have developed this split personality that loves pottering around in a house and yet is glad she has her city base as well. I'm happy to accept it, but still it continues to amaze me.

Monday, February 07, 2022

Theory vs. Practice

Highflyer is an absolute chess addict and often plays it online on an app multiple times a day. When we were in Tyrol, I got him to teach me the game (someone had already shown me when I was a child but I forgot everything for lack of practice) on an actual board and we have been playing occasionally ever since. Me pretty badly, him with admirable patience and didactic passion. He has often tried to get me to do some exercises by learning how to get out of tricky situations or to checkmate him. I have mostly politely declined as this is so not my preferred mode of learning. I want to experiment (even if it doesn't work out) and learn by doing, not by discipline and memorising. You could argue that I'm simply lazy (I won't disagree) but anything that reminds me in the slightest of maths or other Science formulas makes my brain freeze and prevents me from actually learning anything. Also, I am easily triggered by (even well-meant and not patronising at all) mansplaining and wanted to scream in frustration when a nerdy colleague at the Firm would immediately leap at a whiteboard or flipchart when you asked him any kind of question to draw some elaborate charts or diagrams. I just wanted a brief and simple answer, not an info-graphic even though his penmanship and drawing skills were admirable. When playing a game, I want to understand the rules and then just go for it and try to gradually improve by learning from my mistakes.

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