Monday, July 31, 2023

Back to the Roots

(All of) last week I was in my old hometown. First, there were team-building activities, after that it was workation by day and old routines and activities after work. Among them, going to the lake and watching a film at an open-air cinema that has been around since the summers of my school years. Some things have changed since my childhood days at both locations apart from more expensive ticket prices (e.g. no more softserve icecream at Standbad, alas, and more comfortable seats at the cinema) but overall it really feels like a trip down memory lane and cities like Vienna seem to have changed at a much more rapid pace than small towns like Klagenfurt. I still drive the car on metaphorical autopilot regardless of minor changes to roads or paid parking at many place and even though many shops or even shopping areas have long been replaced by others, I still know what to get where. It feel reassuring and comfortable in a way, but every time  I am also reminded why I chose to leave for the anonimity and more international flair of Vienna almost 33 (!) years ago now. Klagenfurt still remains a hot candidate for retirement, though, not only because of some "real estate options", but also because I know that some friends will do the same.

Monday, July 24, 2023



I have a friend who seems to have disappeared from the face of the Earth. I really do not know why.  The only explanations I can think of is that either something bad happened to her or that she decided to ghost me. Both options are very disturbing, if for different reasons. Let's rewind. This person is a friend from school whom I've kept in touch with over the years. She returned to Carinthia years ago and pre-Covid we always had the tradition to meet between Christmas and New Year's when I was back "home". Sometimes, we would also meet in summer as we did last August a few weeks before my wedding, which she also attended. We didn't meet last Christmas as I was in town only for a few days and since then the only signs of life were her birthday wishes to me in January and her reactions to me congratulating her on hers in April. Previously, we would message occasionally and sometimes talk on the phone. This happened rarely as our schedules were so different. I work office hours, she has a similar schedule to farmers. She often said she envied me because of my career and private life (even when I was single for years) because she felt she was stuck in a low-paid and hard labour self-employment situation and a not exactly happy marriage. Truth be told, I often felt like the therapist in this friendship and always tried to a) cheer her up, b) provide her with options of what she could actually do if she wanted to change her life and c) try and convince her that my life was not "perfect" either. She probably contacted me more often than vice versa and when I first noticed that I hadn't heard from her and that I had not seen her online on Instagram (where she had this more or less "passive" account but would often like post of mine or watch my Stories) for months I immediately found it very out of character. There were several times when was about to pick up my phone to call her when I looked at the time and thought I'd probably disturb her, so I ended up not calling. When I  finally did, the phone just rang and then went to voicemail, but I did not leave one. I called again the next day, somewhat puzzled that she had neither called back, nor written a message to explain what she was doing that kept her from answering the phone. A few days later I texted her on WhatsApp to ask if she was alright. No response. I dug out her e-mail address and wrote to her. No response. I found her on LinkedIn and sent her a dm, which went unanswered. I went on her Instagram profile and noticed that she had deleted all picures bar one. I dm-ed her there and did not receive a reply, either, nor get an indication that she had been online or received my message. Something was off and I was getting very worried. The WhatsApp message showed that it had been delivered, but the "seen" time stamp was left blank, just as with people who have deactivated the blue ticks option. If I were blocked I would not even get the delivery info. I googled her husband and found his mobile number. I sent him a message saying that I had not heard from her for a long time and was worried because there was no response from her on any channel. His friendly reply came within minutes telling me that everything was fine, they had just been on vacation for a few days. He thanked me for my concern and told me he would let her know. I replied that I was relieved, expecting to hear from her within hours. This was a few days ago and I still have not heard from her. I also called from my work phone to check if it was just my number she didn't respond to. She doesn't know my work number and did not pick up either. Again, it went to voicemail after a few rings. Earlier today I sent her a screenshot of the short exchange with her husband, adding that I hoped he had told her I asked for her and could she please get in touch. Needless to say, no response. Just the information that my message was delivered. I have not ever seen her "online" at any time. It remains a mystery and I don't know if she has been kidnapped by aliens, joined a cult, or I did or said something to her (inadvertently) that she is pissed off about. If ever she does get in touch or I find out what happened, I shall let you know.

Monday, July 17, 2023



This time last year Covid was still very much at the top of my mind, in particular because of the implications and complications it came with, back then, such as potentially having to attend your own wedding wearing a mask (provided you'd be fit enough to do so) even if you had it already a few months ago and hopefully would be safe.
Well, this time round, the virus threw me a curveball as the Americans like to put it and I felt very "exotic" almost, provoking reactions along the lines of "Coronavirus? Seriously? Didn't know you could even still get it!" Well, you can, and thankfully, it caught me (or rather, I caught it) at a good time if there is such a thing. Not in the middle of a vacation (abroad), not when I was supposed to facilitate a workshop or attend in-person-meetings, so: not complaining. I just worked from home and cancelled all meetings with friends and a rescheduled a dentist checkup. It was intense, but short and no other (if a little shorter even) than your average common cold. Annoying (my worst symptoms were sneeze-attacks, up to 10 in a row) in particular in this weather, but absolutely "doable" and once more I was grateful that my sense of taste and smell were not affected, phew. Weirdly enough, Highflyer, who did not isolate himself one bit, did not catch it this time, so I guess I am the Chosen One, for whatever reason. The picture above shows my test on day 5 (that I noticed symptoms) when the T-line (scarlet red on the previous days) was only the slightest pink. On day 6 my test was clean and I felt more or less completely fit again. So, a little reminder-PSA: the pandemic might be officially over, but the virus is still around.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Live is Live

Last Friday night we sang along to Billy Joel at a concert in Hyde Park, London. It was perfect in every way: a performer (who rarely ever performs outside of NYC) in absolutely great form, all the hits of our teenage days we still know the words to, glorious weather and a well-behaved crowd (65.000 people). All going well, we have two more concert to look forward to this summer, both by bands of a similar demographic than Billy Joel, who's 74 years of age, so there's this something melancholic about these performances as you can't help thinking that this is probably the last time you'll get to see them perform live...

Monday, July 03, 2023

4 Years Ago Today...

Everyone who uses a smartphone with a photo app will know those friendly reminders what one did X years ago to the day. Google Photos is no different and last week I got a reminded that 4 years ago I spent a very nice weekend in Sofia with Chiquita and Bestie Boy. SO much has happened since then. Whereas the two of them have since changed employer(s) and addresses, yours truly got married to someone she had not even met back in June 2019 and spends half of her time in a village she had never heard of back then. Crazy, right? Due to this little global pandemic that happened it feels a lifetime ago and then again not. Mind. Blown.

eXTReMe Tracker

words and photos (unless otherwise indicated) and banner-design by retailtherapist