31 Jan 2011
The past two to three weeks a number of things from the past have come back to bite me in the butt.
And maybe that is a good thing. I may need to clear a few things out, deal with things I should have dealt with a long time ago, but didn't. None of it is negative.At least not as long as I take care of it.
But it's one of the reasons I'm not blogging so intensively at the moment. There are a few others as well.
I will be back though.That much I can promise.
27 Jan 2011
I pass the mirror and don't quite recognise myself though. Very odd! The new glasses are fancy fancy and bigger than the old, that's apparently what's in fashion now.
Contemplating getting contacts as well but it seems I can't have the one day lenses but have to go for monthly ones? Anybody with experience? I don't want to use them every day but when I'm using sunglasses or doing sports and so. I am however a bit worried that it will be difficult to manage?
Oh well, I like the glasses too, they are a nice fashion accessoair so if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. But I think I should try: also so that I cab try strange lenses with strange motives for Halloween and Carneval... :-)
24 Jan 2011
I got a message from him that he is OK and he also posted using social media.
It really makes you think though. Of course about all the victims and their families, but also about yourself, and your situation. I know that with a broad network there will be a time when someone that I know well will get into trouble - it already happened a few times, even.
These things really works as a reminder: Enjoy life, have fun, surround yourself with people that you are happy with and that makes you happy. Don't stay in bad situations. Life is too short not to enjoy it. Not everything can be fun but it is important that the majority of it actually IS. You never know what will happen tomorrow.
Tell your friends how much they mean to you, and how you like to be around them.
But also very important: Don't always try to please everybody. You can't. Enjoy your own life and take responsibility for it - no one else will make sure that you have a good life, you have to ensure that you do yourself. But what is a good life? Well, that is the thing as well. It should not be what is a good life for everybody else, it is what YOU value. It may not be the same for every man and woman. We are all different, thankfully.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Don't waste time on energy thieves, it will not lead anywhere.
And stupid rules about what you are supposed to do and what not, and how you are supposed to be? Ignore them. You are supposed to be someone that YOU actually like. So what if it doesn't follow a certain norm. Be different then!
Remember. THERE IS NO RE-RUN!!! This is not a rehearsal. This is actually life!
22 Jan 2011
I guess I must be a good actress... Or it says more about them and their lack of perception than about me.
But at least I can cook...
And when the tap water is clean it is perfectly safe, article after article shows the same results. A few examples? This one, which is from "Planet Green" and was referenced by Huffington Post. Or from Food and Water where they point out the same thing: Bottled water is responsible for a large carbon print. There are many more examples.
So, I make a point of ordering tap water. Restaurants in Germany always, without any exceptions, bring bottled water if you just ask for water, most of the time it is even sparkling water. If you specify that you want non sparkling you may/will get it, but otherwise it is sparkling, because that is what most German drinks. But I want tap water. Therefore I always ask specifically for Tap water - Leidungswasser. Took a while for me to figure that one out actually, but nowadays I ask for tap water and I get it. Sometimes with a discussion but eventually it works out.
Until today (well, actually once in Köln (Cologne) I was denied too but otherwise, yes, I get my tap water.).
Went to this odd little place on Bismackstrasse here in town, Lauren's, after a good meal with some friends. We were just going for a drink. Took a bit of time for us to make our minds up but eventually I decided to have a cocktail and a glass of water with that - I like the idea of having water on the side. Asked for tap water, as I said that is normally a must. The waiter wrote down the drink, not the tap water, and moved on to the next one. I repeated "Tap water". He said "Yes, Yes". And made some quick note.
The drinks came in. The drinks the other ordered. I reminded him about my drink, and my tap water. It will come, he responded.
My drink came in, no tap water. I reminded him - new waiter now. He said yes, it is coming.
I waited. My water didn't show up. I got up to check where my tap water was. Met the staff. They said the water was coming.
And then a waiter is coming. With a tray with a glass with ice. And a bottle of water. Which I rejected. I DON'T WANT BOTTLED WATER. I thought. I didn't scream it, even though I wanted to. I said it, but I wanted to scream. It is really annoying. Don't bring be a bottle of water when I SPECIFICALLY asked for tap water. If you don't want to serve me tap water, you tell me that when I order, OK, and then we can take the discussion. DO NOT BRING ME BOTTLED WATER WHEN I ASK FOR TAP WATER, very annoying.
But anyhow, I just told them that no, I don't drink bottled water (and by the way, there are some bottled waters that are just horrible, they taste strange, one of them is the most popular tap water in Düsseldorf, apparently - and I just can't stand it, it is not my taste, so it is not just the fact that tap water is better for the environment, taste matters too). It is also silly, because I clearly ordered tap water, then I expect to get tap water or at least a "no". Don't try and bring me something I didn't order, will you!
Just a little later one of Lauren's older waiters, I suspect he may have been more senior, comes out and this is what he says:
The Authorities are not allowing them to serve tap water????!???!
I am amazed. Of all bad excuses this is the worst. So you are telling me that for the three years that I have been in Düsseldorf the other restaurants that always gave me tap water, even though I in some cases had to have the discussion, did break some rules? Sorry, but I don't believe that, not for a second. In my ears, that is just a really really bad excuse! The tap water in Germany is absolutely fine! Or are you trying to tell me that this very place, Lauren's, has such horrible pipes that they are not allowed to serve tap water from there?
So you are trying to tell me that your ice is made of bottled water? Because if you can't serve it to customers, surely you can't make ice of it, can you? And what about the rest? Surely you don't wash your salad in it, do you?
No, I didn't give them any tip.
And yes, I am whining.
It does bother me when I can't get tap water despite explicitly asking for it. I'll go home and drink my own water!
Because it HAS happened: I have been denied a glass of (proper) water in Düsseldorf!
21 Jan 2011
I am just boring realistic, and keeping my feelings to myself.
Something MUST have gone wrong. I wish at least a little bit of their romantic stroke would brush of me. I think it would be pretty nice to be swept of my feet, wouldn't it? Or sweep someone else of theirs!
20 Jan 2011
Also, the meeting with people is really what makes me tick, that is what I live for - regardless if it is at work, or at private events, or when travelling. I really, truly enjoy meeting people, but also just studying people. Sometimes I do want to just be alone, but there is nothing better than to go and sit in a café where I know no one, and just observe people, sometimes while reading a good book, or drawing, or something else.
Point being: I love people, and I enjoy interacting, in different ways.
I am usually OK with remembering people as well. I may not always remember their names, or exactly where I met them (even though that tends to come back to me after a little while). I may remember their voice, their scent - yes, it happens - their laughter, different people trigger different memories, but I usually do remember something about them.
That's why it gets so embarrassing when I run into a person, and can't, for the life of me, recognise him/her.
Last weekend I attended an absolutely brilliant party. Some friends - no, a lot of friends - were there. I came in late, as I had been away during the day. There were a lot of hellos and "how are you" exchanged. And then I came up to one of my friends, who was talking to a woman. I went up, stretched out my hand, and she said to me:
"But we have met before, why do you always introduce yourself to me?"Right then and there I wanted to just sink through the ground. I wanted the face of earth to open up and just swallow me. It may seem small, and had she laughed it off I would have been fine, but she really seemed insulted. I didn't have the heart to tell her that she apparently had failed to make an impression... That was obviously the case, but I also think that I should have paid more attention, it seem we have a lot of friends in common. I do feel guilty - but at least this time I will not miss her again, now I know who she is and I will make a special effort to make her see that I recognise her.
It's also interesting, I spoke to a dear friend about it, and his comment was "But how can you not recognize N.N"? So obviously I should have...
(On the other hand I met the girlfriend of an old friend for the first time, very briefly earlier this week. I recognised her straight away. No idea from where, but I did!)
15 Jan 2011
Here in Germany they do. As a general rule.
But WHY is it then that the Germans have no, absolutely no respect for the ban of smoking indoors? Why can Germany not get rid of smoking in pubs and restaurants, as well as nightclubs, when they can get rid of it where others fail? It's a mystery.
8 Jan 2011
And on the way back towards my original direction, I spot it. The Swedish flag. I always say that wherever I go, I meet Swedes, and it is true. We are everywhere, the Swedes is a people that travels a lot and unlike the Germans we spread ourselves thinly. We travel alone, or in pairs, or in small groups. When the Germans - with the 82 million inhabitants or however many they are - travel hey often travel in groups, and if you miss the group you may well not see Germans. The Swedes are like a virus, we aren't many - but we manage to be everywhere...
Here in Prague I find the Café Nordica/"Det Scandinaviske Hus" (House of Scandinavia). I'm very surprised.
Cafe Nordica seems to be the main part and then house of Scandinavia is inside. The cafe is a Nordic cafe, the house of Scandinavia seem to be a travel organiser. It's closed when I'm there, the cafe is preparing a dinner, and the Danish guy inside apologises. I'm however curious. I have no reason to prefer a Swedish tour or to pay additionally because of Swedish as I am fluent in English, but never the less I am curious. What's a Scandinavian representation doing in Prague - and are there enough Scandinavians here to form a customer base? Well apparently there must be...?
I'll be back investigating the street Zlatnická 10 again!
Anyhow: Now in Prague and here I think I must have broken some sort of personal record. I dent even leave the airport until people started to ask me about the way. Even more scary is that I was able to guide them right... I haven't been to Prague for a long, really long time, but I guess I know what to look for and I pick up quickly, so before I left I knew how to handle buses and which route to take...
And I got to taught others too...
Prague is beautiful by the way, and the hotel I stay at is really good value for money. Looking forward to sightseeing tomorrow!
7 Jan 2011
6 Jan 2011
5 Jan 2011
But the comments I get are rarely from Sweden.
And it does feel a bit sad when people expects me to come and visit them whenever I am in Sweden, as well as make all the calls, when they don't even consider coming down.. I know, I was the one to move away. And I know, I am out and about a lot. But it does feel sad never the less. The problem with me going to Sweden is that there are so many that I want to see, and everybody is special. I am only one though, I can't clone myself, and there is never enough time. Going to Sweden is actually quite stressful, and I have to prioritise seeing the family, except when I have invitations to go somewhere special. But when friends and family visit me down here I can spend more time with them. When I get to Sweden it is always a rush to get around. But someone who never moved away can't understand that, I guess, I also didn't quite understand it as a child when we visited my dad's family and we kept running from spot to spot, nor did I always understand it while I was in Sweden. Or well, I did, but I didn't understand the constant feeling of guilt that surrounds you when you come back to visit Sweden. Whatever I do I can't do enough, and if I was there for a longer period there would just be more people to visit, so I would still have just a limited time with everyone.
I also know that I am not always that easy to reach on the home phone, because I AM away a lot. I am. I know. But it is so heart warming to have a message on the answering machine, knowing that there are people in Sweden that still care.
I guess that with time I will disappear more and more from the radar screen. I also suspect that there are a lot of people that expects me to "come home" soon, and therefore there is no point in planning a trip here. Except I am home already. This is where I have my live, Düsseldorf, Germany. If I move - when I move - I will move away, and I will move away for a few years, but I will move somewhere else and then probably come back to Germany. I don't feel at home in Sweden, not anymore, I feel at home here. I would love to show friends from Sweden Germany, but I am not going to chase them. I have done enough chasing. It's a pity, but I guess the old saying "out of sight, out of mind" is true. On the other hand, we keep in touch through Facebook and other forums, so it is not that we are totally disconnected, but still, a phone call at least, or even better, a visit would be nice.
I don't count how many times each and every person calls but those who never do, I don't bother calling either. It just doesn't make sense when it is a one way street... And the interesting part is that several of those who now never call are people that I have heard making the same complaints...
On the other hand I can understand them too, to some degree.
For the record though: I have gone to most weddings, funerals and reunions that I have been invited to in Sweden. It's just that there aren't many of them actually happening. Thankfully, when it comes to funeral though.
4 Jan 2011
I know that one needs to sleep but I never needed that much sleep. Not even as a baby. I was just awake a lot, and never very cranky.
BUT! I do worry a little bit. I do. I need to make sure that the body gets the sleep it actually needs and if that isn't a lot, that is OK. But my concern is that maybe I am tricking my body into believing that it doesn't need much when it actually does? So for January I am going to try and stay away from caffeine as much as possible. It shouldn't be difficult, I was more or less off it for years and only had a cup once in a while (black tea, coffee, or cola or any other drink with caffeine). I can't kick the habit of having a hot drink in front of me when I work, or at home, but herbal teas and rooibos (red tea) works perfectly OK too, and there is no caffeine in that. And as long as I make sure I have my teas, I should be able to get off coffee and tea. Sweet drinks I don't drink a lot of anyhow so that is really easy.
Only problem is that kicking a caffeine habit is really really difficult! It is not just the physical habit - that one is more or less OK now, I started before Christmas so no more headaches when I don't get it - but the HABIT of going into the kitchen and grabbing a cup of the already made coffee... OH, so difficult.
And that is why I only set January as a goal.
One must make sure to have goals that are a challenge but still achievable...
But if you see me, please don't ask if I want a cup of coffee, I may not be able to resist...
3 Jan 2011
But yesterday when I got home I just had had enough, so I took away all the table cloths, all the Christmas candles, and collected all the little decorations (not THAT many, but still) that were put up for Christmas on a table. I am done with Christmas now. I already celebrated more Christmas at home than planned for due to the snowstorm - it was great (although of course I would have wanted to see the family), but now it is enough. REALLY. I know that the big Swedish furniture shop has been trying to get the Germans to buy into the "20:dag Knut" idea, but I am seeing Christmas trees on the streets, ready to be picked up, and I see decorations being removed from other places too, now I am ready for spring. I may be a bit disappointed though, it may take a while. But it IS already getting lighter, and the days are getting longer. Just knowing that feels good, even if I can't see it yet.
Feels great to have a new fresh start 2011.
I just have to get the big box from the cellar and put the decorations down there as well, but that is soon done, the lights I already brought down.
(Still find it a bit odd that the Germans just throw the Christmas trees out on the street and that they are later collected, but hey, if it works, it works. In Sweden there is no general "Christmas tree collection", and I don't know if there is everywhere in Germany, but here there is... We have different systems depending on where you live in Sweden. We would take ours to the city dump or burn it when I lived in a house in Sweden. When I was in a flat we would cut it into little pieces and take it to the trash.)
I don't know what it is but I experience that people in Germany stare a lot more than elsewhere. OK, I get a lot of staring when I am in Asia etc as well but there people look and then they come up and talk to me - which is really nice - but here they just stare, and the difference between here and other European countries is that they do it openly. In other European, or even Western countries, i e also US they try and be a little discrete about it. Not here. And no, I am not the only one who have noticed, my ex-pat friends are saying the same.
Talk about culture difference.
1 Jan 2011
I always wear something new on new years day but this time it was a close call: I forgot to get something. Luckily I remembered that I had a new sweater so I brought that one out and have been wearing it ever since I came out of the shower this morning. I should be safe! :-)
OK, I do like old traditions, I admit it. I keep them up because it is fun, not because I REALLY believe in it. But still. What if...? ;-)
But for some parts of it it is actually good if the old saying is right.
If long walks January 1 2011 is a guarantee for many long walks throughout the year of 2011, that is good. I walked home after the party.
If being out with friends January 1 is going to make be be out with friends a lot during the rest of the year - fantastic. It was after midnight only, but it was January 1, never the less. So it counts, doesn't it?
If dancing - I LOVE to dance - is going to be repeated a lot this year I am happy!
If it means that we are being joined by a very dear friend when being out, I am all for it too - he is more than welcome to join us whenever he wants. I hope I'll see this very dear friend many times during 2011.
What I am not so excited about it waking up at 8 because I am hungry, after not having gotten a lot of sleep. THAT is just ridiculous. I don't mind waking up at 8 after I have gone to bed early but not after being out. And certainly not being starving... I guess I will have to have a short nap in the middle of the day...