26 Feb 2011
They meant it literarily.
Because that is what I often do, it was pointed out to me. I really hold my breath, as if I forget to breath. It's as if I have to remind myself, breathing is a good thing, but I just stop.
It's not that I don't start again, of course I do, but I am also not aware that I am doing it, I just do, and sometimes more often than other times.
But right now I am holding my breath for other reasons too, also in the other meaning.
I'm considering and contemplating and evaluating and reevaluating. In the meantime I enjoy life, but there are things that are on my mind and I will come and go on the blog, for that reason.
I have to take care of myself too...
23 Feb 2011
Except it is in Los Angeles, and it is in time for carnival, and this year I have said I will be in Düsseldorf for carnival.
And besides, who goes to Los Angeles for three days anyhow? I wouldn't even have time to stop by and say hello to friends, and I can't take time off before or after, as I am already going to be off for a week in March.
But I admit, it IS tempting! How often does one get invitation to a Hollywood premier? Even if it is a short film and even if I don't expect the really big celebrities to be there, I would really have liked to join. Oh well, another time! I guess one just have to learn that one can't join everything.
21 Feb 2011
But this is not going to be one of those "be happy, everything is (going to be) OK" texts. This is going to be about weather.
I have a couple of friends from the New York area. It seems whenever these persons talk about weather - and being in Germany that comes up a lot, it's the German way, it's even as much talk of the weather here as back in Sweden (and I have adopted the same thing now, always asking about the weather, it's a conversation starter) - anyhow, when the weather comes up, these people complain about Düsseldorf weather. Calls my big love Drizzledorf.
Except I am from Gothenburg (Göteborg) in Sweden, I know what rains a lot means. And I work in a city where it rains a lot more than in Düsseldorf. To me it is always nice in Düsseldorf. Not always sunny, but it doesn't often rain, and when it rains it normally rains top down so you can have an umbrella and that will actually work. In Gothenburg you more or less need a drysuit... It rains sideways...
But last week I got really annoyed with the constant complaining from the New Yorkers. So I looked it up.
It rains a lot more in New York City too, according to the statistics... (See for example Weatherbase)
See, New York City is more rainy than Düsseldorf!
So quit complaining!
I suspect however that when the people I am talking about were in US they weren't really in New York City but in New Jersey, and they had cars. I am guessing/suspecting that they simply have been outside more in Düsseldorf, especially going to work etc.
It's just that they are homesick in a way that makes them look for problems. At least that is my theory...it's all in the attitude. I expect sunshine, so I see sunshine. I don't pay attention to the weather the other days, I just pay attention to the sunshine, so that's what I notice and see.
Today is a sunny day by the way!
20 Feb 2011
The headline alone just may give them a heart attack.
Hmmm. Not very nice to almost try and send people you care about to an early grave, is it...
To my defence: It didn't even occur to me that it could be misunderstood until I saw it myself a day later. It's just that some people are sensitive...
(Update: Just to clarify: The heart attack reaction was uncalled for, but you know how it is, sometimes reaction comes first, logic later. I thought it was quite funny though, after I sort of got over it myself).
17 Feb 2011
Anyhow: As a visitor to Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse experience is almost a must. The entrance fee is not cheap but at least you get a pint of Guinness with it, at the end of the tour.
I normally drink Guinness in half pints but I'm not fussed, if they serve it in pints I drink in pints...
It's interesting to have been, and it is interesting to have learned more about the roasting of the barley, about hops, a out where the water for Guinness comes from, about the malting procedure, and how a backup of the yeast is kept separate - and safe - as the yeast is what turns the product into a drink containing alcohol - the yeast together with the sugar, or carbs, in the other products.
Not that it is that special from other beers, but it is Dublin after all, and it is Guinness, and it is the pride of Ireland.
And I like Guinness, always did.
16 Feb 2011
Except they charge 2.39 or something like that.
A normal burger cost 1 EUR.
Hence I find it a better idea to buy two burgers and put them together yourself.
And you get extra bread as a bonus...
What am I missing?
15 Feb 2011
Booked another fun trip instead, down south in Europe... :-)
It will also be an execellent chance to practice another language... English I know and US I go to anyhow, on a somewhat regular basis.
Now it is time to do something different!
And I will write about it in due time but not until it gets closer...
14 Feb 2011
And then I learned that it was only natural, it is what you do in Germany.
Although it still hits me now and then, tjere must be something wrong, so just in case I still carry a little mirror, so I can check. Just to be on the safe side.
The time my lipstick really had been smeared out - I was drinking coffee and eating a sandwich on the train and I had a new lipstick that was a little bit too easy to smear - I didn't notice until I got to the station because when I REALLY needed the Germans to stare so that I would know that something was wrong they didn't dare to look... :-)
Today I got a serious stare so I guess I am looking OK...
13 Feb 2011
This time Dublin was even better that expected, it was showing itself from it's best side - the sunny side! The Friday I had to myself and I carried my umbrella, as there was a bit of rain, but on Saturday and Sunday it was nice and sunny, and I even got to wear sunglasses - something I haven't done in a while...
We spent a considerable amount of time out walking, and I was happy I brought my new walking shoes, Saturday we walked a really good stretch, on foot from where we were staying down to the port of Dublin, back to the city, and over to the Museum of Modern art, in the other end of (relatively central) Dublin. It's a considerable walk! I am so happy we came down to the harbour though, I have missed the smell of the sea and it was good to be back close to the coast, visiting Sweden I hardly had time to go down to the water, and also, Gothenburg harbour, the part which I reached, by the river, was still covered in ice, while in Ireland there was no such thing. In Dublin I could feel the smell of the salt water!
Dublin is beautiful, it has some beautiful little parks and the river and the canals that surrounds the city centre adds to the atmosphere.
While there are plenty of buildings that are run down, the architecture is never the less fascinating, and also many of the more run down buildings have potential. But I am a bit surprised that people don't seem to care as much as elsewhere, there is plenty of junk lying around too, and there are houses that could have been interesting landmarks but they were just not well kept. Anything that has to do with the emigrants seem to have been looked after though.
The east of Dublin, towards the port, has, just like in London with the Docklands, changed into a trendy area with a conference centre and so forth. But in Dublin I have a feeling that the nicer and the more run down areas are next door to each other, there is very little in between. And maybe that is the whole charm with Dublin, you have such opposites, and it's all there, within reach.
11 Feb 2011
Although I shouldn't complain, it's been dripping a bit now and then, but it's really quite all-right - spending time in Dublin, I am not even cold - last time I was here I was freezing my but off.
It's true that it really can rain in this part of Europe, the north-west corner, but I will manage. The city itself is fascinating (but expensive! Especially food and drinks, especially for me coming from Gothenburg, Sweden, where we have good selection of good quality food for a good price, and living in Düsseldorf, Germany, where the selection is different but also good. Here it's a bit different.
But as I said, it's a very nice city. Last time I was here I just passed through the area of Temple Bar, this time I have seen a bit more of it already, and also the area around Trinity College, as well as the area of the Vikings, west of Temple Bar area.
The city is sweet, the buildings are quirky in a charming way, mainly brick buildings, a lot of red bricks.
The river plays an important role - if nothing else as a help for orientation. I love being close to the water and I have been around taking photos of the bridges.
Spring is definitely on it's way, the buds on the trees look like they are about to burst any second, and in some areas these were even little flowers sticking up in the flower beds - although that may have been plants that were planted just now, it's difficult to tells, really...
I am going to see a very close friend who is here nowadays, and I expect this weekend to be a truly magnificent one, weather or no weather - or sun or no sun, I should say... Although had I realised before hand that Ireland is playing France in the Six Nations games (Rugby) home here in Ireland Sunday, I would have stayed an extra day...
10 Feb 2011
Sometimes you just need to get away.
I'm away, visiting Dublin, which is only a short way away, there are direct flights from Düsseldorf to the capital of Eire - the republic of Ireland. I have been before, but I haven't seen that much of the city. Now that's going to change. I am visiting a friend but I am also spending time on my own, spending time strolling around town and seeing things. God knows I need it. I need the time to thinks and listen to myself, need to take some time to pause and go wherever I want, look at people and stop whenever it suits me. I was recently in Sweden but as much as I love it, coming back to the city where I spent the main part if my life - or at least where I officially had my address for many years - isn't exactly peaceful but a race to get from place to place as Ido want to see as many as possible. Being in a city where I don't know a lot of people is different, it's more relaxing, and more of an adventure.
It's going to be a good experience!
Now you can pay with SMS (text message). Good idea. Except it only works with Swedish phones and many tourists don't have a Swedish phone.
Now you can as well, for trams, have coins and pay in the special machine on the tram. Or you pay with credit card (Master and VISA I believe). Great. Except buses don't always have that machine. and it's only coins that are accepted, cards seem to be preferred.
And when you get to the local trains you are not allowed to pay using card, on the train you have to have cash.
Or you get yourself a special magnetic card, which can be filled up with money. Except you have to pay 50 SEK deposition, money you will only get back when you return the card...
And how to use the machine?
Well, user friendliness was not on the development list...
I was going to try and describe but I realise that I forgot the functionality as fast as I could. It was just too messy - and perhaps I forgot as a defence mechanism. The question mark is anyhow to check how much money you have left and the plus to change to another transport. How to stamp when there are more people travelling with you I have no idea about...
The strangest part is that you have to both check in and out, when you leave a mean of transport, otherwise you will be charged the highes fee.
So it's great for pickpockets at least, when it's time to step on or off the train everybody is fiddling with their wallets to check out, and that is when pickpockets anyhow often strikes.
If only they had had machines outside the trains too, on the platform, so that you could at least sign out AFTER you get off...
Well, obviously someone didn't really think when designing the system, I am happy I only visit as a tourist, and very seldom. Most of the time I also have a rental car as I have to get to places...
9 Feb 2011
But I also said then that I was contemplating trying lenses. Contact lenses. Was advised to try it out. And then I met with some friends and they said the same: Try!
So I went back to the optician, and I told him I wanted to try. He ordered test lenses for me, and I went and picked them up last week.
Got a short lesson on how to take them out and how to put them in, it is easy enough - as a kid I had really long eye lashes and when I was really little mum had to help me get them out of the way all the time, and later I started doing it myself. I have no problem putting my fingers in the eyes, if needed. So getting the lenses in is not an issue. Nor getting them out.
But seriously: HOW do I get used to wind in the eyes? It is uncomfortable! I love the way the glasses protect the eyes. I know, I meant to use the lenses for when I do sports and when I want to carry sunglasses, and sunglasses in combination with lenses means the eyes are protected from the wind too. Inside I can also use the lenses, I can't walk that fast indoors and there is no wind inside either. But outside when it isn't sunny? Oh dear me, that doesn't work... I'll try it a bit more - it is 30-day lenses - and maybe I will actually start to get use to it, but right now it is a mystery.
Did it take long for you - if you use contacts - to get use to the wind in the eyes? Or was that never a problem?
I am not giving up, I still think being able to use contacts now and then would be practical (and it has one other advantage; I can use the contacts with strange effects for carnival or for Halloween - I am a little envious that people can change their look so easily...). But any advice on how to handle the wind in the eyes would be appreciated...
8 Feb 2011
Being in Düsseldorf that's an easy thing to take care off, there is a huge Japanese population here and hence there is a big market - we even have the Japan day every year! While Indian, Thai, Swedish, Spanish, Italian and so forth food is often adjusted for the German pallet, the Japanese food is adjusted to the Japanese. As long as you got to the right place.
Our Japanese quarters are located around Immermanstrasse, which is walking distance from the main station - hauptbahnhof. I am always fascinated by everything you can find here: Japanese cafés, Noodle places - my favourite is My Noodlehouse, a simple noodle place where you can get excellent supper, with home made noodles (there are other ones and they are excellent too, but I have a more personal contact with the staff at MyNoodleHouse, plus it works better and is better value for money when going alone) - sushi places, Japanese grills, and so forth, but we also have Japanese supermarkets, Japanese furniture shops - basically, you can find everything here.
A few weeks ago I went to wonderful Kushi-Tei of Tokio, a grill, with friends, of which two were Japanese.
That is by the way really amazing with Düsseldorf, I have a very international network here, and learn so much all the time - yet another reason why I could never move back to Sweden: I didn't fit in before and I certainly don't now, I have been spoiled. Sweden is wonderful but I will always just be a tourist with roots there, I need my international contacts and my inspiration!
But anyhow, back to the Japanese experience! It's fascinating when we are having Japanese help when ordering, because we all get to try new things, and we get to share and taste a little bit of everything. When eating alone, you are a bit limited - you just can't fit everything in, a stomach is obviously limited when it comes to space :-)
There is one thing I know more about though: Sake! I wish we had a sake bar in the city, but we don't. I have no idea if Sake bars is common in Japan, I never went, but I have been to sake bars in New York, and that is fascinating - not only because I really like sake but mainly because at a bar you can test different ones and be taught about them. I picked up quite a bit when I was in NYC and I tried to put it into use at the restaurant. Japanese restaurants in Düsseldorf do have a some selection, which is good - even though it can't ever be the same as a bar totally focused on the drink...
7 Feb 2011
Anyhow, when Dolph Lundgren visited Sweden when he had moved to US, he was mixing English into his language.
I thought it was silly.
And now I find myself adding the little extra words in English myself, the "But" and "Anyhow" and "Well", and so forth.
I have turned into Dolph Lundgren (although at least I notice it and can correct it).
And it is Lundgren and not Victoria Silvstedt, I don't have the chest for being Silvstedt... ;-)
(Oh, and when I speak English I add German little words, and when German I add Swedish. It's a strange mix...)
6 Feb 2011
It's correct that simpler alcohol is less expensive in Germany - Vodka and so forth. Fancy alcohol, like nice whisky; Less of a difference. Especially now, I'm noticing when stopping to buy alcohol!
Champagne is far cheaper in Sweden, it's darn expensive - if we are talking real champagne - in Germany. On the other hand we have a lot of nice prosecco. And notice; I'm not talking about buying fancy alcohol in a bar, in bars the Swedish bar owners have better margins. But in the shop...
But it's not the price that matters in this case. What matters is the type of alcohol. What I am after I haven't (yet) been able to find at home - not that I really searched, but never the less. I did have a look for it, just not really search. But what I am after is a traditional drink.
It's "Punsch", a Swedish drink based on arrack. It's thick(ish), strong, sweet. And you either drink it warm (warm up the bottle in a pot of water, but remember to take off the lid!) - served in a small glass (I use Sake glasses or similar) - or cold, very nice in the summer.
Warm "Punsch" is popular with the traditional Thursday yellow pea soup with pancakes, so I bought several bottles just to be on the safe side...
5 Feb 2011
There was once an attraction there, although nothing really happened. Not then. Not now. The time and space - and room - is not and were not right. I don't believe in sentimental reasons, I wouldn't chose to act on it. But meeting is never the less special. Very special.
We reconnected very recently and now managed to meet up, and funny enough some of that old attraction was still there, I found. It's different and, I'm sure, some of it has to do with us remembering our old selves. However we are different now to who we were then. It seems life has still treated us in similar ways - we both live our dreams in some ways, yet we are both restless souls who need activities and things to happen around us. We don't sit down, and settle in with a 9-5 job, daily routines and falling asleep in front of the TV after watching our daily show. It's not my lifestyle, it's not his. The day the TV-monster starts grabbing hold of me and controlling my life is the day I am not me anymore. Both of us are out and about, doing things, he dives and cycles, I travel and wander. We both run. He skis. We both share a similar attitude, life is too short to be wasted on things that doesn't build you up. Taking it easy is one thing, killing your soul is another. To me TV is killing my soul. Reading a book builds me up.
Funny enough he spots the restlessness in me immediately. Or maybe he just sees his own reflection.
It's fascinating how, after all these years, we talk and laugh and joke as if all that time never quite passed, and we both recall many things from our first meeting, and talk about it.
There is a scent from the past, of the past, that makes me feel that time travel indeed is possible. And I just went on such a trip...
4 Feb 2011
But somewhere along the way you made that decision, the decision not to say anything. What is it that make some people decide to come back later and say the things that they didn't say in the first place? Trying to justify themselves? Trying to not seem caught off guard? Trying to seem as if nothing escapes them?
There are cases where I must say that once you have made that decision not to say anything, you'd better stick to that decision or have a very good reason not to, to reveal old truths after the fact, or to reveal your inner thoughts is only going to hurt the people involved, or leave them wondering why and what the response or the revelation is about. Unless your opinion is requested, you'd better keep your mouth shut. I'm sorry, but that's how I feel about it.
God knows there are times when I wish I had bitten my tongue, times I wish I had kept my mouth shut, times I wish I hadn't said so much. And it wasn't even that long ago, but recently. There have been a couple of times where I blurted out too much, but it mainly were things about myself, I said things I should perhaps have kept private, but happened to say to the wrong person, something that could be misinterpreted. Not that any harm was really done, it's just that I may not have been really ready to share that information. But still, that is a different matter. It was me. About me.
Although yes, I have also given unsolicited advice, I have also said things in affect, I have also said "I knew that already". But for the most part I am doing that when it comes to positive things, or where my input could still make a difference. It may have been the wrong time anyhow - but at least people have a chance to still reflect and take it in, even though it can be bad enough, be insulting enough. I am doing my best to learn, though, but sometimes I can't help it.
I just can't.
But I still don't understand the whole thing with telling people when it is too late. That is something I really wonder about. Yes, you sometimes need to give a response. In a situation where I recently told a dear friend about something, that friend responded "well, I am perhaps not that surprised". That's not a problem, that's a perfectly OK response. But when it gets cruel I don't understand it: Don't rub salt in open wounds. That is what it sounds like: You rub salt in open wounds. It's painful, it does no good, and it doesn't bring anyone anything. Tw only thing it may do is destroy even more, it may destroy friendships as well. Because who wants to really be friends with someone who could have made a difference, but choose not to? Or be friends with someone who you can suspect won't be honest next time either?
And I really think the rule "once you made a choice not to say something, you'd better stick to that" applies also to other areas. I believe in honesty and in taking responsibility for your own actions. But sometimes the responsibility for your own actions is also to bite your tongue. If you just want to tell someone something to make life easier on yourself, think again. And again. If it help someone or does any good, you should do it. If it's just that you will feel better but everybody else worse: maybe you need to take the pain yourself rather than hurting others. I'm sorry, but that's the way I see it. Life is not always about dancing on a bed of roses, as the Swedish saying goes - "Livet är ingen dans på rosor". Or well, it is, but there are thorns as well...