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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Bussi Bussi – Kiss Kiss

While spending Christmas at my mom’s I became aware of a terrible practice that had made its’ way to the place I grew up in. It’s the “Bussi Bussi” or a peck on each cheek. Coming out of church on Christmas morning (I want to stress that I only go because of my mom…as the average Austrian, I am a Roman Catholic, but only on paper), we were held up by the seniors of the community who greeted each other with kisses. I was shocked not only that they did this, but that they also seemed to enjoy it. I already had heard from an older woman in the pub that she hates this new “tradition” and tries to get out of it every chance she gets. I just couldn’t imagine it being true, but to my horror, it was! Can you imagine your childhood teacher hanging on every woman over the age of 60 in your area? And that women even line up to catch a kiss from him? And that those kisses are dangerously near the lips? Did I mention that his wife stands nearby? Luckily, they spare everybody else outside of their club and were content with me just shaking their hand.

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And then even my childhood friend came up to me and kissed me. I was taken aback because I just don’t think that we need that. Sure, I haven’t seen her in a long time, but does it require kisses? Hell, we even shared an apartment once and didn’t need to share our saliva. So why is it that this practice is having such a revival? It is just repulsive. First, you cannot get out. Even if there is an old disgusting man with a beard and wet lips approaching you, you cannot deny him. Even if you hate each other to guts, it is customary to kiss each other when saying goodbye. Even if your hand turns to stone when shaking the hand of the other he/she finds a way to your cheek by bending unnaturally. And then nobody knows how to do it properly… Do you let them kiss you and just laugh, or do both of you kiss each other? Some just touch your cheek and don’t even kiss you. If you attempt to kiss back, it is just impossible to kiss each other on each other’s cheek at the same time without curling your lips…and it’s not a good sight. And then there are those kisses which are dangerously near your lip area, where you really don’t need anyone else’s bacteria. Maybe it enjoys a revival because the ministry of health issued a communique stating the benefits of sharing saliva for the prevention of a few diseases. Who knows…This could be backed up by the fact that a famous Viennese politician is always shown kissing all her party members when starting a conference. How is that political? To be fair it is not only her, even our federal chancellor does it. In my view politicians shouldn’t do that…but even Mr. Sarkozy and Mrs. Merkel started to do it…so how can I go against such powerful people…It is a tough fight 😉

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When I was a child, it was only an aunt who did it, and she was old. After my teens it took up it’s own life and swapped through every generation. Nowadays you can see 13-year olds in a crowd taking up to 15 minutes to greet each other with kisses on the cheeks. If you are a very very good friend, you can get greeted by a kiss on the mouth… It is just…I don’t mind if others do it, I merely hate the fact that it has become such a normality for other people that they stomp over your inherent feelings of disgust and just expect you to go with the crowd. I hate it and it is not easy to escape it. And I think that the guys who hate each other the most practice this tradition the most. I mostly get those kisses from girls or boys I really don’t like. Because the people I like know that I hate it, and my friends mostly hate it too. Because it seems that we grew up in a bubble, when this practice was dead. Oh how I wish those days were back 😉 Nowadays people are used to it and don’t care which saliva hangs on their cheek. I am uncomfortable with somebody entering my comfort zone as it is, but voluntarily let somebody kiss you if you don’t even know him/her is just too much for me. And it is even more unfair for girls, because they are practically fair game. Boys have the advantage not to get kissed by other boys, but they kiss other girls. Maybe they are afraid to be outed as Communists 😉 Why is a handshake not enough? I really should start a campaign against this abhorrent gesture. There are people out there who hate it like me! I know it! But we aren’t strong enough on our own 😉 Please join me on my handshake campaign: “Get away from my cheek you sick bacteria spreading pervert, a handshake is enough!”


Procrastinating in style

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There are days when I wake up, head aching, my mind already running through the workload of the day, terrified of the things lying ahead of me and terrified of the things I didn’t do the day before. Because the day before I couldn’t care less and didn’t manage anything other than extending my knowledge of the newest BBC adaptations of Victorian dramas. Funny, the comments always say what I think: “I should do homework now, but am too pulled in by this delicious drama hero, who surely will give me wet dreams tonight.” Maybe the wet dream part is exaggerating it, but there are also enough comments about wanting to eat up the lead actor, imagining him kissing you and running one’s hands through his particularly flashy hair. It’s funny that there is an insatiable appetite for gentleman-like drama heroes. And then there are the comments: “Why aren’t there any Mr. Darcy’s in this day and age?”, “Please marry me Mr. Darcy.” and on and on it goes. I imagine that those viewers are a load of thesis-procrastinating girls who just want to escape the rough reality of having to finish ones’ thesis over the course of a few months. Wouldn’t it be nice to get hold of a Mr. Darcy, who would take care of you, and you only have to play the piano, attend balls and recite Shakespeare ever again? Guilty as charged, even I have those thoughts. But only for the flicker of a moment. Because then I treasure my freedom, which I surely wouldn’t have enjoyed in 1830, too much…going out alone, kissing my boyfriend on the street (how unladylike!), having revolutionary thoughts (like women working and being successful, oh my god!) and being all for gender equality and the abolition of barriers in society.  But I am appalled that in this day and age, there are still girls out there only thinking about marrying the right man, which is demonstrated by lengthy posts about how to score a wealthy man. Every fiber of my emancipated self is crunching at the thought of those girls. We really should finish up our thesis’s and not depend on men! I know I now am only bitching…again procrastinating. I for one really only watch those Dramas for pleasure and to get rid of the gnawing thoughts of self-destruction. Which isn’t very healthy too…maybe I am an even more pathetic version of girls lusting after a Drama hero and I am the one to be bitched about…They should make a Drama about procrastinating heroes and explore the trials and tribulations of writing a thesis without getting lost on the way 😉 So now, I will again focus on the third page of my pathetic little thesis…and maybe I can watch a little Drama afterwards, as a reward…and then cuddle my own Mr. Darcy 🙂

Slow eater…

I have a thing that bugs me from time to time but annoys the hell out of other people: I eat way too slowly. And I mean snail-like slowly. Sometime in my childhood, my mom instilled into me the practice of chewing one bite up to 18 times. According to a study, that would be the best way to a healthy digestion. Somehow, I took this suggestion to heart and seemingly even extended this thought. This doesn’t mean that I eat more than other people, I just eat up to ten times slower than other people. Strangely, my sister must have passed on this one, because she is always the fastest to clear a plate of food and can finish a pizza in two bites. When I was young, me and my granddad were always the last to finish our meal. Considering that he only had two teeth left at that time, I think you get the picture of how slowly I really ate. When he died that left me and my Grandma to be the slowest. Within the realm of my family it didn’t even strike me that I had a “problem”. In boarding school I suddenly became aware of it when me and my friend were the last everyday to finish our meal out of a hundred of students. And when people finally shook their head over my eating habits, I realized that I was, what is out of the norm, a slow eater. Actually for me, this isn’t a problem and it only sometimes occurs to be one. Besides this “thing” I also like to save the best for last, which means I preserve my strawberries in my ice-cream sundae for the last bite or the cheese on my lasagne or my eggplants side-dish… You get the picture. This habit already led to a few quarrels with my boyfriend where he thought I was finished and ate my precious “reserves”. We straightened that one out quickly and now he only dares to pick at my food when I explicitly allow it. Oh my, that sounds like I am very bossy, which I am not…but considering that I need over half an hour for every meal, he is never sure how far along I am…

Yesterday this “thing” occurred again when me and my boyfriend were having dinner at my aunt’s and uncle’s house. I am always the last one to finish a meal there, so it didn’t come as a surprise that I was the last one yesterday either. It was only the scale of how much slower I was yesterday that made a new-time record. As a side dish, my aunt made huge dumplings. And I mean really huge. When she brought them in I already knew that this could be a problem. Besides the dumplings, there was so much other stuff. The plate was loaded and I already planned a strategy how to eat this while not looking pathetic. I decided to give up my chewing rule and really dig in. Half through the meal I thought that I held up brilliantly. But suddenly everybody was finished and me and my dumpling were left alone. The sad thing is, not even my uncle shows any hint of solidarity with me even if he is over 70. That is kind of embarrassing that I even eat slower than him…The last part of my meal I was alone with my plate while the others already held a conversation over my head and I think I still needed half an hour. The good thing is, I got out of the “having no prospect whatsoever for my future” talks and discussing the plans that I have after finishing my thesis. Still it bugs me that I am this slow. I am all for the promotion of “slow food” campaigns and everything, and now I think there should be more awareness campaigns on this subject… Besides, I ate way too much and still have a bloated stomach which doesn’t sound very inviting, but I think everybody has their experiences with aunts who mean way too well… Luckily, those visits only come around every other three months. I can take a little embarrassment once in a while 😉

Aliens to me

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There are not many people I don’t like, loathe or even hate. However, there are some. I always try to think that everybody has somebody who loves them, cares for them and that everybody has good sides. Still there are some people who disturb me. Yesterday I discovered that one of the guys whom I particularly don’t like…don’t want to say “hate” because that comes off too strong….landed a dream job at a University in China. The thing with this guy is, I only met him two or three times, but the loathing was mutual. He is one of those guys who think highly of themselves only because their father is a doctor (add lawyer or anything else where you need a degree…in Austria you are godlike). This isn’t their fault. They are brought up that way and don’t get to see the whole picture, I get that. But what I don’t understand is when those guys hold up their views of superiority well into their 20s. He is one of those guys who smile into your face and you can see clearly what they think of you…which is the complete opposite. He is one of those guys who think that it isn’t the fault of society but the fault of individuals to be homeless, failing in school or not earning much money. He is one of those guys who don’t broaden their horizon, enjoy every possible advantage in life and don’t care about people outside of their world. They move in a society where everything is managed by nepotism, friends and the people they know. He is one of those guys who look down on Chinese although living there for three years, who still buy “European” bread there although this means a 3 hour ride to the outskirts of the city because “Chinese don’t know how to make bread”, who go to Western clubs in China and are angry if anybody assumed they are native English speakers because they are white and who have a Chinese girlfriend not because of love but to learn the language. Maybe they don’t even learn Chinese, just study a few phrases to pick up girls and only have Western friends there, but still moan about foreigners in their native country who cannot speak the country’s language, or who only move in their circles and don’t adapt to the society they live in. He looks down on you for having other views, he eats your food without thanking you, he talks loudly and doesn’t care if you want to make a point. However, if you are friends with some “hot” girls, he is fast to be your best friend and wants to weasel his way to them through you. He is just arrogant and doesn’t give you any hint of a good side. He is not afraid to approach professors or any bigwigs because he was brought up to think they are as good as him, not better than you, like the average Austrian is taught to think. And because of this attitude, he comes off as intelligent or as a “man of action”. I tend to think this is only because foreigners cannot classify this species. Especially Chinese cannot differ which attitude is just plain arrogant or which smile is sincere. After all, arrogance is perceived different in different cultures, so I can understand.

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Still I hate that he weaseled his way into such a great job. I know I cannot judge, but how the heck does he get on with people?! I know that only qualifications count, and I am sure his are good. But when I think about him doing research on social inequality or something, I have to barf.

I want to add that I don’t want to generalize. I met a lot of sweet people who don’t think highly of themselves only because of their parents. Nevertheless, I want to stress that the chance of becoming arrogant with this group of people is higher than the average, especially in Austria, where people with degrees are treated different from other groups of people. This is a special group of people and I met this type a lot of times already, and this also applies to girls by the way, and the pattern is always the same. Or it is just my experience.

First snow!!!

I love winter and snow, mostly enjoy it from inside the house but still 😉 I love it! Today is the first day that it is snowing the whole day and now there is a nice little coat of white over all things outside. This atmosphere is inspiring my work. It encourages me to build my own little cocoon and enjoy the coziness next to the the warm radiator, enjoying the warm feeling that I get from looking outside. Feels like heaven to me 🙂 Of course, tomorrow it will all be muddy and gray, so I have to marvel at it while it lasts 😉