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Category Archives: Family

Waiting for Christmas

Today, I could open the first window on my little Advent calender! To me, opening a window each day has become more exciting than Christmas itself, especially since I get kitchen appliances as Christmas presents ๐Ÿ˜‰

via 55plus-magazin.net

My sister already baked her Christmas cookies, stressing out all the other women in town that haven’t started yet, and I already gained a kilo from eating them on the weekend. My “Achilles heel” are Vanillekipferl, as I understand it, called sand tarts in the U.S. Is that true? Anyway, I could stuff myself with those all day. They are just too good!

Hope you enjoy the waiting with lots of delicious cookies too!

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What I learned in the past three months

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been three months since I wrote my last entry. Originally, I pledged to write at least once a month… please accept my apologies …

So what did I do?

  • I really focused on finishing my thesis to the point that I now can’t even look at it without contempt anymore. I really really hate it by now. I guess and hope that this is normal. The thing is, I still have to do a presentation and an oral examination. Only then I’m done. I dream of some kind of fire ritual to burn my thesis and clean my brain ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know, stupid, but it helps to read it for the 120th time…
  • I’ve chosen the worst possible guy to proofread my thesis. At first he hit on me although he’s twice my age and now he has let me down and needed a month for a whole of 30 pages. Please don’t judge. I thought he was professional. At least the work he did on my 30 pages is good ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, live and learn… Let’s hope the next one is more reliable.
  • I’ve been to every professor and secretary available at our institute to get the enormous amount of signatures to even hand in the thesis. Tracking down the guy who’s always out having his breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner is pretty much impossible …
  • I’ve had about 3-5 (maybe more like 5-10) nervous crying fits when something went wrong with my thesis. I’ve pledged to let my boyfriend have his when he will write his own thesis.
  • My computer “died” at the appropriate time, just when I was doing my literature list. I guess the thesis wore the computer down too … Of course, that prompted another crying fit. Luckily, I obey to the golden rule of backup, backup, backup and I only had to redo an hour. But still, that hour sucked! Badly!

    via cartoonstock.com

  • One of my uncles died and now it came out that he has another “secret daughter”. What is it with all those family secrets?! This was that uncle’s favourite saying, which I really liked:

Ohne Arbeit frรผh bis spรคt kann dir nichts geraten,

Neid sieht nur das Blumenbeet, aber nicht den Spaten.

Roughly translated (and very poorly, please forgive me … this saying means: Without work from dust till dawn, you will achieve nothing. Envy only sees the flower bed, but not the spade. (I’m sure there is some equivalent in English that I don’t know of …)

His children may not enjoy his lifetime’s work now because they have to share with another unknown sibling. So remember, if you have any secret children, make sure to tell the children you live with ahead of your death what awaits them!

  • I still feel bad because of my dad sometimes. But lately, I just tell people straight away that he’s gone to get it out of the way when they ask. And last time, a girl forgot that I had told her that he is dead and asked me what my mom or my dad think of something. That was pretty disturbing. I didn’t feel too troubled about it, but I think I need to readjust my strategy. What proofed to be successful in your experience to get the point across that someone’s dead?!
  • Somebody broke into our home last week. We thought that our apartment looks so crappy nobody would bother to even do that. Besides, Vienna is pretty safe. And we don’t live in a posh neighborhood. Apparently, that is no security. Mr. Burglar (it must have been a guy considering the things he’s stolen) stole the hard-safed money from my boyfriend, his PSP and, strangely enough, his brand new running shoes. Mr. Burglar has taste. He didn’t take my Nintendo DS, the Wii, or my boyfriend’s 10-year old running shoes that were standing next to the new ones. My boyfriend’s actually more pissed that his progress at GTA has gone to waste than about the money. And with the shoes, it’s getting personal

    via cartoonstock.com

  • Naturally, nobody told us that this apartment has been broken into two times already. Would have been nice if somebody advised us to change the lock when we were so stupid not to do it. So, I’ve learned the lesson that even the crappiest apartment is a target for burglars.
  • Me and my boyfriend actually bought the running shoes together and we used to merrily run alongside, like a cheesy couple. I liked it. Now Mr. Burglar has taken away that too, because it doesn’t have the same feel to it when I have my shiny new shoes while he has to run in his crappy old ones. That guy is so mean!
  • The secretary I wrote about inย this and this post is already shining in its new glory, courtesy of my cousin. Pictures will follow in a next post ๐Ÿ™‚ It was the right decision to give it to her!
  • Speaking of which, we’ve found a guy who’s willing to rent my grandmother’s house, but only for a very small amount of money. On top of all, I have to prepare myself for grueling negotiations over the weekend. It gets tiring, really.
  • I’ve watched a ton of Korean Dramas in these past months. Those are the best to keep your thoughts away and just turn off your brain. So if you have a hard time with something, I can give you a list of the most perfect “braindead” dramas that there are …Of course, this is also a way not to forget my Korean, even if it’s Drama-speech … so it’s a win-win ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Korean Dramas are also a perfect way to win new friends. There’s nothing like swooning over a guy with other girls. I’m currently in the “courtship” phase with a girl that wants to be my friend (yay ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) We will meet up to watch dramas, eat and drink. Another win-win ๐Ÿ™‚

    via cartoonstock.com

  • Speaking of drinking, I learned a few new drinking games, most of them from Korea. I’ve already established in that post that Koreans have a thriving drinking culture. It’s a funny contrast to us Austrians, who only sit together getting wasted while talking.
  • I found out that my English is pretty bad, so please don’t hesitate to point out any mistakes I make! Really!!
  • My family has lost all hope that I’ll ever graduate anymore. I lost hope that it still happens this year. I guess subconsciously I really put it off so not to get to the next stage, which is unemployment ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh my…

So, that is a tiny fraction of what I did. Even if it’s pathetic, I hope you enjoyed ๐Ÿ˜‰

Treasures from my grandmother’s house

So, I’ve been to the house and took out a few things that I liked. Some of it very tacky. Stuff I wouldn’t buy myself, but since I know that one of my grandparents owned it, it’s making it cool by association! It’s a lot more meaningful to me than I thought. It’s not that much of a burden anymore. It rather became fun. And I still discover new things about my grandparents. They must have been lots of fun to be around. And I still get messages from my grandmother ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve taken home a cute little vase and inside I found the letter: “This vase is not waterproof” to warn future owners. It cracked me up. So thoughtful!

To the three readers who read my post about the secretary ๐Ÿ™‚ This is the one:

In my imagination, the secretary was in much better shape. And as it turns out, there is no built-in ceramic picture. I don’t know where that came from. Maybe it was just a picture standing there? I don’t know. It’s just weird. I’m actually even more glad now that my cousin took it, since future people who would rent the house would have definitely thrown it out. And I would have been overwhelmed with the work of restoring it. Instead, I took lots of pictures! (As I realized just now, blurry ones, but you get an impression…I hope) An item I took out of the secretary: A stapler that’s very beautiful to look at. And fully functional! Just saw a similar one in a store for 65โ‚ฌ. Can you believe that?!

This kitchen scale is very dirty, but very cool! I won’t use it, I think. I display it in my bookshelf right now.

This is something I never would have known. This “box” was standing in my grandmother’s bedroom where I also spent some nights as a child.

But I never knew what it was, let alone noticed it.

It’s a sewing machine ๐Ÿ™‚ Very clever!

We found this love letter from 1939 that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother. It is beyond romantic and I never knew this side of him. As I understand it, he was a very quiet man, somehow artsy and he supposedly never talked about his feelings. My mom has inherited this quality. She probably never heard one “I love you” from him, but he certainly showed his affection in other ways much more meaningful. She oftentimes tells me this wonderful story of the two of them going to church. Every Sunday after church, my grandfather treated my mom to a pair of sausages at the local inn. He only drank a glass of cheap wine or something, since money was scarce. He must have been hungry himself, after all, they had to go by foot for about half an hour or something. But he let her gain strength, since the journey home was much more arduous as they lived on a mountain. I think that’s why my mom is so persistent in going to church every Sunday her whole life. It makes me beyond sad that he died so early so that I didn’t know him. Not for me, but for my mom. She always wanted us to know what a person he was, but I, being an ignorant child, didn’t sense the scope of her sadness. But through the process of clearing out the house, I hope my mom knows that I care now. You see, I also inherited the thing to communicate feelings through actions rather than through words ๐Ÿ˜‰ Moving on ๐Ÿ™‚

That china was standing somewhere in the house for decades and nobody paid attention. It was too precious to use. Somehow, my mom doesn’t even know where it’s from but she insisted on me taking it and almost yelled at me when I said that I don’t care much for it. I don’t even drink coffee. But since she didn’t want one of my cousins to take it, it just changed location and is now standing in my old room at my mom’s house. Makes sense ๐Ÿ˜‰

Surprisingly enough, one of my cousins asked me for exactly that porcelain when the family had its last getting together in the house. That was very strange and my mom was delighted and gave me the “I told you so!” face for having had the foresight to force me to take it. Lastly, that button box is just too cute and I’m sure my grandfather made it himself.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the wonderful nature in August ๐Ÿ™‚

Wisdom from Grandma Part 4378: “You can’t take it with you”

Not long ago, I inherited the house of my grandmother. It’s in the middle of nowhere and it’s so little and pretty and from another century that it’s heartbreaking. I would move in the minute I could if it would be in Vienna. But since it’s not, I now want to rent it out to somebody nice. If I find someone who’s willing to move out there ๐Ÿ˜‰ And if I find someone who is willing to pay me some rent for such an old house…but that is a whole different story ๐Ÿ˜‰

The secretary of my grandfather isn't that beautiful, but that one caught my eye. Maybe I'm gonna treat myself to one of those when I'm older... picture via inetgiant.com

Until I find that certain someone, I have to clear out the house. Which is a difficult task, considering it’s full of stuff my relatives loaded there the last few years since my grandmother died. The only thing I would have liked to keep was a little secretary that belonged to my grandfather. It has those little drawers and doors with tiny, beautiful keys. It also has a hutch with a round, built-in ceramic picture. I don’t think it’s antique but it is definitely charming. My granddad stored his most beloved things in there and nobody even dared to touch it. He died before I was born but interestingly, drawings he drew when he was a child only came to light when I was already in my teens. Somebody “dared” to look into the secretary and found those little beautiful drawings of his childhood home in the woods with a pond in front. He never showed those pictures to anyone. Not even my grandmother knew of their existence. Nowadays, all of his children have a photocopy of that drawing in their home and the original hangs in the house I inherited now.

Just a nice little back story to get to the point … because last week I told my mom to ask her siblings or my cousins if they wanted to have something from the house. Never did I think that somebody would want the secretary…

As it happens, my mom visited a cousin of mineย  last week. When mom mentioned the house, my cousin carefully asked her what would happen to the secretary. THE secretary. Of course. At first I was shocked. Disappointed. Sad. I couldn’t believe that she had the nerve to suggest to give her the secretary. She put me in an awful position. How could I refuse her wish? I was very upset and felt trapped. Grumpily, I told my boyfriend the story who wasn’t very impressed, since we don’t even have room for it. I would store it in some place that doesn’t do it justice. I still brooded over it a few minutes, and then I let go.

via cartoonstock.com

My cousin still knew my grandfather. Maybe she even saw him sitting there, writing letters or something. She still knows the real purpose of it. Additionally, she studied art and definitely knows how to restore the secretary to its old glory. With me, I would maybe paint it, but I would spoil the old appearance. If she gets it, the secretary will definitely stand in a fitting place in her house so that everybody can admire it. And then people will ask where it’s from, and she can tell stories about our grandfather. People should definitely hear more stories of him! He seems to have been a wonderful man. If I would have it, nobody would get to see it since I don’t have space. And that would be a pity. The most important point though, as my grandma (the other grandma who’s still living) always says: “You can’t take it with you when you die.”

I think of this saying a lot whenever I treasure material things too much so that they start to become a burden. I don’t want this flat to be my last one. I don’t want to only live here in Vienna. I hope to move a lot and get to know lot’s of places. How can I possess furniture if I want to do that? Where would I store it? Would it be fair to the furniture? Definitely not. What’s also important is that I can make my cousin happy. I always like to make others happy and this gives more comfort than holding on to it. Besides, she has four children. Those kids didn’t know our grandfather either, maybe they will appreciate their roots through the secretary. In the end, I hope I can admire the secretary in her house sometime with a feeling of perfect contentment. And maybe this is the chance to get back my Game boy I borrowed one of her kids in 1999 or something … what can I say, yet another crazy backstory ๐Ÿ˜‰

The missing piece in my resume

picture via hs-heilbronn.de

Since I’m almost finished writing my thesis, the topic of what I should do next is coming up every so often. In a few months, my “student” status will have expired and then I have to face the tough “real” world. My plan is to just quietly apply for jobs and quietly getting rejections. I am normally very optimistic and don’t worry that much, but whenever people talk to me about it, I brood for days on end. The reason I am brooding is that I am afraid of the job market because I think I have no qualifications whatsoever and I never did an internship. This is basically the kiss of death for a 26 year old first-time job seeker. People happily point that out to me. What annoys me is that nobody makes suggestions how to succeed despite this flaw. I cannot change it anymore, so why people persist on dwelling on this point so much is beyond me. I am also not immune to taking pleasure in others’ misfortune sometimes. But it is annoying. Well, maybe I can take comfort in that it helps other people feeling less inadequate and better prepared for the job market through me ๐Ÿ˜‰

The thing is, I never worked. I had two summer jobs once. One was in the summer of 2003, the other in the summer of 2004. Then my dad died. Most people assume that I am a lazy person just riding on my mom’s money because I didn’t work afterwards anymore. And in a way that is true. But the reality is, I didn’t even dare to do an internship during my holidays after that. Because holidays meant I had to go home and help my mom. If my mom’s house were in the city, it would have been no problem to do an internship and help her out at the same time. But since my family lives on the countryside, far away from any city, far away from anything really, I didn’t have the opportunity to do it both. I don’t like to explain myself when I am accused of doing nothing. But yesterday, when a girl suggested I am “the worst” because I never worked in a joking manner, I replied that my mom preferred me helping her with my grandma instead of working on my career. My grandma is almost blind and she cannot walk very well anymore. This has been getting worse over the years. She needs help 24/7 and my mom is by her side the whole year round. Everybody who cares for older people knows how exhausting this can be. My mom doesn’t complain and she just gracefully accepts the situation. She deserves a medal and I am always amazed at how patient she is! Naturally, when I am at home she takes every opportunity to get out, meeting up with friends, going to exhibitions and so on. There are no other people whom she can call to help her out. It’s basically just me and my mom. Nowadays I’m very guilt-ridden since I don’t help her out that much anymore.

image via squidoo.com

So yesterday, when I said that the reason for not doing “anything” was to help out my mom, I was met with embarrassed silence. Did I overburden them with private family matters? Nowadays nobody wants to hear of the sick and the old, but I didn’t say that to gain sympathy. I just stated the facts. The reaction irritated me. I don’t know why they were embarrassed and it still bugs me that they reacted that way. Since I was too stunned I couldn’t react properly and the topic changed very quickly. I take it that they either pity me, feel sorry for me, think of their grandparents, think of my decision to put my grandma before my career as stupid or just don’t know how to handle someone actually having a grandma at home. I really don’t know. If they pity me, I think it very strange. Yeah, my grandma is very annoying if you don’t tend to her the minute she wants something. There were times when it was exhausting and frightening to be alone with her when she was sick and I didn’t know what to do to the point of pitying myself. But she is very lively for her age. While she remembers stuff she did on a particular day, let’s say, in 1942, I cannot for the life of me remember the stuff I did yesterday properly.ย  What amazes me the most is that even though she already told me stories on every possible subject and on every possible stage of her life, every time I visit she still knows a new story I never heard of. Through her I get to know every family member in every possible way. She tells me stuff nobody else would dare to tell me, juicy family secrets and the like. I discover things through her stories which I would have never known. There are new stories every time and I even hear new things about my dad from time to time. I love that! It’s astonishing. Listening to her is like a live-cast of history. To conclude this, it’s not a burden to care for her.

I think the reaction annoys me that much because I got a taste of my future job interviews. When future employers will ask me about the missing spots in my resume, I will have to tell them the same. And because I didn’t even think about such strange reactions, I never thought about my “holiday work” as a problem. Since this was what I got, I am more afraid of strange feedback than ever. I cannot process their reaction, don’t know what it’s about and don’t know how to cope with it. And most of all, I don’t know how to make such situations less awkward. Let’s just hope nobody asks ๐Ÿ˜‰

Easter gossip

Easter holiday. Visiting my mom. Going to church and almost dying of boredom. Eating way too much chocolate. Seeing people I haven’t seen in a while and getting sentimental.

The only funny thing while sitting in church was the priest grumbling at his altar boys and girls (not even my splendid service I did as a kid could change his character, bless his heart) and my mom pointing out to a former student of hers sitting in front of us where we are in the church song book. The former student surely was thrilled getting instructions from my mom years after leaving school ๐Ÿ™‚ It seems like you can get the teacher out of school, but the school doesn’t leave the teacher…or something like that.

It is almost always the same when it’s time to visit my family. Since it’s always the same old, you know what to expect and I’m cool with that. But this time, my grandma was agitated when her brother pointed out to her that I wasn’t featured in the yearly report of the area in the section of people graduating or accomplishing something else in their life. Because of him, she now worries that the whole township is gossiping about me and my eternal studies and living off of my mom’s money. “If he is already talking about this to me, imagine what other people are saying!” she cried out to me! THE horror!! My grandma is deeply concerned about the reputation of my family ๐Ÿ˜‰ She surely imagines people whispering behind her back: “You know how their girl studies until she’s thirty and still won’t get anything done.” Or: “You know, I was told that someone saw her there and there sipping cocktails/buying expensive clothes/eating in a fancy restaurant. The nerve of that girl when she didn’t even earn her own money yet.” Or “My child is working ten years already while this kid just lives her life without any concern for the community she lives in!” And surely she imagines them discrediting my upbringing: “Boy did they do a job on that girl!” Or “Boy, what could they have done to deserve such a slouch of a girl.” I was very amused, but when the neighbor started to ask me the same questions my grandma was worried about, I started to wonder, is my grandma on to something here? Do you only get a pass in your early 20s, but when you reach 25 without a degree, people get suspicious? Even a friend of mine who normally isn’t interested in anything I’m doing sat there expecting answers from me. And the questions kept going on when I was going out. It’s exhausting. “How is your thesis going?”, “What’s the topic of your thesis?”, “When are you planning on handing in your thesis?”, “When are you finally finished with your studies?”, “How do we call you then?” (In a country like Austria where titles are the ticket to being worshiped this is exceedingly important to ask!), “What are you planning on doing then?”, “You surely start working there or there, right?”ย  Blablabla…ย  Scary! Especially because I don’t know a good answer to any of these questions. And especially because I dread the time when I really graduate more than anyone else and I am profoundly dreading the time searching for jobs when I don’t have any hope of finding a decent one.

Now I returned to my little haven in the city with no gossip and no one is interested in my studies! What relief ๐Ÿ˜‰ But not for long, Mother’s Day is around the corner. I wonder what the next visit will bring…

Deadline

image via keywordpictures.com

So, now it is already April and my deadline was set for April 26. Like my subconsciousness sees it, deadlines are there to be broken. Especially the ones I set for myself. Why is it that I cannot stick to my own deadlines? If some authority, like a teacher ๐Ÿ˜‰ , gives deadlines, I follow those religiously. But the minute I do it for myself, my expectations go out the window. Together with my self-confidence. Sometimes I feel like I am some drama heroine. Some bad drama heroine who you want to punch in the face whenever she comes on the screen because of the stupid decisions she makes. My decisions are really not the best but can I punch myself and therefor punish myself? Oh my…. OK, so my thesis is now approaching 40 pages, which is good actually, but I am afraid I cannot write another forty until April 26. Which is quite a failure. And considering that I still don’t know what I am doing 40 pages is maybe quite good?! I cannot decide. Since my mom has already given up on asking how my work is going on, that should give me a breather. But the deep fear of failure is always weighing on my head. Oh how I wish for the day when I can throw my fear of failure out the window…

I really need that!!!