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Category Archives: Sparetime

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˜‰

“But I wanna look at the stars…”

I’m an avid fan of stars. As a kid, I even listed “looking at stars” as my hobby in autograph books. To check out those stars and get a first-hand impression, I booked a tour to one of the observatories in Vienna. Last week, it was raining and the sky was pretty clouded, but our guides informed us via e-mail that we nevertheless could have our tour. But when we arrived, those clouds hadn’t gone away, like they were convinced of in the afternoon. It was very disappointing, we couldn’t look at anything else but clouds. Children were crying, desperate father’s yearned for amusement for their children, couples were crying out that their romantic evening was ruined, chaos ensued.

I wanna look through that ๐Ÿ˜ฆ via http://www.bda.at

Yeah…it wasn’t like that. But it could have been ๐Ÿ˜‰ Despite this throwback, I optimistically booked another tour for today. Today it couldn’t have been sunnier and I was really excited to finally see stars in the evening. Well, until half an hour ago. The tour isn’t happening ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Those clouds are coming back and we would not see anything. This is tragic! I think heaven doesn’t want me to look at it. But I’m not gonna give in … Maybe someone could put in a good word for me with heaven … Please, please let me have a look next week! I’ll be good …

That's the place ... I console myself with the fact that I've been to the tower ... via http://home.fotocommunity.de/link/index.php?id=11067&d=3904933

Eurovision and procrastination come in handy

It’s May and that means Eurovision time! Yay! And what better excuse to procrastinate than watching Eurovision? Last week I took a tiny little holiday from my thesis, which I now regret of course, but it was good! Watching Eurovision is a must! It’s trashtastic, it’s shout-singing, it’s eurotrash, it’s so bad that it only can be good. It has everything: flashy costumes, wind machines, political messages that no one understands and a little scandal. This year the scandal was Lukashenko suspecting some conspiracy behind the fact that his country’s song, fittingly called “I love Belarus”, didn’t make it to the finals. And every year someone, especially contestants that were there from the beginning, suspects “political voting”. Since nowadays there are already 43 countries participating, it gets more interesting every year. I particularly like seeing how other nations want to represent themselves. And it also gives me some kind of “united fuzzy” feeling. Although the countries of Europe don’t feel particularly united normally, it’s actually a good feeling to be nice to each other once a year. Even if it’s only for a trashy singing competition. I always think that everybody in Europe is watching it. But I was proven wrong when I went to Malta a few years ago and wanted to impress my host’s boy by my ultimate Eurovision knowledge and telling him how much I enjoyed the Maltese act that year. He wasn’t impressed. I think that only now it’s becoming less embarrassing to admit to watching it ๐Ÿ™‚ This year Azerbaijan made it, only in the 4th year of participation! It should be very interesting next year. Watching Eurovision in Azerbaijan can be dangerous actually. In 2009 43 or 44 (sources differ) people were put on a list as “potential threats to the country” and one was even interrogated by police after voting for Armenia. That prompted the Eurovision committee to change the rules. Serious stuff!

That's Nadine Beiler for Austria via derstandard.at

In Austria everybody is always rooting for its song despite being regularly bad if not awful. And when we don’t make it, it’s always the fault of others. Austria won the contest only once in 1966 and the guy is our national hero now. This time reporters and TV execs are pissed again because we only made it to place 18 out of 25 but it’s the first time in six years that we even made it to the finals. I hope those TV execs aren’t acting like a baby again and are offended only because Europe couldn’t see the “brilliantness” of Austria’s song and punish us viewers again by not participating, as has happened the last three years. As I was not that desperate to actually write a protest letter to the national TV station, I am not one to talk. But it was rough those three years without Austria anyway.

I actually rooted for Ireland. They were fun. And all in all Eurovision was a great distraction from my thesis. A little flashy distraction ๐Ÿ˜‰

On another note, procrastination is now really kicking in. I always heard that when you’re procrastinating, your apartment is spotless because you spend your time doing the dishes instead of working. That has finally happened to me. While in the last months I didn’t change my cleaning routine because of my thesis, I wash the dishes now twice a day. I even dusted yesterday. Hell, I even tidied my work desk which was already drowning in books, old tea cups and texts. I know, gross. But now it’s all shiny. You can eat from my desk and it’s actually pretty nice. That’s why I wondered why I’m not doing this more. I think it is because it actually takes up a lot of time. I was happy to shed some time that I otherwise would have spent on my thesis, getting a headache. The fantastic mechanisms of one’s brain…I will never understand!

Travel in books…what a dream fantasy!

picture via amazon

Recently, I read this book by Jasper Fforde with the catching name “The Eyre Affair”. I want to resist to make a book review, because I want to dwell on another point of the book. I guess it had just the right amount of romance, crime, fantasy, girl power and everything. I kind of disliked the end because it just had to end with a wedding even though the point of the whole book before that was to be emancipated. Or I missed the point. And of course I like romance, but it could have ended with just the two of them getting together, not marry on the spot! But that’s only me…

What I actually want to talk about is this:

This Jasper Fforde guy has a wild fantasy and one includes visiting the world of real books which is such a marvelous idea! It’s like Pleasantville but only with books. In the book there even was a tourist guide who made trips with clients to favorite book scenes and everything. Mr. Rochester took them on a tour of Thornfield Hall. How cool is that! The only flaw was not to disturb the first-person narrator otherwise one could change the storyline. It would be wonderful to plan such trips. Imagine going to a travel agency booking trips to your favorite books! I would literally die of excitement!

I am such a girl here but only think of the chances you could have! I am only thinking about happy books here ๐Ÿ˜‰ย ย  I wouldn’t visit books about pain and misery…after all, you want to walk into a fantasy!

Of course it would be nice to check out Jane Eyre and see the real Mr. Rochester…in all the TV adaptations he is rather beautiful whereas in the book he is supposed to be, well, not as gorgeous as the 2006 BBC adaptation Mr. Rochester…

picture via bbc.co.uk/janeeyre

Only imagine to dance at the Netherfield ball!

picture via colinfirth24-7.com

Or even attend the wedding!

picture via reinamwilliams.blogspot.com

I would visit all of the Jane Austen books naturally, considering those are all fantasy novels and all of them have a happy ending ๐Ÿ™‚ My other favorite, besides pride and prejudice, would be persuasion!

via whsmith.co.uk

Or visit one of your favorite books you read as a child! For me that would be this one “Pony, bear and evening star”:

picture via amazon

Isn’t it lovely? Strolling through the night with a bear (I am a sucker for bears ;-)) and a pony, chasing the evening star. What else could a girl wish for?

Hop into short stories just for a quick fix! Maybe you could get a discount from the travel agency for stories shorter than, say, 30 pages ๐Ÿ˜‰

image via swap.com

Or hide behind your favorite detective!

via amazon

I would choose the stories of the “Famous Five”, nothing too dangerous in there ๐Ÿ˜‰

Or talk to a person who wrote an amazing autobiography. (Maybe this would go against the rule of contact to the first-person narrator but it would be definitely cool!) I would love to talk to a former spy agent or something ๐Ÿ™‚

via fantasticfiction.co.uk

Or even understand one of your scholarly books better through a visit…

via fishpond.co.nz

Or self help books…I eat those up ๐Ÿ˜‰ Get firsthand help from the author!

iamge via goodreads.com

Hop into the classic ๐Ÿ˜‰

Or even crawl into one of your language learning books…talk to one of the “Tims” and “Marias” firsthand!

picture via amazon

Check out your favorite cookbooks ๐Ÿ™‚

image via skyscrapercity.com

I would choose one of my Chinese cookbooks…yummy!

Get first-hand experience from history books.

picture via flickr.com/photos/mrsfujita/3115167521/

Maybe I would check out what the buzz about Elizabeth, the then empress of Austria was and still is all about.

Visit places all over the world through travel books…

image via chinaodysseytours.com

Beautiful, isn’t it?

It’s just too amazing to be true ;-(

So, where would you go, given the chance?

Hooked on Mahjongg…

oh...you precious game you! image via digitalbattle.com

Last week a friend of mine dragged me along to play mahjongg (or mah-jongg or majong, whichever way to write it I don’t know) with a group of people. Although I spent two years in China, I have to admit I never learned how to play it there. The young guys I spent my time with were into computer games like World of Warcraft or Counter Strike and made a bonding experience out of that in smoky internet cafรฉ’s, where hundreds of Chinese played with each other, or so it appeared. I for one let my boyfriend play with the Chinese boys and watched my Korean Dramas…which was great. One could spend hours and hours doing only that one thing… Which we admittedly did….there are even stories of young boys going blind because they didn’t leave their screen for two days straight. Yes…that’s how self-sacrificing they are ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway…the thing is only “older” people played mahjongg there, and they gambled. This again is very dangerous, so parents spend a lot of time instilling the warning into young people not ever to gamble. This is why they end up in Internet cafรฉ’s. This could also be expensive, but at least nobody comes into family homes at night to repossess anything.

I for one am now hooked on this game. I had a really good run and won 5 times over the course of the evening, which a guy brushed off as “beginner’s luck”. I think he was only afraid of me! At home I wasted no time to install mahjongg on my computer and since then I cannot get away from it. Writing one page I take a break with one tiny little round of mahjongg…which then amounts to one hour breaks because time flies by. I am hopelessly addicted now. Even before starting to write anything I am thinking about taking it slow with a nice round of mahjongg first. It is extremely rewarding…I love it! I am even thinking of buying the board game for myself. Maybe that’s why some Chinese parents don’t even teach their kids how to play it…it takes up so much precious time which could be spent studying. But they didn’t think of counter strike ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyhow, I try to even out the time I write and the time I play…and I think it will go away soon enough, until my next addiction kicks in…hopefully a not so-much-time-consuming one…

Internet radio, language partner and asian dramas

Basically I am doing a lot to brush up my Chinese recently. I try to listen to Chinese radio stations online while I’m doing stuff. I discovered a great site where you can switch between stations pretty easy: http://www.radioguide.fm/internet_radio_china

Unfortunately, I still didn’t find my “dream station”. Either they only play ๅคไปฃ music, which is very very old fashioned music, they only talk, they only have commercials or they have “radio dramas”, often meant to be funny…but considering my lack of understanding, I don’t find it funny and hence am disappointed…waiting for my first laugh to come up ๐Ÿ™‚

http://video.fashion4us.com/movie-drama-play-single-princesses-and-blind-dates.actionLast week I also met with a Chinese girl to practice a bit…while I wanted to have a Chinese friend here in Vienna for a long time, I was always too busy to actually go and answer an ad. But now I finally did it. She is a very nice girl from Tianjin and studies piano here, which a lot of Asians do. It is somehow ironic that the average Austrian doesn’t care too much for classical music except for the image of the country and then there are girls like her who sacrifice their whole life for music to realize their dream of studying in Vienna. While talking with her I was so let down by my Chinese I really sucked…As I didn’t expect it to be this bad, I wanted to change something and unwrapped a few books which I took with me from China and already collected dust in my shelf… It’s a shame I always only did the exercises on page one…and then gave up ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh my…my attitude sucks really bad….But what I always love are cheesy Asian dramas ๐Ÿ™‚ I love love love Korean ones, nobody can reach the level of drama, guilt, shame and twisted love triangles like they do…but as I want to enhance my Chinese, I had to look for an equivalent, and since China tries to copy Korea, they also don’t lack cheesy dramas now. Which is good for me ๐Ÿ˜‰ The title already sums it up: “Single princesses and blind dates”. It sounds very cheesy which it is, but I hope it actually improves my Chinese. The good thing is, on the site some guys also made German subtitles which could help me if I really had a problem to understand…but for now the plot is still very easy to understand. That is why I only watch cheesy love stories ๐Ÿ˜‰ Besides my love for love, I can talk about love in Chinese, at least ๐Ÿ˜‰ This is the site to watch: http://www.mysoju.com/single-princesses-and-blind-dates/

Okay…and when I am done with that I have to start reading the “hard” stuff about economy, global questions and monetary problems in Chinese…hope I don’t overreach or overestimate myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

Damn you…fun sparetime activities (>_<)

Yesterday’s “happy accident” really turned out to be a jewel. It seems to have everything I need and for the first time I have the feeling that I can use this in my thesis. It is comforting to finally have some hope…

What bothers me is that while I genuinely want to read I still drag away and do other stuff like trying to make a poached boiled egg with my boyfriend where we tremendously failed but which takes up precious time… what’s worse is TV, computer games, (bless mario ๐Ÿ˜‰ … and my worst guilty pleasure, gossip sites. I know (^_^’) It is just so silly and I am mad at myself for being so inconsistent…have to work on that one…or juggle to even out fun sparetime and serious work time…so many bad habits ๐Ÿ˜›

Image: cartoonstock.com