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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˜‰

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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!!!

Are new parents basically superhumans?

Yesterday, while browsing the university website, I discovered a new graduate and was quite astonished. Last summer, we did the master colloquium together where we had to hand in a first draft of the thesis and basically learned how to start. Since I still am only motivated by fear, which obviously doesn’t help, I now have more fear than ever. Or maybe her graduating does motivate me, I haven’t decided yet.

What astonished me is the fact that she very quickly handed in her thesis despite being a mother. Yes, she has a baby, and another on the way judging by her appearance when I last saw her. (I hope I am right, but she is very thin normally, so she must have been pregnant…this is all very confusing for someone who doesn’t even notice someone putting on 10 kilos…but I think I am right…) I don’t know her properly, but I always admired her. She seemed to juggle it all so easily and it cannot be that easy. Her parents don’t live in Vienna like she has to for her studies and I even think that her boyfriend is not even in Austria because he probably has to finish his studies in his country. They are still very young and it must be very hard.

She brought the baby to a few classes and couldn’t stay when it whined or wanted out or something. It must have been very difficult and I think she missed a lot of classes because of it. Naturally, the professors had to be very tolerant, which they were. I think one feature of our professor helped her a lot, which was taping a few of the classes so you could stay at home. Maybe this seems backwards that we don’t have this around here as a given, but sadly it is not. Our professor is considered to be very innovative around here.

image via blogs.glam.com/glambuzz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, my question is now, are mothers more productive? When the baby sleeps, do they have the sudden urge to take care of everything they cannot do when the baby is awake? Do they squeeze every little work in the one hour the baby sleeps? And when the baby sleeps two hours surprisingly, can they accomplish even more? Do they just live on the baby’s charm and personality to bring them through the day or is the baby smell the equivalent of spinach for Popeye? Can mothers survive on two hours of sleep a day? Do they think of something like “I have to accomplish this before the baby starts to walk”? Do they have the feeling of having to accomplish something before the baby can question their laziness or something? Do they fear the questions of the baby when it starts to talk, like “Mummy, why are you still in college?” or something?

And those questions also count for fathers. Case in point is that we only have three graduates so far, two of them being parents. The other graduate just recently became a father and also graduated quite quickly.

It really is a mystery to me! Maybe I have to look after a baby to get the same energy drive. Are babies the new red bull? This would really be worth exploring in another thesis ๐Ÿ˜‰

Gloom, Graves and Depression

Since I had a very catholic upbringing, this time of the year combined with the gloomy weather makes me a little bit depressed, gloomy and I feel lonely and even secluded. The good thing is, this year I can skip the grave’s visit tomorrow on All Hallows (is that the right term?!) thanks to my thesis. My family “let me out” because I have so many things to do. But in my mind I am still there and it occupies me to the point where I actually don’t get anything done. Which is even more depressing and self destructive. But when I am this way, I cannot possibly bring my body and mind to function and be active. I am just lazy and try to detract myself from gloomy thoughts. I know this sounds strange, but visiting the family grave is just the worst thing for me and on All Hallows there are so many people at the cemetary, dressed in black, the marching band (again I don’t know if that describes it right) is playing funeral songs and I just have to relive my dad’s funeral all over again. Last year I actually cried there which left me beyond embarrassed since there are so many people and I wanted to be strong for my mom, but failed. I really dreaded the day this year so I am very glad to being allowed to pass. I just hope that this feeling goes away after tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, since that day is All Souls’ Day, and also a holiday.

Image: http://www.oesterreichnews.de/4529-der-wiener-zentralfriedhof-ort-der-trauer-und-toleranz/