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My future job might involve looking at private parts

Well, yesterday I met a friend who recently spent half a year in Shanghai doing an internship. She met lots of expats who, after graduating, found a job there. Some of them had studied Sinology, just like me. Apparently the guys she met were the “not too successful Sinology students”, those who didn’t top their studies with economy or business studies or something else “practical”, just like me. As she told me of the one friend who worked for an Internet site, I saw my future in front of me. That friend is working for a site called po**, and in German “poppen” is practically having intercourse, to put it elegantly 😉

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It’s like facebook but on that site people get connected, well, to pop 😉 Now, her job involves looking at pictures people uploaded for approval. And sometimes this means looking at p**n the whole day…so wow! And apparently many men like to take pictures of their p**n from all kind of angles. To her, there’s not much of a difference anymore…the vanity of men…

This is a girl who studied for a few years and ends up looking at p**n… I wonder how far I would go for a job… As I cannot afford to be picky I might end up on a similar job. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but how do you tell your grandma about a job like this? Well, at least the job is in China… This prospect of my future is not too encouraging… Now I am really looking forward to searching for a job  But please, let it be something not too slutty…



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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 😉 , 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!!!

The case of the forgotten memory stick

I wouldn't forget that one would I 😉 image via

Last week, my boyfriend treated me to a brand new 16 GB memory stick in modest black. Since my old one was always full having only 1 GB of storage (don’t ask, it was 2006 and then it was really expensive) I was in dire need of a new one and was very happy with my new shiny blank stick, I even engraved the first letter of my name in it 😉

That’s when I took it to a little ride to the library, where browsing through academic journals I stored some articles as well as parts of my little thesis project. And then in the evening, when writing something and a very important thought entered my head, the stick came up again. “Wasn’t there something important today that I read that I can include in my text…” I thought and grabbed my backpack where suddenly I couldn’t find my little new stick…Then it began to dawn on me that I might have forgotten to take it out of the library computer and then I felt really really stupid…Of course I back upped my work. Tales of infecting the computer with some terrible kind of virus while downloading some random shareware when writing page 92 of one’s dissertation have taught me enough not to do that kind of thing and be safe. The golden rule is: backup, backup, backup.

I always feel like „that can never happen to me“, „how can someone be that stupid“ and have other self-righteous thoughts that bit me in the ass that day. That could be another life lesson. Never be self-righteous! I know that it is not good for you, but sometimes you cannot help. And in those few moments where you cannot help yourself but to feel that way, I can guarantee you that in the next moment it happens to you. Which is kind of terrifying since yesterday, when told the story of a girl my age becoming pregnant „by accident“, I also had those thoughts. Ok, admittedly they were not self-righteous, more terrified and pitying the girl, but I still am slightly anxious now….please spare me!

Feeling sorry but also kind of superior when people hang up messages searching for their memory stick or post somewhere that they forgot their memory stick in the library pc and now are on the brink of desperation because their dissertation outline, research history, pictures of their childhood with grandma, who is now dead (ok I feel very sorry for that, but still it is kind of stupid to not backup this precious memory) and other things are stored on that particular stick. The chance of getting it back is always very slim.

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Considering mine is brand new and nothing special was stored on it, I honestly was only pissed at myself and wouldn’t even have cared if somebody took it. My bf, who is always very pessimistic, just laughed and didn’t have any hope at all that I would get it back, lamenting about the lack of “sister/brotherhood” or general moral in students. Even if I was pissed I didn’t care too much because I had the strange feeling of getting it back. I am the positive one here. And the next day I made the library journey again very early, and after telling the nice library lady my little mishap she immediately handed my stick back to me. So there still are wonderful, responsible students full of moral, who think about the sad student searching frantically for his/her memory stick and cursing the world. I am really thankful to that person! My bf doesn’t understand the world anymore…there are still nice and friendly people? What is this world coming to?

Still I feel slightly stupid for having forgotten to take the stick with me and now I have learned my lesson. I feel kind of knighted. Now that I have experienced the terror of losing some special „work“, (that I have backupped of course, but still…) I can lean back and enjoy the ride.

P.S.: Apparently this is not an isolated matter and tales of forgotten memory sticks are just as random as lost hairpins…there’s a hilarious video on youtube encouraging students to use microsoft office live workspace so that a lost memory stick doesn’t shatter your world.

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.

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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 😉

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.

An old friend

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At the library a few days back I met a friend again whom I didn’t meet for a few years already. I was abroad for two years and we had E-mail contact. Coming back we wanted to meet and exchanged new numbers. But it seemed pretty clear that we were busy with other things and meeting wasn’t of priority. She was also abroad in between, and we pretty much had an unspoken agreement to not bother anymore. I didn’t know her long before, and the only thing that was holding us together was the mutual experience of losing a loved one. We held on to each other in a time when we thought nobody else could understand. And now it seems this was the only thing that connected us. If that didn’t happen, we wouldn’t even have cared for each other. As I was meeting her again, it felt pretty strange, unrealistic and even unworldly. I already didn’t expect to meet her ever again. It was a mutual feeling. The awkwardness was topped by meeting at the toilet. It isn’t that we wanted to avoid each other…it is just, we don’t seem to be compatible anymore. It feels like we both moved on, overcame (for the most part) the heartbreak this way or the other, even without the help of each other. Now we don’t know what to do with each other anymore. I gave her my number, and she promised to call and set up a meeting “sometime”. I just hope she doesn’t feel pressured to really meet up when it is not our time anymore. It seems to be true that some relationships aren’t meant to last. At the time we gave each other comfort and we didn’t feel alone in the world. Now, as we seem to have nothing in common anymore, the reality sets in, and that is just two girls having nothing to talk about anymore. What a strange thing.

Where is the exit?

Leaving the house today half an hour before my course started, I expected to arrive 5 minutes ahead to chitchat a bit and look very “collegiate” and earnest. It was raining today so I didn’t want to go to University by bicycle but chose to use the streetcar instead…which turned out to be a big mistake. Arriving at the station, I decided to pass time until the streetcar arrived by checking out the office supply store beside the station. Checking out the latest “birthday calenders”, the nice lady from the speaker at the station informed me and my fellow streetcar travellers that we had to wait due to some hindrance in the streets of Vienna. I thought for a moment about going back to take the bike, when the streetcar finally arrived. Enjoying the warmth within the streetcar I settled for my quarter of an hour ride and watched the stores fly by when, in a curve, the streetcar hit a van’s mirror. We didn’t even get to the next station. We were kindly asked to leave and I, weighing my options which were closing down, decided to walk. Two stops from there I saw a crowd waiting for the next streetcar to arrive. Pitying them for knowing for a fact that they would soon walk behind me, I passed by feeling a tiny bit superior. Which hit me in the face because just one minute thereafter, my shiny streetcar passed me by. Which is why I decided to wait at the next station to get on the one after that one, since I assumed that the service was recovered. Little did I know that the next but one was again 5 minutes late, which prompted a woman with a huge dog to also go by foot, which she discussed beforehand with said dog for a little. Seeing him hanging his head down and slogging away beside the woman, she didn’t seem to have understood him the right way. So when finally the next streetcar arrived, I again settled down and thought that I would get to my destination in one undisturbed ride, passing the lady with the dog which again made me feel smug. Which again bit me in the ass when one station down, there was a driver’s change, and the driver seemed to be late. Which didn’t seem to bother him much, besides the angry mob which was building inside the streetcar. Finally, nothing hindered the streetcar for the next three stations and my transfer also was quite smooth. In the end I was 45 minutes late which earned me the evil eye of the lecturer and a loss of important knowledge since next week’s the exam. The lesson I learned seems to be: Regardless of weather conditions, still go by bike instead of streetcars, which are very unreliable. As the man behind my seat noted to his wife: Everyone just thinks about themselves, that’s why nobody bothers to bend mirrors back when parking besides a streetcar track. You can make the world a better place by just doing the little, heroic things like bending back the mirror when parking!!

I overcame this little drawback very well, when, in the evening, I became aware of the new budget 2011, which was decided by the government over the weekend. Hearing the decision to cut the family assistance payments for students over 23, I wasn’t that alarmed. But then I discovered that this also implies losing my half-orphan pension, the privilege of a student ticket for public transport, insurance and I would also need to pay television license fee, which is the smallest part but still… This all starts in January of 2011 and it gave me a chill all over. But instead of hurrying to my desk frantically starting to read and write, it just made me depressed. I thought I could spend my last year of student life in comfort, only having to worry about my thesis. Instead it gets to be a very cold winter. But as my situation is still pretty good, it makes me even more depressed that those decisions ruin somebodies plans and life decisions. And even families, since there are also significant cutbacks with children. We can just hope that it doesn’t get worse…