Sunday, December 28, 2014

Spellbound Selves

You know that moment, at a party or in a club, when everyone around you is utterly drunk and you are as sober as a judge? When you witness people embarrassing themselves to a point where you really hope they won't remember when their intoxication drops? People who you thought you knew pretty well impersonating someone else. It's like looking at long-time friends for the very first time.

It seems that the exact same thing happens when everyone around you is in a relationship and you are single.

This thought came into my mind during these festive days, when I spend an unusual amount of time with people I otherwise rarely see (note to self: this is material for a blogpost). I'm sure that they have experienced the change gradually, but for me, it comes as a shock. The guy who had us all heartbroken by playing 'hard to get', has turned into a puppet under the orders of the lady holding the strings. He keeps running from one place to another like a loyal puppy following her orders. He's not alone. The once professed and active feminist is now responding to nicknames ranging from "Princess" to "Babe" and using terms of the kind of "my Little Muffin". Personal interests seem to vanish to make room for joint activities: the great cook of the group now only bakes cupcakes. Or, in some cases, one of them absorbs the lifestyle of the other: the barbecue organiser now follows a strict vegetarian diet. 

When drunk, if we were able to watch ourselves from the side of sobriety, would we regret the person we become when bewitched like this?

When in a relationship, if we were able to watch ourselves from the side of singlehood, would we regret the person we become when bewitched like this?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Singlehood Discrimination

Dear Single Friends,

When our relationship status triggers the envy of those around us, stay cool; play along. Live up to their idealised image of our freedom. Rejoice in not having to explain your whereabouts; in doing whatever you want whenever you want. Make sure to tell them about that trip you're planning on taking: narrate every detail and, above all, don't forget to omit the fact that you might never get to go because you have no one to embark in the adventure with. 

Because despite our stereotyped ideal life, the truth is that this world is not meant for singles. And I'm not only talking about St. Valentine's Day, but every other day as well. So, even if by force and not by choice, build the strength required to deal with the unfairness in life:
  • married couples (2 people, 2 current/saving accounts) get furniture and home decor as wedding presents. We single people (1 person, 1 poor current/savings account) have to buy everything for the house by ourselves - don't get me started on buying a house
  • people get that pitiful look in their faces when your shopping basket consists of lots of bags with single items: 1 tomato, 1 apple, 1 banana, etc.
  • constantly answering the question "do you have a partner?" followed by "don't worry, someone will come when the time is right" - I wasn't worried, but thanks
  • 5L washing detergent = 10 euro. 1L washing detergent = 5 euro - logic behind this? Food in smaller packages is more expensive!
  • 2 x 1
  • milk goes sour
  • getting pulled into things you don't want to do because people assume that you are single and therefore free to babysit their plants - if I don't have plants myself it's for a reason!
  • being moved around in planes because you are "travelling alone"
  • ...

Single friends, you'll find a number of obstacles that our 'coupled' friends will never even think about, but remember: 

you are enough
...even if the world insists in making you feel differently

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Think Twice Before Growing Up

Deluded. No other word to express how I feel living my adult life.

Why was I so keen on growing up? Why did I keep stressing that I wasn't 7, but 7 and a half? Why did I wear make up to conceal my real age to bouncers in clubs? Why did I search for opportunities to run away from my parents' protective wings? How can I go back there again?  

Let me tell you one thing: growing up sucks! Excuse my language, but it does. Why?

1. Emotions need to be controlled
The other day in the supermarket I saw a toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of the fruit and vegetable section. He was lying on the floor, stamping strongly hands and feet and refusing to respond to his embarrassed mother. Other shoppers were annoyed by the shouting or felt sorry for the parent. Not me. I was jealous, wishing I could do just the same thing and release all my anger on the cold tiles. But no, as an adult you instead have to bite your tongue, eat your nails and lose sleep when things don't go your way.

2. Thoughts are filtered before being spoken
Growing up didn't blind me from your ridiculous narcissism or your need to judge others based on the brand they wear and the car they have. My head might nod and my mouth might hum, but my mind still thinks you're plain stupid (excuse my language , but you are).

3. Time has meaning
My 2 year old niece wakes up in the morning not knowing whether she has to go to nursery or can enjoy her parent's company the whole day. Whatever day of the week it ends up being, she enjoys every second of it until bath time leads her on to sleep.One day after the other. There is no past or future, she only knows the here and the now. It's all about the past and the future for me. I'm dreading tomorrow Monday (future) thinking where did the weekend go (past) and already thinking of the hours of sleep that I'll get tonight (future) having had a sleep-in this morning (past).

4. You are legally obliged to do stuff
OMG the amount of administrative tasks you have to go through as an adult! Taxes, health insurance, mortgage, credit card, registering to vote, issue internet and phone contracts... The list goes on and on and never gets less boring. Why didn't I enjoy more living at home with my parents and just 'being'?

Children of the world, be warned: the freedom of adulthood is just a myth.

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Enviable Superpower

"I have the power." Or more specifically, I have the superpower. I've had it for a while now, although only intermittently. However, since I moved to Madrid it hasn't left. It's permanency has triggered this public confession.

What superpower? you might be asking yourselves. Well, I'm not one who brags, but let me tell you that this superpower is the one who every human being longs for. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado I present you with my superpower:


Yep! For some time now, I've had a sneaking suspicion that I was unseeable, based on a number of inescapable clues:

  • repeatedly getting stepped on and pushed when using the public transport
  • obtaining dead silence when greeting good mornings and good evenings
  • people pushing-in when diligently queuing
  • my place got taken in the café when I stood up to get some water (my food, mobile and jacket were still there)
  • being spoken over

And then, the other day my suspicion was fully confirmed. Here is what happened:
I was gripping to the bus bar to avoid falling over (riding a bus in Madrid can be considered an activity of high risk) and suddenly felt a hand on top of mine. Not close or barely touching, no, on top! and the bus wasn't that crowded!

Long story short and the main takeaway for everyone: I am here! as creepy and enviable as that may sound...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Stages in Life

My extended family only get together in two yearly occasions: Christmas and my Grandma's birthday. With still some months to the former, we met this week to celebrate the latter. Four generations around 86 candles, which were heroically blown by the woman who has given birth to no less than 10 children! You can now more realistically picture the amount of attendants to the event (and know the reason why we don't meet more often...). With four generations present on the night, there were representatives of all ages, giving me the opportunity of seeing life through their eyes for the duration of our conversation. All having a completely different view of the same world we all live in...

After gathering bits and pieces of the night, I reached the conclusion that life is lived in 4 different stages.

1. Flowing Life
Ages: newborn - 14
These are the years where you 'go with the flow'. Your parents determine your days, when and where you come and go, what times you eat or what you buy. You have little sense of time or perspective. Life is lived through others. At the end of this phase and after a bad hormonal kick, your environment becomes your war and you take up arms against literally everything. 

2. Theoretical Life
Ages: 15 - 29
Not liking anything in your life, you begin to imagine the great things that you fail to have and start to cook up the great plan that will lead you to a life of rainbows. You make being a free spirit your life purpose and firmly believe that all you want in life is to burn bridges and travel around the world with no other baggage than your own soul. And because anything that remotely resembles a responsibility is a clear threat to your plan, you run away from any form of commitment. You picture yourself leading a successful career doing what you love to do.

3. Fall-Rise-Fall-Rise Life
Ages: 30 - 69
But then life gives you a reality check. You realise how difficult things are, the amount of unfairness in this world. And you fall and rise again because there is no other option. And then you fall once more and have to come out from the deepest holes to stand back on your two feet; until you're knocked right out again. And rise. And fall. And rise...You become wiser and gaining a privileged perspective that leads on to the following stage.

4. Observant Life
Ages: 70 and above
With a tired body and an experienced soul, you become to live life through others (family, friends, acquaintances, actors, strangers...). Your only problems are theirs and your happiness is to witness their own bliss. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Life in Numbers

It has been almost a year since I started this blog; since I made the decision to laugh at myself and life.

Wait, that would make it almost a year since I turned 30! Which can only mean that in a few days time... Oh Lord! Let's just say none of us is getting any younger...

This thought has given me a sudden urge to look back and evaluate (and question) what on earth have I done with all of these days? They escape like sand through my fingers.

Why do we do this? Why do we count things? Why do we enjoy so much keeping track of time to celebrate thresholds? But we do. Even unconsciously we do. I think that that first "when do we arrive?" from the back of our parent's car is what triggers a live constructed around counts...

A life in numbers. My life in numbers:
  • 7 months without a drop of Diet Coke - I used to drink an average of 3 cans per day
  • 10 hours of sleep - It's Sunday
  • 20 minute swim
  • 15 items in my shopping list
  • 84% of battery in my laptop
  • 8 emails in my inbox
  • 29 degrees Celsius
  • 4 more days to see my niece
  • 20:11 of 10th of August of 2014

Would stop counting make it all count?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Expectations

Summer officially started a few days back.  The season of long days and warm nights, of holidays and sun and beaches and blue skies, happiness, smiles... or at least this is the picture many of us paint in our minds, whilst being faced with a different reality.

They say that the secret of happiness is low expectations. But let's be honest, we get carried away more often than not. And perhaps more so in Summer :)

Lunch on the Beach
· Expectation: sitting under the shade of an umbrella, looking over the blue horizon with the soundtrack of the waves coming in and out the shore...In summary: this.
· Reality: umbrella blows away, sand gets all over the food and inside the drink, which by the way is all heated up by the sun and resembles to mulled wine.

Happily Strolling
· Expectation: clear skies, long days, time to walk everywhere, enjoying the warm kiss of the sun.
· Reality: 6pm 40ºC A 20m distance to the nearest bus stop takes 20 minutes. It's a miracle that your muscles are responding under such heat.

Summery Clothes
· Expectation: goodbye tights, sleeves, trousers, jumpers... hello flowery dresses, sandals, t-shirts!
· Reality: it's going into supermarkets, shopping centres, cinemas, public transport and well, any building really, and you are transported to the Arctic. What's with the air-con, people?

Months of Sunshine
· Expectation: you've survived months of rain, wind, cold, dull days and finally here is the longed for reward. Weeks of happiness ahead.
· Reality: and suddenly shops start putting up the Christmas decorations. Where does time go?

Nothing lasts forever. Make the most of the things you love because you won't be able to enjoy them forever; and don't let the ones that do harm bring you down, because they too will disappear. Happy Summer!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss

There is a magnifying mirror in my parent's house. Not a normal magnifying mirror, but one where I swear you would be able to see the deepest layer of your skin if you stare at it for more than a minute. I haven't been able to look into that mirror for that long. The second my eyes caught sight of my face in it, I turned away. Scared.  

This revealing mirror got me thinking that more often than not, it's better to live alien to certain truths. I don't mean that we should all lie (not even white lies), no, I'm a very honest person. What I mean is that, occasionally, ignorance is a direct cause of happiness. A few very personal illustrations of this point:
  1. Dental surgery - I truly believe I am a happier person without knowing the details of what happened in the 2 hours I was anesthesised
  2. Santa -  the confusion of finding a Barbie hidden in my parents' wardrobe a few days before seeing it under the tree and the consequent revelation of years of false beliefs
  3. Sales - they can ruin the excitement of owning a pair of gorgeous shoes, when seeing them half price a few weeks later
  4. Food - I trust that you're all familiar with the ingredients that go into the very Spanish black pudding or outrageously expensive French foie? And I don't want to know any of the translations for the delicious plates I tried in Tokyo...
  5. Relationships - if he ever stupidly slipped, he can live with the guilt. I'm not a priest, you won't be forgiven upon confession
  6. Judgmental people - I prefer living not knowing what you think about me. I don't care

    and of course, the thing that started this post in the first place..
  7. Magnifying mirror - my happy little world of ignorance perverted by the blunt truth

So trust me when I say that:
"The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with."

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hunting for my Home

I'm exhausted. I have devoted every single afternoon of these 2 months to view apartments. How many have I seen? More than 50 I'd say (and counting...) And when I'm not visiting one, I'm thinking about where my home will be. Even at night, this thought haunts my dreams.  At this pace, I can easily be considered an expert in real estate.

There is still something weird in entering someone's house, walking on their floors, opening their wardrobes, invading their privacy. It's as if you stepped into someone's life for the duration of the visit. In the end, with practice, I've become quite efficient in my research and visits. There is no time to spare! Here are a few learnings I'd like to share (you can thank me by helping me find somewhere to live!):
  1. Ads: where words have different meaning
    'exterior' = 1 window to the street, the rest non-existent or facing an internal yard.
    'bright', 'loads of light', etc. = you need to turn the lights on from 6pm in summer and the whole day in winter
  2. Ads: where words are left to self-interpretation
    'ready to move in' = add to the price at least 30K EUR more to reform the place.
  3. People live in all kind of conditions
    ok, I'm a bit OCD, but you wouldn't believe the things that I've seen...
  4.'s as if they didn't want to sell their houses
    some people don't let you touch anything, others point out the negative aspects, others even put up the ad and when you call they say that it's not available for viewing!
  5. Estate agents: what do they do again?
    I have provided them with details of what I am looking for and they either a) have just sold a house which was exactly what I am after; or b) show me one that has absolutely nothing to do with what I want
  6. You will like what you can't have
    in the first weeks of my house hunt marathon, I saw the house I wanted to live in. The price was higher than what I can afford (and to be fair, it is overpriced), so I made an offer which got instantly rejected. Now I can't help myself comparing every other house to this one, which I have probably idealised in my mind...
  7. ...because you can't have it all
    when I like the location, I don't like the interior of the house. When the house quality is excellent, it's too dark. When there is light, you need to make the house up...
Needless to say that I am yet to find my dream home. Until then, I'm back to living with my parents. Will we survive?

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Does not caring the slightest about the World Cup make me a traitor? I'm incapable of sitting through 90 minutes of football - equally incompetent of sitting through 5. I'm immune to this World Cup fever that has spread across the globe and currently has masses building their days around matches and even messing up with their sleep to make up for the time difference. 

My total indifference has made people question my patriotism, when the truth is that I couldn't love Spain more! I just think that support takes many forms and believe that holding a flag on one hand, a strong drink on the other whilst letting out of your mouth outrageous words, is not the best way of holding your country's back. Instead, I shop locally, I absorb the morning sun, I take public transport, I savour the juicy tomatoes... you get the idea...

It's just that I'm not into football. But not like those who say the same and then find themselves glued to the screen whenever a major match is on. I actually try my very very best to avoid any kind of streaming of this sport. I still remember the awkward conversations when Dublin taxi drivers learned where I came from:
"So do you support Madrid or Barcelona?"
"Hmmm... You see? I'm not very much into football"
"Oh, that Messi guy is good, isn't he?"
"He must damn be! With all that money he is paid.."
"And that Ronaldo guy!" 
I can only imagine the kind of conversations I would be having now on the back of that taxi. Because, what happens when your team is no longer running for the World Cup? Who do you support? Are you still supposed to watch the matches? Do you feel embarrassed by your nationality? Do you stop liking your country?

All the suffering and disappointments I save myself from by completely ignoring anything related to football!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Flavours in Life

I've made up my mind: lemon is my favourite yogurt flavour. 

It has been a hard decision to make: too many options, all of which challenge the very best of my taste buds. Let's be honest, lemon yogurts taste very little of lemon (don't get me started on the banana ones which I only know are banana because of the picture on the pot...)

This absurd logic got me thinking about all the disappointment that the food industry has created in the short distance between the supermarket aisle and the comfort of my sofa - or dining table if there is someone with me and I actually have to eat my meals at a table (which by the way, according to every health article published, we all should.) 

We're humans; we're logical beings; our brain is programmed to do admirable things. Why then, do we so blindly fall into false beliefs? 
"I like peach. I like yogurt. Hmm, I must like peach-flavoured yogurt. I will buy peach-flavoured yogurt"
Right? Wrong! - there is nothing less peachy than a peach-flavoured yogurt, ice-cream, lollipop, [you name it!]

The issue is more dramatic when you try the flavoured food first. I can only imagine the pleasure I would have missed if I had had prawn-cocktail crisps before ever sinking a fork into a deliciously natural prawn cocktail - mouth is literally watering.

Take note my dear friends of this little piece of advice: do not set expectations when it comes to flavoured food - you'll live happily ever after!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Foreigner in Home City

Three days ago, I moved to Madrid after six years in Dublin. As I navigate through this confusing roller coaster of feeling a foreigner in my home city, I come shockingly aware of what I love from both cities.

What I knew I'd miss
  • family (duh!)
  • weather (double duh! - I'm writing this from a terrace and it's 28ºC)
  • the taste (and size) of tomatoes
  • friends (you know who you are)
  • everything being walking distance from everything else
  • Irish politeness
  • Irish accent

What I wouldn't have thought I'd miss
  • visible signs with street names (I know which street I am in!)
  • pedestrians walking with bread on one hand and  the newspaper on the other
  • the smell of coffee and toast every morning on the streets
  • looking right when crossing a street (it's a matter of life or death that I adapt!)
  • Penney's (where will I buy cheap tights?)
  • not getting weird looks when you pay €3 by card
I'll have more to add to the list as I learn to live in this new place which is now my home.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Old News = No News

One of the reasons why I read, almost exclusively, fiction is due to the easiness with which I get attached to characters. I cry, I get angry, I take sides and, in many cases, I finish books with a strong urge to know more about the characters' day to day lives beyond the final pages. I can't, I know, so I make peace with the fact that it's fiction, that anything can happen after I close the book. That they not always lived happily ever after.

I like that, I like fiction. I favour it over to real life events. In real life I find myself at a loss, unable follow a story from beginning to end.  Today's news is all that matters; which by default means that no one cares about what happened yesterday.

But what if we do? People of the media, don't you realise that you're playing with our feelings (and not in a good way)? Please, let me know! I do care!
Why and how did Jack The Ripper get away with all the murders?  
How's Schumacher and his family coping?
What's the deal with Woody Allen and his 'peculiar' family situation? Did he really do what he was accused of? 
What is Monica Lewinsky up to these days?
Is there a monster in Loch Ness
Are Michael Jackson's children ok? Will they be ever able to have a 'normal' life? 
Everyone knows about Will Smith and that poor James Avery (Uncle Phil) sadly passed away a few months back. But what about 'Geoffrey' the Butler? How is my favourite person in the the Fresh Price of Bel Air getting on? 
What's behind the Bermuda Triangle?  
Was the prostitute Hugh Grant was caught with ever able to build a better life?
What happened between Britney Spears deciding to shave her head not so long ago to her being back on stage again? Who's minding those poor kids of hers?
Did Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 really land on the moon in July 1969?

Please people, I need closure?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Things I Think

There are things I think when I shouldn't think them. 

After closing the front door:
do I have the keys - without which I am locked out, since there is no one else who has a copy - except for the landlord, whom I prefer not to disturb with my 

At a minimum travelling distance from home of 45 mins by car:
did I unplug the iron that could cause my whole place to burn down?
did I blow out all the aromatic candles that give my home such an amazing fragrance and  at the same time can turn it to ashes in a matter of seconds?
did I close the window through which anyone can freely enter the house?

All tucked in and with the lights out:
did I send that extremely important email that had to go out today with no exception and that I have spent hours drafting?
after paying for that last thing, did I put my credit card back in my wallet? 
I have all of these things I need to do tomorrow [list starts here - sleep stops here] 
Let's go through every stupid decision I have made in life. 

And of course, my personal favourite and the one I keep experiencing:

At least 15 minutes after the actual event:
the most perfect thing to say that would have saved you from looking like an idiot comes up to your blank mind!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Unexpected Item in Bagging Area

Just back from the supermarket:
  • Interaction with people = 0
  • One-sided communication with machine = repeatedly. We don't seem to get along.
  • Workload added on me = 100%

Conclusion: my grocery shopping has become highly antisocial and the amount of work that I now how have to do thanks to auto-machines has increased. At my regular grocery store there are now more auto-checkout machine points (7 last time I counted) than ones with 'real' people (1 and only). 

Sure, not having someone emptying your basket has it has its advantages. One of which being the protection of privacy. I can buy whatever I want without getting feeling judged by the person on the other side of the checkout. (Am I the only one who feels like this when having an employee go through your purchases?). On the other hand, I am forced to unload my trolley, scan my items and then bag and remove them. I find this whole process slow and very stressful, as the breathing from the next person in the line becomes louder and closer. I feel sweat running down my forehead whenever I hear "unexpected item in the bagging area, remove this item before continuing". My hands shake every time I take more than 3 seconds to locate the scan code. Stressful!

And it is only the start of it. Machines are taking over. The other day I was in a UK airport and I had to check in my baggage by myself. You know how simple the task of printing the bag tag and sticking it on a handle looks from the outside? Well, not so much when you're doing it yourself... I had no faith at all that my bag would make it to my destination. All those instructions in a simple sticker! Needless to say that I my respect towards ground hostesses has increased significantly.

I don't know what next will robots allow (force?) us to do, but in the meantime, I be reminded that every job requires skills and that not everyone is equally prepared to perform even the simplest tasks. Oh, and please give me some time and space when I'm paying for my groceries. Thank you.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Earth, Please Swallow Me. Now.

The whole point to this blog is to laugh at myself, so I'll tell you about one of my worse kept secrets: I am clumsy. Very, very clumsy. With things - I'm known to have butter fingers -, with words and in situations.

Clumsiness. Although not too keen on the definition of the word...

· red (and very hot) face
· blank stare to the floor
· special sensitivity to gravity - frequent flat ground falls
· there have been cases reported of 'run fast and hide' immediately after an episode
· unbalance

· strong wish for the earth to part and swallow oneself
· inability of thinking anything other that 'f***!!'. Repeatedly and for the whole duration of the episode and beyond when remembering it.

Effects and Consequences
· random bruises
· embarrassment
· might be linked to losing friends

Examples of Episodes
Note: these are just a few samples from a long and growing list
  • The Cherry Tomato Incident: too small to cut in pieces and yet not small enough to bite with a full closed mouth = spilling the whole inside of one over my lunch partner :)
  • The Stairs: too many steps, too little coordination = bruised shins from falling up (yes, up!) the stairs
  • The 50/50 chance: clear "pull" and "push" signs + brain reverse processing = pushing doors that are built to be pulled and vice versa
  • The Social Network: too many information + too much procrastination = mentioning something to somebody that you only know from looking (stalking) their social network page
  • The Car: too many good songs + too little care = shouting your heart out to "I Will Survive" just to find the driver next to you staring in amazement
  • The Multitasking: too many things + too little time = finishing up a call with a client by saying, “Love you.”
  • The Name: too many people + worse memory ever = forgetting the name of someone when you're introducing them 

Too clumsy + Too many times = a lot of embarrassing situations (but good fun!)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Horizontal Rain

I'm yet to find a question more difficult to answer than "what's the weather like in Dublin?"

Have no fear, this post is not about the weather - phew! - it is, rather, about the effects of the ever-changing weather of this, my adopted city. And it's a true story. Happened to me only yesterday, as a matter of fact. Shamefully (for reasons you'll soon discover) I have witnesses who can back my story.

It was Friday night and I was getting ready to make the best first impression. (You know what they say "you only have one opportunity to make a first impression".) I did invest some time and effort in applying my makeup. In fact, I did put a lot of it (time and effort, not make up) spending more than 35 minutes on extending the base throughout my face, skillfully drawing an immaculate line on each of my eyes, layering mascara on my eyelashes, turning my lips bright red... Long story short, by the end of it, I was both exhausted and - I'll say it myself, cause no one else will - gorgeous :)

So what happened? Dublin weather happened: horizontal rain, umbrella-destroying winds...

Fortunately enough, I got to the place before who I was meeting and ran straight to the toilets to assess the damages. Needless to say that the reflection that greeted me in the mirror had little to do with the one I had happily said goodbye to at home. And it wasn't a pretty one. No. It was more like a "wet-dog-meets-panda" kind of look. With all that soaking hair over my face and smeared eyeshadow all around my eyes...

I guess (and totally understand) that the first impression I caused was that of pity rather than anything else, because we may all love dogs and adore pandas, but the cute irresistible ones in YouTube.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you think that Valentine's Day is expensive, try being single!

Single people are not expected to the to buy roses or book dinners in overcrowded restaurants, true, but we do pay a price for it. A very expensive one.

Throughout the year we're dealing with:
- asking for 'a table for one' and getting the waiter's pity look
- paying more for a single rooms in hotels than for double one
- trying to find suitable portioned food so that we don't need to throw half of it into the bin
- ...

When Valentine's approaches it only gets worse... I have recently been exposed to the following experiences that will hopefully make you think twice before ranting about the expense of Valentine's Day for the happily coupled:
· constant reminder of my singledom: in press, media, conversations, etc. with imagery of things and places I could do or be with my partner. As if I didn't know... 
· booked-out hotels in London
· and when one found, overly priced (higher than what you'll consider 'normal London rates')
· themed... I was going to write 'shops', then 'streets'; but thinking about it, the word I'm looking for is actually 'city'. Whole of it. Filled with heart-shaped items. From decorations to food to Everything! (capital letter is intentional)
The calendar doesn't allow us to jump from Feb 13th to 15th, so let's all (both single and not) make the most of Valentine's Day. Love the one you're with and spoil them. Or love yourself and do something nice.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Let's badge it!

Walking down the streets on any given day, a stampede of working souls, who can't seem to get home soon enough, rush in every direction. All with a distinctive feature: a label hanging from their necks. Literally, not metaphorically. Call it label, call it badge, call it what you want... It all serves the same purpose: openly displaying information.

Here is my proposal: if we are to disclose information, do it in a way that it'll benefit society as a whole. Tell the world something that will help them. It would save so much time and efforts! Efficiency, people, efficiency.

I'll illustrate this using myself as an example. My chest would proudly exhibit the following (not exclusively, but enough for you to get a sense of what I mean):
  • Good with faces, terrible with names
  • Don't care about the size - or number, for that matter - of your house, car, [enter material possession]
  • People who are happy all of the time scare me
  • Sometimes a glass of wine is the high of my day
  • Happiness is a good book and a milky tea
  • If you think you're better than someone else, don't come closer
  • ...
Are you in? 

Think that it will work both ways. I sure know that my my life would have been so much better if I knew up-front some of the things I only got to learn the hard way... 
  • "can't keep promises" 
  • "will lie behind your back" 
  • "my life is build around smoking"
  • "fake"
  • "will betray"
  • ...
Let's make the world a better place, let's badge it!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Around the world in 8 days

My recent business trip goes like this:
Dublin > Bucharest (via London) > Prague > Krakow (via Warsaw) > Dublin > Barcelona > Dublin.
8 flights in 7 days

The business trip really goes like this:
Dublin > Bucharest (via London) > Prague > Krakow (via Warsaw) > 3 hrs delayed flight and finally cancelled at 1am = 6hrs at a crowded gate > frentic booking of new flights and hotels > infinite sleepless hours > Barcelona (via Munich) > Dublin.
8 flights in 7 days that really feel like 100!!

The joys of travelling!

Anyway, my intention is not to complain, but to share with you what I have taken from each one of these amazing cities ("it's not about the destination, but about what you learn on the way" - or something like this).

· Polite
· Talkative - the ratio of time question:answer is normally 1:100
· Insist in speaking to me in Romanian - do I look Romanian?

Live experience: 
witnessed a group of around 8 men working as a team to change a bulb. Yes, it apparently takes those many to perform a mundane task.

· Diverse.
· Colourful.
· Beautiful

Live experience: 
Regretting not having my camera with me (the camera did not fit in my hand baggage) I had my phone permanently in my hands to be able to capture the magnificent houses. So immersed in them, that my fingers went numb because of the cold and was unable to feel or grab a thing for an hour or two.

· No English. 
· No notion of speed limits. 
· Wonder if even a driver's license...

Live experience: 
or 'close to death' experience the taxi driver stops (hand brake!) in the middle of a motorway (yes!) and tries to cross over 3 lanes, in an attempt to take an intersection which us, mentally healthy humans, would consider missed. All of this at rush traffic hour and with a massive lorry approaching on the right. I'm writing this now, so don't worry, we made it through.

· Cloudless sky 
· No need for further description

Live experience: 
The flight disruption mentioned earlier meant that I had slept approximately 1 hour in 2 days. I wasn't only knackered, but was also in a questionable (yet justified) mood. And then, I landed in Barcelona, where the sun was shining. Walked around the city and had a lovely lunch on a terrace by the sea. I found happiness. Spain is different!