Sunday, September 24, 2006

Heading west


This is my last post till next week. The reason why I will not be blogging is that I will be on honeymoon, entirely unreachable, and hopefully blissful. Quality time with the Spouse will be very nice indeed.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Swiss army knife


As Brother Barry said
As he married Marion
The wife has three great attributes
Intelligence, a Swiss army knife and charm
(Billy Bragg, The Warmest Room)

I don't vouch for any of the rest, but at least I have the Swiss Army knife now. It was purchased for our upcoming honeymoon, and while its immediate usefulness is obscure to me it reassures me greatly.

Another day, another call, and all in all the morning proves that one really should do one thing every day that frightens one - like ask your downstairs neighbour to turn down the music, secretely fearing a large male with an unforgiving mood (it turns out to be a smallish, and friendly, woman). It also proves that the best way to find things out about people's plans and thoughts is to ask them. This straightforward procedure is often overlooked. Finally, it proves that things that need getting over with should be done sooner, rather than later, and that the universe often opens doors just when you give up on unlocking them.

Persistence and organisation are useful qualities. I am trying to train myself. Anger management is something we all need at some time or other. I am trying to train myself in that, too.

Anxiety is increased by caffeine and any but a few selected tv shows. Anxiety is not logical and cannot be reasoned away. Your body tells you what your mind can't. Like a bad habit, anxiety must be unlearned and replaced with other thoughts. So: I may have to give up coffee and tea altogether, and try to keep my intermittent bouts of anxiety out of a doctor's office. I think I may go and lie on the floor now, and try to remember how to let go of things.

The conclusion? Be prepared, but remember to keep sharp things folded up in your pocket. And in your checked luggage when travelling.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More

Update on the potential job - it would be a six-month assignment, and I would be doing pretty much anything they can throw at me. The fact that it is temporary makes it somewhat more feasible, although I am reluctant to consider living away from the Spouse even for a limited period of time. It would be a really interesting job, setting up something new and learning lots. It would be good for my self-esteem and for our finances.

Needless to say, I still haven't a clue as to what I would do if they offer me a job*, and this is making me restless. Well, that and the wedding planning; speaking of which, I have started to update the Spouse and I's site for the wedding, so have a look if you remember the link. I've more or less done the English and will do the Dutch version sometime today.

*and offer me a decent amount of money, and give me enough time off for the wedding and Christmas. Otherwise out of the question; am not jeopardising wedding over job.

Corporate?

Hm. I just got a call from my old boss. She was a very good boss, and generally a cool person. The reason she called was, well, kind of to offer me a job. This is funny, because she didn't actually mention what the job would be, only that it would be in Pittsburgh. For those of you who don't know much about US geography, Pittsburgh is quite far from Baltimore, about five hours by car. And for those of you who aren't quite up to date on me, I am actually looking for a non-profit job rather than a corporate one.

One would think that was no harm in at least sending off a resume, and seeing what comes back. The question, however, is twofold; first of all, is there anything they can offer me that would make me move to Pittsburgh (keep in mind, this is a corporate service centre)? Secondly, if so, then do I really want to return to corporate slavery? It is likely that almost any decent job they're likely to offer me is going to pay better than anything a non-profit can offer. Such is the nature of non-profit organisations.

Hm. So how much do I want a change of career, and how much do I (we) need me to have a good well-paying job?

Hm.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Help someone

I am on yet another marathon phonecall to my Evil Hungarian Bank. I have arrived at the point where if I had the money to sue them I would. However, I obviously do not. Any tips anybody on how to get one's money for recalcitrant banks?

The best thing I can think of is to file a complaint with the embassy and also with any international banking agencies I can find. This will, however, take a lot of time as I have to collect all information, and is not likely to help in any big or swift way.

PS: Note to self - control recent voracious appetite by calling Evil Bank. The resulting anger will be sufficient to obliterate all thoughts of croissaints for hours after, and will necessitate several laps around the block to regain calm zenlikeness.

Home

It has been six years since I have lived in any one place for more than a year. In that time I have lived in five countries, had four jobs with two employers and attended five different universities. About a year and a half ago I started thinking that maybe the international stuff was losing some of its glamour.

When I was in highschool I wanted nothing more than to go abroad and be cosmopolitan; and once I started college I did just that. It was all I could have hoped for and a lot more. It changed my life in almost every way.

It may have been because I met, no, started dating* the Boy, later to be the Spouse. Maybe it was because all of the moving was wearing me down. But I started longing for home. Not Belgium, not any specific place. A place to be, a way not to be so temporary, not so unsettled. It has takes that time to figure out how and where that home was going to be. Not an easy decision by any means.

So here I am. Not for the next thirty years, sure, but long enough to make it worth the trip to Ikea. Long enough to not have an expiry date.

Is it everything I hoped it would be? You bet.

*There was a long, long interval between when we met and when we started dating

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thanks for you visit, and please come back soon

Just in case I needed any confirmation that I live in a somewhat strange country, I have just discovered that there is a place called King of Prussia in Pennsylvania. What is it known for? Yes, you guessed right, it is known for having a really big mall.

How, you might ask, and why do I know about King of Prussia, also referred to as KoP? Simple. In my continuing attempt to follow the ever more bewildering locations popping up in the blog stats, I noticed that one of 18511 citizens of KoP visited my blog. Thank you. I feel honoured.

Much like with children's names, people seem to have no compunction about giving their towns bizarre names. I am not sure if I think that is endearing, or mildly obnoxious. I think I'll go back to reading about nice, sensible people like Franklin who confined their quirkiness to science, rather than bestowing it on unsuspecting towns or offspring.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Due to technical difficulties


This must be my year of technical vexations. Now that my computer is working again, I can no longer reach my Evil Hungarian Bank, nor is my Evil Mobile Phone Company processing my top-ups. Things like that make me so very angry. Must be calm and zenlike. Must be calm and zenlike.

American History

It is a rainy day, and as such perfect for the reading of American history, my most recent undertaking. I figure that as a guest in this country the least I can do is to take an interest; moreover, the past is so often used in the current political battles that I feel I ought to at least know what the past is.

There is a small stack of two history books and two political books waiting for me, and I am most of the way through 1776. What I really should be doing is reading the travel guide for our honeymoon, since we are leaving next week, but I figure I can count on the spouse to take care of that side of things and then I'll leech information from him.

Of course in Maryland and the surrounding states, history abounds, and I have been to Monticello, DC and Philadelphia, as well as to a well-nigh endless series of Civil War battlefields and Lewis and Clark stuff. Trust me, I am learning fast. Besides, it is an interesting experience in two ways: I get to learn about US history, as well as about how the US represents its history.

This man Washington isn't exactly winning my heart. I'll go with Jefferson any day of the week, slave owner or no. Their respective memorials in DC really are quite apt; the military man vs. the intellectual, no wonder I side with Jefferson.

Enough of this fragmented soliloquy. Time to gain some more actual knowledge and coherence.

Update: so I finished 1776. Huzzah.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And like I always say - if it's not baroque, don't fix it

I love classical music. I grew up in a house full of baroque music. I spent a fair amount of time listening to tiny excerpts from some of my favourite music, an exceedingly frustrating occupation since I don't have the complete versions. So my tip of the day is: go out and find some of the classical music hidden in your collection. Now play it. Isn't that nice?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Crazy, just crazy


Most of the time I think I have been taken over by alien life forms. Some of the time I think that I have turned into someone I don't know by all this new technology. And then there are some times when I think I should get over myself and enjoy the show. Actually, yes, I should not worry about being excited about the religious wedding. Even if I am being mildly obsessive. Truth be told, I am generally a little obsessive about most things I enjoy. Enjoying planning one's wedding is normal, right?

To be fair, it won't exactly be a traditional wedding; but not quite eccentric either. We like it that way. All I can say is: I have a dress; we have a location; we have a caterer and a DJ. That's not bad for a week's work. And you know what? I am going to enjoy picking the music.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Purely practical

For my lovely family/friends who read this, here is some stuff you may want to know if you didn't already:

Religious wedding. Remember, the Spouse and I are yet to, er, confirm our matrimony in the sight of God. Fortunately, this ceremony will be accompanied by a largish party, which we have gotten quite some way towards organising.

Practical details? Well, we'll keep you posted on our website, which should be updated in a week or so. The tentative basics are: Friday, 23/02/2006, Orlando, FL. We have a probable location which I will also post on the website.

We'll keep it fairly casual, and fun (hopefully). Hope you can join us.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Temper

I have quite a temper sometimes, and can be fairly short-fused. I like to think, nonetheless, that I am generally mild-mannered as well as opinionated. At times like now, when something fairly small upsets me, I always wonder whether it is me.

Is it?

It try to be reasonable, but by nature I am hot-headed, and when angry, am rather fierce. Right now I am trying to rein myself in. Most of the time. Some of time I am just angry.

Zen, Beast, Zen.

Speaking of beasts, I always did identify more with the Beast than with Beauty in the fairytale, only I look cute and fluffy. No matter, I can sprout fangs and claws at a moment's notice.

Worry not, I purr like a kitten most of the time.

The wedding stuff is going well though...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bridal


Here I am then, in Orlando on official bridal business, scouting out locations. So far so good, really, have at least shortlisted candidate, and am dealing fairly well with the weddingness. Trying to keep things moderately simple. Not so easy. The list of things I do not want is so much longer than the list of things I do want. Fuss. A gown. A veil. The wedding march. A muchness of stuff.

I wish the Spouse were here.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Books?

So I recently finished both Robin McKinley's Beauty and Alexander McCall Smith's The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. I was in the mood for happy books, and these were both definitely happy books. They are also fairly good books, and that certainly counts for something. I respect craftsmanship, especially when it is unpretentious.

Beauty is well-done, and meant to appeal to the mousy-looking book-obsessed girl in all of us. It certainly worked for me. The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency is an optimistic picture of Botswana, of life, and, to some extent, of crime. Bad things happen, but they somehow tend to be peripheral or have a happy end.

Anyway, time for something more...serious. I am tackling an American classic - To Kill a Mockingbird. I'll let you know what I think.