How long has it been since we updated this blog? Let me start with cleaning up the cobwebs and wipe this surface over here so I can sit down and tell you all what has happened to us the past couple of months. Assuming any of you want to know what’s going on to us…
First of all… we just came back from this journey across the country to visit the in-laws. It was definitely a dedication which was paid off when I had that huge spoonful of traditional British Sherry Trifle — apparently from the family recipe handed down to Grumpy’s stepmum from her grandmother.
I wish Grumpy had as much fun as I did, but I know he did not. He has not been well for awhile, and we still are not sure why. I think one of the the reasons was the weather. We had one of the worst, coldest, wettest winter for the past couple of years. At least since I came to this country…
To be honest, last year was probably not the best year for us. Our highlights of the year was probably the most wonderful trip to Hungary. And, of course we are planning for another visit, but probably not in foreseeable future.
And suddenly new year came.
Most of the time I embrace new year with optimism and hope, and all the things that are encouraging. But somehow, it is so difficult to do that… I hope when the sun come out in the end of this winter, Grumpy will be on board with me with this optimism thing.
On that optimistic note… I wish you all a very happy new year. I don’t care if it’s 6 days too late, because… better late than never.
I know what you think, Sir… but in Hungary, Grumpy is an alien too. Haha! That’s a concept that has never crossed your mind, has it? But yes… We went to this little town called Tokaj. This is where the wedding happened…
Tokaj is a wine region, in the border between Hungary and Slovakia. The Wine Heritage status is given by UNESCO, as it’s been said that Tokaj has produced its very distinctive wine. Every shop, cafe, and restaurant in this town sells wine (unless it specifically says that it is selling ice cream… then it probably sells ice cream).
However, Grumpy and I are not really wine people.
Yeah… I do drink wine, but my knowledge about wine is “red” “white” or “pink”, and that it’s “drinkable” or “give me the whole bottle… please”. So, for us it is a bit of a waste if we go on a wine tour there… But if you are a serious wine connoisseur, or a wannabe (we don’t judge…) this would be the place for you.
Actually… This is the place for you even if you are not a wine connoisseur — but you like kayaking. Apparently you can do that too, especially during summer time like when we went there. I am pretty sure there were some other outdoor activity besides kayaking — unfortunately Grumpy and I are not that kind of people either.
So… you ask, did we enjoy our time in Tokaj? Ha! Of course we did! Obviously we don’t need wine or some outdoor physical activity to keep us happy being there, and there are at least a couple reasons why.
But I need to compile it first, so… until next time 😀
Okay… I know that I promised to update about our holiday in Hungary. But, something just happened, and I could not not post about this. I am afraid I have to postpone about holiday for awhile, because this is more important.
Priority. That is.
Yesterday I went to the city, to buy some stuff that we could not get in our local supermarket. Especially coffee, because our beloved Mr. Grumpy cannot function without it. It was pretty much uneventful shopping day, until I walked home (I almost always walk everywhere, it helps to keep my blood pumping apparently).
One guy stopped me on the street and he begged for money. This beggar don’t look dirty and he spoke quite eloquently, but he claimed that he was homeless. I don’t know, and usually, I don’t pay attention to such thing. AND, usually I just pretend that I don’t understand human language — being alien and all. Most of the time they will leave me alone. But that day was different, I remembered I have some coins that I don’t need anyway, so I thought… ah, why not?
I was rummaging my purse when another man greeted me from behind. This man asked if I was okay, and if the other guy was begging me for money. To be honest, I don’t see what’s wrong with it, but the beggar started to be very confrontational, and started lying. That’s when I started to feel very much uncomfortable.
The beggar claimed that he knew me, and he told the other guy rudely to bugger off. The other guy wouldn’t budge, instead he told the beggar that his partner — who happened to be a Chinese, had the same experience encountering a beggar in the same area. So, ignoring the beggar, this kind gentleman asked me once more if I was okay, and if the beggar was making me uncomfortable.
While the beggar got more and more agitated, I worried that he would start doing something stupid and getting violent and hurting me or the kind gentleman who’s trying to help me, OR us both. So I just followed the lie the beggar told the hero, hoping that the situation would calm down.
BUT, now I feel horrible. I feel horrible because I was lying to someone who’s just trying to help me. I feel horrible because I didn’t help him to catch the guy who might have begged his partner not so long time ago. I feel horrible because I was an unwilling accomplice in this situation, and I don’t like it very much.
At the same time, however, I feel grateful, and thankful. That man, who is now a hero to me has restored some, of so little faith that was lost since Brexit. The fact that someone would interfere to help a distressed alien like me has encouraged me, and made me feel safer — something that I haven’t felt for a very long time. So I would like to buy him a cuppa, or a pint if I see him again.
This is actually something that I would like to mention on my last post, but I think Grumpy deserves a whole blog entry dedicated to acknowledge his awesomeness this weekend.
First of all, this weekend was supposed to be the kind of anniversary of the day we first met. Five years ago, we met on the city centre — taking the online advice on how to meet up with a total stranger very seriously — always meet up on a public space. We were planning on going to the place where we met for the first time, and had some coffee — or hot choco, like what we had at that time. Well, that was the plan before the game happened, so that definitely didn’t happen.
But, none of us were disappointed. Especially not me. And this is why my dear Grumpy deserves this whole entry just for him.
The pink Hello Wolvie t-shirt.
I think that’s quite self explanatory, except for the “Hello Wolvie” bit. Basically it is the cute mix between Hello Kitty, and Wolverine. Don’t snort, or I will claw you in the face… the Hello-Wolvie is incredibly cute, so if you are a kind of snobbish purist, please look away when I flaunt it, thank you very much.
The Spark(y) in the Kitchen
I learned not so long time ago, that in the UK, electrician is also called Sparky. This weekend, my husband took away their job by just awesomely FIX my oven. Yes, the brownie maker broke last week, and it would take £100++ to fix it if we call in a Sparky to fix it. But we don’t need Sparky, because we have Grumpy.
Now, THIS is the extra special bit. Grumpy doesn’t like fiddling with Sparky’s job, because he’s been working with the UK’s Health and Safety regulation for so long, that it is already embedded in his system. BUT, he knew how important that oven for me, and how I chose it myself from Curry’s, and how I love baking with it… And he deliberately woke up in the morning before I did, and fixed it, and tried it even before I woke up in the morning.
The Brilliant White
No, I am not talking about Grumpy’s race, or teeth. Actually, Brilliant White is the label in the paint tub. I am no sure why it is called Brilliant White, because it is just normal white… But of course, you have to make white paint sounds more interesting than what it is. This weekend, Grumpy was being the man of the week again, by painting our living room.
So yeah… That’s my man 🙂
P.S. Do you know that in German, Mann is the word for “man”, and “husband”? So maybe if this entry’s title is translated to German, it would be really weird. Luckily it is not in German. Just saying…
One of my favourite song when I was young — I mean, much younger than I am now, is “Tomorrow” from Annie. Of course at that time I didn’t know that it was from a musical. I didn’t even know what musical is. I came from that kind of world where music, and theatre, and poetry, and fine arts are not as appreciated as maths and science. It wasn’t an excuse, it’s just a reason why I didn’t have any knowledge about musicals — something that I regret a lot.
I knew what musical is when I grew up, but still hadn’t a clue what Annie is. It didn’t matter though… I still loved the song. I even had (still do) it in my mp3 playlist, just for those days when I want to sing my heart out… “Tomorrow… tomorrow… I love ya tomorrow…”
But who doesn’t?
Really, who doesn’t love tomorrow? It’s only a day away…
Of course we love tomorrow. Not only it gives us the hope of the better future — where the sun’ll come out, and clear away the cobwebs and the sorrow until there’s none, Tomorrow also gives us a reason not to do it today. Isn’t that great? We can always do it tomorrow.
What’s it? Well I think it depends on who you are asking, but it is usually something you can, but you don’t want to do today. Washing up the dishes, hoovering the carpet, changing the bedding, filling the tax report, calling your mum, doing the laundry, researching your dissertation, reaching out to an old friend, writing an entry for your blog… the list goes on and on.
I love tomorrow, we all do. Most of the time, of course… Sometimes tomorrow is the deadline so we have to do it today. Sometimes tomorrow never comes, and we never knew that the call would never happen, and the card would never reach the intended person because they’ve gone forever. But there’s always the next day… the tomorrow after tomorrow, and we love them too…
Just out of curiosity, have you ever try to translate the song in Spanish? I did…
I like watching NCIS. Grumpy introduced me to this series few years ago, and we’ve been watching it since. The rerun, the new one, everything. Sometimes, I even remember the whole plot just to watch the first three minutes of the episode… but I watch it anyway. The same applies when I watch Agatha Christie’s Poirot with David Suchet as Poirot, or Miss Marple for that matter… I think they’ve done the characters really well.
Back to NCIS, without any intention to spoil anything, there is Gibbs. He’s the main hero of the show — the old guy who does his thing, and does it well. I have to say that if you think about it, Gibbs is just an average guy, he’s not on the top of the pyramid, but he’s still the boss for a lot of brilliant agents. He’s not the one with the ultimate power to make it happen, but he can still tell his people what to do without having to do everything himself. And we like this guy…
One thing about Gibbs that I like the most is his set of “Gibbs’ Rules”. Gibbs lives by the set of rules such as: never ever screw over your partner, or never get personally involved to a case. I like that a lot. I think everybody needs to learn from Gibbs about this rule-making business. I believe that everybody needs a set of rules for their lives — in fact, I have been trying to write down some rules for myself too (but that’s for much later).
Why, though? I heard you asked, why would you need to make rules?
Like I said just now, I think people needs to have a set of rules. Of course we don’t need to make rules for every single little thing we do in life, but we definitely need some ground rule to follow. Imagine a manual book… Every proper machine comes with a manual book, shame that we don’t when we were born. But we can write one, can’t we?
True that we don’t need that manual book for everything. We don’t always refer to our smartphone manual book every time we turn it on, or make a phone call, do we? We turn to manual book when things go wrong. We turn to our manual book when things are not what they are supposed to be. We use the information in the manual book to troubleshoot, and I think that’s exactly the set of rules should be done.
Gibbs rule “never ever leave without a knife”, for example. Is a very practical rule that he could always refer to — as a ex-marine, that makes sense. My dad has his own rule too, almost similar to Gibbs “always have cash with you”. Very practical, and have saved us several times from the embarrassment of broken card machine. I am pretty sure these two wise gentlemen have learned from life before coming to these rules.
I am still writing my rules… I believe my father is still revising his everyday too. I can tell you one of my rules, though: “never go shopping with empty stomach”. What do you think about that?
I think a lot of people don’t want to admit that they want things to get Better. Saying that we want things to be better means admitting that what we’ve got today is not good enough. It’s good… but not enough.
Some people who think that making things better is just a means to feed our vanity — they might think of something trivial like: the fridge in your kitchen is not big enough, even the kitchen where the fridge is is not spacious enough. The waistline is not slim enough, the thigh gap is not far enough. The muscle is not tough enough, and you can’t run fast enough. The hair is not fluffy enough, the skin is not smooth enough.
But I think making things better is more than getting better things. It is a sense of improvement. You might not need a bigger kitchen, but you could eat better food — tastier, more wholesome, something that actually makes you feel good about yourself better than frozen pizza. You might not need to slim down, but you live better life — getting rid of pot belly, reducing the risk of getting an early hip or knee cap replacement, or having the chance to breathe normally because your lungs are not squeezed by the visceral fats.
You don’t need to have get more money on your bank account (as good as it sounds), but you can still have a better financial security — paying off debts, everything’s insured, retirement plan’s sorted. You don’t need to be an athlete, but you can get fit– walk to the city or bike to work, or simply keep away the pints until the fun weekend with your buddies. I mean, there are plenty of ways to get better… but not many people likes it.
As one of the sanest people I have known in life, a lot of people don’t like you to get better, because it reminds them of how their life is — not good enough. It scares people because if you get better, you will raise the standard what is considered okay. It is like one student in your class that others hated so much because she (or he, but usually a she) would always over-achieve and tip the balance of mediocrity in your classroom — the one who would always hold up the recess time, and get you and your friends extra homework because your teacher used her as the class benchmark. The one that others secretly envy…
When I lost a lot of weight after changing my habit, a lot of people where I came from started to make comment about me over doing it. Of course some of them have a genuine concern because eating disorder is a legit thing to be concern about. But some just don’t like it because it means theis acceptable size would have to change too. Like a lot of ladies thinking that having a woman with healthy BMI as a bikini model is bad because it makes other women feels pressurised to be… in that healthy BMI.
What’s wrong with it?
What’s wrong with wanting to be better?
Ah… I think I need to apologise for not being able to understand. Maybe it’s just because I am an alien. Sometimes it takes longer to understand one thing than the other. Maybe I just need to go back observing food than human’s Lifestyle…
When I found out that today’s prompt word is ” Panicked“, somehow I thought of my dad. It is definitely unusual, because my dad is probably the most cool-headed person I have ever known in my life. I don’t want to sound smug or something, but I think there are only few people that can make my cool-headed dad into panicky mode. I am one of them… and the other one is the tax-man (who doesn’t get panicky when the tax-man comes?).
I suspect, it was the latest incident that makes me think of my father when I tried to think of who “panicked” lately. I have a suspicion that if it is not because of that, I might think of my mum instead — I think she fits the profile better.
But I am going to tell you what made my dad panicked last afternoon.
Our little alien family has a Whatsapp chatgroup, and although it is not one hundred percent active all the time, but when it is active the conversation would move pretty quickly from one topic to the other. My dad is new in this technology thing — I am not saying he is a technophobe, but I think he needs more time to keep up with this compared to my mother. As a result, it is still quite difficult for him to follow the movement of conversation in the family chatgroup.
Few days ago, I left an ambiguous message in the group. Yes, I left it deliberately because it was supposed to be an opening gambit for an incredibly lame alien joke. It wasn’t even funny in my world, it would be even worse if I try to translate it to English, as the joke would be completely lost in translation. However, at that time the chatgroup was quiet, and nobody responded to that particular message, so I just left it like that without any further explanation.
I wasn’t thinking, of course, that the message could be easily misinterpreted by anyone who reads it. My siblings have gotten used to my lame, slightly dark and alienly jokes, but not my parents. Especially with my dad, since the joke was half done, and was sent through a technology he is not used to, I think he genuinely though that there’s something seriously wrong happened to me.
So yesterday he made a phone call.
He was never a talker — not on the phone. It is usually mum who’s got the job to keep tab on the kids, and making individual phone calls to make sure we are okay. So yes, I can feel slightly special, that my dad actually made that effort to make the phone call himself. He didn’t sound panicked, but I know he was — thus the phone call. If he wasn’t panicked, he would just tell mum to check.
Actually… I think normally he would just ask mum anyway, if it is about my siblings. But, you see… I am my dad’s little princess. I am a bit older now, but I think unless you’ve done something really-really-really stupid, and you have broken your dad’s heart really-really-really bad, you would never stop being your dad little princess — doesn’t matter how old you are.
Just in case you want to know, the phone call only lasted few minutes. Here’s roughly the break-down of the conversation:
Dad: “Hey, how’ve you been?”
Me: “I am alright… What’s up?”
Dad: “No, I just wondered why did you say that thing on the chatgroup…”
Me: “Oh! *laughs and then explains the joke*
Dad: “I see… Okay then… Did you want to talk to your mum?”
Me: “Not really…”
Dad: *sounds like he’s taking the phone away from him, and he’s calling my mum*
Yes. Did I tell you that he’s not really a talker on the phone?
But I feel so happy he called. I know that it doesn’t sound that special in this country, but in my alien culture… it is special. Dads are meant to be the tough, stoic ones, and mums are those who made those panicky phone calls. But my dad broke all that conventions for me, and I know exactly why.
I have never heard anyone said openly that they like politics, even politicians. The most I heard from common people who I know is that they are interested in politics. I am not sure what’s wrong with politics, but I think there is a certain negative image about politics, and I think bad politicians have something to do with this negative attitude towards politics.
But I do love politics. I think it is one very important part of our life, and whether you want it or not, it affects a lot of aspects in your life. I think it is impossible to escape from it unless you are living alone in an uncharted territory, and you don’t have to trade or make contact with any society.
I don’t always like it though. I used to think that politics is synonymous with dirty. But like hacking — they have white hat and black hat, I think politics is the same. There are people who use politics to make personal gain, but there are plenty who use politics genuinely to help people. Read history, you will find plenty of examples: toppling down dictators, protecting women and children from exploitation at work or domestic abuse, the rights to marry someone regardless their religion, race, or sexual orientation.
Politics gives you the chance to change something. Or keep something as it is. It is THAT important, it affects how you go to work, how your business could expand, how your children get their education… So, I feel terribly sad when people say that they don’t care about politics. How can they?
I came from a very different world than the UK. I believe they’re catching up, but I think there is still a long way to go before the political situation could reach the level of stability we have in the UK. It’s okay, any progress is better than no progress at all. I am saying this from experience — how things were when I was very very young.
We were under a nasty dictator for 32 years. Until my preteen, he was the only president I knew. And even then I knew you don’t speak ill of him. Even then I knew that there are a lot of people disappeared from the face of the earth after speaking up about his government. I didn’t know why but I know that the five-yearly election is a sham — the winner is definitely the party that supported the president at that time, so… why bother voting? You don’t talk politics… it is either dangerous, or useless. People learned to be apathetic, and adapted to this political oppression.
After 32 years with that, it is like Stockholm Syndrome to many of the citizens. Especially the older generation who lives longer with the oppressor. Sometimes I heard them longing for the “stability”, that “someone is taking control of the country”, and that “there are less thing to worry about”. They forgot that with freedom there are rights and responsibilities, and they come hand in hand.
I think some people just forget to count their blessings. A lot of people from the first world countries like the UK take their freedom in politics for granted. This general election is one of the perfect example — people are openly telling people that they could not be bothered to vote or even get themselves registered as an electorate. Why? Because all politicians are the same? Because they think that their voice don’t count?
I don’t have the right to vote in the UK, because I am not (yet?) a citizen of this country. But I would love to. I would love to have the rights to get the person who has got the better plan how to run the country in the government. I would like the rights to moan, complain, and protest… or even feel smug when the person I voted for do something incredibly cunning. I want that. I want that very much, thank you,
So, for the sake of the country I am living in right now… If you are a UK citizen, please vote. Please go to wherever they told you where to go to, so you can exercise your rights and at the same time do your responsibility for your country. Or, you can get it posted, if you wish. And if even if you don’t have anyone you want on the ballot paper, just go there, and write something on it — “Stephen Fry, for PM” for example. Just get yourself heard…
I just learned about this thing called Daily Prompt. I think this is a brilliant thing to have. I think the idea is very similar to word of the day (it is “dox”, just in case you want to know), the difference is that with Daily Prompt, the word is given as the topic of the day, for you to write something. I think it is awesome, as it is not only work as a challenge, but also giving an idea of what to write when you practically have nothing to write.
A couple of days ago, I participated when the word was “yarn”, of course on my other blog where I posted a lot about my knitting projects. I mean, it is almost an insult not to participate in that particular topic, isn’t it?
I’ve struggled to decide whether I like yarn or control better. I think both are in my list of my favourite things — for different reason, but funnily enough could be related to each other. How? Well… Yarn sale makes me lose control, and when I try to maintain control, I would have to let go of some of my yarns… How’s that for confusing?
However, if I have to choose, I will definitely choose to be in control. I have experienced the moment where I don’t have control with things that happened in my life, and it was horrible. However it was also then, when I learned that even when I can’t control the situation surrounding me, there’s always one thing that I can take control over.
Maybe it was that time when I started to get a little bit over the top with self-discipline, taking notes of what I eat, keeping up with my personal budget, making plans and making sure that the plans are executed properly… It gives me the sense of safety. Maybe it was why I don’t like it when I’ve been told that the plan is “to go with the flow”, or last-minute cancellation, or someone comes to visit unannounced while I have a plan to be a hermit for the day…
Some might say that I am a control freak. I don’t think so.
I don’t see anything wrong with being organised. I think it is completely logical not to put ourselves in a situation where things could just go entirely wrong. And, really, wouldn’t it give you this sense of victory when you can take an ultimate control of your body and mind
Well… for me it does. AND, if it makes me a control freak, I don’t mind at all.