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.
Yesterday my sister in law came to visit. Our nephew is having his holiday, so maybe visiting the alien auntie is in their school holiday itinerary. I am glad that she came to visit though, especially because yesterday the weather was really poo, and it made it incredibly difficult to go to the city centre to meet up. I don’t have a car… that’s why.
Like usual, when my wonderful SIL and I meet up, we would end up spending hours talking and updating news. She would tell me about the latest news about his husband and our nephew, and I would tell her about Grumpy — her brother.
It is stereotypical isn’t it? That the female members of the family have become the ambassador for the family. They would socialise, share and spread information, and keep the relationship between the families intact. My mum does that too with her SILs — my aunts.
So, in between the conversation, the story about our holiday to Hungary came up. Just in a flash, and not as in a full on holiday story with photos and everything. But, that’s enough to remind me that I haven’t even finished my holiday story here! I just told you about Budapest, but not about Tokaj.
What a horrible horrible person I am.
Now… do you still want to hear about it? I mean… not that it matters because I will tell you about it anyway — next time.
For now? Let me dig up the holiday photos before writing again…
There’s only one news on telly lately, and it is about the fire in London. If you are not from the UK, and have not heard about the story already, here’s the short version of the news.
A 24 storey tower block caught fire in the middle of the night few days ago. The fire was so big, and spread so fast, the fire department could not get inside and save everybody in time. As the result, many people died, and until the time I am writing this, the officials haven’t been able to announce exactly how many fatalities, and their identification.
The fire was so unexpected, as the UK is probably one of few countries with a very strict building regulations. The investigation is still ongoing, so how exactly things went catastrophically wrong hasn’t been announced. However, this tragedy has lead the re-evaluation to other residential tower blocks in the country, especially those with similar structure and building materials.
Right now, what was the rescue mission, is now a recovery mission. The officials now believe that it is very unlikely that anyone would survive the fire by now. Even the recovery mission is going very slowly, as the integrity of the building itself has now become questionable after the fire. The survivors, the residents, and their family and friends are now very impatient and restless, understandably.
As the recovery mission going, and people waiting, the stories of everybody who are affected by the fire started to trickle. The heroic rescuers, the desperate mothers, the grieving lovers. Every story is painful, but there’s one that feels very personal to me.
There’s a story about three brothers who lived in one of the flat in the building. Two of them were there when the fire started to spread. The older brother told the younger one to run to save himself, just before he himself run towards the think and heavy black smoke. He didn’t look back, I think he was almost passed out himself because he has been inhaling so much smoke.
When he was out, he realised that the younger brother wasn’t with him, so he phoned the younger brother to make sure that he’s escaped as well. He wasn’t. In fact, the younger brother was still in their flat, and trapped there.
“Why didn’t you get out?” the older brother asked.
“Why did you leave me?” the younger brother replied.
The older brother begged the rescuers to save the younger brother, giving them the flat number, but it was too late. The other brother was still connected on the phone, right until the last second — when the phone finally died.
That particular story saddened me the most, because I have siblings too. My two sisters and I once shared a flat too. The three of us lived in a tower block, probably not to dissimilar to this one in London. So, when I heard this story, I couldn’t help thinking of my sisters, and how I would feel if I was in the position of the older brother.
What if I lost my sister in such a tragedy? Even thinking about it made me extemely sad.
Unfortunately it is not too long until I will see them again. Time to refuel my spaceship for a quick visit…
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?
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.