Friday, December 21, 2012

The Other's World: QI GONG

 
I have known D. for two years now. She is my Qi Gong teacher and I can say, without any doubt in my heart, that I wouldn't be where I am today without her. I know it might sound cheesy but this lady has a special gift - for people, for Qi Gong, for emotions.
I feel very pleased and am honored to have her and her words in my blog. It was interesting for me to look behind the scenes, so to speak :-) To sit with her, face to face, and do this interview. Normally we meet in her class room and normally I am totally focused on myself and therefore didn't, up to now, get to know her better.
She keeps gently urging me to join her and her scholars in one of the one week retreats she does in Croatia but for reasons that are too boring to mention now, I haven't done any retreat in Croatia. Yet.
Did I mention this? Besides having her place in Zurich where she offers courses and therapy (www.balanceplace.ch), she also offers these retreats (www.qigongferien.ch).
 
Now, let's read what she has to tell about Qi Gong and herself. The English version is at the very bottom (any mistakes are mine, as usual). The pictures, however, are hers and were taken in Croatia.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cooking

Do you like to cook?
I do. Sometimes (or should I say rarely?). I'd say that I am an ok chef but not an extraordinary one. I just know how to follow receipts in a cook book SMILE. What I do like though, very much so, is inviting people to have lunch / dinner at my house. I'd forgotten how wonderful this is.

I spent my last 6.5 years living like a gypsy. I loved every minute of my life and didn't mind one bit having to live in shared appartments or single rooms with shared kitchen/bath or small hotels (when living in Italy). Inviting people was a rather ... how should I say ... complicated? difficult? matter (for obvious reasons - I lived in small rooms, had shared kitchens etc. - not easy to invite people under such circumstances :-).
That has changed now.
I started inviting friends and family again. I love it. I love thinking about the menu and spending time in the grocery shop.I love setting the table and bake and cook for my guests. What I particularly love though is spending an evening with people I love, eating good food, drink some wine and talk.

Now you must think that I am a kind of goddess of the kitchen. That you will see me in my own kitchen show on TV?

hahahahahaha

NOT AT ALL, BELIEVE ME! I am so totally not. Soooo not. Inviting people once a month doesn't make me a goddess of the kitchen SMILE. But once every couple of weeks I like to pretend to be one - and enjoy it wholeheartedly!

Friday, December 7, 2012

My ad in a travel magazine

I have never updated you on my meeting people who responded to my ad in the travel magazine. It's unbelievable! People are still writing me and I am still meeting people. Amazing! Besides the one jerk I told you about (the one who mixed up "travel companion" with another kind of companion SMILE), all the others I met were really nice and interesting people. What an amazing experience. I never thought that it was was gonna be that good meeting new people (and talking about traveling all the time).

I can't go into all the details about all the new ideas and new travel plans I now have. You will anyway find out by regularly reading my blog SMILE.

My Asia trip in January is postponed though. One day it became clear to me. The timing was wrong. January is high season in Asia, i.e. overcroweded places and expensive flights / tours. No thanks. It's better to go in December (maybe next year?), I've learned.
I am not unhappy about it. At all. Sometimes the timing is not correct. No more no less.
And it's not that I am never going anywhere :-) (just been to Milan and haven't had the time to tell you about all the totally cool stuff I bought... sorry!)

As now I am not going anywhere in January but don't however work between Christmas and New Year (our office is closed), I was thinking about going somewhere for a couple of days. I called one of the girls I met thanks to my ad and as she is as straightforward as I am (my first impression proved true), we quickly decided on a destination: HAMBURG. We're staying four nights and I can't wait.
As easy as that (good things usually are).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Other's World: OWNING AN ONLINE SHOP


N. and I have known each other for a couple of years. She is a friend of a friend and usually we meet when we do "girls night out". We share the same cultural background (being Italian).
I have visited N. in the shop her husband owns for the interview. Quite a shop, I must admit. Having only a small appartment, I couldn't treat myself to new stuff (ooh, but I could have. Believe me!). I limited my purchases to one candle and one of these bottles filled with a smelling liquid (in my case: vanilla) where you put wood sticks in it and it keeps smelling good for a long time (you know what I mean?) The shop was amazing and the items they sell are funny or cool and some of them are simply crazy!
Besides helping out in her husband's shop, N. owns an online shop (www.deco4style.ch). If you are looking for some Christmas presents, this may be the solution :-)

Let's hear what she has to say about her business. I took the pictures during my visit. They sell furniture as well, of course, but I lost my heart to the special and crazy items :-)
You'll find the English version after the German version, as usual.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Friendly client service ... a foreign notion?

Isn't "client service" important to some companies any longer? I question myself. It may be that my yesterday's experience with a sales clerk isn't representative but ... yes, but. Sometimes, I fear it is...
Let me tell you what happened.
I had ordered some Christmas presents on the Internet for some of our clients. Yesterday, I received a big box by post and when I checked the contents, I noticed that 15 of the smaller client presents were wrong. The delivery note was correct. The goods not.
I called the company.
Firstly, I was transferred four (!!) times until I finally could talk to the right person.
Secondly, the lady was not friendly at all and doubted that I was telling the truth. She simply said: "I'll check and will call you back." Her voice was implying: what a jerk!
Thirdly, she kept calling me by my frist name: Mrs Simonetta. Can't she read the order correctly?

I hung up feeling slightly pissed. I tried to remain fair-minded though because working in a client service department is not easy (I've done it and know how it is).

When she called back, two hours later, not only she kept calling me Mrs Simonetta (even though I told her TWICE that Simonetta was my first name!!) but her voice was all business and again not friendly at all.
Luckily for her, I was feeling friendly yesterday and was in an excellent mood. Otherwise, I probably would have yelled at her, because it was their mistake, not mine but she kept treating me as SHE was the one who was pissed off because SHE now had to solve the issue even though I could have kept the wrong merchandise and make HER life easier, couldn't I?
Do you get the lady?
However, what finally pissed me off most was that ... she never said "excuse us". Never. NEVER ONCE. Is this what they call "service to the client"?

I hung up, without adding more words. It's clear though that not only we will deduct the postage expenses on the bill but never ever again order some Christmas presents in their Internet shop.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Other's World: STUDYING IN NEW YORK

Yes, it's about New York. Again! While I was posting my old NY pictures, a while back, I remembered that an ex-colleague of mine (when I still was working in the bank) currently resided in New York, improving her English. I was so happy when she agreed to answer my questions. It wasn't only because of the perfect timing (meaning my post and hurricane Sandy) but also because I thought that you (and I as well, of course!) would be interested in what she had to say about living in a city like New York.
I don't know J. very well, I must admit. We went to lunch a couple of times and I always loved our talks, especially when we were talking about traveling! She has been to many places but she loves America as much as I do and that connected us. I am a bit jealous, I have to admit, of her staying in New York for such a long time! Imagine how cool that is :-)

Let's find out what she has to say. The pictures are hers, by the way. And you'll find the English version of her words at the bottom (my translation and therefore the mistakes are mine as well SMILE):

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Perseverance

I love this word: perseverance (Ausdauer, Beharrlichkeit). I just read an article about perseverance in yoga pratice. It had me think (here we go again!!).
I spent the last 9 months doing Yoga every Friday evening. The article made me think of how frustrating my first yoga lessons were. I was standing (or lying - depending on the Asana) there and (often) thinking: I am never gonna be able to do this. I will never get it. I will never take pleasure in this.
I kept on going though, every Friday. I perservered. I learned. With time (and perseverance) some Asanas became easier. There were even some that I no longer thought about - I just did them. Yoga became pleasure. Other Asanas, however, remained challenging but I had no hard feelings against them. I knew that someday I would be able to do them (and if not my life wouldn't crash!).
I am pretty proud of myself. I learned that preseverance has not much to do with ambition. Perseverance, as I feel it, has more to do with patience and time.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Where did time go?

I can't believe it's already November. NOVEMBER! What the hell? Where did time go? Where did this year go? Where did autumn go? Wow. I'm usually not the kind of woman who is always "bloody" busy but these last few weeks, I must admit, I have been pretty busy. Busy in the very good sense of the word, mind you.
I have all these ideas (more than usually, do you believe that?) and, unlike other years, I seem to have a lot of energy to realize them.
Looking back, I realize that it started during summer: I have an idea, think about it for a short time (a SHORT time - this is what makes it unusual - I usually tend to overthink stuff) and then take off to realize it. And usually it works. Ok, mine are not big, earthchanging ideas but they enrich my life. That's what's important :-)
I've discovered, talking to my friends, that everybody kind of is pretty busy these days. A very nice kind of busy. A productive kind of busy. It must be something in the air. Maybe there is more energy due to 21.12.12. Who knows? I have read somewhere that, astrologically speaking, we're living strong times.
Must be that.
Well, in any case, I hope you're enjoying the ride as well!!

2004: Toscana trip


Remember? I promised to share some pictures of my trip to Tuscany back in 2004...

on our way to Tuscany: Mantova



The Tarot Garden by Niki de Saint Phalle
 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New York (2005)

The city and its inhabitants had quite a week: the pictures in the news where you could see downtown without any lights? Gave me the creeps. We tend to forget that nothing is stronger than nature.
These pictures were taken back in 2005 - my first trip all by myself to the US!





Looking for a travel companion

As mentioned last week, I am looking for a travel companion with the help of an ad that I placed in a travel magazine.
I received quite a few e-mails and decided to meet with everybody: out of respect (it's nice of them to have answered my ad) and out of curiosity (SMILE). Well, two people I didn't meet. One wanted absolutely travel to Egypt in December (I can't in December and Egypt is not on my list) and the other one was one of these super sporty guys that goes on a trip to bike or climb or run or to do whatever sportive  activity you can think of. He gave me a headache just reading his words - imagine, traveling with such a guy. Always under pressure. Always to prove whatever to whoever. No thank you, I said. Not for me. Ah well, and there was another one who just wrote: please call me at ... A definite no go as well. Who does he think he his?

I had never placed an ad. Therefore this was a totally new experience for me. It's kind of a blind date but without the date issue SMILE (most of them were women anyway!). I met 7 out of 9 people already and I had the time of my life... talking about traveling all the time and listening to others talking about traveling! Wonderful. Summing up I can say that I will do some hiking tours with almost all of them (separately, of course!) and maybe some small trips with a few of them. I haven't met anybody yet that will travel to Angkor Wat with me in January. The last person I will meet (in two weeks) is the only one left that was interested in such a trip and that had actually time to go on a trip in January. We'll see...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

First snow of season

I woke up to snow this morning. And it's still snowing. Oh wow. That's it then, winter has arrived. Let's just hope it's gonna be a short one...

Here pictures of my view ... with snow and without :-)


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Drawers

Drawers tend to have a life of their own. Mines at least do. During my move, I kept putting all the small stuff (like pictures, instructions manuals of God knows what, old papers, old mobiles, etc. - I am not done yet therefore don't know what I will find) in one big drawer. It kept getting fuller and fuller until this morning when I opened it, looking for something, not finding it and trying to close it again - NOT succeeding.
That was a sign. I had to start working on my drawer.

Oh my.

Let's just say that I spent the afternoon sorting my photos. Old photos - from 2004 to 2006 (I had them on discs. Do you believe it? My computer back then was sooo slow that I had to put them on CD because the laptop kept shutting down - to many data on it. I remember losing my nerves more than one time!). The drawer is still pretty full but now at least my pictures are totally but sooo totally up to date.
Wanna see some old pictures?

Let's start with Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse. Do you remember when we had all these bears all along the shopping mile? Weren't they cute? That was in 2005, by the way. Doesn't time go by quickly?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thinking about... my next trips

I am settled in now. In my home and in my office. Now, I have time for other thoughts. Thoughts about future trips (what else??). There is (almost) nothing more exciting than thinking about future trips. Wanna hear about my plans?

Well, first I will spend one Saturday in Como - in November (mercato - can't wait)
Then two days in Milano - also in November (shopping and culture - can't wait either)

For January I am planning to travel to Asia - Angkor Wat would be my favorite destination.

In April I will travel to Madeira with a friend of mine and her two kids (we are on the travel agency's waiting list - wish us luck).

So far so good, don't you think? When I first thought about traveling to Asia, it was almost immediately clear to me that this time I wouldn't travel on my own. The question therefore was: where to find a travel companion?
Response: I placed an ad in a travel magazine (that I am subscriped to). I always read the ads (they make me dream!) but never actually thought about placing one myself.
I started to received e-mails. Quite a few of them actually.
Let me say it: it's a totally exciting experience!
Firstly exchanging e-mails with unknown people that speak to your heart (because, like me, they like to travel) and secondly getting to meet them all!
Totally exciting!

I already met two of them (I will tell you about them later on) and will meet ... let me count on my agenda ... seven more in the next two weeks. uuuhhhh, totally exciting - will keep you updated

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Other's World: TRAVELING THE WORLD

R. and I have known each other for almost half of my life. On my first job ever (as an adult) there were, at least before R. joined our department, only guys and I :-) So, I was glad to finally have some female company. We clicked. Today, when we go out for dinner (we do so once or twice a year), we talk about everything (the way girls do) but mostly we talk about our travel plans or about the trips we just did or the ones we would like to do. Her traveling is totally not comparable to mine. She has been almost everywhere in this world and continues traveling! Usually, she and her husband do a few "short trips" during the year and "one long trip" in December! I think that this is so totally cool!
R. is a great person. I appreciate our friendship and like her points of view. She always encouraged me to do what I wanted to do. Not everybody understood my way of life but she did - back then and still does today! I like our evenings out and when I go home I usally have some ideas for new travel destinations :-)

Let's read what she has to say about traveling the world. The pictures, by the way, are hers and were taken in Bhutan. I have translated her answers into English (please scroll down - you'll find them after the pictures). I will do so from now on in order for everybody to be able to read the contents of my series of Q&A "The Other's World".

Friday, October 12, 2012

First visit

I had a first visit this morning. How cool is that? S. came to see me in my new office. S. has been my hairdresser for many years until she decided to move to India (yes, you read correctly, India as in THE India in Asia) to live with the guy she loves and with the child they had together. Losing her as a hairdresser was hard on me and actually I had a difficult time finding another person who got along with my hair! On the other hand, I was very happy for her as she is very happy with her new life.

Her child is two years old now and she came to visit familiy and friends for a couple of weeks. I felt so honored to be part of the people she wanted to meet. We had no friendship outside of her salon but somehow it always felt like one. Apparently, the feeling was mutual.
So, S. was my first visit.
She didn't have much time but we did catch up a bit. She told me about her Indian life. You know, while I was listening to her stories, I couldn't stop thinking that we, by we I mean people in the Western World, should stop complaining. Immediately stop complaining.
Wanna hear an example?
Well, for instance, she has to walk for about 3 hours to do grocery shopping (and take the kids from the neighborhood with her for them to help her carrying the food). Or she starts cooking at 10 am in order to be sure that lunch is ready on time. And sometimes the gas stove isn't working so she cooks ... with wood. She assures me that her day goes by very fast. Doubtlessly!

I already hear some of you saying that not ALL of India is that way. I agree. Her husband lives in a very rural area where there are not many facilities. I am certain there are other parts of India where life is similar to the one we have here. Although, India is India. Everybody who has been traveling there is always saying that. It's special, it's poor, it's beautiful.
During my Yellowstone trip this summer I met this Indian family (do you remember?) and the lady actually told me to NEVER BUT NEVER come to India. I first thought she was joking but she wasn't. When I asked why I shouldn't come as many of my friend had told me how beautiful it was, she just shook her head, looking at me as she wanted to ask: what kind of people do YOU know? and said: Too much dirt. You don't like it. And that was it for our discussion!
India is strong - in any way. I am preparing another "The Other's World" story (will be published next week) and this person will also tell you about India.

S. leaves Europe in a couple of days and she said that I could visit her anytime (she and her husband are thinking about moving to Goa to facilitate their life). I don't know if I'm ready for India. I am thinking about traveling to Asia this winter (first time for me - or almost the first time - another one of these long stories). I've been thinking about Angkor Wat for some time now. Maybe I will be ready for India later on?

Anyhow, I was happy to see S. and her child in good health and happy! What a great first visitor!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Step 7 (and final) of my move: settling in

The electrician solved the last problems this morning (lamps and cooking stove were not working).
Now I am ready to settle in.

Wonderful.
I can start my everyday life in my wonderful appartment and my cool office.
I have some news ideas that I'd like to work on. I'm ready.

I am tired but happy!

PS: I promise to post some pictures of my new view and of the funny stuff I found in my boxes!

PSS: To be honest there is still one thing I need to do: clean my old room. Will do that on Saturday... but then, then I'll be definitively settled in...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Step 6 of my move: unpacking and putting everything away ... in my office

It was totally strange to get up in the morning and knowing that I would leave my house for work! I have worked in my home office for the last three years and now, with my new appartment, I have got this new office space as well. I am totally thrilled about the place and about working "outside" again. My new place is in the middle of the city where there are no bankers but people from all over the world. It's fantastic. Just the bus ride from the train station to my office made me feel like I were in a foreign country (and you know how much I like this! foreign countries, that is).

Instal the Internet connection was the biggest challenge of my first day at the new office. It went well - good, I had to call the hotline because it didn't work immediately but then with the help of the guy over the phone it turned out well and I am connected to world wide web now.
Some stuff had to remain in the boxes because I need to buy more shelves first. A new pin board as well. Some cushions for decoration of my couch (yes, I put my couch in the office as I don't have space for it in my home). Not even mentioning going through all the stuff I have and throwing away things... I think it's called work in progess, right?

Do you want to know a funny thing?
It was to actually ask myself again (after so many years working from home): What do I wear today?
Oh my, I had actually forgotten how this is. So many questions, so early in the morning SMILE as you don't know how the weather is gonna be, as you are gonna out for drinks after work, etc. I am certain though that I will adjust to this new life pretty fast!

PS: Have I mentioned that I am sharing office space with a girl named M and a guy name S? It's cool not to be alone the whole day and to share thoughts and laughs :-)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Step 5 of my move: unpacking and putting everything away

I was totally glad that it rained yesterday! Therefore, I spent my whole day unpacking boxes and putting everything away with a clear conscience!
I worked like crazy, believe me! Jumped out of my bed (first night on my own mattress!!) at 8 am, had coffee and started on the first box. I couldn't spend much time on every detail though. There wasn't time and I wanted to get things done as quickly as possible. Have I mentioned that I worked like crazy?

It was worth the effort. The appartment looks perfect! I will post some pictures in the next days. I will also post pictures of stuff I found in my boxes that made me laugh and had me remembering... You'll see!

Being surrounded by my own things feels wonderful! I can't wait to go through them properly, like looking at old photo albums (the one of my first trip ever-to Paris, for example. or then my Interrail album, my first big trip, etc,), listening to CDs, re-read certain books, etc. This is gonna be so much fun!

PS: Have I told you that from my appartment I can see the lake? It's wonderful to have coffee in the morning and look at the lake :-)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Step 4 of my move: the actual move

I didn't sleep well the night before the actual move. I know, I know, I shouldn't worry as much as I do but hey, I can't be someone I am not :) So many thoughts in my head and this feels like a start to a totally new life (I know, I know, it's just an office space and a one bedroom appartment but I can't help it).
I jumped out of bed at 6.30 (imagine! Me jumping out of bed at this godforsaken hour!!) and by 8 I was at my parent's home. We waited for my friend and then we were on the move ... first to the office and then to my new appartment.

It went good. Smoothly. The sun was shining and the three of us worked good together.

By 11.30 everything was done.
There has been only one panicky moment. I asked the guys to assembly my bed. They just started to do so when my father asked: Where are the screws? Oh my God, where were the screws - I had no idea and the last time we disassemblied the bed it was 6.5 years ago. Who the hell remembers such details? Luckily I am an organised girl (SMILE) and the screws were in my toolbox (a very small one - don't you worry!). Uuuuuh, lucky me. Within 10 minutes the bed was standing and everybody was happy (me the most!).

Now it's up to me: unpacking and furnishing the apparment. All these boxes and I can't even remember what I own - this is gonna be fun :-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Step 3 of my move: to load up a truck

Truck is loaded and ready to go. Wow, I am totally relieved about this fact. Not only because I have a truck at my disposal for the big day tomorrow but also because we were enough people to load it up. Only a week ago, this fact was no longer sure because a friend of my father who had been telling us(the whole summer - mind you!!) that yes, he would help, and that yes, he would bring the truck he usually used for work, suddenly, didn't seem as positive about it any longer. He never said: No, I won't help you. He never clearly said, yes, I'll help you, either. It was more a "mmmh, it's gonna be OK" and a "no, no, don't you worry, we'll deal with it somehow" (his face saying something totally different though). Oh man, was I disappointed! Couldn't he have said so at the beginning (somewhere around June / July!!)? Well, let's no longer talk about this guy. He's not worth it.
I finally asked a friend of mine if he would help and if he knew someone who owns a truck. He luckily said yes to both questions and here we are now: Friday night, truck loaded up, ready to move!!!

Tonight is my last night in this room which I have been calling mine for more than 3 years now. It's a bit sad, I must admit. It felt good living here, really good. And goodbyes are sad even though I am very much looking forward to having an appartment all to myself again. Gladly, I'm just moving a couple of steps away (will remain in the same house, in a separate appartment). Being sad it's OK though. New beginnings always contain a certain sadness for what we leave behind (when what we leave behind has been nice, of course).

PS: Loading up the truck with all my stuff tonight, I thought of another question for my yesterday's post: How many books does someone need?
I certainly own MORE than enough of them - I had actually forgotten how many exactly (several boxes and bags! Amazing!).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Step 2 of my move: clothes, shoes and bags

How many shoes does a woman need? How many bags does a woman need? How many clothes?

Today, while moving my summer stuff from my actual room to my new appartment I got philosophical. (And thinking about tomorrow, when I'll be moving all my winter clothes, bags and shoes, gets me sick...)

I love fashion and shoes and adore bags but when you have actually to carry them from one place to the other ... oh my, for a second there, I wished I were different: owning one pair of shoes for each season, same for the bags and let's say three outfits. (Mmmh, just the thought gave me goose bumps SMILE. Try thinking it! It's scary!)
I spent my afternoon carrying stuff down two stairways, out of the door, six steps to another door, up another two stairways. After the sixth or seventh time I started to laugh (that was just after being philosophical :-))
Ridiculous! Really. How can I tell everybody that I am good at owning less, at spending less (implying that I therefore live more and better)?

How can I????

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Step 1 of my move: Office stuff

I've been talking about my new one bedroom appartment and my new office space for so long, I can't hardly believe that NOW the time actually has come to do the real moving thing. Do you know the feeling? You look forward to something, you talk about it, you dream about it and then (it seems suddenly but in fact it isn't suddenly at all!!) ... it's reality!

Well, my reality of moving is right now because I started packing my office stuff. Two things about it leave me speechless:

1) Where did the piles of stuff I have in my (very small!!) office come from???
You know, three years ago I started this job working ... one day a week. Back then, I didn't have much stuff because I didn't need anything. Just my laptop and the printer (good, maybe some pens and paper SMILE). Over the years, though, I started working more hours, then more days and, apparently, with the more hours the more stuff appeared somehow as well. On Monday, my first working day at the new office, it will not only be about getting the Internet working and the phone line (I have NO IDEA how I am gonna do this but I prefer not to think about it right now - other stuff to think about that are more important). No, it will be also be about: do I really need of all this stuff? I will probably have to throw things away. I can't start my new office life in an overcroweded office, can I?

2) Where did all this dust come from? It's disgusting, really! Only when you clear a place you actually see... how NOT clean it is. I didn't know that I actually always had an office friend working with me, called THE DUST :-)))

Friday, September 28, 2012

Jewelry

There was one thing in the wonderful world of fashion that I swore to never ever ever ever (you got it, right?) wear again: jewelry in gold. NEVER. I swear.

Having been born in an Italian family, jewelry, at least until I got old enough to buy my own stuff, had always been gold. I have never seen my mother wearing anything else then gold (well, a couple of years back she decided to go fashion as well and started buying jewerly in silver).
For me, wearing silver, was some kind of "I am independent now" statement, my own fashion statement, in some sort of way, different from what I knew and what was familiar to me.

Well, fashion is unpredictable, isn't it? (and women anyway, right SMILE)

On Thursday I went shopping and bought ... a pair of GOLD earrings. Don't ask me why. I thought they looked nice and a minute later I was paying for them.

I still can't believe I did it! But I did. I own a pair of gold earrings (I have to repeat this to myself in order to get used to it). And, you know what, I am wearing them right now ... and they look good! Really good.

I guess the lesson learned is: never say never :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Other's World: BEING A WORKING MOM

S. and I have known each other for ages. We worked for the same bank (back in the days - WAY back in the days, if you know what I mean SMILE). We sometimes used to meet very early in the morning on Tuesdays or Fridays, go the Farmer's market, then have some coffee and breakfast at a place called "Milchbar" and then go to work. It was a fantastic way to start our (working) day! So long ago! Nice memories though. We also spent a very nice vacation on a Greek island. Well, as I said, long time ago.
Then life ... happened and we lost sight of each other until a couple of years back when S. called me on my birthday. Our lifes couldn't be more different today, in a way, but on so many other levels we are still the girls we were back in the days (especially when we go shopping!). I think it's finally about having the same basic values and, most importantly, about understanding and respecting each other's lifes.
She now lives abroad, has married and got two children. I admire her. Being married, raising two kids and being responsible for her own company at the same time? I don't think I could. But she does it, every day!

Let's hear / read what she has to say about being a working mom (the pictures are hers, by the way):

Remembering

A friend of mine was looking for a photo / picture for her new office. I was going through all my pictures, looking for one that would be perfect for her, as I found this video I had taken in Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan in 2010. I remembered the day - it was bloody windy but sunny and there was just me, the wind, the lake and the light house. A magic day!


Lake Michigan at its best!

The lighthouse was not one of the more beautiful I had seen on my trip - but the magic of the day made up for it :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cool news

You are never gonna guess. I am gonna be a ... model. No, no, no, not THAT kind of model (meaning the Gisele Bündchen kind of model... SMILE). No, I am gonna be a "manicure model".
This friend of mine is doing a training course for manicure and she asked me if I would agree to "lend" her my nails for one day in order for her to practise. The date is set for December - can't wait! And of course I will let you know the details and if I get the change to take some pictures...

I think that every girl in this world should be a model - at least once in her life. That is why girls are so excited about marriage, in my opinion (well, besides the fact to get married to the Love of you Life, of course). They want to be in the spotlight for a day. But hey, I may be wrong as I am not married and I've never dreamt of being so (some will say this is because I've never met the Love of my Life??).
Let's get back to the topic at hand... Love of your Life topic will be for another post...

What I did dream about though was being a model for a hair show (imagine how exciting this must be - getting a totally cool hair style!) - who knows? Maybe my friend is doing a training course in hair styling as well???
Anyway. Even though I'd never imagined to be a "manicure" model, now I am gonna be one.
I am so totally excited about it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zürichsee-Rundweg: Etappe 7 (Rapperswil - Stäfa)

As summer is now definitively over (even though we are having quite some nice after-summer-days!), I thought that it was time to take up hiking again. In order to complete my "Zürichsee-Rundweg-Wanderung".

Today, I walked from Rapperswil to Stäfa. The guide said 3.5 hours - it took me about 3 hours ... because ... I got lost.
Ooh yeah, I got lost in the middle of beautiful "Goldküste". Somehow I missed a turn (I must admit that this part of the tour was hard to find. The sign "84", indicating this tour, was nowhere to be seen). When I suddendly saw the train station of Uerikon from afar, I knew I had taken the wrong path. The right one would have been more up the hill, with a better view, away from the houses.
I thought about walking back but finally decided against it. I walked the final 30 / 45 minutes in the densly built part of the lake and looked at nice houses instead of the lake! And they were nice the houses, you have to believe me!

I nevertheless had a wonderful day and a very nice walk!

Rapperswil from afar

the Alps



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fashion blogs

I do love fashion blogs and The Sartorialist (www.thesartorialist.com) in particular. It's not that I copy the looks that he photographs and puts on his blog. No, for me it's about how people express themselves through fashion. It's almost like: Fashion as art. I love it!

He published a book a couple of years back, I didn't buy it because buying books when you live in a rented room is kind of tricky. Books take place and place I didn't have (not that much, at least). But now, I am a couple of weeks away from moving into my own (one bedroom) appartment and buying these kind of (art or fashion) books is OK again. I won't have that much space in my new home but I have an idea on how to put my pictures, photos and books "on show". I will talk about it later on, as soon as I will actually live there :-)

I wander from the subject at hand, sorry!

The Sartorialist. He just published his second book: The Sartorialist. Closer. And this time I did buy it (reason see above!).

 
Wonderful. I thumb through this book and my fantasy ... flies! Wonderful pictures. I photographed two pages just to give you an idea:
Fashion IS art!
 



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Autumn

That's it. Summer is over. That was it for another year.
Now it's time to start reading fashion magazines. In Italy, I bought all my favourite magazines (and then some more SMILE).


I've started on them last week and my head is already full with new ideas for autumn/winter 2012/13. As much as I like summer time, fashion, in my opinion, is much more fun during winter time. Why? Because one wears more stuff...

I am happy with the two pairs of brown leather shoes I already bought (sale!).
Now I am thinking about a new bag. A red or an orange one would be nice. I already know what I am looking for. Search for "Cartable Marcello de Cartier" on Google and then you'll see what I have in mind. The red one would be it. THE RED ONE. Oh my, oh my, my heart beats faster when I look at it SMILE. Well, I can't afford the original, of course (Cartier? you know what I mean? by the way, it's on request only SMILE). Definitively not my budget but as I am planning on going to Como maybe the guy from Senegal will have something for me then :-)))))

Lac de Morat - Murtensee

6 hours of walking. 32 km in total.
You have no idea what I'm talking about? Well, on Monday I walked (with some friends) ALL AROUND Lac de Morat (Murtensee). This hiking trip had been on my mind for a while now and when I suggested the trip to my friends, they were totally excited and ready to go.

What a day! It was wonderful, the lake is peaceful, and there were so many different aspects to it. Sandy beaches, villages, marshes, forests. And NO hills - that's the best part SMILE.
When we told people on Sunday that we would walk all around the lake, most of them said: Really? You gonna walk ALL around the lake? but their faces actually said: you are never gonna make it!

Well, we did make it and let me tell you - we were so proud at the end of the day. I was even prouder the day after, when my muscles still weren't aching (no Muskelkater). Apparently, the second day is the worst (with regards to aching muscles) but this time - nothing. I am getting fitter! Ain't that cool?

I took some pics for you. Enjoy!




Do you see the smiling face?


Friday, September 7, 2012

Memory (the game)

I am still into sharing my Italian week...

I spent (almost) all my evenings in Italy playing ... Memory (do you remember the game? It's all about finding two identical cards?). It was fun!
When I was a kid I didn't like to play.. at least not social games where it was about winning and losing. First because I don't like to lose (sigh) and secondly because I didn't appreciate the ambition of my adversaries (maybe it was just a family thing - the exaggerated ambition - but let's not talk about this). Fact is, I have never been much of a "OK, it's Saturday night, let's play a game!" kind of girl.

Until this week in Italy with Virginia (that's my cousin's younger girl). She has these big blue eyes and when she looked at me, saying: Simoooooo, giochiamo a Meeeemooooryyyy? (emphasizing the vowels SMILE) (BTW it means, Simo, do we play memory?), I could hardly say no, couldn't I?

So, we played Memory. And, I am not ashmed to admit, she won ALL THE TIME. She is a though little lady, let me tell you, and at 6 her brain is much quicker and better than my more than 40 years old one :-) She had a hell of a time (wouldn't you? winning ALL THE TIME against the sooo old cousin of your mum??) and I had a hell of a time as well. It was just fun and her giggles, when she uncovered another two identical cards? Awesome.

When we said good-bye, on Saturday, she said, all earnest: Simo, promise me to practise during winter time and when you'll be back next summer, we can play again. Maybe then, you will once win as well.

I had to laugh! Charming little thing! Isn't life wonderful at 6?

PS: Now, I HAVE TO practise - who is playing Memory with me? SMILE

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sale

OK, I admit it. Last week, in Italy, it was not only about doing nothing. I went shopping as well :-) (Can't be someone I am not, don't you think? SMILE).
Friday it rained (it rained for about 30 minutes then it was cloudy). People went to the beach anyway but for us it was the perfect excuse not to go to the beach but to go to the shopping mall instead. We spent a wonderful day strolling around but I didn't find anything (I wasn't looking too hard, I must admit, I had a rather big expense before leaving for Italy - my car needed some new parts!!) All I bought were three new shades of nail polish - see picture below - and lots of fashion magazines (will tell you about them in a next post).

I did some really nice bargains ... on the beach though. Si. Si. On the beach. You might know that on some beaches in Italy there are ladies and gents from Africa, Asia and South America trying to sell the tourists stuff (in Cattolica, for ex. you don't find them because the local administration chase them off). It's rather annoying, normally. Compra, compra, compra (buy, buy, buy) they say all the time while all I want is to read my book. One gets used to it though. What I didn't know, though, is that these guys offer their items on sale as well. End of season sale - so to speak!
I found that funny.
They explained me that they have goods they sell on the beaches all over Italy during summer. Then, during winter time, they move to Milano or other big cities in Italy and then they change their offered goods as well (city people, apparently, don't have the same needs as people on vacation SMILE).
As I said, the bargains - all bracelets I will wear during winter time - were really nice!

Bought these two bracelts from a guy from Senegal - apparently his wife did the work and these are dyed coffee beans. I am not sure if I should believe him but honestly, I don't care. They look good on my wrist!

Bought from Maya from Senegal (picture is not perfect). It's an armring / bangle... one of these really nice African artifacts

Bought from a guy from India. I have the same bracelet in green and I bought this one half the price :-) and my cousin bought a nice silver ring from the same guy. Apparently we were his first customers of the day and he gave us "special price"!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Unplugged

view from the kitchen of my cousin's appartment

 

I have been totally ... away from the world, this last week. It was fantastic. No cell phone (well, I had it with me but I called nobody and nobody called me), no computer, no internet, no facebook. Well, you got it. No technology. The above pictures are from a couple of years back. I didn't take ONE picture, not one, that will explain my state of mind.
I didn't even use my good old notebook (I had it with me but it stayed in my suitcase the whole time).

I just was.

Nowadays, I realized, that is the real luxury. Simply to be. My mind was totally empty by the second day and I spent my days thinking ... nothing. Well, there were some decisions to take but these were rather simple, like: what do we eat for lunch? What for dinner? Do we go to the beach now? Or later? Do I take my siesta now? Uuuuh, as I said, VERY important decisions hahahahaha

Friday, August 24, 2012

No Internet for one week

I am off to Italy. For one week. I will be staying at my cousin's house (with her and her two girls) that is just a street away from the beach. And I won't have Internet access.

Doesn't that sound wonderful?

This is gonna be a first for me. Usually, during my trips, my computer - I have a small one for travel specifcally - comes along with me each time. Not this time though. I've decided that I needed some computer free time. August has been an intense month - mentally in particular. I need to ... unplug.

Should I think of something that I want to share with you, I will do so but only the week after. I will therefore take my good old (paper) notebook with me and write the stories down manually (to be copied into a post upon my return).

Don't you think that this sounds old fashioned? It does. It definitively will help me to slow down :-)

Well, everybody, have a nice one (day and week)! I will be working on my sun tan, read books, listen to music, eat wonderful food, talk and laugh a lot, do some shopping, getting a sun tan (oh, I already mentioned that, didn't I SMILE).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer ... finally (2nd episode)

Those of you who live in the Northern part of Europe (well, let's add Mitteleuropa as well), will know what I mean when I say that summer has been kind of shitty so far. A few sunny days here and there isn't summer for me (contrary to most people, I must say). My idea of summer is... the sun is shining, it's hot and it goes on for weeks. I don't mind some rain from time to time but I wish to have more blue instead of gray skies.

Summer 2012 is not what I call a perfect summer (weather wise - for the rest it has been great!!).

These days, though, we're talking. It's hot!! And by hot I mean super hot. It's hot during the days, in the evenings, during the night and it's already hot when you get up in the morning. Wow. Finally! And next week I am off to Italy and the weather forecast is not bad at all: next week won't be as hot as this week but the temperatures showed on screen say 26°C. I am happy with 26°C. Totally happy :-)

So yesterday, Sunday, I was sitting (and sweating) on my balcony, reading my favourite fashion magazines, simply enjoying myself. I open the first one, start reading and then it comes and I seem to forget it - year after year. Yes, I forget that the September issues (that I buy at the end of August) of all fashion magazines are all about ... fashion for the Autumn/Winter season! If I had had a very nice and very long summer, then this wouldn't have shocked me the way it did. But we just started having some nice days and now I have to think about what to wear during Autumn/Winter?When I haven't worn all the summer outfits and shoes and bags yet?
What the heck, no thank you. I decided to go on a strike. I put the magazines back. For after my vacation. In September. It will be soon enough to think about winter dresses then (even though I've seen some very nice coats and shoes, leafing through the pages, but hell, not now. NOT NOW.)

Enjoy the sun :-)

Summer ... finally!




Thursday, August 16, 2012

Working space

You might (or rather not) know that I am looking for a working space for myself. Up to now I worked at home but as my living arrangement changes at the beginning of October (found a very very nice one bedroom appartment with lake view!), I needed a new working space. A shared working space actually (cheaper and more fun).
I began looking for it a couple of weeks back. Even though it was summer time, there were some in the market and I began my "journey" with phone calls and viewings.
Let's cut this long story short: I fell in love with two places.
One was given to someone else. The other was too expensive at the beginning but then (fortunately!) we found a solution that makes everybody happy!

I am proud to announce that from September I will be working in a very nice office with two other people (a guy and a girl), in the middle of the city. The three of us have our own office (and separate businesses of course!) but will have opportunities to talk over coffee in the nice kitchen or in the meeting room. It will be strange to "leave" for work in the mornings again but it will do me good.

Well, after all these months of thinking, re-thinking, talking and re-talking, checking and planning, it feels good to finally "do something", "to achieve something". I am happy about it :-)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Inner Voice

Steve Jobs once said: "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice." He was right, however, I think that our inner voice not only is being "shut off" by others' opinions but very often by ourselves, by our words (spoken and heard) and our actions.
Our own inner voice is silenced and ignored. The reasons therefore can vary and I don't want to judge as I ignore it often too. But then, from time to time, I remember.

I remember that we talk too much. We are too stressed. We run from A to B and from C to D and keep ourselves busy (and often feeling unsatisfied without really knowing it).
I still believe that moving forward in life is good and necessary. But as I mentioned in my Thursday's post - sometimes stopping (and listening to our inner voice) is good and necessary as well.
It supports the "moving foward" part. I strongly believe this.

So, from time to time, I stop from moving forward. I keep silent. I listen. I dream.
Isn't this what Yoga, meditation, Qi Gong (name it) is about?
For the duration of a couple of minutes / an hour / a day / a week (up to you and your needs) you withdraw from every day's life and from your thoughts ... and be still.
Try it out! I swear, the results will be amazing. I have my best ideas when ... I'm feeling bored SMILE.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Going behind our imagination

Must be the summer heat (when it is actually hot - we had a crappy summer so far!). Or maybe it's just a state of (my actual) mind. Fact is, I spent a lot of hours, these last couple of days, philosophizing about life, about politics, about changes, about traveling.

I was philosophizing (with a friend of mine) about how difficult it can be to confront ourselves with new situations, about how we might fear changes.

I strongly believe that life is about "moving forward" i.e. not standing still (well sometimes standing still is necessary and good, a MUST even, but let's talk about this another time).
Sometimes (rather often actually) the path we are walking on is not a straight line. We encounter turns. Some people think that turns are cool because they are looking forward to the surprises that life has ready for them. The unknown is cool in their eyes.
Other people though are afraid of what lies behind the turn. They prefer what they have, what they know, to the unknown. The unknown is fearsome.

Should we really let fear rule our lives?Or isn't the real issue here that we often think too much ahead? We think about ALL the stuff that could happen and (by definition) go wrong. Total overthinking and with that the "small turn" becomes a gigantic hill. Insurmontable. All in our heads, mind you. We haven't done one step so far.

Now, I was thinking, what about finding the strength to walk just this one turn and, having arrived there, decide whether we want to go back or not? One little turn can't be THAT fearsome, can it?
If we made a mistake, then the way back is not long.
And maybe, who knows, we might even want to continue that path because suddenly we see something that we weren't able to see before?
I call that going behind our imagination.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Les Quais du Dahlia à Morges

Morges is known for its "Fête de la Tulipe" when its parc on Lac Léman becomes a hymne to the tulip. What I didn't know though, that during summer time the city dedicates their quays to the dahlia. You must know that dahlias are one of my favourite flowers and therefore I couldn't resist taking tons of pictures. Awesome!

PS: In case you're wondering what I was doing in Morges ... Visiting friends :-)