Husbands cannot find their own things anymore

I’ve come to realize that my husband’s new hobby is to ask me where his stuff is. This includes his wallet, mobile phone…

Basically everything that I may not have touched or seen in the last 7 days.

But I may have the answer and often I do lead him to the answer!

A few days ago the same thing happened. This time, he found his bag before I could respond.

Husband: Do you know where my bag is?

(3 seconds later)

H: Found it!

I: Why don’t you know where your bag is?!

H: Because you placed it on the couch!

I: Which is next to where you placed it (on the floor)!

H: And my shirt was covering it!

I: Which was done by you!

H: Oh.

My theory: Men suddenly lose their ability to find things the moment they’re married.

H’s theory: Men simply find it more efficient asking the available resources than searching high and low for something.

Hmmm…

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Nakedness

As an Asian in Germany, one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had would be to enter and enjoy a sauna.

Because of its geographical proximity to the Scandinavian countries, who stand by this truly, Germans have taken up the culture of being entirely naked in a sauna. To them, saunas are the one place that is truly clean, rid of all unnatural materials – including your bathing suits.

Well, okay, bath towels are fine to sit or lie on.

When H first suggested visiting a sauna place three winters ago, I said, sure let’s ask your brother if he’d like to come along! H hesitated. Later I found out why.

The sauna place was like paradise, with indoor swimming pools and a large variety of sauna rooms. Germans take their saunas very seriously, except everyone was naked. Being short-sighted and a spectacles-hater, I wore contact lenses everywhere possible. This was the first time I decided to go blind as a bat. Somehow I thought if I couldn’t see clearly, neither could people see me.

But after the second and third and fourth time, I thought this makes sense. I mean we wear bathrobes everywhere else in between sauna rooms anyway, which is sort of a dream come true. Apart from that, it is just a body!

That was the interesting part. I have a theory that because many people here take bodies as just bodies (and are not / should not be associated with something sexy in a sauna), nobody looks at a naked body and immediately gets turned on. The same goes with artistic films and pictures. As long as it is not associated with sex, a naked body does not make it pornographic – unlike what Facebook thinks.

But don’t forget to do what the Romans do in Rome.

While we went on an adventurous honeymoon trip last year, we ended up in a hotel in Montenegro that had a sauna. When we got there, the first thing H did was to strip naked and enter. A horrified employee got in quickly and told him to cover up immediately! Oops 🙂

While we were in Poland last week, we were a little more careful with our behaviour, so we waited and observed.

First, nobody stripped when they went into the sauna, so we went in with our bathing suits. How very uncomfortable and unnatural, I thought to myself. Wait – did I just turn Northern?!

And then we got out and observed that a couple stripped before entering – it must’ve been okay. So we followed suit. Except a man entered thereafter without stripping. Then it felt incredibly uncomfortable for me, as I tried to cover up whatever I could, because I felt extremely naked.

This must’ve been what Adam and Eve felt, when before and after the fruit!

The sound of silence

I'm sitting here in a large room in a small town. The room makes no sound, neither does the street.

This after spending the day being in the office, on the crowded train, in the loud restaurant.

Suddenly I'm understanding the meaning of the phrase "deafening silence".

I really do want to break the silence by putting the tv on. Or Spotify. Something, anything.

But I shan't. I shall deal with the sound of silence. Just living with me. I can do this!

Good friends are there for the good times

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague yesterday. We talked about friendships.

And she said, you know what? People like to say good friends are there for the bad times. But that's bullshit.

It's way too easy to have to be a listening ear and comfort someone by saying things will get better, this too shall pass, he doesn't deserve you.

But the true friends are the ones who are there for your good times – because they are the ones who feel happy for you.

That couldn't be better said.

When was the last time you put aside anything you're dealing with to share the joy and excitement your friend is going through?

I've exciting/scary news at the moment, (and I would share it in due time) but the reactions I got so far has made it way too easy to evaluate who gives a damn.

Some empathize with your anxiety and share your joy, while other only react to the news they want to hear, and prefer to speak about themselves instead.

I have a theory based on a scale of acquaintance to good friends.

  • Acquaintances are there for the good times; they pop up to congratulate you in good times despite having not spoken to you in years.
  • Friends are there for the bad times because they can still be assed enough to ensure you feel a little better.
  • Good friends are there for the bad, and most wonderfully, for the good.

Ah, friends.

Birthday culture, as I know it

It's funny that after living here for four years, you still find yourself alienated by the smallest rituals.

The thing that struck me recently was birthdays.

Now, there are things I have come to accept:

  1. It is the worst luck ever to wish someone happy birthday in advance. Big no go. Always on the day or later.
  2. You have to bring your own cake to work on your birthday. Don't expect anything from your colleagues.

So those are (weird) stuff I got used to. But there are just some others that I find it hard to live without.

Without them I was not just visually unhappy on my birthday, I was also verbally unhappy.

Let me explain:

  • Birthdays only count when you have a birthday cake with candles on it.
  • There is preferably a physical present wrapped with wrapping paper.
  • When you have the birthday cake in front of you, others must sing you a birthday song.
  • This is closely followed by the request that you make a wish with your fingers intertwined and eyes closed. You're not allowed to reveal what you wished for.
  • Then you blow out the candles, all at one go.
  • And you make sure you make the first cut on the cake. Whether you end up separating the pieces is secondary.

After making the most amazing cake a few days later, submitting to my tantrums on my birthday, my husband wondered aloud why I blew out all the candles, thus making the room extremely dark.

Oh honey, you don't know anything about my culture.

The hills are alive

Some weeks ago, I spent a week in the mountains in Austria.

As I've grown up living and breathing in a big city, mountains are quite foreign to me. I mean sure you hear stories about mountain climbers and their amazing escapades in the tallest mountains in the world, but I never really knew people who go hiking in the mountains just like that. Neither have I ever.

That week I did. And oh boy, my fear of heights has never been more obvious.

On narrow winding paths, I had troubles looking down to the beautiful landscape and little towns that nestled below me. In my head it was only: if I fall now I'm going to die.

But the nice thing about trekking in the mountains is it's you against yourself. I chose to divert my attention to the path where I was going to put a foot in front of the other. I stopped dead in my treks a few time to enjoy the view, but there was no way I was going to enjoy the view whilst descending.

Because we were there for a week we looked at other activities too. H really wanted to go paragliding.

Paragliding.

I always wanted to do that too. But it's just a theory that I push to the back of my head. A little like skydiving, or riding a unicorn. Great ideas, but not gonna happen.

So we walked into the office and I said, well, I'd like to paraglide but I need you to convince me to.

And they did, so I signed up.

We had to take the cable car up to a plateau at 1900m. So I took the time to ask our tandem pilots a million questions: Has anyone backed out in the last minute? Has there been any accidents? Has anyone thrown up in midair? Hoe often do you do this? How does it feel? What should I expect? What do I need to do?

And we flew!

The scariest part of this whole experience is the part where you have to run off a plateau on a descend. Remember the part I described about not being able to watch while descending? It was a little like running off a cliff. Uhh…

But it was absolutely gorgeous. I don't think it cured my fear of heights but I can confidently say: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

Dentists are like dogs

H was at the dentist today. He doesn’t have a latent hatred for the dentist. He has good teeth. He goes in, smiles, and comes out saying, “Done!” And the dentist presents him a candy for being good.

I might or might not have fabricated that last sentence.

I, on the other hand, do not like the dentist. It’s nothing personal, I just dislike all dentists. And I have a theory about this.

I think all dentists are like dogs.

(Follow me on this one.)

They can sense fear in their patients. And I always carry extra fear along with me when I visit the dentist. The moment they are certain of my fear, they ride on it. They exploit it. And I suddenly feel mad about ever opening my mouth.

The gums are bad, the teeth will fall out. I’ve had several dreams about my teeth actually being shaky and falling out one by one. I blame dentists for that. But they continue to sniff it out and bark.

I love dogs, but I hate dentists. So this post has a picture of a dog, rather than a disgusting dentist. Ugh.

A new phone

I finally did it, guys.

I finally got a new phone.

I struggle with getting over the fact that I've retired my previous phone. It was my very first smartphone, and I got it shortly before my 21st birthday. It was a big deal.

Because after that, WhatsApp and FaceTime and Instagram appeared. And I'd bet many people today can't remember how rudimentary communication was before.

What, picking up the phone to dial the numbers to call somebody? Are you crazy? How could you disturb someone like that? I'd write them a message to ensure they're okay with me calling and are perfectly aware that they have to get into a verbal communication with me, then call them. Because no one has the right to miss calls anymore.

Instant communication, people!

So after 7 years of using my first smartphone (yes, seven), I looked for a new phone.

I struggled a little, grasping the fact that I had to retire my 7-year-old phone. I don't believe it has maximized its potential.

But the iOS wouldn't update anymore, new apps couldn't be downloaded. Scrolling and clicking takes a long time.

I hadn't realized how slow it was till I got my new phone. I even got inspired to write a blog post on my phone about my phone. Well done, me.

So there we have it. I'm connected again!

The little value of money

If there was one thing I learnt since having moved to Berlin – it would be that money really has very little value. Where I come from, many get caught up in their pursuit for money. After all, more money means more luxury.

Since moving, I’ve noticed that the priorities of people here are different. It’s all about what makes them happy, or what makes the community happy. In fact, the poorer the people, the more generous they are.

When I got a little raise / stopped being underpaid, it was a conscious effort to remind myself not to be stingy. What good is money if you only know how to spend it on yourself? The more generous I got, the richer I felt. I paid for a round of drinks because I felt like the company was lovely. I got the homeless chap a little snack because he deserves a break sometimes. I brought more food to parties because why not. I bought us CDs because the artists we like deserve to get paid too (and Spotify just doesn’t do that).

And I did wonder: If I won a million bucks, what would I do with the money?

I think I’d take some non-paid leave, send my family over, enjoy some fresh air together. I’d like some sunshine on my face. I’d like to go to the countryside and ride some horses (till I run out of money then I just pat them). I don’t know if there’s much more that I’d like to do, apart from have more free time with the ones I love. I’d gladly cook for them.

Of course, we all need money to survive. But dear readers, if you are in pursuit of money, I hope you know what you really are looking for.

Ain’t nothin’ better than horseriding

With a quick blink of an eye it’s already 2017! I didn’t want the year to go forgotten without speaking about my favourite highlight of last year. (That is of course apart from getting married and having the most precious baby nephew, whom I will be meeting soon!)

Sometime in October, after travelling around the Balkan states for our honeymoon (shucks, that was another highlight I have to write about soon), H had planned for us to spend a weekend in the outskirts.

In the outskirts it was alright. It took two hours to get to a village that was surrounded by lush fields and horses. This village was mostly bought over by the owner of a horse stable. We were going to learn how to ride a horse for an entire weekend! You couldn’t imagine my excitement.

And fear. And worries. I didn’t have the right clothes. Nor the right shoes. Nor the experience of getting on a horse. Nor the experience of falling off a horse.

But joy. I concentrated on the joy. I was among 10 other excited kids, so I focused on my own joy.

The Friday afternoon started with an hour of getting into the mood. They called it Schrittrunde, literally a round of steps. I had thought that meant I would be walking around with the horse next to me, so I would get used to even having that big animal next to me. And perhaps learn how to get on it.

So we were asked if we had a preferred horse. I could’ve asked for one that flies. No, I have no idea which horse I would like, thank you for asking though. I got assigned one. I went to meet her (the ones I got assigned to usually had female names I think. I’m not sure, they were mostly Icelandic names) and I patted her, learnt to brush her and scratch her hooves. I could do this.

The lady who was assigned to help us was lovely. But she also spoke German, and I didn’t have the German vocabulary for horse riding. I could order a beer sure, but horse riding is way out of my league. She told me my horse was missing a trense. I said, what? Trense, she repeated. I asked her what that is. She described what it was for. I didn’t understand. She told me to just pick whatever is under my horse’s name in the store. Why didn’t you say that earlier?

Then we had to gather and walk our horses to the assembly. Schrittrunde was about to begin. They realized I was still without a helmet. I asked if it was necessary, they said yes. I went to get it and came back to see that all my fellow Schrittrunde mates have already gotten on the back of the horse. I thought that was the aim of this first hours! Nope. I panicked and put on my helmet. The lady told me to grab the saddle, put my foot in a position and pull my weight up. Whoosh – easier than I thought. I may have a secret talent. Holy smokes, ma, I’m on a horse!

We walked with our horses through the forest. The horses have such herd instinct that they rarely go away from one another. It was freezing cold in October, but I felt almighty on my horse walking through the forest. We learnt how to shift our weight on the horse when going uphill and downhill. The forest looked phenomenal when one is a little taller. The horse was brilliant. We were starting to develop chemistry. Then the hour ended, and we had to take them back to the stable.

Over the next two days, I learnt what the German word for a brown horse, a white horse and a mixed horse are. (I’ve forgotten now obviously.) Also, we learnt how to steer the horse, do slight gallops, learn how to balance on the horse without grabbing anything, etc. It was absolutely brilliant! H said he had never seen me happier.

Oh yes, he enjoyed it too. He just wasn’t allowed to explore his potential with the horse, because he had to have the largest horses (most of us were either women or kids), and because the horses have such herd instinct, he would move too quickly for the rest of us.

I think I found my Disneyland.