Getting “hit on” on the train

I just got back from my first ever work trip – and it was to Madrid so it was quite awesome. But I’m very relieved to be home again. My husband’s missing but the place is lovely and quiet, and I get to be in my favourite solo spot – lying¬†on the mat by the window.

While on the way back, I had to figure my way out of my least favourite airport and wait 20 minutes for a train that I didn’t plan to take. A lady asked if it was alright that she sat in my four-seater area. I said of course, and shuffled my luggage closer in, so she had more space.

Then it was silence for about 10 minutes as I fumbled with my phone and also tried to figure out if the familiar voice I keep hearing was indeed from someone I know.

As the lady about to check our ticket approached us, she warned me before, and all of a sudden we started to get talking.

As part of what I’ve been learning from The Happiness Project (this book is totally growing on me), I’ve taken the waiting time for transport to be factually terrible but mentally ok. I’ve got time, why do I need to get worked up about it?

And I was pleased that the lady and I started talking, because social activities make people happy and it totally made my day filled with simply travelling from one place to the other, trying to get home.

Not only that, we hit off really well. I said things like “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but…” and it was a really lovely conversation. She initiated exchange of contacts, I suggested since she’s in town temporarily, we could hang this weekend while the husband’s away, etc.

And she said yes, how about tomorrow?

Isn’t this just ridiculously random but wonderful?

I’m also starting to get slightly worried that she isn’t contacting me because she has my contact and the power to reach out… Hope it doesn’t take 3 days. ūüėČ

The Conversation Killer

Most people do it without meaning it that way. Sometimes even I do it.

But you know how sometimes you meet someone after ages and you say hey, how’s it going?/ What’s up?/ How are you?

And they respond “Good.”

If they’re feeling a little generous, they pop in a “and you?” as well.

Because of the mirroring effect, you’d tend to just say, “good, good” as well. Absolute conversation killer.

I mean, even if you haven’t been doing much, say you’re well but unless lazing on the couch counts for something, nothing is new, etc. At least this gives room for the other to poke in a “aww you lucky couch potato” or something interesting that keeps it going. It also invites the other to share a story.

“Good” is not good. “Good” is possibly the worst response. Don’t say “good” and stop there. Don’t.

Keeping the Conversation Going

Some time ago, I was at an event, which brought together folks of my motherland in Berlin. I was excited to be there again, albeit alone this year.

It was easier to start intimidating conversations with H around. We enjoyed speaking to various older folks and listening to their experiences last year. This year, I sat down at a table with younger folks.

They explained that they were in Germany for studies – mostly starting their Bachelor studies. A slight calculation would make them younger than me by at least half a decade. I can only vaguely remember how it was starting out at the university.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, they asked me why I was in Berlin, and the words “my husband” slipped out. Now I must be over a decade older.

Nonetheless, one was really nice and we kept in touch. Just yesterday we met for lunch again, and I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that I couldn’t keep a long interesting conversation going. I just didn’t know what to talk about.

When she asked about my weekend, I had¬†spent it at my in-laws.¬†That made me sound like a thousand years old, though I used the words “S’s parents’ place” and that I was nervous about being alone with them. Like any girl in a new relationship, right?

I talked a little about having dressed up for Halloween and she explained how it went at her student residence, that she knew people who enjoyed starting conversations with, “I was so drunk last night…”. I laughed it off but she “didn’t understand” why they felt that need to. I tried to explain that there are just such people.

Then I learnt that her professor was boring, she and a friend enjoyed giggling at the professor but everybody took it so seriously. When I asked how or what class it was, she didn’t feel like elaborating on it.

And she couldn’t stand that people weren’t taking care of the shared kitchen in the residence as she did.

It leaves me slightly dumbfounded, and only able to say, “awww.” I didn’t feel like we should discuss politics because as it is, she didn’t enjoy discussing the content of her class. She definitely didn’t enjoy speaking German to me, as she swore by English with native speakers. I, too, enjoyed talking about how my flatmate isn’t as particular about cleanliness and tidiness as I was, but we were definitely not up to her standard.

So I figured I could ask her more questions to get to know her better, but as most young folks enjoy saying, things were “complicated”, she wasn’t sure, or she was confused by things.

I started doing a slight self-check. Maybe I was like this some years ago too. I’m pretty sure that I said I wasn’t sure to a lot of things. I was less likely to explain things in excruciating details, that’s for sure. But being in a foreign land has made me extra thorough with my stories – mostly because others seemed genuinely interested in them, but also because I picked it up from others’ thorough stories.

I’m most happy to meet again, because she is genuinely nice and I was happy to help with her questions about living in Berlin. But I just have to figure out what we both would enjoy¬†talking about…

das Fr√ľhst√ľck (breakfast)

Yesterday I woke up with a strong craving for the same breakfast style I had in Germany.

It might sound strange but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten with the French so I can’t say I missed that style. I do miss their bread though. I did have it with tea in a bowl as my host in Nancy showed me. But it was typically grab and go, or eat in front of the PC.

In Germany, however, every morning at his parents’ in Achim, or his place in Berlin, or his brother’s in N√ľrnberg, we had fresh brotchen (bread rolls) laid in a dish, and a wide variety of marmalade (jams and spreads), and a block of butter, and fresh coffee.

There were a couple of things I learnt:

  • One bread roll per person is too little. Two is little. Three could be about right.
  • If there’s a long bread, don’t slice it all up for convenience. Let the person cut the amount preferred.
  • Slather the bread with any jam preferred. This means nutella, fruit jams, honey (honig), some kind of herb spread…
  • Operating a simple coffee machine. Woh.
  • Coffee isn’t the only beverage at breakfast. It’s usually coffee with juice as a side.
  • Long breakfast conversations are a norm.

I love the long breakfast conversations. I love every long meal conversations. Because back home we’re too busy eating to talk. Or too much in a hurry while eating. Or too occupied watching tv while eating. And when one is done eating, mealtime is over and everyone leaves.

Coming from a land of food culture, I actually didn’t miss meals back home. Probably also because I wasn’t away long enough, and I had some Asian food while I was there, but mostly because often, the experience kicks the actual product’s ass.

So I tried to replicate it yesterday. I had my sliced loaf of whole meal sunflower seed bread, another sliced loaf of buttered bread, and my jams laid out on the table. I enjoyed slathering bread with jam. I had milk instead of coffee.

But still I had no long conversation that made it the breakfast I missed. Scheiße!

ping and pong

AUDREY                     live today. says:
because life’s like that
AUDREY                     live today. says:
the adventures of ping and pong!
AUDREY                     live today. says:
hi ping
the freshmaker says:
HI PONG
AUDREY                     live today. says:
go and study ping
the freshmaker says:
wait a min pong!
the freshmaker says:
:X
AUDREY                     live today. says:
okay i’d better be going ping
the freshmaker says:
okay pong
AUDREY                     live today. says:
farewell ping
the freshmaker says:
a bientot pong!
AUDREY                     live today. says:
tres bien
the freshmaker says:
merci beaucoup

Yayy my roomie’s coming over for some home cooked pasta! Now that she’s done with her exams, she can afford to risk some diarrhoea…