Thursday, December 28, 2006
It was brilliant seeing the kids again, and Julien and Anna. Anna was gorgeous, she lost all her weight from her two pregnancies and looked as young and slim as the day I met her 10 years ago. On the other hand it was a shame that Julien's difficult (starvation) diet did not have long lasting effect as obviously expected, I don't know what kind of doctor would recommend that. Jacques has lost his two front teeth and Nicolas has grown into a handsome adorable little boy.
It was all an event in itself. My poor aunt although very nice and cool, was utterly so hopeless that Dad needed to help with everything, from choosing the menu, cooking and serving and she still complained that no one helped her with setting up the table for just 8 of us. Geez.
We had a good time nonetheless, even Dad who was hard at work in the kitchen. Alex nonchalantely remarked "why is Christmas Eve at hers and not ours if your Dad is doing everything?". A very valid point, my parents agreed to decline any further invitation over to hers and invite her instead for future occasions.
Papi Jacques received lots of exciting presents, which is wonderful for a 91 and 3/4 year old. (He took offence when I said 92, as if I was trying to make him sound older than he is). He received two books on Christianity (his favorite topic being a fervent Christian), one frame of pewter with photos of his great-grand-sons and from me a box of tea, biscuits and jam from Harrods.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Alex took me to Paris instead! What a wonderful husband! I love the spontaneity. In my three years in Paris I never went to Montmartre, so he booked a hotel on the famous hill. We took the Eurostar on Friday morning and arrived in Paris on a lovely sunny day. Our hotel check-in was at 2.30pm, so we decided to do lunch near the hotel. Firstly we did not expect our metro station to stop us in front of the Moulin Rouge; that was exciting. And we found a lovely little restaurant in the heart of Montmatre. The gastronomic lunch included:
I can' really translate, I can only say it was very delicate and tasteful food in such a charming environment. We took a long lunch there, and I could feel the entire tension leaving my body and my strength and happiness flooding back in me. As the title say above, it was a spa for my heart and soul.
After lunch we dropped off the luggage at the hotel before running off to the Basilique Sacre Coeur, it is indeed a beautiful structure and the interior decors are worth the trip. The concave nave of the basilique depicts Jesus embracing his congregation below, Mary and the apostles and other bible characters are drawn by his side.
We then walked around the park and made our way to Place du Tertre, a famous place where artists gather and paint and sell their art. Alex and I sat down to drink a vin chaud (mulled wine), to warm ourselves up.
Later we walked around Pigalle (the Paris red light district), before going off to the Champs Elysees for dinner. Walking up and down along the lighted avenue, we visited the Renault museum exposing cool prototype car designs, even a space ship!
This day was absolutely magical. I discovered a side of Paris I did not know. I am so blessed Alex took me there, it was just what I needed.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
My crime? I cannot dissociate my work from my personal life and social life. Maybe it's because I socialise with my colleagues and customers during my personal time?!?
I would love to be more in control and to be able to keep a straight face and look happy all the time and smart and strong. But below all these layers of strength, professional, good at what I do, pretty face, there is a vulnerable and sometimes insecure woman and if I don't get my me-time to chill then these top layers wear thin and leave me exposed to negative feelings like being the ugly duckling or alcohol or being sick.
Anyway, all is not bad. Ron was having a go at me because he's got big plans for me in 2007 and it will require me to be well in control all the time, I can never show that I am vulnerable no matter how tough it gets. The second good news is that I think that by showing I am vulnerable to my female colleagues, I showed that I was only human, they don't see me as threatening or wonderwoman anymore and all of them were a lot friendlier.
Now is a time to make my 2007 wishes
1) Learn to stay in control - show that I am equal to my male colleagues.
2) Take the time to make friends with my female colleagues because I need their support and empathy when I come back from being men's equal.
3) Learn to dissociate work from social from personal and make me-time a priority to facilitate the in-control thingy.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The rules are:
1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog
4. Name of the book and the author
5. Tag three people
1. Grab book closest to me
2. Flipping the pages
3. Faced with an important decision, I always envison how each alternative will play out before I make it. During this process, I'm not afraid to change my mind a few times. Many are tempted to decide an issue simply to end the discomfort of indecision.
4. Leadership. Giuliani.
5. I don't know that many people, so I pick Kitem, God Uncensored, and Steven aka My brain hates me etc because I'm sure he'll make a very funny story out of this.
Remember nothing is going to happen to you if you don't do it! What will happen is that it will save you ten minutes not to do it. :D
To me he was never old until the winter he died in 1997. Until that summer of 1996 he would go for a walk pushing his bicycle. One year some youngsters stole his bicycle but everyone in town knew it was Pepere's and so the bicycle was returned to him. He kept a tortoise in his garden that crawled as fast as he could and would bite fingers and toes.
I wish I had spent more time with him. I did spent a lot of time considering I was little and would much rather play than seat down with him. but I did take the time to find out about his sister whom I visited before she died a few years ago. He told me that he had been lucky, because he got to go to the agriculture school when he was a young lad, and education was not given to anyone - back then. He would have raw onions and a slab of bread for his lunch and loved it. "Onions are good for you" he'd say. Gosh I can't stand raw onion, the taste lingers forever even after brushing my teeth, so I eat shallots in my tomato salads instead.
He had a bit of vineyard, and in the autumn we would make it a family day out to pick the grapes. I only remember going once and remember eating more grapes than dropping them in the basket. He had started his own coal business, which my grand father took over. The whole town knows my family name well because they would deliver coal on Christmas eve if needed be. Also my grandpa was the first to hire a coloured person at the normal wages and benefits. It's good not to forget people like that, who have been through this kind of life where heating was not to be taken for granted, nor education, nor a wholesome lunch. He was a good hard-working and earnest man.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I also went over the nice things of last night and for the life of me I know why I was upset but I no longer understand why I as in such a state. After all I had some brilliant chats with some of the most important people in the company and Ron made me dance, he's an excellent dancer, and the girls were very nice and truly cared to uplift my spirits.
Furthermore, today I had a good heartfelt reality check and I much needed it. I can see clearer what I need to do for my career to progress, and I will need to protect myself. Like Alex said "Never forget No. 1, and that's not Ron nor me, it's you." Thank you all, I love you just for caring.
I got upset in the bus when my colleague kicked my drink off my hands which spilled on her dress and she started screaming at me. I was stunned by this rudeness and just went to the front of the bus looking forward to arriving at the party where my friends (Martin, Nick, Ron, Rudiger, etc) were... or so I thought.
When these guys saw the swarm of pretty girls they paid me no attention. and I realised that I am only popular when I am one of the three girls of a party of 15. Even Martin was dirty dancing with some of the girls. But Ron did invite me to rock'n'roll, which is always fun. And I did have a pleasant dinner with Ingvar, Brian, Steve and Rudiger. I felt so heartbroken though. I spend so much time with these guys I thought I knew them and I thought we were friends, but they are just men!
The only satisfaction I have is that they do not pay me attention because I am one of the lads, they have enough respect for me not to hit on me. That also means I am the ugly duckling. I am possibly the smartest woman in the office along with Jane and I am well respected, but realising that you don't really have friends either on the guys or girls, it hurts. Of course Julie and Ann, even Carrina came to look after me. Ingvar went on and on about how brilliant I was at my job and I was one in a million. Martin sat me down later to explain how boys will be boys. Sarah also checked on me but she is the one girl in the office who does not like me. I'm not sure why she doesn't but every time I try to break the ice, she ignores me. I could not care less under normal circumstances. Last night, I'm the one who rejected her. I told her I'd be happy to tell her what's on my mind if she was my friend, but she's not.
Overall it was not a bad night because I had a good time with the bosses, but it had such a bad start and ending to the evening. At least in vienna if this happens again I can leave the party, I am not stranded in a place I don't like with a bad frame of mind.
I think it is time for me to learn about self preservation. I must protect my feelings from situation like these. If I am not going to learn and accept that friendships are just superficial then I am not going to be friends with anyone in the work place anymore so that I won't care when they forget my existence.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Last night I did my nails while watching Secretary (2002), a strange but captivating story with James Spader. Then today I finished my errands, which consisted of finding a tasteful, artistic present for our best customer, and although I did not find it, I found out I can commission the work and got the name of an artist to call on - so I thought of commissionning a family portrait since it is a family business and they love taking pictures, that sounds like a much better present than anything I could have found. I hope Ron approves.
Having completed my task early I went to Boots to find a concealer for my acne as it really upsets me when I look back at photos and all I see are my stupid pimples. I went to Clinique because I like their products although they are expensive, the girl gave me a full professional make-up!!! I did buy a few of her products but I needed/wanted them.
Then I did a pathetic bun but it holds on, I don't care if it looks weird and all over the place, at least from the front and profile I look lovely.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Next meeting is the Kick-Off Meeting in Vienna. I can hardly wait, I've started shopping for lovely clothes to wear at the dinner parties when I'm there.
Tomorrow night is the office Christmas party and all the girls in the office got their hands manicured, their hair cut and dyed and some even got spray tan. They look great.
True to my nature, I think 'sod it'. I can foresee myself working too late to actually do any of this, then I'll rush home in the traffic and I'll jump in the shower, I'll struggle to put my hair up they'll fall all over the place and after 45 minutes of pulling my hair, I'll leave them down, then I'll apply a thin layer of make-up because I don't want to hide my face or natural features and I'll put on my nice long black dress and a necklace and I'll jump into a cab and arrive all stressed out and undone at the party and I'll feel bad for not making an effort to look as stunning as the other girls. I can't understand myself sometimes, it's not a beauty contest and I'd much rather polish my wits and work out my brains. I don't mean to undermine my colleagues, they're lovely and clever girls and take time to make themselves up extra nice, I wish I'd bother.
1. having or showing unaffected simplicity of nature or absence of artificiality; unsophisticated; ingenuous.
2. having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information; credulous
Yup, that's me... Although most of the time it's on purpose, you can actually pretend to be naive so you don't have to justify something.... like when someone flirts with you and you're not interested acting naive can help greatly or when I do something wrong, I can act all naive "oh I did not understand it like that". However, most of the time I am geniuningly naive and it's cute being naive at 8 but just plain stupid being naive at almost 30. Sigh. Got a lot to learn about life.
blah blah blah... Sorry, I almost got philosophical there...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I've lived in a country at war, I saw tanks driving by my school every day, I walked by a ministry building that blew up, I lived on the same street as an embassy that blew up too. I've lived in a country where I could have been kidnapped every street corners. And I've lived in a post-communism country. And you know what? I felt safe! And I hear stories from my friend in South Africa where he walked out of a gun shoot out between gangs and told me with a bright smile "I was lucky they did not take my car." - he does not have a gun either.
This, however is not the point I was making. I could not care less that Americans have a passion for guns. My lovely grandpa was a hunter and he loved his riffles, that's cool. And I understand that America unfortunately suffers from high crime rate. What I meant was that I was very sorry you had to rely on guns to ensure your safety. I am happier living in a country where I am more worried about my customers wanting to slip my dress off my back than walking home from the station in the middle of the night.
One more thing, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, James Bond is a fictional character, and he's hot, with or without his gun. ;)
Looking like that, I'm surprised you haven't... Maybe you're in the wrong job.
Yeah, Martin recommends I make fun of the customer by leading him on, but I find that very risquee. Might land me more trouble than I'm already in. I'll leave it till the New Year and see how he is. He was pretty wasted, so I'm hoping he does not remember his misbehaving. Anyway, I'm probably going to turn down the sales promotion so I don't have to visit the customers on my own.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
I kind of had the hots for Daniel Craig in Tomb Raider alongside Angelina Jolie; and then I loved him in Layer Cake. This was beyond words. I might need to sleep on this statement I'm about to make... but Casino Royal might be the best James Bond movie I've ever seen and Daniel Craig the best Bond yet. It was excitement-pack, he was hot, it was not cheesy, it had a realistic story line, it was clever, he was hot... Ooooh I'm in love. Gonna have sweet dreams tonight...
Monday, December 04, 2006
Now that Julien, Anna and the kids are all coming home for Christmas, it meant extra presents on the list. I got Jacques an entire winter outfit, which he loved, and toys. Julien was the one with the longest present list, I had to explain to him that I was not Santa Claus and that the money came from somewhere.... lol... sorry Julien, it's for entertainment sake. I even found something for Caroline's 30th a lovely branded large handbag so it looks smart and she can still carry Jeanne's bottle and diapers. I am very pleased with everyone's presents. It's gonna be a great Christmas, possibly the best ever. And we'll all be back in the house where Julien and I were born too, it's gotta count for something.