And the Oscar goes to…

Well, no, not really, but it seems it is award season on WP. If there is a season for that which I am not sure of. Probably not. Be it as it may, I’ve recently been showered with awards and due to several reasons, I haven’t complied to their rules yet. Naughty Blogger! (So many people to blame but myself… I tend blame my parents who dared to visit, and my little son who had the nerve to show up right during award season!)

As rainy season seems to have started, this is a perfect day to acknowledge the first nomination – thank you, Constance from Expat State of Mind for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award!

 

Having German origins this award comes with very strict rules:

  • Post the award on your blog. – OK, that’s not too hard, right?
  • Thank the blogger presenting you with this award and provide a link back to their blog – Check!
  • You then need to write 11 random facts about yourself. – 11? Who comes up with these numbers? Phew…
  • One good turn deserves another, meaning, you then need to find 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers who you think are deserving of the award so that you can then nominate them!  In other words, keep the love going! – I am going to bend this rule a little, otherwise I will be throwing around with awards like crazy… Besides, I have no clue how I can tell how many followers a blog has unless the blogger chooses to share this information.
  • Finally, the award presenter will ask 11 questions of you which you need to answer and then you, in turn, ask your nominees 11 questions, and so it goes. – This award should be called the Golden 11 or something…

OK, so here we start with 11 random facts about me:

1. I love the opera. The first opera my parents took me to see was The Magic Flute. In order to prepare me for this event, my parents had given me a music tape for children (Some of you may remember the concept of music tapes…), and I had been listening to it day in, day out, so I knew all the lines. When Papageno belted out his aria “A Cuddly Wife”, I started singing along with him: “Doch küsst mich ein weiblicher Mund, so bin ich schon wieder gesund” (“Still, if a womanly mouth kisses me, then I will be immediatly healthy again.”) Unfortunately, no talent scout was present, otherwise I might have become a baritone.

2. When I find the time, I write children’s stories, and I am proud to say that one was recently published in a big story book for children together with stories by other authors.

3. I am a sucker for horoscopes. Every day I read at least a couple and then pick the nicest one. Yeah, highly scientific, I know.

4. When I was little, I was allergic to mosquito bites – to that extent, I got hospitalized and doctors wanted to hold me in quarantine for they thought it might be malaria or the plague or something.

5. Whenever Mr. R. has to work late, I treat myself to pasta al gorgonzola and watch “Gilmore Girls” – I secretly love those evenings once in a while! (Attention: Mr. R. is amongst my readers!)

6. I hate pure office jobs. I tried to work in a publisher’s office once but couldn’t stand the daily routine, I just had to get out! That’s when I became a flight attendant, no routine there.

7. On the other hand, I cherish my rituals like Sunday breakfasts at my favourite bakery and such. However, those rituals are hard to maintain with our being constantly on the move.

8. I frequently have lucid dreams. Those are the ones that I don’t remember upon waking up, but it all comes back to me under the shower. E.g. I predicted 3 pregnancies so far and sent a colleague to the doctor to have lumps in her breast removed. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked for lottery numbers yet.

9. Large groups of women scare me. In fact, I feel very uncomfortable amongst many women whereas I am perfectly fine amongst men. Maybe it is the women’s tone of voice?

That’s how I like to picture myself.

10. I got my motorcycle license in Seattle and couldn’t wait to get my very own Harley. However, shortly afterwards we got relocated to Mexico and I haven’t been on a motorcycle since.

11. I hate to admit it, but I am a smotherer. I love to spoil people and animals and am very protective of them – so much that I even cried when I first left my dog at doggy kindergarten!

So here are Constance’s questions:

  • Are you an early bird or a night owl? – I used to be a night owl but the Pacific Northwest turned me into an early bird.
  • What is your dream job? – Writer and illustrator.
  • What is your hidden talent? – At the moment my talent to play the piano is mightily hidden for I had to leave my piano with my parents.
  • What is something you have been procrastinating on that you know in your heart you should do? – Write this post. Have plastic surgery. Finish working through Rod Stryker‘s “Five Desires”.
  • What is your favorite meal to prepare? – I love making risotto, I find the constant stirring kind of meditative. But I just realized that whenever I feel a bit “out of tune”, I start baking. I believe that following the instructions has a comforting effect on me.
  • Are you a pessimist or an optimist? – An optimist. Very much so. Maybe to a silly extent.
  • Where is the most interesting place you have visited? – That’s a difficult one. I’ll go with Istanbul which I found to be a city of so many different facets.
  • What is the one item you use everyday that is not electronic that you would not want to live without? – My yoga mat! And my Clinique 3-Step Skincare System. 🙂
  • Do you believe in True Love? – I definitely do. However, I don’t think that there is only that one person for you, I believe that we always have more than one option.
  • Do you think you are on the right path in your life? Why or why not? – Yes, I think I am, because I think there is no wrong path. No matter where you are, it always leads to something else.
  • Dog or Cat Person? – Both!

And here are my nominees – this time I was determined to pick bloggers I haven’t nominated before:

  • The Hungry Pescatarian – somebody who eats (and doesn’t eat) the same stuff as I do AND lives in the city I love most. Perfect combination!
  • Rosemarie in Europe – I am excited to read about her Europe trip!
  • Housewife Downunder – for I always enjoy her clever posts.
  • Lady of the Cakes – a cake and language lover in Toledo, oh My!
  • Wild Tales of… – exploring the Pacific Northwest with a baby.
  • Yarnwuseleien – A lady who happens to not only share my birthday, but who lives (more or less) in my parents’ village and who never fails to notice the beauty in everything despite facing a very challenging time at the moment. Kudos, Magdalena!

Thank you all for your great blogs!

And here are my 11 questions for you:

  1. If you could meet any person in history, who would it be?
  2. What’s your dream vacation?
  3. 3 adjectives a friend would choose to describe you
  4. City or countryside?
  5. What is your biggest fear in life?
  6. If you could go back in time, would you choose the same career path?
  7. Coffee or Tea?
  8. What inspires you in daily life?
  9. What made you decide to start your blog?
  10. Is there a certain day in your life that you’d like to relive?
  11. If you had one superhero power, what would it be?

Whoa, now I am exhausted. But – I did it, yay!!

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Most Influential People, Today: The Taxi Driver

Recently, I had to take a taxi and happened to make the acquaintance with Henry, a Mexican taxi driver / sandwich shop owner who – I couldn’t believe my ears! – used to live in Seattle before he moved back to Mexico last year in order to be closer to family. What are the odds?

It was a lovely and very unexpected surprise that brightened up my day, and I came to think of all the taxi drivers I have encountered over the years and how actually an apparently unimportant chance meeting can set the tone for a whole day.

Taxi Driver

I mean, if Robert de Niro were your taxi driver, wouldn’t that have an impact on your day?? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my previous job I had to take a taxi to the airport almost every day, so yes, I have met plenty of taxi drivers and had many surprisingly meaningful conversations – as well as many meaningless ones! (Luckily, most of my work places came with a rain guarantee, thus, I didn’t have to look far for a small talk topic.) For some time, whenever I met an exceptionally nice driver I tried to make him my “regular driver”. However, that didn’t always turn out the way I wanted. There was A. e.g. We shared the same interest in the arts and it was a pleasure chatting with him. But after a while A. turned up with breakfast when I had to catch the red-eye, and though it certainly was a lovely idea, I felt awkward accepting it – after all, I was the one paying him, right? Then one evening when he picked me up again from the airport, he showed up with theatre tickets, and when I declined, he was terribly offended, so I had to break it off with him. Yes, I dumped my sweet, lovely taxi driver!

A similar thing happened with taxi driver F. One night he showed up not in his cab, but in his private car. As he explained to me, it had been his evening off, yet he wanted to pick me up from the airport and he didn’t even accept money. I felt obliged to do something, so I invited him to a pub for a glass of beer where I then told a lot of stories about my then inexistent boy-friend – he was a hell of a guy, I can tell you! (Well, him I dumped for Mr. R. who is even a heller of a guy!) Needless to say that things were over between F. and me…

After this incident, I was cured so I shied away from asking P. to become my regular driver. Pity, though. P. was full of good stories for as luck would have it, he picked me up numerous times. I will never forget the story he told me on our first little trip: He and his friend spent a weekend on his friend’s boat. As a special treat they had mixed their own schnapps – they had simply put a handful of liquorice sweets in some vodka and voila! their liquorice schnapps was born! A few boats further down the two guys had spotted two single ladies whom they then invited over for a drink. Late at night, after enjoying various bottles of wine and beer, they all had some schnapps to round the evening off. On their way back to their boat, both ladies lost their balance and fell into the water whereupon the guys came to their rescue. They then gallantly offered both ladies their strong arms and intended to walk them back to their boat, but they couldn’t stop laughing and so splash! they all fell into the water together! P. swore to high heaven that they repeated this process 4 times until the ladies finally made it to their boat. Quite an entertaining story I thought, and I had to promise him to try his famous recipe. I haven’t yet, but you never know, I might one day. 🙂

In Austria of all countries (as everyone might or might not know, the Austrians are not terribly fond of Germans), in Salzburg to be more precise, I met the maybe friendliest taxi driver of all times. My meeting at the airport had ended just in time for a little shopping spree downtown before I had to catch my next flight. So I grabbed a cab and lucky me: The driver’s shift was just about to end, and he volunteered to do a little city tour with me – for free! And though Salzburg surely is a beautiful city, he might be the reason that I am even more fond of it.

In Istanbul, every cab driver seems to be a race driver in disguise. I tried to play it cool (for heaven’s sake, we invented the autobahn, didn’t we?), but it is hard to appear cool while covering one’s eyes with one’s hands the whole time. So I was very glad when just one day I encountered an elderly taxi driver who wasn’t in such an awful hurry, so for the first time I actually could see where we were going!

But the funniest incident happened in Norway. I was travelling with my very favourite colleague L. and we had to give a training in some meeting facility in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere. In the morning, we ordered a taxi before we enjoyed our hotel breakfast in good spirits. However, come the agreed time, no taxi showed up. After waiting for a while, we addressed the receptionist who cheerfully told us that the taxi driver had honked but when we didn’t step outside, he left again. But she would be happy to order us another taxi, would we kindly wait by the door. The minutes went by, and we got increasingly nervous. After waiting for half an hour and by this being delayed already by 45 minutes, you could see little beads of sweat pouring off our foreheads, and our smiles got a little frozen… Finally, the driver showed up, we hurried outside, threw ourselves and our bags inside the car and told the driver to please, please hurry up! He stepped on the accelerator – and immediately stopped again. L. and I looked at each other and decided that Norwegian taxi drivers were not our friends, when the driver got out, opened the door and pointed us towards the entrance of that meeting facility! We had had no idea that the hotel was just around the corner, I mean, literally just around the corner! L. and I were hysteric, we couldn’t stop laughing all day long, and the participants of our training might have written in their diaries, “Just experienced the funniest and weirdest training of my life. Those trainers were bonkers!”…

Taken any taxi lately?

English: Coco-taxi driver, Vedado, Havana, Cub...

Those cute taxis might be a good reason to go to Cuba! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh Baby…

Some of you who have been following my blog closely might have guessed already: Our little son has arrived! Needless to say that I am absolutely and utterly smitten with him and could spend days and nights just watching him. Which is a good thing given that he likes to be fed for up to 10 hours per day – he is a veeery slow eater.

Please meet our little sunshine!

Please meet our little sunshine!

BUT this is not a baby blog. So worry not, I won’t go on boring you with details. However, inspiration can be drawn from anything and so I came to think about all those old wives’ tales that I’ve been told ever since I got pregnant.

No matter whether you are pregnant or having a cold, some people just looove to give you advice. They can rattle on and on about what you should and shouldn’t do, and I like to make good use of the time by thinking about something important. E.g. about what’s for dinner. Or my neighbour’s new haircut. My father in-law is a walking medical journal, because he started studying medicine at some point, I believe it was in 1874. According to him, I should have refrained from working out or stretching for the entire duration of my pregnancy.

When my due date had passed, I got a lot of advice from various sources, and I was curious to see how those “remedies” might differ from country to country. So in Germany it is apparently common to walk the stairs up and down and have a glass of red wine (if you intend to do this at the same time, remember not to wear anything white) – that will for sure kick the baby out. A lot of people also recommend eating something spicy. Well, we live in a 2-storey house, so I cannot avoid climbing the stairs, and we do live in Mexico, so food is generally on the spicy side. Those things didn’t seem to speed things up, I didn’t try the red wine option, though, maybe that would have done the trick…

cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and co...

Any excuse is welcome when it comes to enjoying a cup of hot chocolate! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our cleaning ladies came up with some Mexican advice: Wear a belt really tight around your belly, right below your rib cage. This way, the baby will be pushed downwards. Sounds charming, doesn’t it? I am not sure whether some babies have lost their feet in this process. Some also recommend having some hot chocolate with cinnamon. I love hot chocolate and drink it on an almost daily basis – no signs of it inducing labour, I can assure you. Apparently, nobody seems to think that it might be a good idea to just stay put and wait for things to proceed at their own speed.

Now that our mini man is here, our cleaning ladies are worried about his well-being because I refuse to follow their advice: Make him wear a golden bracelet to ward off evil energy and hanging a red ball over his crib. The latter is supposed to enhance his eye sight, since staring at something in a far distance will harm his eyes! Frankly, I cannot wait to hear more pieces of wisdom…

How about you? Would you like to share some bizarre home remedies? Or has any of this ever worked for you?