Welcome to my last happiness project post, at least for this year. I know it is a bit late to post it in the middle of the year, but you will understand why it’s taken me so long to write it in a few minutes. In some ways, this part of the list was the most fun for me to come up with because it includes goals and activities from so many different areas. Even reading through them again now, as I am adding details to my headlines, makes me feel incredibly excited. Let’s go!Continue Reading…
I have been incredibly lucky having the opportunity to travel quite a bit since our first family vacation in Greece when I was about two years old. Since my dad also likes to travel constantly and I get restless if I’ve been in one place for too long, I am convinced that I have the wanderlust gene. Since exploring the world makes me incredibly happy, I’ve always prioritized it over other means of “investing” my money. We have often talked about buying a house, for instance, but I can’t stand the thought of not being able to travel as much as I would like to in order to be able to pay off a mortgage. Even though I started appreciating a bit of quiet time at home when we got our cats, I feel like I can only truly recharge my batteries when I am far away from home, where I can’t do household chores and am not thinking about work calls and social media.
Happy New Year, everyone! It’s taken me quite a bit of time to sit down and write this first post of 2019 because I was too relaxed when I was off work and too stressed out once my vacation was over. Since a lot of podcasters haven been talking about their 19 happiness projects for 2019, I’ve decided to write a series of posts, beginning with all the crafty things on my list. A lot of my projects are long-term goals, but I am hoping that this list will be a lot more tangible than the new year’s resolutions I’ve made in the past. Hopefully, I will be able to check off most of the items on my list at the end of the year.
As I child, all I wanted for christmas, birthdays, and other special occasions was a new sweater knit by my grandmother Stephanie. I had one favorite, very colorful striped sweater that I refused to stop wearing, so each time it had gotten too small, she had to add another color block to the body and sleeves. It never occurred to me to start knitting myself though because life back then was all about fast fashion and nobody saw the need to knit since it was easier and cheaper to just buy from a store. Almost 20 years later, I got into knitting and have never felt more connected to my ancestors, especially my grandmother, who grew up producing garments and other knitted items from sheep to finished object on their small family farm in lower Austria.Continue Reading…
I have wanted to write a coffee-related post for a while, but have always told myself that I didn’t know enough about coffee to justify doing so. But I guess you can never be an expert in everything. Therefore, I’ve decided to post a short review of the coffee shop scene in Boston. I have been to a lot of coffee shops in the US, but I feel like the hipster coffee scene, what others would probably rather call third wave coffee, has become sort of mainstream in Boston. Of course, I’ve only been to a limited number of cafés recommended on various coffee blogs, but I feel like you can get a good cup of coffee in almost any coffee shop. Even their batch brews are quite good. Their flavor profile is usually less complex than that of pour- overs, but the taste is still smooth and the beans have not been roasted to death. I also liked the fact that quite a few of the coffee shops we went to used Kalita Waves for their pour-overs. It is also my filter coffee brewing method of choice because it is easy to use and the brew is usually rich in flavor.
I have always loved Christmas. As a child, it was the most magical time of the year for me, perhaps because I believed in the Christkind (christ child), our version of Santa Claus, until I was 10 years old. Even though my classmates in primary school regularly told me that it didn’t actually exist, I didn’t want to hear any of it. Instead, I enjoyed exchanging letters with the Christkindhelfer (christ child’s helper), who I imagined living in our attic, and always found little goodies in my advent calendar every morning before I had to go to school. Every 23rd of December, my parents spent the whole night decorating the christmas tree without me knowing it, covered the window of the living room door with wrapping paper and locked the room. In the morning, I would get up and try to peek through the keyhole and, sometimes, could even see some of the presents and a few tree branches. On Christmas Eve, I was later told, one of my parents always left church a bit earlier than the rest of our family to prepare the living room to look like the christ child had just left. Once I entered the house, of course full of anticipation of which presents had been left underneath the tree for me, I heard a bell ringing upstairs, as well as lovely Christmas music playing in our living room. Often without taking my shoes off, I would sprint upstairs in order to catch the christ child “in the act.” Unfortunately, every year, I was only able to see its wings disappearing into the darkness outside. Since I was so convinced that the christ child was real, my parents decided to tell me the truth before I started high school so my classmates wouldn’t make fun of me. Even though I was upset for a while, I still love Christmas, and am so grateful that my parents went to great lengths to make sure I had the most magical holidays as a child.
A few weeks ago, while my mother was on vacation, I visited my grandmother to check up on her. We went for a walk in the garden in order for her to get some exercise, and I couldn’t help notice how beautiful nature was in the fall. The leaves were in the process of changing color and a few flowers were still blooming. Even though the sun was shining, the air was fresh and clean. It had rained all morning, so the grass was still a bit wet and the tiniest bit of mist was lingering in the woods surrounding the village my grandmother lives in. After our walk, while my grandmother was already enjoying the strudel I had baked for her, I went back into the garden to take a few photographs. Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone 8 with me, but I think it takes decent pictures. In evening, however, I already found myself browsing the internet for possible macro lenses for our Canon 7D. I have always enjoyed taking close-up photos, and even though we had a few lenses already, none of them allowed getting extremely close to the object. Last weekend, I was able to take my new lens, the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM, for a spin.
There’s always sunshine above the clouds, but occasionally I get stuck flying through them. Today is one of those days. Even though I have been able to deal with my feelings fairly well for the past two years, ever since I started working in Austria full time, I am still occasionally haunted by ghosts from the past. Sometimes, it only takes a small trigger for negative feelings to overcome me. My stomach tightens up, I have a lump in my throat and I feel extremely hopeless. Most often, those feelings are connected to my past in academia or my professional future. Although I have a great job and am privileged having studied all over the world, I didn’t imagine my life turning out this way when I started university. I had bigger dreams and goals that I couldn’t live up to. For instance, I still haven’t forgiven myself for dropping out of my PhD program and not having the strength to persevere. When I have a good day, I know it was all meant to be because, otherwise, I wouldn’t have ended up where I am today. When I have a bad day, however, feelings of just not being good enough surface.
It is socktober and temperatures are certainly dropping in my little corner of the world. During the day, I dream of snuggling up in front of the TV, drinking a warm beverage, and cuddling with my furry babies. When I come home from work and take off my fancy office shoes, I tend to reach for cozy handknit socks to keep my feet warm for the rest of the day. I have a sizeable collection, but haven’t woven in the ends on most of them because until this year, I hadn’t really worn any of my handknit socks. Shock! Horror! Why would I knit socks and almost never wear them? Well, I really enjoy knitting them because they’re very portable and the perfect project to work on when you don’t want to think about a pattern or just want to knit a few rows on the tram to the office.
I am what Alain Botton, the author of A Week at the Airport, would call a nomadic spirit, who cannot commit to any one country, who shies from tradition and is suspicious of settled community, and who is, therefore, nowhere more comfortable than in the intermediate zones of the world, landscapes gashed by kerosene storage tanks, business parks and airport hotels. In short, the airports of the world and the cabins of Boeings, Airbusses, Embraers, Canadair Regional Jets and Bombardier Dashs are my second home.