Posts Tagged good friends

Sunday Column (425)

A funny, mixed week that was. Lots of things going on at work and at home. Discussions, ideas, strategies. My head was spinning most days, days turning into a big blur. After two full packed days in the office where we made a lot of progress, I went off to lovely Milan. In the meantime the team even made more progress. I have the feeling we are winning. I know it is early days, just about a month in, but it seems like we are ‘getting shit done‘. It feels good.

Ever since I helped getting Milan and Madrid off the ground for a company I worked for a few years ago, I love going to Milan (and Madrid). It’s the people, the city, the smell, the taste, the food, the wine, the atmosphere, the alps – and being able to visit my new company’s regional office there and spend some time with the guys, was wonderful. I truly enjoyed the trip, and I found it very useful and fruitful to bring things together, learning a lot too. The team is super advanced and I learned a lot.

The flight was fun. After a rough night with kids waking me up at 3 am and a 5 am pick up by my taxi, I slept through the whole flight. Yet when approaching the airport we pulled up again last minute. Another plane was given priority due to a person falling sick on that plane. Fair enough. So we turned up and around and landed on the second attempt. That was a first for me. Next week I am going to Germany, which in regards to culture will be at the other end of the spectrum to Italy I suppose. I really enjoy those travels again and being part of a bigger international team. Working in international companies is fun, and we have some very smart people in the company.

Anyway, let’s not talk about work every week 😃 I spend most of my time with work, so it is good to get some downtime now and then. Last weekend I got little. Last weekend I was very jet lagged. This weekend I had to go to the Apple Store because my MacBook Air gave up on me, I cannot start it any longer. Maybe I just give it back and trade it against an Apple TV? However it turns out that the repair is probably more costly than it is worth in value, as I don’t really need it anymore. So before I find out next week, I got the new Apple TV and the kids (and I) are happy. New games, new fun. There are not many Apple products left I adore and would like to have. Maybe the new MacBook, the slimmer and nicer one, yet having an Air from work suits me fine. If I have to upgrade my iPad mini, I would potentially get a iPad Pro. Never mind, not for a long time I hope.

The main challenge is to see my boys so little at the moment. Because of travel, late trains home from work, them getting up later etc. And yet, when I do see them they seem to change so quickly. It is difficult to keep up with their development, their latest ideas on toys, their wish list for Christmas (already!), the things they enjoy doing. Although they spend most of their pocket money on toys this weekend, leading into half term. However, every night when I do see them, it is a new miracle of thoughts that are coming out of their head which I enjoy exploring and questioning. One responds nicely, the other one doesn’t like it. They are like chalk and cheese, so different, so differently motivated, it is a joy to see, however painful it can be too.

Balancing their needs and mine. Wondering if I am a good dad, do I do a good job? It is a job or is it fun? What is the desired outcome for the boys? You cannot treat it like a work project. I listened to a lot of podcasts travelling, and one of them was about a chess player. He got involved in chess heavily at the age of 6. Should I push my boys more into that? Anyway, just when you think things are going well, I ended up listening to a podcast of a woman who lost two husbands and had two kids, one from each. At least I think that’s what it was, as I lost track a bit dozing off. But it is a sad podcast about a family with lots of challenges.

Those are the moments I thank the greater universe for the health we have. I remind myself to eat healthier and drink less. To look after myself and the family more. To be a better dad. A better husband. To have more time for things. I am sitting next to someone on the plane who seems to write an academic article. Should I have written a phd after all? Should I have gone into academia? I sometimes wonder but I am very happy with what I do and the progress I am making in my career. So life is good and most people I know are healthy. I am blessed, truly thankful for what I have and hopeful that it stays that way.

It has been a good week. I am content and life feels right. I sorted my citizenship ceremony and look forward to become a full blown Brit. Did I mention there is another 88 GBP fee to attend the ceremony? It really seems as if getting the citizenship is also a money making machine. Never mind, I am almost there.

Have a great week, make sure to give your loved ones a big hug.
Volker

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (128)

My head is spinning for several reasons this week. I had a interesting week with lots of things to think about, some work related and some private things.

Let me start with the London riots. I published my thoughts and fears, as well as my Buddhist thoughts on it too. Without twitter and the update from our @beckenham community tweet, I think I would have been more worried. As David Cameron said, no one should be fearful in his own home. I would have fought for my rights and safety of my family and community. However, I never thought I had to feel like I did in the UK 🙁

This leads me nicely on to the next topic. For a while now I am debating with my wife and work, whether the UK is the country we want to work and live in. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with both my job and the UK, but after 10 years, I am thinking, whilst the kids are still young, whether we should try a few more countries before we make a final decision where we’d like to settle and bring up the kids. This is a decision that is not to be made before next year for various reason I don’t want to go into just now and yet.

However, I met a good friend of mine this weekend; I met her 10 years ago in Aberdeen. We had different lives but both being German, we had lots in common and good conversations back then. For the past 7 years I lived in London, and she lived in Aberdeen. We both got married, we both had children. Now she lives in London and after a long 7 years we met again. And, as described above, she is in a very similar situation: she wouldn’t return to Germany, would like to live abroad for a while and then decide where she wants to settle. It was really good meeting her and her husband, to discuss dreams, thoughts and just to catch up on a long time we mainly spoke via Facebook 🙁 A sad life social media plays, no?

On the note of social media, and I know I am going on a bit, we have Twitter that saved my sanity this week. Heello which is a twitter clone I signed up for, Facebook which is great to keep in touch with friends over time and distance, and of course Google+. It is getting a lot, but that is the industry I am working in, the thing I do. I love social and online but sometimes feel I should be more disconnected. Could my next 30 days challenge be to stop using Facebook? To not tweet? That would be hard. And amongst all the social media, there was one person this week that kept me sane, just by being normal and a good mate – in the real world too.

I am not sure what it is but I’d call it Sehnsucht which translates to longing. I am longing for simplicity without missing out on things and giving up what I enjoy. I am longing for freedom and peace without giving up the choices, loved ones and friends I have. I am longing for stability, planned future and a normal life.

I guess I am just a bit sentimental and think too much about life. It is silly because life is going to do what life is going to do. Simples.

Alles wird gut, ich vertraue Dir.

Have a fantastic week, I am looking forward catching up with some really good people!

Best
Volker

, , , ,

2 Comments

Sunday Column (23)

I don’t want to start again with how quickly time is flying. So let me express it another way – I don’t believe it is Sunday – again. And, it is August already!

Ok, I stop, here is my weekly wrap up: I truly enjoy my new job. It has been 4 weeks and I am getting to the “busy” state. That is the state where I like to be, however I hope it won’t get too much busier for a while. One step at a time 😉 But in all honesty, it is great. The company has great people to work with and I had my first client meeting on Friday which I thought was great too, because we can offer so many things in and around digital!

Anyway, it is weekend. On Thursday I had an MRI scan – that means my head was put in a tube and they scanned it magnetically. It gives you a cool 3D image of your head and the doctor can tell you whether anything is wrong with you. Which, from the first results, there isn’t. Without going into much more detail, some of my blood test results in March showed a high level of sodium (salt basically) and they have been testing me ever since for Diabetes Insipidus. That means, in a nutshell, that I might pass more water than average and feel more thirsty than average, because my body cannot store water as well as “normal” bodies. And, whilst this can be very normal and nothing to worry about, it could be a tumour in my head pressing on a gland that produces hormones – which it isn’t and that is why I had this MRI scan. It is the same gland that produces the growth hormone, so maybe nothing to worry about 😉 On a serious note I get all the results in 2 weeks time and even if there was a problem, it is nothing serious. Thank Buddha.

Ok, enough bad news, here come some good news. You remember that last Sunday I donated all my loose change to the Guidedog Charity? They confirmed it was £243.90 I donated. It makes me very happy to see that this money can make a difference to such a great charity. guidedogs So if you haven’t found a charity to donate for, then I can recommend to do so on the guidedog charity website.

Also, whilst talking about charities, work encourages us to take part in Tacheback, part of the Everyman Male Cancer Charity, which seems to be part of Cancer Research UK, raising awareness for male cancers by growing a moustache in September, plus a few more challenges so you can raise money. I keep you posted closer the time, but I think that is something I would like to participate in.

On Saturday our food processor arrived. We decided for a compact design and an unbeatable price 🙂 Not only can Jenny now make fresh food for our wee boy, but I can also make some Reibekuchen or Kartoffelpuffer with my home grown potatoes.

reibekuchen I found a recipe here, which suggests to add eggs and “Haferflocken” – by the way you can translate them as “Potatoe Pancakes” but they are not potatoe scones but more of a flat roesti. Coming back to the recipe, I wasn’t aware and would not add Haferflocken, e.g. oatmeal, but would try some eggs. Here we go:

* 600 g Kartoffeln (tatties, homegrown are best :-))
* 2 Zwiebeln (onions)
* 2 Eier (eggs)
* 3 EL Haferflocken (oatmeal)
* Salz, nach Geschmack (add some salt, depending on taste)
* Öl oder noch besser Butterschmalz (oil or better clarified butter)

What else did we do? Clemens and Katie came by and visited us on Saturday. We went for lunch and then they headed back to Germany. It was good to see them, it really has been a while since we all had time to catch up.

Sunday was a challenge. Without really having too much sleep and my wife starting to paint our living room ceiling, I was left with the boy. I managed alright, although did not get as much other things done as I wanted. I love him to bits but he takes up a lot of time. Ach well, there is always next weekend 🙂

Roll on another week, more painting I hope so we can put laminate in the living room too. That is the ultimate aim, to renovate the living room and make the house a proper home.

We are giving away – or selling – a comfy chair and possibly a futon. The latter is still to be decided. And possibly a TV since we want to get more space by mounting a flat screen on the wall.

Anyway, you will get pictures and updates as we go along. I don’t expect it all to be finished before September/October anyway.

Have a good week.

, , , , , ,

1 Comment