Posts Tagged usa

Sunday Column (457)

Monday Monday. Oh yes, nothing like a 2 hour drive in the taxi on a Monday morning to Heathrow. Longest ever; normally it takes 1.5 hours max. So a bit of adrenaline this week to get to my flight, which ended up boarding late, and everything was fine. Being rushed I ended up grabbing the wrong breakfast and feel just so much better about the week ahead 😉 BBQ Pork for breakfast. Yeah 🙁 Calm, breathe. Life is good, and fingers crossed, I have yet to miss a flight. 25 trips this year so far. That’s on average every other week, and more to come. Wow, the most I have travelled in years. And I keep saying it is getting less, but I haven’t got any more news on that at the moment. I believe it isn’t actually the travel as such but doing an additional job that takes focus away from what I wanted to do in the first place. However, I know there are changes on the horizon, and hopefully they will be good for me. One must believe that moving forward things will turn out the way they should. Believe in the future and that the dots will connect looking backwards. And they always will.

Weekends. Trying to spend more bonding time with the boys we went on a long walk down Littlehampton beach last weekend. It was nice and we all just love being close to and at the sea. The noise of waves coming on shore and then the water disappearing into the pebbles. It is great and calming, it makes you feel far away from home, on holidays. Balancing life.
We also upgraded to the latest iPhone 8 this weekend. A bit of a hiccup, we had to go twice as only passports or UK driving licenses are accepted for having a credit agreement – no German driving licenses or ID cards. But we got there in the end, and it was probably the first time I used my UK passport for something official. The new phone is great, but not much of an advancement in comparison to the 7, and just a slight improvement from the 6s I had before. The main differentiation is water resistance, wireless charging and an improved home button. Having a hardware contract with Apple now, means we are eligible for an upgrade from 12 months and have a 12 months pay monthly deal with Vodafone. This gives us the opportunity to get a new iPhone every year, something I always aimed for. But nowadays the innovation year on year is getting smaller, hence the need to upgrade yearly is less. Anyway, let’s speak about that in a year’s time, as technology and face recognition will move on.

In terms of data, it was easy to restore the iPhone. Everything gets backed up in the cloud but my gratitude journal didn’t. Since February I have been writing a daily gratitude journal which seems to have vanished. This is a bit of a shame. It is a great practise to reflect once a day on all the positive things in life. I wondered if I ever look back at it…guess for now I won’t 😔 I will no longer trust an app, but instead will write the journal on Evernote. Maybe it is my fault for not backing it up properly and then restore it, but then again if it isn’t an obvious process in the app. Never mind. The NHS app I used for 5 years with my BMI/weight data has also vanished, but luckily I had a back up in Evernote. I just love Evernote! So for anyone who hasn’t seen my posts about it, please do use Evernote to track everything. I write my blog on it as it syncs cross device and I can edit it on the go, then copy and paste it later. I collect my Thursday Flash links in it and take all my meeting notes on it. Evernote for everything!

Germany. If short, I stayed two nights in Germany, Hamburg, this week. I went for a walk after work as I still can’t exercise, go to the sauna or gym. I overworked my back after the initial minor surgery, so I now need to wait until it heals properly. It takes longer of course. I reflected on my relationship with Germany, thought about whether I could live there again. I like Hamburg, enjoy the organised life and the city is just georgous. However, I also feel like that about Munich. In Germany, the cities are nice and green, not too big, and one can find a good life life balance within the city or close proximity. It is just right. But it doesn’t feel right. Just because things are ticking all the boxes doesn’t mean they are right for you. Logic doesn’t always prevail. Does that make sense? If your mind isn’t in it, it doesn’t make sense.

I suppose you can achieve the same in the UK but maybe not in London, maybe in smaller cities, or only at a price that is reserved for the few. Yet, I am very happy with my life in London, being able to have the best of both worlds, balancing both village life and city career. Germany yet somehow doesn’t appeal to me anymore. The latest elections aside, and the negative movement towards right wing politics, Germany is just another country – and where I grew up in. After moving to the US 25 years ago, I learned what life could be like in a wide open space and I enjoyed something bigger than what I had at the time. Germany, and to a certain extend Europe, is a place that can get too small. And if not physically, I feel like I couldn’t permanently live in Germany, as it would be too small for me. Not sure if that makes sense. Sometimes village life gets like that too, and without the escapes to London, it might not be for me either. Freedom – that’s what I associate with the open space I experienced. Like the pubs in New York that just have space. Or you find a 20 lane bowling alley in the middle of town with 15 pool tables. The space you have, the freedom you feel. And, as Europe moves towards Brexit, maybe Europe is just not the place to be in a few years time. We shall see.

Those are my thoughts this week. Of course there are more but I don’t want to bore you. Interesting chats about politics with a taxi driver in Germany. Booking of my next trip to Belgrade, Serbia, which will be new experience.
There were days I took the kids to school and felt very privileged to spend more time with them. They are my purpose and priority.

Another busy week and a week of no travel ahead. That will be nice and I have lots to do with the team this week in London.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (121)

This week had many facettes to it. One cleary was Glastonbury. A festival in the UK. The UK doesn’t really strike me as the best country to have a festival due to the weather. However, despite the muddy start, then the sunny weekend, it seems that the community that goes to Glastonbury grows each year. It is THE festival in the UK. With the BBC covering some acts on TV.

I actually watched part of the U2 gig and was quite impressed. I am personally not a person that likes open air concerts or festivals for that matter. Not my cup of tea. I prefer a hotel over a tent, a classical music hall over a field. But we are all different.

A few years ago I have been very interested in Woodstok, the big music festival in 1969. And, living in the US at the time, I was torn between the attraction of “being a hippie” or “being a soldier in the Vietnam War“. What is better?

This is not a question which can be answered with either or. Something I only found out years later. It is not about one ideology or another. Life is about your own personality and what you make of it. And some of it can be serving your country and be proud of the servicemen that do. And I am. And I am still fascinated that if in the US a soldier is sitting in restaurant, someone else would pick up the bill to show their appreciation. I don’t think that happens anywhere in Europe.

And some of the ideology can come from the hippies, like having children, sharing the love, being open minded and grow your own vegetables. Easy Rider was a great movie that inspired me back in the days. Those “wanna be hippies” that are tough at the same time. They ride a bike and have fun but are not accepted by the general public. Hey, why would they have to be accepted? But society is more black and white than myself I guess, or most people I know for that matter.

I am not sure what I want to say here, but maybe looking at my kids each day I am thinking that I want them to be one thing or another. Basketball or Rugby players. Or maybe scientists or doctors. But do I really?

No, I want my boys to be our kids. I want them to have an open mind, enjoying festivals or classical music. Hotel rooms or tents. I want them to be themselves, free from any stigmas or ideologies put upon them. Important is that you bring them up to be nice to others, look after themselves and others, be honest, helpful, and good kids. The rest they will do themselves – with some guidance though I guess.

I sometimes cannot wait to sit down in my old leather chair when I am 65 and retired to see what has become out of my boys. What their personalities look like, what they enjoy, who or if they married and whether they have kids themselves.

But more often these days I like to enjoy the moments with them. Because I don’t know where I am or if I am when I was 65. I think that is the main thing, being there for them NOW. Helping and guiding them now, no matter what. No matter what comes. That is important. Despite compromises you have to make of course, you want to be where they are, experiencing with them.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (81)

81 weeks ago I started my Sunday Column. Ideas, thoughts and general blurb from Volker Ballueder about all sort of things. It developed a bit into a “only column” as I got too busy keeping up to write a daily or bi-weekly post.

Anyway, yesterday was 9/11. Now, as for many people, it is like it was yesterday that I heard about it. Sitting in a friends old Peugeot, he gave me a lift back from my pre-university maths course in Aberdeen, both of us entering the 3rd year, when the music in the radio stopped with the breaking news. I had been in the UK for less than a month. It was raining, cold and grey. And 9-11 had just happened.

If you followed some of the news over the last few weeks, then you wonder. You wonder why a pastor in Florida wants to burn the Koran. Why would he? If he is a man of faith, as his title suggests, then he should be able to forgive. He should be able to foresee the consequences his action might have. Was it all a media stunt?

If I say forgive, then I don’t mean “to not care” but in the Buddhist believe, in my interpretation, you close a chapter, accept the fact and try to make the world a better place. And I believe that is what most Americans have done. If I say “embracing Islam” I don’t necessarily mean that in a literal way, but I believe that more Americans know today what Islam is about compare to 9 years ago. And, if you followed the discussion about the Moshe they want to build close to Ground Zero, then you could clearly argue that this is to honour not only the Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Mormons that died in 9-11 but also the Islamic people that died.

I am not religious, I am a Buddhist. I am not political. At least not more than anyone else. Everyone has a right to have their own believes, values and passions. For some they are wrong in most people’s eyes, e.g. terrorists. Of course. But just because some fundamentalist claim that they did it in the name of their god, doesn’t mean that everyone believing in this god is a terrorist. Come on, a child understands that. A nation as great as America which overcame the discrimination of black people, understanding that they are not 2nd class citizens (sorry Mitch, I am sure you read that), should surely understand to not blame someone because of the colour of the skin, or religious belief, or origin……

Now, enough about 9-11. I am not American, but I feel very strong for them, as I lived in this country. Having lived there, I understand their belief and them being proud of their country. An amazing country, and they should be proud. I never forget buying that T-Shirt in D.C. off a Vietnam Veteran. It had an American flag on it and read “It is an American thing, we should all understand” – relating to the Vietnam war.

In my life in the UK there hasn’t been many developments. I worked a lot last week, and was very exhausted on Friday. I hardly saw the boy which is a shame. My MIL is still here and her boyfriend will come next week. So it will be busy with family and work. My wife is feeling better and the specialist says she is going to be ok for a while, so that my MIL will be leaving the end of next week. She is a great help and we enjoy her being around. However, I also looking forward to having our own life back too.

Now, I enjoyed the weekend, spending lots of time with Colin, not working at all. That was great. My wife and MIL went out on Saturday night so I had a whole Saturday night to work on some stuff I wanted to do for ages.

See you next week.
Volker

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Facing the Giants…

I finally watched the whole movie of facing the giants as described in my earlier post. It is a very motivational movie. However, I was surprised that is based around god and the love of god to make it a success.

With having lived in the US for a year a few years ago, I know how important Christianity is in the US and that it helps people to motivate. However, it does not matter which faith you are as long as you believe in something, and someone – yourself.

I am not a great believer in contemporary church but find my spiritual guidance through Buddhism. Latter helps me to stay focus, help others and be motivated in personal life as well as in corporate life.

What wonders me sometimes is that there seems to be this “YES WE CAN” attitude in the USA, the American Dream that just this week was supported by the first ethnic minority president to be in the world. A country that has this approach will always be more confident and be more successful.

In Germany where I grew up and I believe it is similar in most European countries, this attitude is not on the schedule for high school kids. It is more about “this is an American thing” and that is that.

Why are we not taking the positive attitude, the “can do approach” from our big brother and use it to make us more successful, more motivated and more focused in life and work. Without thinking that this is only done “elsewhere”.

I believe we need to incorporate the basic and underlying approach of this attitude in our daily lifes to motivate ourselves and to get where we want to be. No surprise that things like GTD, NLP, Turning Passion into profits are all coming from one country.

In my opinion most of those ideas are based around the basic attitude of reaching out for the stars and making things happen. And to have this vision of reaching things, not to show fear and stay focus. That is not rocket science, is it?

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Let’s Celebrate

God Bless America.

Well done Obama!

I will celebrate my way this morning, hope the picture is clear 🙂

america

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