Mar 27, 2016

Off the Cyberspace, Looking for Real Space

Though I did had the intent of writing a post every week, lately I've been struck by a sort of revulsion towards the digital and the cybernetic environment. It's not that I don' wish to blog, but I don't feel any desire to be active on any social media. Thinking about checking my Facebook account makes me cringe. Same with Tumblr and Twitter, and then, by default, I don't desire to deal with anything Internet related. I'd rather read, I'd rather watch movies, I'd rather not turn on the computer at all if I can avoid it. Is it because I'm old or is it because there comes a moment when there's just too much Internet crap around us?

Maybe it's the heat, or the amount of homework I have, which have taken the joy out of a good chunk of my small holidays, but be it as it may, I really don´t want to spend time online. Not, if I can avoid it. So why did I post now? Because I was thinking that maybe there's someone out there who feels the same. They usually are. For them, imagine just the joy of logging off, stashing your laptop, your tablet, your phone away and walk away from them, barefoot, feeling the organic world around and coming to the fabulous point where you turn on the TV to watch something, or pick a REAL book off a shelve to read, make a real cup of coffee (or tea, or cocoa) and sit, looking outside your real window, into the real world out there and feel, really feel yourself connect with the many people through the ages that had done the same. 

Feb 28, 2016

Modern Dating

Picture taken from:
Tomorrow I start the new level in German - or shall I refer to it as a partial-level? - and I'm quite excited about it. More German, more knowledge and a step ahead for mastering a new language. Yay! Can't wait to know enough to start reading books in German! I'm already crunching up numbers. trying to figure out ways to squeeze a day in Vienna for my next trip to Europe, which will be now during the Spring. A really short trip. I smile just imagining going to Vienna and looking at it differently, able to understand more and say more. Won't that be a hoot?

I think I might also be nervous a little bit, as I dreamed that the first day of class I forgot about it and went home after work, and when I realized I was at home and the class had started 40 minutes ago. Waaaaah! It was awful! I remember thinking that I'd ask my sister in law for her notes and then thinking that actually nobody's notes were as good as mine. It's not the first time I have a bad dream like that, and curiously they are all about forgetting something important and not remembering until it's too late.

Recently I also went out on my first date since... a freaking lot of time. By the end of last year, I decided to give the online dating a chance, mostly out of curiosity. It was quite surprising for me to realize that more friends than I thought were on different dating sites, or used to be, and that they were meeting people through them. I tried it out, as you know, and well, this week I had the first date with someone I met online. I was thinking about it, and realizing it was a date, instead of a simple meeting, as I usually tend to see this kind of thing. But then again, I normally meet people face to face and then decide to go out somewhere, usually in the frame of some program, so maybe I've never actually dated before.

The guy I met is really nice and we got along really well. It was pleasant and casual, and I guess I won't really see much of him ever again - just the way I like it - but the point is that, as this went on I realized that I might like this quite a lot. :-) The world is changing, and people don't pick up people at bars and so, as we used to, back in the day, but when people's heads are stuck in their phones, effectively cutting them out of the rest of the world, isolating them from real life, the way to meet people now is online. Kind of sad, but this is how mankind rolls now.

Feb 21, 2016

Dating Amid Turbulence

Life as a single person... is quite a busy thing. Happy but very busy. I still have a pile of letters to reply and my reading of books for entertainment is going really slow - though that's in part due to the fact that I have read three of the Anne of Green Gables novels, and by the end of Anne of the Island I couldn't be bothered with reading another of her books. The first one was enjoyable, the second one was also quite nice, but the third one got to my nerves. Be it as it may, 2016 is proving to be a year full of activities and tasks for me, with my trusty filofax nearly bursting at the seams with things to do. Between the German classes at the Goethe Zentrum and the classes I've taken at the University to get ahead with Finance and Marketing, I'm finding myself again at that point where I really don't seem to have much time to do anything.

I must admit that I take it as a wonderful blessing that I can live this phase in my life being single. I know that for many people a life partner means support and companionship and someone with whom to share the burden of daily life, but that hasn't been my case. I'm too much of a lone wolf to find much solace in company when I need to power up to charge on life, I guess. Between studies and lots of plans for the future, I've also been experimenting with the world of online dating. Some of my friends have tried it out - more than I thought - and I find this world quite interesting. Haven't actually met with anyone yet, but no like I aiming towards that either. Hyne, I think I might be doing the whole thing wrong, actually. OK, not like I'm putting much effort in it, truth tobe told, but then I connect with these people, we exchange messages and start chatting, and I feel really good with them. I make friends and I act accordingly, and so, when suddenly someone says something more flirty to me, I'm startled thinking "why is he flirting with me?" until I remember that this is a dating site and I'm supposed to be out there looking to date people, not just friending them.

What am I supposed to do there? Honestly I'm a little at lost there, because though I know a lot of women complain about how many men approach them butnever want anything serious, in my experience, I'm always the one that just wants to have fun why the guys that apporach me all are aiming for the white picket fence and the 2.1 children. So, am I looking for dating? I don't want a relationship, but I do would love to meet people for some casual get together, have a drink, share a good conversation and then maybe - if things click right - have unattached sex. The operative word being "unattached". My life is speeding ahead and I have so many wonderful projects in my plate right now, that I really don't need something else to pay attention to. But then is adating site the right place for me to find those loose tied, entirely casual brushes with like minded people?

Some people are nice, some people are really loving and smart, and then some are players that like to lead on others, or see how much can they jerk other people's chains. People can be so strange sometimes. I don't know, I'm still thinking about this all, about what should I do about this part of my life, and then thinking about how I used to solve these questions before, only to realize that I have never worried about it, it has never been my thing to go look for people, but people happened, I flashed my smile and things somehow got going.

I'd give it more thought just for the fun of it... it I didn't have so much studying to do.

Feb 14, 2016

Love of Friends

Happy St. Valentine's Day! ^_^ My first St. Valentine's Day without a boyfriend in quite a while, and it is wonderful! I spent the last two days with two of my best friends, going to the movies and having a spendid time. Confidences with friends are so sweet and wonderful, and I find such endless love in them, so fresh and delightful and honest. I wonder sometimes why can't actual love be like this, so open and free and fresh. Well, perhaps for some, but in my experience that sort of love life is always crowded with unspoken things and a lot of guarded moments.

St. Valentine isn't one of my favorite holidays, though I love greeting my friends, but it's still worth a few words of introspection. It's good to have a day to celebrate love, even it the day was created for commercial purposes as many say. It shouldn't matter if the day was invented to sell more flowers and chocolates, book more hotel rooms and restaurant reservations, what matters here simply is the chance to remember love.

Though the celebration centers quite strongly on the romantic kind of love, a day to celerate love should also be about remembering the love we feel for our friends, our family, our pets and also ourselves. And how about all those things that fill us with love, like our favorite stories and our favorite books, and even our favorite series and characters and "ships". It's  day to remember the jobs and hobbies we love, our dear colleagues, our sweetest memories, our favorite places... As we go remembering all the forms and types of love in our liveswe realize that we might feel alone sometimes, but we are surrounded with love. Isn't that wonderful? <3 div="">

Feb 7, 2016

Thinking about Blogging and Journaling

I haven't journaled in quite a while, so I tried to do it today while waiting for Nate to get washed (it's been a while since I last washed my own car). Not like I've got much written, since Nate was the only car at the carwash and all the five guys at the carwash devoted to him. Naturally I don't journal everyday, specially since I don't carry my journal around in my bag, but then, I really haven't journaled in a while. I was thinking about that and what really stops you from journaling, specially when you have an idea of what you'd like to journal about.

The thing is that journaling - I realized - is actually much easier than blogging, because you journal (usually) for yourself, and it's supposed to be a record of things that have passed in your life, recording your recent past for the further future, if you ever feel like revisiting it (I usually don't), while for blogging you actually need a sort of topic for posting. Well, sure, you could make a blog that functions as a journal (as I sort of have tried), but let's be honest, you never open up as much in a blog as you do in the close intimacy of your journal.

The other day I was watching videos about notebooks and journals (some people have the most curious concept of "journals". They call "journals" even notebooks I'd call "planners" or simply "notebooks"). As usual, I saw videos of people who had loads of active journals, and some really overwhelmed me. I remember this one woman who kept a journal of her relationship with her partner, which she planned to read in the future to her children. Yes, um... ok. She did keep journals of her other relationships as well. Some people do that.

I've read articles about the benefits of journaling (and I guess the same principles may apply to blogging, except the part of the benefits of handwriting compared to typing), and I can't really sign next to many of them, but one thing that's sure is that it does give you a fabulous time to set your thoughts and help you sort and organize your feelings as well. A journal is a great place to dump your anger or your sadness and even your success and your happiness. As you write it down you live it again or see it in a better light. Such a process shouldn't really happen before the eyes of the Big Anonymous Cyberspace.

Blogging - I would say - takes a different role for the writing-obsessed people. A blog is where your settled and processed thoughts go. You journal it first, work it over, and when you have distilled it to a clear thought you blog it. No, not all blogposts are backed by a journal entry nor all journal entries end in a blogpost, but I'd say that process pretty much remains. Yes, sometimes some distilled thoughts are too intimate, too personal to end up thrown at the Big Anonymous Cyberspace, and sometimes more spontaneous, raw thoughts and feelings also fall onto blogposts, but I would say that most blogposts and journal entries follow this rule almost instinctively. I don't know, perhaps because you feel safer with the journal, or the blog seems wider. Or at least, this is how it works for me. I wonder if it works the same for others.

Jan 31, 2016

And So The Race Starts

My notes on Economics
I don't remember ever having a period at the University quite like this one. First of all, the period to enroll in the classes was separated only by a week's time from the first tutorials. (Here I'd like to remind all that this University is a D-learning one, thus you don't have weekly classes like in all other universities, but only four tutorials through the whole period: two before the first test and two before the last (or second) test. As it is, you really have to read the material for each tutorial ahead because most tutorials are about answering questions of what you didn't understand from your readings.) This would have given you a really small widow of oportunity to prepare for the tutorial if it weren't for the fact that 1. after online enrolling you are supposed to go to your Study Center to pick up your books, on the week of the enrolling, except this time there were NO BOOKS at the Study Center; and 2. Neither the books nor the schedules of the tutorials were to be available but on the week when the tutorials were supposed to begin. I bet you can imagine the stress this lack of proper planning created in not a few of us.

To be honest, I was quite surprised at first because of the really short time between the enrolling week and the tutorials, but then, as things started to unroll, it just got worse. The Study Centers (these are like the University's local seats, and every student must be subscribed to one of these, for it is at these where they are supposed to do their tests and where they must render their papers, when the classes they take have papers to be rendered in physical format) had no time to prepare, specially since the new order for enrolling was that the materials for each student were to be sent to the Study Centers according to the enrollment for each class. This way the University could control their material inventory better. What's this "material"? Well, at this University, you don't need to buy books for the classes, but the books you'll need are included in the cost of the subject (all subjects for the different levels have the same price, so there's no such a thing as you paying more for some classes for the same level or less for others. For instance, all subjects for Bachelor's degree have a cost of $80). Some books cost more than the cost of the subject, so you can imagine than some of those could cost more on the market. Probably the system was implemented to control possible "missmanagements" of these materials. Normally the material for the classes doesn't change much through several periods, so the books not used up in a period can be used in later periods.

Anyway, even if I wanted to, being that I'm enrolled in a specific Study Center I can't pick up my books at other Study Centers. So the harrassing of the centers began, with a convenient "drop of the lines" right after the enrollment week ended. No phone line worked, and nobody responded to the online chats. The only answer was that tutorial schedules would be posted on January 30th, and books would be delievered after February 3rd. And tutorials began on February 2nd. What if your tutorial was on February 2nd? How would you prepare for it or even follow the lecture of the tutor (some tutors do impart lectures) if you don't have the book? I, for instance, have actually a tutorial on Febrary 3rd.

Anyway, since I knew that a certain Study Center was delievering the books on January 29th, I decided to go to my Study Center and ask if, for some miracle, or by leaning on the many years I've known them and our friendship, they would release my books earlier. So I went yesterday there - after quite a long morning and noon taking care of banking things (paid out my credit card and got HORRIFIED at how much I had to pay. Really, I had expected less, and the amount shocked me to no ends. Thanks Hyne I had some extra money to cover for that, because it really took out my jugular). As it turned out, it was great that I did so, for they had the books and they were willing to give me my books - stamping on my receipt a February date, since they weren't allowed to deliever the books before the official date.

The schedules that were supposed to be posted yesterday didn't got posted until today, where I realized that, yes, I have two classes on Saturday (one Saturday for one class, and another for the other), and on Wednesday. One of the subjects had an e-book, which was also quite complicated to download, and the tutor on charge wasn't really of much help to get to it. It turns out that that book - which was the first I've got - belongs to a subject for which I'll have the tutorials on the second week. Great. So I could advance on the subject for which I had more time to prepare.

On this period I enrolled on two classes for the Marketing career, and one for the Finance career. Finance is my priority, but there was no other class offered from the ones I need to take to complete my degree. That's why I decided to go mixing my classes for both careers. One single class would be so boring. Well, at least for me. Or so I thought until I saw how many projects and papers I'll have to prepare. And on top of all, I have the German classes at the Goethe Center, which are twice a week. Something like this was a piece of cake for me when I was 20 years old, we shall see how the 40 years old me is capable to handle this.

Jan 24, 2016

Body Image and Love

A topic I had in mind when I wrote my last post - but didn't touch - was body image and how that body image affects us. A writer I follow on Goodreads shared a post about how she has always felt about how her body image affected her for quite a long time, reaching into her self esteem. This got me thinking. Indeed, since we are born with a body and live with it through our whole life, often we see our bodies as it is us, and whatever happens to our bodies affects our selves as well. If we are good looking, then we - the whole of us - is desirable, but if there is something we consider a "flaw", then the flaw is also within us. Separating our body from our selves is nearly impossible to a lot of people, even though we are bombarded constantly with messages that tell us that we are two separate things. I mean, think about it, how many times have we heard all that stuff about "inner beauty" and how "the exterior doesn't matter" and so on?

I guess it's normal to see your body and yourself as the same thing, and so when something about our bodies doesn't please us, we feel also displeased with ourselves. It adds to this negatively when we are also bombarded with estereotypes and ideas about what the body should look like, and often these ideas create artificial discomforts in us. Wherever we look we are shown bodies of models that most of us don't have, and which can't be reached by many. This is where pseudo-positive messages (like those images shown so often on Facebook and shared by many) try to convince us that we are good the way we are and that we must accept our bodies the way we are.

The way I see it, we are bombarded with two negative messages. On one side we are told that we have to be tall, sickly thin, young and supermodelish. On the other side we are told that we must accept and do nothing. I've been average all my life. I was thin when I was a kid, but after puberty I've got an average body shape, with which for a time I wasn't happy because it wasn't as thin as I was told I should be. Then I was lucky enough to realize that I was good the way I was and felt happy. Through the years I gained some weight and though I was still happy, it was becoming displeased about not fitting in my clothes. A physician had told me that my weight wasn't healthy, but I didn't listen to him until I realized that either I started losing weight or I'd have to buy a whole closet again. I had tried for years to lose weight, get my old weight back, but it never worked, so not really believing anything could really be done, I went to the nutritionist and started my regime. And I lost weight.

What I learned was that though we can't always separate our body image from our self image, we must start realizing that the body is the body and the self is the self. Yes, we must come to terms with our body and the body we have, but if there is something we don't like about it, and it can be changed, hey, don't conform and change it! Maybe it won't work if you try doing it yourself, but look for a professional to help you. Be it losing weight or gaining muscles or learning to make up yourself, or having a great hair... whatever it might be, if there's a chance to change it and you'd like to change it, don't settle, do something! It's all up to you. And if it doesn't work at first, keep trying until it works. :-)

Your body image can do a lot of harm to you, if you let it, so remember that whatever there is that you don't like, you can always work with it. Love isn't about being perfect nor can you trick yourself into accepting something you are not comfortable with. I don't think love is about accepting if you see this acceptance and resignation. Love is about being happy, and you can be happy when you are comfortable, and you can be confortable when you are at ease with yourself. If there is something you don't like about yourself, think why that might be displeasing or not, and whether changing it is the solution. Use also health as paramether. Make sure your body is healthy, and then, fuck the body and do what pleases you. ^_^