Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Open-Space Office

Who invented open-space offices? Does anybody know? If yes (and the guy is still alive) I want to write him a letter. A not so very nice letter, just to make myself clear.

Open-space offices suck. There is no other word, I am sorry. NO OTHER WORD. I had actually forgotten what the feeling was like to work in such a space.
  • A space were you can't tell one word without everybody listening in. 
  • A space were even the best of air-conditioning is helpless - somewhere around noon it gets sticky and it stays sticky: too many people. Too many computers. Too many printers.There is the other version as well: a space were it doesn't get sticky around noon but it stays cold, very cold, the whole day. Nothing in between.
  • A space were it is difficult to concentrate. It gets easier with time (I remember from other jobs) but now that I am working on texts mostly, concentration is an important tool (errors in texts are easily missed). I am not sure how high productivity is in open-space offices...
  • A space were you don't get one second of privacy. I know, I know. It's a job and you're not supposed to get "private matters" done. But hey, we're humans, right? One has to call a doctor, a dentist (imagine calling your gynecologist!!!) or a friend. Right? Right? I am not saying that I want to deal with private matters the whole day. I am there to work, I agree, but some phone calls have to be done during office hours. Right? Hearing this, friends of mine who work in factories, would openly laugh at me and telling me that I am spoiled. THEY don't get time and space for private matters either! Or the guy who is taring the highway? (just as an example) No time either. Totally no time.
Maybe I am. Spoiled, I mean. No maybe. I am spoiled. But I nevertheless want to write a letter to the inventor of open-space offices. I am sure the guy (if he was a guy!) had a wonderful office for himself while thinking about how much money they would be saving in putting all the people in one open space! He had no idea what it meant to concentrate on a text (or whatever your office job is) with 10, 20 or more people around you talking on the phone or to each other. How tiresome it gets. And I am sure that he had no idea what it meant to work in a space where you don't get fresh air (and, please, don't tell me that air-conditioning is actually FRESH air!).

OK, enough ranting. I am quiet now. I feel better actually. Much better :-)

PS: And even though I work in an open-space office in my second job, I still like it, the job, I mean :-)

Friday, July 25, 2014

No Time

I have just talked to my uncle over the phone. The one who has cancer and who did well until a couple of weeks/days ago. With chemo and everything but doing well anyway. Now suddenly ... he is not doing fine any longer. Apparently the doctors have sent him home from the hospital telling him that there was nothing else to do.

Having hung up the phone, I felt sad. So sad. Not only because we are going to live without him in the near future. No, sad for him. He had so many plans. So many things he wanted to do. People he wanted to see again. Places to visit. Swimming in the sea again.
Suddenly there is no more time. Or at least not much. And the remaining time is of no good quality because he feels ill and weak most of the time.
We are always under the impression that time is endless. Right? When you are 10 years old, you can't wait to get older. At 20 you have the world at your feet and all the time in the world. At 30 you are occupied with your life that you don't think about it. Around 40 only you start to realize that time is not endless because older people around you (parents, family members) start "dying away on you". It happend to me this morning - after hanging up the phone with my uncle. Realization hit me hard.

Time isn't endless. At least not the time we get to spend on this planet. Enjoy it fully. And right now. Live the life you want. Right now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next year. Now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Vacation Feeling During Office Hours

My new (temporary) second job is still keeping me on my toes. And still does my brain good :-)

I work in an open-space office and most of my colleagues are ... Germans! Sometimes I listen to the people talk and ... I feel like being on a vacation. Do you wonder why? Let me tell you a story.

A couple of years back I went to the Canary Islands, to La Gomera. I remember being happy about going there and telling everybody how excited I was to spend a couple of days in Spain and to practice my few words I manage in Spanish. What I didn't know though was that the Canary Islands were, like Mallorca I was told afterwards, an unofficial additional "Länder" of Germany. Germans have kind of conquered the places and Spaniards have adapted to these tourists who bring them a lot of money. Fact was that EVERYBODY spoke German and there were 98% of German tourists. The first three days were ... very disappointing. More so. I didn't even feel like being on a vacation. I wanted to immerse myself into Spanish "joie de vivre" and what did I get? German vibes! Nothing against German vibes - don't you misunderstand me. But you know how expectations work!!!
Well, in the end everything went fine, I got used to it and I enjoyed my trip very much. The place is wonderful and I had the best of the times. I would even return there - this time with no expectations to feeling some Spanish "joie de vivre" SMILE

So, sitting in my open space-office yesterday, listening to the Germans talk had me think of La Gomera.
And for a while I felt like being on a vacation again :-)

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Have you heard of Banksy? This is how Wikipedia describes him:

"Banksy is a pseudonymous United Kingdom-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter.

I don't remember how I got to know his graffiti art but I simply love it! Yesterday, while shopping for a book for my niece, I came upon a wonderful one of Banksy and ... you know what comes now... I HAD TO buy it. His art is so accurate and funny and sad - all at the same time. And it makes me think! And keeps me thinking! I wanted to share some page of the book with you:

Our World ... Is Porous

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Second Job

I got this second job for July, August and September. I had told you about it.
It does me good. Not just because it pays my taxes and my auto repairs bills, no, because I get to learn new stuff. And you know how partial I am to learn new stuff!
It does me good. Really. New jobs, like a new hobby or whatever new "habit" you can think of, keep you on your toes! You are like the girl you were, many many years back, on your first day on the very first job of yours.
  • You keep quiet.
  • You listen hard.
  • You take notes. Tons of.
  • You get shy when introduced to new people.
  • You memorize the names of all the employees (gets more difficult with the years!).
  • You don't have an own opinion (that's another thing that has changed in the years!).
  • You get lost in the corridors.
  • And don't find the restrooms.
  • Your PC isn't working properly the first couple of days (well, another change to my first job - there were no PCs back then - that's to tell how old I already am!).
  • You go home and feel exhausted - learning new things can be exhausting (my father likes to tell the story of my first week on the job, back in the days. Apparently, after three days I told him how impatient I was waiting for the weekend to come because I was sooo tired! I remember him laughing out loud and saying: welcome to our world!).
  • You go home and feel exuberant - learning news things can be exuberant!

So True

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How Busy Are You During Summertime?

Are you gonna be busy this summer? You will? Well, hopefully you'll be able to enjoy some sweet dolce far niente in between!

I don't have many plans for this summer. I will be working two jobs (remember? I got a second job for July, August and September). So, apart from earning money, I will be enjoying myself. Or at least, I'll try to.
I don't like a full agenda the other time of the year - during summertime I dislike it even more.
So, my plans will be: working (sigh) but enjoying the sun, my friends and family nevertheless. And maybe going on a trip (bank holiday weekend at the beginning of August). A really short short one! 1, 2 days? Max 3? Haven't decided on the destination yet.
You know, I had plans to travel to NYC in September. I wanted to rent an appartment (Airbnb) and to discover this wonderful city for 10 days / 2 weeks max. Maybe even going to Montauk or other beaches. But then I got this second job ... and I decided to postpone the whole trip. I believe in "seizing the opportunities" and, sigh, this summer is about earning money, I'm afraid.
There will be new opportunities for wonderful trips, I am sure of that! Already have one or two ideas (-:

But don't worry, my dear readers, my summer will not only be about EARNING money but also about SPENDING money (at least some of it). Apart from the bills I already know about (like taxes and auto repairs), which is the uncool part, I am thinking about new eyeglasses and a new photo camera, which will be the cool part.

Friday, July 11, 2014


When business is calm at the office I do like to immerse myself into the wonderful world of Pinterest! Such an inspiration!
Today was such a calm day and look at what I found! This will become my credo from now on...

The Other's World: Acupuncture

I got to know N. when we were working in the same bank (in the same department actually!) and we even traveled to New York City together (that was a real long time ago!). When one of us changed the department / the job, we lost touch. Life happened, so to speak. Thanks to Facebook we got in touch again and when I was thinking about new interviews for my blog, I remembered that N. had started taking classes in "Chinese Medicine" or something. I didn't remember well. I wondered if she had gotten through it: day job and evening classes (which is tough!).
I was happy to find out that she did! How cool is that? She is an acupuncturist now and I had to ask questions for my blog. Read her answers here. The English version is, as usual, at the bottom and all mistake are mine.For more info:


Thursday, July 10, 2014


Where did Summer go? Central Europe seems to have gotten ... winter back. If not winter (maybe I am exaggerating a tiny tiny bit SMILE), then autumn. Definitively no summer temperatures.
I am working from home today and sitting at my computer during the day ... I got cold feet. COLD FEET. Do you imagine????????? Getting cold feet in July? That depresses me. OK, well, I get cold feet (literally NOT figuratively speaking SMILE) pretty easy but ... honestly. I am sun-tanned and could wear all my new stuff I bought at the mercato in Cattolica and what do I got to wear instead? Long-sleeved shirts! And jeans!

Luckily though I am having a good week. On Monday I was lucky to attend a lecture about "Seniority in our society" which was totally interesting! On Tuesday I started my new (additional) job which went pretty well. During the months of July, August and September I will work for a friend of mine (Marketing Services of a bank). I will help HER out with her heavy workload (her list of things to do is a mile long!). In return she will help ME out with the additional money I will earn (upcoming taxes to pay, some unexpected car repairs, etc.). This is what I call a perfect win-win situation!

And still hope for warmer weather :-)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Did you know there were white peacocks? Well, I didn't!
Peacocks behave (and look) majestic per se but the white ones? Even more so :-)

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Flowers

The gardens! The flowers! What to say about them? Simply stunning. Money can create beauty when spent well! In the case of the Borromeo family I must admit: well spent money! Congrats :-) Here some flowers I've shot:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Isola Bella

Out of the three islands I so totally preferred Isola Bella! Seen from the lakeshore the gardens looked like an Asian temple, at least to me:

Once arrived on the island, I discovered that the gardens were pure beauty. Unfortunately no photographing in the house! Especially the grottos devoted to Neptune. Masterpieces!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Our World ... is Similar but Different

View Of Stresa / Isole Borromee

On our third day the weather forecast had announced ... heavy rain! The night before it rained buckets and we were kind of depressed at the idea to spend our last day ... under the rain. The guy at the reception suggested that we took the train to Milano (just one hour by train) and spend the day there but I honestly wasn't very keen on going to Milano (I just had been there!). On the other hand though, we agreed that it would be better to do some shopping in Milano instead of being depressed and bored in Stresa. We decided to wait what the weather would be like in the morning.
No rain in the morning! We gave it a try and went on top of the Mottarone (1491 meters!). We were lucky. It never rained and sometimes the sun came out! The temperatures were comfortable. I was sooo happy to have made this excursion (by teleferic up to the Mottarone) and to enjoy the wonderful view of the lake and the islands!

Isola dei Pescatori (left) and Isola Madre (right, set back)

Isola dei Pescatori

Isola Bella (front) and Isola Madre (back)

all three of them

Friday, July 4, 2014


Stresa is a village on the Italian side of the Lago Maggiore (about 1/5 of the lake are Swiss). My guidebook had told me that in the 19th century (Belle Epoque) Stresa was a destination for the rich and famous. The grand hotels remind of that time. It must have been glamorous back then to spend a vacation here!
I liked it. Even though a lot of buildings would desperately need a paint job but, on the other hand, I like it that not EVERYTHING in this modern world looks alike. And the old town was just charming!
Here one of the Grand Hotels seen from the boat while driving back from visiting the islands (Isole Borromee)

The lake Maggiore has a strange shape. It almost looks like a boot! Therefore you never see the whole of the lake but the view is gorgeous anyway!

first view of the islands

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


This morning I woke to ... rain! Oh well, it's hard enough to be back home and to go to work but in the rain and the cold? 3 times harder, let me tell you!
You know, yesterday morning, while saying good-bye to everybody I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to ... simply continue to travel.
I know, I know, one can't just keep on traveling but, hey, one can dream, can't one?
So, while waiting for my train (the first of four I took yesterday and astonishingly all went smoothly and every single train was on time and, if delayed, then only by some minutes...), I daydreamt.

First, I'd need one day to do some laundry (the well-organized me is present also while daydreaming hihihihi).
Then I could take the train to Tuscany or Liguria or Trieste. What about a plane from the Rimini airport to places like Sardinia or Crete or Sicily or Formentera or Ibiza? Or, why not?, taking a ferry to some Greek island or to Croatia. So many places to discover!

The train pulled into the station and I awoke from my daydream. Home was calling. I felt better though. It kind of sweetened my departure. And one thing I know: I probably gonna be on the road pretty soon again :-)