Thursday, April 2, 2015

well, these days I try and these days I tend to lie.

The year 2015 is one big vacation interefered with work. At least that's what it feels like.
There are so many trips I'm trying to somehow fit into this year and I really hope that it's all going to happen. I started my traveling year with a short trip to London at the end of January. Sadly I couldn't fit anything in February, but I went to Prague with my brother in March and in about 2,5 weeks I'm off to Rome.
It's by far not the end of my plans. Believe it or not, for all these trips I didn't have to use up a single vacation entitlement, so when I come back from Italy I still have 33 days left to go on vacation. Oh, the joys of a part-time employee with 60 overtime hours...

A couple days ago I was talking with one of my friends and I told him about all my trips and he was like "You gotta teach me how to plan trips. I'm having such a hard time doing it. I'm never going anywhere".
My reaction was to laugh and say something like "Oh, come on. It's not that difficult. Just book everything, pack your stuff and there you go. Enjoy!"
If you're reading this, my friend, I have to tell you something. I lied.
There's nothing, literally NOTHING, easy for me when it comes to planning a trip. It's a neverending nightmare.

Later that day I told Lena about this situation and I came up with my excellent pro tips on how I masterly achieve my travel goals:

  1. choose destination
  2. annoy your best friend 24/7
  3. cry and hate everything
  4. have an existential crisis
  5. book everything
  6. intense panic attacks and fear
  7. go on vacation

That's my secret. That's how I'm actually doing it.
I love traveling. I love exploring new places. It's the one thing that keeps me going.
That's basically the reason why I book one trip after the other like a mad person. As long as there's another vacation lined up that I can look forward to, my life is sort of safe. At my current state of life there's nothing worth living for, except for my best friend and traveling, but without traveling I'd probably lose it completely.
So why the drama?
Yes, it keeps me alive, but it means that I have to face some of my greatest fears. I'm scared of pretty much everything you can think of. Okay, not everything. I'm not scared of flying (I'm one of these weirdos who falls asleep during take-off, because it's so relaxing). Other than that I see disaster behind every corner. Train delays that will lead to missing my flight. Getting lost at the airport. Sharing a hostel room. Talking to strangers. Communicating in a country where I don't understand their official language. Going on buses without a WC. The list goes on.
I burst out in tears all the time while trying to figure out how to organize it all. And so far I can't say that it gets easier the more often I do it.

It's all about fighting the things that are actually killing me with things that only scare me to death (well, not litereally to death, obviously...otherwise it wouldn't be much of a livesaving thing).
It doesn't solve any of my problems. Not in the slightest. I'm done with forcing myself into useless therapy sessions. Maybe something happens, that will change my life and rescues me permanently, but for now it's all about wandering until I run out of money. And I couldn't care less.

That's why I travel so much. And that's also the reason why I'm the worst person to ask for travel advice.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

i don't really miss God, but i sure miss Santa Claus.

It's Christmas season!!!!

Don't tell me it's too early. I kept my mouth shut for 1,5 months and decided to go with the American flow where Christmas pretty much starts right after Halloween. Personally, I care as much about Halloween as I do about Christmas. How much? You'll know at the end of this post.

Ever since I came back from my trip to the Netherlands (October 1st), I spent most of my hours at work with filling display table after display table with Christmas decoration and stuff nobody needs, but everyone's buying no matter what.
Somewhere mid-October we successfully saved someone's Christmas, by having some weird decorative cats in stock which he's probably going to wrap in incredibly tasteless wrapping paper and give it to a person who is in deep love with having two oversized decorative cats staring into their soul.
People keep coming into our store leaving an annoyed "Christmas decoration? Already?" comment. A lot of them end up with 30 euros worth of Christmas related articles in their bags. Yes, we love you too.
My love for patriotism is about as big as my love for the Easter bunny, but when it comes to binnen-s in Adventkalender, Santas and reindeer I stick to my folks and get tempted to hug every parent who tells their kid to put the Santa stuff back, because there's no Santa Claus in Austria. And hide the permanent markers or I'll cross out all the s on every single Adventkalender when there's nobody watching.
I've never played Tetris in my life. Not a single time. I'm thinking about picking it up, though. I surely got some skills filling shelves in our store-room with boxes. This week I spent almost five hours non-stop stacking articles,...basically playing real life Tetris.
My personal advice for all those people who've recently discorved their new favorite hobby called shoplifting:

  1. If you're going to steal something, at least take something with you that's worth stealing. A palm-sized turtle made out of cheap glass is not a good choice. Nor the fake plastic LED oil lamp. 
  2. If you're going to steal something expensive, please check the box and see if there's actually something inside. We sometimes put empty boxes on the shelves as a sort of shoplifting prevention. I hope you enjoy your empty box.
  3. If you don't have the money for Christmas presents or simply don't want to spend money on gifts, don't get any. Neither bought nor stolen. There's no need for presents. Bake some cookies, make a delicious Christmas dinner and play a board game with your family and loved-ones. I'm sure they'll appreciate it way more than a decorative wired cone-shaped Christmas tree that looks like a modernized festive version of a Ku Klux Klan hat.

Advice No.3 goes to everyone out there.
Think about the way you celebrate Christmas. Is it worth it?

In the meantime, enjoy your commercially pushed holidays.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

your mind is playing tricks on you, my dear.

I tried to figure out how life has been four years ago when I first started university. I couldn't find anything on my blog and I don't have my older journals here in Graz. And to be honest, I didn't dig that deep. It's scary matter.
I tried to look it up, because I can't remember anything. I know it happened, I know that I was a university student, but I can't tell you anything about it. So I guess I just have to tell you about now without comparing it to the past.

Basically, I'm done. It's the fourth week which for me marks the first week of skipping classes. Not all of them. Not yet.
Once I start skipping classes it's very hard for me to go back.
The problem is, that my brain is not working. I can't read, I can't prepare for classes, I can't do my homework properly, I can't concentrate on anything for longer than a minute. It makes me want to hit my head against the wall. Over and over again. Until it hurts. Just to feel something.

It's extremely frustrating. I didn't have that much of a problem with my brain during the past 1,5 years when I didn't attend university. Of course, I did notice it and I cried about it a lot. It made me angry. But I didn't necessarily need my brain functions.
Now that I have to actually work with my brain and use it, it makes me feel more useless than ever.

It's the worst pain I know. Without the ability to educate myself, I don't see any sense in being alive.
That's probably one major reason why I started to stay at home instead of going to classes. The more time I spend at university, the more I get confronted with this massive problem that seems to be impossible to solve. And the more my brain is required to work, the more I wish that I could escape. Escape life.
It's basically some sort of protection. A kind of protection that makes everything even worse. I hate myself for not attending classes. Everything's in risk again.

And what's really worrying me, is that my troubles with concentration and memorizing things is no longer limited to studying and university, it's spreading to other parts of my life. Work for example.
It happens quite a lot that customers ask for a book or information and I tell them that I'll look it up on the computer. And they walk around the shop while I search for the right information. When I look back up I have not the slightest idea who asked me this question. And yes, this also happens when there are only about three customers at the store. It's embarrassing and it scares me a lot.

I no longer know what to do.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

we walked around in circles. i said, we walked around for practically forever.

There are many obscure things about Amsterdam. Traffic is just one of them. Here's an attempt to describe the situation. Let me emphasize the attempt at this point...
In order to cross a road in Amsterdam as a pedestrian, you have to do as followed.
First we have to understand a typical road in Amsterdam. There's usually a seperate "road" just for cyclists on either side of the actual road. In the middle, that's where the cars ride. And then there's sometimes another part for the tram. Our goal is it, to reach the other side of the street without getting hit by a moving vehicle.
Stop and see if there's a stop light. If there is one, don't walk in case of a red light and don't walk at a green light either (more about that later). If there's no stop light, look around. Look around you in a 360 degree radius. Bicycles usually appear everywhere.
If you look left and right, and see a bicycle getting closer, don't walk. If you see one from quite a distance, don't walk either. Dutch cyclists are about twice as fast as common Austrian ones (or probably faster than in any other country on this world). It's a bit like leisure time Tour de France. Every day.
If you're brave, you can run or walk fast. If there aren't any bicycles to see, there are only three reasons how this could happen.
a) it's your lucky day
b) you're not in Amsterdam
c) you're looking down a damn canal, silly
Let's say you somehow made it over the first bicycle lane (btw, motor scooters count as bicycles in the Netherlands!). Now you do the same for the car part of the road and the second bicycle lane. Crossing the part with the cars is almost relaxing.
But what's up with the stoplights?
They're useless. That's how it works.
If the light is red, DON'T walk.
If the light is green, TRY to walk.
The way I understand it, the stop light has only one purpose. To signalize with a red light when it's an absolutely bad idea to cross the road.
A green light means that you have to cross the road the same way as described at the beginning of this post.
Cyclists never stop. They ignore every sign or stop light made for them.
Same for trams. Sometimes you're like "Awesome! Green light! No bikes! Yes!"
And then there's a tram passing right in front of you. You've been waiting all this time for the light to turn green and then when the tram is finally gone, the stop light is back to red.
I think the only ones who stick to the rules are car
Pedestrians? you really think that pedestrians would possibly make it to the other side of a street with following the rules?
The conclusion of this attempt to describe how street crossing and traffic works in Amsterdam is, that there's no way to describe how you can really survive all of it. But you will. And you'll love it nevertheless. And you'll walk around in circles...

More Dutch stuff to come...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

teachers teaching, the doctors diagnosing me.

It's been a while again. Let's do a little update. I'd like to do a more useful post, but my brain is on a non-stop vacation, so don't expect anything.
Talking about vacation. Not only my brain is on vacation. I have two weeks off at work and you know about my travel planning struggles.
After some days (weeks!) of frustration and tears I decided to ignore my friend in London (love ya!) and travel to Rotterdam and Amsterdam instead. That's the plan. It's going to happen. Keep all your fingers crossed that I won't lose my mind up there. I've recently became a speicalist in mental break downs and freak outs. Yelling at refrigerators and smashing umbrellas all included. It's a whole new level of crazy. But don't worry, my therapist is a specialist too. And (more or less) kicked me out of therapy last session.
What? Things like these don't happen. That's what I thought. But that's what actually happens in my life. A therapy session nicely opened with a sentence like "I think we should stop".
It was weird. I sat there, nodded and listened.
It's okay. My therapist (or ex-therapist) is great. She simply realized that she wasn't the right person for my problems. She doesn't see herself as qualified enough do treat me. Kudos to her!
She made sure to get a better therapist and tomorrow is the time to figure out if it's true.
Maybe I'll get a new label to wear. Erase the bold "Depression" and make a subtitle out of it.
It's not important to have a label, but like my therapist said, it helps to find the right treatment and therapy. That said, I'm ready for therapist no.4 (hospital time not included).
To kill the time between those two therapists I made sure to get my very special therapy session at the internationally travelling singing therapist Ezra Furman.
Seriously, his concerts are like therapy. Only more fun and in a way that I wish they would never come to an end. He was wondering if the people in the audience were "normal", because he makes music for the outcast. There's no room for normal. The day of the dog will come and the sun will be high on that day.
I also bought some merch afterwards, which was the first time I really wanted merch. I usually don't care about it. What's the point of this whole merchandise business? I don't need a t-shirt, mug, poster or whatever of every person, movie or band I like. Same with signed stuff.
It took me a moment to decide that I wanted to buy a t-shirt and tote bag and it took me all the time I had to wait in line to decide whether I wanted any of it signed.
I decided to get the bag signed. No regrets. He didn't simply scribble his name on there, he also wrote "Carry good things" on it.
That's the way I like it.
Anyway. That's pretty much it.
It's all about being crazy in many different ways and trying to figure out how to stop being crazy.
Oh, and university is around the corner.
A lot of panic about that. I'm not ready. Not in the slightest.
The only thing I'm ready to accept is the lack of spare time. I can't wait for that part. Working two jobs isn't enough.
And don't tell me it's counterproductive. I already know that...

(I hope the style of this post doesn't confuse you too much. Ask the loved one, it could be worse...)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

when your family calls you make nice to them all and assure them you're fine and you're great.

I've recently been to Budapest with my brother and I'm already planning my next vacation. I'd like to go to England for one or two weeks at the end of September. That's the idea.
But the whole planning process isn't going well at all.

I hate traveling alone and at the same time I love it.
How does this make any sense?
Here's the deal. When I imagine traveling alone I see freedom (how cheesy does it sound?). You can go wherever you want, whenever you want. You can spend the entire afternoon in a museum. You can skip places, stay at other places longer than planned. You can meet new people everywhere. On the train or a hostel dorm rooom. There are so many chances. It's all about exploring and meeting new people.
That's what it is.
In my head.
Every time I actually go on an "adventure" by myself I make sure I get to my destination of choice safe. Train or flight booked. Hotel room for one person booked as well. No hostel with dorm rooms. I'm way to scared to stay at one. I'm terrified.
And the vacation itself? I usually start of being mildly excited (yes, mildly. I'll talk about this in a different blog post) and then it gets downhill. I end up being tired at 5pm every day. Wandering around all alone, not talking to anyone. I start feeling lost.
Not in a physical way. This girl here knows how to read maps. No, in a mental way. It's a thing in my head.
The same way I prefer to have the apartment all for myself, but as soon as I'm alone for a weekend, I go crazy. I cry, don't do anything at all and get annoyed by every little thing.
Same thing happens when I travel. I end up not enjoying the new places, because I'm lost and lonely. I realize how lonely I am and start feeling depressed (more depressed than usual).

And then I come back home and people ask me about my trip. And I lie and say things like "It was great!"
Sometimes I'm honest and say "It was quite okay." But people don't like it when I say that. If you go on vacation, you either have to tell a lot of exciting, interesting stories or tell only bad things. You're allowed to tell bad things. Like terrible hotels and bad food and stuff like that. But it has to be interesting. You have to stick to a pattern. That's what people like to hear about your vacation. A "It was quite okay" isn't any good.
And then they keep asking. "What did you do? What did you see? Tell me everything about it!"
And I tell them that there isn't much to say. I went places, looked around and left. That's how my trips go.
It's slightly different when I have a travel companion. I always imagine, that with the right travel companion it would be a hell of a lot fun. But I can't tell for sure. Because I never had the right travel companion so far.
It is slightly different. Not a whole lot. I don't get that lost and depressed. Everything else is pretty much the same. I don't have to say much about it afterwards.
It was okay. We went places.

Travelling alone and not experiencing much gives me the impression that I simply suck at organizing myself and doing things alone.
But why when I have company?
Are my companions to boring or am I simply unable to enjoy things no matter what sort of circumstances there are?
It's most likely a combination of both.

I often wish for things, imagine them as being great and then they're not. Or at least not for me. A lot of things I experience are probably awesome, but I don't have the emotions for it. But I don't want to talk about the lack of emotions right now. That's a different chapter I'd like to discuss another time (that blog post where I'm gonna explain the "mildly excited" part). I want to stay focused on the loneliness and how conflicting it is.
It's like the days when I'm home alone and start to feel depressed and lonely. I want to have friends around, or cuddle up in bed with someone, or simply hug a friend.
But when it happens that I'm around friends and someone puts their arm around my shoulder or something else normal friends do, I back off or want to push them away.
I wanted it and then I don't.
I don't know why I'm doing it. I know that I need closer friends. Those wishes and dreams of friends and traveling alone and make new friends as I go, that's what I want. But whenever I get the chance I don't let it happen.

I can't point my finger on something and say that's the reason why I behave that way. I have my theories and the same time I try not to think about it too hard. Is it good to figure out the reason? That's the most annoying part about mental problems. You don't know if it's best not to dig around in your past and focuse on your current problems or if you can only solve your problems if you figure out why it all started.
For my loneliness I have to say that I'm almost a 100% certain that it goes back to pretty much the day I was born. The way I grew up is why I hate being alone with a passion and at the same time can't bond at all.
It's one of the many vicious circles of my depression I have to break. Of course, I don't know how.
I'm stuck after the first step of naming it.
It's dragging me down. Every day of my life and it ruins my vacations. Those small opportunities where I get the chance to get out of my daily life.
Wish me luck that I figure out a way to go on vacation next month and that I survive and come back home and tell you guys that it was at least "nice".

Saturday, August 2, 2014

remember choosing it, it's not the one I read.

This post is about how I friendly pwned my customers. First I thought about doing a rant on the entire gender pushing "girls have to like pink etc" topic which is everywhere when you work in retail, but then I thought about all the negative things I post here. Why not share a fun little story that happened a few days ago at the store. I'll probably do my rant in a couple weeks time. You know I love them...

Anyway. The story I'm going to tell actually is about this whole messed up gender thing, but not in a bad way.
I was standing behind the counter when a couple came up to me, each of them holding a book they wanted to buy. I don't remember the book the woman was holding, but the guy put The Rosie Project on the counter. It's important for you to know how the German cover of certain book looks like. Here it is:

And what's also important for you to know, is that the guy wore a t-shirt of the exact same color. Like the one of the book cover.
Since they both put their book on the counter with their hands still on top of it I asked if they wanted one or two transactions. What follows is a loose translation of the actual German conversation.

Woman: We'll pay seperately, please.
Me: Ok. *takes The Rosie Project*
Man: It's a gift for her. I'm not reading such books.
Me: Mhm.
Woman: You don't have to justify yourself for reading books like that one.
Man: Well, guys don't read these kind of books. Do they?
Me: Sure, why not?
Man: I don't know. I'm not reading it. (he was obviously joking. I'm sure this guy's already all the way through this book by now...)
Woman: Oh, come on.
Man: It's a book for women. I mean, look at the cover.
Me while finishing the transaction: Well, I'd say it suits your t-shirt.
That was the moment both the man and the woman bursted out in laughter. Honestly, the woman had a very hard time to stop laughing at her husband.
Man: Oh damn it.
Woman to her husband: You know, you would've been better off if you haven't said anything at all.
I smiled silently and started her transaction. They chuckled every now and then and the guy pretty much did no longer know what to say.
When I was done they said bye, turned around to walk out the store and immediately bursted out in laughter again.
And I had a big smile on my face. Customer pwned. My day was made. And probably theirs as well.
What else do I need?