Watch Me Juggle is back.
She’s back, ladies and gentlemen! I’m sure you all can commiserate with how hectic the holidays can be sometimes. I’m sure you’ve all also had that feeling where things get so hectic, that, rather than doing anything productive, you end up sitting around your house doing absolutely nothing. This is the obvious solution, yes? I’ve certainly experienced this phenomenon to a degree lately, and find that sometimes the best way to cope with the “Holiday Hangover” is to give into the urge to do laze about and do nothing. When I wasn’t working, or at some sort of holiday party, I was napping. My coworkers once found me curled up in a ball, under a makeup table between shows, asleep. While this isn’t the most productive way to deal with stress, I found that all the extra sleep did prevent me from getting the plague, and also slowed me down enough that I wasn’t overbooking my schedule as I so often like to do.
The 2016 holiday season passed me by in a sort of blur. I did manage to get myself together enough to send out ridiculous Christmas cards (as is tradition), which spurred an impromptu photo shoot in the hallway of my building, complete with my Christmas tree and…(wait for it)…my new Louboutins! Sure, my house was a complete mess of discarded shoes, shopping bags, and half-drunk bottles of wine, but I’d like to think that I managed to adult my way through life just fine for the last few weeks.
Even though I’ve felt utterly unproductive these past few days, I’ve been unendingly grateful to the people who have stuck by me through a rather rough holiday season. Let’s face it, it’s not all it’s always cracked up to be, but it’s the people who support and encourage you in life that make it all worthwhile. Just a kind word or simple conversation can make all the difference in a person’s day. (It certainly has for me!) So happy (belated) holidays! I’m still not done being festive here in Watch Me Juggle-land, and yes, I do still have my Christmas tree up. Here’s to the next year! May there be many more adventures.
Today, I wanted to write about a little phenomenon I’ve encountered. I’m not sure if I’m entirely abnormal, but I find that, having grown up multilingual, I no longer entirely trust myself to switch from language to language accurately. They all seem to blend together, and I constantly want to substitute one language with another in the same sentence. Even when I reach a certain level of comfort, I second guess myself. During my last trip to Austria, I discovered a bit of a solution.
You see, I just need a few drinks and then my German comes out just fine. In moments of uncertainty, I don’t have a problem asking for help if there’s a word I can’t remember or simply don’t know. The not knowing is always inevitable. I mean, when you’re learning a language, who the hell covers things like “Help! The fuse blew in the basement”?
Sans drinks, I have a crippling fear of speaking to people like a cave woman, and by this I mean using improper grammar or inadvertently offending someone. The fully sober me will get ready to concoct a sentence, and then the voice in my head yells “THAT’S NOT GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT! Everyone in this country thinks you’re an idiot!” So I’m forced to limit my speech to disjointed sentences or one word answers. “Yes. The food is delicious. No, I’m not at all cold.” It’s quite telling that the one phrase I find myself repeating over and over in a variety of languages is “No, really, I’m full.” This can probably be attributed to the fact that I come from a group of universally stocky people, who I’m sure secretly harbor the thought that I’m a strange human twig who’s slowly and deliberately starving themselves into nothing. No matter how much food I shovel in, they insist I need to eat more. On my European side of the family this philosophy unfortunately (or fortunately) also applies to alcohol. I can’t honestly think of another family where “You have to finish the whole bottle!” Is an acceptable thing to say to one person…on a Tuesday evening. There’s also half a cake you’re going to have to put away if you want to make it out alive. Try not to fall down on your way out to the car. Given that there are no streetlights and a lot of ditches you can fall into, this makes this normal task about 800 times trickier.
One evening, after describing what an avocado was to my grandmother for a short period of time, I finally figured out that the German word for avocado was “avocado,” but with a German accent. I’m considering the 10 minutes of my life that I spent performing some sort of weird German charades a total waste. I wrangled all of my vocabulary together to attempt to relay the message: “No, it’s not a fruit, it the other thing… It’s soft, and green, and has a big seed thing in the middle. They put it in sushi!!” (Because sushi is a great reference point for people who have lived in the Austrian countryside their whole lives and still slaughter pigs in their yard.) This was all followed by me making the shape of an avocado repeatedly in the air, like it was going to help. Granted when you’re have two beers and fours glasses of wine in you, it seems really effective.
Despite having spoken it for the better part of my life, I still find that German is not an easy language. But, sometimes, things are a lot simpler than they seem. A bit of liquid courage can help and not being afraid to fail is always a good start.
As many of you know (or might have guessed from my last post), I visited my family in Austria just a few weeks ago. My last trip was in spring of 2013, and was a bit of a whirlwind involving a van full of friends and a trek across the country. Comparatively, this most recent trip was quite a bit more laid-back, with the largest thing on the agenda being my grandmother’s 80th birthday at one of the many the local Buschenshanks, or wine taverns. The party lasted until 1am, complete with a ton of food, dancing, and live music courtesy of my great uncle Franz and his friend Rudy.
My family’s hometown is what one might refer to as rural. It’s not out of the ordinary for people to have livestock on their property, and unpaved roads are somewhat commonplace. Cellphone service can be quite spotty, as it’s so close to the Hungarian border that you could easily stumble across it without realizing. Güssing, a relatively small town of approximately 250 households, is honestly quite hard to find on a map. But, like most of Europe, it boasts a rich history, as is evident by the ruins of the 13th century castle that overlook the town. For me, it’s always been a place to unplug and indulge in some nostalgia. I ate my favorite foods and read half a dozen books in my grandmother’s kitchen. I know that change is guaranteed each visit, as my trips have gotten so few and far between as I’ve gotten older.
I try to appreciate Güssing for what it is. It’s especially quiet and charming during the winter months, when you can find Christmas markets in just about every town in the neighboring region. While we may have high-speed internet here in the Bay Area, they have warm mugs of Glühwein and roasted chestnuts on every corner, which is a fair trade-off, in my humble opinion. It’s very much a place to reset, indulge a bit, and contemplate life(or in my case, attempt to revive some very rusty German…more on this later). It may not be the most glamorous or exotic of vacations, but it’s special nonetheless.
Watch Me Juggle is back in the lovely state of California once again. As much as I enjoy my world travels, I’m happy to be back in the land of unending wifi and to-go cups of coffee. Before I essentially force all of you to look at my vacation photos, I thought I would share some of the utter nonsense that crossed my mind during my travels. While I knew before now that jet-lag existed, I never remembered experiencing it with such…intensity. Coupled with an abrupt break from an intense work schedule and the general unpredictability of air travel, it was like someone had turned the filter off of my ability to think rationally.
Take my foray through airport security for instance. As I stepped out of the X-ray machine and moved to put my jacket back on, a TSA agent took me aside. I had had blood drawn earlier that day, and the band-aid was still firmly plastered to my arm. It was at this point the agent asked to see my bandaid. I tentatively stuck out my arm, wondering what could have aroused her suspicion so much that my band-aid was questionable. I was tempted to pull it off and hand it to her, but something about that felt socially unacceptable. While I’m on the topic of socially unacceptable behavior, a friend of mine recently informed me that people are statistically more apt to cry on planes. I’m grateful that she shared this with me, because about two hours into my flight, I found myself having the following inner-dialogue:
Brain: This movie has feelings. Cry. Now.
Me: No brain. I’m in public, and on a plane. This is not only socially unacceptable, but makes everyone, including me, uncomfortable.
Brain: Cry now.
Me: It’s “Finding Dory” for God’s sake. Seriously?! A children’s movie about a fish— they don’t even have facial expressions! What are we crying about?!
Luckily, my brain compromised, and instead allowed me to pretend I had mascara in my eyes for 15 minutes. I’ve decided that jet lag is a bit like being drunk. Except it’s not at all fun, and you have to be out in public with your grandma whilst pretending you know what’s going on around you. Let’s not forget constantly feeling like you can’t blink and might fall over.
I tried to force myself to adapt to the time zone as much as possible. I stayed up late and had after dinner drinks in an effort to coax myself to sleep. Instead, I found myself wide awake, either reading or typing nonsense on my phone in the middle of the night. I’m just glad I saved enough of these thoughts so I could share the bizarre nonsense that is me at 1am. I hope you find them as strangely amusing as I did. So, without further ado, I give you thoughts from my jet-lagged brain:
- I can only have one arm above my covers when sleeping. Not two. Two and the monsters will get me. None, and I will suffocate. I’m serious. It’s science…or something.
- When on family vacations, always sleep in a room with a door that locks. Lest you wake up with your grandmother sitting on the end of your bed asking you what you would like for breakfast or someone’s hand in your face (my mother recently pulled this and scared the living daylights out of me). When there someone who isn’t you, in your space. They can be one of two things: an intruder or a well-meaning intruder checking to see if you’re still breathing. Either way, this is not reassuring in any sense. Boundaries people. We have them.
- When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes mixed with biodegradable glitter (the kind they make out of seaweed). It would be a gorgeous and environmentally friendly sendoff. There also needs to be drinks.
- European churches are really intense. Sure, there’s gold and stuff, but where did all the decorative skulls come from? It’s good that we teach kids about death, but if I had been exposed to graphically crucified Jesus so much as a child I would have been slightly traumatized. Also, with all this intensity I half expect the “Shame!” lady from “Game of Thrones” to come after me at any moment.
- Do people’s’ ribcages move around? For example, does one side ever get stuck overlapping on the other? Because I feel like mine does, which would explain the awkward uneven sticking out it tends to do. I know there’s a lot of cartilage in there, but it’s level of pliability is questionable. It has a job that needs doing.
- What if the Internet breaks and all my writing disappears? Must check on writing. Must print out hundreds of pages of nonsense too, just in case.
Today, I wanted to share a bit of a personal story. Since last Tuesday, I feel like an awful lot of people have had a lot of things to say. My Facebook feed has been completely taken over by political statements, jokes, and links to opinion pieces. I didn’t want to write another one. I’ve had a very strong reaction to everything that’s been going on, and while I know I live a very privileged and safe life here in California, I couldn’t necessarily pin-point what exactly I was feeling and why.
Today, I couldn’t help thinking of my dad without being deeply sad. He’s come thousands of miles, avoided several wars, and relocated his entire family. To this day, he still helps Afghan immigrants get settled in the United States. The people who are worried about their economy, about unknown “outsiders” coming in and threatening their sense of well-being don’t know people like my dad or my mom. Just as we don’t know them. That’s the fundamental disparity here. I certainly try to. I try to think about a place where people are so frightened of losing their jobs or not being able to provide for their families as the main motivation to look the other way when someone in power actively abuses women, minorities, and people in the LGBTQ community. The sad thing here is that so many people have come to this country to escape similar economic climates and discrimination going on in their own countries. We all fundamentally want the same things in life.
Happy Wednesday! I’m back this week with a long-overdue Five Things! This past few weeks have been a doozy, to say the least. (Yes, I used doozy. I do not regret my word choice.) Luckily, there’s always a bit of silver lining to life; there are always lovely things to observe and share, if you look close enough. This week, I’m sharing a few of these bright spots with you, dear reader. Onward, to Five Things!
I recently was lucky enough to see Darren Criss in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” I can’t remember the last time I went to a musical, and I’ve decided that I need to do so more often! This show was particularly great: simple, slightly ridiculous, and splendid, all at once.
If you follow me on Instagram (or take peeks at my feed down below), you might have noticed my latest “treat yourself” purchase from Tiffany. This little love bracelet only recently caught my eye. It’s a bit big on my wrist, but I refused to have it re-sized right when I purchased it. It was the kind of day where I needed a little something shiny and special to take home.
As it turns out, my friend Stephanie and I are now Alameda famous! She spotted this photo of us in our town magazine. A few months back, we attended a really lovely benefit for Meals on Wheels at our local Rock Wall Wine Company. I had absolutely no qualms about supporting a great cause at one of my favorite spots on the island.
I spotted this display while perusing through a local boutique the other day, and I couldn’t have picked items that seemed more…well, me. I actually own this particular Voluspa candle, but haven’t gotten around to lighting it yet. It’s seems almost too lovely! One day…
I came across the above cartoon while exploring Instagram the other day, and it made me chuckle. In hard times, it definitely helps to laugh at oneself. I’m also incredibly reassured that shopping and alcohol seem to be the common cure for many issues. We are not alone, my friends.
Three years ago, I quit my corporate sales job and bought plane tickets to New Zealand. I walked through the office, turned in my badge, and danced next to my car before getting in. I gave myself permission to never look back.
(She’s back! Juggling away, as always)
Today, I have a little Watch-Me-Juggle-style rant for you, dear readers. All of this dawned on me the other day, when I realized I was channeling the lady above. Has everyone seen that Esurance commercial? It depicts an older lady posting her vacation photos to her “wall”— literally the wall of her living room, and verbally “unfriending” her friends.
Over the last month or so, I’ve been repeating the above phrase. While it’s sometimes in awe, sometimes in irritation, I really can’t bottle it in anymore. So, I give you:
“That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!”
Drivers who drive on the shoulder of the freeway to avoid traffic. I’ve become that person who will edge over to block you. You’re not allowed to make up your own lanes, and cut in front of people in traffic. You’re just not.
Manspreading, mansplaining, manterrupting. I do not have time for this. Sit in your seat like an adult and talk to me like an adult, or I will be forced to plop my purse in your lap in protest.
Assuming that everyone on Facebook shares your opinions. Please share every offensive thing that comes to mind and don’t think about how it affects people.
Refusing to eat the crust of the delicious, fancy bread they serve you at restaurants, just eating the insides, and leaving the rest like bones on your plate. I’m sorry to say I’ve seen this happen. Why?!
Those people who refuse to learn new things and prefer to depend on others. My mother used to tell me that learning is a never-ending process that lasts a lifetime. It’s true! (Or should be.)
Kids that don’t know how to push buttons. What are you doing with your childhood? Mine pretty much revolved around the moments where adults let me push buttons. Please don’t pet the phone like it’s a touch screen, it makes me sad.
Don’t put paper/metal products in the microwave. Sure, I’m guilty of this, but the few times I’ve started small fires in the kitchen, I wish this little old lady had been there to tell me that “that’s not how this works.”
Don’t drink those foofy milkshake drinks from your local Starbucks and call it coffee. It is an abomination. Also, it’s dessert, let’s be real.
Rant over. That’s all for now, but I’m sure I’ll wake up in the middle of the night having thought of more things to add. That’s really not how that should work. Oh well..