Some things never change

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One guy from work had this genius idea that we should all go and watch cricket together. I thought it’s a good opportunity to get to know each other a bit more in a non-work environment and said yes. I wasn’t too excited about cricket because I remembered my last time I saw the game in Australia. It was boring as hell.

Friday arrived and after work I went to the game. I wasn’t too happy about it because there was a party at my dancing school. I’d rather go there than watch cricket. But hey… opportunities for social capital are few and far between.

Having extensive knowledge of my last cricket game experience I decided to buy a few drinks before I sat down. The logic I used was the same as when men consume alcohol to make the women look good again. Armed with my cider I bravely marched towards my seat of death by boredom.

Most of my other work mates were already there. They all knew I didn’t know much about the game. One guy explained me what it was all about and he did a great job. Now I know the gist of it but more knowledge didn’t do a thing to decrease the boredom.

I wanted to leave after the first half (alright that’s a lie, I wanted to leave after the first 10 minutes) but thought it would be rude to do so. So there I was – sitting in the sun, sweating like a pig, without sunglasses, trying to fake some interest but c’mon guys, nobody can fake for 3 hours. Nor did the alcohol help. I was glad when it ended. I walked home knowing that tomorrow would be a good day. How right I was…

Changing gears matafakas

Any way you want it, just the way you need it, any way you want it…

Epic Pause

 

Tomorrow – that awesome day I’ve been looking forward to – arrived. Canada called me and woke me up. She asked me where I was – we were supposed to meet up in London. I did a bit of planning and took the train.

By the way I met Canada in Australia (you should know that if you read my blog, if you don’t shame on you!!!). We went on a road trip on the east coast and watched an opera in the Sydney opera house back in the day.

She had not changed a bit. We spent the whole day doing touristy things – for example walked in Hyde Park and saw the Buckingham Palace. That was pretty much it. We didn’t really care much about that stuff… we only had eyes for each other. 😀 We also watched Godzilla. Man, that’s an awesome movie!!! I loved it!

I like that about London i.e the fact that I can still meet my friends from Australia. I guess the UK’s not that bad after all.

I was jealous of all her stories. She did a 2 month eurotrip. Hiked in the Alps and what not. My personal best marathon time and passing an exam was no match to her highlights. She inspired me. I need to spice up things a bit. I need action… I don’t know what I’ll do but I’m slowly dying here.

My good friend Einstein once said that you can’t expect to get different results by doing the same things. I need change. I want to feel alive again.

Rachel and me near the Buckingham thing

Rachel and me near the Buckingham thing

Looking normal

Looking normal

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

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The plan. I’ve been planning surprising my mom on her 50th birthday for quite some time. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do – basically show up at her place on her birthday with flowers, presents and wish her a happy birthday. I’ve been away from Estonia since Dec 2011 – that’s about 2.5 years – I hope she still remembers who I am.

I’m writing this in the Riga airport in Latvia while waiting for a bus to Tartu, Estonia. It’s strange to be back in a place where the majority of people don’t speak English – it’s either Russian or Latvian. I’ve been living in English speaking countries and need to adjust to my new (or should I say old?) surroundings.

The flight from Stansted (London) to Riga Airport sucked balls. It was freezing at the airport and there was nowhere to sit to wait for your flight except on the cold floor. All benches were full of people either sleeping or dozing off. The floor it is, I decided decidedly in a decisive manner.

You might have figured out that I had an early flight. Congratulations Sherlock! The lesson I learned from all this is that I should never show up at the airport before the bag drop counters for my flight open up.

I feel a bit like Santa at the moment. I’ve got a bag full of presents for my family. I hope they like ‘em.

I did a good job keeping my plans a secret. Only my sister and a few VIP friends know I’m nearby. My baby sister will “hide” me at her castle for a few days (my mum’s birthday is in 3 days). In the meantime I’ll try to spend some quality time with my niece Vanessa who was born when I was on the other side of the planet. I’ve got high expectations: I plan to teach her to do a cartwheel, double salto, a few headstands while juggling 7 balls with her left hand and doing my taxes with her right hand on a “dumb” phone.

The bus trip. I. Hate. Latvia. Alright, I don’t hate the whole country, I hate its buses and roads and its airport. First of all I had to wait 5 hours for my bus and then had to prepare myself for another 5 hour bus journey. I believe it took me about 2.5 hours to fly from London to Riga (1691 km in a straight line) and now this 244 km trip will take twice as long. Welcome to Eastern Europe.

On the bright side the bus had a free Wifi connection and an outlet for my laptop. There were also tablets on the back of each seat. I took advantage of that and watched two movies. GrownUps 2 was hilarious – it was so funny my laughter was disturbing the peace of my fellow travellers. ‘twas a jolly good ride, me mates!

The second half of my bus journey was slow and just as entertaining as watching grownup men running around on a field chasing each other and trying to kick a ball.

I spent the next few days at my sister’s place in Tartu. I enjoyed my first day there a lot. The highlight was my long lunch with Erik and Liina. It was easy to talk to them because they’ve travelled the world a bit as well. I look forward to seeing them again.

 

Big 50. All the kids got together and drove off to see my mum. I had several ideas about what would happen once my mum saw me. What followed was not a huge American style expression of joy at all. What happened was a lot like a train leaving Liverpool station at 6:32 AM with an average speed of 60 km/h moving towards another train from Manchester leaving its station at 6:44 towards Liverpool at an average speed of 55 miles/h. That’s how dramatic our reunion was! That’s as good as it gets in Estonia.

I quickly discovered how out of place I was. To be fair I re-discovered it. Basically everybody was talking and I wasn’t. I felt how different I was from everybody else.  After my mums birthday I already wanted to leave. I remembered some of the reasons why I left back then.

ESTrip. Me and me mates went to Hiiumaa and it was awesome!!! Me, Pete, Olav and Siim rented a cabin in the dark and scary forest of Hiiumaa. Naturally we engaged in social drinking and banter and did a bit of “sightseeing”.

There’s not much to see in Hiiumaa except a few lighthouses and a military museum (I wasn’t a fan of either “attractions”). If I had to pick a favourite it would be the Eiffel Tower. See the video below.

Basically it’s the prototype of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. First it was built in Hiiumaa and then the evil Russian communist pigs stole the blueprints and lost them after a party in Paris. A French janitor/hobby-artist found the blueprints in an empty vodka bottle (back in the day the Russians’ most secure means of communication was by message in a bottle). That janitor’s name was Eiffel, he built the tower for his exhibition and the rest is history.

I spent my last two uneventful days at my brother’s place. I believe I was a lot of trouble for him because he had to take me to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant and it wasn’t easy to find one (I was happy with the 3rd place we went to). In the future I’ll opt for a cafe and order a black coffee – I did’t enjoy being a “problem”.

A glimpse of Australia. Just a few hours before catching my plane back to the UK I decided to see if I had any friends in Tallinn to arrange a catch up meeting. I was very lucky to see Marget again (I met her in Australia). I noticed that she didn’t have the same vibe (or lack of any vibe whatsoever) as other Estonians did. She was energetic, cheerful and radiant – completely out of place. She reminded me of so many things I miss about Australia. It was great to reminiscence.

This trip to Estonia made me realize how lucky I really am. I’ve seen, lived and experienced so much which wasn’t possible in my tiny home country. Going back felt a lot like falling asleep for 2.5 years and then waking up – nothing had changed about the country. I think I’ve changed or maybe I just see the world through a different lense.

Oh the humanity

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Human nature baffles me. I just don’t understand some things. Here’s  an example: I washed my bed linen and the blanket cover, then put it on the line to dry but when I went to take it off it was already gone. Somebody (I suspect my housemates) took my stuff (to be fair it’s technically not my stuff – I found the linen and blanket cover in a closet near the TV-room on the day I moved in, and I’ve had it for 3 months). Still, “my” stuff was taken and not even a peep about who did it. I understand if you want to do the right thing and take my washing off the line before it starts raining or something… but just taking it like that… there’s no good reason why somebody would do that. I’ve looked for my bed linen and they’re nowhere – any rational person would put them into an easily to find place for the other housemate to find it. Anywho… I don’t even want to get it back, I hope the thief (or rightful owner) will get sleep apnea while under that blanket cover and is taken straight to hell to burn in the eternal fire of Hades with the power of a thousand Suns.

Hell

(I like the pic. It looks like the skeletons are dancing and the volcanoes remind me of New Zealand…. so I guess it’s a NZ party hell!!!)

Oh well…. I decided to let that fantasy of having good decent housemates go and bought new linen and a blanket/pillow cover. Problem solved!

You might think that the above is a pseudo issue but it caused me a lot of anger and frustration. Why? Why? Oh the humanity, just tell me why would anybody do such a thing?

 

Running. My training is going really well but I’m nowhere I want to be with my speed yet. I’ve discovered that during my long runs  I’m OK the first 25 km. After that my heart rate goes above my upper limit (149) very easily and it’s difficult/impossible to keep a good pace with a heart rate below 149. It might be a hydration thing… or maybe the day gets gradually too hot for me during my run?

Two days ago I ran a marathon – it wasn’t a race, just a training run. My goal was to finish in less than 4 hours. It was a beautiful day and the first 25-27 km went really well. Then it became difficult to keep my heart rate below 149 and I decided to ignore it. The last 10-12 km weren’t pretty – average heart rate around 160 which didn’t feel good. I also passed one of my colleagues from work. It was good to have somebody cheer me on on my marathon. I kept going and finished in 3:55:02.

You’d think I was happy about it but that’s not the case. I didn’t experience any joy from achieving my time goal. My brain immediately told me …”oh whoop-dee-doo, it took you 1 year to shave off 10 minutes from your marathon time”. Plus I felt like crap because I kept my heart rate near 160 for about an hour. Maybe I’m depressed? Maybe I can’t feel positive emotions anymore?

I don’t feel depressed… but maybe I’m in denial? – There’s no way to win this debate.

 

Today was another great day. I’m studying for exams which are required to become a financial adviser. These exams turned out to be much harder than I anticipated. Earlier today I took the first exam (it’s called R01) and passed it.  One down, eleven more to go!

 

Ivar the Adviser