Buzzing away in a damp bunker and singing Hallelujah

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Did you know that thinking about your death or mortality before a race improves your performance? That’s what I read in an article. There’s something about that thought which puts our brains into hyper-survival mode and improves physical capability. I will give this idea a go at my next racing event.

I didn’t just randomly start with the above in mind. In order to run Paris, I need to provide the organizers a form signed by my doctor which basically says that I won’t die half way through the marathon.

As a perfectly sane and rational male of the 21st century, I’ve been successfully avoiding the doctor for the last six years. Why see a doctor if I I’m invincible and can Google everything, right? And this time has been amazing. However, all good things come to an end.

In late December I surmised all my courage and dialed the local GP (General Practitioner – that’s what they call a doctor here) on my phone. I had to physically go there to fill in a form to register – it couldn’t be done online. I sort of expected to see a doctor once I handed in the application but they said it’ll take about a week to process it. Things aren’t exactly efficient here at the NHS (National Health Service).

Anywho, about two weeks later I found myself being examined by Dr K. That sounds a bit dull, so let’s call her Dr Dre. At first she was a bit puzzled about why I was there and why she had no prior medical data about me on the system. She asked me the same questions from the form I had already filled in – so much for “processing” my form.

I explained that I needed her to sign my paper so I can run in Paris. Dr Dre decided to measure my blood pressure instead. It was high. She did it again. High. And a third time. Still high. I had to come back next week. She didn’t sign anything.

I came back to see the nurse for a new reading. This time the blood pressure was lower but still high. The second and third measurements were slightly lower but not good enough. I had to book another appointment.

Today I went back to get a blood pressure thingy on my arm, which I need to have on me over the next 24 hours. It takes a reading every 20-50 minutes and buzzes and clicks as it does its magic. Each time it registers the reading and then the doctors can get an average over a day. The whole idea is to rule out white coat syndrome where my blood pressure shoots through the roof whenever I see a doctor or nurse. If it’s still high even after the 24 hours they will need to do some further more invasive tests. By the way the device scares the crap out of me every time it starts – I’m rather skeptical about whether this device will do the trick for me.

Obviously, the moment I got my new toy I went off to my acting class. I thought the other kids would never notice… The class started as usual with all of us sitting in a circle sharing ideas of any good or bad acting we’ve seen in movies/plays/theaters to share experiences and make recommendations. Then we had to put the chairs back to the walls. That’s then it started buzzing – I need to sit still and try to relax during the measuring. And the bloody thing doesn’t get its reading on the first go, or the second, or the third. It stopped making noises after the fourth try and by then everybody was staring at me thinking why is this guy ignoring the teacher’s instructions. I explained it quickly and they all now probably think that I’m dying or something. My flu and occasional coughs didn’t exactly do me any favors.

Let me fill you in on the flu as well. I ran a half marathon when it was nice and cold outside – around 2 degrees. I was sick before the race and as a completely reasonable human being I thought that a little run can’t make it any worse. Oh boy was I wrong. First of all it was a fairly crappy finishing time (1 hour 34 minutes and something) which was followed by a week of coughing my lungs out. 10/10 experience, totally worth it. 😀

I know what you’re thinking… acting!!! Where did that come from? Well, boys and girls, it gets better. I didn’t add just acting classes to my repertoire I’m also learning to sing.

The seed was planted when I started my new job as a financial adviser – a job which is quite different from anything I’ve done before. I started singing classes to add vocal variety to my speech – this will hopefully make it more interesting for my clients to listen when I talk and help me have more “presence” with my voice in meetings. The acting classes have a big improvisation component and client meetings have a big element of that – I need to learn to think on my feet, also entertain and make it an enjoyable and memorable experience.

In all fairness I thought that acting and singing would make me very uncomfortable and that it would be a massive move out of my comfort zone – but it’s not as bad as I imagined. Yes, we do things which are uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing but it gets better with practice.

My favorite part about the acting classes is watching the other kids perform an impromptu sketch. They always mess it up and it’s hilarious. The course ends with us performing a small scene where two of us are in a bunker and the world has ended due to a nuclear war.

Singing is weird. It’s not something I normally do but I quite enjoy it. I even made a YouTube playlist of videos which have lyrics on them so I can sing along. My current favorite is the Hallelujah song from the movie Shrek. A close second is Let It Go from Frozen (although it’s quite a tongue-twister). I sing when I’m sad and then I’m a little less sad. It’s amazing how that works.

The Protein Deficient Vegan

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Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

2016 is behind us and it’s time to reflect.

hny2017

My most memorable events were:

January. I fell in love every few minutes at the Warsaw Zouk Libre festival (Poland). The girls were absolutely stunning! I still remember that Irish girl… I left Poland with a broken heart.

February. I spent quality time with Benn and Em in Bansko (Bulgaria) and mastered downhill skiing and snowboarding on the kiddie slope.

March. Moved house and got massively screwed by the renting agency.

April. I lost a friend to suicide and ran the Virgin London Marathon.

May. I was dancing and prancing at the Prague Zouk Marathon. I haven’t washed my eyes since seeing that hot naked model stroll through the city that day.

June. I became Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and instead of calling it quits on all the studying I took another two big exams and passed them. Once a student, always a student.

July. I had my 10 year high school anniversary and later that month I fell in love with every other girl in Barcelona (Spain). I had a magical time at the Mataro Zouk Devils & Friends festival. I also discovered my new favorite holiday activity – drinking sangria under a massive umbrella at the beach.

August. I quit my job.

September. I ran another marathon in some park in London and took part in a flashmob.

October. Both of my housemates left me and new ones moved in.

November. I started working as an independent financial adviser, which is exactly what I set out to do almost three years ago when I started my first job as an admin assistant at that very company.

December. I took another three big exams but don’t know yet if I passed them or not.

I think it’s been a relatively good year. But there’s more. I’m going to let you guys in on a little something. I’ve been writing a list of all the good things which have happened to me throughout the year. In fact I started back in October 2015. I don’t remember where I got the idea from but it started out with a positive comment about a blog post I wrote (Thanks Kadri, you were the one who set the ball rolling for me). I kept adding things daily and before I knew it, looking out for the good things in my life became easier and easier. My friends, colleagues and housemates keep getting mentioned over and over again.

Here’s a sneak peak of the list:

  • Hot Chocolate helped me upstairs to my room when I was too drunk after the advisor lunch. 15 Dec 2015
  • Note about rat poison on the floor and that I shouldn’t eat from the floor 16 Dec 2015
  • Meeting Gerli – unicorn zouk dancer 2 Feb 2016
  • Not dying on the mountain 26 Feb 2016
  • I cracked up when Resh fell over at her desk at work today. 8 Mar 2016
  • Amazon paid the rent and deposit and we’re not poor anymore. 9 Apr 2016
  • Val told me there was one guy [at the dancing venue] who asked her “have you seen this guy? He’s amazing!” whilst he pointed at me. 5 August 2016
  • Covanova bought me a Monster before we went flashing 8 August 2016
  • Role playing with Hot Chocolate was hilarious. He is such a “dumb” client, I laughed my ass off when I explained him what an annuity was whilst using a magic pen analogy 17 August 2016
  • I ate a full tub of vegan ice cream (750 ml) just moments after the delivery guy handed the bloody thing over to me. Nom nom nom. 22 August 2016
  • Covanova and I will share the hotel during ZoukFest. We can share the shower again, just like in the good old days. 1 Dec 2016

I’m all smiles after going through the entire list just now. I’ve never actually read the entire thing. It’s well worth it.

I hope you all had a good year and I wish you all the best – especially to all the people who contributed in a positive way to my life. Love you guys!

Happy New Year,

The Vegan

Drinking margaritas and dancing senoritas

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Running at 15 km/h on the treadmill is probably the same as 12 km/h in the real world. That’s what it felt like. The original idea was to chill at the hotel’s spa because of the rain. Unfortunately the spa was closed at the time. So I decided to cease the day and use the gym instead – conveniently it was right next to the spa entrance. Twenty minutes and five kilometers later, I left the treadmill drenched with what appeared to be the sweat of a thousand scrotums. Mhm, that bad! I went upstairs and knocked on Chinatown’s door to join the tribe.

“Can I use your shower?” I asked as the kids were enjoying their hotel room lunch. They probably enjoyed it a lot less after I joined – I think Mr Fox passed out as he couldn’t handle the smell… or the visual.

All showered up, I realized this was not my best look as my nasty sunburn was on display and I continued sweating. After a bit of chit-chat I had to go back to my AirBnB place to change clothes and have a second shower (my sweat glands didn’t get the memo that I was done running). Hey, it’s warm in Spain!

Neither one of my AirBnB hosts – Christina and Victoria – spoke much English. Consequently we didn’t talk that much as my Spanish is buenos nachos assessino caracas!

Two days earlier, I arrived in Barcelona and spent some time sightseeing. I checked out the Sagrada Familia (it’s the pointy tower building which shows up when you Google images about Barcelona), I checked out a few parks and a castle etc. There was a lot to see.

My first impression of Barcelona was: Wow!

It was so beautiful. I was falling in love with every other girl I saw. They are gorgeous!!! This place was heaven! I’m never coming back to London I thought. I will cherish that day forever and ever.

On Thursday, they had a beach party before the zouk festival. A few of my dancing friends showed up that day in Mataro as well (it’s an hour train ride away from Barclona). The plan was to go to the beach party together and get a cab.

I was told they’d pick me up in two minutes. My feet took me downstairs and across the street so the cab could pick me up. The problem was that the cab never arrived or stopped. I waited a full 10-15 minutes but no dice. So I decided to walk it instead (in all honesty it was only a 10-15 minute walk anyway).

Here’s what happened. Chinatown, The Girl from a Swiss Cottage, Mr and Mrs Fox and the Little Dinosaur hired a cab. They only had room for six people and told another girl at their hotel that she can’t share the ride as one spot was reserved for me. The cab got in front of my place but there was no place to stop, so the cab driver just drove past. They all tried calling/messaging me but I had no reception nor internet on my phone (I actually left my phone at ‘home’ anyway as I thought it’s rather useless here).

The taxi driver was a bit cranky I was told and he didn’t seem too eager to look around to find a spot to pull over. It doesn’t seem that he knew where the beach bar was and ended up stopping way past the actual place – all the kids had to walk quite a bit back.

The way I see it, nobody won that day. I got screwed over as I was left waiting for a cab which never arrived, the sixth girl got screwed over as she couldn’t join the taxi at the hotel, the cab driver was annoyed, the ride cost a lot more than it should’ve and all the kids had to walk back about a kilometer from where the cab stopped. It was a disaster.

One thing is sure I will never let Italians organize a cab again. Ever!

We had a bumpy start to the evening but it got better. A lot better. Picture this: a beautiful beach, with palm trees, warm weather, a light cooling summer breeze, surrounded with gorgeous chicas, good music and some amazing dancing at a beach bar. This is the place to be. It felt like a real holiday.

Next day, I had my first encounter with the local customer service at breakfast. It wasn’t great and my fellow breakfesteers thought the waitress came across as miserable. I couldn’t tell as I don’t speak Spanish and didn’t understand the conversation, The Girl from a Swiss Cottage did most of the talking. So I’ll have to take their word for it. Although I thought the service was OK.

I was impressed that the girl was able to memorize our orders. However, she charged us less than she should’ve and the bill was incorrect. This happened later that day too as the staff forgot to add my cherry beer to our bill. I guess they think throwing in a small freebie will keep customers happy or… they aren’t too fussed about doing things properly.

I did a few zouk classes that day as well and learned a move or two – nothing fancy. After grabbing some dinner we went all back for the social and did a bit of freestyling until 5 AM.

Green man

As you can see above, the green man is also dancing in Mataro!

The next day was a bit similar but this time me, Mr and Mrs Fox decided we’re too cool for school. We all skipped the first class, I did the second one and then a bit of the third until I quit. I walked out of the class because it felt like a lot of contemporary bullshit and I got really bored. Our alternative pastime was to head to the beach and drink some Sangria (red wine mixed with chopped fruit, something sweet and a small amount of brandy). I became best friends with Mr Sangria that day.

The social was way better on the second night. I thought I’d be too tired because of the previous day’s 5 AM finish… but no I actually felt much better this time around. I danced with the same amazing Swiss girl I wrote about in the post about Prague. Many times, you will meet the same people from previous zouk events (the world isn’t that big at all). I was also impressed by a German girl and most of the Spanish chicas.

I had another unicorn moment when I found out I was dancing with an Estonian girl. Man, she was out of this world. She was wild, she was young, she was chaotic, she was fun. Then I recommended Chinatown to have a dance with her to be part of the magic I encountered. He, however, said she was rubbish and completely out of tune and out of control. In her defense, she was a beginner but she moved like a pro. I guess what I’m trying to say is, she made a very positive impression. Disclaimer, this is a completely unbiased overview and has nothing to do with her sharing the same nationality with me.

I can’t leave out the London crowd and have to say they were entertaining to dance as well. The best, without question, was The Girl from a Swiss Cottage. I didn’t get to dance with Mrs Fox though but I saw all the kids show one fancy move after another one.

5 AM finish again. Next day, however, the sleep debt caught up with me and I spent the entire day sleeping and didn’t do any dancing whatsoever.

The day before leaving Spain, I was in Barcelona sightseeing. I checked out Park Güell and Castle Montjuic and other stuff. It was just as beautiful as my first day in Spain.

Park Guell

I took the train back to Mataro. A lot of teens joined me at the next station. They were loud and on their way to a big party (shower party or something). They couldn’t wait until the party started, so they were drinking their booze and smoking right there on the train. I’ve never seen something like this. It wasn’t just one kid smoking but more like 10-15. They also played loud music and were drumming loudly on the windows or train walls. It was quite a sight.

The next few stations we got extra people in to make sure the train was tightly packed with teens. Some guys were pushing other passengers off the train when they tried to board at later stations. It was wild, anarchy at its best.

Next morning I had to get to the airport and was greeted by a massive line of teenagers all the way out of the train station. Policemen were everywhere and during my wait I saw two or three kids being taken away by them. I was a bit worried that I might miss my flight.

It took me twenty minutes to get into the station and buy a ticket. Following this I was quite surprised that the train itself wasn’t packed at maximum capacity. There was plenty of room and I even managed to grab myself a seat. Not sure where the teens disappeared… they must’ve travelled in a different direction from me.

I’m very pleased with my first visit to Spain. It widely exceeded my expectations. I’ve always thought that travelling in Europe is a bit meh, but now I’m starting to realize that maybe it’s not that bad after all…

Yours truly,

Chicalover666

Tying the knot

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I remember like it was yesterday. Well, it was actually this morning but who’s counting?

Hot Chocolate came down the stairs with his suit on and in his new pair of shoes. Nervous like a little schoolgirl, he asked me if he should wear a tie to his first day at his new job.

“Obviously yes!” I replied. Then he gave me his tie and said “you do it!” By that he meant that I should tie the tie as he didn’t know how to. Luckily I was prepared.

tie

Just half an hour earlier I fixed my own tie. It was months ago when I last tied my own tie. I always keep the knot in because I don’t know how to do it properly. As the weeks progressed and it became more and more obvious that the skinny part of the tie was getting longer and longer compared to the fat part I decided that I should get this first world issue sorted.

It took me two YouTube videos, about eight attempts and 20 minutes until I was victorious. My triumph was staggering. I felt empowered. I could take on the world.

I took Romario’s tie and put a knot on it in twenty seconds flat… only to discover the horror on his face when he realized that his shirt had no proper collar and a tie doesn’t really work with it. I was deeply distraught but the fashion police inside me was strong. I said he looked fine. I tucked his shirt in, slapped that booty and off he went with a big smile to cease the day.

The whole scene was so funny, I felt like sharing.

Ivor the Salad

Posted in Fun

Passat comfort, crying babies and eating snow

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Day 1 – Getting to Bulgaria

It’s the end of tax year here in the UK and work is busier than ever. I’ve found myself working late – something I’ve never done before.

One of my colleagues here used to say that ‘you never stay late, what is wrong with you? I don’t know… maybe I started to care about work and what I do. Sadly it’s to the detriment of my happiness and job satisfaction. The latter has significantly deteriorated since February.

Keeping all the above in mind, it’s no surprise that I needed to get away, somewhere far-far away from London – the further, the better.

Luckily I had already booked some annual leave. This was for ZoukFest – a zouk festival here in London near the Heathrow Airport. However, I got a message on Facebook from Benn (my old Australian housemate) who said he was snowboarding in Bulgaria and invited me over.

I had a quick think, looked at flights, went for a run to clear my mind and decided to go for it. ZoukFest happens every year but how often do you get to see old friends from the other side of the planet? Besides it’ll cost me roughly the same. Following my cost-benefit analysis I booked my flights to Sofia, Bulgaria. I figured it would feel more like a vacation if I was overseas as well. I’m a smart little man, aren’t I?

Fast forward to Wednesday. My flight was from Luton at 9 PM and I had to catch my EasyBus shuttle from Commercial Street (near Liverpool St station) after work. However, work being super busy meant that I had to rush to the pick-up point. My colleagues thought it would be a 20 minute walk from the office. I decided not to trust them and ran the whole distance. It took me 20 minutes to get there. Google Maps says that it was a 36 minute walk. Trust is a fragile thing you know…I will never trust my colleagues again.
Everything went smoothly once I got on the bus. The flight was on time and I landed on time.

I had some trouble booking a transfer from Sofia to Bansko (the ski-resort town). Everything was booked out. One guy from a taxi/shuttle company said they’re all booked out but he’ll look into it. He referred me to Svetlio, who in turn said that he could give me a ‘private’ transfer for £48. I said forget it because I’m poor.

Then he came back quoting £20 instead. I said that’s reasonable and agreed. I think this is how Bulgaria works. They try to skin you alive and then if they find out they can’t get away with it, they’ll reconsider their offering.

So. My flight landed at 2:15 AM local time and Svetlio promised to pick me up from the airport. I was quite impressed that he was actually at the airport with a sign with my name on it and everything. For a moment I felt important.

That didn’t last long.

Svetlio (a man in his late 30s with long dark hair who didn’t speak much English) walked me to his car. It was an old Volkswagen Passat from 1989 I think. This all reminded me of the beginning scene of a horror movie. It was late at night, I got into a dodgy car (which had no logos or anything identifying it as a proper transfer vehicle) with a stranger who barely spoke English. Oh well, I thought… I have no kids nor dependants and nobody will miss me anyway… Let’s be less racist for a moment and give this suspicious man a chance.

We didn’t talk much. I was tired and tried to get some sleep however the thought of being murdered kept me awake.
We stopped at 3 petrol stations and I managed to get Wifi to message Benn to let him know that I was on my way (they don’t sell SIM cards at gas stations for some reason and my crappy T-mobile contract doesn’t function overseas).

I got to Bansko in one piece and have to admit that all my fears were a fiction of my imagination.

It was good to see my kids again. Benn hasn’t changed at all – he still looks like Jesus with his massive hobo beard. Em hadn’t changed either.

We had some tea and a bit of a catch-up before going to sleep.

Day 2 – A day of pain and suffering

I have never snowboarded. Nor have I ever skied downhill with those heavy wide skis. I’ve done a bit of cross country skiing about 10 years or so ago. We put together a plan and decided that skiing was lame. Therefore, I was going to be snowboarding with Benn and Em on my first day.

I had a lot of trouble standing up on the board even on a small incline. Falling down was painful because everything was covered in icy snow. I’m no quitter and we thought that I need a real hill to learn.

Naturally, we went to the tippy-top of the mountain. It was cold. Not renting proper clothes was a mistake. I was shaking from the cold as we went up on the chairlift. The top is about 2.5km high. The views from above were breath-taking.

Bansko (179)

Benn helped me to get the feel for the board as we tried to get downhill together. We were holding on to each other as I needed someone to hold on to for balance. Again, falling was painful.

At one time we decided I should go solo. It was OK for a few seconds until I face-planted and hurt my left arm. It’s been 10 days and the arm still hurts. It probably needs to be amputated.

Side note, completely unrelated to the above. Today I helped out a colleague with a case and she gave me a quick overview: this is a very old client who fell and had to wait almost an entire day until his son found him. I know tragic… but I couldn’t stop laughing once I heard this. And she laughed along. Oh well, I’m going to hell. 😀

Ok, back to the top of the mountain. Benn figured that the only way for me to learn snowboarding was to actually go do some snowboarding. Before he managed to kick me downhill ‘this is Sparta!’-style my whole life flashed before my eyes. A lot of things were already hurting and I decided I’d rather take the chairlift down because this was a very long and icy slope, I was miserable and my ass was wet and I just wanted to go home.

By the way the chairlift was scary as hell. I was trembling most of the way down – 10% because of the cold, 89% fear and 1% sheer horror. The wobbly chairlift didn’t help things either. I was proper shitting myself. Man, I’m such a pussy.

Our trio met at the mid base and decided to try a different slope. Now things improved. A lot. Here the snow was mushy and softer. After a few falls I started to lose my fear of acquainting my face with the ground. My way towards backflips and 360’s was no longer paved with tears and pain but it was more of a sure thing – I could see myself winning the next X-games and slalom Olympics.

I improved a lot and managed to stay on the board like a pro – a very slow one though but still. The highlight was when I crashed into the hottest girl on the hill – this was totally planned of course.

Instead of the gondola, we took the ski-road down the hill. This was a very nice beginner friendly road. However, it was a tad bit too long. I remember my quads and thighs were feeling the burn as I was coming down the mountain. I’m probably doing it wrong because Benn said his thighs don’t ache after snowboarding.

My low-point was when I face-planted with a bit of speed behind me. It hurt and I needed a few moments to bring myself back up to face the rest of the way. Whilst I was on my back begging for a miracle and dreaming of a nice warm place anywhere but here I heard babies crying in the distance. The cries got closer and closer until I saw that some mothers had their kids on their backs as they skied past me. I’m way to cool to call this child abuse but hey… I’m not a parent and therefore can’t judge.

Bansko (171)

Anywho, I was in lots of pain but eventually got up and boarded the rest of the way back to the very end of the road. I congratulated myself on a job well done for surviving this ordeal.

Day 3 – Luxury day

All of my muscles were sore. There was no way I was going anywhere near the mountain. I needed to lick my wounds and some luxury.

Luckily our crib was just three houses down road from a hotel which had a pool and a sauna. That’s where we headed for some easy swimming and chillaxing. It wasn’t anything special. However it was Benn’s (and I think Emily’s as well) first time in a sauna. These kids only lasted about five minutes and it was only 80 degrees in there. Australia has made them soft.

Day 4 – Pro day

I remember feeling sore and watching my videos from Poland in bed. I figured that I could be at ZoukFest and dancing and having a good time. But no, here I am, all broken and nostalgic.

Bansko is not a nice city. It’s got a lot of empty unfinished buildings. We think that the real estate boom crashed spectacularly here and that’s why it looks the way it does. It was quite creepy. I call the street we stayed on Murder Lane because every time we walked past anybody we were scared of getting stabbed by the locals. They did not seem friendly.

The customer service here has lots of room for improvement. I was trying to buy a lift pass for the gondola. The woman sold the ticket to the person in front of me and then just closed her little window and started to count the money in the till and what not. Then she proceeded to have her lunch. I think it would’ve been nice if they kept one of the windows open whilst the rest were on their lunch break. However, out of solidarity all windows were closed at the same time and they didn’t seem to mind that there were people queuing up at every window.

I finally got my ticket and was on my way to the mountain. Since I had already mastered the snowboard I decided to apply my marathon running legs to skis. I also invested in proper pants, gloves and the fastest jacket they had. I was well prepared for backflips and 360s.

The good news is that I was much better on the skis and managed to enjoy the whole thing much more than the snowboard. I ate considerably less snow that day. It was wonderful!

Bansko (185)

Moments before I turned around and dropped all our gear

Benn and Em both managed to injure themselves. Benn fell and stabbed himself in his back with one of his skis and Em hurt her leg when she face-planted on our way back home. Their injuries weren’t serious, they walked it off. However, I was injury free the entire day and didn’t want to leave… but they closed the mountain (i.e. stopped the chairlifts) and we had to go.

On day five I had to head back to Sofia airport and then back to London.

I think this was one of the best short holidays I’ve ever had. Seeing Benn and Em was good, mastering the snowboard/skis was a plus and getting away from London was well worth the trip. I’m definitely going on a ski holiday again.

Peace,
Ivar the future X-games champion

Bansko (203)

Thinking about gettin’ some Pussy

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secret-santa

We did Secret Santa at work. The budget was £10 and I had to make a gift for Dan – I’ve never even spoken to him before. I was at a supermarket and spent at least an hour trying to figure out what to buy and then ended up with nothing. I was running out of time. Next day I managed to strike up a conversation with Dan. I didn’t get much useful information out of him, so decided to change my research methodology. I asked a different colleague whether he knew anything about my victim. Theo said Dan spends a lot of time on Tinder (it’s a dating app kids). I crunched some numbers and then it hit me – I had to get him some Pussy. That would be hilarious. However, then I started thinking about whether this was OK in the office, whether it’s acceptable and what if Dan gets offended or something. I scared myself out of this wonderful idea. Turns out I’m a pussy as well.

By the way Pussy is an energy drink – google it. I’ve never seen it on sale though, but I know it’s real.

pussyenergydrink

So I went for the safer option and got him a book.

Turns out I’m an idiot as well. I didn’t know how Secret Santa works because I added a Christmas card to my gift which had “Best wishes, Ivar” in it. Did you know that the person receiving the present will not find out who he got her present from? I’ve always thought that it’s a secret up to the gift exchange. That’s when everybody finds out and before that it’s this big secret and all that. My colleagues found it hysterical that I managed to get this wrong. Leanne almost fell off her chair laughing about it.

You live and you learn.

 

We also had our company Christmas Party that day. A venue on Farringdon road was booked for us. In the beginning everybody was just talking and drinking. As the night progressed some people started dancing and then one girl pulled me in to join them on the dance floor. It felt quite weird to do that night club kind of dancing because I’m so used to zouk/salsa/bachata. And what’s the deal with girls holding their drink and purse whilst dancing – that’s just wrong. The struggle was real though – I defaulted to some very basic partner dancing but it was quite bad as the girls had no clue what I was trying to lead. A few were alright with the basics of basics i.e. shifting their body weight from one side to the other and repeat. Especially Katie – she was there at the Vinopolis wine tasting thing as well… I think she just felt a bit more comfortable because she knew who I was.

I stayed until the very end. It was entertaining to watch the men get sleazier and sleazier, gradually but surely. Oh, I feel so bad for you girls.

The party was good, much better than I anticipated. I would prefer my usual dancing parties, but hey, sometimes you need to mix things up a bit.

 

Merry Christmas!

Ivar

New year, new home

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I had an exam yesterday (R06) and think that it went really well. I’m sure I passed but will find out the results Feb 27th. This was the last exam needed for the diploma in financial planning. So… all I need to do is wait for the diploma to pop in in the post and make it official. Hopefully it’ll make me much more employable and open a few more doors.

The studying and exams don’t end here. I’m going to continue towards chartered status and will do a bunch more this year. I’m glad all the foundation work is done and everything else is a good extra to have.

After smashing my exam I had to pack up all my stuff and move out to my new home. I could’ve moved out earlier but I didn’t want to spend valuable study time on that.

I was surprised how much crap I’ve accumulated in the last 10 months. I remember all I had was one bag of stuff when I first came to England. I think it weighed 8 kg. Now I’ve at least tripled that…Long story short all my stuff is in my new home now.

I am living in a two bedroom flat with Sue. Sue is in her early 50s. Her daughter moved out and she needed someone to help cover the rent and bills. She looked for people for ages but nobody was good enough. Finally, as she said, I rode in like a knight in shining armor to save the day. 😀

On the plus side my room is bigger – it’s got a double bed. By the way this is the first time ever I’ve had the luxury of having a double bed in my room. It’s so big, it’s a monstrosity of a bed and I’m so small. I still have a few issues to deal with. I don’t quite know how I’m going to cope with all this extra room on the bed.

One thing is different though. It’s a bit colder here. I was freezing my ass off during the night and the hot water ran out fairly quickly in the shower. In all fairness it’s -4C outside (the coldest it’s been in the UK since I immigrated on my row boat with Bubba and Malloy… I sometimes still have nightmares and see the massive waves and how they grabbed Bubba… rest his soul in peace).

Now I live twice as far from work compared to what it used to be. A 25 minute stroll (2km) became a solid 50 minutes (4km). I’m probably going to bus it every now and then… until I buy a bike. The bike idea isn’t great anyway because I have nowhere to store it. Luckily our office will move closer to the town center in a few months’ time and I live in that neighborhood. Even if I had to bike or bus it, it would be temporary.

It’s already the 20th January and I’ve only run twice this year. Training isn’t going that well. I’ve never had issues with my shin splints for so long. Normally they’d disappear after taking a few days off. I’m not too worried though. To a big extent I’m glad I can’t run – it’s freezing outside. I feel bad about it, especially when I skip a run on a beautiful sunny day – it’s such a waste.

The best is yet to come

I’m enjoying my Latin dancing classes. I leveled up into the highest level group in zouk and if I get my salsa instructor’s blessing will do the same with her classes.

Remember, I wrote a post about hugs and kisses almost a year ago? How things have changed… I met this French girl – let’s call her Amelie – and last week I did something I’ve never done before. It was a normal zouk social but strangely I danced with Amelie a bit more than usual. Normally I’d max out at 2 dances with the same girl during a social but that time it was 4 or 5. She just seemed to be available every time I finished dancing with somebody else. Anywho she’s fun and I like her and before leaving I kissed her on the cheek… you know like the French do. I know it’s not a big deal but I remember it was a very spontaneous thing – I just said “see ya” and went for the cheek. I’ve never initiated a kiss on the cheek as I’ve always been uncomfortable with the concept. How I’ve grown…

OK boys and girls, I need to go to work now,

Ivar the soon to be level 4 financial planner

Looking back at 2014 vol 2

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I realise I should’ve done a much better job summarizing my last year in my previous post. That’s because I just saw how PewDiePie summarized his year. Oh man… I’ve got so much to learn from him.

Now where’s my credit card? I need to buy some merch and bropoints.

Brofist!

Ivar – forever bro

A sales pitch like no other

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The pitch! I’m selling my car and I thought that I didn’t just want to list its specs in the ad. I decided to do a bit more work. With the help of my friend Google and the genius of my brain I came up with what is surely a world class sales pitch. It deserves every advertising prize out there.

Without further ado:

Festiva (1)

My dear mainstream carlover, who’s always dreamed of a fancy BMW, Mercedes or Lexus or some other peace of sh*t. Stop being a f*g and forget about all that cr*p. Instead, buy a good never-fail old-school p*ssymagnet – Ford Festiva 1997.

This car has a massive state of the art 1.5 litre petrol engine. This ride will ensure you will blast ahead of all your enemies like a boss. Hot chicks will salute you “sieg heil”-style with their erected nipples because you are their “führer”. Never worry again about seducing a hitchhiker because they will all want you, because you are cool… and you really are… because you drive a Festiva.

 

The specifications:

* According to a recent study, the roar of the engine is just as sexy as Vin Diesel’s voice after 3 days of drinking.

* This car came out of the Bangladesh factory in 1997 which is a remarkable year. You can tell all your friends about your car’s history because in 1997:

** Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in Paris, the only survivors drove a Festiva

** El Nino forms in the oceans between Australia causing unstable weather conditions including hurricanes and drought in the Southern Hemisphere and colder temperatures in the North but no Ford Festiva owner was affected by it.

** Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match and is suspended from boxing. In a recent interview Mike told his fans how much he loved his Festiva which had more than enough room for his boxing gloves in the glove compartment.

** Tiger Woods at 21 years of age became the youngest ever golfer to win the Masters, he drove a Ford Festiva to the match.

** Steve Jobs returns to run Apple Computers, also driving a Festiva. He and Tiger used to carpool.

 

* 4 brand new tires

* Brand new battery with 2 year replacement warranty

* 3 new wipers

* New oil filter and engine oil

* Replaced brake fluid

* TomTom GPS

* Rego until 20 May 2014

* Safety Certificate / RWC included

 

Best to contact me between 3PM and 9PM.

If you are from Africa and try to scam me, do not waste my time because I will swim across the ocean and find you in your dirty hut and slap your face with an ultimate punch right to the face.

 

 

Pulitzer here I come…

Ivar the greatest salesman in the world

Pretty in Pink

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Flashing. I know it’s been almost two months since my last post. I didn’t write because quite frankly not much was happening in my life. I was unemployed for most of that time. Having no money closes many doors.

My financial situation didn’t allow me to continue taking Latin dancing lessons. So I took a break until a friend of mine mentioned a really cool thing to me. H said there was going to be a flash mob in Brisbane and it’s only $40 to participate. I signed up immediately – I’ve been wanting to do a flash mob for a long time.

We practiced our choreography at least once a week and I did extra practice sessions with my awesome dancing partner Bunny. It was a very entertaining process.

Here’s a video of all the people worldwide practicing the same choreography:

I think it’s so cool that over 160 cities worldwide took part in the flash mob. To my knowledge the biggest group of flashers was right here in Brisbane – about 100 people.

FYI Bunny is a bit weird… you know like all women. She suggested that I should wear pink on the big day. I wasn’t very excited about her idea but decided to go through with it just because. I ended up wearing more pink than she did.

Here’s the video of us flashing in Brisbane. The clumsy tall guy wearing pink in the front row is me. 😀 Enjoy!

It was a thrill and I loved the experience. Just 30 minutes after our first performance we did the flash mob again at TEDxBrisbane during their lunch break. We spent the rest of the day having a picnic/BBQ in a park with some dancing. Thank you James (our instructor) for making this happen. You were fantastic!

Volunteering. This is another thing I wanted to do and several weeks ago I ticked this item off my bucket list. I went to a spring festival and volunteered in the ticket booth. It was super easy work but not very fulfilling. It wasn’t meaningful. Maybe if I had volunteered in a soup kitchen or something I would’ve felt better about myself… I might try that one day.

 

Work. About two weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to become a delivery driver. After all I had a car and I should use my resources in the most efficient way… said the homo economicus voice inside of me. “Luckily” I found a job. The interview was a very short one and they were happy to have me even though I’m driving a small hatchback Ford Festiva. They said that in the upcoming months before Christmas the number of small parcels will increase and they’re a bit bad for vans but perfect for small cars.

Anyway a day later I started my deliveries and discovered very quickly how stressful this job really was. For starters constant traffic noise, getting lost and dealing with upset customers were just some of my hurdles. Parking was a nightmare in the CBD and rush hour was never pleasant especially under time pressure – I had to deliver things before the shop/business closes. I wasn’t very happy about the pay either… to make decent money I’d need a van/ute. Deliveries with a van would double my income compared to the hatchback.

I did the courier driver gig for 6 days until I found a new job. This time I got a call from a plywood manufacturing company. I had applied for a job back there months ago and I didn’t even remember what the role was. I met the manager, had a quick talk and now I’m a process worker in that factory.

I’ve been there one week. It’s not a fancy job, but it pays the bills. I’m doing a bit of everything at the moment – working on the lathe, drier, gluer and press – all the production steps of plywood.

Until next time,

The Flasher in Pink