Wednesday, 13 February 2013

V-Day (,) Baby!

It's the time of year! Valentine's Day! The stores are plastered in red and pink hearts, supermarkets are advertising ridiculous deals on chocolate boxes and despite the cold, the stupid birds have started chirping as well. And while I'm really happy for all my friends in relationships, the drooling and lovey-dovey facial expressions have reached an all-time level of madness.

So I've decided to spread some love across the channel to my little sister, who's birthday it is today.
She turns 22 today and she's amazing (see earlier post Lurve my sister). Nuff said.
And since pictures say more than words, here's one, which is definitely worth a bunch of words and some giggles.

Love you Chuti


Friday, 13 July 2012

Oh Snap! It's a long one. Rant #1

So here we are. It’s been two weeks since the end of the pre-summer exam period: I’ve had just about that time to empty my head of all termini anatomici, at least until the next set of exams start and two weeks to process those 6 weeks of exam-hell and revision stress. This process is generally very erratic, I go about my daily business, when it comes to a meaningless or mindless task, one switches off the great thinker and just goes about one’s work. Sometimes a stray thought enters the mind, a memory of the past weeks, sometimes even years breezes past the inner eye and one smiles or shakes one’s head in remembrance. So this evening, there I was, hanging up the washing to dry and suddenly this memory pops into my head. It plays out like this [author: I need to give you a bit of a backdrop, so just bare with me]

The first half of the exam period has ended; I have one exam left to sit in August, my friend, Anne and I have just come back from collecting a signature and stamp in our index books for our psychology and sociology courses. We head back to the main building of uni to meet some of our course mates who have just finished some exams and should be sat outside sipping celebratory beers. 

Two of the girls we’ve been revising with at the library are indeed sat outside, sipping a beer and grinning like Cheshire cats. They’ve apparently passed. Well at least one has, the other has just been tagging along as moral support for the past week. The usual chat ensues, regarding topics that were picked, what the examiners were like, how mutual friends did on the exam, etc.  

My concentration fades and I begin eavesdropping on a conversation between a first year and another girl from my year. One specific statement particularly angers and at the same time scares me.
“You know, my grandmother she’s Polish, you know, that really old school type of people. She says things like ‘Those dirty niggers’ and stuff. [author: I want to add here that I only wrote out this derogatory term for authenticity. I abhor the use of the word] I really appreciate that kind of hate.  You know, that clean hate, just pure and clean hate that those old people have.” At this point I’m staring at this first year, with all kinds “What the fuck did I just hear?” written all over my face. The second year who is apparently the second party of the dialogue uneasily glances at me. Another first year, who, judging by the black suit and tie, has apparently just come out of an exam, stands next to the offending first year shuffling nervously. His friend has by now noticed me staring but with a pause continues talking. I just turn away and shake my head.
Why does this offend me? Why shouldn’t it offend me? I am not Caucasian. My parents are Sinhalese Sri Lankans, who moved to Austria after getting married. Now, I know what you’re thinking. She’s going to go off on a rant about racism; it’s all been said and done before, so shut the hell up. I am well aware that there are a number of people who have gone and said all there is to say about racism, and how it is bad and should be punished, blah blah. Growing up in this idiot-infested country that was once (and still pretty much is) the breeding nest of all kinds of evil that brought about the Second World War I have had my share of racist remarks and imbeciles. Judging by the current state of the nation’s youth and their attitude towards education, work ethic and society, this country is well on its way downwards with the threat of an implosion looming overhead like a highly-charged raincloud. However, I think most of us have been aware of this for a long time.  Seriously, don’t get me started. If anyone wants an accurate history of that, drop me a personal message, I’ll write you an essay.

No, what I would like to address at this point is not the sheer idiocy of an uneducated group of youngsters that keep voting in the openly right-wing party that advertises with slogans such as “Patriotism instead of Moroccan thieves, “Home instead of Islam [author: I admit these sound weak, but the translations don’t rhyme as the german versions do and that pretty much takes away the bite of the message] , but the alarmingly increasing amount of people who forget the lessons that the past have taught us.
Now, this kid, who is at most 21 years old, maybe even as young as 19, has every right to admire his grandmother. If mine were still alive, I’d probably adore them for their strength of character and for how they raised my parents. It’s lovely to respect your elders and look up to them, for all the hardship and the struggles they’ve put up with. However, I draw the line at admiring them for their socially irresponsible and unacceptable views.
The racism expressed by elderly people is quite common, particularly in this part of the world, i.e. in Western and Eastern Europe. These people have survived the Second World War, possibly a couple of civil wars in their countries, have had their families displaced or at worst killed. The majority have had to build up from the bottom; therefore I can comprehend where the bitterness is coming from. I know what you’re thinking: There’s very little one can do about them, they are just too old to change their ways. Whatever, you’re probably right. I mean even my mother gets a tad suspicious around Arabs and other ethnic groups, her being a Sri Lankan. Go figure. 

What angers and scares me is that this first year admires his grandmother for her behaviour instead of condoning it. Sure, it might have just been a line and I shouldn’t take it seriously. What angers me is that, this child, who grew up in Germany, a country where in your middle and high school history classes, special weight is laid on teaching children about the dangers of the National Socialist movement in Germany and Austria, where the National Socialist party was banned for a long time for fear of it re-emerging and nowadays is deemed comical, where integration of immigrants into society is viewed as a far more pressing matter than in Austria, where Austrians are viewed as the backward-thinking hick cousins, spews such racist sentiment, like an uneducated inbred arrogant hog, despite having enjoyed 13 years of education in the German primary education system and a year of secondary education in Hungary. He should and he does know better. 

He is where the system fails. You can point your finger at his parents and blame them for doing a poor job at raising him. Sure, I agree to a degree, but we, particularly as sentient and legal adults in higher education, have a responsibility towards society and humanity to better ourselves so we may be of some benefit to our fellow humans rather than a dribbling mess of hypocritical nonsense with liver disease prior to even beginning practising medicine. Long gone are those days when higher education was not only seen as a path to better employment but as a way to improve oneself, to become a well-rounded asset to society. The principles of the great universities of the European continent of producing educators, scientists, doctors, lawyers, great minds, movers and thinkers have been diluted down to rushing as many students through poorly organised courses as quickly as possible, as universities are run more like businesses and less like academic institutions. Whatever, we’re not here to discuss that.

 The question I would like answered is the following: Am I really that far off in thinking that I should, at least at the beginning of this degree and the start of this career, be the most morally sound and honest person I can be? My reasoning is that, as I proceed through this degree and through my career a lot of this attitude will be hacked and stripped away, so I might as well bulk up on it and see what remains. Am I naive to expect the same of my peers? I understand there are a lot of students, who are motivated by the financial security, the physical allure or the challenge of being a doctor presents. But does no one want to be a better person?
At this point, I would like to remark that my temper has simmered down considerably and I have decided to forget the warthog that inspired this rant. There may be people who disagree, saying that people like him need to be told off and warned about their attitude. I myself have given up on the current generation and can only shake my head at them. It sounds defeatist, I agree, but I would rather channel the energy I would be wasting on this twat into studying harder for a final or going out dancing with friends. Would I confront him if a similar situation occurred again? Maybe not, I might if I was particularly worked up about what he was saying, but I would probably get so emotional over it that I’d get myself in a mess of words and start bawling at him, while yelling something about slavery and the British Empire. In short, it would turn ugly.
I know what you’re thinking. She’s a hypocrite, calling out the guy who made a racist remark in a blog, but not taking action in real life. Yes, maybe I should take action and do something about it, particularly because where I live, I am an ethnic minority. I am aware that the colour of my skin is going to create difficulties for me later on in my professional life. I know that I will encounter that patient who refuses to be treated by me, because he or she doesn’t want to be touched by someone of my skin colour. While I’m sure I’d feel more than insulted, I’d probably turn away and find someone more suitable to that patient’s taste to take over. Why? Because, although I am obligated to, not only legally but also by my conscience, treat to the best of my abilities, I cannot force treatment on someone, who refuses my services. I can learn to deal with racist idiocy on the part of my patients. What I cannot deal with is when my colleague is stood next to the sick bed, cheering the patient on. 

That being said, I’d like to leave you with a quote from my late father: “Kiddo, try to be pro-active, rather than re-active”.  I’d rather turn my frustration into something sensible and constructive, rather than hound all the idiots in the world into one pen and yell insults at them. Teaching today’s children to see the similarities rather than the differences can have a lasting impact on what we give the world, because this trained behaviour becomes second nature and translates into an unspoken law amongst the next generation. You can try all you can to change the ways of yesterday’s children so that mistrust and suspicion are replaced by wary respect and acceptance, but the moment the pin drops fingers will be pointed and accusations will be whispered. In short, Don’t Raise Idiots! 

Peace out, peeps, keep the love going round!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Hi Hi!

ok, so no updates, those are to follow, as I'm muy busy revising for a biochem midterm on friday, but in the meantime, anyone who is interest, i just recently got into PinTerest, which is quite interesting (ha ha ha) and very like me, as I've got pinboards and collages everywhere I've lived so far, just full of ticket stubs, newspaper cuttings, photographs, bits and bobs i find in my purse after a night out or just an afternoon out. basically, memory boards really.
so here's my pinterest profile i hope you have fun browsing through some of the boards.
like i said, its all very new, so please do be kind and humour my lack of pins. and hopefully it'll link you to some other wonderful people with great ideas and pinboards :)
enjoy, and have a lovely evening/day/morning/whatever!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Short Revision Break - Time for Updates!

Ok, so I don't even know why I'm calling it a break, I've basically just been drawing up the structural formulae of various vitamins in preparation for my biochemistry mid-term next thursday and just browsing music in iTunes for the past 3 hours. Definitely not been a very efficient afternoon in terms of revision.

Luckily, I've been collecting some ideas for new blog posts, that will be due next week after all this exam madness has settled down a bit.
On the menu we've got
  • a couple of baking recipes: all-favourite moist choc brownies (one can never know too many brownie recipes) and rum&coconut heart-shaped cupcakes (see pic)
  • a special on wine bottle drip candles and a short review on a couple of chilled-out drinking institutions in Budapest
  • a couple of spring-time-baby gift ideas (warning: this one's not actually about gifts for babies)
April has overall been a really good month full of great weather and some quality time with dear dear friends. My 22nd birthday was probably one of the highlights, but going back home for easter for a week to spend time with my sister and the folks is definitely way up there. April has always been jam-packed with birthdays, with my dad's closely following mine and a lot of people I really treasure in my life being born in this truly awesome month. Well it turns out that I've had to add a bunch of other people to my April Birthday list, with 3 of my very close friends in Budapest celebrating their birthdays towards the end of April. Apart from all the merry-making this incurs, birthdays are probably synonymous with cakes and gifts. This is where the ideas for two of the blog specials come from, but more about that later when I've gotten down to writing about it.

So to sum it all up, stick around for some hopefully interesting blog posts coming up soon!
Much love and see you soon

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

She's made of sunshine, smiles and love

Today's post is about a very special lady. Miss Jamie D. The most smiley, wonderful, good-natured uplifting woman in the world. (it's going to be a bit mushy so if that's not your style, just move on)

I first met Jamie at the student accommodation in London we were both staying in and although I had seen her around in the previous year, I hadn't spoken to her until my final year. This turned out to be very unfortunate, because its people like her that you wish you'd known well before you'd met them.

Let me tell you about Jamie. She's from SoCal, with Filipino roots that take her back to Hawaii (James, I'm sorry if i get anything wrong, correct me please). She's a little lady but she's got a massive smile that reflects the goodness and kindness of her heart. Her laugh is so infectious and soo genuine that it makes me wish that I laughed the way she does. Jamie is very spiritual, she finds her peace and calm in her faith as well as in her wonderful family back home. She's gorgeous, with amazing hair and a great sense of style and colour coordination (this is a massive thing for me, cos I'm absolutely crap at it). But most importantly, being around her makes you feel good about yourself, because of her chilled-out and sweet nature.

Like I said, she's got an amazing eye for colours and patterns and she's putting it to good use as she's doing a degree at Christie's Auction House in London. Whenever she goes on trips with college, she drags along her camera and takes dozens of gorgeous pictures that can only be described as master pieces.

And Jamie has a great taste in music. The two of us could sit for hours singing everything from John Mayer to Colbie Caillat to Josh Kelley and Matt Wertz and never get bored.

The top three memories I have of James:
1. Sitting in the garden at LA eating lunch during the weekend, enjoying the first rays of summer with James, Meggles and Sunil
2. Sitting on the floor of 319 singing tunes late into the night, ignoring everyone else around us and stubbornly crooning away to eachother :)
3. Sitting on the floor of 501 (?) eating healthy food, helping James pack and chatting away with Meggles till Kyle finished packing

The two coolest things I have in Budapest that make me think of James:
1. The goodbye card James wrote me before I left Budapest. Again with beautiful artwork and a wonderful message inside that made me cry my eyes out. I've got it up on the wall over my bed :)
2. 23 - Josh Kelley. One of her birthday mixtape songs. I've been listening to this song the whole day long. It's been a wonderful day with gorgeous sunshine and a light breeze, slight nippiness but overall good atmosphere.

Today has been my Jamie day. I wish we didn't have to be grown up and work hard but could be together all the time just enjoying life in its little good ways and listening to good music and drinking good coffee. But I know life isn't like that so I'll be content and try and see the world through your eyes.

Walking through the front door of my building I was stood in front of this scene and I had to take the picture, cos it reminded me so much of you in all its symbolism and the way you have an eye for tiny details.

I love you James and miss you sweetie. Don't work too hard :) Stay Beautiful

Friday, 17 December 2010


Just a quick post before I get back to revision-ing!

Since Christmas is just around the corner, and we're all full of good cheer, family love and giving (or try to be), I thought this quick post should be about someone in my family who I'm really close to and is my one true confidante and partner in crime: my little sister.

My little sister is an amazing little troll, who juggles a full-time uni course with a vast expanse of extracurricular activities and sports, and still has time to socialise with her friends. And to top it off, she has time for her needy elder sister, me. This little power house (i'm her senior by a year and 10 months) has been the source of much frustration in the past (ie. when we were kiddos) but in the past 5 years she's grown to be a wonderful young woman who reflects the best of our parents and has her very own qualities that make her the amazing person she is. Fiercely independent, she's moved out of our folks house two years after I fled the nest and has managed to sort herself out completely on her own (well i did help her out with her phone contract and some other stuff while I was still in England). And 6 months since I've moved back to continental Europe she's still blazing ahead, unstoppable and gorgeous as ever!

As amazing as she is, she does have moments where you can see the kid in her again and one of those happened yesterday when she came to have a look at my new flat. Her first impression: WOW! It's sooo big, my room is like a third of your bedroom's size, piss-take!

And with those words independent as she is, she made me feel like a big sister again. Not the needy big sister I am, but the cool big sister who she looks up to. And its pretty cool to have a little sister who's practically bad at nothing (except biology) to look up to you.

So this is for my little gurly-wurly: Merry X-Mas! I love you! Hope you like the present!

Merry Xmas Folks and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Best Show In The World!

haven't written in ages and i've not experienced anything super exciting lately so i've decided i'll talk about the past for todays entry.

being nostalgic is something not only old folks and fishwives tend to do, i've noticed when i'm home for holidays my mates and me tend to delve into the past and remember better times, carefree times, generally good times. this is generally accompanied by some merry drinking but i've got to get up early tomorrow so i think i'll leave that bit out for tonight :)

[spoiler- here comes the sad bit]

since my daddy's illness i've taken to clinging to all the things he loves to do, everything from watching his favourite movies, listening to his music and finding the simple joy in ironing or doing the laundry. it's silly but it makes me appreciate the smaller things in life and going by his motto of 'give everything - expect nothing'. it makes me feel closer to him and simultaneously allows me to understand choices he made in the past, that i'd judged him too quickly for. and it has the added benefit of making him believe that we share more character traits than we used to.
so sad and sentimental stuff aside, the things my dad enjoys doing include:

-sitting in a comfy deck chair on the garden terrace after some gardening
-ironing a bunch of clothes while listening to his record collection
-sitting and listening to his two little girls chatter about uni life and stuff
-watching a bunch of old westerns and movies from his 'era'

Now westerns and classics like 'The Graduate' are amazing movies that can keep you entertained for hours, but now and again you need something you can really relate to and enjoy on a day-to-day base. This is where TV shows come in. As kids our dad used to record a german kids music show and The Cosby show for us on VHS tapes (we have racks of them in the basement) but since our VHS player stopped working, we've not been able to watch those tapes for 4 years now (my dad was waiting for a combined DVD-VHS-recorder gadget to come out).

The thing is, when you move away from home, everytime you see something that reminds you of home makes you miss it more and think of the good times you had. My sister and I had an amazing childhood filled with great memories and lots of stories of adventures. Our folks were great about everything and really knew how to handle kids waaay before they had their own (they used to be teachers) so they knew that the normal methods of parenting needed to be expanded and adapted to how quickly children were developing in the 90s (and still are now!)
So, they turned to, and a lot of you may argue against this, TV. They realised we'd be spending a fair amount of time in front of it so they decided to make sure we were watching sensible stuff that taught morals and good manners and generally compassion and tolerance. Luckily, the universe experienced one of those miraculous moments of good timing that only occurs a couple of times in ones life as German TV bought the rights to air The Cosby Show.

Now I've heard a lot of criticism about this show lately, saying it gives a flawed image of what afro-american families were and are experiencing in America. I agree, looking back at that period I'm sure things were everything but the peachy-Cosby state of things. We still hear stories of inequality and discrimination in Europe where we're not sure whether to believe them or not.
However, I think the Cosby Show circulated some good ideas about parenting, social behaviour, tolerance and morals. Rewatching almost the entire show (we bought up 6 seasons this summer!) I realised there were a number of episodes that would have helped out a couple of my friends, not back in the day as kids but later on as young adults. There were numerous episodes about self-respect, in fact i think this was a very central theme through most of the show, which would have been a useful lesson for some of my mates who'd had some rough patches. Nothing as extreme as the episode where Vanessa and her friends get Kara's brother's car stolen and lose their concert tickets to some phony security guy. I just love Claire's rant/speech at Vanessa afterwards though, I remember getting a few of those as a kid from my mother.

Speaking of Claire, that lady was strong and fierce and loving and caring, patient and smart and I only hope that I turn out half as amazing as her. I know its just a show, but she is definitely a role model to look up to, I mean she raised 5 kids, with her full-time job as a lawyer and her husband being a doctor. And her kids weren't all angels that sat up in their play clothes and never got crumbs on the table cloth either! And Phylicia Rashad is beautiful! everytime i see posters of her from all the West End shows she's doing I need to stop and stare at them (too bad i see most of them when i'm on the escalator on the underground in london).

And Bill Cosby is just insanely funny! Cliff can keep my family in fits of giggles (hysterical giggles) even now and his humorous way of tackling issues in the family just make you smile. I especially love how he's so persistent in trying to figure out what secrets his family are keeping from him.
Years of watching the show didn't only have an effect on my sisters and my upbringing. Looking back at how our parents acted around us, I realise that our father adopted a lot of Cliff's behaviour (especially his dancing!) and my mother definitely has had some Claire-moments!

But another point that makes this show so exceptional, is the music that the shows audience is exposed to. My dad's always listened to Jazz and Blues, but I think this show took it to a new level and got me interested in the genre later on. There have been numerous guest appearances by big names such as BB King, Lena Horne, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Sammy Davis Jr and the amazing Stevie Wonder. I think one of my favourite moments in the show is the episode when Lena Horne sings 'I'm glad there is you' for Cliff's birthday. When Jamie Cullum covered it on 'Catching Tales' 20 years later, I knew i'd heard the song somewhere before.

Apart from the terrible fashion (all except Claire, and Vanessa at times) this show is definitely up there among the best and probably my favourite as I connect so many great memories from my childhood and images of my parents with it.

So I leave you with three of Rudi's greatest moments, in my opinion of course, and hope you've enjoyed this show as much as i have.

sit there till you eat them

it aint easy being green

the locker room