Friday, May 27, 2016

You put what where?!


A few days ago (maybe weeks, I can't know) I was talking to someone (possibly multiple people, I can't know) about cilantro (I know that).

The conversation went the same way it always does:

Somebody: Do you like cilantro?
Me: Ugh, no. But I learned to tolerate it in Colombia, because they put cilantro in everything. It's like, you eat cilantro or you don't eat. About the only thing that's missing is cilantro ice cream or something.

Hwell...

On Tuesday, I went to get coffee with my mom. I remember all of that. After, she wanted to get poppy seed ice cream (really good, by the way) from Eissalon am Schwedenplatz (a very good ice cream shop). I didn't want to get ice cream because I'm trying to get rid of (obvious) sugar in my diet. However, I looked at the list of flavours and my jaw dropped instantly.


Yoghurt Cilantro!

Yoghurt! CILANTRO!!!

ICE CREAM!!!1!

Of course, I immediately discarded the idea of another star sticker in my calendar (I get one of those for every successful sugar-free day) and got myself one scoop of yoghurt cilantro. Yoghurt. Cilantro! ICE CREAM!!!

Here it is.

The brown stuff is chocolate ice cream 
left on the spoon from the previous serving. 
Nothing rotten here. 

You might think that there's not an awful lot of cilantro in there, but if you know cilantro, you'll know this is more than enough. If I had to describe the taste sensation of that flavour combo in one word, it would have to be confusing.

My reaction after every single spoonful: "giggle giggle giggle 'What?'"

It immediately reminded me of chow, where the flavours of sweet and spicy are combined and then mixed with a cilantro overdose to provide a marinade-bath for fruit. This ice cream just lacked the spiciness of salt, pepper, and chili peppers - which I'm very grateful for! The sweetness-but-also-a-bit-sourness of the yoghurt is the main taste bud tickler; the cilantro comes in after and provides the final touch. That's where the giggling starts.

I was definitely surprised by that scoop of ice cream. My second reaction (right after "hey you read my thoughts and stole my sarcastic idea") was one of incredulity: "You put what where?! Cilantro in ice cream? Are you completely nuts? Or Colombian?"

The fourth reaction, though, after the giggles and whats, was absolutely positive. It was 100% worth giving up a star. If you're in the area, make sure to try that weird flavour if it's available again, you'll be surprised too.

In the meantime, keep using your cilantro for guacamole, soup, and salad. Let's leave the experiments to the pros.

For now.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rise no moah!


Advance clarification: this post is not about the sun, don't worry.

You know how, when you drink a carbonated beverage, the drinking straw gets buoyed up and up by the bubblies, sometimes rising high enough for them to fall out of the glass or the bottle?

Well, worry not.
I have the solution for you.

Yours truly is a "blogger" by day (more like by month, amirite..) and a crazy inventoah by night. Nope, that is not a typo. I'm just too cool for the regular old "inventor" that a new term needed to be found and coined. So I invented that too. </brag> <modesty>

Now for the brilliant idea. <okaynowmodesty>

Here's what you do:


When life gives you lemons, you put a slice in your drink, poke a hole with your straw, and marvel at how perfectly it holds your straw in place.

#lifehack

Just like the hole in the tab of a soda can, the lemon slice holds down your straw in any tabless container.

Great, now I'm thirsty!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Camouflapple.


A quick little post, to share with you this brave young apple's forage into enemy territory.
Pearitory, if you will.

Let's see if you even find the guy.
He's perfectly camouflaged in there.
He's a camouflapple!

Typical caption for a picture like this:
"It's been four days and they still think I'm one of them..."

#camouflapple
#pearitory
#makingupwordsisfun

Did you spot the intruder?

Monday, May 23, 2016

ISA.on.the.RUN


Woohooo!

Wooohoooo!!

Woooohooooohoooohooo!!!

Wohoo!

I RAN MY FIRST 5K YESTERDAY !!!1!

Ok, breathe...

Phew.

Ok.

So, every year in the spring for the past 28 years a special running event has been taking place in Vienna. Yesterday was the 29th time. The event is the Austrian Women's Run - Österreichischer Frauenlauf.

A small step (if any) for mankind, but a freaking gigantic mountain-of-a-leap for me!

Generally, there being a running event and people participating in it is not a big deal. For me, however, ist crazy special. See, until yesterday I'd tell you I'm not a runner. That's now changed.

I used to go jogging more or less regularly when I still lived at home, as in with my mom. Since then, my average moving speed has slowed down substantially. Yeah, I walk very fast (which gets on some people's nerves), but, still, not that fast. My next contact with the sporty shoe didn't happen until last year, when I started running with Clevon, aka The Seismic Guy. Unfortunately, we couldn't go very often before my toe started hurting too bad (Have I told you that story yet?), and then I left Trinidad.

Back here, I soon took up my old hobby of White Nordic Walking, but I didn't decide to run again until April of this year. As in last month. Yeah...

Me being me, I figured the best motivator would be signing up for a 6K that same month. Reality being reality, I failed epically. I wasn't well trained (because running 200m twice is not proper training) and I had a bad cold. Life lesson: if you can't breathe, don't run. I made it to the 500m mark and then completed the first 3K walking. And wheezing. And crying. Awesome.

Because of that, yesterday's 5K was all the more special and important.

I did train this time and had upped my in-one-go track to 1,400m. I had already signed up for the beginner's group, the slowest, knowing I'd be combining walking and running. Many ladies did that, I wasn't the only n00b. I have to mention that for myself rather than for you, eh.

The route.

In order to pace myself properly, I decided to alternate full kilometres of running and walking. I wasn't going to cross the finish line walking, no sir. Run or die trying. (Not really, but I was determined not to repeat the WomanFunRun disaster.)

I ran the first 1.1K.
Then I walked to the 2K mark.
Ran from there to past the next sign, about 3.2K.
Walked a bit further past the 4K marker.
Ran the last about 600m.

That feeling. Crossing that line. And crossing it running! And fast, too! Thanks to an almost-there-adrenaline-boost. Oh, man...

All 33,000 of us got a medal but that doesn't diminish the value one bit.

I want to feel that again.
I want to feel that feeling all the time!

Because of that success, I have decided I'm going to run "for real" now. As soon as I can, I'm getting proper running shoes. I'm going to get a good running app so I can track myself and try to improve as I go (or, rather, run) along. I'm going to participate in as many of the upcoming running events as I can afford. And there are many - and all of them sound like tons of fun. Looking forward to that!

Lots of sponsors = lots of goodies.

This year's shirt. None of these show the actual colour, LOL.

I'm a runner now.
I'm a runner now!
I'M A RUNNER NOW!!!

Thank you, Clevon, for getting me started by putting up with my silliness during your evening runs around campus. Thank you, mom, for not letting me give up after my first failure. Thank you, everyone who didn't say I was too fat to run, for not saying I was too fat to run. You all rock.

Oh, and before I go, just to share - and as a point of reference for myself - here are my results.

My rank: [Do yourself a favour and read this in a Bond voice!]
I came in 1st. 17,561st. [Hahahahaha!!]

My number: 13942.
My starting block: G.
My class: W-25.
My rank within my class: 2,364th.
My net running time: 0:42:11,9 - about 42 minutes.
My average running speed: 7.11kmh.
My average time per km: 8:26 minutes.

None of this might seem impressive, but I came in mid field in my very first real 5K and I am proud and happy and super pumped and proud. Yes, I did mention that twice.

This accomplishment/achievement means a lot to me and the feeling I'm getting from it is one of intense joy. I do believe that in keeping this up, among other things, of course, I'll find my way back to my happy self. Like I found a road sign and it tells me I'm heading in the right direction.

However, the other feeling is one of intense soreness.
I'm off to go spend the night in a tub full of Perskindol.

Friday, May 20, 2016

My plea to your humanity.


This is a serious one.

It's directed mainly to my fellow Austrians, who are -hopefully- making their contribution to the country's future path and direction.

Voting in person in April.

However, it's also directed at non-Austrians, both within the country and without. Ourselves, but also our neighbours and our fellow members of the European Union and, really, everybody everywhere.

This is not just our problem, here in our little red-white-red bubble.
This is big enough to affect everyone, because similar things are happening everywhere.

I'm talking about our second round of this year's presidential election, where green (Dr Van der Bellen, independent/Green Party) faces blue (Norbert Hofer, Austrian Freedom Party). The decision is about to be made. Aleae iactae sunt - and we're all about to get hit in the face. Hard.

I'm not going to tell anyone where to cast their ballot, who to vote for.

But I am going to tell you to vote. Use your right to make your voice heard and steer our country (all our countries) in a hopefully good, wholesome direction.

And I'm going to tell you to think, watch videos, and read (news-)papers and books about our past, present and future. I'm not going to lecture anyone, I don't have knowledge extensive enough to do so. All I ask is for you to take some time to, as I said, think and read. Take a look inside yourself. So you'll be able to make an informed decision on Sunday (or whenever, if you're not from here) and make it one you can stick to later, when the results are in. Remember, we'll have to live with it.

Remote-voting in May, because I might not have time on Sunday.

No matter your personal views and ideologies, we all have to play our part.

Because we're all responsible.

And we're all human, all of us. Equally.
I can only hope it'll show...


[I'm most likely not going to post about politics again. this being an exception, and I'm definitely not making it a regular thing. I just felt the need to speak up. And this is where I do that.]

Saturday, May 14, 2016

200-year-old instagram!!!


Instagram just updated their logo and the in-app design, taking a step towards the future. I, however, am about to reveal instagram's distant past!

Here's my tale:

Today, I went to the Museum of Art History (KHM) with my mom. There was a special event for the museum's 125th "birthday" involving free admission when presenting your public transport annual pass and a free guided tour through the current special exhibit: Feste Feiern - Celebration. I'm translating this as I write, meaning you'll have to check the museum's website to see what the official English name is. Yes, very lazy, I know.

I love our many great museums and actually am a proud owner of a KHM annual pass, but I don't usually do any guided tours, instead just walking around on my own and reading all the placards and wall decal explanations. Thanks to our young art-history-student-and-museum-guide-on-the-side, I learned something new today.


Above is a part of Johann Carl Auerbach's 1773 piece "Court Banquet Celebrating the Engagement of Archduchess Marie Christine and Prince Albert of Saxony on April 2nd, 1766 at Hofburg Palace" (tl;dr rich people eating).

Now, there's nothing much new right there, a bunch of royals eating off golden plates at the table in the centre, a bunch of lesser royals and nobles sitting or standing around them watching them eat, plenty of servants and guards everywhere. What was new to me was that in order for the audience to know when the big fish in the middle were receiving their next dish, fanfares announced every new course to the spectators.

That's kind of like sitting in a sports arena or stadium and relying on the announcer to give you the information you can't get from just watching, because you're way back and up, in the cheapest of seats. That's pretty wacky, but not too crazy.

What is seriously nuts is the fact that outside the castle or palace cannons were fired so as to allow the townspeople and the nearby peasants to also follow the royal banquet plate by plate. Cannons! So the peasantry would know when the fancypants received another plate- or bowlful of food most likely prepared, at least in part, from the tenth of the crop they had to hand over with every harvest.

So I'm in the museum, looking at the picture and listening to the guide and I'm like, "Dude! It's instagram!"

And I mean it!
Think about it!

Transport that setting into our times and what you get is a bunch of rich people (not to point fingers but... probably the Kardashians) blasting out picture after picture of #foodporn and #dinnerselfie and #blessed to their hundreds of thousands of followers who sit around, phone in hand, waiting to see more. On one side, the followers will react with #goals and whatnot and, on the other, tweet about how those rich b******s are really just annoying wannabes with too much undeserved money.

I'd like to believe that, back then, the scenario would have been similar, if offline. Two peasant teenagers going on and on about how Lady X totally needs to stop stuffing her face, because last time she rode by their fields they saw that she was getting, like, really fat. And how Prince Y is, like, so cute, but he's also, like, a bad boy, because he definitely cheated on Baroness Z. And, really, they should all just, like, #checkyourprivilege or #gtfo.

Or something like that.

#keepingupwiththehabsburgs

You may or may not be able to tell that I had a lot of fun (in my head) at the museum today.

All I can say is go and see it all for yourself. The museum is open year round and even if admission fees are a little steep, it's worth it. Especially if you reserve at least five hours for the visit: that should give you enough time to at least browse through everything.

The special anniversary exhibition opened on March 16th of this year and will be open in this shape and form until September 11th. After that, only the pieces that reside at this location anyway will remain, while items on loan will be returned to their regular homes (which include museums like the Prado in Madrid - how cool is that!).

You'll think of me when you see the painting and hear or read about the 18th century's weird customs. And you'll enjoy the art, even if you don't go spinning tales in your mind like I did.

And now we know: #foodie et al are absolutely not an invention of our time. It's been happening for hundreds of years and we're definitely not the first ridiculously self-involved generation out there. (Phew!)


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The new cloudwatching.


Cloudwatching.

Hobby of millions.

Maybe. Well... at least tens.

I love it and if you work out your imagination like your other muscles (leg day!), you'll find some pretty cool stuff up there in the sky.

It was overcast and stormy-skied today, so there were no individual clouds to identify, but lucky me had tankloads of coffee again - as per usual. The last one I had was a cappuccino and while I didn't get any latte art from the new and unexperienced barista at the bakery, I did get some cocoa on top.

And that had a story in it!

#milkfoamcloudwatching
#makeitintoastory
#butalsodrinkit

I don't know what you see in there, but I see two people on a swingset.

I wonder where that swingset is. Is it in a park? By a river or lake? Is it in their backyard or on their porch? And who are they? Are they a couple? Best friends? Siblings or mother and daughter? What are they talking about? How do they feel? How often do they get together like this, to sit and talk?

There's so much to think about!

That's another thing I like about clouds (and cocoa). Traveling through time and space with whatever it is you see in there allows you a timeout from all your other thoughts. The ones about the day-to-day, about work and friends and family, about things that might make you anxious or even sad.

And after your little break, you come back into the real world with renewed energy to take each diem-bull by the horns and carp it like you're not just one person but a whole team all inside one body. Fresh power.

Good night!
(Dreams also make for fun stories!)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Source.


Dear all the people who have ever asked me where my "crazy" comes from. Those who want to know why I always seem to be making one weird face or another. Those who inquire about my ridiculous sense of humour. Those who can't get over the weird ideas I sometimes come up with. Those who call me "special."

Dear ladies and gentlemen,
I present to you,
proudly:

my mom.


#theoriginalcrazyface
#happymothersday
#thatsnothowyourideabike

Just let me add, if you will, that, of course, it's not all her "fault" as she's not the only source of the-good-kind-of-crazy in my life and my gene pool. I just thought Mother's Day would be the perfect day to show off this childhood picture of her and demonstrate one of the origins of my "uniqueness," as some of you call it as well. Why Mother's Day? Cos she got a ton of gifts today and thus isn't allowed to be mad at me for posting this. Ha!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Isabella 2.0


Hi. 
I'm Isabella. 
I just got here. 


I've been doing a lot of thinking these past two or so weeks about how I came to return to Austria, what I've been doing these past few months, and how I've been during that time. Mentally and physically, but with the main weight of my internal investigation directed toward the mental. Not crazy mental, but the general world of feelings that we humans carry around inside of us, whether we're conscious of it or not. 

I'd been thinking about all that ever since I bought my and the kittie's plane tickets, of course. Now, though, my perspective has shifted, my perception of myself and my surroundings has changed, and I'm able to view things, my current situation and my future, through a lens that was previously not available to me. 

The most life-changing "epiphany" regards the basic nature of my return. Independently of the actual circumstances, which I am still not willing to disclose, I've been seeing it as a bad thing. Making the incredibly difficult decision to leave UWI and Trinidad has, so far, felt like a gigantic failure to me. Regardless of how things went down and what things went down, all I could see was "dropout" and "step back" and "giving up" and "failure"... 

I think it took this long, because it's not just the degree and the university versus whatever will happen now, here in Austria. I've been a student for as long as I can remember. From the first day of kindergarten until the last day before I left Trinidad, I've been a student. So not only did my place of residence change in September, my whole universe changed. I've never not been a student, so what am I now? Maybe putting it this way will help those who can't imagine my dilemma, those who haven't been in this situation. I moved myself into a new place, geographically. But I also moved everything I am around to where I was completely lost. 

I pulled the rug out from under my own feet. And I just now managed to catch myself. 

Now, what I see is: Opportunity

This is huge. It's hard to understand unless you've been in the same situation, but I tell you, it's gigantic. 

For over seven months, I was nowhere. In limbo. I had physically left Trinidad, but I wasn't able to let go. Because of that, I physically arrived in Austria, but I wasn't really here. That's what made everything so difficult: you can't settle down when you're still so very attached to another place, another situation, another life. You can't hear or even feel yourself, you can't make any plans for the immediate/near/far future, you can't take a proper deep breath. 

Until the moment I was finally able to let go of previous plans and ideas and visions of the future, I wasn't even aware of how deeply all of that had been affecting me. 

I drew that first deep breath, air flowing down all the way into my belly, lungs stretching, a heavy weight lifting off off me. I suddenly stood more straight, walked with determination, looked confident. 

Now, that I wasn't holding on to the past anymore, with my whole arm stretched out and grasping tightly at any and all straws behind me, I could turn to the future properly: standing tall and facing ahead. The present less scary, the future an open field, my mind at ease, my inner voice suddenly speaking up and I heard it!

No, I don't have a real plan yet, I'm still searching. I'm still applying for jobs and still learning how to be my real self again, still finding out who that really is. But I do feel and hear me now. Not 100%, but more every day. Now, when I hear someone tell me that I'm going to be okay, I'm able to believe it. 

It took 219 days to get here.
Seven months and six days.
But I'm here now.

I just got here.
I'm Isabella.
Hi.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the Forthe!


Today, May 4, is, without any shred of doubt, my favourite mid-year holiday. Hurt much else going on between Easter and Christmas, no presents necessary, fun memes all around, the whole internet celebrating together, my family has no clue what I'm talking about, all-around fun times. In case you didn't know:

It's Star Wars Day!

Sorry, wait, that's not right.

It'th Thtar Warth Day!!!


Love this image, because it's not just Star Wars. Oh no. It also adds a little extra for all of us who have a dirty creative mind. Oh yes. 

I'm all geared up now with one of my three (okay, seven) Star Wars t-shirts and a bunch of quotes to throw around as I go about my day. So, all that's left is to wish you:

#happystarwarsday2016


PS: The Trek sign is on purpose. Poor trekkies should get to celebrate with us instead of being ignored on this special day. We're all galactic geeks anyway!

PPS: I also have to share something outrageous with you: I got am awesome Star Wars Yoda calendar for Christmas last year and now look at the holidays it lists for May:

Drunk you are, calendar,
go home you should. 

(The outrageous thing is the missing holiday in the one calendar that should have it pointed out. Having received a great gift is not outrageous.)