Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Don't ask me why, but I just wrote a 9-verse Christmas poem - as my cat! I guess the picture I snapped of him snoozing under the blanket with me, see below, just inspired me. And I think of it as a personalized Christmas card, in a way. Personalized on the sender's side, mind you, not the recipient's. Had to clarify that so nobody expects individual names with individual rhymes in there - we haven't quite reached that level of creative talent or free time yet. But either way, I thought I'd share it with you as my (admittedly weird) way of wishing you:

Merry Christmas - if you celebrate it.
Happy Holidays - you celebrate something else.
And if you don't celebrate anything:
happy random days off work with cookies! 

Here goes.

Quinho's Christmas Dream 

'Twas the morning of Christmas,
and all through the house, see,
not a creature was stirring -
not even my mousey.

Now, while I'm still nestled
on my human / bed,
let me tell you all
of the dream I just had.

I was hid deep inside
of our tree, all adorned,
when I heard a loud voice
saying, “Mutz, you've been warned..."

I thought, not again!
She always catches me:
red-pawed and in action
dismantling the tree.

But this time was diff'rent,
the warning was just in jest:
she brought a huge present -
I said, “Human, you're the best!"

I tore through the paper
(that's what paper is for)
and what did I find there?
Fake branches galore!

"Now you have your own tree,
to play with and destroy,“
the human said smiling,
"my good little boy."

So happy and grateful,
right away I arose
to give her a cat hug
(that's a bite in the nose)! 

This Christmas I wish you,
from deep down inside,
a love like my human's
and some hair ties to hide.

The munchkin dreaming while holding my arm. 

From the little munkie and myself all the best to you and yours, enjoy any and all festivities, have fun with friends and family, be warm, be safe.

And if you, too, have a tree-attacker at home, then to you I say good luck. Although, actually, let's be honest, it's your own fault. Like we don't know what Christmas tree plus cat equals...


Off to munch on some cookies now!
While the kittie munches on the tree some more.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I carried a watermelon.

This post is about the fulfilment of a life dream. About getting to do something incredibly cool that you never even considered possible. Bucket list level turning into your own favourite movie.

I love Dirty Dancing.

I do. I have no idea whatsoever how many times I've seen it so far. But it's been many. I watch it whenever it's playing on a tv I happen to be around. I actively seek it out online or on the family's tv set regularly, probably once a year. I quote it. A lot. Because I love it. A lot.

It's a classic, especially for us 90ies kids. On a list with Home Alone, The Princess Bride, Karate Kid, and the likes. And it's totally fine if somebody else doesn't like it, I'm not a maniac! But I do feel like everyone should have seen it once. If I exclaim that "nobody puts baby in a corner," you shouldn't be overly confused.

Now, on Friday I had the opportunity to participate in an immersive theatre adventure created and performed by the Nesterval theatre group: Nesterval's Dirty Faust. A crossover between Goethe's account of the German legend and the rhythm of Swayze's legendary hips.

The official programme. 

A mashup of the two storylines, interpreted as an interactive improv play, where the audience becomes a participant, deciding whether to tip the characters' fate towards good or evil in an abandoned building in the city. I'm not telling you more at this point, because the show will be on until December and I don't appreciate spoilers. Gotta be fair!

But what I am telling you is that - and you've probably guessed it - there is a watermelon. The watermelon is an actual character in the adventure. He's a creepy dude; he gave me the chills, that guy!

Here he is, the sneaky little secret-keeper, the devil's green and red buddy, the hissing and whispering trickster:

The melon. 

I asked him to share one of his secrets with me when we were walking towards the abandoned kindergarten's chapel for the Nesterval hotel's end of season party. You know, I always do the last dance of the season. (Another quote, eh...)

"Carry me," he whispered in my ear.
My answer: Okay, sure, why not.
My internal reaction: OMGOMGOMGYAAAS!!!

I hadn't known this was a dream of mine until the opportunity all of a sudden and out of nowhere presented itself to me in watermelon leggings under a pink tutu and wearing a thick layer of lipstick.

Guys, guys, GUYS!
I carried a watermelon.

Nobody puts me in a corner!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

OSPR: fan.

While I'm still editing the photos I want to use in my blog entries about Malta - yes, I really am still editing and no, it's only 40% because I'm lazy - I decided to add a post category. I have a bunch of photos I want to share that are too random to go together and there's not that much I can say about them, so I'm doing something new: OSPR - the One Shot Product Review.

One picture.
One product.
My opinion.

First ever OSPR: a fan.

This is a very bad fan. 
It doesn't work at all. 
0/10 do not recommend.

I hope this helps with your purchase decision!

[Unnecessary disclaimer: don't worry, I'm not being serious. You know as well as I do that this is me trying (and failing most miserably) to be funny.]

Good thing summer's over!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Malta Day Two: mhmm...Mdina!

I'm writing about Day Two at the end of Day Three, because I got a little much sun yesterday and went comatose as soon as my head hit the pillow (sort of). Just so you know why I'm using the word "yesterday" instead of "today" - although this, too, won't be posted until who knows when.

I got up, got ready, got breakfast (which was absolutely terrible, but that's what you get when your hotel has guests from all over and wants to please all of them), got readier (sunscreen and shades), and then went to the bus stop to get picked up by the tour operator like all the other tourists who want to see all the pretty things without having to interact with a single local while doing so. Except souvenir and ice cream vendors, of course. I hope the three Austrians from Day One took a bus somewhere as well so they could see that, oh goodness, these poor, oh so behind us truly civilized cultures, people on this much too dusty, simply not correctly irrigated island do have proper roads after all, wow. Good for them. Ugh, those three still bug me.

Now, this first bus, which was also open topped, made frequent stops at the larger hotels and resorts and thus took a bunch of us to Sliema. To my surprise, that's pronounced \SLEE-ma\ and not \slee-AY-ma\, as I had thought. As I said, other than identifying some of the influences, I don't understand the Maltese language. In Sleeema, right where the ferry to Valletta docks, across the street from Burger King (their description, not mine) we got onto the actual tour bus. The blue one, for the northern tour. Here's a picture of the route so I don't have to explain it. Yay, laziness.

I had marked points of personal interest in the brochure thingie, but planned on deciding spontaneously if I'd get off, sorry hop off, the bus or not. As the voice of the audio guide explained some of the country's history and I strained to understand her over the intense wind up there on top of the bus and over the fact that the cheap headphones they used didn't really fit in my ears, we made our way first downwards to Valletta and then towards the centre and the western part of the island. I have to say, I'm not usually one who enjoys those audio guides, but this one was actually well done and interesting and made me want to go get five to ten books on Maltese history, culture, and -drumroll- language. Just to give you an idea, here's some of the things you can make out between gusts of wind: Sicilians, the Punic Wars, Phoenicians, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the knights (Templar?!), Zeus and Odysseus, Islam, St Peter, grandmasters and monks and fishermen, the two World Wars, Alexandria,... and so much more. I mean, how could you not be transfixed and 100% crazy fascinated by this place? I'll be honest: I am sincerely embarrassed by how little I know about the Maltese islands, as the voice in the wall of the bus kept calling them. This place holds such significance; how was I not aware of any of it?

Here's some photos while I try to figure out what this incredible ignorance on my part stems from.

In the end, I got out at only one place: Mdina. Recommended when I posted about coming here on Facebook and the most alluring of stops as described by the brochure.

The first thing I did once off the bus was spending about 20min figuring out why my phone claimed to be out of memory storage, and fixing it - luckily. Then I crossed the bridge over the now dry moat and stepped through the gate into the walled city that used to be the capital back when living on the coast was a bad idea due to regular corsair attacks. See, I forgot to mention pirates in my list up top. Narrow streets, little plazas, an incredible view over, well, everything.

I enjoyed the small details you could find everywhere in Mdina more than anything, so here's some of them.

For the rest of the trip, around more villages and then back to Sliema, I decided not to listen to the guide anymore. Those oldschool earbuds are too big for my ears and therefore don't fit. And what they lack in fitting they make up for in hurting, so I decided to just watch and observe for the rest of the tour. Which was also very enjoyable, although I did feel the curiosity grow with every piece of information the others got and I didn't.

Once back by the ferries and across the street from BK, I got myself a latte (first coffee of the day because the one at breakfast wasn't drinkable) and then boarded the bus that would take us back to our various hotels up the coast so we could end the day as we had started it: isolated in a space of tourists and service personnel, free of the authenticity of a conversation with anyone who doesn't speak the same language as yourself or English.

And the sunburn I discovered when I got back to my room, brought on by spending hours out in the open on the bus' upper level without once refreshing the sunscreen on my face or anywhere else, was the reason I didn't write this until today.

Can't wait to get those five to ten books!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Malta Day One: arrival in newness.

Let me preface this whole thing here with this very important piece of information: I have been up for over 36hrs at this point. It is currently 9.15PM on September 5th. Of the year 2017. I got up at about 8AM on September 4th. Also if the year 2017. Yesterday. I have not slept since. Because I had to be at the airport at 4AM today, I didn't take the thing that helps me sleep last night - according to some random post I saw on Instagram today is Be Late For Something Day. Yeah, no. Not risking my long awaited vacation (long awaited by my mom, my dad, my friends, my colleagues, and many more). So, long story short, I'm a little tired and this thing here might turn out to be somewhat nonsensical at times. But I'm using big words here, so let's hope for the best. Preface done.

I'm in Malta. To be precise, I'm in the Paradise Bay Resort at the northern tip of the island, across the water from Comino and Gozo. Yes, you read that right. Resort. I have a room with a balcony, overlooking the pool and the bay. Breakfast is included, as is the transfer from and to the airport. And while I waited for my room to be ready, I booked three guided tours. A hop-on hop-off tour of the northern half of this island, a hop-on hop-off tour of Gozo, and a harbour tour around Sliema and Valletta. I know, I know. This is not very me. But it's happening and we will deal with it together. Uh, final blow: I booked it in a travel agency.

Didn't book first class, though. No idea how I got into 1F, 
because I gave less at the time (winkwink).

Wait, one more: the reason I'm posting this so long after writing it is that there is No. Free. WiFi. In. My. Hotel!!! Cue maniacal laughter.

Hell is frozen over, the sky is filled with winged pigs, and I took a break from reading my Candace Bushnell novel to watch the sunset from my balcony.

Are you breathing again? Is your heartrate back to normal? Good.

I didn't do much today, because of the whole not sleeping thing. Spent a lot of time exploring the hotel, sitting by the pool, and reading, because I arrived way before check-in time and was way too beat to do anything real. I walked over to the resort's little private beach (I promise, this is the last shocker.) and stuck my toes in the sand and let the waves wash over my feet and you can not imagine how that felt. It's been so long since the last time I touched the ocean, it felt like coming home. Yes, it's the Mediterranean sea, not the Atlantic, but they're all connected and, for a few minutes, so was I. I've been in my room since then, deciding I didn't want to venture any further, because with how out of sync my inner clock is, the rest of me is also out of wack. Is that a real phrase?

The highlight of my day was the ride from the airport to Paradise Bay, from the southern to the northern end of the island, zig-zagging our way up. This place is fascinating in how much it feels like a point of confluence from the entire mediterranen shore around it. It's simultaneously humid and arid. Don't ask me how that works, but you're sticky from the moment you leave the airport building yet you're surrounded by dry shrubs, spindly trees and bushes, and heaps on heaps of cacti laden with fruit. The streets are so narrow, cars regularly have to stop and figure out who goes first maneuvering around each other without taking off the other's side mirrors or scraping along the stubby stone walls that line the roads. The architecture screams Maghrib and Middle East, yet in the centre of every major cluster of buildings you see the steeples of churches and the cuppulas of cathedrals and basilicas, while regularly passing crosses and madonna statues at the side of the road or on building corners. And the language! I doubt I'd be able to correctly pronounce a single street or town name. So many X's! What? All I could think that whole time was how I'd love to rent a car and drive around myself, probably stopping every 500m or so to marvel at everything and take a million pictures. OK, yes, you're right. Every 50m.

I was the only one with that disposition, though. I had to physically restrain myself from snapping at the trio of younger (than me, I'd say early twenties) Austrians behind me, who kept criticizing the island's infrastructure, throwing around not just words like impractical and illogical, but also terms along the lines of stupid and underdeveloped. What the hell, people? Your point of view is not universal - and, boy, am I grateful for that! I really want to escalate this into a full blown rant now, but I won't.

So, instead of endangering the population by zooming around myself (although I still really want to), I'll be spending the next few days exploring as much as I can by bus and boat.

And relaxing. Another first.

First impressions:

Taking my thing now.
Good night!

Friday, August 25, 2017

I can't eat.

Well, that's not true.

I can eat. I do it almost every day! Good job starting a blog entry with a lie - it's basically clickbait! What I mean by it is that I somehow seem to have lost my ability to eat without making a mess. See here:

When your glasses say you're fifty,
but your eating skills say you're five. 

I see the positive in that perfectly placed little (kinda big, actually) crumb, caught by my glasses instead of plummeting down onto my jeans. What's that, you ask? I don't have to worry about adulting too hard in my day to day life! I am obviously very, very far away from that still.

And if you ever have to walk through a dark forest and need to leave a trail so you can find your way back: gimme a call, I got you.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ska-weegee action!

I've had a life-changing experience. It's turned everything upside down and inside out. I promise I'm not exaggerating, I promise. I also promise I don't tend to repeat myself. Go figure it out, you can do it.

I think it'd leave this kind of impression on anyone, but it will definitely have the most impact on people with dictators. I mean, sorry, pets. Freud, get off my blog.

I sqeegeed - is that a verb? - my carpets.
And look at this:

These are two real photos. No edits were made or camera settings changed. 

I can't remember where I read about this, but it must have been some kind of life hack list, either on Facebook or Pinterest or YouTube, possibly all of them. Most of those really aren't that helpful, some are just blatant nonsense. Sometimes, though, you stumble across one or two that really accomplish what they're supposed to. Beeswax to waterproof fake-leather shoes and bags, for example. Coffee ice cubes so you don't water down your iced latte. Things like that.

This so-called life hack lets you deep-clean your rugs and/or carpets better than your vacuum ever could and without paying hundreds of [insert currency here] for a professional cleaning. Yes, if there are actual stains, you won't get around wet-cleaning it yourself or having it done by a pro, I know. But if we're just talking hair, dust, lint, etc... then this is what you need.

This is what I call a hairball. 

For me, it's the perfect solution for when the vacuum can't deal with the kittie's and my hair anymore. Vacuum - squeegee - vacuum is how I do it. Vacuum first to get rid of what comes off easily (and that usually gives good results already, so it's good enough for week by week housework). Then put all your might - yes, it's quite the workout - into the squeegee action. Pressing down hard, "scrape" over the carpet surface against the grain and watch the soft plastic-y part at the front pull out every little bit of undesired material from between the carpet's strands. Pick up the hair and whatnot ball by ball and just dump it straight into the bin. Your budget will thank you, too, because you just saved a hoover bag. Now, if you vacuum over the rug or carpet one more, it'll suck out everything you couldn't pick up with your hands and, voila, your carpet's as good as new.

I could imagine this also being something that could massively improve the quality of life for people with asthma or allergies that affect the respiratory system. Wear a mask while you scrape so you don't breathe it all in while you work and then just look at all this stuff that won't end up irritating your lungs! Awesome.

About four or five double handfuls. Wow. 

I don't often find "advice" online that I actually want to keep, but this one I love and I now own two squeegees: one for the shower and one for the whole entire rest of the apartment - because the technique also works for bed linen, pillows, and any upholstered furniture.

Mmmso soft. Ohsuch vibrancy! 

Added bonus: the carpets are sooo soft now, the kittie's (or other animal's) and your own toes will want to glue themselves down forever.

I'm isaontheway and I approve this message.

PS: I think I just wrote a whole blog entry on cleaning carpets with the same level of excitement as when I write about planes and new places. Oh boy, the grown-up thing is happening again... Help!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Oh laaawd - it's been so long!

Today is May 25th, 2017. I returned to Austria from Trinidad on September 16th, 2015. Yesterday, I packed a bag for the first time, grabbed my passport for the first time, went to the airport for the first time, got on a plane for the first time, and left Austria for the first time - since then! That means: I was in one single place (because I didn't even really leave Vienna for more than two (twice) or three (once) days) in one year, eight months, and eight  days. That is a total of 88 weeks. That's 616 days...

616 days is forever!
616 days is too many!

Going to the airport like it's the first time ever. 

If we think about family trips to Greece or Italy when I was a kid, my language courses abroad, and, finally, my own travels and live-abroads, then you realize that this is the longest I have ever been in a single place in my whole life. In my whole life! If you know me, you know how horrifying that is/was. You know that I love home, Vienna, Austria in general. But you also know that that's not what this is about. You know it's about movement, about exploration, about seeing and hearing and feeling and smelling and tasting new things. And that's what I'm doing right now.

I'm in Vilnius, Latvia. The choice of place was half random and half fear-inspired. Fear?, you ask. Yes, fear, I answer. Whoa, you say. The thing is, the longer I stayed put, the more static I felt I grew. That peaked when I stopped feeling and started "knowing" that I couldn't travel, I didn't know how, I couldn't find flights or accommodation or things to do. I started getting scared of not speaking the language of the place I was going, about being stranded at an airport or a train station, about not understanding every little thing about a place and being a foreigner. All of those are things I used to barely even consider and give just minimal thought to, if any. So, after literally weeks of back-and-forth-ing I booked a flight and a room to/in Vilnius.

My friend Rénia was also coming here (she's arriving in a little while) and she suggested meeting up and hanging out. The safe path, because I'd have "known" company. We're not here at the completely same time, but our stays overlap for two half and one full day. We also did the practical thing and decided to share my room while we're together, thus both saving some money and also eliminating the dependency on phones for meeting up. We is smart ladies, after all.

Now, since I got here, I no longer feel the need for a human safety vest (don't worry Rénia, that's definitely not all you are, eh, that's just what it seems like in this post). I'm happy my friend is coming, but I do feel (actually, also know) that I'm just fine. Wandering comes easy to me, or at least it used to. And now it does again.

You have no idea how relieved I am to see that the ontheway spirit has not left the isa. Nooo idea.

I may or may not have already shared that I got a few new tattoos after returning to Austria. One of them is a little plane, flying around my left wrist in a perpetual journey. I don't think there's a need for me to explain that one. It's the irony of the century that I've been grounded since I got a plane tattooed on me... Well, yesterday, the little one went on its first ride on a big one. What a milestone, too, because it wasn't just one. My wrist-plane went on a Boeing 737 and a Dash 8, all in one day. But it makes sense, as we do have a lot of catching up to do.

Riga was just a layover, but VIE-RIX was the first flight, 
that's why it gets prime picture position and I got a chocolatey souvenir.  

And now, here I am. Having coffee in a cute little café in Užupio, wanting to say "bless you" every time anybody thanks anyone for anything. I'll get over it eventually, and stop disrespecting the Lithuanian language, once "ačiû" stops sounding so funny to me (the u should have this "-" on it, not this "^", but my phone can't do that. Oh, see, respect is already coming in!). In the meantime, I'll continue giggling into my cup.

If I'm lucky, I'll tell you more about Vilnius and my time here as my stay progresses.

We shall see.

For now: iki pasimatymo!