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Dear Reader,

due to the sudden overabundance of free time I seem to have suddenly aqcuired, I have spent an inordinate amount of it reading books. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the energy for anything particularly complex and thus have been re-reading my old favorites.

A few hours recently spent in the Company of Jean Webster’s “Daddy Long-legs” and “Dear Enemy” has endeared me to the Letter Novel, and accounts for the changed writing style in this blog post. (undoubtedly I will be back to normal within a few days!) Until then, I live in a haze of literary references and early 20th century clothes.

I’ve meant to write you for the better part of a week, but as usual, other things have come in between, this time mainly work and an evening course in German. My brain is still swimming with all the new German words I’m learning, but it’s too early to determine if I’ve made any Progress. I live in hope, as always.

I’ve also made an effort to meet new People, and have gone out a few times with some other Swedes here in Munich. (are you not proud?!).

I hear someone calling, I must get back to work.

Yours, more than my own,

C

I’ve made a promise to one of my coworkers that I will start speaking German at work on Monday. (and she reminds me about it everyday too. Which is a good thing. Not a comfortable thing but a good thing.)

Which means I have exactly 6 days left of my English-speaking grace period.

On Monday I will start speaking only German at work.

There. I’ve said it, I will publish it on my feed and now I have to do it.

 

(why do I do these things?)

 

“How was your second day?” asked my best friend when I messaged with her tonight.

“Good,” I said. “But I felt so useless because there are so many things that I can’t do yet because of the language issue. I want to prove that I’m a good addition to the company, and I just feel like i sit and stare now.”

And she had to remind me that it was only my second day, and that people weren’t expecting me to know everything yet.

In fact, they’ve given me no indication that they think I’m doing a bad job. In fact, they’ve been apologizing because they can’t always find me stuff to do.

It’s one of the big drawbacks to having the kind of personality I do (and probably do being a woman used to competitive environments), this constant need to prove that you’re worthy, that you’re not a hassle or wasting anyone’s time. The need to constantly perform.

I’m not saying it’s bad to do a good job. But it’s the part about reasonable expectations that’s the tricky bit.

I have successfully survived my first day at work. There has been A LOT of German (my head is spinning) but mostly, it’s been good. The boss is on vacation (;)) so people were… quite relaxed today, which was good for me.

There are about 13 people (including 2 other interns) and 2 dogs at the office, and everyone was extremely informal (which surprised me, seeing it is a German office) and friendly.
A couple of people invited me to stay and watch the Germany-Portugal game, and even though I would have prefer to go home and bury myself under some pillows, I stayed (of course!) and had a nice time and some beers.

All and all, i think I will survive the summer!

 

An extremely unpoetic post but that’s all I have the brainpower for at the moment!

Yes, these are normally done before December 31 but since I always procrastinate, it seems oddly appropriate to do it two weeks into the new year.
Did you do something in 2013 you’d never done before? YES! I finally, after many years of thinking about it, started taking ballet lessons. And it was as difficult as I had imagined, and even more fun.

Did you make any big changes? Except from the ballet? No, not any big ones, but plenty of small ones that made life easier.

Did any of your friends become parents this year? One of my cousins did! A fantastic baby girl that I adore. But it seems 2014 will be the big year (see post below!) which makes me feel old and immature.
What countries did you visit? Let me see… Norway, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Holland. a very Euro-centered year. Did anything make you very happy? My parents, because they usually do. My close friends, who always are a joy to meet. Doctor Who and all its fans (sad but true!)

Is something missing in 2013 that you want from 2014? A little more excitement! I’ve gotten good at only doing things I truly enjoy and taking time for myself and resting, now I want some adventure!

What do you wish you’d done more often? Worked out. I know it’s good for you, I know I like it afterwards but bloody hell, I think it’s so boring. Also, called friends whom I don’t see everyday. I’m not a phone person, so I usually don’t.

What do you wish you’d done less? The obvious thing here would be “eaten less candy” but actually, I enjoyed all the candy I ate in 2013 immensely. I think it would be all the lunches and dinners I bought because I didn’t feel like cooking.

Favorite TV-shows? Easy question. Doctor Who. 😉 I always watched a fair bit of Supernatural and loved Broadchurch when it was on.

Best book you read in 2013? How to choose?? I also feel I haven’t read that many new books this year. I did enjoy The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemsin a lot.

What was your biggest success work-wise? Graduating college! So that would be when we turned in our thesis and when I found out I passed the accounting exam I studied all summer for.

What was your biggest success in your private life? Becoming better at small things like keeping my apartment in order, seeing my friends and doing enjoyable things. And ballet. Always ballet.

Where you happier or sadder this year compared to other years? Happier, without a doubt. But I also think life gets better and better for every year that passes.

Something you wanted and got? A fantastic dress for our diploma prom!

What did you do on your birthday 2013? I had class, and then I had my relatives over for coffee and cake, and a nice dinner with my family before we went to the opera. Very quiet but lovely.

Is there anything that would’ve made your year even better? More excitement! It felt like a very quiet year.

What made you feel good? Spending time with friends, watching Netflix, dancing, doing well in school.

Best new people you met? The people in my grad school class, undoubtedly.

Most proud of? Graduating college. Sometimes, it felt like I would NEVER get there.

What will you do better in 2014? Say yes to more things, and take more chances. It sounds like a horoscope, but it’s true. Procrastinate less (heh. let’s see.)

 

It’s my birthday tomorrow. I turn 24.

There’s nothing remarkable about that really. I can’t say whether it’s me or the Swede in me that feels a little disgusted at drawing attention to it. We jokingly say about Swedes that that they’re modest to a fault, and that to stick out and draw too much attention to yourself is wrong.
That may be. 

In any case, pointing out that it’s my birthday, holding a celebration, even writing this blog post; is it self-absorbed of me? Or simply human? I’m not really sure. The truth is that I look forward to it. I get to spend it with my family, and with my brother, whom I haven’t celebrated a birthday with in a few years; something that always feels wrong to a soul as sentimental as mine. I’m not sure about my brother, he doesn’t articulate things like that. I look forward to celebrating with my friends, especially those I don’t see very often.

Most of all, I think it’s that very basic human need of being remembered that having a birthday satisfies. “We love, to learn we are not alone.” as CS Lewis wrote.

 

 

I’m a classical introvert.

No one ever believes me when I tell them that, and indeed, I didn’t believe it the first time someone told me I was an introvert either.

‘Introvert’ has been the year’s buzzword, in my opinion, after the publication of several books on the topic, most notably Susan Cain’s “Quiet”.

Introverts, we are taught, get energy from being alone. Extroverts get energy from being around people. Introverts are drained of energy when around people and need time alone to recuperate.

Those are really the only definitions of introversion/extroversion. There are a number of traits that are often applied to introverts though, that they’re shy, not very talkative, don’t enjoy physical contact, making speeches, don’t have a huge circle of friends but rather a few close ones and a host of others.

Which is true of many, many introverts.

But not me. I’m very (some say too much!) talkative.

I have a fairly large number of people I consider close friends.
I’m an excellent public speaker.
I always speak with cashiers (and have no trouble speaking with people I don’t know)

 

But I’m so extremely introverted in other ways. We recently went on a trip abroad with my master program, and after 4 days away, I needed a week to catch up with myself. It’s kinda like a hangover, I’ve overdone the socializing and will feel bad for a little while.

I don’t particularly enjoy clubbing.  Give me a nice dinner any day.

I loathe mingles (but I do them rather well. But not for longer than an hour or two)

I love having friends over but I have no qualms about telling them to go home after a while. (which is rude, I know)

However, what my point is, is that introverts usually enjoy spending time with people. I know I do. I love people. I love meeting new ones. But it needs to be in limited doses. Just because I sit down for a while and don’t say anything doesn’t mean I’m sad. I just need a break.

It’s something I need to learn how to balance in my coming work-life, and something that’s always good to reflect on. How do you get energy? Do you get energy from the same things that make you happy?

And the need to be alone isn’t the same as wanting to be lonely. Loneliness is awful and isolating.

 

 

Something that I’ve kept very quiet about up until… Well, this year, is my love of dance and especially ballet.

I really truly adore to dance.

The only problem is that I’m extremely bad at it. As in, falling over my own two feet in a normal aerobics class bad. And I’ve felt like to even mentioned my interest to other people was to infringe on the art of dance.

Well, I don’t know what happened, but this summer I finally decided that wasn’t going to stop me anymore, and signed up for a beginner ballet class.

I’ve now completed about half of my first semester and I have some reflections about it.

 

Many of the “worries” I had before I started have been realized.
I really really don’t have any natural predisposition for ballet.
I have weirdly aligned hips, so I’m knock-kneed and have extremely little natural turnout.
And very little coordination. It’s actually the reason it took me so long to learn how to drive, I kept getting confused when I had to drive (do physical things) and keep an eye on the traffic at the same time.
I’m not unmusical, per se, (I am a singer, after all) but I don’t have much sense for rhythm either. If I don’t count obsessively, I get super lost.

And don’t get me started on flexibility. Right now my biggest problem is my back that prevents me from doing other streches properly.

Part of me had hoped that I’d just imagined all that, and I’d just be a natural. We have some people in my classes, they just have amazing turnout, great postures (skinny!) and it can make me so jealous sometimes.

BUT (and this is the big but)

God HOW I try. It’s extremely tiring working against my body all the time, essentially, but there are few times I’m more focused than when I’m in class. And if I hadn’t read beforehand that corrections are a good thing I’d probably be crying after every class, because it seems I can’t do ANYTHING right, the way the teacher keeps correcting me.
And I’ve done so many releves that I’ve overworked the muscles in my right foot (my weaker foot) because my body simply isn’y used to it.

And it makes me wonder why I love this strange artform so much, when there’s nothing in it that suits me, really.

But I DO love it.
I thought that maybe once I started class, I’d realize it was a temporary crush or something. But even when I get so frustrated because I can’t even get my heels to touch in first, whenever I get out of class, I feel a little bit lighter.

I just adore it. All of it. I want to know and learn everything. Oh, I can’t describe it; it’s like there’s a hole in me that I wanna fill with all the knowledge and I just wanna fit all the puzzle pieces together.

I didn’t really have a point, I sort of just wanted to preserve these thoughts for myself.

Back to studying.

I saw the Stockholm production of Cabaret in Stockholm when it ran at Tyrol with Peter Jöback and it was an amazing production, mostly because of the remarkable performance by Peter Jöback as the Emcee.

Little did I know that he was not the revolutionary behind that performance, but rather one of my favorite actors, Alan Cumming.

So for some serious feels, and to see how musical theatre is MUCH more than just entertainment (which I might do a post about sometime) watch the ending of the Broadway run of Cabaret (not sure if this is the 1998 revival or the new one that’s coming) with Alan Cumming in the main role.

PS be sure to watch the last 20 seconds or else you miss something quite special.

An image showed up in my Facebook feed about a woman who’d lost a large amount of weight, and that what she had done was “simply” to cut down her calorie intake to 1300 kcals/day and “not restricting herself on anything.” (I’d say eating so few calories is restrictive, but what do I know?)

Now, as you may know, I’m sceptical to weight loss in general and to dieting in particular, so I did some googling.
My recommendation: don’t google.

One of the first links I found was this, from the Livestrong Foundation (that is, a reputable source) and this quote:

The lowest recommended caloric intake for women and men is 1,200 and 1,500 calories, respectively. According to the National Institutes of Health’s Medline Plus, a diet of 500 to 800 calories a day is dangerously too low and should not be done unless its a medically supervised diet.

So it’s really, really dangerous to be on a diet of 500 to 800 calories, but y’know, it’s ok if you’re fat. Let’s ignore the dangers and how that is not enough for the body to survive on. The dangers of starvation is outlined in the next paragraph:

Starving yourself has serious health consequences such as dehydration, constipation, malnutrition and electrolyte imbalances that can cause heart arrhythmias and death, according to Health Tree.

But apparently it’s ok to ignore that if you’re on “a medically supervised diet.”

I also found this nugget:

Image

Please tell me I’m not the only one who sees that there is a problem in telling people that eating under 800 calories is starvation, as in people DYING of it, and in the next sentence it’s ok if you’re doing it to lose weight.