Saturday, 25 April 2009

Change me...

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The perculiar thing about change is that one does not notice it when it happens. Lately, I have found myself in that rather odd position of being me, but not the me that I think I am. I am a rather nevrotic, party-hard, restless girl. Or, that is what I feel I am. But then I find myself living a rather different life inside a different girl. And I wonder how that came to be. Now, this is a difficult one, because I don't feel I am living anyone else's life, nor do I think I am being untrue to myself. No, I am being me as profoundly as always, maybe even more so now than before. But still, when I think of me, this is not it!

Which leads me to the question of what do I feel about the me I am now, and the life I am leading now. Somehow I feel this is a in-between life. Somehow this is just a pause, a break, a paranthesis in my real life. That I will one day return back to the me which I was before.

Which, of course, is impossible. In order to do so, so many things would have been erased, not only removed, but completely undone. And we all know that these things cannot be undone. Ever. Small boys with bottomless eyes and dimples on their knees cannot be undone.

I don't miss my old me much, it's not that. It was a good me, but not the best me (as Oprah would have put it). So, it's not me missing the before that makes me unsettled in this new me. I guess it's because the change happened so sudden. And it changed me into someone I never thought I would be. Not someone I never wanted to be. Whether I wanted to be this or not was irrelevant, because I never thought about it. It was like thinking about whether I wanted to be a fish, or not. It wasn't applicable. Thus, I guess, that is why I find myself here. Not owning myself nor my life.

I guess I will grow into it. I am not uncomfortable where I am. Just puzzled as to how I ended up here, and what to do with myself now. This new me. This me I don't really know yet.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


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I ran into a friend of mine the other day. And he asked me if I had heard anything from B, which is a mutual friend which moved abroad for a little while ago. I told him that I hadn’t heard from her for about a month or so, and then added that B wasn’t very good with e-mails. To which he replied that neither was he, and then he giggled. What struck me was that he didn’t seem very apologetic about it, but rather proud. And that got me thinking.

There seem to be more and more people which take pride in their inaccessibility. When internet first started up, everyone wanted to get connected, and everyone who was anyone did have e-mails. And so communication changed, or so we thought. And also, when mobile phones became common, everyone had one, and we took pride in our accessibility. We lived in a world where you could (and would) get contacted everywhere at any time. We wanted people to reach us, and we needed it. To be honest, I still do, when my mobile phone became sick, and it had to go to the mobile phone hospital, I felt amputated, friendless, alone… I couldn’t reach anyone. All my phone numbers were on my mobile, and gone were the days when I knew my friends phone numbers by heart. And no one could contact me. But, I still had my e-mail though.

But lately, more and more often, I notice this trend, that in a world where everyone is accessible all the time, wherever they are, it’s showing status to not be accessible anymore. As my friend, and B… To not have the time to answer e-mails, or write them in the first place, seems to be a sign to the world that one does have a life. And a such exiting life that one does not have the time for so mundane tasks as to write e-mails.

Another friend of mine told me rather proudly how little he used his mobile phone anymore. If people wanted to reach him, he said, they could call him at home and leave a message. So, is this the new answering machine screening strategy? Not even text messages did he reply to, even when he saw them in time. Of course, most of the text messages he got was seen way too late anyway. "You can only ask J" he told me, "and J will tell you how little I use my mobile". And again was I struck by the pride in his voice when he said it.

When mobiles first came out, the phone trend changed from calling to someone’s home, to calling that someone directly. We didn’t want to leave messages, and we didn’t want to talk to someone else than the person we wanted to reach. And so we couldn’t understand how we somehow had managed to exist without all these new communication tools. But, have we now moved on to being too accessible? Is not being reachable 24/7 the new status sign. Instead of being on everyone else’s fingertips at whatever time, do we now require that people do make an effort to reach us, to find us?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Travel memories

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I was sitting on a cafe the other day, talking to a friend of mine about travelling. And we started to discuss the reasons why one decides to go travelling. One thing we both agreed on was if nothing else, you'd came back with some quite good stories. That made me remember some interesting stories of my own.

One happening I keep remembering happened in the summer of 97, when I was travelling in South-Korea. The summer of the Asian Financial Crisis, which meant that had I decided to wait until the summer of '98 I would have saved a lot of money due to the devaluated Asian currencies. But, I was 20 years old. Financial trends and monetary crisis weren't words I used a lot, to be honest I probably wouldn't have recognised them if they hit me smack in the face.

I was visiting one of the more famous temples in SK, wandering around and admiring the statues, and being very faxcinated and intrigued by all the bold little monks dashing around, when one of the rocked up to me and started talking. This was great, even though his knowledge of English was rather non-existent, which was less great. After a little while he asked me whether I would like to come back to the compound where the monks lived and have tea with him and some other monks. 'Great' I thought 'Kodak moment, a moment to relish and tell my grandchildren about'. I could almost picture myself, gathering all my grandchildren... ehr... Anyway, it WOULD make for a good story when I came home, and it WAS bloody interesting. Me, having tea with the local monks at one of SK's most famous temples… this was an once-in-a-lifetime offer.

It was great. Sitting on the floor with three monks, drinking green tea, and trying to communicate in writing… Which still puzzles me today. If I couldn’t speak Korean, why did they assume I could read it? Anyway, one of the monks gave me a note with a phone-number on, and with many hand gestures got to explain that I should call him.

This is one of the things I find odd and very funny. I have no idea how many small notes I have carried with me home from my travels, with a phone number on, given by a local who could barely say ‘numba one’ accompanied with the universal phone gesture. Of course, usually there’s a copious amount of the local spirit involved, which may take part of the blame, as after the 12th sangsom-coke, soju, or whatever the local brew is called, anything makes sense, and minor difficulties, such as an inability to speak each other’s language, turns irrelevant and unimportant. This is normally about the time when you new local best friend rock up some rather particular local beer snacks, and at the time you think it doesn’t really matter that the snack is either a part of an animal you have never heard of before or a tasty protein-snack with a few too many legs. Frankly, deep fried grasshopper is quite yummy, but I still wonder how drunk one has to be for one to pick up a grasshopper and think ‘yum, this one will probably go really good with beer’…

There isn’t always alcohol involved though. On the same travel as above, I once stumbled out of a bus in the middle of South Korea eagerly looking for a quite famous park which my travel guide swore should be a short five minutes’ walk from the bus stop. After one and a half hour of chasing pavements I still hadn’t found any park, but I did manage to locate a tourist information booth. Then I had to spend another half an hour trying to explain to the girl behind the counter what I was looking for. I finally realised that we weren’t even talking about the same thing. I wanted my park, she wanted my address… More hand gestures and rather goofy smiles. 20 minutes later I understood that she wanted my address so she could write to me, thus practicing her English (which was rather non-existent). At the time, it sounded like a great idea, so I wrote down my address and gave it to her. Later on though (after an hour in a cool room and some rest) I realised that having a pen-pal who knew hardly any English at all may not be the best of pen-pals. Luckily it seemed like she came to the same conclusion as I haven’t received any letters from her.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Quack quack

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Today, the sky is grey and sad. It's raining outside. Everyone has an umbrella. I don't have an umbrella. So, I will become wet. I don't like being wet. Wet and sad and cold. Ducks like to be wet. Wet and happy and cute. I like ducks...

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Childhood romance

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Today, I suddenly remembered this guy I once went to school with. We were 17, going on 18 (well, he was, I was 17 going on 35), and I thought I was in love with him. Sort of in love at least. I liked the notion of liking someone. And he was sweet and cute, so how could I not be in love with him. Nothing ever happened though...

Years later, I ran into him at a new year's eve party, and as alcohol and years of forgetfullness often do, tounges loosened up and secrets got shared and laughed of. So I told him. And he told me that he had been in love with me at the same time. Two hours and a bottle of red wine later, we still hadn't figured out why nothing ever had happened, and more importantly, who was to blame. But we were happy. We laughed a lot. We shaked our head of how young we had been, and how naive. And still nothing happened.

But, on the bus today, I suddenly got overwhelmed with this feeling of loss. And of sadness. And while watching the buildings move past, and all the people on the streets, I realised I was annoyed for having missed my time with him. Missed out on sharing a time with him. A time when we were still young enough so nothing mattered much, but old enough to care.

I don't know why I came to think of him. I haven't thought about him for years. I haven't seen him for years. I wonder where he is, what he is doing. I normally don't, but today I do.