Sunday, November 23

Where am I now?

I have decided that I am going to become an eccentric. I have been fullfilling social obligations where I have tried to be nice to people and tried to fit in while realising that this is not being true to myself. As readers may be aware, I am not always nice. I do not believe that life is rosy all the time. I think everyone has problems of sorts and do not think that keeping it in is a positive thing. I also don´t believe in making things complicated..... Why can´t people just be upfront and honest about themselves and their beliefs and their thoughts. Why does everything have to be such a mystery and complicated??????????

So due to my social ineptness and my inability or undesire to play these social games, I have decided that I will become an eccentric. I know I´m a bit young and that this is usually something that belongs to the old woman, cat loving, creative widow or old maid categories, but why should they alone be allowed this priviledge? I will create a new genre of eccentrics.

I don´t like cats much so maybe I will be the funny woman who goes for walks in the forest with my alpaca. I won´t go for the grey, natural hair look, as it makes me feel so old, but I think I will go for the bright pink or maybe ginger hair. It is long anyway to begin with. Í often have paint or clay on my clothes (along with the other gobble that devine children feel their right to imprint you with) so I always seem to have that ravelled, unlooked after look that seems to be associated with eccentrics. As a mother of small children and teacher in the kindergarten, I am often ranting children´s songs or merriments under my breath which could easily be interpreted as the obseqious muttering of poetry by a non English speaker. I can easily imagine myself as the eccentric. Part Dame Edna, part Van Goch, part Julie Walters.

But what I love about the idea of being an eccentric is this ingrained sense of not caring about what other people think. Don´t mix this up with not caring about other people, as I think I will always care about people and want to be as nice as possible, but it is not caring about what people say, or how they react or their lack of response. It is creating a world where you only focus on the things you view as important yourself. Why go to a banal social event just for the sake of maintaining contact with people, when staying home and reading a book will create a warmer sense of well being. Why do what other people expect of you, when you feel uncomfortable in how it makes you feel? I think I am past the stage of being so desperate for the need of companionship and the desire of contact that I just wanted people around. I have reached the stage of my life where I need to have things which are real in my life. Like the old eccentric women. They live their lives for theirselves. Not for what ís expected (leaving out any possible mental illness concerns. This is my fantasy.)

Sunday, November 16

Tis the season

The Christmas Season has started.
Tis the time of Gingerbread Houses,
and advent calenders,
Hot roasted chestnuts and caramalised almonds,
of Christmas markets filled with an aray of georgeous crafts and delicacies,
the drifting scent of spiced mulled wine and cider
and the sugary cinamon infusion of cookies.
The crispness in the air with the promise of a white christmas.
Of dreams and fantasies from children.
Of time spent with families and friends.
And makes living in Austria feel like something wonderful and special.

Sunday, November 9

How to make your life more exciting

My life is boring. I do the same things every day. Nothing exciting. Nothing out of the ordinary. Boring.

The problem with this is that I crave excitement. I get so jealous when I hear of people tracking through Nepal. Or getting volunteer jobs in developing countries. Or adopting 30 children. I would have loved to become an actress, or an artist, or some other struggling, exciting career (I just would not have liked the lack of money). I crave the idea of dressing in extravagant outfits, dancing the night away until the sun comes up, finishing in sex on a beach or something else hedonistic. But my reality is boring. What other choice do you have when you have children, husband and work committments and live in a small village in a little country?

So I live vicariously. I live through films and books. I can imagine the lives of other people. It seems to enter my being and becomes a part of who I am. Each day I live the fantasy of my new life.

Tonight I am in a small village in Ireland, having a Craic of a time. I can hear the fiddle. I am feisty and outspoken. I can a good laugh and dance while kicking my skirts up (well I would if I was wearing a skirt. It doesn´t look the same wearing jeans, but I can pretend, even if my husband is laughing at me). I can ignore the poverty and the conflict. This doesn´t belong in my fantasy life.

Tomorrow I am going to be an eccentric, like Julie Waters in Driving Lesson. My friend is joining me in this fantasy. We will put a basket of wine in the boot of the car. Start swearing. Say what we think. Sprout poetry. Do what we want to.

And when reality starts to fall, like when people take offense to the bad language in our small village and start to cross to the other side to avoid me, maybe I will become the professional, sophisticated, sexy Uma Thurman.

Boring, not our lives. We are inspired.

Tuesday, November 4

It just happened

In this shifting continuum of the love / hate relationship I have with my adopted culture, I have realised that in part I have become European.

When I first met my husband, he was living at home with his mother. 34 and still at home. She did his cooking, ironed his shirts, cleaned the house, made his bed. You know, all the things that parents (well other people´s parents) did before their children left home. At a normal age. Like 18 or 19. When they went off to Uni or moved into a grotty share accommodation and lived on 2 minute noodles and did not even own a broom.

Like you, I wondered what might be wrong with him to live at home so long. Thoughts of `Mummy´s boys`and pants pulled up to arm pits came into my spectrum. Until I looked around and saw that this is just how people live. Life is not so agist or age segregated as it is in other countries. Here life is a conglomerate of all experiences. Life are inclusive. It is common to find four generations sitting around the same table at a party. When parents turn up to teenage parties to find their children drunk and lying under the table, doing something sordid with some strange person, they will go over to the corner to talk with their mother, or sit and have a Schnapps with the birthday person (you can´t keep secrets in a small village anyway, so might as well do it in the open). This is just how things are. Children inherit the house where they will look after their parents. And in return the parents look after the children.

Sounds ideal. But it is like any family. There are fights. There are disagreements. There will be times when people don´t talk to each other. But we live together. We either ignore it or work it out.

But think of the advantages. I did this week when I had one child at home sick and another which needed to be taken to kindergarten. Oma was there to help. It was a matter of sending Sweetie over to ask. When I was sick she was able to give me the space to sleep without having children crawl over me (with my husband unable to take any time off at the moment). And do all the shopping. And the cooking. And the cleaning. And the cake that needed to be baked for the party. And the letters that have to be signed for. And financial help as she lives here too. And ironing those few shirts so I can focus on my studying. And playing Uno thousands of time when I am played out. And those hundreds of other things that I would take too long to list.

It was in an Ikea magazine that one woman said when moving to Italy, 'yes, it is an adjustment to learn to live with your mother-in-law, but after adapting it is more of 'how can I live without them'. I have become European. I understand the importance of family. Family - the extended version.