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Migeru and me -- A recapitulation of 2005

by Barbara Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 11:04:17 AM EST

For those who are familiar with my dear husband-to-be... meet the other side of Migeru :). This is a recount of our move from California and our attempts to establish ourselves again on the European soil. (Er, actually, the Brits somehow don't believe they're part of Europe... which is keeps puzzling me over and over again.}


December 2004: Utter exhaustion. Leaving Riverside. Lots of wet Kleenex. Stress beyond description. Recovery in Spain via eating Spanish tortillas and sleeping. More stress in the Czech Republic -- Christmas does not turn out exactly as planned. Family and cultural friction. Siberian temperatures, yet not a single snowflake. Sightseeing painful as limbs are too stiff to walk. Miguel sick with a stomach influenza, spending much of the holidays heaving over white porcelain, regurgitating carp leftovers. Barbara not happy.


January 2005: Back in Spain. Miguel in better form. Sightseeing more fun. Less cold. Jonathan's language confusion reaches its peak. On the 17th stepping onto the British soil. Driving for three hours with a friend before finding the ominous place where bad things are going to happen. Spending the first week handling Miguel's job interview in Brighton and wandering aimlessly through London's boonies. Waiting for B.'s university to enrol her and for a response about the job. Enjoying talking to our roommates and getting various tips on the life in London. On the last day of the week getting robbed by roommates. Jonathan and Barbara undocumented aliens once more.
Most valuables gone. Lots of hair-pulling and head-banging. Despair sets in. Barbara's university is being obstinate and refuses enrolment. Needing to recover once again. Heading up north to Keyworth to be with the nice friends that drove us around London for three hours.


February: Finally settled in. Found a "lovely" flat for the bargain price of 700 pounds a month. The bath has no shower. Requesting shower from landlord.  Landlord brings a short tube that attaches to the taps. Taking baths instead. The toilet is a hybrid mixed with a washer. It spins diligently but flushes only on good days. Making friends with the toilet for weeks. Walls filthy, furniture ho hum. Carpet has never seen a cleaner.  Fortunately it's dark blue. University finally decides that since Barbara lived in the US for the past decade, she is an overseas student (NEVER MIND THE CZECH PASSPORT!!!) Barbara appeals at the Supreme Court. Barbara loses the case. Not happy. Abandoning the idea of studying that semester. Miguel gets a NO from the company in Brighton. Barbara starts looking for a job.


March: An all-time low. Weather abominable. House a bit better but still looks like crap. Barbara depressed. Frequent visits to Ikea severely deplete financial resources. Got a futon. Living room maxed out. Hostility towards the existing couch and matching armchairs escalates into grotesque proportions. Barbara finally gets a temp job at a magistrates' court. Heaps of work for next to nothing. Barbara falls on her face on her way home. Buses sway on the roads under the weight of passengers. Nose-pickers frequently spotted. Up close and personal with mute and stern peoples of half of the world. Miguel schooled in homemaking and childcare while waiting for more interviews. Jonathan bored out of his socks. More waiting. Miguel morphs into a raging lunatic. Soothes his frazzled nerves by spending 12 hours a day playing GO online and generally pretending he isn't there. House absolutely intolerable. Barbara weeps as she burns midnight oil translating after work. Relationship on rocks - no, mountains. Barbara seriously considering leaving for CZ.


April: A turning point. Miguel gets a job. A hedge fund has mercy and hires him just in time before Barbara takes off. Grinning and bearing the last few weeks before the start of work. Jonathan and Miguel outta hand. Wooden spoons used frequently. Washer breaks. Kitchen turned into a footbath. Miguel demonstrates cerebral atrophy as he drags dripping laundry into a nearby launderette.


May: Miguel at work. Miguel very happy. Gets free fruit and a nice chair. Salary good. Life returning to semi-normal. Jonathan starts school. Jonathan happy. Painting the living room orange and the hallway yellow as homage to Riverside. Looking loads better. Nasty couch inched through hallway to the neighbours downstairs. Room to do somersaults. Barbara unpacks her suitcase and decides to give it another go. Applies for an interpreting program at London Metropolitan. Gets invited for an entrance exam.    


June: Last month at the court. Barbara a pro in court busy work, getting too good for her own good. More work upended onto her desk. Translation agency does the same. Barbara freaks out. Plans a 5-week getaway in her homeland to rest. Miguel twiddles his thumbs at work as his boss is yet to acknowledge his presence. Miguel frustrated but still a lot less cantankerous than in March. Free fruit and cereal have therapeutic effect. Finally takes things in his own hands and becomes involved in the O project (shusssh, it's a secret!). Barbara's friends Emily and Camille from Riverside come and visit. Barbara prepares for entrance exam. More work pours in. Barbara counts days to take off. Emily and Camille walk unsupervised around London. Barbara sad.


July: Barbara, Jonathan and Emily leave for the Czech Republic. Miguel left bereft. His mother comes to the rescue and flies in from Spain, trekking through London's boroughs by day and solving Sudoku puzzles by night as Miguel gets his daily dose of computer radiation. Barbara reacquaints herself with her native soil and old friends. Discovers some are so old they've forgotten she was coming, and have left the country. Improvisation at searching for shelter becomes the hallmark of several weeks. Jonathan polishes his Czech and develops an unhealthy obsession with Barbara's sister Halina (partly due to supplied generous portions of candy and chocolates). Miguel flies in briefly and enjoys the Czech Republic without the need of Imodium. Barbara spends good quality time with all, but by the end of five weeks she's grateful to fly back to London and solve Sudoku puzzles as Miguel gets his daily dose of computer radiation.  


August: London sizzles in tropical temperatures. Good ol' Miguel's mother flies in again to baby-sit Jonathan so Barbara and Miguel can take a breath for a weekend. Decide to take a Haggis bus tour to Wales. See lotsa sheep, hear lots of dumb jokes about sheep, too. Picnicking around ruins and shielding from seagull droppings becomes the staple of the journey. The landscape is impressive. Lots of stops for Kodak moments. Also visit Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch, which means "The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio's of the red cave". Whatever. Saw no whirlpools or red caves, just a dull railroad station. Maybe St. Tysilio worked there.
Bunk beds in hostels mar attempts at romance. Otherwise a good trip.


September: An uneventful month. Barbara turns into a human hamster running on treadmills in a local leisure centre. Waits for school to start since she got accepted into the interpreting program. She also learns about becoming certified as a yoga teacher in six months at a Yoga Show. Jumps at the opportunity. Miguel spends days charting tables of family finances but is lovingly supportive of B's self-improvement plans.


October: Barbara starts both schools. Lots of groovy people to meet from all parts of the world. Feels finally her old self. Stretching mind and body after a long period of low activity is elating. Shares her enthusiasm with Miguel, who volunteers to become a guinea pig for ardho mukha svanasana and prasarita padottanasana. Protests at parivrita trikonasana, but Barbara is uncompromising. Miguel on his way to become a yoga champ. When not doing yoga, Miguel helps mankind by contributing to a European tribune website on economics and politics. Barbara forgets what Miguel's face looks like but memorizes the patterns of all his sweaters. She also develops echolalia as questions directed at Miguel while contributing to mankind fall unheard.
Towards the end of the month Barbara's friend Peggi arrives from Riverside. She too gets to do parivrita trikonasana.


November: The birthday month. Barbara gets an Ipod from Miguel and a four-star lunch in Kensington from Peggi. From Jonathan she gets Crunchies. Peggi leaves for Paris. To his dismay, Miguel turns thirty twelve days later. Laments the purpose of his life and watches broodily for greying temples. Cheers up a bit at his surprise birthday party in a nearby Spanish restaurant (he wasn't expecting to see his mom again so soon) but has a hard time waiting for the cake. Ends up chased by Spanish "musicos" and flaming pastry on his way out of the door. Barbara nearly suffers a heart attack while Miguel's sister dutifully documents the event on camera.  
Peggi returns from Paris and cooks a proper Thanksgiving dinner. The fridge is disassembled to accommodate the turkey.
Barbara gets her first interpreting assignments with the local council. Has a near-death experience at a bus stop waiting for 45 minutes at temperatures equal to Czech winter. After defrosting she falls ill. Peggi cooks turkey soup and noodles.


December: Peggi returns back to Riverside after having walked 250 miles around London. Barbara, Miguel and Jonathan are orphaned again. Barbara gets the Christmas bug and Miguel panics at the looming work he might be subjected to. Finds refuge in contributing to mankind.

Display:
Welcome, Barbara!

Admit it though.  You had to start posting here just to be able to communicate / spend quality time with Migeru, right?

I don't think he sleeps - he just hits the Refresh button all night ;-)

by slaboymni on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 11:12:27 AM EST
Thank you for sharing that with us, Barbara. Welcome on board !

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 12:06:44 PM EST
Wow, thanks for publishing an inside view on one of our celebrities here.

Questions:

So what is this mysterious GO that Miegru plays on the computer?

Does Barbara need a little plug with an infra-red sensor so she can switch off the computer by remote control? ;-)

I hope things are going well on both your courses at this time. Glad to see you've both semi-settled in ok in London and greetings from the frozen north of England.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 12:13:01 PM EST
I would call GO a type of Japanese chess, you better ask Miguel for a good explanation (if you dare and have a lot of time!) Black and white disks that MUST be gripped with a special technique (also useful when fishing in a bag of M&M's), a wooden board with a grid... much too abstract for me to enjoy... I prefer Cranium and other socially demanding "parlour games" that leave Miguel exasperated. But hey, give it a try!  

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon
by Barbara on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:13:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, ok, I'm familiar with go, I just wasn't sure if GO was an acronym (General Occident?). ;-)
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:33:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As Migeru knows, I am actively looking for someone to share the "Gone with the windmill" burden with me by obnoxiously complimenting people on their writing style.
All I have achieved is Alex starting his own novel series, which is great by the way.
So, let's forget the pretext, and go for sheer e-hugging : your writing is great !

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 12:14:42 PM EST
Thank you all for your warm welcome and kind comments. It's good to be at a forum where people are actually civil... I've had a rather traumatic experience trying to get involved on the general forums on Czech news websites, so this is a nice change. Insults hurt even if they're just "virtual."

Yes, I think there's a better chance for me to actually get through to Miguel via this site... pathetic, given the fact he's usually only 2 meters away from me! I've been heard to scream in despair I HATE ET!!!! I HATE THE F*£($&G COMPUTER!!! Mind you, I was thrilled when Miguel got into a conflict with someone on ET and swore he wouldn't be back... finally he'd be with ME!!! Alas, that didn't last long.

So I have no choice but to join the enemy. What one does for love... He's been prodding me for a long time to get involved, whining about the lack of "Czech blood" on ET... well, I know much less about the current affairs in the EU than him (but I actually have a life, and Jonathan's still alive!), so I'm not sure how much I will be able to contribute to the pool of knowledge, but I will try.  

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon

by Barbara on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:05:49 PM EST
Is that a tip jar I see before me?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:08:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I must say Migeru is really lucky to live with someone allowing him to spend so much time on ET.

I have no computer in London, as that would be in total contradiction with what my partner calls quality time, and I must say I miss ET on those week ends.
So congratulations Barbara.
This supports my contention that women are more patient, tolerant and understanding than men :))
No, I'm not looking for a fight here, just a wild debate...

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:48:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, given that over the years there have been several women who have put up with me for extended periods of time, I think there is no contest, women can be more patient, tolerant and understanding than men...

Of course, some days...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 03:52:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's good to be at a forum where people are actually civil...

Heh, then steer clear of the "is ET anti-British/anti-Russian/anti-American" threads :-)

I'm not sure how much I will be able to contribute to the pool of knowledge, but I will try.

We have/had diaries about trains, travels, clocks, bridges, Prague photographs, history, tawdry romans, mass-murder romans, so you can pick any subject you feel you have something to tell about :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love your writing!

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:08:44 PM EST
Thank you! :)

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon
by Barbara on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:18:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too. Great writing style Barbara & welcome to ET!
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:47:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me three!  And a hearty welcome to Barbara.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:48:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me four!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:13:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I moved to Switzerland from California 18 months ago...I do admit occasionally missing the West Coast on occasions...but my transition has been a bit less eventful than yours (externally, anyway). That said, and I don't know how long you were in California (what does that make you, Barbara, a repariated expatriate expatriated??)...but transitions to new countries are certainly not easy. Most of my turmoil is internal, and after 18 months it still erupts, so you have my deepest sympathies. Hang in there!! It will get better!! (and thanks for posting!!)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:22:32 PM EST
Where in California did you live? I see you call yourself a refugee :)!! Are you one of the people who fled from Bush and Co.?

Yes, I do struggle with identity crisis here and there. I miss the Californians' open mind and friendliness... it's a lot tougher in London to meet others.

This move was not quite a return to my homeland, just to the continent... which still makes me a foreigner but at least allows me to enjoy the good things Europe has to offer.

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon

by Barbara on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:36:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I look forward to your contributions to the discussions we have on ex-pat identity.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:40:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes... what is it that DoDo calls us?  Apatriots?  Anational?  Or I think that last one was yours.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 04:41:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I only dare to tag myself apatriot :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:06:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I grew up in Southern California (mostly in the Balboa Island, Corona Del Mar, Laguna Beach area...back in the 60s when there were beautiful empty rolling hills...)

Then I lived the last 25+ years in San Francisco and Marin. I moved to Switzerland when I married Lil...one of us had to choose...I lost/won. I'm mostly really enjoying it here, though the employment piece has been a real challenge...though this is slowly developing.

How did you end up in California anyway...and especially Riverside, of all places, Barbara??

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 03:56:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I moved from Ivory Coast to France, which was a trauma indeed, so I can appreciate what it must have been to leave the Californian sun.
I've had two homes for more 18 months now, one in Paris and one in London, which actually helped me solve the identity problem.

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:45:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, so what is your identity now? Apart from famous author of tawdy stories... ;-)
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 03:53:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for posting this truly delightful read, Barbara, and welcome to E.T.  I'm glad things are going better now after such a rough year.  That's a big move you guys did, especially with a child.  

When my son was a baby we moved to Hawaii and it was really difficult.  I don't know how many times in that first month or so, my son would wake me up crying and I'd just want to start crying along with him from the sheer exhaustion.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:37:34 PM EST
Welcome, Barbara! Zdar!
What is it about California that makes all Europeans flee it? I live in NorCal, and we are already planning our escape as well!

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:53:18 PM EST
California was an attractive place to be, that's why Europeans were there. But everything changed after 9/11.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 01:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm glad to see you have a post-9/11 mentality unlike so many on the left in this country! :)

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:03:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I follow?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:04:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nevermind, must be an American thing. Any time a left-wing politician needs to accuse a left-wing politician in the States of something, they pull out the old "you have a pre-9/11 mentality" card. It just sounded funny when you mentioned it :)

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:37:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right wing politician in the first instance, that is.

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I actually retain my pre-9/11 mentality. It's just that the ground shifted.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:13:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly correct.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:45:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with the 9/11 mentality is that it's really a 1911 mentality.

I'm hoping a 2011 mentality will be a lot more interesting.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 07:51:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not a 911 mentality?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 07:53:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by PeWi on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 08:29:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I wouldn't have anything against living in such gems as San Francisco, Santa Barbara, or Santa Monica (all these saints!), but Riverside... well... let's say that London's a bit more cosmopolitan. I don't have anything against California per se, it's one of the most beautiful US states. We left for a combination of reasons -- my expired visa, wanting to be closer to our families, and not wanting to HAVE to have a car... plus, I guess, we're both European and we missed the lifestyle we grew up in.

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon
by Barbara on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You pretty much just described myself and my fiancee. I'm Russian, and she is Spanish. We are in the same exact boat, so we are trying to get out as well!

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 12:35:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hopefully Barbara's diary will be of some help for your impending move to Brussels.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 12:41:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and there i was trying to get my partner to become an et addict!

blissfully personal helen...

you really are a fun addition to this blog, imo.

still chortling....

so 12 hr go-sessions are the key to developing a cerebral output like migeru's....hmm

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:12:04 PM EST
wires crossed...oops i meant barbara...duh sorry

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:14:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a really talented account of a gruelling experience, full of humour and humanity and never sounding like a complaint (in spite of #!@!§#@! ET!) Thanks for sharing it with us, Barbara.

Hope you'll join in the comments here often. There are too many men around here anyway. And don't worry about not knowing things. No one here really knows much. We've got Miguel for that ;)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:31:38 PM EST
Welcome aboard Barbara ;) and let us know whenever Migeru attempts anything else that's dodgy with your wet laundry. I have always found that the brightest minds always struggle with the simples things. I'm not going to say I'm particularly bright, but - I am very good at handling abstraction in programming and fail miserably when I am asked to cook (all my fancy recipes always end up as tasteless stews).
by Alex in Toulouse on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:35:28 PM EST
Hello, thank you for your sympathy... I had a good laugh! Yes, Miguel is very very smart but I say he has a "retard switch", and when that is on it short-circuits any reasonable neural connections in his brain, and I run for cover. Unfortunately, I tend to be the "man" in our house when it comes to fixing anything...

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon
by Barbara on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I sympathise fully! I'm supposed to have a diploma in Information Systems but when I look at a telephone plug I have no idea what the blue wire does.

It usually takes me ten seconds to figure out which way to turn a screw-driver when screwing, and up to a minute to open a 1kg box of rice.

Anyone here slower at opening rice boxes?

by Alex in Toulouse on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:59:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Microwaved rice. In packets.

Do people still use boxes, and do that cooking thing?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 03:07:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well still no micro-wave here. Not sure I should buy one. I don't think I like the idea of food being molested by microwaves.
by Alex in Toulouse on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 03:16:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you know that a microwave oven uses more electricity overall to power its digital clock than to heat food?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Really?  I did not know that.

My microwave has no digital clock.  It is very old, and still has dials.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boxes?

I buy rice in nylon or paper sacks. Clean it (pick out bad pieces) before cooking. Cooking them right is one of my few cooking feats. (I make much better rice than the average Budapest canteen, and better than many restaurants.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:12:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome Barbara

A rare chance to see the soft underbelly of hardcore Euro-blogging.

I think I may be haunted by images of burning pastry for ever more. :)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 03:11:55 PM EST
I suppose now Barbara can't say 'no' to the Paris meetup in May...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 03:41:23 PM EST
You're not supposed to tip your hand this soon!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 03:43:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you know? I'm clueless. This will come as a surprise to B. ;-)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 03:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saw no whirlpools or red caves, just a dull railroad station.

I'm hurt!!! I hope Migeru can explain how much hurt!!!

Anyway, welcome to ET, the Borg has you!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:08:16 PM EST
You should see the station in Llanfair P.G.!

It's only there to show off the signboard with the name, which is supposed to be the longest in the world:

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 02:21:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow.  That's longer than Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein.  Which means, roughly, "two buffaloes killed with one shot spring."  And which is usually called just Tweebuffels.  Unfortunately, I believe it lacks a train station.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another picture, with another sign visible (on the wall above the entrance door):

On the following older picture, it's apparent the station (at left in the distance) is in a nice area, with the mountains of Snowdonia in the background:

Also, it is on a mainline with somewhat frequent trains, how can it be boring :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:29:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, DoDo, see the gray roof on the left of your picture, with what a white cross pattern on it? That's a small and uninteresting shopping centre for tourists. Between it and the station is a parking lot. We got to see the station from behind, from afar, and it was raining. Besides, it was 2 months before I joined ET. Today I would heva taken digital pics of it for your pleasure.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:49:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny, it was raining when we stopped there too, and that may have coloured my memory. Actually it is quite nice in DoDo's pic.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:05:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is, but the first pic is taken from the side you can't get to easily (there's just a big lawn there in the second picture).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:07:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What am I saying, it's just taken from the end of the opposite platform!

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:08:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was at the station of Oban, Scotland, in rain - and that had a special romance. (We even did a sightseeing walk of the town in rain.) When I get home I'll scan a photo.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:11:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's see if I can convince Barbara to take our next CZ vacation by rail... Flying to Linz or Prague is very convenient, though, especially with a 4-year old. But I keep arguing that he loves trains, likes to look out the window, and will have more room to wiggle (and even run) in a train than in an airplane.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:14:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of the former Eastern Bloc states, it is just the Czech Republic's which remained in the best shape - though that isn't saying too much. The general problems of neglected branchlines (though no mass closures), unambitious mainline upgrades (though those at least done extensively), minimal rolling stock modernisation (though there are those new double-stock suburban trains), and - yes - unkept stations. (And what would be a problem for some people in the elite or middle class: having to meet the underclass.) But a big plus is that the Czech network retained a certain charm, not everything is concrete walls. I of course hope Barbara can be convinced :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dodo I like your determination to see the bright side in a train station situation ;-)
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 11:16:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While my scanning skills improved, unfortunately a version small enough to be posted doesn't have the resolution to keep the falling raindrops visible - and that greatly reduces the beauty of the image:

Image Hosting by PicsPlace.to

Yes, that is a fake antic amphitheatre on the mountain in the background.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:33:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo, I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings... I truly had no idea you work for the railway! :) But speaking about dull railroad stations, ask Migeru about the lovely station of Křemže in southern Bohemia... the only thing you can do there while waiting is to practice its pronunciation  (which is a bit less complicated than the Welsh disaster, but still will take a while to master ;).

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon
by Barbara on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:54:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know you and your family have nothing but contempt for the little two-car train running between Bud'ejovice and Krumlov but, again, next time we go I will insist on taking the train instead of the bus and taking pictures of every station along the way. Even of the one at Křemže (and we'll record an MP3 --- sorry, and MP2 because of software patent issues) of the proper pronounciation of it for everyone here.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:58:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can pronounce the Welsh one, but I doubt that's going to earn me any Brownie points.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:13:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you post the MP3 I'm sure it will.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:15:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome to the Diaspora!
by Lupin on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 01:57:06 AM EST
A diaspora, for certain...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:12:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oy!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:01:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Barbara!
I'm another of the ET-widows...I would come home from work and either get told all about what Jerome or Agnes or DoDo were saying or I'd be grunted at while Colman's eyes were glued to the screen!  They're still glued to the screen...but now he actually replies when I post comments...so he might actually be learning to communicate again.  We might try the word 'DOG' today...and 'CAT' tomorrow.

Great posting!  Might see you in Paris??


We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde

by Sam on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 07:47:34 AM EST
Hi Sam,

A pleasure to meet you! I think the term "ET widow" sums it up just right. Miguel just confided in me that Colman and him are twin souls... awwww... how sweet... (GRRRRR, arf arf arf!!). He even had the audacity to suggest I start an ET widow club!!! As if he were proud of it somehow!!! (Just wondering what the contents of this club would be, something like:
"Oh, last night I waited for 3.5 hours in bed for X to get off the damn computer and come join me... and when he finally came, the only excuse that he could give me was that he was MAKING A MAP!!!!! How about you?"
"Ah, that's nothing. My toddler was still in the bathtub when I came back from my only night out in a year!"}

It would be great to meet you in France. We might actually go, as by some amazing divine intervention Miguel got a bonus this month (which shows that, against all odds, he has not depleted all his mental powers on this website) :).

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon

by Barbara on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 01:43:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was cooking dinner for Colman earlier when he told me that you had replied to my comment.  I aske dhim what you said...he growled a bit and said he couldn't remember.
Yes...this could be interesting...
Actually I too am waiting on my pay review.  They split the annual review this year so that you got a performance review first and a pay review 2 to 3 weeks later...1 week gone so far...

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
by Sam on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 04:45:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cooking dinner only, let me point out, because  I was too ill to do it.

Nice though.

Perhaps you should schedule a widows table at the meet-up?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 04:54:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There WILL be a widows table in a minute!!!!!!!

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
by Sam on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:07:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A TABLE!!!
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:18:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh...will we need 2 tables?

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
by Sam on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And where will my husband sit?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:33:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah...my apologies for any confusion...we're using 'widow' in a non gender specific fashion.  He'll be most welcome at 'our' table.

; )

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde

by Sam on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:42:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're too kind, Sam.  Sadly, if we were there (in some pretend reality), he'd probably be sitting at your table with a laptop, playing cards.  We actually email each other more often than I'd care to admit!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:59:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Izzy, that's a pity.  
Btw...Colman wants to know how long it is to the weekend...???
I think the Guinness and Whiskey is getting to him...

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
by Sam on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tell him it's almost two full, long, excruciating hours yet!

It ain't the drink, Sam, he's got a cruel streak. ;-)

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:14:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite the heavy work of late .. I have to say something... yes I do I do I do.. I must.. Can I? Can I? Can I?.. really Can I?....OK here it goes

and the cat.. who thinks about the cat?

What cat?... well there is always a cat, isn't it... This goes to show that you really do not care about the cat because you do not even mention him or her or whatever....:)

Me making a little neoliberal joke..(actually neocon too)

Huge hug and kisses to the lovely couple!!!

I do not know you and it is like if I knew you from years!!!!!

Keep it up.....

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:33:19 PM EST
Welcome, and best wishes to you both!

Earlier this year I married a Kossack (former, of course), and I hope that your blog-linked marriage works as well.

(And if you have any nagging skills, please remind Migeru that he sort-of almost owes me a diary.)

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 06:39:16 PM EST
Gee, I was thinking about the diary I owe you today...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 04:59:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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