Monthly Archives: February 2013

mein Traumberuf


My German homework this week is to write a short essay (6-8 sentences long) about my “dream job”. Apart from using what I’ve learnt in class, I have also ventured into the realm of subordinating conjunctions and declining adjectives. For those who aren’t into grammatical terms, subordinating conjunctions are words like if, although, so that, until, etc., and they’re the kind of words you use all the time in written and spoken English. Without these subordinating conjunctions, you wouldn’t be able to create long and interesting statements, and for me, not being able to do that in German has been pretty frustrating. So I decided to try a few out in the essay I submitted below:

* * *

“Was ist dein Traumberuf?”

Mein Traumberuf wäre Schriftstellerin. Ich würde gerne ein lässiges, interessanter Job machen, wo kann ich allein arbeiten und lasse ich meine Fantasie spielen.

Am Momentan arbeite ich mit viele Leute in einem tätiges Büro. Die Atmosphäre ist zu streng und die Fantasie beschränken. Ich muss oft in einem ruhiges Zimmer oder zu Hause arbeiten!

Obwohl ich mit meine Kollegen und Kolleginnen arbeite gern, kann ich nie schreiben, ob wir immer reden. Ich würde lieber Krimi und übersinnlicher Geschichten schreiben.  

Um ehrlich zu sein, das Geld ist nicht so wichtig. 

* * *

“What is your dream job”?

My dream job would be a writer. I would like to do a casual, more interesting job where I can work alone and use my imagination.

At the moment, I work with many people in a busy office. The atmosphere is too strict and limits my imagination. I must work often in a quiet room or at home!

Although I like working with my colleagues, I can’t write if we are always talking. I would prefer to write mystery and paranormal stories.

To be honest, the money isn’t important.


my nemesis

time to get the claws out!

time to get the claws out!

Be honest, everyone needs a nemesis. Everyone needs, at some stage in their lives, that one individual they just cannot stand, for whatever reason, to somehow get in the way of a good afternoon. Your nemesis can be anyone: any age, any race, any gender. They can even have the same interests and look exactly human. The main thing is that you hate them, loathe them, want them gone from the universe – and you’d be lying if you didn’t sort of want the arrangement.

These days I have a nemesis myself, or rather, I like to think that I have one since they frequently visit the back of my mind. I don’t mean to think of them, either. I could be sitting there reading or playing Nintendo when suddenly up they spring, pulling at my thoughts like they know I’ve forgotten. What is it with this person? What is it with their name? It’s not like I chart their downfall, wish them a horrid disease or pray that they suffer a lingering death. They’re just there out of nowhere, lurking around in my head like a monster who has actually murdered my boyfriend. I just work with this person, rarely face-to-face, in different departments, and yet here we are in this strangely venomous binding, and simply because our ‘friendship’ turned ugly.

I guess it’s not surprising, given how our ‘friendship’ started out with hatred in the first place. Call me a snob, but I just cannot stand a certain type of person. I get along well with people as a whole, but there are types I just cannot stand because I do not respect them. In the case of my darling nemesis, I suppose it’s their cowardice and self-centredness that gets my goat the most. We used to work with each other in the previous company, and being a new colleague at the time on the Night Shift, my nemesis wanted to prove they were worth their weight in gold and behaved in such a way that I couldn’t abide them. Needless to say, without going into detail, we gradually reached this point where we couldn’t even talk or sit in the same room.

bestest friends!

bestest friends!

But peace was eventually made, and what a lovely peace it was! We were both so relieved not to ‘hate’ each other that our friendship went into overdrive, fierce and strong until we both transferred to opposite departments, no longer seeing one another as much as we used to. A few months down the line, we met again in the same department of a different company, but this time it seemed like our friendship had disappeared and we had very little in common. When we tried to find common ground, there just wasn’t any left – more so when I transferred to the role I have now, where any attempt to communicate was greeted by this person with suspicion or downright rudeness. On random days they would talk me to death, barely letting me speak, then on others ignore my presence, as if we had argued. The final straw came when they constantly failed to apologise for their clearly aggressive and irrational attitude. “Who needs a ‘friend’ like that?” I asked myself. “I certainly don’t!”

And thus we come full circle; this poor angel is once again my nemesis. While I can’t quite say that I relish this opportunity, there is still a weird comfort in hating this person again. And what do I care if having a nemesis isn’t productive, healthy or rewarding? You just need one sometimes to reinforce the fact you are right, fucking right; that your method is better and they cannot fucking scorn you. As I described this to someone before, when they asked me why the heck I even bother with all this nonsense, I replied that it’s like being in love, but the opposite way round. Your attention is on them and you want to know what they’re doing, you want to know, as much as those in love want to know, precisely what that slimy fuck-up is doing for no particular reason. When you hate someone so much that you start to think of them over all others you thought you despised, then you’ll know who the hell your bloody nemesis is… you’ll just bloody know and you can’t do jack about it!

A toast to them, rotten bastard!!

  • 10:15 – 2 x Marmite on toast & 1 x banana
  • 13:00 – Italian tortelloni leftovers
  • 16:30 – chocolate muesli with semi-skimmed milk
  • 18:00 – sausage roll & cherry tomatoes
  • 20:30 – home-made potato wedges with Caesar salad
  • 21:00 – 2 x chocolate chip cookies

Plus: 0 x decaff tea; 5 x normal tea; 2 x cup of water

the future is jogging



I have this feeling I’ll be jogging next week. May not be ideal in this wintry weather we’re having, but by the time the weather warms up (and it will, I tell you, it will!), I’ll soon have the physical stamina to run in the sunshine. Since climbing stairs to the seventh floor of my office began, climbing once a day to ease myself in, I’m starting to feel pretty confident that jogging will more or less happen. I mean, take today, for instance: when have I ever jogged from the bus stop to the hotel next to my home without ending up dead? Compared to previous efforts, I was positively cool as I stopped in front of the building to casually enter the car park next door. To think something like that could boost my ego so much is kind of surprising. I see now why jogging can be so addictive!

And I had a really great time in German today. We’re learning modal verbs and how to discuss our professions, and though I missed a week where they went into detail on articles, I honestly felt like something was free in my mind, like I was able to envision myself becoming fluent. When I learnt my first language, I made so many mistakes and one of them was to review all the grammar like an actress learning lines. It’s not about learning set phrases, conjugations, and articles, but also about identifying the context and understanding which mode the sentences are in. For the first time, I can probably describe my own language in technical terms. If you say to me “the infinitive”, I know what it actually means, and I can look at a sentence and comprehend the reason why it needs to be a particular case. And this knowledge is so amazing to me that I can’t believe that I know it… I totally get what you foreigners are thinking!

I’m so enlightened…

  • 08:15 – tuna mayo toast with pickled gerkins & garlics
  • 11:00 – small slice of carrot cake
  • 14:45 – 1 x banana & Polish almond biscuits
  • 16:30 – an apple
  • 17:30 – more Polish almond biscuits
  • 19:30 – omelette with sweet & sour vegetable leftovers
  • 21:00 – (to be decided!)

Plus: 3 x normal tea; 2 x cup of water


the only asian in the village

when evil sleeps

when evil sleeps

I’m just too tired to go into the controversial stuff I’ve been up to today. Actually, when I think about it, I’m pretty sure my body still has a sleep-related debt from the Night Shift as it can’t be that simple, switching from one time-zone to another, it really can’t;  especially since I’m no longer fuelled with caffeine. Or maybe this is what it feels to be like everyone else? You just do your job, eat your food, laugh and bitch, then hang out with friends, sleep with your lover, and plan the next thing that will ease a bit of your boredom. If so, I’m not really warming to this ‘feeling’ everyone shares; I’m kind of used to feeling weird and strangely left out. I’m still ‘odd’, probably; no doubt in a way more people seem to accept (or kindly ignore, whichever). All the same, it really is bizarre to think I could be possibly “normal” after so many years just being the complete opposite.

I used to have “Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)“, you see, a complicated form of shyness which crippled me in childhood until I was seventeen – and I’m not saying this just to sound wildly pretentious. It was something I genuinely had and only became aware of once I no longer had it. If you’re not aware what this condition actually is (and I wouldn’t be surprised; not many people want to talk about it), then let me explain: an anxiousness you feel where anything public is painfully impossible. You can’t look anyone in the eye, you stutter when you speak, you sweat at the thought of people somehow judging you, etc.

But sufferers can be affected in various ways, from fearing to write or speak in front of a crowd to avoiding public toilets or laughing at jokes, therefore what troubles one sufferer of Social Anxiety won’t necessarily trouble somebody else. For instance, writing in public never bothered me, I was fine with public transport, and I didn’t mind hanging out with friends, as long as they gave me plenty of notice (so I could build up the courage!) and went to quiet places where my voice could be heard. What I couldn’t bear, though, were things like showing humour and honesty. If I heard something funny, I’d try not to laugh because I thought that laughing was ugly. If I had an opinion, I kept it to myself, afraid that people would sneer at me. And if I felt angry? I would blame myself for the error or force the anger down to hide this unsightly emotion. And walking down the street was the most agonising of chores… I used to think that people driving their cars towards me were staring at my face and knew that I was an idiot.

Jesus, quite a head-fuck, right?

mmm mmmmm mm!

mmm mmmmm mm!

And it’s difficult to say when I started to feel like that. It had something to do with the way I grew up, I suppose. Without saying too much (because of privacy, whatever that is), I grew up in a town where Asians were downright rare, and when I say “rare”, I mean there weren’t any other Asian kids at my school except for me and my brother (until another Asian family moved in a few years down the road, but we’ll ignore them for now). Due to this being the case, the neighbours used to stare and sometimes call out randomly any Asian nationality they could think of, as if they were playing a game show with you as the prize. Back then, as a teenager trying to find their feet whilst not tripping over, this was far from the most amusing event. It was, to put it bluntly, bloody annoying. I mean, why the hell couldn’t they just ask me where the hell I was from instead of pointing me out in the street like a fucking leper?

But I’m over those issues now, I bloody am. Like I said in a previous post, my time in Japan more or less cured me – I totally recommend going to a foreign country alone as a cure for Social Anxiety. Drugs, on the other hand, are a massive no-no. The symptoms just aren’t worth the long-term effects. You won’t be in this head-fuck forever, unless you enjoy being this way and don’t want to change your image, but the condition comes and goes, depending on what you go through, so don’t do the drugs; it’s really not worth it. Introducing myself incessantly in Japanese was how I gained some confidence and overcame all those feelings of fearfulness and anxiety, and being Asian in an Asian country was certainly an advantage as I slowly escaped from my shell without anyone looking…

just keep swimming

just keep swimming

So how on earth am I different to other people if I’m no longer “socially anxious”? Well, think about it: if you spend so many years avoiding other people, what do you learn socially? Nothing, hardly anything. You don’t get to know all those socially useful things like how it feels to be hated as you’ve never let anyone actually know you, or how to admit you dislike someone else as you’ve never entertained any thoughts on one person. And you may find some people just too hard to comprehend because you just can’t imagine how they became that way in the first place (ie. perfectly sound due to happily married parents), or how to help them with problems you’ve only ever seen in a soap. But what you do become good at, and these are only examples from my personal experience, is how to recognise when something is troubling a stranger and empathising with those from exceptional backgrounds. You’ve been there, done that, dug the grave to go with it, and there are people out there who may grateful that you suffered, as without that suffering, how else could you grasp what they’re truthfully feeling?

Hmm… food for thought!

  • 07:15 – chocolate muesli with semi-skimmed milk
  • 10:30 – 1 x banana
  • 11:30 – a few Maltesers
  • 13:00 – beef (?) lasagne with onion rings
  • 14:00 – Peanut “9Bar”
  • 16:00 – small portion of dried mango
  • 19:30 – Italian tortelloni with tomato, onion & cheese with salad

Plus: 3 x decaff tea; 1 x normal tea; 3 x cup of water


enjoy the silence

the joys of quality assessment

the joys of quality assessment

Believe me, it used to be different. I used to enjoy finding mistakes and having a giggle. There were days where all I did was scoff at calls gone epically wrong, not to mention asking why certain people still had their jobs. But soon, the novelty had to wear off. I got tired of the numerous mistakes and the fact that hardly anyone was meeting required standards. Instead of smirking like a dick, I was shredding my soul into a million pieces, bashing my head against imaginary walls. I wanted someone to pass, to show me that I worked with a brilliant team!

And then the floor was given a target.

After more than three months, management were forced to acknowledge that performance was important in other ways than money. They began to fret over calls and anxiously appealed (in person!) the ones which had failed for the simplest things – and all to avoid the Boss demanding why their teams were utterly rubbish. And because of this juicy development, I can imagine no greater moment than seeing my former team leader’s face as she reads a detailed report on the performance of her team (she never did value that side of the job!) Ah… what a face!

So what did I eat?

  • 07:15 – tuna mayo on toast
  • 11:00 – Alpro blackberry yoghurt
  • 13:00 – sweet & sour vegetables with rice leftovers & an apple
  • 14:30 – Peanut “9Bar”
  • 16:00 – small portion of dried mango
  • 19:00 – fish finger sandwiches with pickled gerkins & garlics

Plus: 6 x decaff tea; 1 x normal tea; 3 x cup of water


allergies & brief holidays


oh my eyes

There must have been extra mould in the air-con as today was simply awful. My eyes were dry, my nose was runny – I just felt like being in bed with a mug of Lemsip! Since the doctor advised me to take anti-histamines and spray my eyes with Optrex, these symptoms have more or less disappeared, to the point where I only go through half a packet of tissues and can hold a conversation without sneezing my face off. But today… I don’t know what happened today. It’s like being back at Square One. If this treatment isn’t working then what else am I going to do, apart from finding a job where the office doesn’t have air-con and actually opens the windows?

I think feeling bad has influenced my eating… 

  • 07:15 – chocolate chip muesli with semi-skimmed milk;
  • 11:00 – small portion of dried mango & a few Maltesers;
  • 13:00 – homemade tuna mayo sandwich with pickled gerkins;
  • 14:15 – fudge flapjack (this lasted me until 16:30, I’m that slow!);
  • 19:00 – sweet & sour vegetables with rice;
  • 20:00 – some bison grass chocolate.

Plus: 10 x decaff tea (approx.); 1 x normal tea; 3 x cup of water

yes, chocolate with BISON GRASS

yes, chocolate with BISON GRASS

I actually brought that chocolate from Poland, forgot to mention that. A friend who used to work the Night Shift returned to Poland last year, so many Facebook messages later, I finally booked a flight to the city of Poznań and stayed a couple of nights to sample the West. Now, before you think that was evil, leaving my boyfriend alone on Valentine’s Day (of all days!), let me describe how evil it would have been not to visit a friend I haven’t seen in months and also spend it alone while my boyfriend is working…

Pretty evil.

So we spent the first night settling into each other’s company again, and I must say that it felt really good to talk about our thoughts, our lives, our feelings, our dreams, without holding back or fearing what the other might think. We ate at a local restaurant in Old Market Square, slowly working our way through ambitious piles of boiled and baked dumplings, supping non-alcoholic beers (the place had lost its license), then lolling around in a dimly lit bar with sofas, musical instruments, and tram tracks on the floor from when the bar was once a public railway – the perfect setting for my first Mad Dog!

old market square

old market square 1


old market square 2

polish soup

żurek (traditional polish soup)

Of course we did more cultured things, such as viewing Polish artwork in the local museum, attending my friend’s cousin’s singing recital, and gaping at the cathedral where the first kings of Poland had been laid to rest. As I didn’t stay in Poland too long, it’s a little premature to give an impression of what that country is like, but you can certainly see how different it is from cities without Communist influence. The architecture’s blank and grim, it’s difficult to tell what every building is for, and the busiest streets are packed to the rafters with banks because they’re the only ones who can pay the high rent. Nevertheless, methinks I’ll be going again to see this interesting country – probably when the weather clears up in the summer and lets me see the sky which should rightly shine on Poland!


like a bot


Well, guys, it’s official: you are now looking at someone with a permanent contract. Signed the dotted line after lunch, along with a health questionnaire, and ate the following things to celebrate my acceptance:

  • 07:15 – chocolate chip muesli with semi-skimmed milk;
  • 10:15 – bottle of Tropicana tropical juice;
  • 13:00 – ham & egg salad with coleslaw; fresh apple slices with red grapes;
  • 14:15 – Alpro raspberry yoghurt;
  • 15:15 – small portion of dried mango;
  • 19:00 – chicken nuggets with chips; 3 x chocolate chip cookies;

Plus: 3 x decaff tea; 1 x normal tea; 1 x cup of water

It’s creepy, isn’t it, watching what you eat every day, but I kind of like knowing what I already knew – that I’m pretty awesome at eating more or less the same things, at the same times every day (except weekends). And I’m not one of those people who believe in counting calories or depriving myself of chocolate just to lose some kg. I have 150 steps to climb first thing in the morning.

Chocolate is essential!

Chocolate is essential!