Thursday, 27 March 2014

A friend from the past

It was the 20th of March this year, International day of Happiness. I was hanging out in the city centre with a friend and got his message, asking me if I would go with him to the presentation of some new car that evening. And we went.

We were pretty close friends when we were 21 and 22, who talked to each other on a daily basis. We also lived in the same street, so we spent a lot of time together. Kind of like two cousins. He was in love with the cars, working a lot. I was quite occupied with studying. But there were days when we just "jumped" from the cloudy Ljubljana to the sunny Portorož for a cup of coffee in the afternoon. I especially remember our trip to Austria, where we attended a race (he was working as a journalist). That was one of those days which remain in your memory. But then life went its own way and in the last 4 years we have met only accidentally in the street and had a few online chats.

Us at the race in Austria

At the race
So, now we were hanging out again. After the presentation we went for a coffee, because there was so much to talk about. We talked about jobs, our dogs, plans for the future, the Alchemist, his project which got the attention of the media, his moving to Dubai. It was like we were kids when we were hanging out the last time and now we were adult people.I think we both kept in our head the perception of the young version of the other. I noticed that he became more calm and that I learned to listen. Our conversation was really sincere and felt domestic.

He drove me back home and while I was getting out of the car I asked: "What did you say then? That I don't need the courage, but?" 
"Nothing. You just have to go."
My favourite photo, taken by him
Later he wrote me: "Thank you for your company today."
"Oh, the pleasure was all mine. It was really nice to meet you again."

Monday, 24 March 2014

People I admire

"Everything is beautiful, if you look at it with love." That would be a translation of the quote that is written on a stone in front of their house. And that's what their house really is about: full of love, respect, understanding and care for another person.

A stone 
They live in the same town as my grandparents did and we have been friends since I was a little child. At their place I have spent truly amazing holidays. My cousin once said: "You look very happy on your photos from Germany." She was right, I really am happy there.

He is a gentleman, very funny, well organized. She is caring, compassionate, a good listener. They both have a big heart and I truly admire them. I first visited them in June 2011. They took me on a hiking at the Neckar river, which was mesmerizing. Another day they spent with me five hours at the Blühendes Barock Ludwigsburg, just so I could see again the whole park and its animation. I have visited it several times before, but as a child. I returned in winter that year, because I wanted to see the Christmas market (: We visited two of them: that in Stuttgart and that  in Ludwigsburg. That was like a fairy tale! Before my leaving back home Herr Rudi gave me a gift: it was a handmade turtle, with my name on it. I was like: "Ooo, how nice!" He said: "I saw how sad you were at the market, where they didn't have things with your name, so I decided that I have to make one for you." That really moved me. I hung this turtle on a wall in my room and it has a special worth. 
Hiking at the Neckar river, 2011
Us at the Schloss Solitude, 2013
As I was leaving they said: "You should find a boyfriend here and stay in Germany." I said: "I think so too. And then I'll bring him here for your approval, so we can get married." And we laughed :D But frankly, I wish to have a marriage like they have someday.

I always leave with a bittersweet feeling.
Ludwigsburg: it feels like a second home to me- thanks to my grandparents who lived there and thanks to these wonderful people. It is a big privilege to know them.

Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg, 1990 and 2011

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A (typical) lawyer

My former (then potential) boss asked me: "How did you end up at the Faculty of Law?"  "Well, psychology and law were the only things that interested me back then. And since the enrollment criteria at psychology was pretty high, I chose law." Then he said: "You don't look like a lawyer to me." I replied: "I'll take that as a compliment." "Which area of the law interests you the most?" "Family law." "What about corporate law?" "Sure. I'm a Gemini in horoscope, so a lot of things interest me." Some slovenian lawyer wrote in a book that in his time there was this "secondary school syndrome": if you didn't know what to go study, you went to the Faculty of Law. But when I was 10 years old I said that I'm going to be an attorney when I grow up. So, that was kind of my childhood dreams. (:

Me at the faculty
The first "atypical" lawyer which comes to my mind is Elle Woods from the movie Legally Blonde. I especially remember words her father said to her: "Oh, sweetheart, you don't need law school. Law school is for people who are boring and ugly and serious. And you, button, are none of those things." I know, it's just a movie, but her character was pretty likeable. :D Another cool lawyers I remember are those from the Ally McBeal TV series. They are all so pleasant there, men and women.

My circle of friends is quite diverse, because I believe that different areas supplement each other and that they broaden one's horizons. I have two good friends from the faculty and I really enjoy our discussions- which have, especially in the last time, became more interesting and I would say, gained depth. These conversations are a bit different from those I have with other friends-I guess that's because we have been through similar things, we have some common interests and we think similarly.

A typical or an atypical lawyer, here is a quote I once read somewhere: "The real intelectuall people are plain.

At the picnic with the lawyers, with a friend

Sunday, 16 March 2014

20 years from now..

In the last months I've been dealing with myself probably more than I did in my entire life. Questions about my life,wishes.. We all know that young people are massively leaving Slovenia. It's well known that those who are smart,left Slovenia. Since I've got a new job, that is not my primary reason for moving. But if one day at work you just stare in front of you,kind of numb,with a weird feeling like:what am I doing here,that's a signal you should pay attention to your situation.The last event that reminded me of my big wish about moving to Germany,was hanging out with my last couchsurfer. Listening to the original german language again..I could listen to it for hours. And recently I had a couple of interesting conversations about this theme. I asked my co-worker,who lived there for over than 20 years,how would he compare life there to life in Slovenia. He said,that the point can be told in two sentences: in Slovenia we work to live and in Germany people live to work. In his opinion,life in Slovenia is better and its quality is higher,because we have a lot of free time and we also know how to relax. And we can do this because everything is so close:we can "jump" to the seaside in the afternoon or go hiking.That's true.If I return to my personal dilemma,my (almost) 16 year-old cousin gave me a cool piece of advice. She said: "First,you have to decide what do you really want. Because when you do that,all the dilemma about the second option will disappear. And when you'll start working in that direction,things will just fall into place."No matter how well informed I am and what my current situation is,there's a quote I can't get out of my head: "20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do."

Nena or 99 Luftballons

Have you ever googled your name? Or did a research about its origin and meaning? My insomnia was the reason I did that. We probably all know a german singer Nena and her big hit 99 Luftballons. But I wanted to find out some interesting facts and stories about my name.

My first result was, that Nena is "a spanish slang word used as an affectionate term of endearment, usually from a boyfriend to a girlfriend, equivalent to "sweetheart" or "baby" in English. And you won't find it in the dictionary."

Next, the feminine name Nena is also used in Greece, Bulgaria (hier Nena is the new form of Nenka), Slovenia, Croatia and of course, in Germany.
3 interesting facts: Uma Thurman's mother's name is Nena. According to Aztec mythology, Nena was the first woman on Earth. It's a relatively frequent name in Latin America, with the attributes of grace and gracefulness.
Majority of the stories I found at german pages. There Nena means "a little girl". Their singer got that nickname as a child, during the holidays in Spain with her parents. But the best are comments from women, whose name is Nena. One wrote, that after each introducing people asked her: "Nina? He, Lena?" And as a child, everytime her name was mentioned, she had to sing 99 Luftballons. I laughed, because I also do that! :D (usually when I'm not completely sober). Some other girl said: "Lena? Nina? 99 Luftballons? And my teacher always sang 99 Luftballons instead of my name." The third girl posted: "Lena or Nina? And when they finally understood my name, in 99 % they asked me: "Were your parents Nena fans, or what?" Nena is also sometimes used as a nickname for Verena.
To sum up: in Germany Nena is often understood as Lena, but these women also agree, that they are happy to be called so, because it's: "a short, clear and (who would say) rare name.
And Nena in Slovenia? According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, there are only 197 women with that name. I don't have friends with that name. And quite often people ask me: "Is that your real name?"
To conclude, my personal story for the end: a few years ago, a guy (we weren't dating, just hanging out) brought me 4 packages of 25 balloons in each. He blew up one of them and we threw it into the river. Then he said: "Now you are Nena with 99 Luftballons."  I still have most of them somewhere in my room. That was probably one of the most original gifts I ever got! (:
Also the nicknames are interesting, such as: Neen, Neentje, Neni, Nenita, Neenie, Nency, Nenatju, Nenatje, Nenuška, Nenči.

My most unusual job interview

Usually I have always had women examiners at my job interviews. And usually they all ask you the same. So, after a really long time I had this interview where the examiner was a man. But why do I say unusual? Because it lasted exactly THREE hours!
We sat at this really big table: he at one corner, me at the other. 'Are you nervous?' 'No.' I actually felt relaxed and comfortable. He looked at my papers and said: 'That's not you in the picture.' I smiled: 'Of course I am.' 'Don't resent me, but you look much prettier in person. You look so serious in the picture.' 'Well, you should look serious at this formal matters', I replied.
'Let me tell you, that this conversation is going to last about 2 hours. Maybe less, that depends on you.' 'Ok.'
He read: 'I currently live in Ljubljana. What does this currently mean? Are you going somewhere?' 'No, this just means, that I live in Ljubljana at the moment.' 'Are you married or single?' 'Single.' 'Do you have any children?' 'No, I don't.' A moment of silence, then he raised his voice a bit: 'You are a lawyer, you should know that I'm not allowed to ask you that?!' 'I know that, but in reality people ask you that.'
'What was the biggest risk in your life? How do you behave if you don't like your boss? How would people, who don't like you, describe you? What would you, regarding to your past job, change about yourself in your new job? Tell me a joke.'
I felt like I was at the psychiatrist, or at least at the psychologist.
'Name the last three books you read, with their authors.' That was easy. 'Emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman. The sense of an ending by Julian Barnes, which also won the Booker Prize. And I always keep re-reading The little prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.'
'Let's say, that you personally have to sell some product. What do you need to sell it?' 'Well, first I need an offer.' 'No.' 'Marketing?' 'No.' 'Oh, of course, I need a consent, I mean a contract.' 'No. This is so simple, how come you don't know it? You need the knowledge about this product.' Well, ok.
'Your favourite memories?' 'My childhood, my college time and my holidays in Germany.' 'Why your college time?' 'Because everything was so carefree back then.' 'Name 5 members of Parliament and their political parties.' I named them but added: ' But I don't know which parties they belong to, since I'm really not interested in slovenian politics.' 'Me neither', he said. So I guess this was one of those 'tricky' questions.
'Tell me how you spent your day today, in English and German. And then: what are your plans for this weekend, in Croatian and/or Serbian.'
The last question was: 'Who would you invite to a dinner?'
Then he gave me about 20 sheets of paper, with different matters, which I had to organize on my schedule from 5 to 7 p.m. that day. 'I give you exactly one hour for this test, but I hope you'll finish it sooner. Any questions?'
As I was leaving, he asked me: 'How was it?' I said: 'Well, it's been a while, since I have written tests like that.'
I arrived at 4.50 pm. I left at 8.05 pm.

Boys of our lives

"Stop waiting for Prince Charming. Get up and find him. The poor idiot may be stuck in a tree or something." This is the quote, my 15 year old cousin (who is one of the most intelligent people I know) wrote me on a poster and I hang it at the door in my room. We joke a lot, but there's a piece of truth in every joke :D
And since Boys are a regular theme at our socialisings with friends, let's say a word or two about them. (:
I read an article (How many "wrong ones" do you have to meet before you find the right one) on some slovenian page and the results say that on average women: sleep with 7 men, kiss 15 men and have 2 long-term relationships (from which in one of them they live with a man) before they meet "the one".
Who are these guys? Our ex boyfriends, lovers, or just some random flirts. Some of them we hardly remember and for some of them we thought they were "the one". What happened to them?
If you saw 500 Days of Summer (I love this movie, because it's so damn realistic), you probably remember the scene where she talks about her ex boyfriends and he asks her: "What happened to them?" And she answers: "What always happens: Life."
And what about Prince Charming, does he exist? Of course not. But as I remember, in conversations with my girlfriends we have always used a word: material. A material is a guy, who has the package of these qualities that we are looking for, or we approve. One word, which says a lot.
German actress Iris Berben once said: " Alle Frauen warten auf den Mann ihres Lebens, aber in der zwischenzeit heiraten Sie." (All women are waiting for the man of their life, but in the meanwhile they get married). I can relate to this quote, because it expresses that love happens when you least expect, or at least you are not looking for it.
My friend integrated the whole thing in this: there will someday be a guy, that you'll find cool. And he won't be going anywhere. Things will just fall into place. And you'll know it.
And what about the Boys from the title of this writing? I think they are our inevitable and needful Lessons until that moment. The moment, when we will play with our husbands and children, satisfied with our life and happy with the woman we've become..

We don't meet people by accident

I don't remember when was the last time I wrote something personal. Actually, I just recall how my high school teacher always said that my essays were really good and it crossed my mind: let's go write something after a long time..
In my life I have visited Germany about 10 or 12 times. Since my grandma lived there, I spent there almost every summer holidays. Because of that I sometimes have a feeling, that I lived in Germany in my former life :D
Germany, 2013: here I was again. No real explanation, no expectations, I just went. Although I have seen this city before..
My friend, who introduced me this couchsurfing thing, once said she thinks it is really cool, but it could also be sad, if you get attached to this other person. I didn't understand that: how can you get attached to someone, who just sleeps at your place for a couple of days and then goes home? Now I understand (:
My host was a guy who fascinated me. I don't even know when exactly, I guess it was a mixture of everything that happened: the way he treated me, our conversations in my not so perfect german.. Moments, when you just feel safe and special beside that person. Because when you get older, you start to look for different things as you did when you were 20. When with almost a complete stranger you get the feeling like you know that person for 10 years (and he is exactly 4 days younger than me). I think that's just rare. When you are lying beside this person and the last thing you wish at that moment is to leave and go back home in the next few minutes. But you go..
"We don't meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason." I really like this quote.
And when you get older, you also realize how short life actually is, so you don't want to regret that you didn't do or say something that was on your mind. Maybe we'll see each other again, or maybe there was "just" this my trip, who knows.
But as someone once said: "If it is still on your mind, it is still in your heart."