2022 IS OVER

Where did the year go? I really can’t say! It seems like yesterday as the desire hit me in January to go back to Austria – as soon as possible with the support of my company. And now the year is over and my plans are only moving forward slowly.

Looking back to the past year, it was gone in a flash. With Corona still an issue, home office having become the rule, two great vacations … and lots of waiting. Waiting for our company being taken over and hoping that in the course of this a move back would become easier, doing what I’m doing now, just not from Germany but from Austria. Patience, that was and is required from me. In my heart, I’m already home … with the move and everything involved having been planned in detail, the first furniture having been sold on ebay and lots and lots of banana boxes packed and stacked in closets.

How will I spend this last day of 2022? Comfortably at home, doing what I love to do on the last day of the year. Doing my yearly personal accounting, preparing my lists and folders for the new year, write birthdays and other important dates into my new kitchen calendar – which is always from the same design every year – and as has become a tradition as well, having Raclette in the evening. Classic raclettewith just the Swiss cheese, potatoes and pickles. However, I plan on having “Raclette without Raclette” on the first day of the year. A trial run ofthe way Germans do it. They use everything apart from the Swiss cheese. And for this culinary adventure I bought mozzarella and tomatoes, Dolce Latte (blue cheese) and banana, Cheddar and a hearty soft cheese.

Compared to the other years, however, I have been invited to a classical concert and even though I was a bit reluctant to go at first, I’m looking forward to it now. Especially since it already starts at 4 p.m., leaving the evening to myself – for Raclette and Austrian DVD entertainment. 

Midnight, I will open the mini bottle of sparkling wine, listening to the Stefansdom Pummerin bell thanks toAustrian online radio and the Viennese Danube waltz. Getting a little emotional, hoping and wishing that 2023/2024 I will already be back home! Happy new year!



… holy night … and a very merry Christmas to all of you! As usual, I’ve tried to avoid listening to this famous Austrian Christmas song as best I could, even covering my ears with my hands when it was played somewhere. Like the incapable brass players right in front of my bedroom window in early November – yes, early November! Once again, I had to endure some of those horrible wanna-be musicians just because I’m living in a pedestrian street. It seems the worst musicians are assembled in the town I reside in. Like this one guy who is hollering Sinatra’s “New York, New York” ten times in a row. Or the weird Muslim woman screeching whining stuff … euw. Oops, that’s not the topic here, right?

So why? I mean, why do I avoid this song? It’s another family tradition. My mum didn’t want to hear it until Christmas Eve when we were all assembled in front of our Christmas tree and Dad hit PLAY at the cassette deck for it to start. (Yep, later we did have CDs too!) And, as usual, we always became emotional … once, we celebrated in Styria with my aunt, uncle, granny and Aunt Do, my uncle had prepared the wrong side of the cassette and we had to wait until it had been rewound to the correct side … which was quite hilarious and lightened the mood consideringly, since usually some melancholy was not far away.

Today, I will spend the day just like the past two years. Starting the day with a nice breakfast, taking care of the few preparations for my evening fondue and hoping for my special friend to find a few minutes to see me. And just like the past two years I started collecting my Amazon orders early on, so I will be busy with my gifts to myself after my Fondue feast, the crying to “Silent night, holy night” and looking at the real burning candles on my fake tree with my cat. I will probably watch one of the 50s Sisi movies with Romy Schneider while enjoying my gifts and talk to my family on the phone in between. Of course, my tomcat will also receive gifts. From myself and my aunt also ordered me to get something for him, especially wiring money for my cat’s Christmas gift. Which I then immediately ordered from Amazon.

Christmas gifts for my cat? Crazy? Maybe! But that’s another family tradition. Our beloved pets in the family – beagle Xavi (Xavier in his certificate) and cat Schlappi (as a kitten his ears were drooping) – always received gifts at Christmas, Easter and also when we came to visit. Mostly dog and cat treats, and at special occasions they were wrapped just like the gifts for the rest of us. Oh … those happy memories of past Christmases with my family. All gone apart from my mother’s sister … luckily, I still have her and a few other relatives, scattered across Austria. 

Anyway, I intend to enjoy my Christmas holidays and wish you all a great Christmas time!


… and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. (No, not by me, by great poet Robert Frost!)

I first came across those couple of lines at an English test, where we had to write an essay about what those words could mean. Those words by Robert Frost impressed me so much and described my life so well, even then, in my young adult years, that they stayed with me all those years.

Let’s briefly dissect the lines, shall we? “The road less travelled by”. To me, it represents the more difficult path to take, a life more unusual than the common “married in your twenties, two kids, a dog, a house, two cars”. “And that has made all the difference” … well, of course this could be seen either in a positive or negative way. In my case … it’s both. It made me who I am.

Thinking back to my less than normal life, it probably all started in my middle school days. I just didn’t quite fit in. One example? I didn’t care about the latest fashion – which were to possess ripped jeans and Levis 501s were a must. I never submitted to peer pressure, I wore what I liked and it didn’t matter whether those jeans were no-names or Levis. (And believe me, my parents had enough money to buy me a couple of Levis jeans as well!) And even at that age I already knew very well what’s right or wrong, that one asks for things and not just takes them. Which the girl sitting next to me – when pointing this out to her since she just took whatever she wanted from my pencil case to use – took so badly, that I was subjected to more than 3 years of mobbing. Yeah, school definitely sucked! Luckily, I could soon escape to Styria where my weekend life took place. Going out with friends, having dancing classes … and literally being with people who were already university students and not as silly as my classmates anymore. So, not the usual way to spend one’s teen years.

University … oh boy, I certainly took the difficult path there. Instead of studying something more girl-like, like economics, languages or anything else to become a teacher … I decided to become an engineer. At a university which already had the reputation of hardly being manageable in the minimum study duration. Of course, I didn’t either. It was a difficult time and I came THIS close to giving up … but I didn’t. I fought my way through, studying for horrible subjects with lots of mathematics (so not my thing), very often all alone, because my friends were ahead or behind. My life revolved around my studies and working. Tutoring children. And at the end of the day I was just so happy to be home that I barely went out. And large student parties were not my thing anyway. So, my student years – apart from the very first ones, before I had to earn my living – were not like everyone’s else either. My free time I rather spent with my beloved Aunt Do instead of with fellow students. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Well, moving to another country in my mid 30s, alone, to start a new job and life, was not the easiest path either. I could have stayed at university, in the same rut, teaching other students … but I didn’t want that. I wanted to have a real job, earn money and finally enjoy my life without pinching pennies (or cents). And since I had already lost my parents, my home, nothing held me back. So, not common either. Being an orphan at my age, unmarried, single, without kids.

Yeah, I guess I tend to take the path less travelled by all the time. And as difficult as everything is at times … my past and my decisions made me the way I am and I’m glad I’m not one of those boring people stuck in their boring 08/15 lives …


I know what you are saying now: Every season has its perks and beauty. And I agree. But still, there are always seasons one prefers to the others.

Spring: Definitely my favourite one. When the days become longer, everything starts to grow and bloom again, desperate for sprucing up the balcony. Fresh plants, sowing salad and radishes and tomatoes, watching the sprouts become larger day by day. And sitting in the spring sun again as soon as it’s getting warm enough, reading, having coffee or tea and enjoying spring.

Summer: Hate the heat and the humidity. But I immensely enjoy weekend mornings on my balcony, having a leisurely breakfast outside, later enjoying some sun before shutting myself into my apartment, leaving the heat outside … and, of course, harvesting my own produce from my little balcony garden.

I remember being a young girl, the summer days spent at the lake or weekends at our mountain retreat apartment, where we used to barbecue regularly and light a fire in the little oven in the evenings. Haunting the surrounding woods, collecting wood and picking flowers. Summer to me now are those two months after my birthday when I’m one of those working – due to not having kids – hoping for not too high temperatures and enjoying the one or other ice cream sundae outing.

Fall: Oh, I love fall! I love the cooler evenings and the still sunny and warm days. The autumn colours. Still being able to sit outside on the balcony to soak up some sun and have at least coffee or tea, even though it’s already too cold for breakfasts. Fall is also the time I usually take my two-week vacation. Mostly in September, in the hope of still nice weather. October is my “orange” month, putting upsome fall and Halloween decoration. Slowly getting prepared for rainy and foggy November with afternoon teas and my murder mysteries until …

Winter: Snow, I love snow, I love driving in fresh snow, I love skiing. I love the fresh, crisp air. What I don’t love? The short days, needing artificial lights until the late morning, the cold apartment, wondering how long I manage not to switch on the heating. But then … Christmas time is coming and I very much enjoy the festive season, the Christmas markets, the advent Sundays, not in the least stressful for me. January is probably the worst, dull and long. With February and March being happy about the days becoming longer again.

It’s December now, only a couple of weeks away from Christmas and I’m grateful that I’m able to enjoy this season again, because a few years back it was the worst season for me and I hope I will never have to go through that again.


It’s an obsession! Always has been! Even though I too had times in my life in which I didn’t devour one book a day …

But my obsession with books and reading is back. For a very simple reason. It distracts me, giving me an escape to another time and place and makes me not think too much. To think about my life and the things I have lost. To think about disappointments. Friends who turn out to not be friends after all. Out of sight, out of their lives. 

Recently I had to deal with a heavy hit and it took me some time to get over it, coming very close to ending this 19-year-long friendship (2003). Just like other friendships I had to end because what’s the point of a friendship if you are the only one taking the effort and making sure the contact remains even though you are far away? When it’s always YOU sending messages or calling? If you ask for help and just receive a derogatory response instead? At one point,you just have to cut your losses and get rid of those people who are not doing you any good anymore. They don’t care anyway. And as sad as it is, giving up year-long and close friendships … especially if times are tough and you are filled with worries, you will realize who your real friends are. Those who won’t drop you!

Reading distracts me from my annoyance about myself when it comes to my former relationship and my being too nice, too generous, too compliant! And I guess it will take some time until my angerdissipates and I will forgive myself for being so stupid. Learning from mistakes is part of life!

Reading also makes me not think about “my first cat” Tristan too much. It’s breaking my heart to know that he was ignored more than being loved and cuddled. Left alone for days, because he’s a “cat”, can go outside and has the bathroom to retreat to … with some food being provided. I dare not think about all that, the way he bumped my head, cuddled up to me… it hurts too much and makes me despise HIM more than I can say. Which is not good for me.

108 books, that’s the whopping number I counted for 2020 – as much as I could retrace the Kindle and Paperback books I read. I suspect it was a bit more. (Which is why I started an extra list for 2021 to get an exact number for the next years to come. Why haven’t I thought about that much earlier? Well, I once had a list which displayed not only the author and title but also where I bought it, the colour of the spine, start and end reading date, … that WAS a bit over the top, I guess …) 108 books in 2020! 309 books in 2021! Whew! But not all too surprising either, I suspect book consumption of most people went up in the past two years. After all, not much could be done during the Corona Pandemic with “staying home” becoming a new way of life. So, yes, I too spent a lot of time at home and enjoyed my escapes into many, many books. Escaping to the Victorian and Edwardian times, 20s and 30s, trying to deduct and guess the murderers in my mysteries.(Which I very rarely manage to do until the very end!) What 2023 will bring? More glorious books to read! More escapes and joy whenever I have finished a book and add them to my constantly expandinglibrary!

Happy reading, you all! Everyone deserves to forget his worries for a few hours!