Sunday, February 26, 2017

Oscar Sunday, Weather Temp Swings and more

PixlrHappy Oscar Sunday :) Going to be watching the Oscars in a little while. Right now we are at Red Rooster pub. Went for lunch and some drinks. Had a yummy omelette and delicious peach bellinis. Yum! :)

Yesterday the weather was warm so we went for a walk in Cheshire followed by lunch in Oxford. The weather warmed up quite a bit Thursday and Friday (close to 70F/20C) So crazy. Definitely not normal for February. Today it is much cooler again and much more normal for the time of year.  But it was amazing to have warm spring like weather for a few days. So nice!

Mike was in L.A Monday to Thursday. It was nice to spend some time by myself,  writing letters, reading and watching movies. But it's nice to have him back.  Especially sleeping by myself and waking up alone didn't feel quite right.  So it's nice to have him back. 

But I am glad he got to meet up with our Australian friend Nicki. Wish I could have gone out to CA too but everything worked out for the best so it's good. And I am glad he had a fun few days away before diving back into the job search. 

Let's see way next week brings for me at work. We just booked a 2-night getaway to Burlington, VT over Easter weekend. Can't wait!! 

Letter/Mail Update: Mailed letters on Thursday to: Eloine/NY, Bianca/Germany and Tiffany/OK.

Posted by Hanna at 04:16 PM in Current Affairs, Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

President Trump ?!@%$?!

IMG_20170121_154921_129I think I have been in denial ever since election day, hoping, praying and wishing that somehow by some miracle yesterday wouldn't come and something would happen that would cause a different outcome. Of course that didn't happen and I guess logically I knew that it wouldn't.  

So somehow we now live in a world where Donald Trump is the current president of the United States. I can't even say that out loud with a straight face. I really can't.  How did we get here? How did this happen?

It doesn't seem to matter what crazy things he says or does, his core supporters still support him. It's insanity. Mind boggling insanity.

Not even a day passed, mere hours after his inauguration, the White House website removed all pages on climate change, health care, civil, LGBTQ and Native American rights. Seriously? I feel like we are in for a rough ride. And this is coming from a white middle class person. I am however also female and an immigrant so while I don't feel crazy threatened I can definitely understand the concerns and fears of many people in this country.  

I really want to believe that I am wrong. I want to be hopeful and I want to think "Well maybe he will still surprise us all" but I am just having a really hard time believing that.

The only thing that gives me hope right now is seeing all the news coverage about the Women's March on Washington and all the other marches across the country and the globe. Maybe somehow this divided country can come together and by bonding together and fighting for women's and human rights in general, continuing to stay strong and fight for what's right,  something good will come out of this whole mess in the end.  Let's see how it does. 

In other news I am heading to Pittsburgh for training for work for 10 days tomorrow. Will update when I have time.  :)

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Carmen/Malta, Kimber/Canada and Celia/MA.

Posted by Hanna at 04:24 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

America - what have you done??

PixlrI really was looking forward to this election to be over, to finally get past all the craziness, all the hate speech, all the memes and propaganda on social media. But while deep down I was slightly nervous/concerned about the outcome I think I never really truly considered the possibility that Trump would actually end up being the next president elect. I think I just didn't have it in me to really consider that option and even now it's still hard for me to really come to terms with it. 

I understand that this is how the vote went and that this is how it's going to be but I am still having a hard time truly understanding it. I think it doesn't make it easier for me that Hillary actually won the popular vote and only due to the electoral college are we stuck with Trump. I am still not a 100% sure I understand/agree with the electoral college concept in this day and age. One of my friends posted a good video on it and while that video does make some good points I am still not totally convinced. But I am glad I watched it to at least try and gain a little more insight at least.

What concerns me is that a lot of people voted for him because they simply wanted a shake up. For one reason or another they didn't feel that they were being heard, their concerns falling on deaf ears and they wanted change, any change, no matter what that meant. And while I do understand people want things to be different that rhetoric also has me very concerned.

A lot of people also voted for him because they hate Hillary. I have heard more than one person say "Do I think that Trump is the best choice? Do I think he is the best person for the job? Well maybe not. But how can I vote for Hillary? I hate her with every fiber of my being". And I really just don't understand that. I don't understand that hatred people have towards her. I am not saying that you need to be in love with her or that she is the most likable person that ever existed. But really. There are a million and a half examples of horrible things Trump has said, done and/or tweeted, without even mentioning the whole "grab her by the pu***y" story. So you are totally ok with all of that? Hate speech? Fear mongering? Fat shaming? Racist? That's all cool? Really? Really? But Hillary you hate with every fiber of your being. Really? Really? 

I mean let's look at the facts. Let's look at what a Trump presidency potentially will mean for us in this country. If he gets his wish and repeals the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare people are going to lose their insurance. I understand Obamacare is flawed and not the best thing that ever existed BUT it's better than what we had before, which was nothing. The solution in my eyes should be to try and fix its issues rather than repeal it and go back to having no coverage for millions of people.

If he defunds Planned Parenthood, people are going to suffer. Planned Parenthood funding covers necessary services for millions of women across the country. And I am not talking about abortions, none of the funding goes towards abortions. Planned Parenthood does so much more. 

I am nervous about his stance on gun laws as well. We need someone in charge who is willing to implement stricter gun control. Mass shootings have become the norm. We can't just sit back and accept that. I went to a funeral after the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012 and thought "Surely a mass killing of elementary school children will spark something/change something" and here we are almost four years later. Has anything changed? No. It's gotten worse instead. 

His take on climate change as well as wanting to opt out of various international treaties will affect the whole world. A Trump presidency will have a much wider impact than just what happens inside the borders of the United States.  

He is also normalizing racism and intolerance of LGBT people which means people are going to suffer. It's not hyperbole. It's fact. There are already reports coming from across the country of POC and LGBT people being harassed and assaulted in the name of the new normal. Having Trump as the president elect has made it ok to be hateful and racist. 

I really want to believe that I am wrong. I want to be hopeful and I want to think "Well maybe he will surprise us all" but somehow I am just having a really hard time believing that. I want to think that somehow this divided country can come together and I will give him a chance. I will sit back and wait to see what he does. But deep down I am very concerned. I am worried and uneasy. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Eloine/NY and Bianca/Germany.

Posted by Hanna at 03:42 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Gorgeous Fall Day, Job News and more

IMG_20161018_145511Took advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a fall foliage drive (we went on loop #4 if you want to check it out here) on Tuesday. The weather honestly couldn't have been more perfect. Brisk blue skies that highlighted the beautiful colors of the leaves. We are definitely at peak or even a bit past peak here now. The leaves were raining down from lots of trees while we were driving creating super pretty scenes. I love fall/autumn, just wish it would last longer. 

Now on to the news from the job search. It's truly been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Monday night I received a message telling me that I didn't get the job and they picked someone else. Tuesday morning I received another message letting me know that there was a new development. Wednesday I was able to speak to someone and learned that I was their second choice candidate and that a second position had also opened up. So now they are running background and reference checks (criminal, verifying my degree in Austria etc) and once all that comes back I will hopefully be receiving an offer. So everyone, please keep your fingers crossed just a little while longer. :) This process could take another 2 weeks, depending how long it takes for them to verify everything, speak to my references etc. So more waiting in my future it seems. 

Other than that not too much going on. Yesterday, Wednesday, our friends John and Jana came over to our apartment and we watched the third presidential debate together. Always fun to hang out with friends even though the debate itself was a crazy mess of course. I can't wait for the election to be over but am also still a bit concerned. We will see how it goes. That will be another crazy night in front of the TV. Since I am still an Austrian citizen I can't vote so I will have to rely on everyone else in this country to do the right thing. 

Today I am just catching up on a few things and drinking tea. On Sunday we have Broadway tickets to see "The Great Comet of 1812". We splurged and got stage tickets. I am really excited to go as the seating and layout just seems super unique and fun.   Also going for dinner at Osteria al Doge afterwards. Yum. Can't wait. :) 

Letter/Mail Update: All caught up with my mail at the moment. :) 

Posted by Hanna at 01:09 PM in Current Affairs, Food and Drink, NYC, Outdoors | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

UK Recap, Office Move, Paris

Pixlr_20151115070544080Meant to make another update while in England but it just never happened. Time went by too fast and I was busy the whole time and/or without proper fast internet access while out and about. 

Anyway, the rest of my stay in the UK was great. Had a fun time even though the weather was pretty miserable the whole time I was there. But that's ok, hardly the end of the world and sort of expected I guess. Saturday we went to my friend Nicola's wedding. It was great to see her and be part of her happy day. She seemed truly radiant. Had a great time hanging out with Joanne and Dan, just a fun day all around. 

Then Sunday we went to Chichester and did some shopping. I always enjoy Chichester. Very pretty, old town with neat, more unique shops. Was pretty restrained shopping-wise (which is probably a good thing because I was barely able to fit all the things I did buy into my luggage on the way home) but still had a great time. Had a yummy lunch and then headed back to Hayling Island. 

And well Monday it was already time for me to take the bus back up to London Heathrow to head back to New York. Decent, smooth flights both ways so no complains there. The rest of the week since I have been back has been a bit of a blur. Been in preparations for our office move which is happening this weekend. Been busy moving furniture, office equipment, boxing up things and whatnot these past few days. Today Mike needs to shut down the network at our current office and set everything up at the new office. Let's hope things go smooth. 

And last but most definitely not least, Paris. I really don't even have words to explain what I am feeling. And just want to extend my deepest thoughts and sympathies to anyone involved, anyone who knows someone/lost someone. A friend of a friend lost his life Friday night. A completely innocent and seemingly super nice guy who was just doing his job, in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's crazy the world we live in these days. And what is breaking my heart even more are all the comments online of people saying it's because of the refugees. These people are fleeing that exact terror. Why do people not get that? I don't know what the solution is and obviously something needs to be done to try and restore some sort of peace in that region of the world but blaming the refugees who are simply trying to survive as well can't be the solution.  

Mail Update: Letters went out on Tuesday to: Charles/TN, Celia/MA and Katie/IA. Received letters/still owe replies to: Tiffany/OK and Laura/Spain.

Posted by Hanna at 07:25 AM in Current Affairs, Travel, Work Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Eurovision in Vienna - Sweden 12 points

Collage_20150523191044118Had a busy week at work as usual leading up to the Memorial Day holiday. Always a lot going on and pretty hectic trying to make sure everything is arranged correctly, orders are placed and nothing falls through the cracks. Of course no matter how hard you try there is always something that ends up not working out. But all in all it went ok I guess.

Mike and I actually have a three day weekend which is very nice and very rare so we are appreciating it. :) Today we relaxed a bit because Mike's not feeling too great, dealing with seasonal allergies plus a cold. So we slept in and stayed home. I made some lunch (yummy Serbian rice dish from a packet I bought in Austria) and afterwards we caught up with the rest of the current season of "The Big Bang Theory". 

After that it was time for Eurovision. Mike watched some "Parks and Rec" episodes while I caught up with friend Joanne from the UK to watch the Eurovision Song Contest online. I was excited to be able to catch the ORF Austrian broadcast live stream of the contest while chatting with Joanne online. It was fun to talk about the various performances and voting afterwards. Definitely a lot of fun. 

Austria sadly didn't get any points at all which is kind of disappointing since their performance actually was quite good I thought. But it's ok, we're used to it. :) I am still in shock that we actually won the contest last year. Only the second time in history and first time since the 60ies. It was definitely exciting to watch a song contest in Austria and to be able to see Vienna as the host city. Originally I had planned on going to Vienna for it but it ended up not working out. Oh well. It was definitely fun to catch it online with my friend though. :)

Now I am just lounging around, having some tea and being lazy. Feels like it's been a long day. I guess Eurovision is exhausting. lol. :)

Mail Update: Received mail/owe a reply: Laura/Spain.

Posted by Hanna at 08:19 PM in Austria , Current Affairs, Food and Drink, Performances | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston

521865_10152782990195319_1629632476_nBeen meaning to write a post on this for a week now but somehow just hasn't happened. I don't know if I will be able to write down everything I am thinking and feeling and for it to all make perfect sense but I thought I should at least try.

When the bombings at the Boston Marathon happened last week Monday (15th) it was very surreal. And honestly it's been a roller coaster ride of emotions pretty much all week, seeing all the news reports, all the injuries, reading people's stories, etc. Boston is about 2 1/2 hours away from us and we have been there lots and lots of times. Have always loved Boston, such a great city. We actually have concert tickets for a Paramore concert in Boston in mid May. Got those about a month ago probably. So it was definitely another case of "close to home". Not quite as close as Sandy Hook-Newtown but still. One of my friends who lives in one of the Boston suburbs was posting online about it plus one of my employees is originally from Massachusetts and still has her family there. So it definitely felt close.

Then mid week when the FBI had a lead on the bombers we were pretty much glued to the TV and online media coverage watching what was going on. I am very glad they were able to bring the second bomber in alive. It should help with finding out more on the back story. I hate when suspects kill themselves and you never find out the "why" behind things. I think it helps and gives some sort of closure at the very least.

Watching the lockdown of various towns while the FBI was going door to door, searching neighborhoods, it was so surreal. I was trying to picture if it was our town and how we would feel. And it only being 2 hours away. For a bit there were reports that a suspect had escaped into CT and they were searching for a certain Massachusetts license plate.

And now they have him in custody and I am glad they do. But now the whole media frenzy around that is also making me sick to my stomach. I get he is a very bad person. And I don't disagree with that for a minute, don't get me wrong. He was part of something very, very terrible and he should definitely have to face those charges. BUT he is still an American citizen (the guy in custody came to this country when he was 8 years old), like it or not. And he committed these crimes on American soil. So he should get a trial in an American court just like everyone else. What about this "innocent until proven guilty" thing? What about all those people who love to uphold the constitution and all the rights people have in this country? Apparently that only applies when it's convenient? Like the 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms. Oh how people love to cite that.

Basically what I am trying to say is. Yes, he is a bad guy and I would say there is a 99.9% chance he is guilty and will be convicted. But I believe we still have to go through the motions and give him the benefit of a trial. I have been reading things online where people say things like "Why did they rush him to the ER? They should have just let him bleed out and die." "Why even bother reading him his rights? He has no rights, he is a terrorist." It's just so crazy. Where do we draw the line? How do we decide who is worthy of a trial and might not be guilty? And for that matter, who decides? NO, NO and NO again. None of that.

I also hate how the media is portraying the immigrant angle in all of this. Yes obviously they turned out to be bad people and ended up doing terrible things. But how can you say they shouldn't have been let into the country in the first place? The younger brother was only 8 years old when his family was seeking asylum. And they came here absolutely legally, seeking asylum and eventually becoming naturalized US citizens. You cannot deport an US citizen. I have lived here since 2001, 12 years this coming summer. I was 21 when I moved here. At this point I am still an Austrian citizen but I could have applied for US citizenship years ago, which then would mean I would be a naturalized US citizen and on paper not much different than a regular US citizen. I am obviously not planning on committing any crazy crimes and hate the fact that I am even comparing myself to people like that. But my main point is I am just not happy with the way this country is so anti-immigrant in certain ways nowadays.

Same goes for the gun lobbyists. It's just crazy. CT passed very strong gun laws recently, following the Sandy Hook shooting, but passing federal laws seems like such an uphill battle. It shouldn't be that hard. And it would help all around. Even with things like the recent bombings. If there were laws in place to track gun sales, ammunition, explosives, etc. maybe something would have popped up sooner rather than when it was too late. And no it's not an infringement on your personal rights. But don't even get me started on all of that.

I will stop here or else this post will turn into even more of a rant than it already is. . 

Mail Update: Owe replies to: Jessica/DE, Nina/WA and Tiffany/OK.

Posted by Hanna at 10:01 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NYC Christmas

TreeTrying to make a slightly more upbeat post but honestly it's hard with everything going on at the moment. It's hard to get away from it. Since we are so close to it that's all you see on the local news stations, newspapers, hear on the radio etc. And I of course understand why. So many people in this area were affected and so many people are trying to cope. Mike & I know someone who lost his sister and even though we aren't super close friends it still makes you think quite a bit. When you get to know someone and see them every week, talk, joke around, and then from one moment to the next everything changes. It's all very surreal.

Obviously I am not succeeding in this more lighthearted post so far. Let's try again. Sunday we spent the day in NYC. We had tickets for the Vienna Boys Choir at Carnegie Hall (very good show by the way). Afterwards we walked around for a bit, checking out the usual New York City holiday staples like the tree at Rockefeller Center. Also walked past Radio City plus they have a really neat set-up at Bryant Park with an ice-skating rink and a little Christmas market. We had a good time and managed to forget all the craziness at least for a little while. 

Now it's only one week until Christmas. I am mostly done with my shopping. Still need to wrap. Plus we still need to pick up some gift cards. We will have to do that over the next few days. On Friday it's our friend Tim's 30th birthday. We have joked that it falls on the Mayan End of the World Day. So at least he can have a great birthday and go out with a bang. :) 

I will end this post here as I feel like I am just rambling and not really succeeding in making a coherent post. But wanted to at least update on our day in New York City on Sunday. So I will leave you with a link to the rest of the pictures from the city in case you haven't seen them yet on Facebook. If you want to look click here.

Mail Update: Owe replies to: Lotte/Denmark and Jessica/DE.

Posted by Hanna at 07:41 AM in Current Affairs, Holidays | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown

NewtownIt's just too close to home. You always hear about those type of events on TV. Columbine when it happened, V.T. Tech or even the more recent Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. But I think in the back of your mind you think "No, that wouldn't happen here." and that makes you feel somehow safer. Until it happens in the next town over from you. One of the most idyllic, small, crime-free (the last homicide was 10 years ago I think) New England Connecticut towns.

The whole thing is just so surreal. I can't believe what the families are feeling. And all because one crazy person decided they had to go into an elementary school and start shooting. Who goes into an elementary school with an assault rifle? What kind of person do you have to be to do that? Obviously there was something wrong with him but I don't think I will ever be able to comprehend it. 

Friday was just a very surreal day at work as the events started to unfold and more and more news came out. Danbury is not very far from Newtown so a lot of the area schools went on lock-down after the events started to become more clear. Road closures, car searches when they thought there was a second shooter at large. Everything was just happening so fast, news came out, then changed again. I still don't think they quite know what made him go to that school. At first it was said that his mother was a teacher there but now that version has been recanted. Then they said the shooter was at the school days prior to the shooting and had an argument with 4 adults but that version can't be confirmed either. 

It's just so surreal. They said that everyone in the area most likely will know someone who knows someone who was affected personally. Well, unfortunately that seems to be coming true as we found out last night that the sister of one of the waiters/bartenders at one of the local restaurants we go to all the time was one of the teachers killed. It's just so sad.  

I really hope that something positive will come out of this and more gun control actually goes into place. It's scary to see some of the arguments online, people wanting to put MORE guns on the street. Arm the teachers. What?? What's next? Arm the children? Come on! I don't want to get into a big political rant on here on my blog but seriously, how can you say that it's a good thing people can legally own weapons like that. What on earth does a private citizen need a gun like that for? Fine, own a gun for hunting, or even a small gun to keep at home if it makes you feel better. But those type of guns that can kill twenty people in a matter of seconds. No. Just no. 

Mail Update: Since the last update letters have gone out to: Celia/MA, Nina/WA, Charles/TN and Caroline/Scotland. Also owe replies to: Jessica/DE.

Posted by Hanna at 09:12 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack