A festival of love and friendship

Happy Anniversary

Four years ago Pouya and I celebrated our marriage in Austria. A version of this post has been slowly descending on my draft list. Too early, too pregnant, too much with twins, too Corona. Today the time has come for me to remember these truly exceptional days with some reflections. For the fun of it, I will keep some of my original writing, it makes me smile to read about all these stressful vibes that I no longer feel.

2018: A year ago Pouya and I spent a wonderful day enjoying our engagement in New York City. Now we tied the knot with many of our friends in the Wilder Kaiser valley in Austria. Believe me, more than once in the preceding months of wedding planning I have seriously questioned my sanity. This week with our families and friends, though, has just been a blessing and a reminder that  the world is our oyster.

Our wedding was about appreciating our friends – and I would not have it any other way

While we were very excited to share our vows in front of our friends it was just as wonderful to be able to gather loved ones from so many regions in Austria. Last year we visited two friends in Toronto and they have our wedding picture hanging on the walls. Over the years only have I come to realize how rare and special the connections are that we have made and maintained over the years: To know that there are some people out there I could call in the middle of the night.

Guardians of each others’ solitude – the base of our partnership

Those who know me know that I am not good at making decisions and I tend to cling to the status quo (I will tell you soon how long it took me to finally leave my corporate job), but when it comes to Pouya all decisions were easy. In my engagement ring he had the words “forever free” engraved. Very early on it became clear that we had a similar understanding of what partnership does not mean: That one is responsible for the other’s happiness.

© Raphael Hünerfauth

During the last four years we have made it through a terrible pregnancy, learned to appreciate life with twins, and to work and live and be together 24/7 during months of Covid-Lockdowns. And I still think that Rilke summarized the duty of a married partner like no other:

“I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people. That each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.”

Brenner Alm in the Wilder Kaiser valley is an excellent location

Brenner Alm is located on a skiing hill with a great view of the Wilder Kaiser hills. The best thing about the Alm is the food, the wine selection as well as the couple running the restaurant, Trixie and Christian.

The hut itself is very spatious, we had enough room for our band Acoustic Avenue, for a dance floor and we were able to hold the ceremony outside. Since 2018 we have been back every year for a couple of days, for their Kaiserschmarrn mainly. Brenner Alm is worth a visit any day.

From four years hindsight I would also do a couple of things differently: worry less, spend a quarter on my dress and just soak it all up with much more consciousness.

Full-time work and full-time twin mom: the how-to guide in times of a global pandemic

The plan was perfect: take a little time to ease back into work by working part-time while my husband would get our twin girls started in daycare. Then, by May, he would drop the kiddos off in the morning and I would pick them up in the afternoon. Then Corona happened.

The reality is this: We both have finally arrived at positions in our jobs that we love. It is challenging, but very rewarding. And we have 11-month old twin girls at home with no help because there is a global pandemic.

Here are my 2cents of advice for everyone in a similar situation:

1.) Know how much sleep you need and get that amount at least four days/week 

My sweetspot is seven hours. I am a morning person and that means that I am sometimes going to bed ridiculously early to catch up on sleep. Not sleeping enough puts me on edge, at work and with the children. So no compromise here.

2.) Meal prep in advance 

Hangry eating binges happen, no doubt. But they do not make me feel that great. I prepare healty nutrition-packed lunches in advance and have healthier snack options ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Love your life. Every minute of it. Even in the most impossible moments. 

My husband put it this way: It looks like a Hangover 4 movie in our living room, but we had a great nap.

4.) Communicate to your work 

Obviously not everyone’s workplace is understanding. Last week both my husband and I had simultaneous calls and I decided to take the girls on a walk while being on a quite important call. I informed my colleagues in advance that I will have to be outside walking. I also emailed all my material in advance and let them know about my points just in case something would not work out with the call.

5.) Wash your face, put on real clothes and treat yourself well  

I love my PJs and hoodies and while it has certainly been awesome to be a little more chill about clothing and appearance in the beginning I have now started to dress myself, dress my babies and switch my camera on during work calls. On the weekends we do something special, like a bike ride with picnic.

There are days when I am surprised how well this is working and then there are those devastating days when I am questioning everything. Overall, I would not want to have it any other way.

How long working in double shifts from work to babies is possible? I have no idea.We hope to have an au-pair starting in August and dearly hope that the girls will be able to start daycare at some point in 2020.

Oh, January

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January is a hard to deal with month for me. I might also face a couple of intimidating thoughts right at this time and blaming the one month that usually motivates people to eat healthier, smoke less and work out … Continue reading

India

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I have been writing so much for work that my private headlines are not really the most creative. But this one sums it up pretty well. Pouya, me, India. Naturally, the minute I told my body I am going on … Continue reading

The German World – through His Eyes

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Be careful what you wish for: When Pouya and I decided to relocate to Germany we were telling our friends that it would be an adventure. It’s surely been adventurous, but maybe not the adventure that we had associated. Schorle! … Continue reading

07-17: A month to remember

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Kassel – Aalen – Boston – Lake Placid – New York: Triathlons, Cardboard Boxes, Saying “See You later” and a very powerful question that I answered with a yes (well, honestly, it was “Oh my god!” Pause “Yes!”)  Continue reading

Why I don’t want stuff – Project 333

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33 items of clothing for 30 days, can you do that? I just unconsciously lived a minimalist lifestyle, and you know what I missed: Nothing! With a big move from Boston to Germany looming, there are a lot of thoughts … Continue reading

Peter Drucker made me quit my job…well kind of

When the 100-year old writings of an Austrian Business dude totally throw you off…

Peter Drucker is the ultimate dude when it comes to leadership advice. Although his works date back to the early to mid 20th-century, his writing still holds true in times of Twitter, digital everything and snapchat.

The Austrian dude has a chapter about time in his book “The Effective Executive”. As he goes explaining how time is the only true scarce resource he consequently states: If you are doing something that is not contributing to your goals, you are wasting your time.

I was listening to that chapter after a not so great day of work that had already been preceded by many not too great days of work which had already been foreshadowed by a couple of meh months at work, you get the idea. And the only thing that kept me sane during this time was my workouts, weekends filled with skiing or other fun adventures and my friends in Germany, in South East Asia, in Boston that never get tired of listening to vents, to complaints, to doubts.

 

You will just have to listen to the Dudes…

I would not go so far as to say that Peter Drucker told me through the grapevine to put in my 2 weeks notice, but that night when I was chopping vegetables in my beautiful Boston apartment I felt that change was going to come my way and that I would embrace it: The uncertainty, the angst, the excitement, the freedom, the opportunity to work more focused towards my goals.

And enjoy the moments of deepest uncertainty

Yesterday Pouya & I walked to cozy Spy Pond in Cambridge on the first day of sunshine after three days of icy rain and snow storms in Boston (yes, Germans, I knwo . We carried with us the Greens from the Persian Sofra. Tradition has it that on the 13th day of Persian New Year you are supposed to tie a knot into your greens while making a wish and then sending the greens into the water. Obviously, I cannot tell anyone about the wish that I made while brading the greens. I can tell you, though, that sitting by the water, enjoying a sunny afternoon moment filled me with inner peace. After all Lichtenberg said “I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.”
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Thanks Dudes! Peter Drucker and Georg Lichtenberg