Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas lights everywhere!

I've always liked Christmas time but this year in particular my obsession with Christmas lights is getting out of control. If it was a thing, my dad would definitely sign me up for "Christmas light-holics anonymous". The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. So here it goes. My name is Baiba, I'm 24, and I'm addicted to Christmas lights. 
[Reginald the Raccoon looking dashing as always]

[Try to spot Marty in this]

Ok, so maybe putting lights on a dog is not a good idea, but I'm handling myself quite well. I've only got one more string of lights left to put somewhere. But don't you worry, I will figure it out.

Most people think I'm too excited for Christmas. Everyone's always worried about money, presents and everything else. But here's the thing. In my family, we don't really buy Christmas presents. It's been like this for over 10 years now. Of course, when we were kids, my parents would get me and my sister many wonderful gifts, but as we grew older, we realized we don't really need anything. So there's only one thing I ask my parents every year for Christmas - a chocolate Santa. That's all I want. If I need anything else, I can buy it myself. I don't need any expensive gifts, that's not what Christmas is about. So for my family it's a wonderful time of peace, kindness and food. The only ones who get presents are actually our pets. Both dogs and the cat get a cool new toy every year and let me tell you, it brings us the greatest joy to get them something, because they get so excited and happy, like little kids.
 
The only thing I have mixed feelings about is snow. In small amounts it's kinda cute and it makes this whole Christmas thing more jolly. However, as someone who drives a lot, I'm not a big fan of it. The roads are terrible, some people drive like maniacs and it just creates a lot more problems than joy. But this year even I get a little excited whenever we get some snow. This morning I woke up to a blizzard and giant piles of snow. My dogs were excited and so was I. I even made a ridiculous little snowman on my balcony. Meet Maverick.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "But Baiba, it looks creepy as hell. And is his face made out of cat food?" Why yes. And his nose is a peanut m&m. But if you think that's creepy, wait 'til you see what happened to it 10 minutes later...
[RIP Maverick]

The snow is melting fast, but my Christmas spirit stays strong. And so does my will to be kind and do good. Every year I try to donate as much as possible and as of last year, my family joined the so called "Operation Shoe-box". In case some of you don't know, but would like to join - Operation Shoe-box is when you get a small box and fill it with all kinds of goods of your choice. It can be candy, toys, mittens, puzzles, coloring books, Christmas ornaments, anything that would bring joy to kids. You wrap it up all nice and pretty, write a little note with the approximate age of the kid it's meant for and give it to the local officials who take care of this charity. And they will deliver the box to a less fortunate kid in need of a little Christmas kindness. Of course, it's important to do good things all year long, but during this time of the year, when the less fortunate feel the pressure of the Holidays, it's nice to help them out a little and put a smile on their faces.
 
So be good and kind to yourselves and others :)
Take care.
-B- 

 




Sunday, September 24, 2017

Weird Cravings and Self Discoveries

Dear friends and fellow bloggers,

My apologies for being absent for a while. I've been busy with a tremendous amount of work (which paid off very well) and I've also been in a weird funk that I'm slowly getting out of.

For the past two months or so, I've been struggling with insomnia. I go to bed at 11pm or 12am every night, feeling tired and ready for the magical embrace of my comfy pillow. However, each night I find myself awake for hours and fall asleep around 4am. It makes me mad, because I'm wasting so many hours. I could be working, but I'm too tired to do that. But apparently, not tired enough to close my eyes and drift off into the dreamland. The thing is, I can't seem to shut my mind off. It's like I'm going for the gold medal in a "Constant Thinking Marathon". And let me tell you... I'm winning! 

I feel like there's something bothering me, but I don't know what. Technically, there's nothing I should be worried about. Life is good. Everyone around me is healthy, happy, I have a good job, there should be nothing stressing me out. But something clearly is. Otherwise... what the heck is going on? 

I thought it was because of my routine. I'm a translator, which means I spend most of my days in front of a computer screen, translating documents, movies or just about anything else. But I love my job and all my hard work has paid off (I was offered a promotion!). And it's not like I work so much I don't see the daylight...

Another thing (not sure if related to my insomnia or my funk), lately I've been getting these weird cravings. By that I usually mean food wise. But not this time. One day I suddenly had the urge to read a book. It might sound silly, but it's been a while since I last read a book and all of a sudden I wanted to read one. Not just wanted... I had to. So I went to the bookstore and, being the little psycho that I am, bought not 1 but 6! books.

Most of them are collections of mystery stories by Edgar Allan Poe, which I'm totally obsessed with. So that week was the week of books. I read 3 in 2 days. Safe to say I didn't do much else and probably looked like an addict, getting my daily dose of mystery. But my needs were satisfied and I felt at peace.

Much to my surprise, the weird cravings did not end with that. The next one was the sudden urge to go to a forest. I genuinely just wanted to be in the woods and spend the day just walking around and picking mushrooms. I hate mushrooms, but picking them is a fun activity for me. Thankfully, I have a great, supporting family and friends who go along with my ideas. It didn't take long to gather a car full of people and off to the woods we went.
The day went by so fast! Fresh air, nature, woods, mushrooms, thousand cobwebs in my hair, scratched legs, fights with tree branches and a squirrel... It was all worth it. Not only did we get buckets full of mushrooms, but that night I slept better than ever.



Now I'm slowly managing my sleep. It's still not ok, but I'm getting there, as my weird cravings continue to grow. (This week I insisted on going to a concert. So... my next Saturday is all planned up). I truly hope my family can bare with me for a little longer, while I try to figure what's wrong with me... Good luck to all of us.

What have you all been up to? I'm gonna dedicate a day to read all your blogs. Maybe someone has been craving weird things too. I'd love to hear about them. In the meantime, I have some TV series to translate. 

Take care.
-B-




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I'm angry at life

What? But Baiba, you're such a positive person. How can you be angry at life? Well, let me tell you.

6 years ago my sister took a drastic decision (something she never does, well... never did) and flew to Germany to work as an Au-pair for this little family (Latvian mom, German dad and a little boy who was 1 and a half years old at the time). We were all surprised by this decision, as she had never done anything like this. She's the good kid. I'm the black sheep of the family. Not to say that this was a bad decision, it was just so sudden and out of the ordinary for her. She used to be this quite girl who always does the right thing, stays safe etc. And now she's packing her bags, moving to a different country to work for complete strangers. We were all scared for her, but she was calm and confident about her decision. And it was the best decision she's ever made.

This family is one of the best people I've ever met. They're open minded, nice and welcoming. My sister has traveled half the world with them, helped them with their son, housework and basically became a part of the family. Imagine my surprise, when I was accepted just as easily when I visited. I used to spend my summers in Germany and they took me in with no questions asked. I was treated like family. 
Last two summers my family has driven from Latvia to Germany to visit them. The bond that we have with this family is extraordinary and simply amazing to say the least. I'm not sure if all Au-pair experiences turn out as ours did. My sister has helped them raise the kid into this young, wonderful little boy who's a passionate hockey player and the smartest kid in class, and our families have had a wonderful 6 year long relationship which, I'm sure, will last forever.

A month ago we received some terrible news. His dad had lung cancer. His surgery was scheduled in August, so we all agreed that the kid would spend the month in Latvia with my family. He loves visiting here and we had planned some great, fun activities.

5 days had passed since he landed in Latvia and had settled here for his vacation, when we got the last update... His dad had passed away. 
I've gone through some terrible things in my life. Many deaths, suicides, bullying and just about anything else. But nothing quite like this. Obviously my whole family was struck by this. My sister the most, as he was like a second dad to her. It hit me hard too, because that man was so inspiring and amazing, and we all appreciate the things he's done for my sister and our family. But the thing that hurts the most is the fact that a little 8 year old boy is left without a father. 
And that is the hardest thing I've ever had to witness. 
When his mom called to tell him, I couldn't take it. I cried so much, my eyes were sore. How do you tell a little boy his dad is gone? His best friend, his biggest fan. 
When a kid is hurt, you just want to hug him and make everything better for him. But this time I had to witness a little boy's heart get broken and there was absolutely nothing I could do to make it better. And it's the worst feeling in the world.

So, why am I angry at life? 
Sure, amongst all the wars and killings, and other terrible things that are happening in the world, this might seem as such a small thing. But it's not to me. I'm angry that there are so many truly evil people alive, healthy and living their pathetic lives. But this kind, selfless, smart, wonderful man who's done nothing but good in his life is now gone because of a stupid cancer, and a little boy is now without a dad. It's not fair. And yes, I'm not a kid, I know life's not fair. But that's exactly why I'm angry.

My whole family lost a dear friend. The little boy lost a father. His mom lost a husband. And the world lost a truly good man. 
Rest in peace, my dear friend. Thank you for everything you've done for me and my family. Thank you for inspiring me and making me see the world differently. And don't worry, we will all keep an eye on your little boy. He's family.

-B- 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Now what?

This post is not gonna be about the 'zip it' topic I mentioned in my last post, simply because that would be something too serious and I don't really feel like getting into it. Instead, this post is gonna be about the big, scary world that awaits me as I just GRADUATED UNIVERSITY! Ok, technically, the graduation ceremony will be on June 17, however, University is officially over, my final grades are better than ever and I'm getting my diploma. That's also the reason I've been away from blogging. I had to take the final qualification exams, write my Bachelor thesis and balance all that with 2 jobs and a little bit of life. If anyone's interested, my thesis was about 'Sign Language Translation in Modern Communication'. 60 pages of nonsense, however, I did learn a lot about this topic, and Sign Language is on my bucket list.
Since May was an insane month, I'm taking a couple days off and am just enjoying the nice weather and a ton of popsicles. (Don't judge me).
Looks like Marty is exhausted too.

These 4 years went by so fast, and I'm glad they did. Sure, I have a lot of great memories and I've learned a lot, however, dorm life and sitting in classes all day is not for me. And here's the crazy part - unlike all the people posting memes and pictures on the Internet on how they don't like being adults - I don't hate Mondays, I don't want to be a careless kid again and have my parents take care of me and, you're not going to believe this, - I like paying bills. I've had my own apartment for about a year now and I absolutely love all those responsibilities. I like being independent, having my own place and money. I like spoiling my parents since they've done so much for me and I absolutely love adult life. Of course everything is not all jolly and perfect. But that's what makes it interesting and I'm learning a lot.

It also opened my eyes on something not so great. I turned 24 on May 12. I don't know if I'm only 24 or already 24, and, to be honest, I don't really care. However, I'm noticing how I'm changing and my friends are not and it's making me re-evaluate some friendships and wonder if maybe I'm just wasting my time with certain people. Unlike some of my friends, I don't wait for the weekend so I could get wasted and hit the clubs. Don't get me wrong, I still like to grab a drink or two and go to parties and have fun. But I'm more interested in a different kind of fun, such as concerts, plays, events, hockey games and traveling. Conversations with those friends are becoming more and more empty and I'm finding myself feeling alone since we have nothing in common anymore. And those are people I've been friends with for 15 years now. However, time doesn't make good friends. There are some people from University who I've only know for 2 or 3 years and they are some of the most important people in my life now.

Anyways, that got too serious so I'll stop there. The big question everyone keeps asking me is NOW WHAT? University is over and the big, scary world awaits. Well, bring it on! I honestly can't wait to just enjoy life and experience new things and people. I'm not gonna get a Master's degree. Not now. Now I wanna grab a beer and some popsicles, enjoy my summer and see where life takes me.

Take care.
-B-

Monday, May 1, 2017

P would be for Procrastination.

I could have done the A-Z challenge. Starting with A for Alzheimers (you can check out my last post. Grandma's doing good, we visited her again) and ending with Z for  "Zip it!" which I'm planning for my next post (when I get to it).
However, as the title suggests, I would have never made it in time for the challenge.

My name is Baiba, and I'm a professional procrastinator.


No matter what I have to do, whether it's homework, job, housework or a simple task, such as brushing my teeth or going to bed in time, I will always do everything in the last minute. 
A simple example - I need to submit a translation of an episode due tomorrow. It's 8pm and instead of translating, I'm writing this post. But don't worry, I'll get to it. Occasionally. 

One question always comes to mind - WHY AM I LIKE THIS?! 
I'm pretty sure I've NEVER submitted anything way before the deadline. And for some weird reason I've noticed I work better under pressure. It also means I live in constant stress. Which I shouldn't do to myself, yet here I am. Procrastinating. 24/7. It's like I have this little monster inside me that sleeps all the time and wakes up only when its the last minute of something and I have to gather all my strength and focus for the task. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sloppy with my work. I always do everything well and precise, just under a lot of stress. But somehow it works for me.
We had 4 months to work on our Bachelor thesis. The draft was due April 20. All my friends were posting pictures of them working on it already in February, March... I started writing mine on April 18. I wrote all 46 pages in 2 days. Of course it's not perfect and I still have some improvements to make, however, it is just as good as those who people worked on for months. 

So I'm not really sure whether or not I should do something about this bad "habit" of mine. I know it's awful what I'm doing to myself, however, my whole life it has worked for me.
It's not like I'm proud of it. But I also can't help it. Well... I'm sure I could, just not today.
 Take care,
-B-

P.S. Any fellow procrastinators out there? How do you people do things on time!?!?




Monday, April 10, 2017

F would be for (not) forgotten!

We went to see my grandma yesterday. 
A visit which made me both happy and sad at the same time.

Have you seen "The Notebook"? I'm sure most of you have. A beautiful love story with the gorgeous Ryan Gosling. Makes me cry every time. The movie itself, not Mr. Gosling, of course. 

You might think what do these two have in common? Well...

My grandma has Alzheimer's. And although the setting is very similar to this wonderful, bittersweet movie, the real life is much, much worse. There are no beautiful actors, no perfect sceneries and definitely no scripts that tell you what to do and how to act. There's just reality. And sometimes reality sucks.

When my grandpa died in 2009, grandma stayed alone at their country house. My family visited her as often as we possibly could and helped with housework. I mostly went there for the chats and delicious food. With time passing by, we started noticing some flaws in her memory. However, we never thought it could be that serious. But then she started to forget who we were and came up with some ridiculous stories and we knew something was wrong. So we took her to a doctor to find out she has Alzheimer's. 

From that on it just went downward spiral. She got worse really quick and we had to do something. My uncle took her in and she lived with him for a couple of months, but it was clear pretty soon that she needs to be taken care of 24/7. With all of us working and studying it was impossible.

We then had to do the hardest thing ever... put her in a nursing home. 
We know it was the best decision for her. She is now taken care of at all times, she is fed, clean, warm and amongst people. However, for some reason this felt like the ultimate betrayal. 

I'm an absolute country kid who grew up on my grandparents farm. My grandma has helped raising me and has been a role model for years. I've learned to cook, clean, garden and take care of things mostly just from her. She has given me so much of her time. And now when she needs me the most, I can't be there for her. And it breaks my heart. There is nothing any of us can do. The worst feeling in the world is to feel helpless. Helpless to the ones we love the most. I never really knew heart could actually ache from mental pain. But it can. And it does. I feel like I gave up on her, even though she is better off at the nursing home than she would be living with me. 

The strange thing with Alzheimer's is that only the people around it has to actually deal with it. Although my grandma is the one with the disease, she's having the time of her life. She doesn't recognize us anymore. Well, she does, but only for a short period of time. During our 2h visit she 'came back' to us a couple times. But mostly she lives in her own little world, not knowing what's happening around her, ergo not worrying. And although it breaks my heart, I'm happy for her. Physically she's healthier than a horse. She has friends, she's joined the choire, she's happy and everyone absolutely adores her there. Even with her own little quirks. 

When we arrived, she smiled at me and, as I hugged her, she said "How are you, my sweet granddaughter?" Although she recognized me only for that split second, it was the most beautiful feeling in the world.
I left with tears in my eyes. But oddly enough, they were tears of joy. My heart is not fully at peace and I don't think it will ever be, however, my sweet, loving grandmother is still in there. She hasn't forgotten me. She just can't remember me sometimes. And that's okay.

-B-

Sunday, April 2, 2017

When weird thoughts occur

I'm a dreamer. It's a fact. I like to stay up all night thinking about random scenarios that are most likely never going to happen. Like me, sitting on a porch at my beach house, hugging a baby raccoon and reading Pride and Prejudice as the sun disappears into the horizon.

I'm also one of those "what if" persons, who likes to discuss ridiculous situations. My mind is a strange place, people.

The other day I was driving home with my sister and a song came up that had lyrics "I have so much to give." Out of nowhere, that triggered some weird thoughts and I started talking about kidnapping and robbing situations. Like, you know how in movies (and, most likely, in real life too) people who get attacked always tend to say the same thing (which makes total sense, of course) - "Please don't, I have a family. I have kids." Etc. So then I started thinking - what would I say in such situations?
"Please, don't... I left the oven on!"
or
"Please, no... I have a dog at home."
or
"I live alone! No one's gonna know for days!"

Safe to say these are completely dumb and random thoughts. But I always tend to say what's on this weird mind of mine. I can't help it. And then I get those strange, concerned glances from my family, like "Are you okay?"

Or they just laugh with me 'cause I'm a goofball. Either way, there's no limits to where my mind will wander next.

What about you? Any dreamers, "what ifs" or strange thinkers out there?
Please, tell me I'm not alone in this...

Take care,
-B-