Showing posts from November, 2015

Santa, why are you wearing shorts?

Ah, the holidays are coming. Some people love the seasons, others get stress-pimples just by the mere thought of Christmas approaching. Growing up, Christmas involved a real tree (stolen from the woods behind our house) with real candles (with the appropriate distance away from the curtains), homemade cookies and if we were lucky - snow. We sat around the house for days to just eat, drink, watch TV, try not to get into fights because we are so bored and cooped up at home.
In Los Angeles, it was a whole different ball game. The season started the minute Thanksgiving ended. Every store looked like Santa and Rudolf puked all over it. It was red-green insanity.  I could never really tell by the weather that the season was approaching but only by the stores and the endless loops of Christmas songs. Came December 15th, I wanted to crawl into the radio and take George Michael by the throat to let him know, that we got it: 'Last Christmas' she cheated on you. She's a bitch! Get o…

Gobble, Gobble

I experienced Thanksgiving in Los Angeles as being the most important holiday for Americans. It seemed even more important than Christmas. Friends booked flights to go home across the country months in advance in anticipation of the long weekend. Friends staying in town invited others over to make sure, no one is alone on this day. As someone who wasn't born in the US, I did not grow up with this holiday. People look forward and fear it all year at the same time. They are happy to go back home to see family although they know that they will also get into a fight with at least one person at the dinner table.

As a vegetarian, Thanksgiving was not my kind of holiday. It was a 'eat meat stuffed with meat' kinda day.

One year, I skipped Thanksgiving all together and went down to New Orleans for the long weekend with a friend. That was my favorite Thanksgiving of all time! Very relaxed!

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, the question of 'What are you thankful for?' …

Frightening New World

The horrible terror attacks in Paris last Friday took many of us back to that fateful September day in 2001. Most of us were not directly affected by the attacks (luckily) but it became obvious that the world changed that day...

--> I moved to the U.S. on September 21st, 2001. Ten days after 9/11. It was an odd feeling to move to a country at war. Growing up in Austria and also living in Germany for a few years, I had a certain ‘idea’ of what war meant. Elderly neighbors and family members had been witnesses of World War II. I grew up in a house that had – as was required by law – a bunker you can go to in case of an air raid. Sure, my parents used it to stock potatoes and it had no door – but what was required was there. What did it mean when America was at war? Not much for the regular citizen who didn’t have a family member in the armed forces. Only when I turned on the news was I reminded of the war.
The day I arrived at the Los Angeles airport, LAX, the day I arrived,…

Star struck - Robbie Williams said 'hi' to me!!!!!!

The biggest regret I ever had when meeting a real ‘star’ was my near-stalker history with British
megastar singer Robbie Williams. I had been a fan of his since his Take That days. I was into bad boys during my teenage years. Looking back, it was an overrated species. I had heard that Robbie bought a house somewhere on Mulholland Drive – a long and winding road in the Santa Monica Mountains. I didn’t feel like spending my weekends driving up and down Mulholland Drive on the off-chance of seeing Robbie behind a fence. However, when I learned that he and his amateur soccer club, L.A. Vale, were going to play every Thursday at a Santa Monica High School just a few streets from my apartment, I knew what I had to do: charge my video and photo cameras! I was excited beyond belief! I asked a coworker, who had never heard of him before, to come with me to the soccer game to perform CPR in case I pass out. Robbie Williams was, unlike anywhere else in the world, not a household name in the U.S…

Everyone's a star!

Los Angeles has a particular way of making everyone feel special - even if you are not famous. At every restaurant the car is parked FOR you. You don't have to be the one spending 20 minutes circling the neighborhood and trying to squeeze into a tiny spot. Sure you pay for it and give tip on top of that but you save yourself time and stress. Totally worth it!

The same is an option at shopping malls. Just turn onto the valet lane and I nice man in uniform will open the door for you and wish you an enjoyable day. In Beverly Hills there was even a Starbucks with valet parking. Genius!

When you go to the hairdresser, you can choose between coffee, water or a glass of champagne. Sometimes you even get a free hand massage while you wait. At the nail salon, the chair is so big and comfy that the built-in massage options make you doze off.

Even shopping is a very pleasant experience. Clients never walk around with their hands full of clothes or wait in line at the fitting rooms. No, sales…

How wonderful! Do it!

--> One thing that I have always admired about the American spirit was the encouragement to dream and to try out things. There was no fear of failing. Failing is a part of learning and growing. You want to participate in a marathon or start your own business? The common answer in America will be “Good for you! That’s so cool!” Whereas in Europe the reaction to a dream often was “Why? Why would you burden yourself with that? That will never work anyway.” A dream was crushed at the very mention of it.
So why this difference in how dreams are perceived? I can’t say for certain. I can only guess. In Europe, people are very concerned with the fear of failure. Once you fail, no one is likely to believe in you anymore. No one wants to give you a job if you failed with your own business. So it’s better not to try anything rather than not making it because ‘what will people think!’ Dreaming is for people who are lazy and loners.

America, on the other hand, is a fairly young countr…

California welcomed me with an earthquake

--> To kick-off my new experiences in this strange land, something very distinct to California happened only a few days after I arrived at the end of September 2001. It happened on my first weekend in L.A. right around 8 AM. We were woken up by a moving bed and rattling windows. What seemed like several minutes of movement was probably only a few seconds long. It was my first earthquake! Welcome to California! My fiancé assured me that this was just a small one. Oh great, that’s comforting! What’s a big one like then? He told me that during the big Northridge earthquake in the 1990s he fell out of bed. That’s a big one! This just kept getting better. A million thoughts shot through my head. There is no bunker, so where should we go? Outside? I don’t think so since the electricity wires were hanging old-style in the alleyways. So we stayed inside – away from large bookcases and windows. For a second I also thought that the war was now not only in Afghanistan but had also br…

The place that changed my life...

Whenever I go back to Los Angeles, I visit the place that changed my life - UCLA

I treasure the time I got to spend there. It opened my mind and made me believe in myself and my abilities.