A picture from Mount Etna, Sicily, both shot on my Nikon D5500 – one on Auto mode, the other with Popart filter…
A picture from Mount Etna, Sicily, both shot on my Nikon D5500 – one on Auto mode, the other with Popart filter…
But that`s just an illusion that people never really go away if they`re on your facebook – if you`re not careful, they drift away right in front of your eyes. Without it, they would either disappear completely (rather than keep popping up as a niggling reminder of unkept promises) or stay close (if you both make the effort). Everything in-between is just superficial and usually not worth it in the long term.
I am leaving my job, and although I get on really well with and will miss most people, I am actually grateful that we are not linked on facebook, and I don`t intend to change this when I leave. I don`t want our relationships to be reduced like that. At the moment, we don`t need facebook (and it`s actually nice not to feel pressurised into keeping up with everyone`s personal lives), and starting this now would feel… contrieved?
But how lovely would it be to bump into each other in the supermarket when you truely haven`t seen each other for all that time? (We all live close – it will happen!!)
I very fondly remember the banter I used to have with my old colleagues on facebook, the little insiders that noone else would get. Here, I have none of that. I also remember the banter from which I was excluded, the allusions to things that happened when I wasn`t there and which noone would ever bother to explain. I have none of that, either. And then, I see the banter of others, people who don`t and never worked with me, and I usually find it childish – and I have none of that, eihter.
We do have banter. So much. Just not on Facebook. We probably have even better fun without it. Because where there is facebook, people inevitably get (and therefore seek!) attention for what they do outside work. But where we don`t (over-?)share our personal lives like that, we are more focused on what we do at work. Our personal lives do not matter: no showing off our drunken party photos, no unhealthy competition about where we go on holiday. Whereever people come together, you cannot totally avoid those things, but there`s definitely less where there is no facebook. And if we do share something personal, it feels special. If you get close to one another, it`s out of genuine interest rather than because it`s expected.
In my current work, I`m finding it easy to be friendly with people without being over-familiar, for various reasons. I`m now moving back to a set-up where I`ll be sitting within a team of other women who are all doing the same job, and who I was told are very supportive of one another in relation to work and personal lives. Sounds very pleasant, but part of me feels anxious. I really don`t want facebook any more. If the topic comes up, I may feel I`ll have to add people, but I will probably say right from the start that I`m a very unrewarding friend over there, because I`m never on, and then ensure I`ll stick to that.
After all, I never met anyone who was regarded or included any less within work beause s/he was not connected on facebook. If anything, the opposite.
Last year, while I was settling into my last job, I wrote this blog about becoming facebook friends with work colleagues.
How did I do between then and (soon) leaving my second job since I resolved not to link in with co-workers any more?
I never added anyone from my last job until I left, when I requested the girl I wrote about in the blog. We still interact there on a superficial basis, and occasionally chat about joint interests, but, as expected, she did not react on my hint re meeting up.
In my current job, I said quite early on I do not add colleagues on facebook. This felt appropriate as facebook has caused, and is still causing, trouble (of several kinds), and our managers actively discouraged my young colleague from linking in with colleagues.
In February, I added one of our agency workers, who I already knew from my last job. One day, she suggested linking me something via Facebook, we friended each other, and that same night, we found ourselves playing old music to each other and laughing so much that she immediately got her reputation with my other half. Most interactions we have there are still PNs, including about private things, which we would never make time to discuss at work. Facebook did bring us closer, but what irritates me is that I now get friends suggestions of other agency workers who, in turn, may see me and my holiday snaps (my Instagram shares are public, but of course, this is my choice which I know how to fix).
In March, I proceeded to add my room mate. We didn`t have the best of starts, but had already improved, and that day, we really bonded and laughed a lot, which felt special enough to share this on facebook with her tagged in. I noticed that she was linked with other colleagues, too, but none too close to me, so no pressure to request them, too. (One requested me, which I did not react to and which she never mentioned offline.) What however irritated me was that she is linked to the girl whom I`m providing maternity cover for, and they sometimes talked via comments about her coming back and how much they were both looking forward to this. As if she had forgotten that I was reading. Sadly, our relationship deteriorated again after my room mate resigned, and I knew for a fact that a particular complaint had been dealt with when I found myself not only deleted, but actually blocked. I was fine with the deletion, but the blocking, I perceived as a, work related, act of aggression. Much to my own surprise, it bothered me, and I felt childish when I spoke out and was reminded of how silly and overrated facebook is. Her leaving do was also being organised on facebook, and by being deleted, I suddenly found myself un-invited to something I was already “coming” to, which I found humiliating in front of other colleagues, who (at least from me) knew nothing about our difficulties. She, overall, wasn`t a good experience at all on facebook either.
A couple of months ago, I met an old colleague in headoffice – it was her first day with us, and although we never got close in our old work, we had a really nice chat, and I spontaneously said I`ll request you on Facebook. I did, but she never accepted me, which is okay. We really don`t have much in common, and this was the first and only warm conversation we ever had. I`m actually glad she didn`t. I think she posts a lot about her kids, who are both about 20.
The one colleague, who is extremely special, is not on facebook (any more), and, rather than being disappointed, I found that he rose in my esteem, probably because by separating himself from facebook, he also separated himself from everything that annoys me there. I almost felt silly admitting that I`m still on it. In some way, “no facebook” makes our relationship feel more special – we don`t need it, and an occasional text, just for you or me, feels so much more personal than a broadcast or comment on social media. The importance of “no facebook” really stroke me when he announced he was leaving, and we spoke about what this would mean for our friendship. Never mind how deeply moved we both were when we agreed that we wanted to keep in touch and that this should include actually meeting again, rather than just texting a few more times – with facebook, we probably wouldn`t even have had this conversation. It wouldn`t have felt necessary, because who you have “got” on facebook, will never really go away, or so it feels, at least.
(to be continued…)
We travelled half board and had breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
Some reviewers on Tripadvisor were commenting about the frequent repetition of some dishes, but I cannot possibly see what`s wrong with that when there is so much choice, and everything is so delicious!
The breakfast bar includes all the usual item including a vegan counter, champagne (see that before, but you`d pay a small surcharge – here, it was free) and cake:
Dinner was three different meat and two different fish dishes, two soups, five pasta (incl risotti) with additional oils with various flavours, two counters of salads with a huge selection of dressings, three of cooked antipasti (warm and cold), lots of bread, one couter with raw fruit, two with cakes and one with icre cream:
Further full lunches, snacks and drinks were available at really reasonable prices at the pool, and we treated ourselves twice to their amazing house salad (EUR 6.oo), which came with five rolls and so was enough for two people.
We like to go out for food when abroad, but actually, we didn`t (apart from the trip to Mount Etna, which included a lunch), apart from a few ice creams and a sandwich (which was easily beaten by the ones in the hotel!)
Really recommending Hotel Olimpo, of which there will be pictures of the lovely views and sceneries shortly…
If there was one excursion we were going to do, of course, it was going to be Mount Etna. The Trip was a mixture between a jeep tour and trekking, in a small group of 7. After discovering Mount Etna, we went wine tasting at Gambino Winery:
Mount Etna from Piazza in Taormina (Day 2):
Discovering Mount Etna for ourselves – but I have to say, it was (comparatively) cold up there (at a height of 3000 metres):
Wine Tasting in the most beautiful setting ever – of course, I don`t expect anyone to find these photos very informative, but the whole setting was so pretty, I have to share:
One more drink at the pool before an early night:
Taormina was a 20 min bus ride away from us. It was recommended that we go either before 11am or after 3pm, because in between, the half-hourly bus would be so full that it would just drive past.
I had read in advance that Taormina is a shopper`s dream or nightmare, and I must admit that I wanted to buy at least 10 dresses at dizzying prices (and therefore treated myself to just one, which fully consists of midnight blue lace). I still don`t know when to possibly wear this, but I`ll sure find an occasion for it! (as Truth of the Matter was once again: I found the Italian women incredibly well dressed, but on second thought, I had to admit that almost none of their outfits would be suitable for me to wear at home without getting weird looks, as in Britain, I would just stand out too much.)
Me, posing on the piazza (from here, you could see Mount Etna, which I will show in my next post):
Of course, the G7 Meeting had taken place here just 2 weeks prior to our arrival, and we still saw some of the remnants:
Prettier things in other corners:
A nice break in a wonderful beer garden, were “proper” seats were rare and nibbles complimentary:
And no, no amphitheatre for us. But been told it`s worth it.
Letojanni is a small place, which we have chosen for the hotel, which was just magnificant. It was on a hill (you go down to Letojanni with an escalator), and the views are simply stunning from just about everywhere you are.
Letojanni itself is, to my liking, uneventful. A beach promenade with restaurant and some dark skinned men selling jewellery and colourful clothes, but if you want to go shopping or clubbing, you will need to take a bus (20 min!) to Taormina. This probably means that, even in the high season, Letojanni will not be too busy. You can do excursions to other places, there is a few places to drink, and the prices in the hotels were good and the environment pleasant. There were two bars (two sister hotels connected), so you had a choice (one had life entertainment which I didn`t always like!!).
I`m going to show you more pictures of the hotel, but today a first impression from our first walk through Letojanni.
View from our balcony (Hotel Olimpo):
A first stroll through Letojanni:
Once again, it is the 12th of the month, which is asking for 12 pictures of it for my blog, and once again, it`s not exactly the ordinary day the project is calling for:
Bang on midnight, our plane (return from holiday) was landing in Manchester. Passport control is now electronic and no queues whatsoever! Flying away from Manchester, I had quite a funny experience involving my passport, when the young lady who checked in my luggage asked for my visa, because I was not a British citizen. I said I do not need a visa, because I am still an EU citizen (if anything she will need a visa soon, but I didn`t say that!), but she was obviously very new to the job and therefore very conscientious, so she phoned a colleague and asked advice with regards to a traveller with a Dutch passport. We interrupted at least twice, but she kept saying it, so when she hang up, I asked what made her think, I was Dutch. So she showed me the bit on my passport, which said: “Nationality: Deutsch”. Oh Dear…
While we are sharing an overpriced, sugary lemonade from a vending machine (which was sooo good as ice cold and much craved!), for the first time in history, our suitcase came rolling out first:
Our bus to the car park already stood waiting outside, and half an hour later, we were on the road, driving over four hours into the light:
Just before 5am, we arrived to greet our two beautiful cats – here the last of many photos we received of them on WhatsApp:
and an exceptionally beautiful note from our two cat sitters, who left us lots of food they brought, including some home made apple cake and a lovely yoghurt dip, which will be consumed at work tomorrow, as a salad dressing:
I love my friends! 🙂
Quick shower and hair wash, so I didn`t have to after getting up, and after only 2 more hours of sleep (managed to get about 1.5 hours in the car, which is a lot for me!!), I am afraid it was time to get ready for – WORK!!
Don`t ask me what possessed me! Mobiles are banned, but here is a photo of my lunch which consisted of the aforementioned apple cake, the juiciest of apricots, which I only got the day before from tiny little shop selling absolutely everything in Sicily, and some salted sunflower seeds, which we also got in Sicily. Our chef managed to eat some together with cake icing and insisted that the sweet/salty combination was as alluring as salted caramel, but I think I`d rather die wondering…
After work, for an absolute beauty essential: Eye brow threading! Now that Leith Walk with its large Indian community is a bit out of my road, I go to the drug store. Glad this magnificant service is now so widely offered – not so many years ago, it was really only available in Indian beauty parlours.
A quick visit to my favourite German discounter,
neverending amusement about some of the headlines (bottom one!!!)
I had to cook my own dinner again
tidied away our luggage, and now I deserved some puter time 🙂
Till the next time! 🙂
The other day, I had the privilege to attend a Palliative Care training course. I`m saying privilege because I did not really need it, but that is another story.
One thing that came out was semantics. Apparently, Palliative Care is now often paraphrased to make it sound less harsh – professionals may speak about ongoing care or supportive care or continuing care. This however can lead to the family being confused about what kind of care (and outcome for their loved one!!) they can expect.
I know an example from my own life, from when my father was sick. His Catholic faith was very important to him, so there were repeated visits from a priest, and he eventually agreed to receiving the 5th Sacrament. This used to be called “the Last Rites” but is now re-termed Krankensalbung, or “the sacrament for the sick”. Like the term itself and unlike the English equivalent, the German Wikipedia site makes no reference to this being a sacrament for the dying, and that `s what his wife very fiercely insisted on. She was still talking about Christmas and all the holidays he had promised her after the sacrament was given, and when the priest addressed this with her later, she did not allow him to ever come back. Doctors were equally coy about his prognosis, and although I could read between the lines, I wished they had used clearer words to help her accept it sooner, too.
Another thing that was brought up was the lack of communication between patient and family. Often, the patient says to the practitioner “I know that I`m dying, but I don `t want them to know.” And then the family comes and says “We know that he is dying, but we don `t want him to know,” or “we don `t want him to know that we know.” I think that`s so sad, as it probably leads to so many important things not being said. This short film about the topic made me cry.