Saturday, June 21, 2008

The longest day of the year

Today is summer solstice, the longest day of the year 2008. From now on it´s downhill; every day is going to be shorter than the day before until we reach winter solstice on December 21st.

Back in Finland this weekend is an official bank holiday weekend. Everything is closed. In all official buildings and homes flags of Finland were hoisted at 6 pm on Midsummer Eve (yesterday) and flown all night till 9 pm tonight. Finland is full of festivals and happenings. People are celebrating the light. Traditional bonfires can be seen all over the countryside. In region Lapland people all over the world come to see the midnight sun.

I´m thinking all of this now, sitting alone here in our second home in Solingen. I came here a few days ago to work a little; Angie is on her way arriving later this afternoon.

We´ll get visitors from Finland tomorrow morning. My sister Maukka and brother-in-law Arska are coming to a late honeymoon. The wedding took place in Salo, Finland, on February 16th but only now could they take some days off from work and kids. The all-inclusive trip was our wedding gift to the newlyweds.

It is really nice to have my sister here. Too bad the visit is so short, they´ll stay with us only five days. We will pick them up from Düsseldorf Airport tomorrow at noon, staying here until Tuesday afternoon and then drive through Germany to Leipzig to show our real hometown. Thursday evening I´ll take them to Berlin, only an hour and half’s drive from Leipzig, where they stay a few days by Claudia. She´s the German exchange student who spent a year in Finland by Maukka´s home a couple of years back and is now considered as one of her own kids, sister for Aino, Venla, Santtu, Eero and Lauri. Maukka and Arska are flying back to Finland from Berlin Sunday week from tomorrow.

Claudia is by the way the only German I know who speaks perfect Finnish! She´s finishing her school this week (abitur in German, about the same as A-levels or High School Diploma, or YO-tutkinto in Finland). Maukka and Arska decided to come now so they can have a few days with us and then celebrate with Claudia.

I like my sister a lot. I think in Arska she found a real soul mate. I´m really happy to have them here.

Have to start cleaning, Angie arrives about 3 pm.

Welcome Maukka & Arska!

Hyvää juhannusta, as we say in Finland (have a great midsummer).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nice memories

"Mein Schatz" (literally: My Treasure) Angie sent a photo a few minutes ago. She left Rome yesterday evening so late she could drive only about 400 km (250 miles) before stopping to sleep. She spent night in Lerici, near Ligurian border to Tuscany in Italy.

Small coastal town of Lerici is for both of us a really nostalgic place. We met when both of us were living in Italy. On our first date we had a typical Ligurian dinner in this restaurant Angie photographed this morning.

Believe it or not, but it´s true: I still remember exactly what she was wearing that night, a hundred years ago. Clothes, jewelry, everything. I remember how she had her hair. But I didn´t remember this restaurant, until I saw the picture.

She did.

I am a happy man.

Monday, June 9, 2008

YES! Angie comes home!

Eyesight is back, a ten-day sickleave is over. Work keeps me busy. Life goes on, summer is really here (see the picture).

Angie called a few minutes ago. She´s seen enough of Rome to last a while so she starts late tonight or early tomorrow the long drive back home, arriving here in Solingen late tomorrow or early Wednesday.

I can not describe how much I´ve been missing her. And, according to her, she feels likewise. This past two weeks was ment to be a holiday for her, to let me to concentrate for my work so I could have a full week off when my sister Maukka arrives here with her husband. They´ll be here Sunday 22nd for a weeks visit.But like almost always with our plans, this one backfired when I got ill. Angie offered, of course, to drive straight back here when she heard about my eye infection, but I said no. She had plans for this holiday, a lot of friends to see, a lot to do. I had all the help I needed here. Not only my cleaning lady made an extra effort to assist me when I couldn´t see a thing, but also my friends and neighbours here helped me a lot with cooking, cleaning and shopping.

Now I can see myself. Tomorrow is a preparation day for operation "Welcome Home, Honey!". Shopping and cleaning, preparations for a romantic candlelight dinner.

Old cliché, but so true: I´m only half without my Angie!

Friday, May 30, 2008

I´m (half) blind!

Woke up today with a terrible headache, feeling pain in my left eye. Couldn´t see nothing with it. The sight in my right eye was a little foggy, too.

I had no choice, had to see a doctor. Luckily the eye specialist my local doctor recommended had an opening in the afternoon. He told me what I already suspected: too much computer display lately.

According to him, there is or was no foreign parts in my eyes, no infection. He found out that my reading glasses, which I use when working with a computer, are too weak. It means my eyesight is getting worse. I got the reading glasses about six years ago and was told then my eyesight otherwise was really good. Today I heard I should absolutely not drive a car anymore without a complete check and new glasses. This time not only the reading ones, I´m going to need glasses all the time. I guess this hobby of mine is over now, at least for a while.

At the moment I´m seeing nothing with my left eye and not very good with the right one. It hurts to try to watch the display or television so I think it´s better if I finish now and write more when my eyes are feeling better.

I just hope the drops I got will help!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Alone again

The weekend was as nice and relaxing as I had hoped. Angie arrived late Friday afternoon and left yesterday to Rome, Italy. She´s back here in about two weeks, and then we´ll drive home together. My village here, this small second home, is really a nice place to be and to work but enough is enough. I miss home in Leipzig. Sunday lunches with my mother-in-law, my friends there, the most beautiful Zoo, the pulse of a big city after weeks of small village life and intensive working.

Like I said, we really enjoyed each others company. Bobi from Paparazzi cooked us a marvelous dinner Friday night, as well as Pedro from Casa Pedro on Saturday. Nice walks and talks, a good movie (DVD) with a couple glasses of heavenly wine. Long periods hand in hand, close. Quality time together; I even managed not to touch my computers nor made I any work related calls during the weekend. I know Angie likes that.

Our village had a also special happening this weekend, the 11th "Classicar" old timer race. It is a meeting of old timer enthusiasts, organized by a local automobile club. Here´s some photos:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Nice weekend ahead

Over a week now without Angie. Because of my work situation, I´ve not been home in Leipzig in three weeks. On the other hand, Angie´s mother has been needing her help and care there. We´ve met weekly, of course: two weeks ago two days in Nijmegen, Holland, and last week she was here from Monday to Wednesday.

The project I´m working now keeps me occupied until mid June. Angie could now have a couple weeks off, so she said yes when an old friend from Rome asked her help. She wants to move back to Germany and Angie goes to help packing.

But first we have a full weekend together. She drives here (Solingen) tomorrow, bringing back my laundry which she took home to be washed after her last weeks visit. Doing the laundry is always a problem when I stay here longer. Home in Leipzig Angie keeps always an extra stock of clothes for me so I just change my luggage when staying home before returning here.

I guess you can see that basically I have nothing to say now. Cant´t concentrate, can´t sleep, can´t read, nothing in TV. Always the same feeling when waiting Angie or closing this "home away from home" and heading towards the real home; I love and miss "Mein Schatz" (literally "my treasure") very much and can´t wait to see her on the doorstep.

Almost everything is ready. Fridge full, tables for dinners for Friday and Saturday reserved, apartment cleaned. Tomorrow only fresh sheets, fresh bread from local bakery and some flowers. And a long wait: she can leave home about noon and 500 kilometers on Friday afternoon traffic takes almost five hours; no speed limit is a nice theory but on Friday and Sunday afternoons autobahns are really full.

Sunday afternoon Angie starts her two day drive to Rome, where she stays at least 10-12 days. I am missing her already. I hope I don´t ruin our weekend by thinking the next two weeks separation too much. I must really work with myself to prevent that feeling to come between us this weekend.

I want to have fun with my wife this weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Writer´s block"

Writing code for a website or software can sometimes be very frustrating. That was the case today. A project should be presented to a client tuesday next week, but nothing came out from my brain this morning. A total block.

Luckily I know the medicin for this problem: "Autobahn", the highway. Pointless driving, very fast, no plans. Maybe a cup of coffee in some service area, then back home.

It worked. Inspiration is back.