Tag Archives: Flowers

One of those “days”

On Tuesday morning, I opened up my laptop and was instantly hit by the vague feeling of dread that it was one of those “days”. You know the ones – International Mountain Day, International Day of the Girl Child, International Day of Yoga, World Toilet Day, International “We’re all just Awesome” Day*… For some reason, breastfeeding gets an entire week all to itself at the beginning of August. I guess squirting stuff out of your tits is considered very important in some circles.

Tuesday, however, was International Women’s Day. While I’ll never understand the people who think clicking “like” on a photo is somehow going to cure cancer, I mostly leave people to their delusions. I only ask that they leave me out of it. It seems that I was the delusional one on this occasion though – there was no escaping International Women’s Day.

Just as I was about to tuck into my breakfast, I was “tagged” in this monstrosity.

Appetite murderer
Appetite murderer

Now I know the person who tagged me meant well, but “precious”? “PRECIOUS”? My boiled egg bore the brunt of my fury as I wondered why “smart”, “educated”, “driven”, “ambitious”, “well-travelled”, or around a million other adjectives weren’t chosen instead. But I guess “SAWED” isn’t as catchy as “perfect”. I even had trouble taking in the porn star hair and revealing clothing as my retinas were too scarred by all the pink.

Vomit.

So, my day was off to a bad start. Yes, Tuesday was International Women’s Day, but do you know what else it was? It was a Tuesday, and this woman’s Tuesday typically goes a bit like this. Get up at the crack of dawn, teach lessons, go to meetings, squeeze in some proofreading work, pay bills, do some banking, answer emails and phone calls and try to eat something, that is, when I’m not on one of the eleven trains that I have to take that day.

Bleurgh
Bleurgh

If I don’t feel particularly beautiful, precious or radiant by the time I get home that night, it’s because I’ve been using what’s in my head all day, not worrying about what’s on it. Like most other women. Yes, this may come as a surprise to some, but we don’t sit around all day braiding each other’s hair, having pillow fights in our underwear, shopping, giggling  or dreaming of being princesses. We work our damn asses off.

You might be thinking, “Linda, what are you getting so worked up about? It’s just a couple of harmless memes!”, but it did get me worked up. It got me hopping mad, in fact. You see, International Women’s Day was actually started for a reason, to promote women’s rights. The theme for 2016 was “Pledge for Parity”, which somehow seems to have got lost in the sea of banal nonsense that was being puked out all over the internet.

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Spew

In Lithuania, IWD is “celebrated” by having police officers pull over women drivers and give them bunches of flowers. Aw, gee, thanks. It’s not like I have anything more important to be doing. How would you like to be picking those pretty petals out of your teeth for the rest of the day, officer?

In China this year, Women’s Day was marked by the special treat of giving women some dried meat to chew on. Yum, yum. We all know women like nothing better than sucking on a bit of meat, right?

From jingdong.com. I kid you not.
From jingdong.com. I kid you not.

The President of India in his message issued on the eve of IWD said: “On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I extend warm greetings and good wishes to the women of India and thank them for their contributions over the years in the building of our nation.” On the day itself, a 15-year-old Indian girl was in critical condition after being raped and set on fire. Well, thank you for that, Mr President. I’m sure your trite twaddle means a lot to the women of India, and especially to that girl who’s fighting for her life in hospital.

So yes, I really have little to worry about. I’m lucky enough to come from a country, and now live in a country, where I have rights. I can choose to get an education, to live by myself, to work, to support myself, to travel freely, to stay single, to not have children (tempting as World Breastfeeding Week is…), to walk the streets without looking over my shoulder, and to pretty much do whatever the hell I like. And I appreciate that every day.

Other women are not so lucky and that’s what International Women’s Day is, and should be, about. Next year, chew on that (when you’re done with your meat sticks) before posting meaningless, frankly offensive imagery left, right and centre.

 

* OK, I made the last one up.

The meat sticks, however, are very real and you can read more about them here:  https://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/ready-for-your-belated-womens-day-special-chew-on-that-bitches/

 

 

 

 

 

Another German mouthful

Baumblütenfest, or Treeblossomfest for you non-Germans, is a festival that takes place around this time every year in the picturesque town of Werder in Brandenburg. I decided to rope my Aussie friend Sheila into accompanying me.

Me: Hey, do you fancy going to this?

Sheila: Is it a flower festival?

Me: Yeah.

Sheila: Ummm…

Now, I know what you’re thinking – trees, flowers, picturesque little villages – it doesn’t exactly sound like your kind of thing, Linda… Silly me. I forgot to mention that it’s also famous for fruit wine.

Wine. With fruit.
Wine. With fruit.

Sheila: Sold.

As with most things in Berlin, the day got off to an entertaining start with Sheila (aka “The Half-Naked Aussie”) locking herself out of her apartment in her underwear. However, after (probably) scaring the little old lady downstairs half to death, she managed to get a spare set of keys, get dressed and we were off. We boarded the RE1 at Ostbahnhof and double-checked to make sure we hadn’t accidentally got into a first-class carriage; I vowed to take German regional trains more often. The feeling of scuzziness that comes from drinking beer on a train quickly wore off when all the horny, scantily-clad teenagers and already drunken revellers started boarding at subsequent stations. It was 1pm.

By the time we got off the train 45 minutes later, our lovely carriage resembled a rugby scrum, but, being the tough women we are, we battled our way through and picked up our first glasses of wine – for €1.20. I went for a rhubarb number; Sheila made the unfortunate choice of going for a currant wine. Five minutes later, the drunkest man in the world bumped into her and the violently red liquid went flying. Amazingly, not a drop of it got on her white t-shirt but she quickly realised her mistake. I, on the other hand, was wearing black from head to toe. Call me sensible – or well-practised at these affairs.

Never wear white to an alcohol-related festival.
Never wear white to an alcohol-related festival.

As the festival takes over the entire town (for almost two weeks), we had been forewarned to make our way to the top of the hill and then walk stumble crawl roll back down again. It turned out to be excellent advice. We did just that, stocking up on more wine for the uphill struggle. Everywhere, merry Germans were imbibing copious amounts of wine, chowing down on sausage, and bursting into spontaneous song and dance. It made for highly entertaining viewing.

Mermans (merry Germans)...
Mermans (merry Germans)…

After a while, however, we stumbled across what was pretty much “The Secret Garden” – except with more Germans. We got some more wine, Sheila inhaled a sausage, and we grabbed a bench to admire how the other half live.

We somehow managed to bump into a group of friends after I spied Nigel coming back from a not-very-secret piss behind the toilets – Brits and their non-sitzpinkelling ways, eh? We all sat down at a large table in the garden and welcomed whoever else happened to come along. This included a German woman who talked about “sex wine” for around an hour non-stop. (I never did find it.)

The evening wore on, the rain started, and everyone at the Fest got progressively messier. A German even managed to get me up to dance which is something that rarely, if ever, happens. By the end of the night, Nigel was asleep on the table while gently puking up the fruity contents of his delicate English tummy; Fritz was also asleep but less vomitously so. He would get his comeuppance later though.

In a bid to get back to Ostkreuz, he somehow disappeared at Warschauer Straße, which is one stop before it. There seems to have been some time lost at this point, but he eventually got on a train to travel the final stop. Unfortunately, he fell asleep and woke up in Spandau, nineteen stations in the wrong direction. After a couple of phone calls, we managed to talk him onto another train going in the right direction. He fell asleep again and woke up in Kaulsdorf, six stations past where he needed to be. If only he’d been awake, he would have seen more of Berlin in one night than most people see in their entire lives. Oh well, there’s always next year…

For more information on Werder and Baumblütenfest, click here. (You’ll be glad you did.)