The morning rise

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There is one small town in Europe I visit every year. Almost always I drive through the same shady streets. And every year I try to notice a little differences on the face of that old town. EUROPE is conservative, they don’t like to change things. They repair, remake or redo thing again if they are old. But If something is taken down most likely for a restoration.

Once I noticed that one of the iconic bakeries took their store symbol off the roof. The bakery was sold to a bigger chain and a new contemporary design was introduced to the neighbourhood.

Shortly after I witnessed that the store symbol was put back in its place. The new, shiny and fresh Baker (the roof symbol) offered a bread and suggests a little more to the citizens of the town.

I don’t know if it is on purpose or not, but this baker has a bread sticking out from his basket as he promoting a men’s health together with a freshly backed rolls. Hot bread, hot guys – I guess, now I understand, why people loved him. Back in place above everybody else’s heads he is like a Cupid reminding everyone about the early morning rise.

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Day number 3

20170629_105634 (2)Today we are at almost 3000m altitude. My bum is on fire and the rest of the muscles are on strike. That path with a steel wire wasn’t quite straight (photo).

Reaching the peak I see…snow. Some sort of a Christmas in July. It certainly feels that way for me and I’m celebrating every second. Mainly because there is no more walking for today. But Champagne wouldn’t hurt. I’m sweaty, standing in snow in my short pants. Hot and cold «feelings» mixed together.

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Tonight we are staying in a hut on top of the mountain. It is busy here and we are too early. Bedtime is a few hours away and to be honest I’m looking forward to sleep, especially knowing that I gonna share a room with 11 other hikers. What could be better than a room of farting and snoring people? Oh dear! I find this thought is too disturbing to keep in my head. I need a help.

No book in my bag, only a phone with empty battery, so we decided to play cards for the rest of the day. It is not that kind of reward you are waiting for after a long and painful climb. But I quickly change my mind when I look at the snow and wind greeting newcomers. Anything is better in comparison. My mind, body and spirit are getting numb at that point. I’m reaching my summit. Looks like in altitude the air does become thin and less concentrated so do my thoughts. But there is always a reward when you least expect it.

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Clouds are gone and we can see that we are on the top of the world with a breathtaking view over Dolomites. The sun is visiting the peaks for the last time today to kiss and say “Good night”. It always does this way. Every day. For million of years and nothing changed. Time stopped. This feeling is worth millions. At this point nothing else matters, even not a few snorers.

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A cold invitation

20170701_111007 (2)Cold skin. Very cold. I touch my cheek again and to experience this feeling once more. It doesn’t feel like mine anymore. Rain and hail kissed my cheeks million times within the last hour.

Now it’s time to dive into a cloud.

Uncertainty disturbs. Especially on 2000 meters above the sea level on a sharp rocks.

I feel a brush of cold air on my lips, hairs and arms. Finally this milky universe swallowed me and there is no way back any longer. I even don’t know where is that «way back». Everything is white. Everything is the same.

Don’t stop.

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Now I can’t efford this luxury. I just look straight ahead and follow the marks on the track while I still can see something.

Fear. Joy. And curiosity. All mixed in a cocktail that I’m drinking now.

But the thought that I’m walking with a cloud makes me smile. A scarf of thick wet air thrown around me to protect from the cold.

I’m feeling strange here. I feel like I got invited for an event by mistakes.

This experience is impossible to forget. What a treat!

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Cost of recruitment or a Price for being nice

IMG_4192 (2)Once I met a boutique shop Manager. She just left a high end store to work for a local designer. On my question: “Why did you leave that place?”. She answered: “… they didn’t look after me. I was their best sales person, but I had no incentives, no “thank you” at the end of a working period, no appreciation, only plans to meet. Felt like they were using me.”

And I thought “why would people want to leave their employer if they got paid for what they did? Isn’t the whole point of work to get money you agreed on for a service you agreed to provide?”

I started to think and did my research.

It is not a secret that happy workers are 12% more productive than unhappy and more willing to stay after hours; they do extra work too. Unfortunately there are only 30-33 per cent of such happy workers. So 70% of workers are working on their 88% of capacity. That’s too much money to loose.

Find a new employee is an expensive exercise. Not only that their’s cost involved in the process of recruitment alone: advertisement, time of the internal recruiter, time of the person conducting interview, background checks and various pre-employment assessment tests. Studies show that “an average cost to replace an $8 per hour employee, determining an average cost from $5505.08 to $9444.47 per turnover.” “Chartcourse estimates it costs $40 000 on average to replace a nurse, while technology companies can run replacement costs of more than $125 000 per vacancy,”-says Financial Review. Studies like SHMR predict that it costs 6 to 9 months salary on average. That is a cost of training and speed and quality of performance.

What if an employee doesn’t need to leave? The other option is an internal promotion, which costs almost nothing to a company and brings more benefits not just for customers, but for other employees too. But sometimes it might be not an option at all. People have to or should leave a place and new blood has to enter the veins time to time, but holding on to a right person is a very necessary exercise, because it cuts costs for a company and gives stimulation for others. I’m not even mentioning the appreciation from employees, new ideas, faster up to speed performance and extra effort too.

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And here I remember another story from another industry. A Company didn’t want to employ anyone to fill up a position, they decided to wait for a the right person. When that person came in, they checked him in every possible way. He got offered a position as Sales Rep. A few days later he got to know, that he had to undergo a surgery which he might not survive after all. Besides, it might lead to complications and long recovery. He notified the company and said that he is sorry that they went through all that trouble. This company decided to leave the offer open and wait for the result of that operation. Kind? Wait a bit…

A day or two before the operation he was invited into the office where the director arranged a welcome lunch for him and gave that guy not only a signed contract which would cover his sick leave, but also a premium insurance for every occasion and family support.

Nice story? You would say that a right person deserves it? Surely, he deserves it even if they don’t know yet his performance, KPI and communication style? What do you think, does a person who has been working for a company successfully deserve acknowledgement too then? Yes? And even that person, who leaves after 3-4 years of employment deserves a “thank you” gift for all the money saved and the progression of a company? After all, knowing that average job change in Australia is 1,5 years, 4 years of employment history saved a company at least 6 to 12 salaries.

6 to 12 salaries? Well, in my case it was an email saying, that I was “one of the best employees they have” and that I  “will be truly missed” plus an offer to catch up if I want.

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Bright and empty book or The Ausday

img_3206-2Australia Day today. But some people call it the “Invasion Day”.

Demonstrations and protests about the date of celebration of Australia Day are combined with happy walks with a colourful palette of all nationalities. Today is the day. The Prime Minister is holding a speech about our diversity calling it “the most successful multicultural society in the world” and acknowledging Aboriginal Australians as “the oldest continuous human culture on Earth which enriches us all”. May be.

But somewhere in hot Queensland sits a not so cool Pauline Hanson with her “One Nation” party and cooks a soup of a sterile community with only one ingredient. I hope her meal will be so plain and disgusting, that she will be thrown out of the professional kitchen or at least return to her dirty dishes. But at the moment she is quiet and locked herself in the kitchen with a witch book. Help us multicultural wizard, make this book same as her head!

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Сегодня День Австралии или День Вторжения, как называют другие.

Для одних – это вопрос перенесения праздника на другую дату, для других – это вопрос принятия и признания. В любом случае, есть только один человек, который сидит тихо в то время, когда вся Австралия празднует -Полин Хэнсон, лидер национальной партии Австралии.

Премьер Министр Австралии произнёс, что мы “самое удачливое мульти культурное общество в мире”, и что “каждый иммигрант – это ниточка, ткущая цветное одеяло Австралии”.., но кто-то всё-так сидит тихо в жарком штате Квинслэнд и даже по праздникам варит свой стерильный суп, замешенный на одном ингредиенте – ядовитой слюне гремучей змеи. Да расщепи ее (слюну) жара, пусть она превратится в безобидную воду, теплую и пустую, как повар, который над ней ворожит.

365 seconds and 100% guarantee

img_3817-2I had a look at my photos and realised that Hong Kong is much more interesting than just a phenomena of a dog’s public toilets. I ll try to write more about this megacity tomorrow.

Well, it is understandable that while we are travelling, we pay attention to the odd things. For example, in this trip I found the most unusual pizzeria ever. In this café pizza cooks just in 100 seconds and you even can eat it while standing. As advertisement said – if you are not happy -money back guarantee. Sounds like fun? To top it up I just add that this place is open 24/7, and you even can make a selfy, post it on Facebook and view it on the big tv screen in just a seconds.

I found this spot in Upper Austria: pizzamat with coffeemat and drinkomat… and tvmat – all in one spot. Automatic life. Kinda if you want to eat – “mat” yourself. But the most interesting thing is that in the rules of that empty serviceless café says: “No singing, No laud talking and No music making”. What is this life if I can’t even have fun in-between soulless machines? They want me to became one of them?!! Sounds like I should have a pizza in 100 seconds, eat it in 200, make a photo in 5, make a coffee in 10, drink it in 50 and be satisfied in 100 (%).

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Перечитав свой вчерашний пост, я хочу заметить, что Гонконг интересен не только (и не столько!) публичными туалетами для собак; Гонконг – это мега сити, о чём я постараюсь рассказать завтра.

Похоже, когда мы путешествуем наше внимание естественным образом задерживается на всём необычном. Вот, например, на этот раз мы увидели в Австрии самую нестандартную пиццерию. В ней пицца готовится всего за 100 секунд, её можно есть даже стоя. Ещё в этом кафе можно сделать фото на телевизоре и опубликовать его сразу же в фейсбуке и, плюс ко всему, это пиццерия работает 24 часа 7 дней в неделю. Звучит заманчиво? Если качество пиццы вас не устроет, то деньги обещают вернуть.

Пицца готовится в пиццемате, а закуски в автомате рядом, в кофемате выдаются чай и кофе, тогда как напитки в холодильнике напротив. В общем, жизненный автомат. Захотел есть – “отсамомать” себя по-австрийски: сготовь пиццу за 100 секунд, съешь за 200, сфотайся за 5, свари кофе за 10 и выпей его за 50. А главное, не забудь 100%-но порадоваться.

Art of being bad

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img_3634-2I know, I was writing about Krampus not long ago, but apparently there is one more tradition in Austria that helps to get rid of the bad spirits – Perchten. If Krampus was for kids, Perchten is for adults.

I don’t know why you need to scare people so much, but by the look of it we do something really bad throughout the year cause Perchten is way scarier than their friend the Krampus. If you are planning to sleep well before Christmas – don’t go out on “Rauch” night; cause those guys not just scare the shit out of you, they might even beat you up till a few drops of blood start dripping – especially if you are a member of a competitor’s group. Who would have thought that Perchten have many competitive groups? It is not just a competition, but also a big art. The art to be bad.

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Сегодня мы посетили Пехтн. Не так давно я писала про Крампуса – друга Николауса, пугающего детей.

Пехтн для взрослых. И, судя по всему, большие детки – большие бедки. Пехтн  в Австрии – это серьёзно. Они не только не дадут вам спать, но и выбьют из вас несколько капель крови, особенно если вы из группы Пехтн конкурентов. Кто мог бы подумать, что у Пехтн есть конкуренты. Конкуренты – это значит соревнование. Но Пехтн это не только соревнование, но и искусство одновременно, искусство быть плохим.

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Big ball from small words

_mg_0276Yesterday we had a dinner with friends and enjoyed a meal that’s good for your body and brain.

We were talking about democracy and nationalism. How much are we allowed to say and how much do we want to hear? One of us insisted that democracy means right of speech and we have a right to express our “right wing” feelings in public, including Pauline Hanson who allows herself to say comments such as: “Do you want to see terrorism in our streets here? Do you want to see our Australians murdered? And if I’m so wrong and Muslims feel that way, why don’t I have them standing beside me saying, “Yes, we value the Australian way of life. We’re against Islam, against all this.” They don’t come out strong because they can’t do it.”. Or another example about the freedom speech from a representative of Australia (!) in Parliament: “…we feel we have been swamped by Asians”. Interesting….

The second opinion was that democracy does not allow to say abusive words to someone and should not allow to use nationalistic topics, religion, skin colour and similar as part of identification, measurements of citizenship and humanity or political aggression.

One of us felt that any limitation to the right for freedom of speech takes away everybody’s freedom and promotion of democracy. The other felt like such limitation is taking away another person’s freedom in general and is therefore the end of democracy itself.

Well, I’m worried that we once already experienced a Supreme nation in the 1930-40’s which was united by the thought of another nation not deserving to live in their country of Supreme’s. It showed how such a minor fear in the back of the mind of a few loud people can escalate to becoming a general and public opinion; one person’s  opinion becomes a political key point.

Simple pleasures never generate a positive momentum. Once a big ball is rolling, it is hard to stop it.

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Этот пост про простой спор, спор друзей дома за званным ужином.

Один из нас настаивал на свободе слова, как первой и самой важной черте демократии. Второй, говорил, что свобода слова замечательна, покуда она не затрагивает свободу жизни, интересов и вероисповедания другого.

В первом варианте – есть возможность высказать свое мнение, даже если оно ультра националистическое, во втором – страхи одного, необязательно являются легитимными(желания убить соседа не должны промоутироваться,  в первую очередь потому, что это ограничивает “соседскую” свободу, а потом это желание настолько незаконно и стыдно, что об этом даже нельзя подумать).

Но вот здесь и центр всего спора: кто-то всё же разрешил себе подумать, что, скажем, азиаты заполонили двор/штат/Австралию/мир, и сказал об этом громко. Теперь, это стало даже нормальным. А “нормальное” перетекло в политическое. И эта защищено свободой слова, той, что держит демократию. Её нельзя отменить, так как автоматически отмениться вся демократия.  Другому из нас демократия представляется не в виде обнажёнки, а в виде прикрывшейся местами девы.

Мне же видится, что мы этот урок проходили лет 60-70 назад и, однажды, позволив себе высказать свои скрытые страхи, так тяжело остановить ком, несущийся по склону демократической горы вниз.

Can I help you?

img_4416-3Can I help you? – Hoping he might ask me about my tractors.

His head turns wondering about my European accent.

He stands in front of me in his small grey shorts, big oily leather hat and his half-length “dry as a bone” coat. Hat, dirty. Boots are too. He always dresses like this, only his warm green socks might experience a rare change. Change is something he does not like, because, for him, it is unnecessary. All his life, every single morning this big Aussie man looks outside of his weatherboard house, drinks his instant coffee, stares out of his window at his thirsty paddock, and walks slowly to his rustic, run down shed. So did his father.

I have never seen such a big dry guy anywhere else. He kicks dust as though he can’t lift his heavy legs high enough, or maybe he just wants to look dirty, trying to justify his day. At the end of a day “dirty” means that some work has been done.

On farm-days everyone calls him “big Nat”, or maybe big “Nad”, I couldn’t understand, indeed I couldn’t understand much at all apart from the sound they make when they pronounce the ‘…at’ or the ‘…ad’ after the capital ‘N’ which starts his name. All I hear is a fat jammed “aaaaa”. The twang. When I look, I notice a net of wrinkles running from the corner of his eyes. Dry riverbeds. These wrinkles, are they channels for water or just rays of warmth from his two suns, his two eyes? His eyes are empty, but smile kindly.

I only wanted to shake his rough hand and feel the strength of this guy, feel how his brushy cracked skin touches mine. I’m looking at his meaty hands. I can’t help it. Big, dirty and brown they are an indication of hardship. Hardship and careless life.

Work is his only hobby, his only thing, his only business, his only everything. All he ever did. The same as his only father ever did. It has nothing to do with money. Because if he even decides to change one wheel on his car it would run 25% better, but why would he? Change is something he doesn’t like, because it’s unnecessary. His father did the same. And that is the way.

Today Nat/d is shopping for a tractor. He’s not planning to buy one, just to shop, shop around. He actually doesn’t need one. I’m standing on the other side of my tent, where I’m waiting for him to respond. I’m thinking to myself “another tyre kicker”, but you have to ask.

Can I help you? – Hoping he might ask me about my tractors.

How r ya? – He drops on his way out of my tent.

 

Simple God or Just Google

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O.k. That might be a bit of a funny topic. Baby names.

I discovered that in some countries you are allowed to name children whatever you fancy whilst in other countries you have only four names to choose from (like Indonesia or Bali in particular) and some countries, like Australia, have a list of banned names… apparently. And this list of banned names varies from state to state.

Once I read an article where a father was naming his son with the most middle names after the main given name “Alexander” His daughter then got the shortest name “E” in the hope that she can prolong her name after the letter “E” the way she likes it, Elisabeth or Elisa for example. Parents had fun, his son didn’t; but that was in US.

Meanwhile here in Australia people tried more boring names, if you can say so; names like “Medicare” or “Smelly”, “Snort”, “G-Bang” or “Ikea”. My favourite, and I believe this is an Australia ONLY, is “Ned Kelly”. Ha-ha, hope they didn’t give that to a girl cause the pressure would be on. That beard, maaaaaan, I tell ya! But seriously, the Government will not allow you to name your daughter “Lady” or “Queen”. Interesting, would those two be O.K for a son? But what is more disappointing is that you would not have a child with a name “Australia”, “President” or  something like “God”. Just imagine how great it would be to say: “Hello, call me simply God”.

Good news: “Google” is still up for grabs! I imagine when IMac is banned, “Google” will be the most desirable.

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Детские имена, наверное, самая забавная тема.

Есть страны, в которых можно называть детей любым именем, а есть стары, где выбор ограничен четырьмя именами, как Индонезия, например. Однако, большинство стран ограничивается списком запретных имен.

Я помню статью в журнале “Психология”, где отец, он же автор и статьи и имен, дал своей дочери самое короткое имя, состоящее из одной буквы “Е”, надеясь, что, повзрослев, она сама сможет выбрать себе любое продолжение после “Е”, вроде Екатерины или Елизаветы. А сыну досталась участь самого длинного имени в стране состоящего из 18 средних имен после первого Александр. Но это в Америке, а вот в Австралии люди шутят по-другому, пытаясь назвать ребенка Козявка, Пахнушка, Икеа или Мариюанна, в испанском произношении и перевод не нужен.

Однако, Австралия, взяла под свой контроль именной бизнес, и не разрешила называть своего ребенка Принцесса или Король. К запрещенной теме отнесли Сестру, Леди, Австралию (ах, как жаль, однако) и Христа. Бог оказался тоже под запретом, впрочем, как и Джеймс Бонд. А представляете, как было бы здорово представиться: “Королева. Зовите меня просто Королева”. Королевой уже не назовут, а вот Царица ещё вне запрета, вместе с популярным именем Гугл.