Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Life like literature

'It was another of our fears: that's life wouldn't turn out to be like literature' - Sense Of An Ending, Julian Barnes


I go through phases: being consumed, followed by reclaiming my alone time. I'm writing from the busy Southbank Centre while waiting for a concert. Reclaiming, I am. I have eight evenings in a row booked (none with dates, just in case you were wondering; though why would you). Evenings of drowning my heartache in wine (tried coffee first, doesn't quite work). Evenings of Mahler, Piazolla and Thomas Gould. Volunteering and books (currently reading Coutts' 'The Iceberg' - doubt it'll help me with heartache though. 

I go through phases. From being fiercely independent to needing somebody to call me 'sweet'. And I mean 'needing' it. I've never been lukewarm. Not sure how long I can stand the phases though. It's draining. Being emotional is draining. Being me is draining. And yet, I don't know any other way to be. Strangest thing, if you asked me whether I wanted to change, I'd say no. Nor that I could anyway. I'm one of those peculiar people who think that to live you need to be emotional, you need to go through experiences. Lukewarmth is evil.

My (wise) brother would say that we live and die alone. Very dramatic of him. People are just blips on film. I can almost understand that. My question is - how much can we let the blips consume us? You know what, I don't even like the word 'blip'. Makes it sound insignificant, and I don't let insignificant people consume me. There is some comfort though in knowing that I can still find people, those forces. 

I thought I could fix people. I wanted to be the one to fix people. (there's a fine line)
I found it very disturbing and distressing when I couldn't. Powerless. You can tell I'm not used to not being in control, some battles people need to fight themselves. So you let go. You let go and stay grateful. Grateful for the time and the trust, for being let in. We underestimate that. We take it for granted. We think that people owe it to us to let us in, pour their hearts out. Well, they don't. Sometimes we forget that others have heartache too. Maybe it's because mine tends to roll down my cheeks during a Monday morning commute. Others hide it better. 

So I am grateful. Well, I damn try anyway. I want to be kind and gentle among the suffering as I am one of them. 

Life is about experiences. Hopefully many positive ones. It's about making people (feel) better. Even if you're just a blip in their lives. The blips aren't unimportant. Sometimes they're the only things that keep us sane. They makes us feel like we matter. Like if we disappeared, somebody would notice. And usually, that's enough to keep you living. Through another phase.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Contemplating over a cupcake

Ironically, the more thoughts came marching through my mind, the harder it is to lay them down on paper. I did actually write this in an oldfashioned way, with paper and a pen while on an underground train.

When I came back from the New York and Chicago last month (already feels like ages ago) I was slightly different (to the point where when I broke up with a guy I was seeing, he said that since I had got back I'd been more thoughtful). You couldn't quite put your finger on it but my eyes sparkled in a different way. Well, they sparkled, to begin with. It wasn't one of those holidays where you spend days in a monastery contemplating life. But it doesn't mean it was any less transformative and there sure was a lot of contemplation.

The trip was a big deal for me - it was the first long trip I went on all by myself and the first one I had been saving for for a year. Worth every dime. I don't know if it's wonderlust or something else but I've never been more restless than since I came back. I could write about every coffeeshop, bakery, museum and gallery that I visited but that would take too long. Instead, let me share some moments from the trip that made me feel the way I do now:
  • The MET & the rooftop. Seriously. It overlooks the Central Park and makes you a part of something beautiful. You feel like you are in a painting. Right there. (Having a cocktail helps you image all sort of things!)
  • Brooklyn Flee Market. Dulce de leche. Best doughnut ever.
  • Being in the moment (even if my moments were carefully planned). You stop and enjoy the  view of Manhattan. Indulge in the flavours, scents and views. I felt I could just be there and don't think about anything for a moment. We don't have those moments often anymore. 
  •  9/11 memorial & museum. I was only nine when it happened, couldn't grasp the magnitude of sorrow and loss. Spending the afternoon at the site and the museum has been one of the most touching experiences I've ever had. The chills and the tears. At some point you stop holding them in as it gets to you. It gets to you that you are standing at the site of an enormous loss and pain, and at the same time, you feel the kindness around you as you read the stories of people risking their lives for others. It's hard to explain the emotions and the power of them unless you are there. So make sure you go there at least once in your life.
  • Sitting on the floor at the Grand Central. Just being in the moment and observing. Embracing the surroundings. Made me think about 'Before we go'. You got to watch it.
  • Then you have hours and hours wandering around galleries and absorbing all of that in. MoMA. Guggenheim. & High Line in Meatpacking District.
  • The moment in Washington Sq Park when you are sitting on a park bench listening to live jazz and eating a red velvet cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. Yes, I did have to go there because it is in Sex and the City. No, it wasn't that spectacular. But the moment itself was.
  • And then the biggest thing of all happened. A man was walking his dog in the park when the dog, Oliver, came to me and I tried to pet it (I'm staying 'I tried' because the dog didn't really like me; no, I'm not taking it personally). The man, Steven, sat down next to me and we started talking. We don't talk to strangers in London, for the record. So there we are, two strangers talking and having some of the most open conversations. About our families, relationships, aspirations and fears. Turned out Steven was a documentary movie writer and director, whose movie was the first ever documentary nominated at the Sundance Film Festival. I didn't know that at the time. Anyway, he had interviewed some of the craziest and most interesting people including Russian mobsters, biker gangs, racial separatists and musicians. When he was my age, he was an editor of a magazine. He played jazz for a living at one time. He is now working on a documentary with Quincy Jones. I sat there in awe. I sat there thinking, when I am his age, what will I say? What would I like to say? Am I leading the life in a way that will result in things to say? Later Steven kept me company when exploring the local area and showed me around the Flower District. You know when you just meet somebody and you feel you can pour your heart out and it won't be stepped on? Yeah, that's how I felt on my last day in New York, in awe, full of doubt and not entirely sure what I was doing with my life. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. 
This is a story about being open to new people and letting them in. Listening to their stories and feeling inspired. Once you have that mindset, more people find you and show you different ways of life. Last week I met a guy in London who doesn't consider career a priority, is at peace with himself and have a holistic approach to life, is appreciative of the world around him and means it. Almost a complete opposite of most people. But that's another story.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Swiped off her feet

Dating is tricky. Essentially, what most people are looking for, is intimacy. At least that's something I miss. The little things, like kisses on the forehead, or tight hugs (because hugs of any other kind are just wrong). The ability to look at each other across the room and just...know. The inside jokes. Intimacy takes time and that's not something people allow themselves to have anymore.


Out of pure curiosity, I had to try a dating app. It teaches you a great deal about people and, most importantly, about what you want and are looking for. Most of my dates were actually fine. However, I am fine by myself, so if I am to let somebody into my life it would have to be a significant improvement from 'fine'. We are yet to find that.

18 things a dating app has taught me:
1. It is full of Australians.
2. It is possible to find a nice person on there. I mean, I am there. You are there. There's gotta be hope.
3. It gives you an impression that your next best date is just around the corner (ahem, swipe). Which it might be. But then again, when do you stop swiping?
4. Some guys post pictures with their girlfriends... Hmm. Does it ever work?
5. It gives you an impression that for some reason everybody going skiing and it is a very important quality in a boyfriend. Diving is another one. On the other spectrum, you have the guys who say in their profile "adventure is key", then have five photos and in all of them they are wearing suits. It might be sarcasm that I missed...
6. Following up from the #5, I didn't dare say on my profile that I cannot swim and have never been skiing (& have no intention to).
7. Some people will beat around the bush for a week (ie. talk to you about stuff before asking you out / agreeing to go out). We're chatting on a dating app, not at the grocery store - clearly we are here because we are looking for a date.
8. Some people look nothing like their photos (yes, I know, rookie mistake on my part to fall for that).
9. If after telling the guy what you do for a living, he says "Wow, you must be really intelligent" - unmatch. Now.
10. If he has a visa to stay in the country for only two years (refer to #1), proceed with caution. It's a tricky one. I'm ok with not knowing what will happen in two years (who knows!) but knowing that it will not go past the two years, that's... 'expiration dating'.
11. People use the word "spiritual" in the most liberate of ways. Apparently, being reflective is the same as spiritual. And spiritual people can be pragmatic. (!). I could go on the whole discussion about this, but I will spare you the pain.
12. People are a lot more open than in real life because they can just "swipe" you away if needed. Like, they would tell you in their profile that they are married. Or what they are looking for. In real life it takes a few dates to get that info out of people.
13. I think women care about the man's job a lot more than they care about hers (that has nothing to do with Tinder, knew this a while back).
14. However, just because you like the guy's job, it doesn't mean you will click. I think I used to take the 'butterflies' for granted. It is harder to find chemistry than I thought. Even when out on a date with a chemist.
15. I think the ratio of matches to dates is about 10:3. On a good day. (refer back to #7).
16. People have no idea what science policy is.
17. I tell guys about my colour-coded spreadsheet and I use that as a filter. Some men pass.
18. I like it how it shows you if you have "liked" any same Facebook pages. For example, if I see that we both clicked on "Stronger in Europe", that's a start. I never thought about this before, but I suppose if the guy was gonna vote 'out' during the EU referendum, then I don't want to go on a date with him. I really don't.

Dating is different in a big city (I've never dated outside London so I have no clue, but that's what people tell me). People think they have more options. And that's where the irony of the choice paradox hits them.


I'm going on the first ever trip by myself in a few weeks. Hiking. Really excited. It's quite a big deal for me. Being comfortable in my own skin. Kinda addictive.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Hermosa. Linda. & the other Spanish words I now might need to learn

I usually write when something is wrong. Or weird. Or annoys me. Yeah, this isn't a very positive blog... Probably because when you are happy in your personal life, you just wanna share it with a few (carefully selected) people, not broadcast your silliness & sentiment.

So what I am getting at is, I might not be writing much for a while. I'll be living. & watching Humphrey Bogart movies. & listening to bossa nova. & letting a bit more art into my life. & sleeping less because sometimes I am actually scared this is a dream I might wake up from. & I might even cook more. But not sure about that. Might be pushing it a bit here.

& do yoga while listening to Goldberg Variations by Back because "it's like the colour black, goes with everything".

Sunday, 3 January 2016

New Year resolutions (yet all over again)

New Year resolutions. Everybody seems to have some but me. I asked around and it appeared where is quite a range of things people are aiming for (yet all over again):
...you have some classic ones, like, "I want to lose some weight" (it would be better if it was "To love myself the way I am")
or the vague ones "I want to be happy" (as if there rest of us don't)
and finally you have the realistic ones: "I want to be more confident and live this year for me, rather than others" (naturally this came from women); some people want to overcome their fears; others want to achieve certain career goals or get a promotion...

I wonder how many people actually assess these regularly after the NYE... The whole "new year new me" thing makes me...suspicious.

I've always had goals & resolutions & unattainable standards. But this year, there I was, on a canal boat in Ghent sipping coffee and eating some crazy flemish custard pastry on 1 January for the first time thinking that I am happy the way I am. I could lose weight, but I don't care about that enough to actually want to do something about it (remember the flemish custard genius thing? yeah). I have fears like each of us, from the fear of rejection (classic) to spiders. Again, I am quite content being scared of spiders and screaming when I see one. I do want to take up swing lessons at some point though. And I want to travel alone for the first time. Some people might call that "resolutions" but I don't like the word as it puts pressure on you which is the last thing we need. Our pleasures should be savoured rather than ticked off on some to-do list as a task to be accomplished.

Last year was...big. Within the span of three weeks I got a new job, broke up with my ex and moved houses (in that order). So actually, I want a calm year. I feel like my life has been changing so fast ever since I was seventeen that for once, it would be nice to have a year when I don't have to make life changing decisions. Knowing me, that probably won't happen, but a girl can hope. Also, 2015 was the year when I asked a guy out for the first time (high five!) & he didn't even turn me down, how about that. Having said that, 2015 was also a year when a guy hit on me my showing a video of his ant farm... That's not a metaphor and don't even get me started on it...

And in any case, the beginning of a year is such an arbitrary mark. If you want to change something - go do it because you are an adult and nobody will do anything for you. There are people who care about you and can give you advice, but at the heart of it all you are on your own with your life and your decisions to make. We all are. If you like a guy sitting across from you in a cafe, don't wait till the year which will have that as a resolution - just say "hi" for crying out loud. I felt like I wasn't making the best out of London so on 28 August I made a spreadsheet (yep, it does exist) and since then I have been to three theatre performances, six concerts, five exhibitions, three Christmas markets and over ten movies. I might have overdone it just a bit, but it was my post break up stage and I needed it. I might dial it down a bit now. I also started volunteering with dementia patients running an cafe for them. One of the most heart warming things I have ever done.

I have always been good (and now when I look back - brave, or reckless, depends how you look at it) at making decisions. I always feel that the indecision is what is painful. Usually, an indecision is more detrimental to your sanity than a bad decision.

I was always scared of being content, of being average. Well, it doesn't seem that bad now. Yes, still know how I want things in my life to be (most of the time), my expectations are sometimes too high and a bit stringent but I do believe that once you know what you want, nobody can mess with your head. Even if that means you are often alone. (my twenty-three-year-old wisdom)

It was eye opening to share a few days on a boat in Ghent over the Christmas with a carpenter (airbnb host) who makes furniture for disabled children. He's got two kids, been married once. At the time he had been seeing a girl for ten days and called her his "girlfriend" and introduced her to his kids. That simple. That is how it should be. Most of us would be a lot  of cautious with the titles, unsure about the kids part... But that's not healthy. Being simple is. It had been his childhood dream to live on a boat and four years ago it became true. Now how many of us are living our childhood dreams? 


Then again, I can't blame people for wanting a new start. Don't we all need that sometimes? The promise to yourself that this time, it'll be different. It doesn't always coincide with a calendar year though, sometimes 28 August can be just as life-changing.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The absurd modern dating problem

There is a video that (sadly) sums up the absurd modern dating problem (you are wondering which one, right?). It may also be referred to as "Should I write him first?", "Should I wait till he writes me?", "Why isn't he texting me (back)?", "He's never gonna text me, is he?", and finally, "If he doesn't text me soon, I won't reply even when he does!". Who are you kidding, of course you will reply...

When you google 'first date', you will come across various articles with tips on what to do, what not to do and even some very elaborately called "survival guides", because you know, so many people have died during the first date. My favourite headline is "9 dumb things not to do on the first date", which is ironically in a men's magazine. Women's magazines specialize in articles that tell you what to do to charm the guy on the first date (!) followed by what to do when he doesn't call you back. Go figure.

Some people say that London is a tricky place to date as people have commitment issues. Well, I haven't dated anywhere else, so cannot compare. However, I'd like to hear if there is a city where it is easy to date...

The best thing after the first date is to be asked out on the second, but if that doesn't happen, the next best thing is for it to become a great story. Mine has. I was very lucky that a randomly approached guy turned out to be actually really cool (phew!). I mean, the odds were really not on my side. Anyway. Screw the odds.

I think there should be a separate article section on the first date after a long term relationship, as that surely deserves special attention. The kind when you haven't been on a date for so long that you wonder if they changed the concept of it.

It seems like people exchange pretty random pieces of information during the date. Like, having a caterpillar shaped cake on the 7th birthday. Or some London transport system facts: for example, did you know that the shortest distance between two stations is between Covent Garden and Leicester Sq? Or have you noticed that there is a tile with a drawing of a maze at each station, all 270 of them? I never did but now that's what I always think when I see it on my way to work.

It's quite adorable actually. First it is absolutely terrifying, but after that, after the initial half an hour of awkwardness, it can be adorable. 

There is no article that will guide you through your first date. There is no universal way of making it work. We often barely know ourselves, so trying to figure somebody else out on the first date - just drop it. People are often not on the same page. Not even on the same damn book, if you ask me. Some people want a serious relationship, some are looking for a more...casual arrangement. And then there are those who would prefer to just see what happens without putting any limitations right away. That's all assuming that we know what we want in life.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

3 reasons why "When Harry Met Sally" should be R rated for singles

There are a lot of things people don't tell you about being single. To start with, if you want flowers on your bedside table - you'll have to get them yourself. Then there is the whole, you can 'spend the long weekend watching too many movies at home' while having your hair up, a facial mask on and multiple cups of coffee. Something you wouldn't want your boyfriend to see... Or anyone, for that matter. Another thing they don't tell you is that many movies are not suitable for singles. 

So now I get flowers for myself, because I love having a rose on my bedside table and my neighbours happen to grow fabulous roses. I do ask of course, what, what have you heard??

I am making a list of classic movies that I yet need to see and going out to the cinema tomorrow. Drinking so much coffee that I am considering buying a Nespresso machine (life would be so much easier with proper coffee). And realising that "When Harry Met Sally" should be R rated for singles. 

1. Just because a woman knows exactly how she likes her salad, it does not make her "high maintenance". A woman is not a maintenance job anyway. A girl's got to have standards. Single women who choose to be single are the ones who know what they want and go and get it. That's intimidating for some (apparently). Pfff... I could go on about this, but that has already been done - keep on reading the 'praise for high maintenance women' and learn.

2. Now your expectations for New Years Eve are... unrealistic. Oh yeah, you will be all miserable at this party your friends dragged you into (this part could well happen), and then the love of your life will walk in during the countdown and make a heart-warming, sweet and beautiful speech where he will list the things he loves about you ("I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend a day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes"). 

I want to believe the happy endings and the romance. But seriously.

3. All those stories how two people saw each other and "they knew" - does that happen outside of the movies? Oh sure. (I'm giving you a disapproving look, by the way). 

I am not trying to be cynical here. It actually comes quite naturally to me. There is a reason it is a movie. We need to believe in something bigger and more beautiful out there, we want to believe that we can have the happy ending. I mean, otherwise why don't we just shoot ourselves now.

We all have an image in our heads of what the perfect date would look like (that surely cannot just be me). The problem with movies and images in our heads is that it gives us expectations, unrealistic expectations of this perfect future. Ironically, on one hand I understand that after a while all relationships require work, that feelings change and that nobody's perfect. But then there is a part of me that thinks maybe, just maybe, one day we can meet somebody and then we'll know, we'll know "the way you know about a good melon".

Most of us feel torn apart like that, I think. That's a sign of a sensible mind (or so we must tell ourselves).

PS. To show that I am not the only one who loved the movie, check out this blog entitled Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From ‘When Harry Met Sally. I wouldn't go as far as to say that you will know everything there is to know about life and love and relationships, but you got to start somewhere.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Copenhagen travel log: smorrebrod & watermelon icecream

When I travel to places I haven't been yet, I make list of things to see, to do, to eat & (inevitably) to Instagram. This must have been my fifth or sixth trip to Copenhagen, so museums and galleries have been visited, all boxes checked. Plus, when you live in London you have plenty of opportunities to visit museums and art exhibitions, it would be hard to beat London in that. Therefore this time, the trip was about seeing my brother and his girlfriend, not planning and just relaxing. Often in a park with ice cream (you got to try watermelon flavour!). 

Once you've lived in London, walking around Copenhagen feels like being caught in a slow motion movie. You don't rush (anyone). If a cyclist wants to stop and block the whole side walk for you - he will and you won't lose your temper. Well, they won't, while I got a bit annoyed. But then I smiled and thought to myself that this is how things go around here.

I might not have had a list at the beginning of this holiday but now there is one, with the most memorable moments.

Torvehallerne is my new favourite place in the city (pronounced 'tohelen'; I am just as confused as you about it). It's this gourmet market where you can buy coffee, spices, oils, cakes, flowers, smorrebrod, and other interesting things.
  • Coffee Collective. I came across it by accident on Pinterest as one of the best coffee places in Copenhagen. Needless to say, I had to visit it. And yes, the coffee was really nice, much milder than the usual stuff in London (you should see a pattern by now). Apparently it is because of a special way they roast the coffee. 
  • The boutique bakery where I got a cinnamon pastry that was still warm (!).
People hang out on Dronning Louises Bro bridge on a Friday night. The regulars provide the music, the rest of us - cocktails. You drink, enjoy the view of the lakes and the sunset. Everything feels laid back here. Yet so elegant. And I have not seen a single person wearing stilettos. These people are real, casual and at peace with the themselves.  

Nyhavn is gorgeous. Whether you are eating ice cream of drinking cocktails, that is the place to be. 

Smorrebrod is awesome. It's a one sided sandwich (the way it is supposed to be), with stuff on top, then a bit more, and more and more until you have a tower of food and you have no idea how to eat it elegantly (hence no photos here).

As I am writing this, I am ten kilometres above the North Sea, squashed in a plane seat unable to even cross my legs over (there should be a 'tall' option when you book a seat) trying to imagine what it will feel like to be back in London. Being squashed provides a preview for sure.

I often wonder whether I am going to be in London for long. But we go where jobs are. And London is an exciting place to be. Not sure if the relaxed Scandinavia would suit me. Hectic London might be a match for me. That doesn't really say anything good about me, does it?

Next on my travel list: Brussels & Bruge, Sicily, Iceland and New York (never been there would I just know it'd be love at first sight). 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The irony & middle of the night cooking

The hardest thing about writing? Developing a habit, making time and working consistently. We want to imagine that people wake up and write in the middle of night, just because you know, they need to. Let's be real here. Most of us don't have muses. Instead, we have full time jobs, busy schedules, responsibilities and the need for sleep (I'm in a cynical phase, or maybe that's just who I am, who knows).

So to be an efficient blogger ("writer" seems too serious of a word, I mean look me!), you need to be committed. Strong will power sure helps but it is also useful to announce to the rest of the world that you have signed up for a challenge, keeps you on your toes because we tend to be more worried about disappointing others than ourselves (why do you people get married in a big big way? duh).

* * *

I moved houses three weeks ago. Painful. For those who got to carry the boxes, I mean. I was the one screaming "careful!" as if sweltering heat wasn't torturing people enough. Now I live in Turnpike Lane, on very pretty Sydney Road (those who know why I moved should see some irony here). Lots of people grow roses there. Makes my trip to work much more fragrant. "Smell the roses" isn't an empty saying, seriously, do it.

I took a lot of pleasure in planning the colours of my bedsheets, sofa cushions and a rug because you know, they have to match. It’s all blue, white and a bit of yellow.

Then there is a little private (!) garden. When I think of the word “garden”, I imagine a huge space with lots of apple trees, flowers, maybe even a pond. So clearly it’s not that. It’s a little overgrown spot of green with a little table and two chairs that might not survive the autumn rain. Londoners know things here tend to be “little”: little gardens, little corner stores, little me & little you. But these are the choices we make – none of us can afford to buy a huge house in London, which is fine because that’s not what we are here for. We are here for the busy lifestyle, career opportunities (which are also so darn competitive that sometimes it makes you think the universe has conspired against you) and the general buzz. London is not a place for content people, it’s for ambitious ones like you and me. For those whose priorities might not just yet be kids & dogs & stuff. Not just yet. Now I am happy to cook packed work lunches at 10.30pm (that actually happened last night).

Saturday, 4 July 2015

People watching

Anyone who has ever organised an event will know the feeling of relief once it is over. No matter how well it went, it drains the energy out of you. The event I was responsible for was a national networking workshop for researchers on antimicrobial resistance, involving around 65 delegates.

Oh, and then right before lunchtime the fire alarm when off and the whole kitchen was evacuated leaving the hot food inside but out of reach. The things event attendees don't know...

I'm still in Dundee. People watching. Here everybody seems a whole lot more approachable than in London. I suppose that's what happens in smaller cities. As an example of that, I will tell you a story about last night (well a part of it because it would be unwise to have a written record of all of it). One of the lovely ladies from the university who helped me organise the event took us out for dinner & cocktails. When she went out of a smoke I naturally went with her since you know, I have always had a thing for second hand smoke. Or the conversations that happen around it. Outside there were two other people, a couple, and my friend just approached them and started talking to them. Simple as that. About local news, weather, and her new Londoner friend. That's me, by the way. Fellow smokers thought I was American based on my accent (!), no idea how that happened. The idea here is that in London you do not go and talk to random people on the street. It's a shame but you just don't.

Also, apparently when the event people saw me walking into the building, they thought I looked like a slightly pretentious Londoner. A red dress can do that, I guess. I proved them wrong the first chance I got and we ended up having a fabulous evening talking about science, events, research, men and cats. I know you are trying to imagine this conversation but save yourself the trouble and don't. I don't know if it is Dundee or whether I really becoming a Londoner (whatever that means).

Watching passers by has made me realise that people look more casual here, more at ease. Capital cities don't have that. What we have is eight million people trying to prove themselves. Hey, no judgement since I am one of them. And I am not leaving until I am done.

I've got a six hours train journey ahead of me. With the first one having had some interesting passengers, I expect nothing less of this one.