Be a Better Neighbor; Be a Better Coworker

14 Jan


A few days ago my neighbor came over with homemade goodies to share. I was struggling through a fitness challenge. It was a thoughtful gesture, by a genuinely thoughtful person. Seriously, her family is that “borrow a cup of sugar anytime” group that makes you feel a little guilty. I was touched, and slightly embarrassed that she caught me looking like a drowned rat, but she didn’t judge. It started a conversation about her own personal struggle to get back into fitness.  She’s the kind of neighbor who makes me want to be a better neighbor. Seriously.

I can’t remember the last time I brought her something just because. Did she really know how much her thoughtfulness meant to a jaded homeowner like me?

All this got me to thinking: neighbors are a lot like coworkers.  What type of person makes you want to be a better coworker? I’ve got a few thoughts:

1.  Be conscientiousness. This is one of those buzz words, but if you want to be a good coworker, remember that the things that others as you to do may be top priority for them. The quality and care you take with a request shows them how much you value what matters to them. If they feel you valued, they are more likely to value what matters to you.  Reciprocity at it’s finest!

2. Hold the judgement, please. We are all struggling through something. Sometimes it’s a workout, sometimes it’s getting a spreadsheet to behave. I’ve found my team mates are more forgiving  when they don’t perceive negative scrutiny and judgement as they work through their own situations.  Everyone’s challenge is different. At least they’re working on it.

3. Take courteous initiative. Think of others. We all know coworkers who have large looming deadlines, or just a lot on their plate in a given week. Do something nice–drop off a snack, offer to run a report across the hall. Be the kind of person  you would want helping you.

None of this is rocket science, but if we all remember these things, the office might be a little bit kinder.

Be the hero you wish you’d had.




Thursday is the last day

24 May

I think one of the biggest things I have learned during this particular trip is that I can get lost anywhere. Map or no map. But the cool thing is, that no matter how turned around I am, i always find someone to help me or someway back on my own. I can handle it. Lost in a city with no one around who speaks English and we fumble our way through. I guess it’s not that big a deal, but its still a confidence builder.

Today armed with my camera, a map, headphone, my chucks and ambition, I set out to see the Birth of Photography exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. It was fabulous. I still can’t get over the leave your purse in coatlocker and we’ll follow you around the museum aspect of Budapest. (is this a European thing?) But I managed to ignore them and carry on.  My initial attempt at finding the museum was fruitless, took the wrong train, ended up on the wrong side of Budapest where I got some cool pix of ground artwork…I don’t know why it was there, but some as disturbing, others cool I ignored the slightly brutish, racist drawings and left the area when I realized based on some writing that black women may not be welcome in that particular area.

Hopped on another train, took the subway and finally made it to my mecca.

Early photography was not considered an art. I guess I can see that. Then, in attempt to earn a place in the art world they made it looks like paintings, which confused photographies position even more. It was a long journey to be accepted into the Art Pantheon.

I was unable to take any pictures of the exhibit, but I did snag a post card of the leading lady.

As I didn’t post anything meaningful yesterday, I’ll briefly recap: Company meeting in the AM then free day for lunch and wandering again. This time roomie and I went to the Turkish Baths. That was aan interesting experience. They are housed in this magnificent building, the outside terrace is more like a swimming pool–you can smell the chlorine– but the inside, the water is warmer, the water is not chlorinated that we could tell, and you float a bit more with the minerals. The water is slightly yellowish green, and we are desperately hoping its just due to the minerals. I am sure it is. But we had a laugh about it. People don’t swim there. They sit. They talk, or sleep, but mostly just sit and watch. It felt like a mall hang out spot. very relaxed, very comfortable. We were silly and forgot to take towels so we dripped dried back into the communal locker room. Women and Men split of course. Typical of European Style we all changed together though. Thank goodness for eating right and working out. Although, all shapes and sizes were slipping into two pieces whether the fabric wanted them too or not, so my level of fitness may not have been relevant to anything in that place.  And one poor chap, he couldn’t keep his speedo up for the life of him. falling in the back, way to low in the front. It must have been the tourist in me that wanted to giggle.

Dinner and a very relaxed early night at a place called Instant Which I hightly recommend if you ever visit this city. Very cool, very chill, lots of nice people and artwork to see.


Tonight is our last night. Group dinner and partying. Not gonna lie. We’re not sleeping. I’ll have awesome pictures of the sunrise. At 4:00am.



Sunday, Sunday so good to me

21 May

The beginging of anoher work week. I think this city is most of the groups favorite. It’s defintiely a lot bigger, but Budapest is so much nicer/more familiar culture wise. People are friendlier, we don’t have to worry quite as much about our purses as we did in Prague, and we are a bit more relaxed. Maybe this is due to the adrenaline of being abroad wearing off a little. We are getting a bit more sleep. That aways helps!

Saturday night was an early night for me. Dinner, a long shower and off to sleep. Being abroad wears you down. especially with the pace we are trying to maintain. We have all got a little bit of a cold coming on and we are trying our best to fight it off. The lack of water doesn’t help much. Water is not free of charge here. Neither are the rolls they put on the table. If you eat them, they show up on the bill. We learned that the hard way. Apparently they charge for ketchup, too. I don’t mind this. Just surprising when you don’t realize it at first. We have all the extras already figured into our prices at home. They charge ala carte here. Water is considered a soft drink, so it’s weird to order water and a beer, or water and a soda. The water bottles are small, so we’ve learned to ration them.

Yesterday was another full day of city touring. There is so much to see, honestly I was confused about where we were. We visited an awesome museum though on St. Andrew’s Island Ithink.  It featured the artwork of Margit Kovacs. She was a clay and ceramics artist from the mid 1900s. Loved her stuff. The rest of the group sort of ran through, but I made the museum employees actually work.

Apparently they have to follow you room to room to be sure you don’t take anything, or take photos. It felt very communist. Big brother is watching or something. I did my best to ignore it. Check out her stuff here .


We went shoppinging in that same little area. I bought the cutest Hungarian made gifts. I was following the “buy local” mentality and tried to avoid any big shops with commercially made products. I am quite pleased with my cache.

We ran into D.C. frat boys. I know that particular american tone anywhere. It was nice though, to see/hear other people from the homeland. One of then had been travelling for a few months. He’d just gotten to Europe from Australia and his buddies had come to see him. I wouldn’t have mind chatting with  him, but the group had other plans.

lots of cool things.


Where Thursday through Saturday merge

19 May

It’s hard to keep track of days. Today is Saturday which means yesterday was Friday whicn means we had 3 hours of sleep (those who slept) and spend the day driving into Slovakia for company visits with Volkswagon and then onward to our current locale of Budapest.  Slovakia was an interesting little town. I know there was more I was going to say about it, but it escapes me. It has more conservative architecture. The lunch was the only thing that has disappointed me thus far. The comany visit was interesting. It was more a tour than an actual meeting and discussion, but VW has an amazing warehouse.

They make 5 vehicles there: VW, Saab, Audi, Skoda, and the body of the porsche.

Interesting  fact: all VW SUVs with end location US are made there too.  It’s a very green business, reminded me of ikea upon first enterance: white tile everywhere, clean, trendy.

There are so many cool robots at work in the warehouse. driverless cars pulling supplies: reminded me of Walle. I liked the tour, it just wasn’t as much information about the direction of the business, the planning,  the people as I like. But since the main decisions are made in Germany I guess that makes sense.

Our host really was just a guide, far down the corporate food chain. They did have a nifty headphone system so we could all hear him talking. That was appreciated. Since we were functioning on no sleep (we had to be up at 3:30 to leave at 4:15) it’s all a bit fuzzy. NO photos were allowed. No watches, or cell phones either. They weren’t letting anything leave that building.

We went on a tour of Bratislava. Yes. It’s coming back to me now!

The highschool kids were collecting money for their graduation/drinking fund. It’s a typical rite of passage I guess. They don’t do bake sales, they don’t do car washes. Parents don’t pay annual dues to the school.  They grab noise makers, make posters, chant and walk the streets begging for money. It was a noisy sight to behold.

After all this, we spent another 3 hours in the bus driving to Budapest. Buda and Pest really are two separate sides of the city. It reminds me of the losers everytime I think of it now. “I’m Buda. This is Pest.”  yeah. sorry, lack of sleep….

We found money, checked into our room. (working AC in this one!) and wandered. There was food, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what it was! It was good though. I’m sure of that. Then more out and abouting.

Flaming shots, a slight misunderstanding due to lack of language,( funny to be on the receiving end of the frustration and grumpiness. Learn Hungarian!) entertainment, and a declined proposal for marriage at Alterego.

I get the feeling that people of African descendants are few and far between here. I am a commodity. It makes for entertaining chatter, and this guy was fascinated with my hair. He was super friendly though. Coming to Miami for business venture soon, and is very excited. I wish him the best, wherever his travels take him.

That was yesterday.

Today was laid back, touristy. Awesome Saturday.  Siteseeing around the city, lots of pics, amazing food and about to get a nap.

I’ll update on my goings ons and  observations for today’s church visits (we crashed a wedding!) and site seeing  later this evening.

I am keeping a list of things in my phone as we wander.

One of the sweetest things I’ve see here: Men hold their children’s hands. A 12 or 13 year old boy was holding his dad’s hand and it was no big deal. I’ve seen it a handful of other times, all with older kids. It seems the concept of masculinity is different here. I’m totally digging it.

Okay a few other items of note:

Children drink from wine glasses.

Families carry their babies more often than use strollers

lunch will literally last all atfternoon.

stoplights go yellow before they turn green.

drivers do not blast music from their car windows.

no road rage.

homeless men adopt the homeless dogs so there are no real strays.

And I see what was meant about the throwback clothing. It’s not blatant, but the cartoon characters are here. The mickey and off color sayings. Misfit t-shirts and tattoos and gauged ears are more prevalent.

Off to naptime.

Oh, I got my tattoo. ❤