Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

All my friends, friends of friends, family, more friends
and the rest of the World - best 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back to the Past

For those of you who read my blog, it is no news that my father was a diplomat. What this means is basically that every couple of years we moved - to another country.

From 1974 to 1978 it was the turn of Argentina, Buenos Aires to be more specific. As soon as we got there I was enrolled into the German school named by the great Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. At that time I had no idea, that the following years would be probably the most important years of my teenage life. But this is not what I want to talk about today.

I left Buenos Aires December 1978, a little after the Soccer World Cup that the Argentineans won. I left behind a bunch of people I call friends, a special friend I called girlfriend, my heart, took with me tons of wonderful memories and the certainty that I would be coming back to visit as often as I could.

Well, it took me 33 years to come back and I could only stay for a few hours, and that, is what I will tell you about now.

The past December 17th was a class reunion to celebrate 30 years of our graduation. It was not the first meeting ex-students organized, but definitely a very memorable one. So, no matter what, I had to be part of it.

The very same day my daughters were having their farewell party at school. Another event I couldn't miss. So I organized myself, made all the necessary arrangements, planed every detail:

09:00 h (Friday) take kids to school for final rehearsal
10:00 h beginning of event
12:00 h end
13:00 h back home for lunch
15:00 h take kids to a friends birthdays party and double check that the mother will pick  
            them up the next day (it was a sleepover)
15:30 h cab to bus station to take the shuttle bus to airport
17:30 h arrive at airport - check in
19:30 h in aircraft departing to Argentina
22:00 h arrive at Aeroparque Airport in Buenos Aires
22:30 h cab to hotel
23:00 h check in at hotel, shower, dinner, get some rest
10:00 h (Saturday) meeting with classmates at school - depart to destination "Party"
19:00 h back to airport - check in
21:30 h in plane back to Rio de Janeiro
01:50 h (Sunday) back home - day over

It would have been a great day, no stress, everything fine ... ... if it wasn't for Murphy!

Things started to get weird the moment I left my kids at their friend's home. Heaven's gates were opened and tons of water pored down on us. Traffic immediately stopped, as usual when it rains in Rio, and there was nowhere to go. If I had decided to swim to the airport, I believe that I would have made it a lot faster. Anyways, I arrived at the airport at exactly 19:00 h, worried that I might not make check in on time, but ... ... Murphy did his job here to. My flight was 2 h delayed.

So I went and had some chicken for dinner, sat in the lobby and watched a movie on my laptop until it was my time to board.

Flight was great, no details other than that we arrived the same 2 hours late in Buenos Aires. No big deal I thought and took a cab to my hotel - I had made my reservation 2 days earlier and so I was set. Stop right there! All set if it wasn't for ... yes, Murphy!

My hotel was actually no hotel at all, it was a pension and at 02 o'clock in the morning it was already locked and no one answered the door anymore. Sh....

Well I thought, on my way we passed a few other hotels in the same area so I decided simply to check into another place ... ... ... No vacancy! None ... at all!!!

It was already 03:00 h, me on the street, nowhere to go other than the school to meet my friends, but still plenty of time to get there. So I started walking.

I walked down Carranza to Av. Sta. Fe, turned left and walked, walked. Sta. Fe changed to Cabildo. When I arrived at Belgrano I got thirsty. So I stopped at some "cage" yes, actually a cage in which was a little shop and a person selling stuff. Sweets, beverages, and other things. I got a bottle of water and since I wasn't so sure I asked for directions to San Isidro. "Well," the lady said "you need to get the 628 bus and ...." - "Nono, I said, I am on food!" 

After she recovered from the shock she tried to explain that it was quite a walk, but I made her understand that I had plenty of time to get there. So, she told me just to keep walking. I'd get there. And so I did.

Nuñes, underneath Av. Gral Paz when Cabildo changed into Av. Maipu, and I kept walking. Passing a few Night Clubs, a lot of drunken people, a few more of them cages with people selling beverages, and so on.

When I got to La Lucila I started feeling my feet. I was wondering how far I got and how far I still had to go. I had no map and no idea where I was. I knew though, I had to go to San Isidro and from there I'd ask my way through. 

It began to clear. Wow I thought, sunrise in Buenos Aires, great! 

One thing I noticed different from a night in Rio de Janeiro. These kids here smoke a hell lot more than our kids in Brazil. And they cry definitely more to. I believe I saw at least half a dozen girls, pretty drunken girls, wining out loud sitting on the sidewalk and their drunken friends standing around bitching about some dude. Not all together but at least one per Night Club I passed. Strange folks here.

Martinez. Finally, I started to remember. I've been here before, I knew that. I stopped at a Fire Station and talked to a fireman standing in front. I asked him for directions and again, well, I explained that I already was walking for so long, I wouldn't matter to keep going for the rest. I am pretty sure that he was very tempted to lock me down and to call a shrink, but ... well. 

Street name changed back to Av. Sta Fe and I was told to walk to Marquez and than turn left and, yeah, take the bus ... but I walked. I walked Marquez to Monroe and than I sat down, the first time after I started my matinee walk, and had a cup of coffee. The worst coffee I ever had in my entire life. It was around 6 o'clock. 

So I walked Monroe to Sucre and than left into Blanco Encalada. Hey!!! Almost there. At a very bad signed intersection though I took the wrong turn. I stood at the wrong side of the highway, walked a few blocks until I finally found someone who pointed me back into the right direction. Soon I found Blanco Encalada again, this time on the right side and, yeah, only somewhat 20 blocks to go.

It was around 08:30 in the morning when I finally arrived. To the very surprise of the doorman, that couldn't actually believe that someone came so early to a meeting scheduled for 10 am. We became friends. Laughed a little over my story, talked about cars. I went to a little mall kind of thing on the other side of the road and had another coffee and a sandwich. 

10:30 the first, well, second one arrived and shortly after the rest of the gang. 

It was a great day. A wonderful reunion. A great feeling to see all these wonderful people again, after so many years. It was worth every single step I made and I’d do it anytime again.
I took my plane back to Brazil at scheduled time. Arrived home tired but very happy. And once again, I left back people I call friends, my heart and took with me tons of new impressions and memories.
By the way, I checked the map. I walked aproximately 21km that night. No wonder my feet hurt!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I Hope I didn't Miss Any - HoHoHo ... ... ...

Afrikaans Gesëende Kersfees
Afrikander Een Plesierige Kerfees
African/ Eritrean/ Tigrinja Rehus-Beal-Ledeats
Albanian Gezur Krislinjden
Arabic: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Argentine: Feliz Navidad
Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Bahasa Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal
Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bengali: Shuvo Naba Barsha
Bohemian: Vesele Vanoce
Brazilian: Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Breton: Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Catalan: Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!
Chile: Feliz Navidad
Chinese: (Cantonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
Chinese: (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Choctaw: Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Columbia: Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo
Cornish: Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Corsian: Pace e salute
Crazanian: Rot Yikji Dol La Roo
Cree: Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Croatian: Sretan Bozic
Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish: Glædelig Jul
Duri: Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak
Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast
English: Merry Christmas
Eskimo: (inupik) Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!
Esperanto: Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian: Ruumsaid juulup|hi
Faeroese: Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!
Farsi: Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish: Hyvaa joulua
Flemish: Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
French: Joyeux Noel
Frisian: Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Galician: Bo Nada
Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!
German: Froehliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew: Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hindi: Shub Naya Baras
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaian: Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
Hungarian: Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Icelandic: Gledileg Jol
Indonesian: Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish: Nollaig Shona Dhuit or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
Iroquois: Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.
Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Jiberish: Mithag Crithagsigathmithags
Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Latin: Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!
Latvian: Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu!
Lausitzian: Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto
Lettish: Priecigus Ziemassvetkus
Lithuanian: Linksmu Kaledu
Low Saxon: Heughliche Winachten un 'n moi Nijaar
Macedonian: Sreken Bozhik
Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb
Manx: Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori: Meri Kirihimete
Marathi: Shub Naya Varsh
Navajo: Merry Keshmish
Norwegian: God Jul or Gledelig Jul
Occitan: Pulit nadal e bona annado
Papiamento: Bon Pasco
Papua New Guinea: Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu
Pennsylvania German: En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Peru: Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
Philipines: Maligayan Pasko!
Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
Portuguese: Feliz Natal
Pushto: Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha
Rapa-Nui (Easter Island): Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rhetian: Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn
Romanche (sursilvan dialect): Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!
Rumanian: Sarbatori vesele
Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Sardinian: Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
Serbian: Hristos se rodi
Slovakian: Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Scots Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil huibh
Serb-Croatian: Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
Serbian: Hristos se rodi.
Singhalese: Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slovak: Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene: Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto
Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Tagalog: Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Tami: Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal
Trukeese: (Micronesian) Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!
Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai
Turkish: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian: Srozhdestvom Kristovym
Urdu: Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Vietnamese: Chung Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh: Nadolig Llawen
Yugoslavian: Cestitamo Bozic
Yoruba: E ku odun, e ku iye'dun!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


December! Again. Christmas knocking at the door, people always in a hurry to get things done before the holydays ... holy  days ... Do you still remember what that means?

Since I am not here to criticize or condemn anyone, the only thing I'd like to do is to bring back to our consciousness what it means to actually be able to read this post.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep... you are richer than 75% of this world (7 billion by now).

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace... you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with good health you are more fortunate than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle unfolding all around you, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of persecution, harassment, arrest, torture, or death... you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still are very rare.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

So, instead of wining over the psp you did not get, the vacation you have to postpone, or the new car that just won't come, thing about how fortunate you actually are and give thanks. Doesn't matter to whom, just be thankful. You might be surprised how this can make your life better.

Have a great holy season, love to you all

Robert F. Ziehe