Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Sabbatical - Home Improvements Edition

It is absolutely true when they say statistics show that a large proportion of people quit after going on sabbatical. The thought of going back to work, facing the deluge of emails waiting for you is just daunting and depressing. I think however, the studies focus of people who self- reflect and feel that they can/want to do more with their lives etc. Maybe the daunting emails play a part as in "I can do more than just respond to these irritating emails."

A week and a half before I was supposed to go back to work, I wrote my boss to ask for another 3 days' off to make it a whole week out instead of returning to work on a Wednesday. As I was arranging my social calendar with friends in Singapore, from Seville where I was at that time, I was thinking I didn't have enough time to pack in all these meetings, plus do those little and not-so-little home improvement jobs I wanted to tackle.

After not hearing from the boss after 4 days, I wrote him again and asked if silence meant consent? This got me an immediate response, the good man replied that he thought he had said yes on email before and if he didn't, he said it in his head, resoundingly. Ahhh... who wouldn't love a boss like that? It makes the mountain of emails less irritating, almost.

Anyway to put work out of my head, I started tackling the home improvement jobs. I patched the few holes in the master bedroom walls left by the removal of the curtain rods which were never in use, ever. Not a great job as I did that in the semi-dark but I think better than nothing. And we finally bought a can of Nippon paint called "Charming" this afternoon. I was really impressed by the whole computerised system they use now, the computer dispenses a few drops of coloured paint in the right concentration into the can of white paint and then the can is placed into automated shaking device which shakes it up to mix it well. So no one needs to stock a bunch of coloured paints and hope that they all sell equally well. Anyway this is NOT my kitchen but what I hope the Charming colour will be close enough to. But I got a sneaky feeling it is going to end up looking exactly like the colour of my cabinets now...

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Sabbatical - The Paris Edition

My long-awaited sabbatical (five years) started with Paris being the port where we landed for our Spanish sojourn.

We had an apartment in the Bastille district and our flat was near a daily fruit and vegetable market. The riot of colours and shapes was simply gorgeous. The variety, impressive, just look at the different types of tomatoes! I ate donut peaches every day as they were cheap and plentiful. And sweet.

Even better than the fruit and vegetable market was a bakery that we stumbled upon on our first morning. The baker-proprietor was a delightful Frenchman. We visited it faithfully every single day of the five days we were in Paris, some days, twice! Every thing was made on site, every baked item delicious and beautiful. The only reason I don't have a photo to capture this highlight of my Paris trip is because everything we get our hands on from that bakery, we gobble down too quickly and then realise we haven't documented anything!

We also found this deli which had nice cheeses, pates, empanadas, quiches and cold meats. Together with a crusty baguette from the bakery, we fed ourselves well in the apartment when we did not feel like going out for dinner.

The pastries were definitely the highlight of our Parisian leg. We ate our weight in pastries I am sure, but then we also walked so much, we walked off every single calorie. I can still taste the heavenly flavours...

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