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Chapter III – Escape to Cork

from the book i-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch

Another day in the office

Avoka had received an e-mail from a previous colleague and they arranged for the weekend to meet in Cork. She was looking forward to meeting Harry, as it was always great fun; he was the kind of guy, who was seen, as the cool guy. When he appeared somewhere it didn’t take long, and he was surrounded, by beautiful girls.

i-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch

But now Avoka had three more days to go. The training did not get much better. Mario now had Carver’s full backup and the questions, answer games, the quizzes and explanations got worse together with an always incomplete course material. Avoka could not imagine how to learn the things she really needed to know for doing this job. The only way was to study all the customer sources on the Internet, which she had to do after the normal working hours. Everything was clearly described on the customer sites; the only thing was in many cases the info wasn’t congruent with what was taught in class. How could this be? So far Avoka had not heard from the guy who had recruited her, so she decided to write to the HR person as meanwhile, the two played their silly school boy game on her. The last issue had been that she had asked for the presentations on paper and Mario had agreed to hand it out. This was already more than a week, ago.

Avoka had sent an email that she had asked several times for the printouts but still had not received them yet. No response. In the afternoon, she asked Carver, who was sitting opposite her desk, about the printouts. Mario had turned around towards Carver. “I will give them to her later!” followed by a wink with his eyes. Avoka knew exactly what this meant. He never really intended to give the printouts and neither he would.

In the afternoon, shortly before she wants to leave, a chat window pops up on her screen. Sina, the Indian team manager, starts asking, how things are going and announces she wants to discuss the issue with Avoka tomorrow, asking when Avoka was best available. Both agree for two o’clock on the next day.

Friday morning Carver announces, “Today is team lunch!”

For the next two hours, everyone is busy talking about the lunch menu, times ordering the food and so on. One o’clock has been finally set. Some went for Italian food; others chose a Chinese dish. At 1.30 pm the Chinese food is announced to be delayed for probably another hour while the pizza and pasta had already arrived. Avoka explains to Carver that she has the phone call with Sina scheduled to talk about those issues they had.

He replies, “Ah, she contacted you, but team lunch is more important. I will let her know.”

At three o’ clock the Chinese food finally arrives and they all sit in the Cafeteria having lunch together. Meanwhile, another team from the SEO team is finishing one of their trainings and every successful member entering the cafeteria is cheered and celebrated from the team with a loud “Wow, you made it!”

A decent conversation starts. Carver asks while eating his cold pizza and spaghetti, “And was the Chinese worth the wait?”

The Spanish guys replying in a chorus, “Yes. This is very delicious.”

The Spanish girl says, “Of, course it was worth the wait and it’s great sitting here all together as a team; it’s a very good idea.”

Everyone agrees. Avoka thought she had had much better Chinese experiences than that but anyway thinks team spirit and agrees. Now Carver takes over the conversation with his upcoming trip to India. Mario and his companion support Carver’s monologue with silly comments.

Luckily the lunch is over. Avoka is back on her desk and Sina’s chat photo pops up asking, “How was team lunch?”

Avoka replies, “Great.”

Sina says, “Yes, I thought that was a good idea for the team. I’ll contact you next week and we talk.”

Avoka was surprised in a positive way how this team manager seemed to have a real interest and show concern.

Again, Avoka asks for the printouts so she can prepare for her tests over the weekend. Carver is already sitting on his desk sorting the presentation papers. Very busily he is sorting the papers which somehow look kind of messy. Thirty minutes later Avoka is asking, “Can I give you a hand? Maybe this will be quicker when we help?”

Carver replies “Yes, you can sort this.”

It turns out that the presentation they already had were double and the ones missing had not been printed. Carver puts in, “Oh, that doesn’t matter. That’s for the new hire.”

Avoka had already captured phrases like this before that they are planning additional people for the German team. At 5:30 pm Avoka is saying, “Okay, I’ll take this one here for the weekend; it will do.”

Carver uses Mario’s favorite phrase, “Yes, this is a mess! I’ll sort it out and you will get the presentations next week.”

Everyone agrees and Avoka is amazed how someone could spend two hours getting the printouts anything but in such a mess.

Meeting old colleagues

Avoka is just looking forward to the weekend. At seven o’clock finally, she is sitting on the bus to Cork. Harry picks her up at the bus station around eleven o’clock. They quickly bring her luggage to the hotel and then go on to a party given by the team manager, Harry’s boss.

Avoka is excited how these guys are going on, meeting those old colleagues from her previous job down here in Cork. Some had already left, but she remembers well the team leader and a girl from Canada. But also, those three who took every chance to bully her.

And there they arrive, the party is going on and there is hardly anyone to meet without an alcohol level below 2 Promille, which is nothing special in this town and certainly not for a Fruit of the Loom party.

Entering Harry’s team leader’s home, walking towards the living room, the party is already going on since 8 pm. Walking through the corridor, a girl, Tabby, is running into Avoka. Tumbling against her back and then staring into Avoka’s eyes, in her drunken voice she is stumbling, “Ey, I know you.”

Avoka could never stand that girl. She is the one who started all this bullying shit during the time Avoka had worked at the Fruit of the Loom company. Whenever Avoka had given a correct answer in the training, she had commented and given some statements that made everyone laugh, always trying to put down what Avoka had said. Together with a colleague, they started every time they had to work together in a team work with the words, “Oh, no with Avoka, this is a no go.”

This had gone on so far that one guy had complained with a team leader he could not sit next to Avoka. All this had been made up by this girl and the one colleague simply because Avoka had given the correct answer at first to the trainer’s question. Now, this Tabby was staring at Avoka, so drunk she didn’t know where she knew Avoka from. Avoka replied, “Really, you know me, someone like you? Must have been one of my dark moments.”

Then she passed by. Guinness, Whiskey and drunken Fruit of the Looms with rather flat jokes–that was all that was going on in this room and it couldn’t be less exciting. Avoka called a cab. Harry was sitting on a couch covered with three girls talking to Avoka, “Hey wait, don’t leave me alone with these fruits here.”

Avoka asks, “Why? I thought you enjoy the dark fruits around you.”

Harry replied, “Not really, even the Guinness couldn’t help to light them up, making them tasty.”

Avoka replied, “Well, then get up, the cab is waiting outside.” Together they leave the party. Avoka drops Harry at his apartment, where another party hosted by his seventeen-year old daughter is going on. Finally, Avoka arrives at her hotel. They both had agreed to meet at the English Market at 10 am the next morning. Avoka was wondering how he will make it that early from his point of view. But Harry is used to hardcore partying, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

At the English Market – Brunch

Saturday morning, ten o’clock Avoka is standing at the entrance of the English Market, which is already crowded.

At the right is a bakery stand, next to it freshly made confiture, another stand presents creme tarts, this seems to be the sweet corner but so far, no Harry in sight. Avoka decides to have a little walk around; chances that Harry will make it on time seem rather impossible, so she passes by the bakery stuff and turns right, walking into a little store called “Why not”. She stops at a stand with metal plates and quotes displayed at the window front.

One shows a young girl saying “And now I pretend to listen to my fucking supervisor.” Avoka smiles thinking, Okay, perfect one for my next training session with that guy from India. A text message arrives. It’s from Harry saying, “Sorry, for the delay, Avoka, I’ll be here in about five minutes.”

Avoka replies, “Well I’m here in “Why not!” the little shop on the left.

Harry replies, “Oh, good then I’ll meet you there, “Why not!” Avoka sends a thumb up back.

The next sign reads some things are just better rich, creme, chocolate …. men. Well, not too bad; Avoka thinks, Okay, why not!  Somehow the Irish folks understand making things simple, bringing it to a point.

And there he was, Harry, reading out loud another sign, “Oh, your book club reads important things, that’s sweet. My book club just drinks.”

Avoka replying, “Well, a simple hello can lead to a million things.”

Harry says, “Hello, Avoka. Yes, well, I tried to stay away from last night’s vodka, but it was just stronger than me.”

Avoka with a smile answers, “Oh, well so maybe a 40%?”

Harry gives Avoka a hug. “Yes, something like this. You’re looking great; have you had breakfast already? I could need a strong coffee.”

Avoka says, “Great idea. How about the cafe here on the gallery?”

Harry says, “Yes, let’s go there.” They walk through the crowd.

Harry comments, “Oh, you won’t believe last night, my daughter was having a party, too, at home, I had to make my way through a crowd like here with the difference the people here are moving. You can’t believe how many drunk guys were lying there like almost dead. I had to kick them out of the apartment. I can tell you.”

Avoka laughs, “Oh, wow, so you come from a party, and it’s like home is a party.”

Harry laughs. “True, but this was a bit too wild; she’s just turned 17. I told her she has to reduce this a little.”

The two take the stairs to the balcony and sit at the gallery overlooking the market hall. Avoka orders a classic English breakfast. Harry goes for a French first coffee and a cigarette. But after a while, he also orders a traditional one after smelling the bacon. He talks about the Fruit of the Loom’s how it’s getting more crazy. “You know what they announced in one of their information events last week? They bought the whole street where they have the European center and started building a lake.” He laughs, “They really build their own empire there; it’s like in a Stephen King movie. This little traditional city and the hyper tech company on top of the hill where no one really knows what they really do and who really works there. Led by those three Ladies. You can be lucky that you left. That was the only right thing to do for you.”

Avoka agrees, “Yes, I know when you are not the chosen one and they start working against you, the best thing to do is to move on. But I’m already facing the same issue again where I’m now. The only difference is, we have a much more relaxed work policy in regard to a time schedule. We don’t have to log in and set ourselves on a menu like available, break or training making you feel like wearing a foot vessel. And we have a kitchen with free drinks and snacks that almost looks like Starbucks. But that’s the only good thing really.”

Harry says, “Yes, but the best comes here; they cut the health insurance. They simply switched it last month to a lower priced insurance and the coverage we get now is a joke. That’s how they compensate the costs for building their empire.”

Avoka nods, “Yeah, it’s unbelievable, there is really no balance. That’s what they say in Dublin about this company, similarly to Amazon. That’s why they are always looking for new people, and have this high fluctuation.”

Harry agrees, “Yes, that’s true, they have this inner circle and apart from that they burn the people. You will hardly see anyone moving up more than a team leader as they are on burnout after two years.”

Avoka laughs, “Yes, that’s why our team leader had boldly presented his honors with 5 years Fruit of the Loom on his desk.”

Harry bursts into laughter, “No, really? He put that on the desk?”

Avoka says, “Yes, the only thing on his desk–the clear table policy, of course.”

Harry is shaking his head, “Yes, and you were a bête noir to them. There is not one who has a real qualification for what they do. It’s unbelievable.”

He adds, “How is it going; are you looking for something else? You know I do this job just next to my new business with the electro roller and e-bikes and we are licensed now here in Ireland and in Holland of course. What we really need is someone in marketing with a good know-how. What do you think, that’s exactly your thing, isn’t it? Could you imagine working with us on this?”

Avoka drops her chin; with open mouth, she looks at Harry stuttering, “Oh, well.” Then chewing her sausages and now with a clear voice, “Wow, so you’re licensed now with the electro rollers? That’s great news! Yes, sure, if you guys need someone for marketing/PR I’m with you; that’s a great opportunity.”

Harry high-fives Avoka, “Yes, that’s cool, you working with us for the promotion campaigns, that’s exactly what we need.” They start talking in detail and finally order a bottle of champagne to cheer the new business relationship. Harry looks down from the balcony, “Oh, look, isn’t this your ex Team-leader Tino with his boss Mrs Cooper?”

A couple arm in arm are walking through the market lane and now the woman whispers in the guy’s ears, then stopping and giving him a real long and intense kiss. Harry holds his iPhone up, also taking a long shot with the comment, “Everything happens for a reason,” then adding, “That might explain his long absences and many sick days without any incidents?”

Avoka shakes her head again. “What else?! She’s almost his double age, isn’t she?”

Harry says, “Oh, come on, Avoka, don’t make her that old, but more than twenty plus I’m sure.” Avoka says, “Oh, man you don’t know who of the two has the worst taste!”

Harry, “Yes, that applies to both. Jesus! What a horror couple.”

Avoka continues, “And they really think they are in a kind of “secret” place here? Do they really think no Fruit of the Loom people will see them here? When every fourth person in this town works there?”

Harry,” Well, with that kind of stupidity you survive five years at Fruit of the Loom, wow, but this explains how he survives all those sick days, when everyone else gets kicked out after the third so-called incident for each sick note. You got to know the right Manager. But this is unbelievable, there is almost a half century between the two.

Avoka replies with a smile, “Well, that makes it my couple of the year.” They both laugh out loudly.

Harry has an appointment with the hairdresser at three o’clock and takes a cab to McCurtain street, a beautiful traditional Irish street with loads of shops, bars, coffees, all with those lovely colored store fronts. A lively street.

New plan, new man

Avoka goes for a coffee while Harry gets his hair done. She gets an SMS from Hunt, who once again, suggests to her about how much he would like to be with her at the same place now. Avoka already knows it’s just one of those Saturdays where he seems to have nothing better to do than sending SMS but never means it. She takes a picture of her coffee and some delicious chocolate biscuits and posts it over with the message, “Yes, look what you’re missing.”

to be continued…. get the full story here


Salsa and Valentine’s Day in Dublin

from the book i-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch

In the evening Avoka went to a Salsa class at the River Bar. They offered dance classes from beginner to advanced almost every night. It was a great atmosphere and she met a Spanish girl who also was waiting for the Salsa class.

The two were sitting at the bar having a Caesar salad. Elena was having a beer and Avoka a glass of prosecco. Elena was working as a project-manager and was complaining about her colleague who would actually do her work and make her look like she couldn’t perform her own job. She also moaned about the other colleagues who left her out who had only shown a tired wink in the morning to say hello, acting like she was no one who they could interact with.

They had another drink and went to the Salsa class which was great fun. After a short warm-up session, similar to a Zumba class they had split the class into beginner and advanced people. Elena and Avoka went to the beginner class and luck was with them as they got a really great teacher, Stephanie, a girl from Argentina and she was brilliant in teaching the class. At the end of the lesson, she came over to Avoka and said, “You can go to the next class, next time go to the improvers, tell them Stephanie said so.”

Avoka smiled and said thanks. They moved over for the next class, Kizomba, a hot, erotic dance which is danced very close with the partner and you do good if you like the guys you have to dance with. After the second class the two were really happy. They felt great. Going upstairs, the dance teacher from the improver class, came over to Avoka, “You were great, you really did well”!

Avoka replied “Thanks.”

They walked out the door. Avoka turning to the dance teacher, “See you next week.”

They walked over to the bikes and Elena was saying, “Ah, all we need to do is dance more Salsa that lets one forget about all work issues and trouble.”

Avoka agreed, “Okay, let’s dance more Salsa; see you next week.” She walked over to her bike and took a ride home.

She arrived at around eleven. Looking at her mobile phone a good night message from Hunt with a kiss and a heart appeared on her screen. She wrote back how she wished it was him in the Kizomba class then sent a good night kiss, finally lying in bed.

She remembered the day when she went to a trip to Dublin, the time she had lived in Cork while working for the Fruit of the Loom and when she thought for the first time this Dublin would be a nice city to live in and work.

It was the 14th February, Valentine’s day. She had wished Hunt would have come over; she had made so many attempts, by sending nice hotel pictures and a great weekend but he had not gotten into it. So, she had made that weekend trip to Dublin on her own, not aware that this was one of the biggest nights in town and she really hit it.

Not knowing that these were two highlights at once the 14th of February Valentine’s day and in Ireland also a day of the Big Game, the Rugby plays.  It was really difficult to find a room for accommodation on that short term. The prices for rooms were outrageous; the hotel rooms started from 200 € a night. Luckily, she had found a Bed & Breakfast, Berrie’s.

She arrived Friday late evening and was surprised as she found a beautiful room in a well styled Georgian townhouse, beautifully decorated in a mix with clean modern elements and traditional wooden furniture. The room was with lilac flowers, lights and pillows in cream, really charming. So, she had a good night’s sleep and woke up Saturday morning, a sunny day perfect for  Valentine’s day.

Of course, this day would have been better waking up with someone called Hunt on her side and she was thinking, One day I will wake up, roll over, and kiss the love of my life good morning but this wasn’t today.

Instead, the sunlight was shining onto her face like kissing her good morning. She got up and had her breakfast downstairs in the salon, a typical English breakfast with bacon, toast, hot coffee orange juice and she was ready to start her day. She walked towards the Stephen’s Green park which was crowded with couples, some families walking with their children in the middle a little lake with ducks and swans swimming on. A beautiful scene.  She walked over to cafe Nero for another coffee and checking out places to explore in Dublin on the Internet.

Walking towards Grafton Street, one of the main shopping roads, she passed the Shelbury, the first hotel in town where all the prominence would stay when visiting the town. Next to it was a spa and some restaurants in the basements. Avoka was looking around, excited, as she loved the Georgian buildings with those typical black English fences, and stopped in front of the spa, staring at the spa prices which, of course were kind of out of range.

Still shocked about the prices, she turns around, her coffee in the hand, when she stumbles over a foot, bouncing against a bold shoulder. A short moment of blackout and finally finding herself crashing into the arms of a really, handsome guy with her coffee now spread all over the floor.

Feeling the pain on her nose, she didn’t really realize how attractive this guy looked like, nor who he was. The guy who had just caught her was one of the guys who would play the Big Game tonight. Covering her nose that started to bleed, the guy helped her to walk over and asked her to come into the hotel lobby.

The guy got some staff who brought ice to cool down the red nose, helping to stop the bleeding. Avoka was a little dizzy and it didn’t take long till an ambulance arrived. The guy wanted to make sure that nothing was broken. And the doctor assured that the nose was okay, she should just rest for a moment, till the bleeding stopped and yes, it might take a little time till the swollen nose would get back to regular size. She should just keep on cooling it. The guy smiled at Avoka then, suggesting, “Well then, I think it’s best you join me. I have one of the most comfortable suites here. I think there wouldn’t be any better place to rest comfortably for the moment, or do you prefer one of those white, clean, chic hospital rooms?”

Avoka replied, “I’m booked in a nice room in a B&B too, not far away from here. I can take a cab back; that will be fine, too.”

The guy looked at Avoka then the doctor interfered. “I think it’s better if you don’t move the head too much for the next 1 or 2 hours and put the ice on it for keeping the swelling down.”

The handsome guy, still looking at Avoka, said, “Well, you hear the doctor, I think you should listen to him. You really can stay in my suite; I won’t bite.”

Avoka started to smile but was stopped from the pain, finally agreeing, “Okay, then I take your offer, but originally I had this day somehow planned differently. I wanted to walk through Grafton Street and have lunch at the Pygmalion.”

The handsome guy replied, “Well, right now I think that’s really not the best idea.” Then he introduced himself.

“Hi, I am Ian; I’m here for the big game tonight. And you, you are not from Dublin, are you?” While they were walking over to the elevator, Avoka replied, “No, I’m actually from Cork but originally from Germany. I’m Avoka by the way.”

Ian smiled, “Oh, Avoka, that name sounds nice, from Germany and what are you doing in Cork?”

Avoka replied, “Well, I came over to Cork to work here for one of the number one brands for German Customer Support.” Ian replied, “Oh, you work for the Fruit of the Loom?” Avoka said, “Yes, exactly.”

Ian said, “Wow, what exactly are you doing there?”

Avoka said, “I’m in the German team as a technical customer service advisor.”

Ian said, “Oh, you are a tech savvy girl, then you might have some advice, for my phone, too?”

Avoka replied, “Well, maybe, what’s the issue?”

Ian said, “I’ll show you later, and do you like it?”

Avoka, “Well, I don’t really like this team structure and the kind and attitude of people working there. I thought it would be better; most of the training is so semi-professional. I thought it would be some kind of entry card to get a chance to work in marketing communication later on; that’s what I originally have studied. But this seems totally, out of scope. All they do here is the customer service; it’s like a slum. There is no chance to move up anywhere else than team leader or senior advisor. There is one guy who had started here in Cork then moved up to the engineering in the US then lost it all and now starts all over again; they don’t really care about the people’s experiences and skills.”

Ian said, “Yes, actually this company has not the best reputation here in Dublin; they are known for a high fluctuation and bad work policies, the same as Amazon.”

Avoka agreed, “Yes, one of my colleagues also said yesterday, one can’t get old here, can you? And I agreed, I’m already looking for something else.”

She explained that she also had a yoga teacher license and had sent some applications for those holiday resorts to teach the summer classes.

She explained, “It’s the right time, at the right moment; they are looking for teachers.” Ian said, “Oh, that sounds good, then you must be flexible, are you? You should teach our team a yoga session. I can imagine that would be great for the guys but maybe we shouldn’t call it yoga, they might be a little “allergic” to that; they are real guys, you know?”

Avoka said, “Well yes, I’m sure that might be a cool class; we can arrange something.”

Ian opens the door to the suite, “Come in and make yourself comfortable.”

Avoka is impressed as she walks through the first room, which includes a huge sofa, chairs, an open fire place, a huge TV, everything is decorated in a mix of modern and Victorian styles and very tasteful. All she can say is, “Wow!”

Ian smiles at her, “This is not the only room; have a look at the bedroom. Don’t hesitate.” Avoka passes through the double wing door to the bedroom, a wonderful box spring bed, and a huge window front.

The suite also includes a bathroom with whirlpool. Avoka is speechless. Ian says, “You can choose where to rest, but I think you should lie down a little. The bed is freshly made. I think that’s the best place for you at the moment. And don’t worry, you will have it all for you. I won’t fall over you, even if this is hard with a beautiful woman lying in the bedroom next door.”

Avoka, standing there with an open mouth, then swallows, “Ha, ha, don’t exaggerate, but thanks for the compliment. Why you think I wouldn’t like it?” And she adds, “Just kidding.”

Ian thinks she looks to too cute with a little swollen nose, the big red lips, but also a little pale and a little sleep would be the right thing for her now. Ian says, “Aha, maybe you just lie down, and I bring you a bit ice, to cool down.” Ian walks back to the living room, calling the room service.

Five minutes later the ice arrives at the suite and Ian brings it over to Avoka with a towel. “I think sleeping would be the best for you now. I will leave you alone, maybe for two hours? I can check back on you. I will be over with Owen, if you need anything just call the room service, I give you my number and you can call any time.”

Avoka is glad this guy is really nice and it seemed to be a good idea to stay here; she really feels the pain on her nose and the ice feels good on it but she also got a little headache. Ian is looking at her. “Everything okay, Avoka?”

Avoka nods, “Sure, just a little headache, one of those guys just bumped into my nose, you know, one of those rugby players who needed some sparring partner just before the big game.”

Ian laughs, “Oh, really, and did you hit back or do you need to improve your defence? But maybe you should look for another job. I could imagine better things for a Saturday afternoon than lying in bed with a headache and a swollen nose.”

Avoka smiles, “Oh, really, could you? Me, too. I will remind you of this one, tomorrow, after the game.”

Ian smiles at Avoka, “Reminding me about what, better things to lie with?” 

Avoka throws a pillow towards Ian. “Get out!” Ian shuts the door while joking, “Sleep well, sweetie.”

Two hours later Ian opens the bedroom door, Avoka is lying relaxed and fallen into a deep sleep. He looks at her nose, the swelling seems to be reduced a little and he decides to just let her sleep. The crash must have been really, heavy on the nose, more than just a bump on his chest. Looking at her, how she sleeps in his huge bed, he feels like he could get a crush on her. He hopes that she will be fine when she wakes up to join the big game live. Owen has already arranged a seat in the first row and he would love to have her there.

Six o’clock and the guys have to get ready. Avoka meanwhile, awake, gets the okay from the doctor who just gave some pain killers and leaves with the words, “Enjoy the game, but no more crashes on the nose.”

Avoka replies, “Well, I do my best not to crash into anything.”

Owen who is waiting in the living room turns towards Avoka, “Don’t crash into Ian, I heard this can be painful.”

Avoka, “Yes, well, I just had this experience, and I think I can take it.”

Owen says, “Oh well, then let’s go.” Avoka walks out and Owen comments, “Well done, Ian, great catch, you really hit it.”

Ian flashes a smile at Owen, “Yes, I would not have assumed to make a strike like that!”

It’s an amazing night, the arena is sold out, and the game is pure action with a final result of 4 – 14! It’s an amazing atmosphere and Avoka can’t believe she’s here seeing the game live. Right after the games at the Aviva stadium, the bottles open. One of the guys comes over to Avoka, offering her a bottle of Champagne, putting his arm around her.

Avoka says thanks, but is actually not into alcohol for the night, as she had taken the valium, which would not be a good idea with alcohol. The guy insists, “Hey, come on, don’t be a pussy!”

Ian is already walking over. “Paul, stop it, she’s here with me, and if she says no, she means no. Got it?”

Paul says, “Oh, sorry, I did not know, of course, such a cutie.”

He turns to Avoka, “Sorry, Avoka, I apologize.” Then he turns to Ian, “Got it. This shouldn’t be anything.”

Ian smiles, “Okay, man!”

Paul says, “We’re going over to the Pyg; will I see you guys later over there?” Ian turns towards Avoka, who has a bright smile on her face.

“Are you fit for a party?” Avoka agrees, “Sure, we can join the crowd.”

Paul says, “I’m not really sure if it’s a good idea; you should not drink with all these pain killers and they are going to get really wild and drunk; you don’t know how much. This here is nothing compared to how they will be like in about an hour.” Avoka rolls her eyes then looks in the air. Ian comes a step closer towards Avoka, placing a hand around her shoulder. “Okay, let’s join them; we don’t have to stay too long.”

They walk over to the limo. Owen takes a seat in the BMW behind, Paul shouts out of the Limo, “You can have a seat here, Ian; we have three more spaces.” They take a seat in the limo and start the drive towards the Pyg.

Paul opens another bottle of champagne, mixing one glass with orange juice; they put the glasses together and shout “Cheers”. Ian looks towards Avoka, who sits next to him. He holds his left arm around her, turning his head towards her, and gives her a soft kiss on her lips and for the next five minutes, the two are lost in each other.

Paul shouts, “We are there, hey guys, stop now, let’s get off here, the party goes on inside.” Ian looks over to Paul, “Oh, really, we’re already at the Pyg, how comes?”

He looks at Avoka, giving her a sweet smile. “You want to come?”

Both get off the Limo, walking down towards the Pyg entry, which is crowded with people, cheerleaders, people clapping, high-fiving and so on. At the end of the room at the VIP table, Paul is shouting, “Come over, come over here, Ladies.”

A band is playing and nobody really sits down, some start dancing, the champagne is running and the party is going wild.

A cake arrives with girls jumping out and the party goes on.

Ian is coming over to Avoka, “And that’s how you imagined the party?”

Avoka says, “Well, maybe a bit more dressed for some of the girls, but yes.”

Ian laughs, “Aha, more dressed.”  Holding both arms around Avoka, “You’re not a fan of undressed girls, I see?”

Avoka says, “Yes, guys in those outfits were more fun.”

Ian laughs, “I don’t think you would get any of the guys in that outfit.”

Avoka says, “No?”

Ian says, “Are you sure your head is okay, that it’s just the nose that got a hit?” Avoka nods, frowning her face.

“What do you mean, Ian?”

Ian smiles benignly, “Just asking.” Putting his lips on Avoka’s and kissing her breathtakingly, he looks into her eyes, “You look so beautiful and you taste so delicious.”

Avoka laughs, “Are you kidding? I have a red swollen nose on my face, but you must like the taste of champagne, don’t you?”

Ian replies, “Yes, I love it sparkling. How does your nose feel; do you still feel the pain?”

Avoka says, “As long as I’m some kind of dazed and the painkillers still work it’s fine, and of course when you kiss me.”

Ian laughs, “Ah, when I kiss you, that helps?” Avoka, “Yes, your kiss and my world is perfect.” Ian gives another kiss to her and then whispers in her ears,

“I don’t want to be too pushy, and I know we only met today, but if you would like to stay with me, I have a lot of space in my room. We don’t have to play wild.”

Avoka looks at him then looks down, a little shy of course, she would like; the guy is incredible even she normally doesn’t go down the first night when she hardly knows someone. But this feels so good in his arms and she replies, “Well, your place really feels as comfortable as in your arms, to be honest, yes, I would love to sleep in both tonight.”

Ian holding her a little closer and giving her another kiss, whispers in her ear, “Then let’s go?”

Avoka agrees and repeats, “Okay, let’s go.”

Remembering the line one day I roll over in the morning and kiss my love good morning. That could be today. That’s what Avoka is thinking the next morning.

She opens her eyes; big curtains are in front of the window; sunlight shines through at the end of the curtain. She feels like in heaven lying here in Ian’s arms who is still sleeping. She feels so comfortable and the headache is gone. She turns around and rolls over, kissing Ian’s lips.

He opens his eyes and smiles on her face, “Like the sun shines on my face, good morning.”

They both kiss intensely, Ian holding both arms around Avoka, and rolls over. Both start giggling. Ian asks, “And have you had a good night; did you sleep well?”

Avoka replies, “Yes, and I had sweet dreams.” Ian, “Oh, sweet dreams? And what was in your dreams, this here?” They roll over and Ian totally rocks it.

They both disappear under the duvet, rolling between the sheets. Avoka could feel every bit under her skin and it felt incredible; touching his well-trained muscles, he feels so strong. Avoka feels like rocking in another world.

At eleven o’ clock someone is knocking at the door, “Room Service!” Ian pulls his head from under the duvet, asking, “Do you like some coffee, ready for breakfast?”

Avoka surprised answers, “Breakfast? Of course, I’m ready.”

In an underlying tone, Ian smiles at her, “Or do you want more of that?

“Avoka smiles back and Ian adds, “Well, we have the whole afternoon if you like. I need some energy, I had a hard play last night, you know.”

Avoka agrees, “Yes, I’ve seen the big game, match 4-14.”

The butler comes in and they both are having breakfast in bed. Ian is making jokes about Avoka’s nose but it already looks much better than the day before and they both decide to go for a stroll through the city, visiting some of Avoka’s favorite shops around Grafton Street–the reason what she originally came for to Dublin.

Avoka feels like in heaven, this was the last she had expected from her disappointment with Hunt, who did not make the least effort to come over. For whatever reason, she could somehow imagine as Hunt probably into some kind of hardcore valentine, like a dungeon, which would not be her kind of thing ever.  But her valentine had actually turned out into something like this so wonderful.

Now they were walking at the little lake in the Stephen’s Green Park. Avoka had one more hour till she had to take the bus back to Cork. Ian stroked her hair back, “I would love to see you again, how about you?”

Of course, she would love to see him again but she was in a tricky situation. Looking at him with big eyes, she says, “Of course, I would love to see you again. But at the moment, it is somehow difficult, as you know I don’t want to stay with this company in Cork and chances are good that I will be teaching classes during the summer at the Mediterranean Sea, which means I won’t be here. Actually, I like Dublin and I also have applications open here.”

Ian interrupts her with a kiss. “Don’t worry, where there is a will, there is a way; we can take it slow, no rush, and I can take time out for a holiday, meeting you at the Mediterranean Sea, wherever.” The two walk back through the park towards the bus station. At seven Avoka is sitting on the bus on her way back to Cork.

Remembering this was the moment she decided Dublin was a city worth it to live in.

But right now, she was frustrated. Ian wasn’t even in Ireland; he was in a training camp and would hardly be here this summer. So, she had to deal with her new workplace on her own. The general crowd and living wasn’t really luxury and this workplace with these colleagues had turned out as such a nightmare which seemed to be the average workplace situation. All these multinational twenty-something year olds were from all over Europe: Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Poland and Romania. Even from across the Atlantic, Brazil or Canada. Somehow it was an interesting mix but she didn’t really felt comfortable with her present workplace situations.

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To be continued…..

books · Latest · short-stories

First day at East Point

from the book i-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch

Tuesday morning Avoka took the bus towards East Point. She got off the arena bus stop and walked along the busy port road, passing the Yahoo building, and carried on till she arrived at the business park. She had to wait at the reception. Another girl with long dark hair was already sitting there. This was Prima, the girl Avoka had previously talked with, as the agency guy had introduced both girls to each other, explaining they would start together. Avoka said hello and they started talking about how the weekend was and where they came from.

The door opened and a guy with black hair in jeans and blue jumper, not really tall, came up to the girls. “Hey, I’m Carver; you are the new staff, Prima and Avoka?”

The two girls answered with yes. Carver asked, “Do you already have a company ID card?” The two girls shake their heads.

Of course, they had not been given a company ID card yet. Carver replied, “Yes, that’s what I thought. Then we have to go to the Freeman house now; they will take pictures for making a corporate card like mine and you will get a temporary card which will be valid until the end of this week.” The security guy at Freeman house takes some photographs.

Prima quickly takes off her jacket, brushing her hair, and puts on some red lipstick while Avoka simply flashed a smile at the camera with her from the wind tousled hair. Carver rushes, “We have to go back; we have to be present for the 10 o’clock online introduction. This takes place only once a week, otherwise, you are not allowed to be in the department.”

The three rush back and right on time, the three are sitting in front of their Macbooks in room Bluemoon, the name of the meeting room. On their screen appear three girls sitting and waiting in a meeting room, discussing how stressing this day is, and talking about how stupid their users are, totally unaware that probably from every guru office around the world at least one person is following their conversation on screen. Carver explains, “They have this every week; all new staff from around the world have to follow this procedure and introduce themselves here online. I had that too when I started this job two months, ago.” Avoka replies, “Oh, that’s great, so where have you worked before?” Carver says, “I previously worked at Sony for the Vaio series. First I had started in the customer support and moved up to team-leader.”

Avoka replies, “Oh, the Vaio, I had one of those, too.”

It takes about ten more minutes and the screen switches. A girl appears in another room on the screen introducing herself. “Hello my name is Marta, I’m the recruiting coordinator, this is our weekly world-wide introduction, with all new staff world-wide that started this week. I will give you a presentation about the basics about our company and I want each of you to introduce yourself with your name and your role here in the company. So, then we can start.”

The next screen appeared starting from the east Croatia, Poland, London, Barcelona, France, Denmark, Brazil, USA and on and on around the world, followed by the presentation which started with the question, “What was the most searched word on the Internet today?”

Thirty minutes later the introduction is finished. Carver brings the two girls downstairs in another conference room. “So here you can do your self-study with these presentations and videos that you can watch and go through the Ad Academy. So, for the next three days you will have self-study and on Friday starts your two weeks in class training. Carver also showed the kitchen and coffee machine which was all well prepared with snacks, fresh fruits, cornflakes, juices, Coke cans and more sweets.

The two girls start watching the first videos. At one o’clock Carver comes down, “We are having a lunch break now, so if you want to join us?” They all walking to a nearby kiosk, buying some sandwiches and walking back to the first floor, where they all are having lunch together in the cafeteria. 

Carver introduces Mario, a 25-year old, a much overweight guy from the Italian Team who will do the in-class training. He looks up, making a joke, and starts laughing while sounding like a Bart Simpson version. The guy at the window, a Spanish guy, looks up in the air, rolling his eyes, looking over to Avoka, and shakes his head. This was Herman, who originally was a programmer and who often bit his tongue to stay calm. The guy sitting opposite Prima, a French guy called George, laughs out loud then turns towards Carver asking, “When is Josh back? I get his cases, but I don’t want to do them, then I get so many negative customer reviews.”

Carver replied, “Why do you get his queries? Don’t answer them. I will pass them on to the guys in Germany, then they get the negative customer stats. I will give you some from the Italian team, so we all have the same number of e-mails for all teams and everything looks nice and even.” George nodding.

“Oh, good, the Italians always give good reviews.” Mario laughs again in his Bart Simpson laughing.

Another guy from the Italian team joins the conversation, “Yes, the Italian customers are good, not like the Germans, who always complain about everything that we can’t change. Our customers are much more understanding and it is fun replying to them.”

Prima brings in, “Oh, that’s good for me. I will work with the Italian team.”

Carver says, “Yes, that’s good for you. The Germans are difficult; it’s good to get rid of them. Let the other team bother with it, not us, then we have better customer stats. Patrick is starting giving us percentage goals to achieve 90% customer stats.” Avoka takes a deep breath, she couldn’t believe what kind of conversation this was, asking herself why did she even expect anything else? This was just another one of those customer service centers as they were typical here in Ireland. Okay, this division explicitly was much more relaxed than other call centers, but the nature of it was the same, and of course they would work to the same principles as all others like Apple, Yahoo, and Amazon, who were all known for their ridiculous goal setting and  personnel strategies, whereas here it seemed like a kindergarten for big kids who could play within their playpen and were well fed with sweets, free drinks and plenty of “game” time. It reminded Avoka of her breaks in earlier jobs when they would hand out those popular “surprise eggs” that contained little construction games for kids to be built together with the favorite slogan “surprise – excitement – fun”. And when the kids couldn’t build the job together they would run to their mama or papa and they do it for them. 

Right after lunch they had a so-called “shadowing session”, which meant they would sit next to one of the “Analysts”, watching them answering or handling the customer queries. And yes, the way they handled the customer queries followed exactly that surprise egg principle. Mario was checking every possibility if the client had made any mistake that would be against the customer policy. While they meanwhile had found out what the customer’s real problem was, he chose to reply the customer what he did wrong that would not be in line with the customer policy and there was nothing he could do for him.

Avoka looked at Prima, who only flashed a smile then asked for a cigarette break. Avoka moved on to shadow Roberto, another guy from the Italian team, who was sitting quietly at the window. Roberto was explaining that he was waiting on a response mail from India. Roberto said, “We always have to send our emails that we send out to the clients to India. They check our answers and most often they make some silly changes like we have to answer more politely or something of that kind before we can finally send the response to the client.” Avoka looked with big rolling eyes at Roberto.

He flashed a grinning smile, “Yes, and when it’s an A ranked customer the Indian answer has to be sent to the key account manager in the country and then passed on to the client. And for each email, we send, we have to fill this form here, with all these questions to be answered.” Avoka stared at the form, which was asking questions like ‘What is the customer’s problem’, ‘what is the resolution’, ‘was his question solved’, did you acknowledge’, ‘assure the client’, ‘did you pick the client up’ and so on. The answer also had to be copied and certain points, were copy-pasted about three times in the same document.

Roberto said, “Ah, here this is the answer we have to send to the customer, now.” The Indian guy’s head appeared in the little chat window with an “Ok, but make these changes.”

Roberto now reads out loud the final answer, “Dear Joey, we are aware of the reporting figures not matching your count and can understand your confusion, I would wonder the same. This issue is well known and our engineering team is well aware of the problem but unfortunately, at this point, we can provide only the given metrics. We will inform you on future options as soon as they become available. I hope this answer will help you…”

Roberto smiles at Avoka. “Yes, this is the answer that had to go through India and the country’s account manager and that’s the way they want it to be written.” Avoka took a deep breath then sat back on the chair thinking, Wow, that’s going to be the job here, and they do like 3-5 emails of that kind for a day, that’s the job!

Prima returned from her cigarette break. Carver came up, “Okay girls, you can go downstairs now, starting your afternoon self- study class. I will come down later on before you can leave.”

The two girls went down, starting the digital academy session. Prima was even more impressed than Avoka was but for her, the whole topics were new as originally, she worked as a translator. But Carver had decided that she should become an Analyst, despite she had no background in Internet, ad-serving, search engines or any other technical or programming background. Avoka felt somehow like watching the totally, wrong movie. But it seemed that’s the way they worked it.

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Salsa and Valentine’s Day in Dublin

In the evening Avoka went to a Salsa class at the River Bar…..

To be continued….

books · Latest · short-stories

Arrival at Lower Baggot Street

from the book i-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch

Tuesday morning everything is ready, set and she takes off on her way to Dublin. After a half hour drive with the bus from the Airport Avoka arrives at Lower Baggot Street and walks the road along towards 99 Baggot Street where she has rented an apartment. It’s a small room with a kitchen and small bedroom. She has rented the room for seven days, and then she needs to have found her own apartment.

So, she immediately starts looking at, the Internet site everyone recommends for searching flats. She also lets the guy from the Indian outsource company as well as the guy from the agency know that she’s arrived in Dublin now and also asks for her detailed starting date and the exact address, as that still has not been provided yet. The agency guy replies how pleased he is and immediately sends some links where Avoka has to fill in some information for the personnel department but also data safety sheets and so on. Like always the links didn’t work and the agency guy asked for new links. While Avoka fills out the link the saving process stops and crashes and the whole mask looks more like it has been programmed very poorly. So, it takes ages to fill out the whole thing and Avoka already has a nose full and hopes this kind of disorganization won’t continue.

As the receptionist from the apartment has recommended, Avoka goes out to the supermarket down the road for shopping. She gets some drinks and breakfast stuff. On her way back, she eats at the Chinese next to the apartment, one of those restaurants in the basement. That’s how this whole street looks like, a typical traditional road with houses in brick and stone built around the 19th century or earlier with apartments, offices, little shops and restaurants.

At 11 pm she’s tired and returns to her apartment. Meanwhile she has received some confirmations for viewing apartments for the following day. She takes a shower in this little after build-in shower cabinet called bathroom and finally lies down in the bed. Opposite the apartment are construction works for a new hotel.

The next morning the weather looked friendly, which was unusual for Dublin, and Avoka started this sunny day with a breakfast in one of the coffee shops along Lower Baggot Street. She took a picture of her croissant and coffee including the view though the big shop window, capturing the morning business of lower Baggot Street and sending it with a beautiful morning wish to Hunt who instantly replied how this street reminded him of his time in England and how he loved this, following with a kiss and wishing a successful day. Avoka smiled, lifting up her eyes from the display, looking out of the shop window and then turning her head to the right. The guy next to her looked at her and then commented, “Oh, it’s a beautiful day, today, isn’t it?”

Avoka replied, “Yes, I’m surprised. People always say the weather was so bad here but this really looks like summer.”

The guy nods and replies, “Yes, what people say, and what’s real is not always the same isn’t it? Where are you from?”

Avoka replies, “I’m from Germany. I just moved here. I’m starting to work for one of those Internet companies who are based here in Dublin and I have one week now for finding a flat.”

The guy replies, “I’m Tim, nice to meet you. Oh, that’s interesting. I’ve got a friend who just moved to Germany. I can ask her; maybe she knows someone who rents a flat here. I’ll just write her an email if you like, I put your email in the “cc” so she can reply to you straight away, if that’s okay for you? I know how insane the housing business is here, especially in Dublin.”

Avoka enters her email into his smartphone straight into the “cc” field. This guy is really friendly, actually, compared to the Irish people she had met in Cork, who were rather unfriendly and never wanted to know anything and never had a right answer when for example Avoka had asked for directions like where the post office was or any other queries.

She also introduced herself and the guy told that he was presently working on a new company and was about to launch a card similar to a credit card but actually not for people to spend money but save money. He explained how people use credit cards and this card would allow people to save money. It would work like this: Every time they made a purchase they could decide if they would like to round up and put the difference in their saving account, an idea that probably would animate people who loved shopping to make savings. He also explained that he was looking for a good finance person. Avoka explained that her new job now was in online advertising, something that would be very interesting to get some insights in and probably a good way for him to reach his audience. So they also exchanged numbers. Tim was saying, “You are a very clever person; you immediately grasp the concept and think a step further. I’m originally a mathematician; that was my field of study but I like this creative part creating an innovative company, that’s what really excites me.”

Avoka was impressed and they kept the conversation going. He explained he was stuck with business plan and needed a really, tough financial guy which was hard to get. She suggested Tim why he would not go for one of those financial companies who could do the job for him. He liked her idea and Avoka looked for one of the top financial companies here in Ireland who were involved in that kind of business consulting. One of them was actually based in Cork that matched all relevant criteria. Tim immediately called the company and got involved in a discussion for more than the next thirty minutes. Avoka continued to look for available flats. At eleven o’clock she had to leave to catch one of her viewing appointments. She tapped at Tim’s shoulder and they agreed to stay in contact.

An hour later Avoka had had her first viewing in the South of the city and could not have been more disappointed. From the outside, it looked nice in one of those areas with old town houses in a very nice street. In front were already about twenty people waiting when the viewing started. The apartment was on the ground floor, a bedsit with a small bathroom, a kitchen row, which was so dirty that no one ever would use it for cooking, a bed and with the five people inside the room was more than full. There was hardly any space to move around. Everyone entering the room with excitement and great expectation immediately turned his face frowning, rolling their eyes, not positively surprised that someone really offered something shabby like this for a price of over seven hundred euro. The room might had a size of twelve square meters. One guy asked the real estate agent what the size of the room was and he immediately answered, “About twenty-five”. One of the viewers was just rolling his eyes again and answering, “No, never, maybe half of it.”

This was ridiculous if one would calculate the square meter price this probably came up to seventy euro per square meter for a flat that looked like trash. No one signed up for taking this thing any further.

Avoka had about two hours for her next viewing on the other side of the city, the North Circular Road. This time she would best go with no expectation at all. That was the best attitude here.

Finally arrived at the North Circular Road, Avoka walked up from road number 210 towards 236 a typical Dublin road with Victorian terrace houses. Usually, she liked the houses with those colored doors. But with increasing numbers, the niveau of the area was decreasing. Number 236 had an open door, one in blue. Avoka walked up the stairs and the real estate agent welcomed her immediately and led towards the basement. The two walked through the cellar, the agent saying, “Here can be stored stuff, for example, your suitcases or bike. This flat is in the basement; we redecorated this part. I know it’s not so friendly walking through the basement to get to your home but have a look here.”

He opened the door and the room was one long tube with a long window front; at the end of the room was the bathroom. The view was into the backyard which was not really taken care of and any of the other occupants would walk by. It also seemed to be very difficult to be heated and that was a really, important part here in Dublin. It was nicely decorated but for Avoka this was a no-go; she had the feeling that after staying for an hour in this flat she would feel like the ceiling was coming down, not a comfortable place for her and certainly not for that amount of money, of 900 €. The agent kept on talking how he had made his first money with a construction job in Germany and didn’t want to stop. So Avoka simply explained she was not interested. She was speechless what people offered here for that amount of money, they were asking, and she was wondering, if she would find anything appropriate at all.

Checking for hotels was a similar devastating act; the prices started with 80 €/night for hostels and very popular was to offer hostel dorms, where people would stay with up to 12 people in one room. Avoka could not imagine staying with absolute foreign people in a room at night and wondered who would go for that, especially when you have all your luggage with you, including all important documents and other personal valuable belongings like you do when you move to another country.

She came back to her apartment, frustrated and worrying that she might not find a permanent accommodation. She had three more days left. She wrote to the agent who had arranged the transfer about the flat situation, who came back with the hostel suggestion that this would be a great place to stay. Avoka only shook her head, thinking, sleeping with 12 people in one room, a great place to stay. No way!  Again, she was going through this popular with all those offers but when you call they would always tell you the flat had already been taken. She found one new offer which looked really appealing. A room in a nice Victorian house styled with a light blue sofa and dark wooden furniture, newly decorated. She called the guy, who said the viewing would be on Saturday 1300 o’clock and Avoka agreed.

Tired and frustrated, she went to bed and as every night a good night message and a kiss popped up from Hunt. She somehow got upset that now that she was in Ireland again, Hunt took up this daily communication per Whatsapp but when he had the chance to meet her he kept it low. So she wrote back asking why he kept sending her those messages if he didn’t want to see her. Again, he replied with a picture showing a couple in despair. He also wrote, “Oh, I see you are out of sorts with me.”

Avoka replied with a yes. And she tried to explain to him that she did not like that kind of communication when he had no intention to meet her. And this whole thing went on for another thirty minutes till they finally had agreed to a good night with a sweet kiss. But Avoka was thinking, when he prefers to see others, then, why the hell, he doesn’t write those messages with them. She really, only liked to write those messages and exchange her thoughts with someone who really cared and would also like to meet her in real life. She did not need that kind of thing.

Saturday morning, Avoka has filled another form for the Indian company and signs that she accepts all the differences made offered to the employees that are employed directly with the Internet guru she was going to work for and the employees that were coming from a third party, as she was the second kind of employee. She also filled some employee information on the Indian company site that she now is employed with and it takes ages. The loading time takes so long and when saving it often crashes and needs to reload again. Frustrated and turned off she thinks, Oh my God, in what old fashioned way is this application programmed and this is the company giving technical support? Like the shoemaker always wearing the worst shoes himself.

Finally finished, she gets out of her apartment, going for a coffee at Nero’s, her favorite coffee shop here in Dublin. She also takes a Belgian twist for breakfast, then checks again for flats. But nothing new is coming up or at least nothing anyone would like to pay for. She sends a picture of her breakfast to Hunt, wishing him a good morning and he replies with a kiss, wishing her good luck for the flat. Avoka still has time before taking the bus to her flat viewing and walks down the road towards a cash machine to get money for the bus, when one of the guys from the corner office tells her that today the busses are all on strike. Avoka asks, “Seriously?”

The guy answers, “Yes, it’s unbelievable but there is not one bus going from here.”

Avoka, surprised, takes the money from the cash machine for one of the taxis. On her way through the city they drive through the areas with all those brick houses. She asks the driver about the area around Phonix Park Phibsborough, “How is this area, is it a good living area?”

The driver replies, “Well, yes, the part here is okay for living, there are many families living around the area; farther down the road it becomes less nice to live in.”

They arrive at the little dead end road and Avoka gets off. The houses look nice and are also built in the Victorian style. Avoka walks towards number 6 where people are working in the front yard.

She is half an hour earlier than originally appointed. A guy standing in the corridor waves her in, calling, “It’s okay, she come in! I will show the rooms.”

Everything looks really new refurnished, beautifully white walls and lovely decorated rooms. The guy, Michael, starts with the flat on the top floor for viewing, a lovely two bedroom-flat and Avoka is surprised how they really made the optimum with those flats, as it probably wasn’t easy to build well-refurnished flats in such an old building. All flats are decorated with a white Ikea kitchen, a dark wooden floor and also modern cupboards and a comfortable, modern light-blue sofa that can be turned into a bed. The top floor and the ground floor flat include those beautiful rounded glass fronts. Avoka was now thinking about the top floor, which was a two bedroom flat, and the flat on the second floor, one for 900 Euro, the other for 700 Euro.

Avoka is thinking about the heating costs, as they all were equipped with electric heating and as she did not know how things would go on she thinks to keep the fixed cost as low as possible would be better for now. She could go for a proper flat later on when everything has been settled. So, she agrees to the flat on the second floor.

At 12:45 more interests join the viewing and within five minutes all flats are gone.

Avoka is happy about the room despite it is a very small room but it is nicely refurnished, everything was working and new and in a good quality. Still, it was much money for a room of this size but the condition was worth it and she was relaxed now that she had found somewhere to stay at least.

First day at East Point

Tuesday morning Avoka took the bus towards East Point. She got off the arena bus stop and walked along the busy port road, passing the Yahoo building…..

To be continued…..

books · short-stories

Take-off to Dublin – Chapter Two from the book i-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch


Monday morning the interview was postponed to the next day as the connection did not work. Avoka’s dad was also in the house and already started his usual moaning that whatever Avoka was doing or saying wasn’t right, not good enough and was complaining about whatever he could find.

The next day Avoka had the intervie and it was successful. The company offered her the job and they agreed on a starting date on the fifth. Avoka started to make arrangements for her move to Dublin. To her surprise the housing costs and accommodation, even in the hotel, were much higher than expected and the company, which was an Indian outsource company for that Internet giant based in Dublin, suddenly said there was no relocation package. Avoka thought for a moment, great, if they don’t pay it, they don’t really care; instead, they had offered to increase the total income. So, they were off any risk in case it didn’t work out. This was normally the moment where Avoka would have said no and she should have said no. But as she thought this job was so interesting in internet advertising she desperately wanted to do it. To avoid any further trouble here with her father she tried to make her stay as short as possible and booked a flight for the upcoming Tuesday.

Organized as she was she managed to arrange everything on time and had solved all issues by Friday so she had the whole weekend off, still waiting to see if there would come an invitation from Hunt. He kept the contact rather low so that Avoka decided to look out for something else, something that would be better than a weekend with Hunt, and there she had found something: a fashion charity gala with prominences and Top Models and one of her favorite DJ’s. She enjoyed a great night and met one classmate from 9th grade who was an actor and played for those national soaps.

Sunday night, again she hears her pinging sound with a message, “Are you awake?” A message from Hunt. She replies

“Yes, awake.” And the phone rings. Hunt.

“Oh, where were you last night? I saw your pictures on Facebook. I would have liked to go there, too.”

“Well, I had not heard from you. I had the idea that we might could have met at the weekend. So, I was looking for something better than maybe a night with you.” Avoka replied.

“Oh, it doesn’t matter–well, actually it does, but…” And he kept quiet, then saying, “I was very busy but if I had known this…”

Avoka, thinking if he’s got other priorities then I better have, too then answers, “Well, you missed it and on Tuesday I’m leaving for Dublin. I got that job with the Internet company.

Hunt said, “You make me laugh, seriously?! Then you are the outsourced Indian guy, now? That’s not what people will ever think of when they hear about the outsourced Indian guy that at the other end of the call center the reply comes from the hot and cold, blond German girl.”

Avoka says, “Well, that’s how twisted the world can be, isn’t it?”

Hunt agrees, “Then can you also do an Indian accent? Otherwise you will make them suspicious.” Avoka in her best Indian accent replies, “Yes, sounds funny, he? How can I help you, anything I can do for you? I will make you special offer, you won’t regret.”

Hunt says, “Not, bad, actually, when you sound like that.” Avoka, back in her normal voice, says, “Forget it. You missed your chance. Good Night.” She puts the phone down and finally goes to sleep.

Arrival at Lower Baggot Street

Tuesday morning everything is ready, set and she takes off on her way to Dublin. After a half hour drive with the bus from the Airport Avoka arrives at Lower Baggot Street and walks the road along towards 99 Baggot Street

to be continued….

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Message from Hunt – part II

from the Book i-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch

The next morning Avoka is having her breakfast early and takes a stroll on the beach.  Some guys dressed in security uniforms are walking the beach as well. Avoka is not really, sure, as at first sight she doesn’t know if it’s more for safety or more scary – will he say hello or is it a terrorist who points his gun in your face. But he friendly greets her. So she is recording some sound of the ocean and draws a big heart and Hunt in the sand and a good morning in big letters above the heart. She takes a picture and sends it as a Whatsapp message to Hunt, including the sound of the waves and the ocean wishing a wonderful morning. Then she starts her first yoga class. A guy who had previously worked for this club as global fitness instructor joins her yoga, as well as a couple from the professional tennis player group who are amazed by Avoka’s course. Also, the sponsor of the professional tennis player group joins Avoka’s Pilates course and comes to every Pilates class she teaches and they are impressed how good it does and which positive impact it has on their body, especially on their back and shoulders, which had felt like being tortured during last week’s tennis match.

In the afternoon Avoka comes back to her room wondering why she hasn’t received any message from Hunt. The phone rings. It’s her team leader asking for a talk with him and the club Manager. Avoka walks over to the Club Manager’s office. Tommy the Club Manager starts talking, “Yes, Lui asks me to support him as it is about your hours and some issues you also talked with Switzerland and Marcus about, as I’ve heard.” Avoka agrees and listens. Tommy suggests reducing her hours but wants to keep her on an employee contract. He particularly doesn’t want to agree to a freelance contract. In addition, he wants Avoka to serve the salad and do a wellness-night weekly, in total with a cut off of two hundred euros. To Avoka this doesn’t really sound like a good offer when she compares it to the amount, of hours as a freelance trainer in Germany. For her it’s clear she’s not going to stay because she doesn’t see any reason from the financial side at all. This whole job takes a totally, different direction from teaching fitness courses and dancing shows to serving salad, drinks and sauna infusions. But for now, she agrees to reduce the hours and do the salad thing. Lui keeps on talking that otherwise this would be a guest trainer contract, who would not get any money but free accommodation. And he doesn’t seem to understand that Avoka normally gets paid a higher hourly rate. But she gives up trying to explain. Both of the guys, Lui and the Club Manager himself, have started in this Club as amateurs and obviously never had an apprenticeship or any other education. Avoka suggests, that she would prefer, to leave. Tommy nods and then asks, “Could you stay till we find someone?” Knowing that she has only 7-days period of notice and she can go at almost any time, she agrees.

Walking back to her room she now has a message from Hunt. Disappointed every time she sends him some romantic message or writes something with real thought, there’s not much coming back, especially not at the weekend when he goes out clubbing. And she knows he must have been with someone else this morning that’s why he didn’t reply.

She remembered last week when he had started a chat and it got really hot. He had asked for a photo of her in her Casino look and replied how he loves woman wearing a bow. Avoka had sent a picture with a big kiss showing her in a white blouse, bow and black vest. He replied, “Oh, this is sexy, you look so cute, you make me hot.” Avoka replied, “Wow, this turns you on?” Hunt confessed, “Yes, I won’t deny it. Are you in your room or is your boss sneaking around?” Avoka replied, “I’m back in my room. And you, still in the bar or home sweet home?” Hunt writes, “Home sweet home, I’m already in my bed. But how could I sleep now?” Avoka asks, “Why, what’s wrong?” Hunt writes, “What’s wrong? You are asking me what’s wrong? My blood pressure goes up when you send me pictures like that.” Avoka replies, “Oh, shall I be sorry, or can I help you somehow?” Hunt sends back a big smile and a “Maybe? How about that?” And he posts some pics with a couple where the woman is biting into a man’s chest. Avoka replies, “So what do you want me to do? I’m here with my lips on your chest. Where do you have your hands?” Hunt replies, “You know where I want you to go with your lips farther down. And I have my hands on your neck.” Avoka replies, “Oh, yes I can feel this and your hands, too; you’re teasing my nipples and get me wet.” Hunt sends another picture with a couple undressed and a woman’s wet pussy. Avoka starts searching on the Internet for a picture with a pose; surprised that there is really for every pose a picture to find, she sends back a woman on a blow job. Hunt writes back, “Oh, baby, you get me so wild, I really put my hands on, feel free to do that, too.” Avoka replies, “Do you mind if I use a little technology?” Hunt replies, “Go for it. You should feel a relief” then he sends some picture of a man who takes the woman from behind. The pictures are now more porn and this goes on for hours.

They had done such games before. But Avoka had clearly stated she would not do this if the situation wasn’t like that and if he hadn’t suggested they take the next step. She had met Hunt at her father’s cousin’s wedding. That time she had just got the job with this IT giant, Fruit of the Loom in Ireland, and she had proudly reported that she would move to Ireland in about a week. Hunt had replied, “Oh, then you really hit it well, don’t you?” Avoka agreed, not knowing at this time that this kind of job was anything else than a “hit” or maybe a “hit” but not in a positive way. They had exchanged contacts on Facebook.  At the wedding, they had had many sweet surprises for the wedding couple. One of the surprises was for every guest to write a postcard and bind it on a red heart balloon filled with gas. All balloons were then let go, all at once. Avoka had written a quote “love will always find its way” on the card for her balloon and had let it go together with all others. She had taken a picture of the red heart balloon sky that she had posted on her facebook page and which Hunt immediately had liked. He also had posted on her wall a Paul Coelho quote, “It’s okay to think you’re right but not to think that your way is the only one.”

They now were in constant contact since Avoka had come back from a Lanzarote holiday and had written on her Facebook wall “If the sun will fit into my suitcase?” Hunt had commented, “Did you also think about the over-weight?” Avoka loved his way of someone who was on one site really grounded but could also totally lose his mind into fantasy. Since that moment, they had written daily on Whatsapp sharing kisses, good morning and good night messages and sometimes talked on the phone. But so far, they had never met apart from this one afternoon at the wedding. In the beginning, he had made every effort to meet her. This was right after she had moved to Ireland. He had called because one of those texts got confusing on a message where he had enthused about coming over for an Ireland trip would be nice. And Avoka had replied, “You’re welcome but not without your no contact,” which was her mistake as he took it as a double denying which would be a yes. But she actually, did not mean yes. So, he had called her on the phone, “Oh, you are a stupid cow; what you wrote means yes…”

But now they had this daily communication and they had talked about it that Avoka was not into that one-night stand thing but rather looking for a real relationship and was more interested in getting to know him and taking it slowly to see if there would be a basis. Hunt had agreed, and said, that he was in a difficult situation at the moment as his father had recently died of cancer and had said, “Just give us more time, but we should take it a step further.” So, whatever he had meant, Avoka took it as he was interested to get to know each other. She also had asked him before, if he was interested. But so far, he had not made any more effort to visit her in Ireland. Once the topic came up he had said it was so far away and the prices for flights were so high, there was no direct flight, only with a stop in London. So, he found a thousand excuses not to come over but the communication between the two went on and sometimes they had those plays, even though Avoka had clearly said, “I don’t want to be a Whatsapp fantasy.” He had replied that he understands this and that’s not what it was. On one occasion, he had chatted her up on Whatsapp and then didn’t reply. On Avoka’s question he replied this typical phrase, “I’ll text you later.” This was then two days later, and again he texted with kisses and ‘good morning angel.’ He explained he had met someone in the coffee who he hadn’t seen for a while and they went dancing. Avoka knew what “dancing” meant to him. And at one point he wrote he does not want a relationship. But the texting went on and the communication was almost like a couple would talk, the pictures accordingly. Also, the short times Avoka had spent in Germany between her move from Ireland to Tunisia he had avoided meeting her. But Avoka was so busy in that week, as her father had a heart operation and was in the hospital, that she didn’t give it much thought. But now here it felt the same again and Avoka did not really understand what it was about. When he was seeing all those other women, why this 24-hour Whatsapp chat, talking like a married couple at all? And he knew what Avoka was talking about. The day she had quit her “Ireland brand number one tech customer support job” she had posted on Facebook a picture of a woman looking at the ocean and on the back of the woman’s vest was written, 1. Buy a ticket, 2 Quit your job, 3. Fall in love, 4. Never come back. He had copied the picture and ticked points 1-3 and on point 4 “falling in love” he had written “in process”. So, what a was it about? Avoka was really, disappointed as she had imagined that they might meet here in Tunisia or maybe a weekend in London. But he never took a chance, whereas this texting continued.

Avoka received an email from the agency who contacted her for that new job in Ireland with that leader in Internet marketing. She had made it to the next round. So, the guy from the agency was asking for dates for the next Google hangout. She arranged some interviews also with another company who was interested and then went to the daily morning meeting. She was scheduled for a safety course and made a note in her calendar on her smartphone. The team leader got upset and shouted, “All phones in your pockets; in my meeting are no phones allowed.” Avoka kept scheduling her safety course, explaining that that’s her calendar where she makes notes. The team leader shouted back, “Either you put the phone away or you go out.” Avoka stood up, saying, “What a kindergarten!” then left the building. She thought what was this? How old fashioned was this? She didn’t use the phone for playing or making phone calls; this was like her pen and paper. She did her courses well; so far, many clients were praising her courses. The tennis player sponsor was always in her Pilates course and was swearing how good his back felt since he did the course. Another member agreed and most days the courses were full. So why did this guy have to act so stressful?

She moved on through the day teaching classes. After the last class Avoka closed the room then looked at her phone. A Whatsapp message from the team-leader asked if she could come to his office after the class. Avoka wondered so now it was okay to use a phone when he used it as communication tool? She walked over and Lui together with the resort trainee presented to her a piece of paper, a written warning, and asked her to sign. He complained that she was constantly using her smartphone. Avoka thought she was in the wrong movie, thinking of the Dirty Dancing scene where the big boss tells Neil, “Come, I’ll show you how to fire a staff member.” She explained again why she uses the phone and that she finds it funny that she agreed to stay here till they find another trainer and now he comes up with a discipline warning letter. He had nothing to say to this and Avoka said, “Well, then I quit now, within my seven-days probation period.”

She went back to the room and wrote the contract termination. First thing in the morning she walked over to the Club Manager’s office and handed over her resignation letter. She really had enough. She came here for teaching classes and all her participants were very pleased; many of them had given great feedback and explicitly written they enjoyed in particular Yoga and Pilates with Avoka. But everyone else had a problem with it. The Club-Manager signed the contract termination and had to arrange the flight back to Germany and asked her to go over and also inform the team-leader. Avoka went over, giving a copy of the termination letter to the team-leader who was in one of his meetings, who immediately took out his phone to take a photograph for sending the letter copy to the Swiss headquarters. One of the guys who had been in the meeting the day before when it was announced so loudly that phones were not allowed in the public area nor that meeting laughed, shaking his head about how naturally he took his phone to take a photograph but denied others using a phone for common tasks like a calendar entry. This really was a joke or more the need of the small man to make himself feel important.

Avoka went over to the pool bar where she met the girl from the teen animation; she had quit as well. The management had told her it would be her responsibility when the kids drink. She said for her it was impossible to watch over 20 kids, ages 14 to 18, at night time between 12 pm and five in the morning and no one had told her this before. She was quite upset and had scheduled her return flight herself. As she lived in Switzerland the company would only cover the flights for the return to Germany. She also complained that it was bothering that they had to attend the disco at night and she was tired of explaining that she did not want to sleep with those over sixty year olds, as this question came up almost every night. The same as Avoka, she wondered about the niveau of that holiday resort as she also knew this as one of the better establishments but she found the kind of “flirt” was more the kind of really low establishments. It was more like the “higher” the guest niveau the less their inhibition threshold.

Avoka had another appointment at the club manager’s office and when she came in she heard him saying to his assistant, “Where is this lawsuit for sexual harassment? If this lies open around here this would be a catastrophe.” She was just shaking her head; of course, that fit perfectly into the picture from what some animation girls from the kids’ club had said before. She was just happy when he confirmed her return flight.

Avoka had her last team meeting where Lui announced that she would leave “going back to the real world” and then brought up the usual thank you hymn. Moodi, a guy from the Tunisian animation team, came over and took her in his arms, saying, “Stay as you are; you’re amazing.” Anita on the other side was flashing her happiest face and saying things like what a great day this was when Avoka leaves, making noise like she was almost getting an orgasm. Lui looked at her, wondering. “How can this make you so happy?” and shaking his head, then saying, “Girls!” The other evening presenter, Kay, also put his arms around Avoka, asking, “Oh, you can’t do this to me, leaving me here alone” and wishing Avoka a good return flight. He was also in talks with the Club Manager to leave, as he did not like the whole job in the club.

Early Saturday morning Avoka was on her way to the airport and she couldn’t wait to be gone. Sitting in the bus she looked at the rising sun, a natural wonder in North Africa that always impressed her. She loved the light; somehow it had such a different luminosity, intense hues, and reflected nature in such contrast. She always had loved that about the African sun. But she knew this was probably the last time for a very long time she would see the African sun. She took a picture and wrote “Colors bleed through the sky into my skin – Memories someday.”

She sent the picture with the quote to Hunt, waiting for a reply. Two hours later she already had checked in, ready to board the plane. She took a last look at the phone–still no message from Hunt. Left with a feeling of disappointment, she entered the aircraft. Silently she had hoped that she might meet Hunt this time, while she would be in Germany, and she knew, that this wouldn’t be long, maybe for one or two weeks. She already had the next interview on Monday morning with this Internet giant. At seven o’clock she was finally at home or better said at her father’s house, who wasn’t at home. He had recovered very well from his heart OP and was off on the weekend so she had the house for herself. At around ten the pinging sound on her phone appeared, a message from Hunt: “Welcome back.” And with the next pinging sound wishing a goodnight and a kiss. Avoka’s question why he replied so late and not in the morning he answered with a quick “I thought you had no Wi-Fi connection.”

books · Latest · short-stories

Messages from Hunt

from the book I-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch

Seven o’clock in the morning and Avoka hears the pinging of her phone: “A good morning coffee cup from Hunt.” She smiles and sends a message back. “What a lovely thing to start the day” and sends a song, Good Morning, Good Morning, with a remake video of a traditional 50s couple. Hunt replies with “love it” and a big kiss picture. Avoka gets ready for her first course. This week her courses are crowded with a professional tennis player group and she gets many positive feedbacks for her courses.

Avoka has a day off and spends some time, in the nearby city but she’s happy as she comes back to the room. The country really seems to be poor and there are not many choices when buying something. Back in her room her phone rings. Hunt is asking, “Where are you sweetie; did you hear that?” Avoka says, “What?” Hunt says, “There was a shooting in the National Museum in Tunis; they killed over 20 people.” Avoka turns on the TV and watches the picture on the news channel reporting the present happenings. Avoka says, “Oh, no, I just see it on the TV.” Hunt asks, “This is not that far away from you. Seems like they are targeting tourists and this will keep your guests away. What are you going to do?” Avoka says, “Well, I’m not sure if I’ll stay. I’ve got discussions going on for a Dublin role, so I will see. The way they plan me in here I don’t like it much anyway and the country is very poor. I’ve told you what happened on the first day, so honestly, this is not really my cup of tea. And this news now doesn’t comfort the idea of staying here really. The only good thing is the people like my courses.” Hunt replies, “Well, I see, but it’s nice to hear your voice. I’ll send you some pictures later on. Have a good evening, honey!” Avoka replies, “Yes, you, too sweetie.” They finish the phone conversation and the next is calling. Ian who she had met in Dublin shortly before she had left for Tunisia. He’s asking if everything is alright, and that he had heard about the shooting in the museum. They chat for a while and Ian asks if she wants to return to Ireland. Avoka explains she thinks about it and that she has talks going on with that internet guru and agrees to stay in touch with him, and that they try to meet together as soon as possible. Avoka puts the phone down and gets ready for dinner.

Down in the restaurant, she’s sitting with Lucy the dance teacher who does the standard dance courses, who is asking, “Did you hear this?” Avoka replies, “Yes, my love just called me.” Lucy says, “Yes, my boyfriend called me, too, asking if I’m coming back.” Avoka asks, “And what are you going to do?” Lucy says, “I will only stay for one more week anyway, but you? You are supposed to stay seven months, aren’t you? Look at the tourists here. It really looks like business as usual. Did the Management say something to you, how to deal with it and what to say to the guests?” Avoka replies, “No, not yet.” Lucy says, “But this is strange, I’m sure the guests will come up and ask about.” Avoka agrees, “Probably, I’ll just tell them to contact the team leader. They have more info about the whole issue.” Lucy says, “Well, that’s a good idea; that’s what I’m going to tell them, too. By the way, have you heard something from Switzerland? You said you wrote them an email about the incident in the disco and that they told you this bullshit about the dancing in the show?” Avoka replies, “Well yes, I had a talk with this Marcus, this older guy who is running around here; you might have seen him. He is the Area Manager for the animation teams worldwide.” Lucy asks, “So what did he say?” Avoka says, “He listened then he explained not all of their guests would be such sex maniacs.” Lucy says, “Well, I think, at the moment, here with this senior men’s golf group, they really hit it, but it’s also because they have those offers running at the moment for really low budget travel and of course this reflects on the niveau of the guests. I think in summer this might change; when the prices go up the niveau rises as well, but honestly, you will always have some of these guys here in this resort.” Avoka agrees. “Yes, that’s true.” Lucy says, “And regarding your work hours that you want to work only the courses, what did he say about that?” Avoka says, “He said that he would see me for the courses but not for the night entertainment if this was a problem for me, and suggested two options. One could be a freelance contract or otherwise, we would need to go separate ways. So, I said for me it’s fine with a freelance contract but I would need to check the costs for the private health insurance. But it’s okay and I already agreed to it in writing with Switzerland. So, this is in process.” Lucy says, “Wow, I’m excited how this works out, but as I understood you wouldn’t mind leaving anyway, would you? Especially after what happened today, it wouldn’t be easy for them to find someone else.” Avoka nods. “Yes, true, but I think this will also leave its marks on the guests. I don’t think there are many tourists who want to travel to Tunisia right now.” Lucy says, “That’s right I wouldn’t book it and would cancel the booking if possible.”

The two girls are finished and walk over to the bar. Some girls from the kids’ animation team are talking about Tommy the Club Manager. Rita says, “Oh yes, this Tommy had his eyes on Alex. What kind of Club Manager is this, who chats up such young girls? I do find it kind of strange.” Martina, also a girl from the kids’ animation team, replies, “Yes, and I heard he is always like that. I’m really happy that we are only here to next week and leave after the Easter weekend.” Lucy looks surprised at Avoka. And there comes Lukas hooking the two girls Avoka and Lucy in his arms, “Ladies, how nice to see you in the lounge, what would you like to drink?” They both go for a Martini Bianco and Lukas makes his way to the bar. Lucy says, “Oh, no, please don’t leave me alone with him; we drink fast and then we go, okay?” Avoka agrees. “Okay, good idea.” Lucy looks over to the left side at the bar where Lilian is waiting. Lucy asks, “Have you seen this Lilian? She stands there almost like a hooker.” Avoka laughs, “Yep, and she talks like one, too. I can’t understand; she is so young, not older than 23, but do you know what she said last night?” Lucy says, “No, tell me!” Avoka replies, “Well, we were having a drink and I was happy that so far I had not to find any excuse why I didn’t want to spend my night with a sixty something year old and then she starts talking like “Oh yes, now you sleep on your own” to this guy who was sitting with us, one of the senior men golfer group. When we were just about to go she said, ‘Yes, without sex it doesn’t go.’ Lucy stares with her mouth wide open at Avoka. “She said that to the sixty something year old?” Avoka nods. “Yep, and he started saying, ‘Oh, I have to sleep all by myself, so alone.’ I just left quickly, saying I have to be fit for my yoga class tomorrow morning and went off.” Lucy gasps, “No way, Lilian, with a 60-year old guy? It’s strange anyway; they only employ these young girls here for animation, whereas they have an audience that’s more a middle age range. I remember years ago, they had more major people here.” Avoka says, “Yes, I don’t understand this either.” Lucy says, “The same for the shows; years ago, they really had professional people, especially the dancers, and now they have those teeny- looking kind of overweight girls. In particularly, for those ballet dance scenes, they are just, too fat, for that. And instead of taking someone like you who has how many years of dance experience in ballet, more than seven years, and who really has the look and moves for it? I don’t really know who makes the decisions here and why. But this whole thing lost drastically on quality. I wouldn’t like to have such young guys around for entertaining people from 40+ would you?” Lukas comes over with the drinks, “Ah, Lucy you are exactly my dream woman.” And he keeps staring at her. Lucy is just rolling her eyes. “It’s a good Martini, isn’t it? Avoka, don’t we have to go now, we have to be fit for the sunrise yoga class tomorrow morning, don’t we?” Avoka agrees. And they say good night. On the way, over to the staff house Lucy is shaking her head, “I can’t believe it; this guy is married and has kids at home. And his wife’s really, beautiful and she comes here sometimes, too, but he doesn’t leave any moment out and I’m so not interested in him. I don’t get it; what do some men have in their heads? He also knows I have a boyfriend.” Avoka laughs, “I don’t get it either. In the first week, I was sitting at lunch with a couple who had just arrived and when I had to do the sauna infusion this guy was in the sauna flashing all his pride towards me with a big smile asking me if I would do the sauna infusion. Not really something you do when you are here with your girlfriend, do you?” Lucy looks at Avoka, “Seriously?” Avoka nodded, “Yes, but the best part, last week I was standing at the salad buffet and guess who was there? The same guy–he looked at me, and he recognized me, too but he didn’t even say hello or anything else and when I went out to the terrace he sat with a couple and his wife, as far as I could hear and no, it wasn’t the same woman he had been here with a few weeks, ago.” Lucy says, “No way. Yes, some men, you don’t know what to say.” Avoka agrees, “Yes, and they were talking some business issues–some construction business. The classic wife for the money issues and the Latino girl-friend for fun in between?” Lucy laughs, “What a great combination.” Walking towards the entry door they both see dark men sitting on the sideway between the trees. Lucy stops, frightened, and then releases, “Oh my God, I thought it’s a terrorist.” Avoka says, “No, it’s a security guy, but I was just as scared as you. Any person I see here, that I don’t know, my first thought coming up is it could be a terrorist.” Lucy agrees, “Yes, I feel the same. I will be so happy when I’m back home. I can’t tell you.” They arrive at Lucy’s room. Avoka keeps walking to the end of the corridor and finally arrives at her door.

Back in the room Avoka looks at her phone. A sweet good night message from Hunt saying, “I sleep better when I hear from you.” She replies with a big kiss and the message “Me, too and my day is better when it starts with you.”

Latest · motivational · Quotes

10 empowering quotes

Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you.  – Ziad K. Abdelnour

Our own self-esteem is something we can actually twist in whatever way we want. ― Stephen Richards

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay Ash

“What if I fall? Oh,but my darling,what if you fly?” ― Erin Hanson

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. – Unknown

Action is a high road to self-confidence and self-esteem. Bruce Lee

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” – Judy Garland

It’s all in your head. You have the power to make things seem hard or easy or even amusing. The choice is yours. – Seneca

People’s expectations of you is their problem, not yours. ~ Thibaut


12 empowering questions

What could you be happy about if you chose to be?

Why don’t you?

What is the first change you would start to make?

What would you love to accomplish today?

How do you like to feel?

What’s in the way?

What do you want your life to be in 5 years? (no you are not at a job interview)

What’s an unpopular opinion that you hold?

What are you kind of obsessed with these days?

What do you need to make it happen?

What’s the one most important thing to get done today?

What else?


12 best motivational quotes

“If you are going through hell keep going.” ~ Winston Churchill

“The best thing someone can do is to tell me I can’t do something.
Thank you for the coal. I’ll light the fire.” ~ unknonwn

“At the edge of madness, you have the best view.” ~ Natalie Hush

“There will always be haters. And the more you grow the more they hate;
And the more they hate, the more you grow.” ~ Anthony Liccione

“Take responsibility for your happiness in your own hands. Never put it in other people’s hands.” ~ Roy T. Bennett

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” – Unknown

“You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.” -Oprah Winfrey

“What you choose to focus on expands and grows.” – Unknown

“It is better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing and criticize others.” ~ Ricky Gervais

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ―Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There are basically two types of people. People who accomphlish things, and people who claim they have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” ~ Mark Twain

“When you arise in the morning think what privilege it is to be alive, breath, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius