Saturday, January 28, 2017

Golubtsy, a new CV, Congratulations Suzy on your new job, a brave new world as a freelance communications consultant, Theresa May meets Donald Trump, dinner with Pedro Delgado and other stories.

Sunday 29th January 2016
In one of Oli's minuscule dresses this week.
Hi everyone,

How has your week been? Mine has been what is now casually called a "game changer", I should add, in my professional life.  However I'll come to that later.

On Sunday last we had guests for lunch.  As Zena, our Ukranian weekend carer was here, I asked her to make one of our favourite Russian/Ukranian dishes, one my Mother used to make. It's stuffed cabbage and called "golubtsy" and is quite fiddly to make.  She par boiled the cabbage leaves and then stuffed them with rice, mince meat and onion and cooked them on the stove.  She made a delicious sauce to accompany them but that I didn't try as it looked full of calories.
Golubtsy, one of our favourite Russian dishes.
Our guests were Eladio's beloved brother (the next one down of the 5 siblings after my husband), Toño and his wife, Dolores.  We hadn't seen each other since we left Cuba and there was lots to catch up on.  Cuba is still in my mind as it was such a great trip for many reasons.  And this week, Claudia, Toño and Dolores' new daughter-in-law, sent me some of the photos of their wedding, the reason for our trip.

I particularly like these two, one a group photo and one of  me madly dancing with my nephew Miguel's lovely Cuban bride.
A group photo at Claudia and Miguel's wedding in Cuba this month
Me madly dancing with Claudia, the bride at the Cuban wedding this month
So of course we talked about the wedding and our time in Castro's Cuba. They also got to learn first hand about my losing my job.  Later in the afternoon we took all 4 dogs for a lovely sunny but chilly walk.  

Monday was back to work. That sounds funny doesn't it.  But really my job is to find a job or jobs now.  One of the important tools to do so was to update my CV or rather revamp it. One has to keep up with the times and mine had a format which I used 10 years ago.  Yep, it was time to change it. For this I visited Microsoft last week where my ex colleague Juana kindly helped me. By Monday morning the English version was ready.  This is what it looks like, at least the first part of it. I'm really happy with it. Now I have to translate it into Spanish.

My new CV which I'm very happy with.
I commented to Juana that day, after she had made some minor corrections to the format, that maybe I wouldn't need it as I had 2 freelance jobs in the pipeline.  One was with an American company based in Florida who want me to do the PR for the European launch and sale of their mobile phones and tablets. I had a con call that afternoon after which I wrote a launch plan to send to my new "client". Doesn't that sound grand haha?  I wasn't sure they would like it but later I would hear they did.  

Tuesday was a busy day as all days seem to be at the moment.  It's funny but I am busier now than when I was working. That, of course, is because I had been gradually relieved of all my functions. I far prefer to be a busy bee I can tell you. That morning I was to meet a friend and ex colleague from the sector who is also unemployed like me.  He is working hard to become self employed too and I wish him lots of luck. We met at Centro Oeste shopping centre and I am pleased to tell you that despite the temptation to go into Zara and the likes, I refrained from doing so.  Until I earn some money from my new clients, I won't spend a penny on clothes.  That's not quite true actually as my birthday is coming up and what do I want for my birthday? Well clothes of course for my new figure hahaha. 

There was breaking news on  Monday in the UK.  The High Court had ruled that Parliament must vote before the Government can trigger Brexit.  What was not so good is that this didn't include the parliaments of Scotland, Wales or Ireland, the  most interested parties.  

The best news of the day for me came from England too but it was personal news. My dear darling daughter Suzy who went to London to find her fortune as a nutritionist and dietitian nearly 4 years ago, has finally landed a job with the NHS. Rather, she has her foot in the door.  She will be starting on 6th February as a locum community dietitian for the North East NHS Trust Foundation and the job sounds exciting, much more so than her current one with Pronokal; plus the pay is a lot better.  Well done darling, congratulations, we are so proud of you. 

Wednesday was the day the new US President, the clown, Trump, announced officially he will build the wall with Mexico, his main campaign message. His plans are to add a 2000 mile barrier to the wall already existing.  He also insists Mexico is going to pay for it which I very much doubt will happen.  Oh how I hate this man.  I hate walls between countries and this is one dreadful example. Later the Mayor of Berlin warned him against it whilst the Prime Minister of Israel told him it was the way to go. Well, it isn't.
A sad sight, part of the existing barrier between the US and Mexico. 
No doubt this is one of the subjects Theresa May would touch upon in her visit to the US. this week. She would be the first world leader to meet the newly elected President. The Times said that "bullish May will tell Trump they will lead the world together". If only Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan could lift their heads to see this new "special relationship".  It's beyond belief. 

On Wednesday I had my first meeting with my first "client".  For the occasion Olivia lent me one of her dresses.  I don't have new clothes but full access to her wardrobe which is nearly the same haha.  I wore the one in the photo illustrating this week's post.  It looked minuscule and I was amazed that I got into it. Well, that's the new me I suppose hahaha. Eladio was impressed with me in the dress with my new figure so took photos from the front and from behind. This is it from behind. 
Looking good from the back too hahaha
We met at the lovely English tea room, Living in London. We discussed their communications needs and it seems I will now have to explore the avenue of "tailored customer communication" as this is b2b business on a 121 level.  This is when I realised that in order to take on two freelance jobs I would have to become self-employed.  For me this will be a  brave new world from a professional stand point  as all my life I have been employed in the corporate world with all my needs covered.  I will be my own boss, a "freelance communications consultant"  but will it work out?  Will I have enough clients?  How the hell will I go about becoming one?  I spent some of Wednesday afternoon surfing the web on how to do it without renouncing my unemployment benefit. I came to the conclusion I needed a professional accountant's help.  But who to choose, how much do they cost, etc?  Oh my goodness, then a light lit up and I remembered my best friend Julio is self employed and spoke to him and now I shall be seeing his accountant of whom he spoke highly.  Wow I am on a learning curve here and beginning a new professional life. That night I spoke to my client in Florida and we clinched a deal for me to work for them for a monthly fee.  So of course I have to become self employed and must go about it as soon as possible.  Wish me luck. 

Both Suzy and I are embarking on a new phase in our professional life.  That's why this week has been a "game changer" as I said at the beginning. We spoke on the phone both on Tuesday and Wednesday night. That's news as all our communication is usually via whatsapp. Suzy was bubbling with joy.  As we were on the phone, she told us her flat mate, Anita, was making a special cake for their Argentinian friend Vicky's birthday celebration. It was to be themed on Game of Thrones. I asked for a photo of the two of them with the cake and this is what I got.
Suzy and Antia and The Game of Thrones cake
On Thursday I had a lunch appointment with a former colleague from our Motorola Days, Carlos C.  When we worked together he was just starting his career.  He is blonde and blue eyed and from Bañares in Alicante.  Once many years ago on a trip to Amsterdam for the Champions League final, an air hostess confused us as Mother and son.  It has been a standing joke since then and he always calls me "Mum" hahaha. I hadn't seen him for a long time and he has grown into a delightful man, now married and the proud father of 3 children. We come from way back and he knows a lot about the sector so we practically talked shop throughout the lunch which he insisted on paying for.  We went to La Txitxarrería in Pozuelo, one of favourites.  We had such a good time I forgot to take a photo. 

I found out later that that very morning Yoigo was holding its first press conference without me.  The event organisers, my darling girls Cris, Bea and Gloria sent me a message to say how they missed me. I heard there had been a lot of cost cutting with the event itself and that there wasn't even a screen to see the presentation on.  They were launching a new convergent offer and I was horrified to hear the "small print"; no tethering, no You Tube streaming.  So obviously they got some pretty negative headlines.  The next day they rectified but from a PR point of view it was a little late as the damage was done.  What else can I say other than that it wouldn't have happened in my day:-(

On Friday morning I woke up to the news that the programme I featured in in 2015 as Yoigo's Comms director had been aired yet again the night before.  It was like another stab in the back as I got so many positive and congratulatory messages and I had to tell everyone that I "no longer form part of the company".  It was very ironic and something I could have done without if I want to put the recent past behind me. 
Just some of the lovely messages from anonymous people who saw me in the Spanish version of Undercover Boss for Yoigo on Thursday night.
Those were the thoughts on my mind as I answered anonymous people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and my blog on my way into Madrid.  You see that morning my journey towards a "brave new world" was starting as I was going to see Paco B, my new accountant or a "fiscal advisor" as it is called here.  I would need a good accountant on my journey to become self employed and capitalise my unemployment benefit; all very bureaucratic things to do.  I always thought people who had an accountant were pretty important and now I have one too as well as a lawyer. You see I am on a learning curve after being axed from Yoigo.  He was a darling and put my mind at rest. All can be done and all will be done by his office.

I walked out feeling pretty good but I also walked out into the rain.  In fact it rained pretty much everywhere that day in Spain but also snowed a lot, this time in the north of the country.  I was delighted to hear there had been the first big snowfall of the year in Montrondo that morning.
Snow in Montrondo on Friday morning
I ached to be there to enjoy it but we can't go as Eladio gives his private lessons from Monday to Saturday every afternoon to his young pupil Sara who is not a good student I'm afraid. It frustrates him as he is such a good teacher but there was one good sign this week his tutoring is working in that she actually passed an exam in history of art the other day.  

I couldn't resist the temptation to walk into Zara which was across the road from my accountant in the Princesa Street in Madrid.  But believe it or not I didn't see anything that I fancied so made my way to the Metro Station and travelled to Colonia Jardín where I leave my car these days.  I was home just as "my men" had started their lunch.

I heard in the car on the radio whilst driving back that Rafa Nadal was in the throes of an epic 5 hour and 5 set semi-final against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov which if he won would mean he would meet Roger Federer in the Australian Tennis Open this Sunday.  Well he won by the skin of his teeth to reach the first Grand Slam Final since 2014.  The score was 
6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4.  With the likes of Murray and Djokovic out of the way it will be a great final for both men for whom the Australian Open has seen their astonishing comeback.  Nadal was overjoyed at his win. 
Nadal overjoyed after his epic win on Friday in the semifinal of the Australian Open
But he won't have much time to recover before the final unfortunately and here Federer has an advantage. Well as a Brit I should say: "may the best man win" although in my heart you all know on whose side I am hahaha.

And of course on Friday the much awaited for world meeting happened when Theresa May met Donald Trump.  In the airplane flying to the US in answers to the press she stated that "opposites attract". The British press were likening her future relations with the new President to those of the "special relationship" Margaret Thatcher had with Ronald Reagan. Whatever the case, the British Prime Minister will have to keep her real thoughts about him to herself as I can't possibly believe that on a personal level she has anything but negative thoughts about Donald Trump like the majority of the rest of the world.  And here they are shaking hands across the famous bust of Winston Churchill which Trump has replaced in the Oval Office. 
Theresa May and Donald Trump meet - the start of a new special relationship?
If only the great statesman could lift his head from the grave and tell both leaders what he thought of their terrible politics; the exit from the EU and Trump's threats to Muslims and the dreadful idea of the wall on the Mexican border.

Whilst Theresa May whose name was spelled wrong by the White House, without the "h", was wining and dining and giving speeches in Washington, my normal life continued. I did the afternoon shopping on my own and came back overloaded with the week's provisions.  I also worked on press lists for my new clients and was so caught up in the job and still at it after 8pm when suddenly Eladio reminded me we had a dinner date that night in Madrid with our friends Pedro Delgado of professional cycling fame and his delightful wife Ludy who hails from Villablino near Montrondo.  So I had to rush to get ready.  For the occasion I wore a newly discovered imitation Custo t-shirt which I had bought on my trip to China in 2004 with Nokia.  I also wore a lovely black Desigual coat Oli has lent me as nearly all my coats are far too big now hahaha.

Dinner was at La Vaca Argentina in the city centre.  It had been renovated since our last meal there and was really nice.  Our friends were on time for a change and we had a great meal together.  They too had suggested the dinner to hear my story of my job loss.  They are so sweet.  Here we are together round the table. 
Dinner on Friday night with Pedro Delgado and his wife Ludy.
They were keen to know about our recent trip to Cuba and had nearly joined us but decided not to at the last moment.  I broke my diet that night as prescribed by my doctor. Oh how wonderful to be able to enjoy a glass (or two) of lovely red wine.  Thankfully I didn't get a headache later.

On Saturday, thankfully my body clock allowed me to sleep until 7am as we had gone to bed at 1 a.m. It was by the way the Chinese New Year, so Happy New Year to any Chinese readers here on my blog. 

After my morning walk, Eladio and I went to Centro Oeste shopping centre in Majadahonda to buy my upcoming birthday presents from him and my Father.  We started with a cup of coffee together.  So far, so good. The first shop I chose to go into was Massimo Dutti and that's when my dear husband who hates clothes shops, decided to leave me to buy my own presents and sit outside waiting for me. Well he had a very long wait.  The best thing about shopping yesterday was that absolutely everything I tried on fit me. I kept going for the "m's" but soon realised they were too big so nearly everything I got was an "s". I was flabbergasted. I didn't find much in Zara except for 2 jumpers.  But I did find a lovely see through embroidered blouse which they only had big sizes.  So there and then in the changing room I ordered an "s" online.
The beautiful see through embroidered top I ordered from Zara online on Saturday
Whilst Eladio waited, I went into other shops.  At a little boutique I found a gem of a red tartan jacket and at Cortefiel a skirt which I bought in both shocking blue and black.  

We came home for lunch with my Father after which Eladio and I had our afternoon siesta and were joined by little Pippa.  My husband went off to his afternoon class and I spent part of the time cooking. I made vegetables to last me the week: artichokes, leeks, cauliflower and runner beans. As I was cooking, my friend Juana alerted me on whatsapp that I was on TV once again.  For the umpteenth time the programme, El Jefe Infiltrado (Undercover Boss) featuring me for Yoigo was being shown that afternoon, just a few days after the last time.  Twice in one week!  It was yet another stab in the back and doesn't help the healing process of getting over losing my 10 year job with Yoigo.  On the bright side again I got some lovely messages on twitter such as this one. And there were lots more on FB, LinkedIn, etc. It's so damned ironic.

Another lovely message from a TV spectator
I tried to ignore my thoughts and concentrated on cooking. I was joined by Zena. I had asked her to bring some beetroot (difficult to find the fresh one around here) and make borsch for us this weekend.  Borsch is perhaps Russia's most famous dish as it is in the Ukraine where Zena comes from.  Half way between a stew and soup, the ingredients are: meat, beetroot, carrots, potatoes and cabbage. Then it is typical to add "smetana" (sour cream). I was looking forward to eating it for lunch today as indeed was my Father.  
Zena's borsch which she made for Sunday's lunch.
Every time Zena makes borsch for us, I am transported back to my childhood when my Mother used to cook it for us. 

That night we started watching a new series on Netflix, "Revenge" an American production which is loosely based on the Count of Monte Cristo.  Its a bit of a soap opera but highly entertaining with lots of "goodies" and "baddies" hahaha.
"Revenge" our latest series on Netflix
Today, Sunday, I was up at 6 as seems to be the norm these days.  Over my breakfast of coffee, fruit and oat bran I read the news.  I was most pleased to read that Spain's famous ice skater, Javier Fernández, had won the European Figure Skating Championship for the 5th time in a row held in Ostrava in the Czech Republic.  Wow that is quite an achievement.  Let's see if he can win at the World's again too which will take place in March in Helsinki.
Spain's ice skating champion Javier Fernández who won the European  Championship for the 5th time in a row yesterday
But today all eyes will be on the tennis final at the Australian Open where Rafa Nadal will meet his old enemy, yet friend, Roger Federer.  No one dares place their bets as both men are still the kings of tennis. I am waiting to know who wins with baited breath and keeping my fingers crossed for the Spaniard, one of Spain's best ambassadors ever.

And so my friends I come to the end of the tales of this week. As you have read, I am beginning a new journey to become a freelance communications consultant.  Wish me luck on my travels as I will need it.

Meanwhile let me wish you all a happy and relaxed Sunday.

Until next week,

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