November 26, 2013

just do it.

this is going to be a very somewhat honest post about me, my body, and my weight. if you are a guy, feel free to skip it. let's say it is more of a topic that i think girls can relate to. unless you are like the actor who plays finnick in the new hunger games movie, who apparently had major issues after he was cast and torn to pieces by the media and normal people like you and me for not being hot enough. in case you wonder, i think it is bullshit. he is as hot and ripped as it gets and runs around shirtless for a good part of the movie which makes it all the better. but that just shows that it doesn’t matter how hot you actually are, female or male, you can still have a warped body image. anyhow and either way, today is not an eating all the pasta kind of post and you have been warned. 
i was always quite okay with my body. i am blessed with my mother's curves on top and cursed with her curves on the bottom. i started to make peace with that ever since my first boyfriend wrote a song for me with a line that said she has the ass of a goddess and couldn't take his hands of my boobs. but it is an on-going process that peace making business, but by now i’m good with myself on most days.
even on the days when i can’t remember any those sweet song lyrics and am not too keen on my reflection in the mirror, i never care enough to go on a diet, i always care more for pasta. when i quit smoking a few years back however i was very concerned about gaining weight. eventually the concerns about the smoking exceeded and i quit. let's say i didn't gain enough wait that it jumps at you. or at least everybody was kind enough not to tell me should it have been the case.
but still my body has changed over the years. i am 34 now and i can tell. if you want to insist and add a comment about silly beauty ideals of thinness and stuff, go ahead, but this is not what i’m talking about. i am curvy, i have always been, i will always be, and that is great. however i have an ideal of my body. not an ideal of my 16 year old body, but of a body that is the best it can be right now.
i was close to that ideal when i was in vietnam. i ate only rice noodles and sweated a lot and looked lean and fit – at least to my eyes and that's what counts for me. i haven't been on a scale for years. i believe in how do my pants feel? rather than a number. just as age is just a number, weight has always been just a number for me too. when i came back i was so excited for the prospect of real pasta and wine though that i did not only indulge for a day or two but for a few weeks. then came my trip to germany and all bets were off.

i'm not making excuses and neither am i beating myself up. i'm just stating some facts.
yesterday i went to see a cardiologist. despite my yoga, i have been feeling very out of breath lately, and after my dad was presenting with some similar symptoms at the beginning of his illness, i thought i should check it out. filling out a form which asked for my height, i filled in my go to height as it says on my id and what i believe to be somewhat true. when it asked for my weight, i put down the number that i last saw on a scale when i weighed myself some odd years ago. as i still fit into clothes that are many seasons old, i was convinced the number couldn't be that far off and even if, what were the chances that i would be discovered?
i was discovered and promptly proven wrong 20 minutes later. on a positive note i actually am 1.74m and it wasn’t my wishful thinking. hurrah. on a very different note i weigh 10kgs more than i thought i do and i almost fainted when i looked at the scale. little did it help my mood that my heart and lungs are apparently quite beautiful – doctor's words, not mine – and very well-functioning.

and while she told me that my body weight and measurements are all fine and i am healthy, i was shocked. shocked because i don't see the body i want to see in the mirror anymore and now it has an official number to it. now weight has become a number, a number that makes an impact on me.
of course i write this while i am drinking a glass or two of wine, to dilute the shock and to salute my healthy heart. the irony is not lost on me, but i know something has to change. i want something to change. i still don't believe in dieting, but i believe in a proper diet. the good thing is that i am not a snacker and i don't have a sweet tooth, but my weakness is wheat and wine. i know what i have to do to change: more greens. less wheat. even less sugars. smaller portions. less alcohol. more yoga. it’s actually quite simple.
don’t worry this is not going to become a fitness and nutrition blog, i won’t show you before and after pictures, or bore you with talk about kilograms ever again. i just had to share tody. now i will just be very Nike, shut up, and just do it.

November 18, 2013

how i kicked a random monday's ass.

last week was a tricky one. i was still feeling sick and thus didn't do any yoga, work was hectic and then things went wrong and i almost got my anxiety back, and i had to come to terms with the fact that the whole germany trip and the situation with my dad still has be pretty shaken up.
just to admit that last fact already made it a bit better. breathing and looking objectively at my work situation helped too. i also practised two full bikram classes over the weekend and got at least started with my writing assignments. so all and all, not bad after what i consider pretty much a week from hell. but still not perfect as i was still dreading work this week every moment.

while i was lying on my mat saturday i was thinking - i'm not supposed to think while on my mat - but hey, sometimes i have some really such great thoughts and ideas on my mat, i usually only get those under the shower. and since there is only so much showering one can do in a day, i just ran with the thought and didn't judge myself for inappropriate timing. i realized that i am a really strong person. i can deal with stuff, i can handle a lot of tricky situations. i may have some bad dreams, i may feel shaky, i may cry, okay make that sob, at times, but i don't break. i manage to get through things somehow. that thought was so fascinating and so big in a way that i almost started crying again right then and there on my mat.
with that realization tightly scribbled on an inner 'note to self' i decided yesterday, again while i was on my mat, to not be scared of the week ahead. i decided to take it full on, and kick ass.

and i did. i kicked monday's ass and wow what a feeling! with that in mind i'm wishing you a great week too, kick whatever you need to kick.

November 12, 2013

travelling home. two ways.

at this point i am comfortable to say that the only thing i like about the French is their macarons and their champagne.
after 32 hours of travelling i made it back to cape town. the part when i ate all the ladurĂ©e macarons, my last euros could buy, and drank all the champagne at the business class lounge was fun. the part when i was stuck on the plane for an extra three hours at the airport till 2am wasn’t fun. neither the part when i subsequently missed my connecting flight and was put on another one that was also two hours late. and neither when this one was also stuck at the airport for another hour due to a dent, which may or may not have been caused by a poor little bird (captain’s words, not mine – fuck that bird!). did i mention that they put me in the last row, middle seat, and that air france managed to lose my luggage yet again?!
yeah, all so not fun and even the macarons barely made up for it. but as they did, i need to thank marie for telling me about the ladurĂ©e stand at the airport. i don’t think it would have even occurred to me to look for it, if she hadn’t told me.
so now i’m back and my luggage too with a little delay. i’m sick and exhausted, emotionally and physically. however i am happy to be back in the sun, with my solar powered fairy lights and a big pot of freshly grown basil on the balcony.
but for all of you who were hopeful that once i travelled back to cold, dark germany in the winter and would be inclined to change my mind about moving there, i have to disappoint you. despite the less than fortunate circumstances i liked it. 

i liked that the people in shops and restaurants were really friendly and generally knew what they were doing. a large number of girls sported an unfortunate choice of eyebrows (as in none, replaced by a black marker line), but while it made them look a bit scary, they were still all really friendly and i think it might only be a regional thing.

oh how i loved that things run on time! except very busy surgeons when they meet you for dinner, but how often will that really become an issue in the future?!

my nephew asked me when i was going to come visit him again (i didn’t get to see him this time around) and so i told him about my plans to move to hamburg where he lives. he was so freaking excited and just kept on asking for real? like really?
so i have to move now before he turns into a snotty teenager who couldn’t give a damn about where his aunt lives. 
but seriously i am also moving back for the love of pasta. i mean look at this…

i almost cried when i saw the wall of pasta at karstadt and tried to figure out how i can take all some back. in the end i didn’t take any because my bag was full, but i have planned to return there immediately when i move back and buy all some of it.

last but not least: germany is pretty when the skies are blue and yes, even in winter they sometimes are.

November 7, 2013

part III - of being home and coming home and orange chocolate sticks.

i take a breath. i take a sip of overpriced minibar wine. i could cry a little. instead i look out of the window and the view over the now night-lit city is magnificent again. it wasn't earlier today, everything was grey. german style. now it's darkness and twinkly lights.

the massage i had the day before was pure luxury according to the price, but it was there to help me relax. not that it really did help, but it felt nice. now i need another one to get rid of the pain in my left shoulder, the familiar pain that seems to be my achilles heel when i carry too much luggage. or when stuff happens. stuff like my dad almost dying.

there is a dummies guide to everything these days, except for this. a dummies guide on how to take care of a dad if he had major surgery and almost died. there is nothing that could have ever prepared me for it, with or without a book. i don't know what to do, how to hide my helplessness, and how to sleep when i come back to room alone in a foreign city that is grey.
but somehow i have managed. there is not guide book so there is no right or wrong. i want to buy him food, i think hospital food is horrible, and my dad likes good food. i go to the store and then i feel overwhelmed. what do you buy for someone who just had a huge surgery? i end up buying orange sticks covered in dark chocolate amongst other bananas and pudding. i know my dad likes them, so his first meal out of surgery is vanilla semolina pudding and two orange sticks covered in dark chocolate.

i tell him he looks like an outlaw and file his nails and put lotion on his face.

i buy him nice, comfy headphones so he can listen to his beloved operas.

i tell him stuff and am happy when i can make him laugh. the best words he says to me start with “when i get out of here...”

i have only my intuition as to what to do and say. somehow it seems to be the right thing.

every day when i return from my morning visit i go to a pasta bar where i eat a bowl and drink some white wine for lunch. too much white wine to be honest. i do nothing, but i am exhausted. i start to miss my life. not so much cape town itself, but something that is mine. it seems to be suspended for the time being. it's okay, i am not complaining, as long as my dad is getting better.

the view from my hotel room is even more spectacular at night. the opera is drenched in soft pink light. it was built under stalin; apparently he got something right. i can't get myself to go see something, it seems too much effort and the only nice piece of clothing i have with me is my sherlock holmes coat. at h&m i have found some very cheap, nice bikini bottoms in black but nothing that screams opera.
so i stay in and order room service. the schnitzel is phenomenal and somehow i manage to make peace with the german television. i sleep badly though and miss my bed.

what happened to the “date” with the doctor you ask? well, let me tell you that grey's anatomy is a big, fat lie. well, the only part that is true is that funny machine you use to blow balls into the air to train your lungs, but the rest is bullshit. all that flirting, the dating, the shagging in the on-call room, that getting married, that cheating on each other, phew, it is all make belief! because believe me when i tell you: a real surgeon does not have time for that. a real surgeon will manage to have a schnitzel with you at 10pm after a long day of work and then he will need an early night to be fit for surgery in the morning. i count myself lucky that the schnitzel was a really good one and that i got a ride home in a fancy surgeon's car.
but honestly i don't even care. all i care that i left a father today who was smiling, eating, and breathing on his own. the only sign that reminds of his ordeal is a brave heart scar, which i tell him daily is pretty cool – chicks dig scars!

November 2, 2013

in the air.

mcdreamy has literally given me the direct line to him in theatre. and i use it. and while the announcements at the airport are loud, the good news is louder: my dad's op went as well as it could have.
i make a frantic round of phone calls before i frantically make my way to the gate because they mention final boarding. when i get there they have only just started boarding, of course.

i would consider myself a somewhat seasoned traveler and thus flyer, but sometimes i can be a complete nightmare and then i feel really sorry for the people who have to sit next to me. i have the window seat and the guy next to me has the aisle with extra leg room, which i know he had to pay extra for. but he needs it, because he could be a good runner up for tallest man on earth. the middle seat is empty which by definition makes it mine.

i have to go use the bathroom as soon as i finish shrieking into the phone to tell thekla the good news. after all i managed to get a second g&t in, which i already had to down because of the false last boarding call announcement, so there was definitely no time for the loo. i am right behind business class so that's where i sneak in to. mmh, air france offers clarins toner and cotton pads, nice. i later discover that the mere mortals in economy only get hand wash. but albeit the closed curtain there is no purser guarding the precious business class toilet like it they usually do – you know like the fire spitting dogs that guard the gate to hell or heaven or something?
i sit down and start reading the paper i grabbed, carefully folding it over my two seats without annoying my neighbour. i have read that spread out newspapers from their neighbours is a pet-peeve of many flyers.

i start to push the buttons on my screen, but no movie choices appear. neighbour friendly advises me that it will only start once we are in the air. i am doubtful, has it always been like this?
have i mentioned that nivea after sun lotion smells like very persistent men's cologne? guess what i am wearing. considering he is a guy and there is the middle seat it shouldn't disturb neighbour, but it disturbs me and i wish i would have made time for a shower before i left.
food arrives and with it i spot the word heidsieck. yeah, i'm in france already and i'm drinking champagne! it's not very cold. and while a plastic cup doesn't lack a certain romantic when used on a beach picnic with someone you are crazy about, here it is just a bit sad.
i start to watch a sandra bullock movie which is funny enough and together with my mood that has gone from zero to forty-three in one phone call i frequently laugh out very loud. i don't think i piggy snorted, but i am definitely loud-ish.

my red wine arrives and while i grab for my pie i spill half of my glass. which is a shame because it would have been last as i later find out (really air france, we are basically in france and you are rationing the red wine??) and well, now there is read wine on my tray, my blanket, my backpack, and the front pocket. neighbour kindly organizes a whole stack of napkins and i dab away. i know that at this point he must think i'm a complete nightmare so i make a joke about how it now at least smells nice. which is clearly a joke because as much as i love the smell of wine in a glass, spilled all over you in a confined never. he wrinkles his nose. drab. maybe the coke he was drinking should have been an indicator that i manage to spill wine next to the one and only freshly baked aa on the whole flight. i dare not inquire further and try to look nonchalant.

i sneak back into the fancy loo to clean my face with clarins. i think they refilled the bottle with something cheap and cheerful. if not, clarins stinks. back at my seat i realize that i should have taken my bra off, i forgot when packing and dressing for the trip that i never wear a bra on air. it's dark enough by now so i quickly my it disappear at my seat and feel like david copperfield.
it is sleeping time. with the my middle seat came my extra blanket. which is a good thing because they are extremely thin, made for african summer temperatures that are unfortunately not be found all these feet above ground. my new memory foam neck pillow is awesome though it is a bit boa constrictor like around my neck, which makes it really good for neck support, but slightly claustrophobic.
i'm quite good at sleeping spread over two seats. since neighbour has been so nice i try to keep to my assigned two seats and not spill over too much. i even manage to emerge myself completely at some point, but that position is a) not very flattering because my bum is hanging suspended in mid-air and b) almost impossible to get out of without having a lot more wiggle room at my disposal.
his blanket is still on the middle seat, wrapped in plastic and very slippery. i wish i could kick it off the seat, but really don't want to be any more impolite.

after a few hours, could have been one, could have been five, i feel the need to write things down. neighbour is still up watching gatsby. i am terrified to open my airbook, because last time i had the sudden urge to write something down on a plane, i discovered it broken. airbook that is, not plane, but still.
while i write neighbour has decided it's sleeping time and has reclaimed his half of the middle seat. for a moment i feel a bit indignant. and then i feel bad, because he has put up with a lot by putting up with me tonight. i decide that he would actually deserve the entire middle seat for a little while.  
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