August 27, 2014

goodbye & hello.

in some cultures people don't praise the beauty of a child might it get snatched away by envious, evil demons. that's how i feel about my life right now. i kind of, dare not say out loud, no less in writing how flipping amazing it is. that i'm having butterflies all the time. travel butterflies, project butterflies, people butterflies. all the good kinds... and to make it even better – i did it myself. i took a leap, i jumped, i flew. i worked hard on my happiness over the last couple of months and now i want to enjoy it and shout it to the world, demons be damned and aren't they always? and besides my desire to share, and okay, gloat a little, i am grateful and more than anything i think gratitude needs to be shared, preferably other than in a 3 x day post on facebook – no offense to those who are doing it, it's just not my cup of tea. or as my cousin posted in response “nobody dare fucking nominate me for this crap!” nevertheless i am grateful and i like saying certain things out loud. just like i love you or you are an ass!, thank you sounds better in my mouth than in my head. well, in my case it sounds best on paper/screen.

that brings me to something else. i have a little business idea in my mind. i have had it for quite some time and it has taken and changed shape over time, but now i'm almost ready to get it out there. mind you there are still so many things to do, but the general idea is ready to emerge. but here is the thing...i am terrified of failing. i am actually frozen in inactivity, if i don't do it, it can't go wrong, right? today for the first time i admitted that to myself that the reason why i haven't started yet isn't that i don't have time or don't think it will work or that i mind hard work, i don't at all. i am pure and simply terrified of failing, because i question what dream will be left if i do. this is it, this business i am planning is the essence of me. of course i know that dreams change and shift over our lives and once they are accomplished there will be new ones, but to see such an important one crushed would be, well, crushing.

but with all the faults i might have i'm not a coward or a negative person and so i need to start. with that said something gotta give and it's going to be this little blog. you can probably tell from my infrequent blogging over the past months that my interest is shifting away and instead of letting it slowly go into oblivion i thought it would be nicer to make a clean cut. so this is my last post. i am still very much writing for the travelettes so you can follow at least my traveling adventures there and i will keep my twitter and instragram for now. as for my new baby i will introduce it once it is ready to come out.

till then a special thank you to thekla for inspiring this blog to come along, to my mum who always prefered a letter from me to an actual birthday present because she liked my writing, and to all of you who read me and told me you liked it.

à bientôt


that's me taking princess selfies in my bathroom at la sultana just before i flooded it (and the iphone) with my jacuzzi bubbles. 

July 6, 2014

living life. german style.

guys, i wish i could honestly apologize for the silence, alas i cannot. life in hamburg is, well, full of life. at this point it is everything i wanted it to be and never thought it actually could. things are falling into place in a way i never imagined possible and at a speed that is a bit mind boggling at times.

first of all there is a lot more hours in a day here. daylight hours that is (yes, even compared to a cape town summer) so i get a lot more done. because even when i am sick (which i was a few weeks ago and i tried) i cannot go to bed at 9pm when the sunlight is still streaming into my room. but regardless of the hours, i want to do a lot more. i have plans and meetings and projects and friends and … a life. i have become not quite a different person here, but a different side of me has come out to play. in the land that has the cliche attached that everybody is grumpy (which is so not true!!), i am not grumpy anymore. not annoyed. not irritable. how that happened, i don't know, but i am starting to appreciate my own grace to handle things these days.

the weather has been horrid for the most part and i don't even mind. i have borrowed one friend's boots and another friend's jacket and as long as they don't mind, i don't mind. this weekend has been hot and humid and all i could do was sleep, so maybe my german cold bloodedness is already back in full swing.

of all the things, i noticed that i have become really unpunctual. remember in cape town i was the girl who couldn't be late even if i tried. here it has become easy. mind you, i am not proud of it, but i am not really bothered by it either. i have learned to relax which again is funny that stiff germany allows me to relax when south africa didn't.

so for the time being i'm relaxed. i write when i want to write. i work. i do what i came here to do: hang out with my friends, go for dinner with my brother, be ignored by my nephew when his friends are around, call my parents for free whenever, watch my godchild take her first steps, fish euros out of my washing machine, buy myself overpriced diptyque candles (i wish i could say with said euros, but the spoils have not been big enough yet...), book flights all over europe (again, not quite, but that's the goal, and yes, morocco has become part of europe for all intent and purpose).

okay, so i apologize for the silence but i am not making any promises right now. life needs to be lived and sometimes that is far away from a computer or a phone, because usually my hands are busy eating ice cream - have i mentioned that i not only live next to the red light district of hamburg, but also the best ice cream parlour in town?

once i put the ice cream down however my new iphone (hurrah) and i have been getting nicely acquainted via instagram so follow me here and as per usual read my thoughts about travel and the big wide world on travelettes.  

June 8, 2014

great expectations. part II.

last week i wrote a story for the travelettes about how holiday memories and dreaming sometimes help me through reality. i started with one of my favourite quotes by anaïs nin who said “we write to taste life twice.”

this week it ain't helping to write about. sorry, anaïs, but sometimes writing is just not enough, after all writing isn't real tasting, isn't real living.

my tan is fading and so is vacation me. i am working so hard on making a life for myself here in hamburg and i feel like i am failing at it at each turn. i know objectively that my start here is as good as i could have hoped for, but i just don't feel it. i feel like i am constantly disappointing people's expectation and most importantly my own. i already need a holiday, mainly because on holiday there is nobody's expectation to disappoint and as far expectations of myself go – i have none. of course i do have expectations of gecko roommates and such, but those are easier to handle. which reminds me that you most likely won't get the gecko roommate remark as i haven't written that post yet and it is such a good story and i really want to share it and there it goes onto my to-do list. currently on place number 347. sigh.

i know that all is well and will be even better.

i know that a big part of it is that i worked really hard on my first local production last week so i am simply exhausted. also i haven't done any yoga, eaten little good food, drank much wine (yes, there is wine here too! and when i felt a bit homesick on thursday my brother bought all south african wines for me), and now got a cold. we all know who turns into a moaning, moping guy when sick, right?

oh, and did i mention that my wonderful friend marie got married last week and we all ended up having too much fun with our new york friends? now it's time for routine, time to calm down, time to work, and while i know i need it, i feel like all joy has gone.

i know that most expectations are in my own head. and that i just need to let them go because i am not only doing what i can, i am not just doing fine, i am doing great. today is just one of those days when i need a constant reminder of it and maybe a hug or two.

p.s. in case you wonder why this post is call called "great expectations. part II" - i already wrote one called "great expectations" and it is about expectations in my yoga practise and how wonderful it felt to let go of them. read it here, i quite liked reading it again and it still seems valid and appropriate for all sorts of situations. 

May 25, 2014

a new life.

welcome to hamburg! my first post from germany and if you expect me to write in german now i am sorry to disappoint. i still think i sound funny when i speak it and dotting my ü's is a pain when i have to write application letters and such. also i just blow-dried my boobs. what are you up to?

i also blow-dried my hair which in itself is a novelty i haven't attempted in ages and only did because i was so cold, but it didn't help my boobs which were also really cold, so i just stuck it into my t-shirt for a few seconds.

just another day in hamburg. while it is still freezing (or what feels like freezing to me after 4 weeks in thailand with constant sweat running down my face) today there is a bit of blue skies. that also is a novelty because since my arrival almost three weeks ago i haven't seen much of the sky. the weather totally tricked me because i got out of the airport and it was...nice. well, evening, but nice and warmish. i think hamburg arranged it like that so i wouldn't turn right back around and get on the next plane out, because had i known that since then it would be the most dreadful weather i can imagine, i would have run while i could. on top of it everybody keeps on telling me that it was amazing in april and i just think what the fuck?! and the they are all lying.

now i have been here for just three weeks and i am just very slowly getting out of my bubble. a bubble of hurrah, i am here! what the fuck am i doing here? why is it still light outside? will the sun ever shine here? wow, look at all these pasta choices! i need a job. sehr geehrte damen und herren, i am awesome, please hire me! i want to buy everything at COS. a look at my account makes me cry. yeah, so much bikram classes in a day. i am too tired for bikram today, i will go tomorrow. or not. i need my own space. i am so happy to have my bestest friends around me... yes, the bubble is slightly confusing and thus exhausting.

on monday i realized i need to chill. not in the sense of not doing anything, but in that way were you relax and let the magic happen, that only happens when you don't clench your jaw too tightly. i can say it is working. when it rains it pours and at least now that is not meant literally in hamburg.

while that worked for about two days, my wallet got stolen on day three.
agh, the karma that eating at mcdonald's will get you.
now things are somehow back on track and i am staying with my brother (who is an awesome cook, so it is no hardship to be here!) till i will hopefully move into my own place at the beginning of june. before that i have a wedding to attend and friends from new york to show around and a whole lot of general merriment so life ain't so bad here. oh, and they have macarons too! till i find time to sit down and actually write a story or two, find me on instagram (thanks to awesome internet connection, which is fast everywhere!) under #ilivehere - don't ask, it is an inside joke only friends from new york will get, so just go with it.

April 27, 2014

island life. a tough one.

i'm lying in my hotel bed, curtains closed, aircon at full blast. i feel like a lady with a migrane, you now that kind of woman who would put her hand on her forehead and theatrically sigh and say 'darling, i need to lie down, i have the most terrible headache' with a british accent. that's me today minus the headache and the british accent. welcome to phuket!

phuket has gotten to me. as soon as i set foot on the island yesterday i don't like it. that impression gets stronger when we arrive at the gibbon rehabilitation centre and learn all about the gibbon poachers who steal the babies from their mothers just to have stupid, horrible tourists take pictures with them for money. to be fair that doesn't only happen in phuket, but it is the first time i hear about it, so phuket gets to take the blame.

my friend says that phuket is for russians what mallorca is for the germans. that is true and not a compliment to either. it is loud and there is so much traffic while it lacks the charming big city chaos of bangkok. riding in a songtaew, fun till now, is horrid in the fumes. i can see i'm not the only one in my group that feels this way, we all wish to be back at deserted, quiet koh yao noi, the perfect island if there ever was one.

then i feel properly sick and can't bear the thought of fried anything or curry. for lunch i order a club sandwich. it arrives an hour after everybody else's meals and the bread isn't toasted. who doesn't toast toast?! i wish i would have gotten a toastie from 7 eleven instead.

in the afternoon i take a nap i cannot wake up from. my body feels like lead and i barely make it to dinner. before dinner we visit the local night market: t-shirts, soaps, fake handbags. once you have seen a stall, you have seen at all. the air is sticky and i miss the festive atmosphere, the laughter from the market in chiang mai.

today i try to find a breakfast spot and i have very few requirements: pancakes, some sort of a view, cozy so i can work from there. i walk towards the beach front and find nothing, everything is either closed or unappealing. meanwhile the weather is the most humid i have had. proper bikram temperatures, my face is dripping and my thighs stick together with each step, a vidid reminder of each pad thai and ever beer i had on this trip.

when i get to the ocean i am disappointed, but not surprised: even the beach here is ugly. who wants rows and rows of sunloungers anyway? the clouds aren't helping, the ocean looked grey instead of blue. that's not phuket's fault, but still i need someone/something to blame.
i walk back to my hotel and find the elephant cafe right next door. while it doesn't have a view it has awesome pineapple pancakes and thai ice tea, the waiter is friendly and the wifi is speedy. i am slightly mollified till my stomach is acting up again, i can't fault the pancakes so once again i just blame phuket; it gets on my nerves and has now affected my so far very happy tummy.

so here i am, the lady in her dark, cool hotel room. waiting till i can go to the next island, one that will be worth my time and worthy of my thighs sticking together.

(and just in case you will call be spoilt and ungrateful i will give you exhibit a) phuket beach and exhibit b) all other beaches i have been to and you can decide on your own.)

April 10, 2014

the art of not being annoyed.

i recently read a post on tips how to become a travel blogger. one point mentioned that you should find a part of the world, any part really, to write about other than thailand. according to the author thailand has been covered left, right, and center and there is nothing worthwhile to add to the conversation. lucky for me and you, i am not a travel blogger. so for the next view weeks you will have to endure/ may enjoy my stories about thailand. take it or leave it.

for this holiday i really wanted easy. that sounds a bit odd, because shouldn't holiday always be easy? but i really wanted to go some place where as little as possible could go wrong or displease me. i didn't want adventure or challenges, i have the biggest challenge ahead of me with my move, so all i wanted was peace and quiet, pad thai, soak up all the sun before moving to eternal winter germany, and snorkel my little heart out. with that in mind i set out into a holiday where i only wanted to do what i truly want to do. again, isn't that what you always do in any given holiday you will ask. personally i think the answer is no. we always have this little voice or big guide book in our mind that tells us you must see... you must must not miss! but what if i don't want to see or do? what if i do want to miss?

i am sitting on the little balcony at my asadang room and can only hope that my mozzie lotion will last in the bikram-esque temperatures and humidity (not from me editing one hour later, it doesn't). i have my laptop, a somewhat cold singha, and i actually feel i want to write, that it is not a chore, but a joy and i can finally write down the things that have been going through my mind for the last days and weeks. also it is only 8pm and yes, i am in bangkok. i guess some people would see my evening as a complete waste of time, but honestly i couldn't be happier. this is something i want to do. just like the nap i took this afternoon. and the fact that i spent 1/12 of the last 24 hours getting massages. happy feet i have. and all the pad thai i had so far, which i will tell you about tomorrow, because they are worth to have their own post.

anyhow, so with everything i am doing right now, i am asking myself consciously all the time – do i want to do this? i just reread my first bangkok post from last year and funny enough i had the same sentiment – what do i want to do? strange how i tend to forget this ever important question in daily life. or maybe i haven't and that's why i am giving up everything that i know and love to move to another continent for the vague idea of what i really want. i don't know and i don't think i am ready to dive into these feelings quite yet. for now i want to be here, really here. i need a sneaky little love affair to take my mind of things and for that bangkok is truly wonderful. and before your mind turns dirty, by love affair i mean a little city dalliance to get over cape town. for everything else i believe bangkok is like vegas and what happens here, stays here.
bangkok is boiling right now, both literally and figuratively. it is hot and humid, songkran, the thai new year's is about to commence, and yes, there are still demonstrations and such happening. and, just my luck and don't tell my parents or aunt sylvi – my hotel is right next to some government building or other that is completely roped off with fresh, out of the factory, barbed wire. nothing too scary, but taxis have trouble getting to my place and so it seems easier to just walk.
on my way to my massage yesterday i walked past the barbed wired building and the only nuisance really, was that my dress got caught twice because i was more scared of the motorbikes on the road than the barbed wire on the sidewalk. which i know is a little thing, but i also know what that stuff has done to a few of my clothes on my balcony already, so i will not be repeating this rookie error any time soon. other than that all was calm and there was even a whole stretch of wire decorated with different coloured tinsel pompoms. sorry, no pictures of the barbed wired building, it seemed like asking for trouble with fate at the time. and also, tinsel or no tinsel, barbed wire really is not very pretty and it feels frivolous and stupid to take a picture of it when i don't know the whole story as to why it is there and what is going on here.

tonight after my evening massage – yes, that is an actual thing! - i tried to take a taxi back as it was already dark and i can now proudly say that my sense of direction in bangkok is better than the taxi driver's. i kept on gesturing where to go and how to get to the hotel, but he wouldn't listen. obviously me, being me, got quite annoyed. which you cannot ever be in thailand, being annoyed is not a thing here. and so obviously yelling wouldn't have helped, because my thai yelling skills are still quite bad and so was his english comprehension. when we arrived after a 15 minute detour, i did have a bit of smug told you so face and he? he just laughed and laughed, i guess at himself and for me actually knowing the way and gave me a discount on my fare. and that's when i realized that i came to thailand for two reasons: to eat ALL the pad thai and to learn the art of how not to be annoyed.

my very uncreased borsalino thanks to julia!
evening desk.
first singha and then i had to leave it because they told me no pad thai tonight!
my neighbour: wat ratchabopit.
streets getting ready for songkran.
wine, move along, i have a new favourite drink - thai iced tea.
orchids at the asadang.

April 8, 2014

dulce vita.

i am sitting at dulce cafe (aha, her spelling is not so bad after all) at the airport. probably for the last time in a long time. one last, quick airport post. don't think i am able to write more than that yet because while i'm wearing waterproof mascara, my contact lenses have been giving me grief and i just don't feel like crying anymore right now. which obviously i would, because…dah, i'm leaving cape town for good. and while everybody has been so so lovely with kind words and messages and perfectly boiled eggs for breakfast, i actually hate goodbyes. i wasn't able to do anything more than to give everybody a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. i am too good of a cryer. and while i am writing this i realise i need to change the topic… so on that note next time you hear from me, i will be sitting on the most wonderful little balcony in bangkok and then i will tell you all about my last week in cape town and how i hated it because it was so bloody perfect and much more.

for now just goodbye, beloved city.

March 27, 2014

it's complicated.

so here is something that i learned: people are extremely nice to you if you are about to leave the country for good. in my case all these nice people are usually already quite nice to me, so nice, that i am sometimes not sure how i deserve it. but right now the niceness has gotten to a whole new level.

hi, world!

today is my second last day of work and i thought i should check in because tomorrow i will probably be too busy with all the crying and all the champagne drinking. right now i am equally excited and terrified. fact is i really, really like my job and the people that i work with and the house i work in. the house actually smells like my grandmother’s house, which is really odd considering that the houses are on other ends of the world and not in the same climate zone. but my cousin, who once visited me here and who also knows how our grandmother’s house smells like, concurs. i love this smell, it makes me feel home, which i guess is why i always really liked my office. this morning the smell made me a bit teary.

but back to the nice people. people want to see me, take me out, and they send me more giraffe pictures than usual.
this was a pin i got this morning from claire which of course had me squeal in excitement. anybody flying from california to cape town within the next week and can bring me one please?

besides feeling very grateful for all this love and attention, i feel … odd, for a lack of better word. i am still here, my mind is elsewhere, then i get mad at my mind for not being here, then i’m here, the sun is not, i get sad, i get anxious, yesterday i felt like i just wanted to run away from it all…south africa, germany, my decision, i feel ridiculously happy, i have been sleeping badly with horrible dreams though sometimes a good one sneaks in that makes me optimistic again. argh. if my mind was to be described in a relationship status, it would definitely be it’s complicated.

as i will not be having my awesome desk calendar from the weekend onwards i started to make my own for next week. and it scares me not because of the things i have written down, but because of all the things i probably forgot to write down.
i guess i should add write goodbye cape town post, but realistically my next post will my typical airport, drinking too many G&Ts before boarding post. i hope you will bear with me, i will make up for it with an overload of thailand beach pictures. as i said i’m complicated right now.

March 17, 2014

life erratic.

so on tuesday i started the morning with the usual...not wanting to get up, finally getting up, showering, and only after walking through my apartment several times – barefoot – and putting my contact lenses in did i realize that there were maggots on the floor. yes, i know what you will think of me now. in my defense i will say that while i struggle daily to get out of bed at a reasonable hour the maggot thing, while it has happened before, doesn't happen daily, thank god. though if you saw me how calmly i destroyed every single one of them without doom and without any vomiting, you’d think it is a regular occurrence. i promise you it isn’t. while my flat is never that spick and span that i would offer you my floors to eat from, it isn’t thaaat bad either.

i did work up quite a sweat though which didn't help the make-up on my face situation so i ended up at work late, hair uncombed, and face bare. oh well. how was your morning?

i spent the next few hours pondering what the maggot situation meant – was it hotter outside than i realized? did i throw out meat and just forgot about it? did the maggots come from space? was i just a slop? should i be able with 35 to offer my guests floors so clean they could eat off them if they wanted to?

obviously i am now convinced that maggots are just another form of evil aliens.

last week i was talking to a client of ours about my pending move and was proudly telling him how good it felt to get rid of so much stuff and the realization that i really don't need lots. that same evening i received the first quote from a removal company and it brought tears to my eyes. i looked at my, what i already thought tiny pile of things i wanted to ship, and had to reevaluate here and now just how little i was really attached and weed through this tiny pile again to make it even tinier.

how am i supposed to live without my two white plastic animals?
or without my three champagne glasses, sole survivors of many beautiful dinner parties?
or my falling bird picture that julia and nele gave me a few years ago for my birthday and that i once dripped body lotion on which didn’t matter because it looks like a bird feather?

some stuff just is important...

luckily natalie gave me another shipping company's name and they are much much cheaper, but cannot ship furniture. alas, my beautiful chair needs to stay. at this point i had already said my goodbyes and didn't care all that much anymore.
so when i got to the office on tuesday and after deciding that maggots are evil aliens, i called the shipping company, ordered boxes, and paid a deposit. only to get a better quote from another company literally 5 minutes later which could ship everything including my chair, because who are we kidding – i love that chair! i immediately cancelled the first order of boxes only to change it all back after some more 'careful' consideration another 10 minutes later. maybe i didn't need to bring my chair after all. or maybe the chair could travel on its own with the one company while the boxes went with someone else?
when i got home i first made sure that the floor was now maggot free and decided to put things in piles. then i took my pictures down, only to put them up again a minute later, because really the boxes would only arrive on thursday and why live with bare walls any longer than strictly necessary?

see where i'm going with this? my life is a bit erratic right now and while i apparently have no problem making decisions, i can’t stick to any it seems.

the boxes arrived including bubble wrap, marker, tape, and packing list. you can imagine how excited an organized control freak like me gets if a company not only delivers boxes to you, but gives you all the other stuff you need to pack them too?! and before you ask, no, this is not a sponsored post…
so i started to pack while watching old bachelor reruns and drinking wine. pictures were taken off the wall, my pizza spade taken apart to fit into my suitcase, and glasses bubble wrapped and taped so well, i threw them around the room a bit and they wouldn’t break.  all in all a normal evening. till i ran out of wine and decided to move on to drinking malibu on ice. which in my defense i would have never thought of if it wasn’t for natalie who deemed it a good enough pre-dinner cocktail a few nights prior when i had nothing else to offer.
so while i think i cannot be blamed for all weird things i do, i took this as a sure sign that it is time for me to move and to finally get my life back on track. just remember that next time you find yourself alone, drinking malibu on ice – as sweet as it tastes, it ain’t a good thing.

March 6, 2014

yoga class with johnny cash.

when you feel a bit stuck and uninspired for a long time it is a good idea to try something new to shake things up. like, i don't know…move to another country. if like me you have already set the wheels in motion for such a move but still feel a bit meh, i recommend yoga. for as long as it takes. once it took a month. a month during which i didn't do anything but sat on my couch and watched tv and only left said couch once a day for a bikram class. in this case i made the decision to move after this month was over and that's when i came to cape town, but somehow the yoga and the shaking things up and the move all seem connected to me in one way or another. you will understand my frustration that right now i am not only feeling stuck and uninspired and ungrateful - because really what a moron am i not to enjoy my last summer weeks in cape town? - but on top of it yoga is not helping. i don't like the classes here, there is not enough bikram classes, and whenever i go and try to let go, i get annoyed anyhow. i know those nobody’s issues but my own to sort out, but still…
a plan formed when i realized that lent has started. i am not catholic and while i know plenty of non-catholics that just use it as a time to kick a bad habit at least temporary, i have always been a bit at loss as to what that could be for me. i don’t really eat much chocolate so 40 days without would be no challenge whatsoever. no wine for 40 days i simply wouldn’t make and why should i set myself out to fail?
so i found this post on berry diaries yesterday and was immediately intrigued. what a genius idea instead of eliminating something negative from your life (and that would be the second issue with not drinking wine – wine is of course never negative, so it doesn’t count) add something positive each day like spending at least 10 minutes on your yogamat.

maybe i need 40 days and a few different time zones of yoga this time to shake things up. we will see. but i am excited. i will even attempt to post a toe selfie of my toes on mat every day on instagram and i while i made a hashtag #40daysonmymat don’t hold me to it, i am even worse at instagramming than i am at not drinking wine.

however here is day 1:

10 minutes of sun salutations to johnny cash. i don’t like yogi music and he did bring a good rhythm to my breathing.

please do excuse the state of my toes and my mat.

February 17, 2014

for the love of words.

today i helped my friend’s 11 year old daughter with her homework. she was asked to write a descriptive paragraph on the subject “arrival at midnight”.  while her spelling, just like mine, isn’t the greatest she uses the best words and descriptions. she wrote her paragraph about a girl who comes home to find the house in the dark and a banging sound that scares her. she realizes that it is only a tree branch against the window, but still cannot turn on the lights and gets scared.  i added my two cents and so the girl ends up running out of her house to find her electrician and fire him, because how useless is he?
yes, i know, it doesn’t make much sense and i blame the heat, but we had such a laugh and were quite chuffed with our “clever” ending to the story.

it reminded me of how much i actually love words. lately i have had little joy with them. i haven’t read much and didn’t finish the books i started, which always makes a bit sad. i have written even less and it feels like a constant looming task. i even thought of giving my little blog a break for a while. i just feel lazy and so disconnected to words lately – surely it shouldn’t be that much work to write?
but doing this homework with her, searching for round descriptions and pretty words, coming up with a storyline even just for a paragraph, and then ending it with absurdity and giggles – it felt amazing. it reminded me why i love words and why i love writing and that it is nothing to be scared of, not something i have to do, but something to be enjoyed and savoured.
i was asked last week for my recipe against writer’s block and i really couldn’t think of anything smart to add to the discussion except to say: just write. sounds simple enough and like a paradox at the same time. but really to write anything helps me – a grocery list, a to-do list, a sentence with words that all start with A, a paragraph of a little girl who fires her electrician…
when i can get myself to write anything at all, it usually starts to flow and i get reminded that words are my most beloved friends.

February 5, 2014


ko phi phi or ko tao?

for those of you who know thailand, you will know that it is really a choice between paradise or paradise. and i'm omitting any pictures to not make it worse. i also admit it is a complete first world problem, but also the most urgent question on my mind these days. don't hate me.
and not to make anybody green with envy but i just booked a flight to bangkok and from bangkok to hamburg with a month holiday inbetween. and yeah…i am sort of very excited about it.
that wasn't the case last weekend. last weekend i was a nut job not being able to decide where and how i wanted to spend my holiday, driving myself a little bit crazy. as i do from time to time. yes, again first world problem ... having options. and then luckily i had a very productive sunday and it all fell into place.

yesterday i booked my flight, my tour, and part of my accommodation - here, because how can i not? - and all of a sudden i felt excited. i haven't felt excited in a good way in a really long time. butterflies. i had them, but the negative butterflies, the anxiety butterflies. if you ever had proper anxiety attacks you will know how great if feels to just not have them, to just be okay. to say goodbye to the butterflies.
but quite frankly i have also been just okay for a long time, i haven't been really happy or curious or excited in a positive way for a while. that sucks too. and i feel bad for it, which i guess makes matters worse, especially when i'm around friends. i feel like this non-person, the odd one out. and i don't want to be, i don't mean to offend anyone, but i guess it's part of a natural process when you plan a big move. you start detaching yourself so it will hurt less when the time comes. which is all well and good, but in reality it sucks because i end up spending too much time watching grey's anatomy re-runs by myself and i think i may regret it.
that was till i booked my holiday. for the first time in a long time felt butterflies, that weren't anxiety butterflies, but the kind that you want. the kind that spell falling in love, adventure, and great wonderful excitement.

so with that - please someone share my butterflies and help me decide between paradises.

January 30, 2014

a life in style. or so i thought.

yesterday i stumbled across this awesome post from geraldine and it hit home. as people who have a blog (wouldn’t want to say “as bloggers” or “as writers” because that sounds really pretentious and sort of asshole-y) and people in general we constantly need to define ourselves. or at least that’s what the world wants us to do. little boxes on the hill side… the one and only time i ever put my little blog up for any sort of best of i had a hard time choosing a box that i wanted to be the best of. in the end i think i chose the humour box, which turned out to be the wrong one, because while people tell me i’m funny, i apparently don’t fit into the humour/haha funny box. or maybe i wasn’t funny enough. thekla told me afterwards i should have chosen the lifestyle category for my blog. mpfh. i of course liked the idea better that i was simply in the wrong box than the box i was in didn’t like me, but was too late in any case so i just didn’t think about it anymore.
so i read geraldine’s post about how she not a lifestyle blogger, but how she wanted to give it a go and attempted to make a crostata and document the whole process. now that was something i can relate to. sort of. i thought crostata was something like a crostini, i definitely didn’t take it for some kind of pie. my bad. her not reading the recipe and thus not having all the ingredients is also something i can relate. i would make a bad lifestyle blogger because i never use recipes to begin with. it already drove one ex-boyfriend insane, i can only imagine what it would do to a lifestyle blogger’s readership.
so as you can read her crostata making wasn’t  going so well, but there was lots of liquor involved and a failed attempt at caramel making, both things i can appreciate too. let’s just remember the fish cake incident of 2011 and the easter egg shaped macarons for a moment.
so that’s why i adore her. sometimes i need aspiration and sometimes i want to relate and just know that thank god there are others out there like me.
and don’t get me wrong – i love lifestyle blogs, in fact most blogs i read can probably be labelled accurately as such. i love them, not in an ironic way, but in a i truly love to read about this person’s life way. i find it inspiring. i would like to be such an inspiration for others too maybe. but there comes the time when i have to admit a life with a certain style a lifestyle blogger doesn’t make. my toe nails might be painted nicely, but there is nothing picture worthy about the process; to be honest it’s quite gross. and while i do enjoy wearing and buying nice clothes, i don’t have a significant other who will take decent pictures of me in my nice clothes. neither do i have a child trustworthy enough that i would hand it my canon or any child at all for that matter. actually i hate to have my picture taken ALWAYS and if you tell me to stand up straight, tuck my ribs, pull my belly in, and lift my chin, that’s the face you get:

thank you, thekla, my wonderful friend. no, i am not being sarcastic, the others turned out wonderful, but were quite a bit of work and if i had to pose for pictures on a daily basis i would be a proper alcoholic. now you will rightly say that a lot of lifestyle bloggers don’t pose in their shots, they are just being snapped. yeah, well, those girls don’t have a double chin problem and uneven arm skin tones.
one of my favourite with no such issues is james from bluebird. she and her husband are the quintessential hipsters. but really original hipsters, not just someone who lives in brooklyn and wears a beard that doesn’t suit him. no, she bakes bread and cake, she has chickens in her garden, homeschools her 4 kids, and still always looks fabulous and wears essie nail polish in awesome shades. i get tired when i have to do homework with my friend’s daughter for 10 minutes so i really don’t know how she does it and then some.
another must have if you are a lifestyle bloggers are series or features and a blogging calendar. yes, we all know how my attempts at having series worked out and if i don’t even find the time to stick to my series, i wouldn’t know where to find time to make calendar. sorry.
if i had a calendar and would have looked at it, i would have noticed that i did already write about the fact that i don’t have a lifestyle blog. in fact i wrote about it in such detail that i named my blog  a random, somewhat funny blog with stories about wine, pasta, yoga and failed dates. but i don’t have a calendar; otherwise i would also know that i have probably already blogged about the fact that i frequently write the same posts twice. that’s how not organized and unscheduled i am. and i am aware that is a big no-no for a lifestyle blogger and i can wear all the hip orange/red lipstick and hair buns in the world it wouldn’t make up for it.
so no, i am not a lifestyle blogger and probably won’t ever be. i’m just me in my little box full of random, somewhat funny stories about wine, pasta, yoga and failed dates. and as long as there are some others who are in equal random boxes i am okay with that.

January 20, 2014

let go or be dragged.

“let go or be dragged.”

this is a zen proverb that i came across sometime, somewhere last week. i have had it on my mind ever since. i think letting go of things is my biggest problem. actually not things. while i started to go through my flat, preparing for the move, i found it really easy to put things into the to give away pile. things were always easy. experiences, thoughts, people, ideas – letting go of those is a whole other story. letting go always seems to indicate loss to me. i never could see the benefit of non-attachment, well, maybe in theory but not in actual praxis.
that was till i read let go or be dragged. how simple. how clear. with an immediate benefit of letting go right there, no waiting for what was at the end of the letting go rainbow. being dragged sucks. being dragged reeks of a bad guy tied to a lasso who is dragged behind a good cowboy on his horse. who would want that? it looks like it may hurt as hell and you get your clothes torn and your face dirty, not even to mention that one probably feels quite embarrassed too.
mind you i am not sure how much i am actually achieving of the letting go quite yet, but it has become my little mantra for now. so here i am, trying to let go of…

… my anxiety.
… 5kgs of body weight…and the need to even lose those 5kgs at all.
… my worries about my dad.

… my anger at my friend and the desire to walk up to him, shake him, and demand an answer as to why he is ignoring me.

… my love for wheat.

… my laziness and procrastination.

… my demand for perfection of myself and others.
… my monday grumpiness that sometimes gets me at any given day of the week.

i’m sure there is more. but i am starting with no 7 because my own demand for perfection seems to be the basis for quite a few other things i need to let go of, so why not start there and see how the list changes and hopefully shrinks.

what do you need to let go of? what is dragging you down?

January 7, 2014

homecoming crying queen.

i'm not well right now. i had actually planned a post about how i wasn't quite well after i returned and that one made a whole lot of more sense, but then i got a whole lot worse in one day and the post seemed redundant.
i used to suffer from anxiety attacks a few years back. with the help of some anti-depressants and therapy i got it all under control and the only thing that remained was the fear that the anxiety might return. worst thing ever – fear of fear. actually well, right now i might argue with that.
the break-in really shook me up. i forgot this very scary feeling of having my place robbed and my privacy invaded over christmas chocolates and family drama though. but then it came all back to me when i was at my mum's and actually had some time to reflect. new year's eve brought tears and revelations, not all bad, but definitely not great either.
and then i had to go back, house sit at a house that as much as i love to visit scares me when i'm there alone, face work, and today face going back to my little flat. while that may not seem a big deal to some, it is a big deal to me right now. it is such a big deal that i am bawling my eyes out, sometimes sobbing so much that i can't have a drink from my beer without knocking the bottle on my teeth. the little girl in me wants to do nothing more than take the grown-up girl's credit card and passport and book a flight back to germany and crawl up on my mum's lap. but the grown-up girl can't do that. she has responsibilities and stuff to take of and sort the life she is leaving and the life she wants to build. and as it turns out she is completely overwhelmed by it all.

why i am writing about myself in the third person i have no idea. maybe i need to detach a bit. i really don't want to sound pretentious. i think you must be a douche to refer to yourself in the third person, so i apologize for sounding like one right now.

yesterday when it got really bad i was on my way to my cousin in hout bay and while driving i was trying really hard to keep it together. when i arrived she came downstairs to my car to greet me, something she has never done before, i usually just go up to the house. she hugged me and asked me how i was and when i just started crying and stammering she just hugged me harder, got a friend of hers to write me a script for some ativan while her daughter made me a cup of tea. to everybody else in the house she just said annika is a little fragile right now. no big deal. how much do i love my family where things like anxiety and depression and sobbing for no reason are no big deal. they are a part of life. they are normal and you find ways to live with them and try to make them better. sometimes way includes tea, sometimes medication, sometimes wine and a big bowl of pasta. sometimes you just to cry for a bit. and sometimes for a bit longer and just knowing that that's also okay.

on my way back my amazing family continued to be amazing when i went to my uncle's house to drop of his suitcase he had let me borrow for my trip. i told him a little bit about my afternoon, got teary eyed once again, and told him that i had to go back to the house i didn't want to be at to housesit. in addition to giving me a glass of whiskey – the really good one, so i knew he was worried about me – he simply refused to let me go. he told me i would spend the night, no debating. then he drove me to the house and watered the garden while i packed all my things. in the evening he moved into his office to sleep so i could be comfy and feel safe next to my aunt.

this morning i was still feeling a bit anxious, but also a whole lot of grateful. i have a lot on my plate now and it is okay to feel overwhelmed with that. i will manage. i have support from all sides. and even more important i know that it is okay to sometimes feel like that. c'est la vie.

p.s. i have wholeheartedly claimed back my flat. i bought flowers, sprayed my favorite linen spray everywhere, celebrated the things that got not stolen, and the fact that my basil survived while the nasty vietnamese coriander miraculously died.  
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