Sunday, 29 June 2014

Appreciation Sunday #3


In retrospect this entire week seemed to be about rediscovering old favourites,cherishing the little things and creating space for myself. There were no major happenings that got me really excited (except for football), but there were many moments, when I thought to myself: Yes, I am really enjoying my life right now!

Taking a day off: Remember that person I am going out with at the moment? When he came over last Sunday, we stayed up quite late. So I made the decision to just sleep in and not go to uni and it was probably the decision I made this week. Why? Because that Monday, the day I usually dread the most, turned out to be like a Sunday, but a good one (not the one with closed shops and nothing to do). I got up late, went to the gym, picked up fresh cherries at the market and went grocery shopping. It was nothing special, but this entire day was so relaxing that it felt like a short holiday

Le winged liner: Months back I was almost addicted to wearing winged liner. Combined with a bright lip and a light blush it immediately takes an otherwise plain outfit to a whole new level. It looks sophisticated, but never out of place. But as life goes, I got lazy and I did not want to spend much time in the mornings putting on my make-up.
But recently I had this urge to make myself look a bit more presentable. Maybe I had looked at too many photos of Audrey Hepburn, but when I went to the drugstore at the beginning of the week a new liquid liner found its way into my make-up collection and what can I say? I am in love!
Yep,that's me. Taking a photo of myself is always such a hassle
Grocery shopping: I love food and people who say that food can't be a hobby, well, they are liars! And this week, on Friday to be exact, I became aware of the fact that do not only love eating, but also the process of acquiring food. After a long day at work I made my way to the gym for a sweaty workout. I realized that I still needed some things to get me through the weekend and on my way home I stopped by the grocery store. I. was. amazed. Normally I just rush through with my little list and leave quickly, but this time I was completely unprepared: So many options to chose from, so many new things to try out!
Mango chai latte? Hell yeah! (I will come and get you next time, promise!) Lactose free almond ice cream? Baby, I'm yours!

Mamma Mia (film): Is there anyone in the world who doesn't like this film? The music, the setting and of course Meryl Streep being as marvellous as usual - everything is pure, summery perfection.  It is one of those films that leave you in such a happy mood, that you feel like hugging everyone who comes your way.
So, I sat there singing and laughing and crying and finally calling my mother at 11 p.m, because I felt like talking to her so much. Maybe you should know that this is actually "our" film and the scene when Meryl Streep sings "slipping through my fingers" gets me every time.

Lazy Sunday: After this long Friday and a productive Saturday I was determined to use my energy and go to the gym again today. If only last night had been a bit better. I had so much trouble falling asleep and too many stressful things occupied my mind with the result that I had extremly disturbing dreams (once I actually managed to get some sleep). 
When I woke up I felt knocked out (aside from my sore muscles from yesterday's workout) and decided that I would use this day entirely for recreation. So I curled up on my couch with a bowle of rice pudding watching girly films.
Except for writing this blog post I did nothing worth mentioning and damn, it felt so good!
Selfmade rice pudding with strawberries freshly picked from my balcony <3 br="">
So, that was my week in a nutshell. Nothing major, nothing fancy,but enjoyable nonetheless. It reminded me of the fact that sometimes you just need to make some time for yourself to recover and do the things you want to do. It also taught me to listen to my body and its needs. There is no use in trying to work your ass off at the gym when your body doesn't feel up to doing it.

What are you grateful for this week?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Normcore: The effort of being effortless

Recently I came across a magazine article talking about a new phenomenon called "Normcore".
Okay, maybe I am the last person on Earth to hear about this thing and for all the cool kids out there it is already out of fashion again, but to me it is still worth talking about.

According to Wikipedia Normcore is:
"[...] a unisex fashion trend charaterized by unpretentious, average-looking clothing. [...] Normcore wearers are people who do not wish to distinguish themselves from others by their clothing."

Yes, as a diligent student I know that you should never use Wikipedia as a source, but who am I kidding, right?

The point is, that apparently it is no longer desireable trying to be special or different. Instead people rather feel like belonging to a large group without really standing out.This trend is completely contradictive to everything the internet has enforced since its' early beginnings: While it is a platform where many of us strive to show our talents, our looks and our passions in order to set ourselves apart from the great masses, Normcore stands for blending in and a more laid-back, less driven kind of lifestyle (which already makes it a lot more diverse and complex than Wikipedia suggests).


In a sense Normcore means to just go with the flow without caring about being mainstream.
This idea itself seems to be a concept worth trying, but what happened over the past few months is, that the internet blew it up. It turned it into a fashion trend revolving around wearing 'ugly', but comfy clothes from the 90s combined with a pair of trainers (which should either be from Nike or New Balance, duh).

What really disturbs me about this development is the fact, that by giving being relaxed and casual a name and categorizing it with certain attributes which make other people follow it, the whole idea of being relaxed and casual goes to waste.
Now people make an effort to look like they are actually doing the opposite which obviously contradicts the main idea of Normcore. Now, being laid-back means to wear a Superdry-hoodie, a pair of old jeans and Nike-trainers.

Just search this term on the internet and you will find a never-ending flow of pictures featuring young people who went through the trouble to select an outfit which is supposed to look natural and almost careless, but conveys an exerted image.
Picture taken from Stylebook.de
Just as with every other "trend" born in the internet every few months my method will be as follows:
I acknowledge its existence and just continue with my everyday life without giving another flying fart.


For more information, refer to this article by Alex Williams for The New York Times, which I found particularly interesting.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Appreciation Sunday #2

This week was mainly filled with watching football and birthdays (a friend of mine, my Grandpa and today my Grandma). So let's get crack-a-lackin' with my highlights!

Football Worldcup: Just like everyone else I am aware of all the scandals and discussions about the fifa and the football worldcup. Still, I was looking forward to it and on Monday was the first match of the German team. Well, what should I say? I was alone, I had a pizza, I had a blast. Especially the first half of the game made me celebrate so much and I loved how pissed Ronaldo was towards the end. Honestly, he deserved it.
Yesterday, we did not win against Ghana, but it as a great match and Ghana was an amazing opponent. Actually, we can be glad that it ended up as a draw.

Fighting the shyness and opening up: On Friday I was invited to a friend's birthday, but I dreaded going there. Even though I know most of the people who came we never really clicked. They are all very nice and fun, but I never felt like belonging to the group. So, I was a bit afraid of just sitting there without being able to talk to someone in a non-awkward way.
The first half of the party was indeed a bit uncomfortable for me, as I was unable to get out of my nutshell, but then I got involved into a passionate discussion with one of the girls about Assassin's Creed. Soon the conversation got a bit deeper. We talked about things which to me were a bit more personal - our dreams, travelling, just the things we really love.
It felt amazing to share our experiences and to open up a bit more.

Girly get-together: Last week I already mentioned this special friend of mine and what should I say? Tuesday was another one of these amazing days with her. We went to see "Maleficent", which really disappointed me despite the fact that Angelina Jolie was just perfect.
The good part started when we left the cinema, got us some pizza and watched "About Time" featuring the ever so gorgeous Rachel McAdams. It was my second time watching this film, but  it was a lot more comfortable compared to sitting on a plane feeling a bit sick and crying your heart out. Just the two of us enjoying the film, relaxing, eating pizza.
I simply can not stress enough the importance of these girly get-togethers.

Letting go: Remember when I whined over my old computer? Well, it has been sitting on my desk without being used for the past two months, but this week I finally managed to let go and pack it away. Now, my workspace looks cleaner and less crammed. I still feel a bit guilty, but well, you gotta go with the flow, don't ya?
Photo by Unsplash
Well, there were not any major happenings this week, but maybe that is why I enjoyed it so much. Sometimes you need a bit more time for yourself to refuel.

What are you grateful for this week?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

So, what are we now?

For the past few weeks I have been seeing someone.

He was a customer at work and asked me out for a coffee. Subsequently we started seeing each other two to three times a week (which is a lot for me).
To me this is a completely new situation, because I haven't dated someone since my late teen-years and I am surprised about how well things are going right now.
I am neither annoyed by seeing him this often nor do I feel too intimidated by getting that close to someone (both things I have always struggled with).

Picture taken from Unsplash
This whole affair is a nice easy, breezy one. The one problem is that of course the people around me start asking questions:

"So, about you and him... how serious is it?"
"Are you a couple now?"

All of these questions refer to the status of our relationship and so far it was impossible for me to give a definite answer.

As a teenager things were comparatively easy:
You were either a real couple or not. Point.

But now as a young adult I feel like there are a lot more possibilities and different types of relationships and I am not only talking about friends with benefits (which we are not.... I think).

The two of us just let things roll without really discussing where we are going. So whenever people asked questions about the status of our relationship, my answer was always:
"I don't know. We haven't talked about this yet."
Not a very satisfying answer, right?

Maybe I have to make clear, that this kind of "not knowing" is not a problem for me. It is just annoying to get all of these questions all the time without being able to give an answer that makes everyone shut up.

So, on Saturday I brought up this topic for the first time asking:
"So, what are we now? I mean, everyone keeps asking me about this and I never know what to say to them."

Two things became clear that night:
1) He is dealing with the same problem
2) Neither of us knows how to classify our relationship

It might sound a bit too unemotional and dry, but both of us are not ready yet to use the term "love". But still we are satisfied with how things are going between us. We feel comfortable in our undefined relationship and we are willing to ease into it a bit more to see if it has the potential to become "the real deal".

Until then people have to be patient. Human relations are complicated. They are not black and white, just as it is not only about being together or being separated from each other. Apart from the fact that to me love at first sight is a rare phenomenon,you can date someone wihtout being madly in love with him/her from the very beginning as long as both parties feel the same about it.
If it feels right at that moment it's alright.

Maybe we will get closer over time, eventually developing deeper feelings for each other.
Mabe I will be able to take him home and introduce him to my parents as my partner.
Or maybe we will see that things would be better if we put an end to it.

We don't know yet and in fact:
We don't have to have it figured out right now. 

Life puts you into some awkward, but sweet situations - this being one of them.
Enjoy the ride. Perhaps you want to go for a second round.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Appreciation Sunday #1

As a lot of you I am guilty of living for certain events. Whenever something great is coming up I tend to somehow "skip" the days that are in between. I do not really live or experience them. Instead I just rush through without even realizing all of those wonderful little things that occur to me.
I do not want to say something clichée like "Live every day as if it would be your last one", but I want to become more aware of my life.

So, I want to take this opportunity and sit down every Sunday to write down what I am grateful for this week.

Books: When I visited my parents this weekend, I found the books we read at school. I did not like all of them (Brave New World? One of my biggest literary traumas), but each of them is connected to memories of fellow students, teachers and everything a school life contains - good and bad. I took some of the books with me to skim through. Also, I was especially glad to fing "Le voyage d'Hector", a book my French teacher gave me at the end of our final year. I don't know why, but I never read it - well, until now. I have just started it and I am impressed about how much I actually understand. Guess all those years of learning French did not go to waste after all.

People: On Wednesday I had a badly needed relaxed evening with one of my best friends and it had everything a girly get-together has to have. Snacks, good laughs, girltalk and three episodes of Downton Abbey. Anything more you need? This evening made me realize again how grateful I am for having this wonderful girl in my life.

Freetime/university: This week I had a lot of time to relax, because all of my courses at uni were cancelled due to a national holiday. Also, I finally got all my grades for the last term and I have to admit that this is my best term so far. I am lazy, but not stupid. My grades were always about average, but never outstanding, but this term I somehow got the hang of it. Hell yeah!

Health: It is not the first time for me to say this, but the weatehr has been exceptionally kind to us Germans who never get to see much sunlight, but always hav to face tons of rainy days. But on Monday things changed drastically for a little while, when a hard storm hit my region. It was not as bad where I live, but in my hometown and the city where my stepdad works, shit really hit the fan (to put if bluntly): fallen trees, squashed cars and people who gut hurt.
Glady, nobody I know was affected, so

I am glad that my family and friends are okay.
The blue sky on our usual Sunday walk

What are you grateful for this week?

Monday, 9 June 2014

Poppies and that little bit of Summer

Recently the sun has been very kind to all of those Summer-holics in my region.
Warm temperatures and less rain than usual giving us the rare chance to really enjoy this short period of carefree bliss.

While I am not one of these people love the Summer season there were some occasions, when I was very glad for all that sunshine (excluding the exhausting heat it accompanies).

Finally I was able to see our poppy field in its' full glory.
Poppy madness!

Finally I could spend the afternoon in the garden with delicious cherries, strawberries and a good book.
Just Jule enjoying Summer
 Finally I can sit on my balcony and write this post while my legs are trying to get a bit of colour.
 
Finally there was a chance to go for a long walk and discover some more of the beautiful area arond Bonn.
The view of Bonn from the top of the "Drachenfels"

  
 
To be honest I hate the heat in Summer, because it makes me feel so dizzy and run down, but it is not all bad.

Just a few hours ago it was raining cats and dogs and even hailing, but now I am sitting here on my balcony and for the first time this year I am actually enjoying it.
This picture does not do the rainy madness justice at all!

The only thing I am regretting right now is the fact that I did not shave my legs properly and now have to look a pair of pale, stubby legs desperate for this bit of Summer they call a tan.



Monday, 2 June 2014

Thoughts on "Agnes Grey" [Book Review]

Recently I finished reading "Agnes Grey" (1847), Anne Brontë's first novel.


 It follows a period in the life of the young woman who gives this book it's name.
Agnes Grey starts to work as a governess to gain independence and to support her family. Supposedly Anne Brontë used her own experiences to write this story as she had worked as a governess herself.

Being young and unexperienced Agnes has to face a lot of troubles, especially when it comes to her protégés who are not interested in following her instructions and instead of receiving encouragement by their parents Agnes has to deal with their criticism as well.
The plot starts to thicken when Edward Weston, the new parson, is introduced (it is said that he has some of the features of Anne Brontë's own love interest William Weightman). Agnes feels immediately drawn to him, but living in the household of the Murray family, where she has to take care of two stubborn and also selfish girls (some might already call them young women), is a permanent obstacle.

This is the basic outline of the story and in all honesty, there is not much more to it. In her first book, Anne Brontë shows that she knows how to use words in order to create the right atmosphere for the story, but the characters remain flat (which is the main problem of this book).
Especially the heroine, Agnes Grey, is presented as a woman who is willing to change something and to do something good, but she does not have the means or the courage to do so. She remains passive and quiet until the end.

When I picked up this book at the bookshop I expected it to give me a deeper insight into the life as a governess in the 19th century, but while reading it I always felt, that it only scratched the surface. There were so many possibilities to give it more life and depth for example by working on the character development

However I do not want to be too harsh. I did enjoy this read as it was light and easy and at the end I was glad - not because the book was over, but because the finale was quite satisfying for someone who likes a bit of romance from time to time.

My overall opinion is that "Agnes Grey" is an enjoyable little read, but it lacks depth in some parts (both character and story wise). Still,it makes it easy to imagine how difficult working as a governess must have been in a family where the parents turned out to be just as stubborn as their children.
Maybe the book does not have too much to offer when it comes to drama, romance and twisted relationships, because it is based on Anne's own memories and as we all know real life is often not as dramatic as our favourite films and books, which often tend to exaggerate. 

On a side note, I just started to read "Villette" (1853) by Anne's sister Charlotte Brontë and so far it is quite promising. It goes into a similar direction as "Agnes Grey",beause it deals with a young woman who leaves her home and ends up at a French girls' school to work as a teacher. The plot is a lot more dense and there is more room for the characters to develop.