Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Blocked Roads

Original Picture found via StockSnap
 If there is one trait, that I can truly claim for myself, it is laziness
Since I have always preferred to just lie around all day doing nothing instead of studying, working or cultivating myself, I have never considered myself a very driven person. While this attitude has cost me a lot of time and chances to prepare myself of adulthood, I don't have time anymore to run away. 
In one year's time I will hopefully have a job and earn my own money. 

that being said, I have to look for jobs in the first place. At the moment I am researching for my MA, which I plan to finish at the end of March next year. In the meantime I want to look for some traineeships and jobs to apply for. Originally I had planed to start this month, but now that the time has come, I feel so discouraged
Yesterday, a good friend of mine came over telling me that she got an internship at a big company, a company I actually wanted to contact because of their traineeship program (after she told me about her application process, I am not sure about this anymore). 
I am really happy for her that she got this opportunity, but at the same time it makes me wonder if I made the right decisions in the past. We started off with the same bachelor's degree, but while she took a completely different direction with her master (one that is a lot more practical if you ask me), I, on the other side, chose to stay where I was, because I didn't know what else to do.
I've deliberately been stagnating almost ever since I started university.

Now, I am confronted with the big question of what I want to do with it - or rather, what I can do with it. 
It it not much I have to say... I am open for a lot of new directions, but a lot of them require a kind of academic background that I don't have (mostly economics and IT). So, a lot of roads are blocked for me. 

And what do I want to do with my time anyway? I do not want to end up with a job that I hate. I seriously have to start investing some time in getting to know myself and what I want from life. It is a scary process everyone has to go through at one point or another. It is very time consuming and personally, I find it hard to make out my strong points. In the end, they might not be good enough for someone else.

I feel like I have been repeating myself in the past few months, talking about jobs, my life at uni and trying to find the right path for me, but honestly, it is the one thing that I have been thinking about the most. 
And it eats me whole. The same old record playing inside my head over and over again.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Going Out Alone? No Way!

Original Picture Taken from StockSnap
 Tonight was (or better is) this semester's party of my faculty at one of the local clubs. It was supposed to be my last one ever, for I will hopefully done with university by the end of March next year. This alone should be a reason to go and I really planned going there, but a few days ago I started to doubt this decision, because I had no one to go with. A few of my acquaintances from uni were supposed to be there. Eventually, I could have met them at the party, but still that means to go there alone

There are people who have no problem with going out on their own. They know that they will encounter new people or run into their friends and even if they don't they can just hang aroung the bar while exchanging deep thoughts with the bartender. And while I enjoy, even prefer plenty of activities alone (shopping, watching films, going out for walks, etc.), this is something I can not do. 

The feeling when you arrive and all you see consists of a crowd of drunk strangers  is just so awkward. You have to make your way through the packed location just to get to this already formed group of people, whom you actually do know and yet it feels like you are the new kid at the playground who invites itself to play with the others. Same goes for asking a group of people before the party if you could tag along. And if you are really out of luck, no one will be there. Nope, not going to do that. 
I like being alone, but I don't like feeling isolated or like an outsider within a group. 

For a short while I actually thought about going alone. Because I can, you know? Because I am an independent, young woman and if I want to go out I can do that.However, I am not confident enough. 
Instead, I put on my pyjamas at about 7 in the evening and spent  my time watching Friends, Parks & Rec. while knitting away like an old lady. At least I was able to save some money...

The main reason for me to in the first place, wasn't even the fact that this would be my last party there. It was a guy. The guy who had stood me up not once, but twice this year - on the same day of our planned "date". I hd hoped to meet him there to talk, to tell him what I really think about his behaviour, how much it annoys me. I decided (try to convince maself) that it is not worth it. Why should I go somewhere not to enjoy it, but to put up a silly fight? I am not even sure if I had the courage to do it. 

Well, it's past midnight now. So, I won't really be going anywhere tonight except for my bed. And honestly, those parties almost never turn out to be the amazing happening you wanted them to be anyway...

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Reading Contest

Original Picture taken from StockSnap
 As a child I loved to read and I loved to read out loud.
It loved giving each character a different voice. It was my way of really diving into those fantastic stories and the worlds they created. Then, I was probably in 8. grade, there was a reading contest. I was declared the winner of my class and later, I was to represent our school in the next round, which consisted of the winners of other schools around town. 

On the day of the contest, I was so nervous. It was the first time that I really competed for something, and I wanted so desperately to be good at it. Not only because I was passionate about books and writing, but because I felt like people were counting on me. I didn't want to let them down. 
We were required to read a passage of our choice first. Then, we were given an unkown text we had to read out loud. I chose Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as the book I wanted to read from. Not that I was a big fan of Harry Potter, unlike most of the children back then and today, but I guess I thought my chances would be better if I picked something popular. 
I remember my heart pounding really hard against my chest, as I was sitting in the audience, listening to the other children. Though, I can not recall if they were really that good or not. When it was my turn, things went quite well. During the break, a journalist from the local newspaper even came up to me and asked me for an interview - which I was glad to give. It made me happy, that people seemed to appreciate what I do. I was so very proud

The second round was probably my weak spot, because I did not win the competition. It was a big disappointment. Not for my parents, but for me. As it was my first real competition, it was also the first time that I experienced the feeling of true disappointment. I had been disappointed because of school grades of course, but in my head, that was something completely different. I didn't cry because of my grades.
After the announcement of the winner two old ladies came up to me and told me that in their eyes, I was the true winner. At that moment, I was too crushed to really appreciate this, but looking back, it makes me happy to know, that there were people who appreciated what I had presented.

That following Monday, the newspaper article about the competition appeared. About 3/4 of it was about me. Only at the very end, the winner was mentioned. I cut it out and kept it in my bedside table for years, but I don't know where it went. 

Even though I cnn not recall every single detail of this event, it is something I think of quite often. Maybe because it shaped me so much in a way that I now regret. I regret the way handled this, but what was I supposed to do as a child? I was disappointed and this disappointment taught me to avoid contests (and challenges in general) in the future. I grew accustomed to the idea that I was not a winner - an attitude that has been compromising to this day and that is hard to overcome. 

The power of experiences and the memories they create is unbelievably strong. What we remember might not always be 100% accurate, but it influences us nontheless and it's not easy to let go. 
While I wouldn't call this a childhood trauma, I am, to this day, convinced of the fact that it impaired my ability to read out loud. 

Do you have a childhood event you often come back to?

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

In-between Lives

Original Picture taken from StockSnap
Today after work I went to the bookstore.
I know that I should not go there at the moment, for I have neither the money nor the time, but sometimes you just have the urge to look at some nice books to add to your shelf later on, right?
So, I went there and I happened to meet a friend from uni whom I hadn't seen in quite a while. We talked about this and that. About how she has to find a topic for her bachelor's thesis and how I have to start researching for my master's thesis.
We talked about how both of us don't know what will happen to us after university and while the prospect itself is not very comforting, it once again felt nice to know that I am not the only person in-between lives
The life I am leading right now as a senior in university and the life I am about to dive into as a working woman (if I will ever find a proper job). 

Of course, it is only natural to worry in this stage of life. And I think that everyone can in some way or another relate to it. After all, everyon is sometimes caught in-between. Whether it is about work, school or social life. Sometimes you find yourself in between relationships. Sometimes you find yourself between two or more conflicting opinions you have to balance. You never know for sure what the outcome will be. This can make you nervous, even anxious. 

While knowing that other people feel the same way won't remove the burden of making decisions yourself, it can in a way alleviate the amount of stress you are feeling. It might even help you in the process of decision making. Fortunately, my friend told me that her girlfriend had written her thesis about a similar topic, so she sent it to me, hoping that I might find some helpful information in there.

I don't know where I will be in a year from now. I don't even know where I will be in 6 months. Maybe, I will still be looking for a job. Maybe, I will be safe and sound with a traineeship. Right now, I'm feeling like I don't really belong anywhere. I don't feel like a student anymore, because I don't have any lectures anymore (at this point, it's only about writing this bloody thesis), but I am not yet in a real work relationship with just my part-time job. 

Being in-between lifes really sucks ass, but once again I have to accept this situation for what it is and try to acknowledge the fact, that things will change sooner or later. It is hard, but at the moment it seems to be the only possible way to deal with this without panicking.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

On saving Money and spending it (wisely?)

 
Original Picture taken from StockSnap

Money really is a curious thing. A thing we rarely like to talk about.

It feels good to save it and see it accumulate on your bank account.
But sometimes it also feels good to spend it. Especially when talking about things you want simply because they are pretty. Necessities are things we often don't really want to spend money on, but we have to regardless (what about that new washing machine, because the old one broke down?). 
For example, I'd much rather spend my 200€ on a bunch of new books and some nice sweaters instead of getting my car fixed. At this point, I wonder why those necessities alway have to be so bloody expensive?

Anyway, saving money can be quite tricky with all of those temptations around us that literally scream at us: "Buy me!" Lovely clothes, books, candles, music, films... the list is endless.
I have always been quite good at putting at least a bit of money aside. You never know when you are going to need it, right? But I also go through phases of extensive spending. Not to a point where I end up completely broke, but enough to leave me with a feeling of guilt.
This month was one of those months. Again, I'm far from being penniless, but when I think about how much money I spent on clothing and other items this months, it makes me shudder with disgrace. I was so weak! But at the same time I am glad about every single one of my purchases, because I will enjoy every single one of them hopefully for years to come. And who can say no to a lovely flannel on sale?? Sometimes you have to treat yo self (yes, this is me justifying myself and yes, by "sometimes" I mean more than you actually plan to). 

Normally, next month should be a month of abstinence,when it comes to shopping, etc., but with Christmas right around the corner I honestly don't see that happening. I've also had this glorious idea to treat my mum with a short trip to Edinburgh with me. So, there goes my money... but this time it's for the right reasons. It is always easier for me to spend money on the people that I love than on myself. 

Saving money for times when you really need it is always a wise idea, but it should not stop you from treating yourself and your darlings from time to time. There might be bit of guilt involved, but sometimes, the 20€ you spend at the café when meeting up with your friends, can create memories that are much more valuable than those 20€.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Midnight Paranoia - Another Short Story

Original Picture taken from StockSnap
It was as if he had been struck by a lightning. His eyes opened even before his muscles had the chance to realize that he was no longer asleep. His body felt so stiff, so tense due to the sudden awakening.
Slowly his eyes started to wander as if they were looking for something in the dark, but there was nothing to be seen except for the silhouettes of his furniture. The room was filled with absolute silence. The only thing he noticed was his own breathing – slow, but deep. He felt his chest expand widely every time he took a breath in. After a few moments of laying still he rose from his bed. He was all alone, but still he could feel an indistinct presence. A faint tickling in his fingertips and toes, which made him shiver.
He put on his morning-coat to fight this acute cold and left the room. Quiet as a cat he tiptoed downstairs with his heart starting to beat faster. The sound the old clock in the living room somehow made him feel uneasy. Every moment he expected the constant, slow ticking to speed up. 
 
Darkness was still reigning over the rooms of this house, as he did not dare to turn on the light.
He made his way through the short corridor, following the ticking of the clock into the living room.
The fire had been out for many hours, so it was rather chilly.
He walked towards the grand window which allowed the moonlight to cast a sheen over the entire room. He was almost there when he felt cold air lightly brushing his neck. Or was it the breath of a person? He froze, but instead of turning around his gaze was fixed on his own reflection in the window.
He could feel his blood flushing through his veins. His whole body started to clench.

He was being watched. He knew it. He could neither hear nor see it, but he could feel it. Again he felt something lightly touching his neck. Slowly it wandered towards his collarbone, stroking the fine line of his throat.
With a swallow he closed his eyes. He tried to convince himself that it was just air coming in through a hole in the wall, but in truth it felt like caresses concentrating on that little bit of uncovered skin.
After three seconds his eyes opened again only to see the outlines of another man standing right behind him. In an instant he turned around to look at this person, but once again he was alone. He chuckled when he realized that he had succumbed to such an illusion, that he had allowed his own senses to betray him. However there was still a cooling sensation lingering on his neck. Instinctively his fingers reached up to touch it.

Finally he decided to declare this whole occurrence as an illusion and went back upstairs. Before he reached the last step a hand suddenly covered his mouth, pulling him back. With a restrained cry he fell.

His body reached the floor with a muffled sound, the left arm unnaturally distorted.
In shock his eyes were wide open, but he was unable to move.
Then there was the sound of footsteps. 

-----------------------------------------------------

This story is the product of a writing session from over a year ago. I've always been into morbid, psychological stories that move between reality and mere fantasy. On that particular evening I wanted to write something scary. Well, not necessarily scary, but something that would make the reader feel uneasy, maybe wondering. 

I was not sure if I should work on it a bit more to turn it into a longer story, but I never touched it again until a few months ago, when I tried to write a prologue for it. I was not satisfied with it. So, I abandoned the project again. Being very critical of my own work, I am hardly ever satisfied with the things that I write, especially when it comes to fiction, but I actually like how this part turned out. 

There is something fascinating about a man who finds himself in a situation, where he is all alone and confronted with emotions such as fear and despair. It makes him so vulnerable, but he might still try to retain his composure. His eyes might show that he is afraid, but he still tries to keep his body from trembling with all his might.

This short episode does have some sensual undertones to it, which was completely intentional. The mixture of eroticism and horror is to a certain degree quite faschinating, isn't it?
Hopefully, I will some day be able to continue this piece in a way that doesn't make me cringe like my last attempt did.
 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

That Nostalgic Feeling

Original Photo taken from StockSnap
 Today I took an early train to Cologne. It was just about dawn. The sun was slowly rising over the soft hills covered in their autumnal, golden brown dress. The scenery was the same as usual, with the same houses and the same trees, but the way the morning light illuminated everything with this warm sheen made me feel nostalgic

Not soon after our departure I could see a hill. On the top of this hill is a hospital, surrounded by a forest. Underneath that hospital is the house where I used to live, together with two friends I have known since middle school. And suddenly a wave of memories overcame me. 

It was not the best neighbourhood to live in, but so many good things in my life are attached to this place, as well as the people I used to share it with. I remembered our evenings together just chatting, snacking and talking along to "the Emperor's New Groove" or any Monty Python film. I remembered how we used to go on walks in the woods and how we went grocery shopping together almost every week for three years, with me being the designated driver (for I was the only one with a driver's license and a car). I remembered how carefree I was. 

Those three years were the best of my life so far. I was so carefree, because the real world seemed so far away. I had an amazing group of friends, this great apartment I shared with people who were so like me, who understood me, who did not feel offended when I felt the need to spend some time alone. Because they felt just the same way. 

I remembered the day when I saw this cute guy on the bus on my way home from uni and the surprise when he got out one station before mine. He was my new upstairs neighbour and my big crush for almost over two years. The nights we spent watching films together and making pizza. That one Halloween party where we almost kissed and spent the morning huddled against each other. 

Thinking of those happy years was a harsh reminder of the life I'm leading right now. I am not unhappy. In fact, I am rather lucky, but things are happening. Things have to happen, because it is how life goes. Soon, I will hand in my final thesis. I have to start looking for a proper job next month. Eventually, I will have to move out of the apartment I just started to really call my home

I am to torn between the desire to move forward with my life and this strong feeling of nostalgia which makes me think that life will never be as good as it was back then.
It is always easy to look back and see everything through rose-coloured glasses, to blurr the lines and make everything look all smooth and nice, because we only want to remember the good things. You want to think back to the moment when you and your friends sat together on the couch laughing about a silly joke instead of the moment when you stood in the kitchen, annoyed, because someone forgot to clean up the toast crumbs on the counter. 

I have always been a victim of living in the past. Sometimes I spend hours just remembering the same moment over and over again and at times I even wish I could return to it to relive it, maybe even change it. It is a beautiful and dangerous thing to be so caught up in the past. It is a part of me that will probably never fade away, but right now I have to force myself to not only look toward the future, but to actively approach it. 

Life is scary. And it always will be.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Just a silly Story about falling in Love

Original Picture taken from StockSnap
 She was sitting on the bus quietly reading her book. Actually, it was way too heavy to be taken around. In fact, it was so heavy that she had to rest it on her lap in order to read it. Because of the chilliness in the early morning she had put on her dark red tartan scarf which she used now to snuggle up in. The story she was reading was one of the most extraordinary ones she had read in a long time - gallant knights, brutal battles and fairytale creatures. 
But still she was not able to fully immerse in this wonderful fantasy. She knew that she was being watched. She could feel it in every single fiber of her body, from the tips of  her toes all the way to the ends of her hair. This feeling was nerve-wracking, but for the first 5 minutes after noticing it she didn't dare to look up. 
Suddelny the bus came to an abrupt stop at a red light. Her head automatically jerked up in surprise. 
Her eyes were wide open when she looked at the young man sitting opposite of her. His lips were curled into an amused smile, and at that moment she couldn't help but return it. 
Nervously she removed her backpack from  the seat next to her. There was plenty of room to sit on this bus that gloomy Wednesday afternoon. Usually, she was glad when she had some space for herself, but somehow the prospect of having this stranger right next to her was too exciting to let it pass. 
Even though he seemed to hesitate for a second, he suddenly chuckled, got up an made his way toward her. His smile was truly contagious.
"Hi, I'm sorry for bothering you. I couldn't help but notice you and your giant book. I'm Greg. Nice to meet you."


Tomorrow I will probably feel like deleting this truly silly attempt on writing again. I know it is nothing world to shake the literary world, just a little practice to ease myself back into it. 
It is one of those little fantasies that I'm sometimes caught up in - little scenarios of romantic, stereotypical but oh so cute chance encounters with likeable young men. 
I actually wrote a draft for this text on to the first page of my new Muji-notebook. Writing this down really felt like defiling this page, no the entire notebook. This notebook where witty remarks about life and profound observations are supposed to be eternalised. I guess, every great writer started with some silly nonsense. So, let's hope for a better, productive future.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Listen to your Heart, but speak with your Mind

Original Picture taken from StockSnap
 Nowadays we are taught that it is okay to speak your mind. That we are obliged to share our thoughts and our emotions with the world and the people around us. We no longer live in a society where we have to hold out tongues (at least in the Western hemisphere). If we don't like something, we say it. If we have complaints, we don't conceal them. 

However, it is not always that easy, especially if we enter the realm of interpersonal relationships. You do not want to hurt some else's feelings, sometimes even if they had hurt yours before. After all, it is not always intentional, right? But when you are stood up by someone for the second time in a row on a very short notice (I'm talking about a few hours before the actual date), you have a right to be disappointed, even if you know that the other person didn't do it on purpose. 
Some people are just a bit chaotic, so things like that happen. But if you haven't seen someone in a long time and you have been looking forward to seeing them so badly, this whole affair leaves a very bad aftertaste. 

You might want to tell him that you are disappointed, that you hate being stood up like that, but in the end you decide against it. You laugh it off. You tell him that it's alright and of course the date can be postponed. "No worries. It's fine, really. We can go another time!"

At the end of the talk you feel a bit numb. It is not real sadness. You just don't feel right. Maybe because you didn't say the right things - the things you actually wanted to say when you tried not to make the other person feel bad. 

It is always difficult to decide when to tell the truth and when to hide it. Is it for the sake of someone else or your own? Who will benefit? Both? Or will someone get hurt?
Usually, I refrain from revealing my personal feelings and thoughts, when I suffer from disappointment or anger. Snapping at the other person is never very helpful. And while the impulsive buy of a new book can be very gratifying, you have to be careful with relying too much on your feelings - or rather with expressing them.

Listen with your heart, but speak with your mind.
You can't always prevent hurt and heartbreak, but you can try to diminish the damage by using your brain even though it can be hard at times. Think about it. Think about it with a clear mind and consider your possibilities before you start to complain and whine all day.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

On avoiding Social Confrontation

Original Picture taken from StockSnap
 Today was the day I was supposed to go the birthday party of my father's girlfriend.
Judging from the way I phrased this first sentence it is quite easy to deduce that I did not go. 

They had invited me to come about to months ago - on my father's birthday party actually. Of course, I accepted the invitation with the usual excitement you have to show on such an occasion, but deep inside I was already dreading the prospect of sitting among all those strangers not knowing what to say to them. 

I have to admit, that soon afterwards I just forgot about the invitation. Until about one week ago, my father messaged me to remind me of the upcoming event. I didn't answer him for two more days debating on what I should answer him. Should I again tell him that I would come or should I decline with some poor excuse?

In the end, I opted for version no. 2. I told him that I was sorry, but I had to do the late shift at work, so it would be impossible for me to make it. But I ensured him, that I would ask my colleagues to switch with me. Then, on Wednesday, I messaged him again. Nobody was able to switch shifts. I was stuck. And deeply sorry. He was very understanding. After all, work always comes first. And nobody really wants to work on Saturdays, right?

While it felt wrong, this was not the first time for me to invent a reason not to go somewhere. And I was so relieved. Entering a room full of people you don't know, or people you've already met, but you never came around to getting to know them properly, is always a horrible, horrible feeling.
You know that you do not belong into this kind of inner circle of acquaintances.You are an intruder, and even though they might try to incorporate you, talk to you, it feels weird. I never know which questions to ask, or what to tell them about myself that might be interesting for them, but not uncomfortable for me. 

Most of the time those situations end with me either slipping away to the bathroom, taking deep breaths, or me making my way to the food.

A lot of people might say that this is the perfect chance to meet new people, but for me it just means a lot of inconveniences. It is not really anxiety, but a deeply rooted feeling of uneasiness
Indisposition.

You never want to be person who sits around simply observing the people around you and just listenting to their conversations instead of engaging in them. Because at the end the host might worry if you are okay;
"I hope you had at least some fun tonight. Next time there will be more people your age, like my niece with her boyfriend."
What am I? A child? And how should this niece and her boyfriend improve my situation? Of course, it was meant well, but ill executed.

Maybe talking to people on a personal basis, especially strangers, is something I should practice, but it is honestly so hard. Once I start to talk to them my mind goes blank. There is nothing. No interesting question. No witty comment. 

The way I handled it was not the perfect way to get out of this situation, but the only one that seemed to work for me at the moment. I might have the courage to show up next year. Or I'll still invent some silly reasons to avoid confrontation, which is ultimately more likely.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Literary Autumn [Quotes]

original photo taken from stocksnap
Autumn has always been my favourite season. I love the chilly mornings and wrapping up in warm blankets and drinking more tea. While winter is sometimes a bit too cold and uninviting, autumn is the perfect mixture of cosiness and the cold. And apparently I am not the only one who is fond of this magical combination. 
I remember it as October days are always remembered, cloudless, maple-flavoured, the air gold and so clean it quivers.
Leif Enger, Peace like a River
Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical extant of autumn - that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness, that season which has drawn from every poet, worthy of being read, some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling."
Jane Austen, Persuasion
"Rain on roof outside window, gray light, deep covers and warm blankets. Rain and nip of autumn in air; nostalgia, itch to work better and bigger. That crisp edge of autumn."
Sylvia Plath
"Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love - that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting bout their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one's very footsteps may not disturb the repose f earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn!"
George Elliott
September slipped by into a gold and crimson graciousness of October.
Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Appreciation Sunday #17

Picture taken by yours truly during today's walk
Sometimes you have this moment where you feel so grown-up you can hardly believe it. And the fact that you actually enjoy it makes it even harder to believe. I had this moment on this lovely Friday evening, when I was chilling on my couch after work.
I had gotten myself a bottle of white wine and since Netflix just uploaded the 2014 season of the Great British Bake Off, I decided to open up this bad boy and just have a good time being by myself. It took me quite a few minutes to realize how sophisticated and mature this whole thing felt. I rarely get a bottle of wine just for myself, but it really is quite enjoyable. It feels a bit like buying flowers for your apartment just because you can and because it makes you feel good. But that's a thing only grown-ups do, right?

Looking back, today also felt like a "I'm feeling so much like an adult right now" kind of day, even though I slept in until 10 a.m. Being a lazybum I didn't do anything that interesting, but I still took some time to be productive. I hopped on the mat for 30 minutes of yoga, I read (which I normally only do before going off to bed) I took a nice walk and bought a piece of cherry cake at the bakery - again because I can, right?
Usually, I like to spend my days off literally doing nothing apart from feeding myself, thinking about feeding myself and watching Netflix and Youtube videos.

So, today was fairly different for me and a lot more enjoyable than last Sunday, which I had spent in a more "age appropriate" fashion:
Curled up on my parent's sofa with the dogs and the worst hangover since that dreadful last night in Korea in 2012 (the one where I decided that it would be a great idea to get drunk the night before a long distance flight - best idea ever!).

Ever since I started this blog I kept lamenting, because growing up is so hard and I still think that's true. The thought of getting older every day and losing that feeling of being young and carefree will always be scary, I guess. However, today I felt very much at ease with myself and the way I am right now. This might change as soon as I start working on my thesis and once I start looking for proper employment, but right now things are pretty good.
I even bought a rug for my bedroom for heaven's sake! If that is not grown-up, what is??

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Exploring Linderhof Castle

Picture taken by yours truly
Ludwig II. of Bavaria was probably one of the most excentric personalities of his time. His obsession with his namesake king Ludwig XIV. of France and anything baroque and romantic led to the construction of 3 remarkable castles. Last year I finally got the chance to visit Neuschwanstein and this year, we made a day trip to Linderhof, the only one of his ambitious projects, he was actually able to finish before his death.

Smaller in size than expected, this small piece of baroque extravaganza is situated on a large terrain surrounded by hills and mountains. Just exploring the grounds itself makes the trip worth it. Because of the sheer size of the area, you can spend almost an entire day there. 

The castle itself is at the center of a lovely garden. Both, the castle and the grounds, are modeled after Ludwig XIV.'s Versailles. Looking down from either side at the end of the garden, you can see that everything is in almost perfect symmetry. Statues decorate the entire garden and if you come in the summer, you will even get to walk in the shade of beautiful passages. 
Inside the castle, everything is as exquisitely kitschy as can be. The rooms are small, but decorated up to the tiniest corner with marble, tapestries and of course a bit of gold. You will also be able to see Ludwig's famous "Tischlein deck' dich", the dining room table, which could be transported downstairs easily, so that the king would not be disturbed and could fully indulge in his daydreams. Tours through the château take about 20-30 minutes. Dogs are allowed, but have to be carried. If you are fortunate enough to be a student, admission will be free. 
The view over the garden from the top of the cascade
The view from the south end of the garden
 Once you have finished the tour through the castle itself, you can walk around the area and take a look at the Venus Grotto, which acts as a set for Richard Wagner's "Tannhäuser". Supported by music, light and a play of colours, you can only imagine, what it must have been like for Ludwig, when he himself had spent his time there.
Not far away you will find the Moorish kiosk. I have to admit that it is rather weird to see a building like this within this very German and green scenery. It is a bit out of place, but is still nice to look at.
The Moorish kiosk
the only thing I was not able to see and which still aggravates me, is the Hunding's Hut, also modeled after one of Wagner's pieces ("the Valkyrie") and is also shown in Visconti's 1972 film "Ludwig".  I was very eager to see this place but well... sometimes life (or impatient parents) gets in the way. 
Strolling around the garden
the view toward the southern terrace
As with other attractions involving Ludwig II. it is advisable to avoid coming in August, as this is the busiest time of the year. When we visited Linderhof in September (during the week) there were still a lot of people, but despite that you could move around quite easily. 

After the slight disappointment at Neuschwanstein last year (mostly due to the fact, that you just get shoved through the castle without being able to really look around), I have to say that Linderhof was a lot more enjoyable. The castle is small and the tour is short as well, but there is still so much see I actually prefer it over Neuschwanstein. 
The entire castle and the grounds seem to be like a big playground mixing different styles of architecture and periods to suit the taste of a man who never seemed to fit into his own surroundings.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Anyone seen my Drive?

Original Picture taken from StockSnap
 The past few days have been really quiet over here.
After a real burst of creativity, where I wrote down a lot of prompts for my next blog entries and after finishing a tiring essay for university, I fell back into my usual slump of doing nothing. At this point I spend most of my days on the sofa watching Friends while only thinking about all the productive things I probably should be doing instead (like cleaning out my wardrobe or getting started on my master thesis). 

I was never the most productive person on this planet, but at times it becomes especially hard to focus on getting stuff done. And while it is certainly a good feeling to go to bed after a long, but successful day, I sometimes just prefer to lie on the sofa doing nothing, because I simply don't have the energy to do anything else.  It doesn't matter if we are talking about something academic, fitness related or around the house. Even this little space. Everything somehow gets neglected.

Looking at other people and the way they handle their daily life, this approach feels quite pathetic (the fact that the picture for this post is bigger than the post itself doesn't really help either). Yes, sometimes people to feel like doing nothing, but most of the time they still get their asses moving. 
Tomorrow, I actually have a day off from work, so I hope, I will be able to get back on track with my life.
Starting off with my wardrobe and getting rid of some other things I don't need. 

Wish me luck!
Cause I'm gonna need it real bad...

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

After Work Serenity

Original Photo taken from StockSnap
 After a hard or even just tedious day at work, there is this wonderful moment, when I get to lock the door of the shop. After smiling and and exchanging pleasantries for hours it feels nice to know, that now, nobody will be able to disturb me while I tend to the final chores of my work day: cleaning, restocking, counting and ultimately winding down.
While I do not enjoy the late shift that much, this is the only time when I get this kind of gratification. Once the early shift is over I just switch places with my colleague, grab my things and I'm out. However, this whole locking the door and cleaning the shop feels like a ritual of easing myself into closing time.
The moment I have changed back into my own clothes and left the shop, I like to take a deep breath.
I am free again. I am anonymous.

No more silly questions.
No more being nice to other people, except if I want to. 

On my way home I like to think about what I am going to eat for dinner. I often decide what to watch on Netflix and generally prepare myself mentally for my precious pyjama-time.  

Once I arrive at my apartment, I am finally a private person again.
I am not available for trivial conversations. I am without duties and without a bra (one of the most important things, to be honest).  

Okay, this whole affair might be ridiculous for all the people out there who actually have a full-time job, while I am just doing this part-time thing where I get to spend no more than 6 hours on one shift. But at the same time it is still work and thinking about it, in one year, I am hopefully going to be employed full-time, too. 
So, I guess, I have to enjoy this while it lasts.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Growing into my Future

Original Picture acquired via Death to the Stock Photo
 Growing up has never been an easy thing for me. The thought alone makes me cringe. 
But the worst of it all was always the fact that one day, I would have to go and search for a job, eventually realizing that I am not fit for anything. 

As an undergrad student I majored in Asian studies with Japanese as my main language (albeit I was never as good as my peers). onve my last term started, I also started to worry about my future. What am I going to do with this degree? Is there even something I can do? It was clear to me, that I needed to do a graduate program as well, but which one? And where? 

In all honesty, when I decided to stay at my university for my graduate program, it was a decision born out of convenience, not passion for the subject. I did not want to leave my friends, my part-time job and I enjoyed the lifestyle I had had so far. I already knew, that the degree I would acquire after roughly two years would not necessarily prepare me for a management career or even the kind of work I intended to do. 
I simply wanted to postpone the death of this last fragment of light-heartedness.This faint shadow of being free and without obligations.

During my studies I realized that the program was not what I thought it would be. Too much of it was just a repetition of what I had already learned during my undergrad studies. Maybe, I should have quit to do something more "valuable" with my time. But now, right before writing my final thesis, I am quite glad that I didn't. 

Being a student of the arts, I am aware that I will most likely end up in a completely different branch, than I originally anticipated when I started going to university in 2010. When people asked me what I wanted to do after uni, I'd usually say: "I'll work for a company operating in the Asian market." Now, I know that this might not be happening. And while I am still nervous when I think about sending out job applications at the end of the year, it doesn't terrify me as much anymore. My studies do restrict me in a way, but they made me aware of all the other possibilities I still have, as well.

While they never taught me anything concrete, I have learned many other skills that will help me. They might be ridiculous in the eyes of someone else, but to me, they open different doors that might otherwise be shut.

I am slowly growing into a person finally able to accept what might be ahead of me, whatever that will be.
In the end, it's going to be fine. 

I am  going to be fine. 
And so are you.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Appreciation Sunday #16

Photo taken by yours truly
 For the past two weeks I had been on holiday with my parents and the dogs in Bavaria
We came back yesterday after a long car journey and today I packed my things to return to my flat. 
The feeling, when you come home after a long time is always so fulfilling. I love being back in my familiar surroundings, with a comfortable bed and all of my books at arm's length. 

But I am going to miss the nature
Mountains, forests and lakes will always be my favourites among the sceneries our planet has to offer.
The solitude and the silence give me enough space to recharge.

I also went to Munich for three days to see my dearest friend, whom I hadn't seen for quite a while.
Those three days inolved a lot of walking, delicious food and all of the usual silliness that I enjoy so much. We went to the castle of Nymphenburg, indulged in some beautiful and weird paintings and shared some wonderful meals she had cooked herself (sometimes I'm really envious of her effortlessness in the kitchen). 

After my return to my parents we spent our days walking, going to the sauna and I finally able to do the tandem flight my mother had given to me on my birthday. It was the most amazing experience! And also not as scary as I thought it would be. For almost half an hour I was up in the sky, placed in a comfortable seat, just to fall down on my knees when we touched the ground. 

At the end of our holiday we decided that we are ready for something new the next time, as we have already seen most of the sights, which is exciting. But I am not going to lie, I'll miss it. I'll miss being able to see Neuschwanstein from the window of my room.. I'll miss the Alpsee. I'll miss the now almost familiar paths and trees. 

Thank you, Bavaria, for two amazing weeks!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

10 Things I can not stand

Original Picture acquired via Death to the Stock Photo
Life is full of little annoying things. Whether it is the couple from upstairs that has to let the whole building know what they are doing late at night, or you simply forgot your keys at home. Again. Personally, I am allowed by far too many things on a daily basis, but this my current top 10 list:
  1. The sound of nail clippers (only from other people)
  2. People who walk in front of you very slowly and suddenly stand still, so you almost bump into them
  3. When people chew with an open mouth... basically chewing in general (it's never a very aesthetic thing to do)
  4. The feeling of being watched by strangers
  5. Making phone calls
  6. People who keep retelling the same stories over and over again 
  7. The feeling when you wake up 5 minutes before your actual alarm (This is not a matter of "beating" time, but missing 5 minutes of precious sleep!)
  8. Bicycles
  9. White boots (They are not a fashion statement, they are a disease. Or at least look like one) 
  10. Leaving work just to realize that you forgot to do something once you step through the door of your apartment

What annoys you on a regular basis?

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Human Shapes


Original Picture taken from unsplash
The human body is not shaped perfectly.
There is no flat stomach, no perfectly defined calves, no muscular, round bicep.
Most times there is some excess flesh hanging over the sides of the hips and saggy breasts.

A body can look oval like an egg, with long, thing extremities attached to it.
Sometimes it looks rather plump or stubby.
Also, the shapes can change with every movement and every new perspective.
A body that looks slender from the front might reveal a round belly from the side.

There nothing like the perfect body, even with a rigorous diet and exercising.
Someone will always find a "flaw".
And while we can and should find the time and energy to improve ourselves,  one should refrain from over obsessing. It is impossible to fulfill the needs of everyone else, even though we so often thrive to accomplish that very thing. But sometimes it can be even harder to fulfill our own needs. To be satisfied with our own personal shape. To do justice to our perfect self image.
Achieving this kind of satisfaction is the hardest, as well als the most important accomplishment.

Human shapes are just as diverse as the characters that inhabit them and people should learn to accept that. Not only when it comes to others, but in particular in regard to themselves.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Living the Cosy Life

 
Picture taken from unsplash
 It is still early in the morning. A short look out of the window shows green meadows, with a veil of cold air still lingering. The leaves have recently started to show themselves in their most wonderful colours: rich reds, browns and golden yellow.  It is Autumn.
Due to the chilliness I put on my morning coat and make my way into the kitchen, where I make myself a cup of tea and indulge in a rich breakfast. Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon. 

I feel my cat brushing my legs. So, I bend down to caress her and give her something to eat, too. 
Together, we go to my little study room. It is filled with books all the way up to the ceiling. Some are old, some are new, but all of them are very well loved
With one last yawn I grab my blanket and a book to cuddle up in the nook by the window. I have never been a morning person, but this is the best way to gather up the energy needed for a long solitary walk.

Reading, dreaming and walking. 

This is what Autumn was made for.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Thoughts on "Seriously...I'm Kidding" [Book Review]

Picture found on Goodreads - check for more reviews :)

Recently, I've been a lot into reading books written by witty and successful women (as apparently every other young woman on this planet at the moment). I've read the books by Mindy Kaling, Sophia Amoruso, Tina Fey, etc. While I do not think, that those books are pieces of high art, they are often very entertaining and give me some good advice along the way.

So, when I went to the bookstore a while ago (again) and I came across Ellen DeGeneres' "Seriously... I'm Kidding", I could not leave without it. After all, I am a big admirer of Ellen and her bubbly, positive personality. So, I assumed that this book would be one heck of a good laugh.

To make a long story short: I was a tad bit disappointed.
This book does offer some very funny anecdotes and I had to chuckle quite a few times, but sadly it was not as funny as I had expected. She uses a lot of enumerations to make a point and tends to stray off course quite a lot. While for a lot of people, this might be charming and fun to read, I prefer it, when people get to the point of the story. That's why I was not a big fan of  "The Longest Chapter".
A lot of parts of this book were predictable as well as repetitive.

However, this does not mean, that I did not enjoy reading it.
First of all, the chapters were quite short, so it was a very easy and quick read; perfect for travels or if you want to do a bit of reading before going to sleep. 
As I already said, books like this are not very complex pieces of literature, but what I really enjoyed about this one, is  the fact that Ellen DeGeneres is just as laid-back and easy-breezy in her writing as on her show. It feels as if she was sitting right in front of you and telling you all of her little stories. 
Man, I'd love to listen to that audiobook! Also, it is very refreshing to have someone, who can make a joke without being insulting or offensive.

So far, I'd say, that Mindy Kaling's "Is everyone hanging out wthout me?" is my favourite of the bunch so far, with Tina Fey's "Bossypants" as a runner-up (still have to reas "Yes, please" by Amy Poehler). While Ellen DeGeneres' book is a bit weaker, I'd still recommend it to anyone, who enjoys some lightheartedness and is in need of a good laugh.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Why working as a Shop Assistant is actually good for your Career

Original picture taken from unsplash
 About 6 months ago, I got accepted to work as a shop assistant for a brand I actually really care about. I was very luck that I got accepted,but I was also worried, because I hadn't work at a shop before and, as you probably already know, I am not the best with people.
But during the past few months I actually developed quite a few skills, which will surely come in handy once I dive into the "real world" and get a proper job like almost every other adult. 
Of course, if you are still in university like I am, internships and part time job srelated to your field of study are important for your CV and work experience (which I completely neglected to be honest), but even at a minor part time job like this you still acquire some useful skills.

1. Presentation
As a shop assistant it is, of course, your job to sell products. In order to do that you have to introduce new costumers to the entire brand itself or certain products. That way you learn how to showcase not only the goods, but also yourself. A lot of jobs nowadays require a certain degree of confidence. If you have it, great. If you don't, you can at least learn to fake it. 

2. Hiding your bad mood
To me, there is nothing worse than waiting in line to pay for my stuff at the supermarket, only to be greeted by well... actually not being greeted by the cashier. Oftentimes they just sit or stand there looking very, very bugged out, the corners of the mouth dragging down toward the floor. 
While I understand that on some days, you just don't feel like working for God knows how many hours at the store, having to handle annoying customers, it is part of your job to make the customers feel welcome. In the end, they are the ones who pay you for your services. So, act accordingly!
Do you think, your boss will appreciate it, if you slouch behind your desk, looking at the clock every 30 seconds? Certainly not. Even if you want to go home, the key is not to show it, or to quote one of our favourite films,  Frozen:
"Conceal it, don't feel it. Don't let it show."

3. Organisation
Working as a shop assistant involves so many more tasks than just selling stuff. There is a lot of behind the scenes work going on and depending on the company you will have more or less responsibility to keep the wheels turning. You will have to take care of the store and see that everything is in stock. You might have to take on some extra duties that require more organisation. 

4. Learning what people want
By observing and interrogating your customers, you will slowly learn how different kinds of react to the way you approach them and what kind of questions you have to ask to get the answer you are looking for. But, please note that it not about seeing someone and instantly knowing how their brain is wired. Instead it is about developing techniques that will help you handle different kinds of people in a competent way. 

5. Dealing with stress
I guess, most jobs have their highs and lows when it comes to workload.On some days there are phases when nothing happens and on other days it feels as if there is not a single minute left for you to take a deep breath. The same rule applies to shops and let me tell you: if the place is busy, you will need all the energy and concentration that you can get. Especially on the weekends and the last weeks before Christmas things can get really messy. This is the time, when you basically have to combine all the aforementioned skills to the max, or else you will drown. 

While for some potential employers "shop assistant" is not a sign for competence and success in the first place, the most important thing is how you sell it and every job that you do, will serve you well, as long as you make an effort and do the best that you can.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Appreciation Sunday #15

Picture taken by yours truly
Yesterday, one of my dearest friends got married
Well, actually she got married the week before, but it was just the civil ceremony and well, sometimes it only becomes real, when you see the bride walking down the aisle with a with a veil right alongside her proud father. It was truly a wonderful day. The bride looked stunning - of course. 
There was plenty of food and we danced until the early morning. Naturally, there were some tears, but they were all due to complete and utter happiness
I take you to the candy shop~ wait, or just the lovely candy bar at the wedding??
 As I'd already told you, this was the first wedding in my close circle of friends and even though it scared me, this whole day made me once again realise how perfectly natural it was, for the two of them to get married. I guess, there are a few fortunate couples on this planet where you can really feel that they belong together. 

I went to bed at about 5 o'clock this morning, so I don't think I have to tell you how much fun we'd had. 
Five hours later I was up again. It's almost time for bed now, and I still don't feel any more lively than in the morning. That's when you notice you're not getting any younger. 

Later in the day, we went to the lake where my stepfather used to fish. Sadly, the lady who owns the lake wants to sell it. So, we won't be able to go there anymore. It was our very last afternoon there. We had come to this lake for many years now, though not as frequent as we wanted to during the past 2 years (well, German weather...). It was always a lovely, short escape from our daily life. 
Every time, my mother used to prepare some nice salads and meat for the grill, we would load our tents into the car, grab the dogs and after a 20 minute drive we'd found ourselves in perfect solitude
Apart from this lake, there are only trees, fields and a few birds (who are loud as hell in the morning). 
Greetings from the pugs!
Going there this one last time made me a bit melancholic. It is one of those pieces of my childhood that suddenly vanished. Again, it reminds me of the fact that I am actually an adult, believe it or not. 

I still believe it is just a very bad joke.  

Is it weird to be almost in your mid-20s and you can still not really understand what is happening around you? Anyway, I am glad that got the chance to come back to this place for one last time (ignoring the fact, that I actually dozed off quite a few times).

Friday, 21 August 2015

The tongue-tied Logophile

original picture taken from unsplash
As a child, I was always the artsy one. I used to craft, write and draw all day - when I was not playing with my Barbie's.
At the same time, I developed this really morbid style. I was always the weird kid whose stories were supposed to be dark and scary with mysterious necklaces, murderers and a bit of gore. 
When we were assigned to draw a picture of a girl with a jump rope for our art class, I got my major inspiration from the Japanese film "Battle Royale". Let's just say, that my picture stood out. My teacher loved it and it actually hung in one of the corridors of my school for quite a few months. 

Somehow, I always found something creative to occupy myself with and it didn't matter if the final product was actually amazing or some unidentifiable mess that ended up in the trash can. Just the process of trying to create something was worth it. 
I used to draw. Tons and tons of pictures and sketches. Well, mostly sketches, because I hated colouring. I used to embellish the blank spaces and backs of my notebooks with my drawings and spent a lot of time and money at the craft store to get drawing utensils. I was obsessed, but I was also not very happy with my style. Instead of working on it, I quit, envying others because of their great talent, which I suppose now, was and still is mostly the result of hard work and dedication

Without these two tools it almost impossible to improve. 

Then, there is writing. I was never really able to quit on writing, but at the same time, I got increasingly afraid of it.  

"What if my style not good enough?" 
"What if my stories are not interesting enough?" 
"What if they don't have enough wit or eloquence?" 
"What if they are just plain boring?" 

There's been this gigantic wall inside my head, I am not able to overcome ever since I started to consciously think about what I write down. 
No idea reaches my fingers to be actually written down. Killed before it's actual existence. 

Geez, even writing this down is hard, but I guess, one has to consider what the great Harper Lee once said in orer to get better:

"To be a serious writer requires discipline that is iron fisted. It's sitting down and doing it whether you have it in you or not. Everyday. Alone. Without interruption. Contrary to what most people think, there is no glamour to writing. In fact, it's heartbreak most of the time."

A logophile is a person with a deep love for words. 
I love words - as long as they are not my own. I could marvel at the words of other people for hours, wondering how they found the perfect words to describe what I feel. 
Why is it so hard to find the right words for what is going on in my mind? 

Because I do not know how to put a proper end to this ongoing discussion inside my head, I will leave you with the words of another wise woman:

"Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can't forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released."
Natalie Goldberg