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Learning to swim

9 Mai

It’s time for another English article. Time for me to swim a little.

When we start to learn a different – foreign, weird – language, it’s like splashing water.

It tickles in our ears, it’s fresh and cold, chilly. And yet this language invites you. Once you learned how to swim, there is a great ocean of experience awaiting you. Many people with different and yet the same thoughts swimming and diving together with you. You can also just sit on a boat and watch the other ones, that might be fun, too. But the real journey begins when you jump right in.

First, you hear nothing at all and everything at the same time. Under water, words sound blurry and distant. But there they are, one or two combinations, a familiar expression. Now you even got a whole sentence! You reach the air again and breathe deeply. Inhaling security, exhaling excitement.

When you walk home, still replying the new words you have learned, it starts to rain. Just a light, warm summer rain. Then thunder rumbles. What if you will never be able to take part in a real conversation? Help! Lightning strikes. But then you remember the feeling when you mingled with the water. How it was just brilliant. Your whole life got so much bigger. There is this complete new world you gained access to. And the best part: You can switch worlds now. Compare expressions, see the connection between the languages and you might even create a new bridge between the two. Some people might say you are just not good enough, but sometimes you are even better, because you see the meaning of the so called ‚false‘ expressions. It’s like a new child, a mix between them. Okay, sometimes that can be really silly, too. But what the heck, as long as it is worth a good laugh. Be a hybrid. Whatever.

It’s really important that you go for a swim regularly and train your muscles. Otherwise you might forget stuff and be afraid the next time you see the water. And in the end it is also really important (most of all I guess), just to let go and trust the water. It will hold you, you will not drown. And if you sink a little, just listen to all the wonderful words you don’t understand yet. Just feel their meaning.




The biggest change

27 Jan

It’s been a while since I got back to Germany. Home. Hamburg.

Nearly two years have passed and I don’t feel like the same person anymore. I was wide open back then, ready to get on the next plane or start something crazy. And in a way, I did. I decided to listen to my heart and started writing. I have some freelancing projects going on and also a job as a journalist in a TV magazine. But the biggest change was to start writing stories, blog posts, and just listen to my inner voice. I even concentrated on a big project which I call „my book“. I am not sure whether it is gonna be a book at all, and it will most certainly not be the first book I will finish. But it’s mine, completely. Something that is meant to be done in this lifetime.

Just to say (admit) this is part of the big change. To stand up for what my heart desires. What defines me, what I actually am. I am becoming an author. Somehow I worked against this my whole life, even though I always told people that I „wanted to write“. They looked confused and tried to find ways for me to fit in (mostly by making me a good candidate for the next big journalist or even politician). What I really meant was, „I want to become an author“. Not a famous one, just the one I was meant to be. Finding my inner peace by doing the only thing that really makes sense in this world. It was a painful realization. Because it had absolutely nothing to do with fitting in.

And then I started telling people. Not the way I used to, but with a new confidence. With the straigthforward truth inherent in these words. I am becoming an author. And when I started telling this right up, everything fell into its place. Now I have the chance to do exactly what I was meant to do. People are open to my ideas, my texts, they support me. No lurching around anymore. No insecurity about it. I don’t know yet whether those things I write make any sense to other people, but to me they do. I have to put some trust into that. Because it’s all that’s left, all that held me back all the time.


These shoes are made for walking

1 Sep


These are my shoes. Not my only ones, not my current, exactly. But just mine. Over time, they became a part of me somehow.

These shoes were a gift from a girl called Sarah. I hope she would be glad to hear that they made it this far. Not only around-the-world-wise but also in my life.

They were first brought into this world in China, probably a couple of years ago. Then they traveled to Canada, where Sarah got them. Because she already had another great pair of running shoes, she almost never wore them. And because I was in need – desperately actually – of some decent shoes for a little hiking, she decided to give them to me. We were roommates in Vancouver during my ‚Working Holiday‘ and at that point of time, I only had some boots with me made of something like plastic fur – whose best times were over already. I thought of them as great winter boots. But since Vancouver has its own, very mild climate, those boots got too warm indoors and too slippery outside (because they had no grip anymore). My new shoes were just perfect. Besides the hiking, I also wore them during my job at the coffee shop, to walk the laundry back and forth and for everything else I can remember. They joined me in happy times and also when I was upset.

I took them from Vancouver to Las Vegas in Spring for a vacation, before we traveled on to Toronto. They got to see the Grand Canyon (although I am not sure about that, since there was this little wall and I didn’t take them to the edge of the rim), a lot of Casinos, the desert, carried me for hours and hours through this amazing world of imagination, nature and gambling. They crossed the borders of Canada and the USA and experienced flying in a plane (at least it was the first time on some feet, being able to breathe instead of just lying in a box like on their first flight).

We stepped on Canadian ground again, although it felt different from Vancouver. There was less nature and more urban space in Toronto, it seemed kind of dirty and older compared to the west (not judging, just thinking of my shoes). We saw everything there was to see, then moved on to the Husky Farm in Northern Ontario. My shoes got out in the wild again. They were sniffed at by dozens of curious little dog’s noses, had to step in a lot of different types of ground and finally carried me around over what felt like some hundrets of kilometers. I was so grateful for having them. Every. Single. Day.

They got to hit the pedals in a car and feel the ground of a boat, walk, run, jump, rest, climb and protect my feet. And then we went to see the Niagara Falls. My shoes got wet, like many times before, but they dry quickly. We rode on a bike and went on by foot and car and foot again. Then there was the day they got to see their third continent: We flew back to Germany (they flew on, to be exact). I showed them my home city, Hamburg, and took them to a lot of events. On some few occasions I even took them for a run until I got new specialized shoes for that. After all, they weren’t so young anymore…and you should be supported in a decent manner during a run.

I also got a lot of new pairs of shoes and even used some old ones, too. But no pair can replace my shoes. Sometimes I like to wear some nice footwear, sometimes a slightly warmer type, or lighter, more open style, for that matter. In summertime as in wintertime they don’t exactly fit every occasion and, let’s be honest, they don’t look as good as a new pair of pumps.I guess most women love their shoes, as in their many, many, many, beautiful, different accessories.

But this is how I am: I prefer to wear my old-by-now, a little worn out shoes and remember how many steps we already managed to take together, which wonderful people we met and all those amazing things we have seen, on what far away ground we stepped and how easy and nice it all felt with them.

Gedichte / poems

31 Jul

Ich habe vor Kurzem begonnen, einige sehr persönliche Gedichte ins Internet zu stellen. Ob das eine gute Idee ist, weiß ich noch nicht. Hauptsächlich sind es ältere Sachen. Sie sind allesamt auf Englisch verfasst, vielleicht um die Distanz zu wahren. Wenn ihr also Interesse habt, schaut hier rein:

I recently started to put something very personal out there: poems. Most of them are old and tell little stories. I wrote them in English (or at least what I thought was English) and I am still not quite sure what to think of it myself. However, if you are interested:

X-treme Goodbyes

22 Jun

There are times in life when extreme things happen to you. There are also a couple of things you wish might never happen to you: losing important stuff, or getting fired. It came as a big surprise to me that those were actually some of the best experiences.

We tend to hold on to things. The moment they disappear you know whether you really needed them and what they meant to you. Whether you owned them or they owned you. And you can finally let go of your fear from losing them, because they are gone. Most stuff is either replaceable or not as important as you thought it was. The only thing you really miss is people. When I moved to Canada for a couple of months, there was a lot of stuff left behind and gone forever. But standing in Vancouver, I couldn’t think of one thing home I was actually missing. Walking through Ontario, I couldn’t picture one little thing in a box I carefully packed before I went. I could only think of the people left behind. While moving on through life, you need certain things. You change your armor, if you will. Leaving everything behind thrilled and terrified me at the same time. You collect stuff, you love it because it reminds you of something or someone, but then it’s just baggage in a box. You can leave it in the attic and hold it every couple years. Being able to move includes letting go a lot of stuff that weighs you down. I couldn’t understand it until I let go most of my stuff myself. The last night in Germany I was sick. All of my belongings were either gone, sold, or in a box. Christian and I had about ten (!) boxes left. Both of us. That meant I only had about five boxes plus a lot of clothes, no furniture (which was ok), and the huge backpack packed for the trip which didn’t contain half of the things I thought I needed. Looking back, I feel like I was a huge idiot. It was not only being spoiled in an industrialized way (how many people on earth can say they have enough to eat, drink or dress themselves with?) but also I couldn’t stand the big change I always wanted and had initiated myself. My body revolved. As you can see, I survived it. Now I know it was actually the best thing to do, but it had a big price tag on it. To become someone new, you have to leave your old you behind. And this goodbye can be very painful. But if you are lucky, you soon recognize that you don’t change at all and you can take the best things with you. As corny as it might sound, you have the most important stuff in your heart all the time.

Getting fired is one of the worst things that could happen to you, many people would say. Interestingly, most of those people never actually got fired. I was lucky in different ways when I got fired. First of all, I was prepared. There were a couple of other “cases” in that firm before it actually hit me. Secondly, I was prepared to quit myself. Yet, it came quite as a shock to me. I took it very personally. Although I have had bad stomach pains for a while, and I was totally unhappy working there, it never really occurred to me they could fire me. You see, I am quite nice around people, so it was a huge thing when I told my boss the truth about something which I won’t discuss here. It really doesn’t matter. I know people don’t actually like hearing the truth, but I thought he would be grateful in the end for having me there and being honest with him. He was not. Obviously, he didn’t think my truth was his and also he felt compromised by my telling him off in front of another colleague. I can call it bad luck now, but you can also see it as one version leading to the end of my working there. It could have been different, but in the end it just wasn’t meant to be. In no case I’d still be working there and that is a very good thing, for both sides. It’s like a bad relationship. You tend to see some guilt and like to put it on the other person, but you can also see it as simple as it is: Not meant to be. The worst thing you can do is to extend the dependency. This is what makes it hard, either a break-up or a denouncement. It doesn’t matter which side started the fight or quit the whole thing, because the hard thing is to realise you have invested in something (or somebody) which (who) didn’t make you happy. As soon as both sides agree on their not agreeing, everything becomes clear and easy. Now you can lick your wounds or just go out the door and do something which is meant to be.