Currently attempting to make home made cheesy Spätzle - which is a traditional German dish that is basically like the German version of Mac n Cheese. It is raining and cold so this is a total Sunday comfort food attempt. I will let you know how it goes! Below is what I will attempt to emulate.
Here is some more info on this German delicacy from our old friend Wikipedia:
Spätzle dough typically consists of few ingredients, principally eggs, flour, and salt. Often, water is added to produce a thinner dough.
Traditionally, Spätzle are made by scraping dough off a wooden chopping board (“Spätzlebrett”) into boiling salt water where they cook until they rise to the surface. They are then skimmed and put aside.
Since this can be a cumbersome way to prepare spätzle, several devices were invented to facilitate cooking that resemble a strainer, (or colander), a potato ricer (“Spätzlepresse”), a food mill or coarse grater (“Spätzlehobel”). Like with scraped Spätzle, the dough drops into the boiling water.
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”—Anaïs Nin
On Being a Woman: a semi-existential identity crisis had while living abroad
Preface: I have some amazing male and female friends here and this is not about anyone but myself. I wrote this overtime. Sometimes on a park bench and sometimes on my laptop in bed, but all the time I was scared to write it. So here we go.
My skin was crawling and my head was pounding. It had been a long day of words upon words and typing and listening and drinking coffee just to keep my eyes open. I was listening to Fiona Apple on repeat and hating the fact that all I was surrounded by were males who smelled highly of the male scent and talked highly in the male way. Something I love but hated on this day. They were talking about how hot some girl was that they probably would never have the nerve to talk to and then trying to out due each other with their manliness by saying “Bros before hoes” or some bullshit like that.. really? Did you just say that in front of me? It made me want to laugh out loud and also scream. I am being harsh and in reality love these guys but in that moment I felt so degraded even though I had been in that same position for years. This is normal male behavior and completely acceptable on some levels, but after three months non stop surrounded by men and boys, the little things just get to me as I am positive they would get to a male surrounded by women for the same length of time. Even if you appreciate the opposite sex and are completely attracted as well, there comes a time where you just want to be around your “own kind” and that time has come after 24 years of being the tommyst of tom boys. I was feeling 100% like a woman trapped in a world of men and forgetting what it felt like to be part of an identified group. I felt like an outsider.
I am not a girls girl. I have never been one and I probably will never be one but in some ways I envy women who can sit around gossiping whilst drinking martinis and super feminine cocktails. Like those women on Sex in the City or Desperate Housewives or something like that. Wait…does that really exist ? Or even the women who can just hang out in flocks without cringing. I cringe in flocks. I just have always been too dirty to play house with the girls. While my 7 year old neighbor was playing Barbie, I was playing on an all boys Baseball team tucking my hair under my cap to try to fein the appearance of a male so that the other team would stop making fun of me for simply “being a girl”. I mean WTF. I was made fun of for being a girl so of course I didn’t want to hang out with them!
So now I am a 24 year old, confused woman. Stuck in a proverbial “no mans land”. Not accepted into the society of men and fart jokes and grab assing but also not accepted into the world of femininity or sisterhood or whatever being a stereotypical “female” entails. I am stuck in the middle and I am sick of it. And I am going through this in a country where I am already an outsider. A foreigner. An expat. Germany. The land of beer, blonde babes, unexpected downpours, obedience and a language that I am only beginning to grasp (huge overstatement, I can barely say my street name right). So where does this leave me in an existential sense? I would have to say that the outcome is confusion, anger and a willingness to dig deeper into what I am going through. But I am not here to complain and whine and lament “oh poor me” - as much as it seems that that is what I have done in the previous paragraphs. I am simply trying to come to grips with my sex, because in my whole life I have never felt like such a woman as I do now and maybe this is where the confusion stems from.
So I guess I am facing an identity crisis that was bound to hit since I entered this world almost 25 years ago - I am finally starting to figure out the answers to the questions of who am I, who do I want to be and who do I want to be surrounded by to be the person I want to be. Here, in this place, I can see the differences and tensions between myself and my male counterparts clearly whereas in San Diego or Santa Cruz or even Texas the line was more blurred and skewed. Not because there weren’t people that looked down upon me for “being me” in those places but for the simple fact that I knew how to avoid them - moving to a new country I missed some of the signs to stay away from a certain type of person because they were there…willing to be my friend on some level. No man (or woman) is an island and being alone can only be satisfying to an extent. A friend is a friend. In San Diego for example, I felt a sense of camaraderie and acceptance for being simply who I am - an unabashedly independent woman who loves dry humor and tasteless jokes but also enjoys cooking, little kids, taking care of others and wearing fancy dresses. I feel that here sometimes, but in other cases I am left utterly confounded trying to figure out who I want to show to the world to feel accepted. Lately I have been feeling the pressure to choose sides. What am I ? Who am I ? Am I a girly girl because I like cooking, wearing eyeliner and dressing up or am I a tomboy untouchable because I can hold my own in a conversation, I have a sense of humor that isn’t safe and I like sleeping in the dirt while I camp. Can’t I be all of it and not feel like freak? I guess that’s the real question.
Rain in distance. On a roof terrace in Mitte. The sun hidden by the dark bluish puffed up clouds moving quickly. Birds chirping. Screeching.
Tv tower in the distance, in the same spot it always is - piercing the sky. I ate too much at lunch, uncomfortable. Sitting and thinking as usual. What I need to do to remain sane. Because I am insane but kinda in a good way hopefully.
At work 5pm. Wind. Trees. German flag waving proudly in the distance. Slow. Slow. Slow. Compared to LA or San Diego or San Francisco, but not unlike Austin. Calm.
Wanting to write something profound, instead staring at the old wood planks on the ground. Raindrops falling slow.
I found myself sitting in Gorlitzer park in Kreuzberg. I wrote some words in my journal and here they are unedited.
It is Tuesday.
Early on in the month, late afternoon / early evening and I sit in the park waiting.
Waiting and watching.
Waiting for the sun to come down. Waiting for it to dive into the sea of blackness that is the night and watching all the people around me huddled up in close circles drinking bier. laughing. smoking rolled cigarettes. couples holding each other and sometimes putting their hands down inside the backs of each others pants and skirts. intimate.
There are “others” like me. Alone. Waiting and watching. I wonder what they are thinking. I wonder if they want to be sitting there alone or if they wish they were like everyone else - in a pack.
A booming American accent can be heard from below the hill where I sit. I cringe. Loud, male. Discussing a drunk moment that happened over the weekend. I can hear him from a far.
Frisbees and fires and flames.
An inevitable dupstep version of an indie hit from summer 2010 blasts out of someones massive yet portable speakers. The same wandering crew of scantily clad adolescent girls pass by me for the 5th time. Maybe they are lost?
Almost 9pm and the sky is turning a dark bluish purple - almost ready to be done with the day.
The sound of beer bottles knocking together as the Turkish men, children and old women come by and collect them from the drunk groups of most likely privileged twenty somethings. Such a contrast. I am part of that contrast and it makes me angry for some reason.
A cold blanket of air comes swiftly with the night that makes me shiver but actually it is something that I welcome as the day was so hot. I couldn’t breathe in the Ubahn a few hours before and now in the open air, I feel refreshed.
Plump girls in tight skirts swigging wine from a cheap bottle. This makes me smile. Tattoos everywhere.
Bikes. Bikes on the grass laying on their sides. Bikes being ridden by albeit attractive but seemingly boring young things. Bikes being pushed along the dirt to some place beyond where I can see, on the other end of the park. A little white fluff of a dog happily chasing its manly owner - following closely behind his back tire.
A beautiful girl with red hair and torn tights walks gingerly by with a friend who I barely notice. The girl is gorgeous and not more than 18. She is already a vixen, taunting all eyes that her figure touches.
Everyone looks the same. The same style. Same energy. It hits me and the reason I notice her is because of how unique she is. Something about her shines.
My pear from the other day is bruised and I take it out of my bag to inspect further. Unsalvageable.
Boys who are not yet men carry guitars on their backs and head towards the steps by the flat sport area in the park. I wonder if they can play. If they can play well. But it is just a wonder. A wonder of a thought and not something I dwell on.
It is getting too cold for me and the coffee that had fueled my day left me with no more energy as its effects had warn off. I packed up, leaving the bikes, my pear from the other day and the crowds behind me in the park walking toward the train that would take me home.