Posts tagged with ‘words’
December 7, 2013
I wore a short half plastic/half velour Christmas sweater to my Ugly Sweater Christmas party.
Some of the best people I know attended. Including Maggie - a serious light in my life - she came early and stayed late. She even wore a truly adorable/ugly Christmas sweater. I really appreciated the effort + spirit.
She drew a sign for Abby, because it was her birthday. We blew her a kiss from Berlin.
Karl came as well. Dressed in a funky sweater, slicked backed (over gelled/ Mormon bicycle messenger) hair and a tie with jungle animals on it. It was amazing and made me love him that much more.
It was a small, nay, “intimate” affair — I like the word intimate and that’s what it was. But, I had fun and drank a lot of Gluhwein. Ashley came and spiked it with 42% locally produced corn vodka. We were all a buzz and a twirl.
A serious bonus to hosting a Christmas party is all the leftover chocolate. And, creepy Santa chocolate dolls.
December 5, 2013
I put up some new decor today. A sloth (!!!), some dried lavender and a map of Berlin my dear friend Abby made for me.
Abby left in June for Texas and as a parting gift she took a map of Berlin and marked it with all the places that meant something to our friendship.
Ed & Sarah’s house in Prenzlauerberg (aka the place I danced her into a flame - her hair caught on fire), Gidsy in Kreuzberg (the reason she came to Berlin), the bar I met her at in Neukoln…there’s about 100 significant places on that map, because we went on a lot of adventures in our short time together.
It’s really rather lovely. I can’t wait to do it justice and put it in a frame. Until then, it will be out in the open, kinda crumpled. Poor but sexy, just like Berlin.
December 4, 2013
A Winter storm is brewing out there. Blowing in from Greenland. The news said there’d be snow on Friday. The first snow of the season. That kinda excites me as first snows tend to do.
It’s been raining all day, but for some reason I like it. Icy, cold rain hitting my face. It’s wakes you up.
My breath was steaming out my mouth today. I felt like a little dragon, breathing up in puffs, watching the steam evaporate into the air.
December 2, 2013
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” ― Albert Camus
Today my brain is kinda crammed full to the brim. I guess maybe because it’s a Monday or maybe because I am just coming off a few days off.
This morning I woke up and the sky was so blue - I felt so optimistic and glowed a little myself. It was Monday and the sun was shining! Everything was fabulous. By noon it was hazy, orange and slightly foggy. By 4pm, the sun was down behind the buildings and I was sitting in the dark, working away. Hunched over my laptop, feeling a little less than cheery.
I guess I’ve missed out on these short days of barely any daylight. I was in Chicago this time last year, training at our main office and I was too damn busy to realize how short the daylight hours were, because I was too damn busy focusing on how they weren’t long enough (daylight or darkness — I would have taken either). I had to learn so much every day and time flew by. Three weeks in Chicago seemed like three days.
But now, I see Winter creeping up on Berlin.
Don’t get me wrong. I know it isn’t Winter yet. It’s still warm enough for me to go outside in just a sweater and coat and sometimes no socks. But, the promise of Winter is sorta lingering on the horizon. I feel like it’s a blurred image in the distance coming into focus, slowly. Like a shadow that you can’t distinguish from a bear or a tree. You don’t know until you get close enough. And, that’s how I feel about Winter in Berlin. It can be good or bad, cold or really fucking cold, but there’s no way to know until you are close enough to touch it. And, feel it on your skin.
I guess I am just waiting for that moment where I have to throw on two layers of pants, drink whiskey to stay warm (that’s my excuse anyways) and spend hours in the sauna soaking up its warmth because I can’t produce my own anymore.
I hate not knowing what to expect.
I am waiting impatiently for Winter.
Potsdamer Platz generally freaks me out for some reason. Probably because it’s a piece of Berlin that really doesn’t feel like Berlin (at least to me and that’s coming from an auslander). But, I have to admit I love their holiday decorations.
November 30, 2013
I woke up at 745 to watch the sunrise. The sun came up almost suddenly and stained the horizon with a flash of color. Orange, pink and purply blue.
The fog that once blanketed the barn and fields started receding to the West slowly, sorta dissolving into the lake at the edge of the property.
A group of small deer crept out into the field closest to the largest window in the front room of the barn. They feasted on knee high grass and timidly moved forward away from the cover of the trees they must have been hiding in over night.
The sun burned through the clouds defiantly and the day was illuminated and set on fire with a strange haze.
Everything was quiet. Even the wind whispered.
"You can’t go home again because home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory"
In Furstenwerder feeling dark inside and out.
I finished “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck and for some reason it made me long for America.
I feel kinda homesick for something that I don’t even know if I “know” anymore.
November 29, 2013 - Furstenberg, Germany
Wow. Today we awoke to a landscape blinking sleepily, yawning and coming alive with the rising sun.
We arrived the night before and everything that surrounded us was dark, black and a kinda mystery, but today everything shined.
Huge, endless, emerald green fields. Blue lakes surrounding us on all sides and hills upon hills dotted with tiny forests of leafless trees.
The cabin we are staying at is actually a converted barn on a property with a few other reclaimed and up-cycled houses (all converted from old bits and pieces of a farm that once stood there). A stable made into apartments, an old dry cellar made into a small cottage.
The sky was blue and all you could hear out there was the sound of wind whipping around the winter bare trees. The wind danced around the willowy grass and through the fields, then smacked the side of our barn hard, howling a little. Lamenting upon the fact that maybe it would rather be inside with us enjoying the fire.
Karl cooked pancakes with white chocolate and I sat drinking strong coffee on the ginormous tan couch stretched out in front of the fire.
November 28, 2013 - Furstenberg, Germany
We are finally at the cabin. Silence like I haven’t heard in such a long time. We slept like babies on the couch in front of the fire.
Heartbeats thumping soft.
Pine wood ceilings, soft bed.
Deep tub, crackling fire.
Crystal wrapped around light fixtures. Quiet. Open.
We sat drinking beer in front of the fire. I finished mine, wrapped my arms around Karl and laid across his chest.
I could hear his heart thumping softly. Calmly. Sorta in tune with the clock ticking on the wall. I fell asleep fast and easy, melting into his chest.
He told me he joined soon after and we awoke in the dark, the fire had gone out.
Pine wood panels cross stitched across the ceiling. You could keep yourself entertained looking at the details in the wood grain.
Illustration by Maggie Tang
November 27, 2013
Karl woke me up with a walrus kiss this morning & I slept til’ noon. I had never slept better in my life. Drunk dreaming, tangled up in sheets, bundled. Cosy in our new “penthouse” 5 stories above Berlin.
Off to our cabin in the woods we go. Solitude awaiting us at the end of a train ride. Close enough to touch.
Illustration by Maggie Tang
November 25th, 2013
I woke up to the smell of coffee and a bright, sunny, blue skied day in Berlin!
What more could you need?
I am hoping for more sun this Winter. In a few weeks Karl and I are heading to Austin, Texas for Christmas and then driving across the American Southwest to San Diego for New Years Eve. From there we will drive to San Francisco.
I am hoping (and dreaming of) long stretches of America abandoned and populated only by our caravan. A huge trailer and truck attached carrying 4 people and countless dogs through the desert (my mom, Abby & our dogs are coming as well).
I keep thinking of how quiet the nights are in the desert on the road. The cold permafrost that accumulates on the ground and hot breath you can see forming as you let out your dragons sigh. I can’t wait.
Seeing the stars as clear as crystal makes me kinda giddy. Getting away from the city makes me even more giddy. I am just giddy overall.
I can’t wait.
November 24th, 2013 - Berlin, Germany
This year has been crazy. That is the best way I can sum it up succinctly.
I got my dream job at my dream company. I traveled all around the world, including Chicago (3 times), Lisbon (2 times), all over Germany, Poland, Denmark and Sweden.
I worked my ass off - harder than I have ever worked in my life. And, I have been more tired than I’ve ever been in my life, too.
I met a girl. We exchanged pieces of our souls a bit. And, she went away.
I fell in love with a floppy haired man, and I learned a great number of swear words in Swedish.
It has been grand.
But, in the past year I’ve stopped writing. Something that is like therapy for me. I “write” every day. 75 or more emails — all hand crafted for the person I am writing to and by the end of the day the last thing I want to do is write about my life. I have lost the ability to really write. Not just words but feelings, senses, tastes & touches. I’ve lost the urge to explain the smells on the Ubahn or the soft skin on the back of the man snoring through his mustache next to me. I want to reclaim that.
And, that’s not good. It’s sad to admit that writing all day has stripped me of my creativity a bit, but it has. I need to fix that. So, I am going to write everyday. On scraps of paper if I have to, but I’m going to write.
I’m going to document my travels, I’m going to write about what I’m reading (because I’m going to read, too), I’m going to write about places I visit and the people I see, but it does’t really matter because writing is enough for me - I could write about the shitty coffee I drank earlier at the American Diner in Prenzlauerberg and how it reminded me of home. I could write about anything and it would be okay.
So thus begins my 365 write everyday project.
My dad is on a month long sabbatical driving around the wild west. He just sent me this email:
I woke up to the sound of wolves howling the other morning. Then I took a picture of what I thought was a wolf done by Old Faithful, but that turned out to be a coyote. But, still, it was walking along about 100 ft from me.
This morning I woke up to the sound of a bison grazing 2 ft from my head outside the tent. There are bison and elk everywhere. There are three elk that seem to have taken up permanent residence in the camp.
This evening as I was returning to camp, a big black wolf crossed in front of my car and headed up the hill. He was gone before I could take a picture. No coyote or dog this time, definitely wolf. Big black huge wolf. About twice the size of that coyote. About a mile from my tent.
So, I think I’ll be moving on tomorrow.
(I love this too much and can’t wait to see the pcitures!)
But there are the fears. And yes, life has gone on without you. And the longer you stay in your new home, the more profound those changes will become.
Travel to learn and grow. I moved to Europe to “escape” but I was really trying to escape myself. Surprise, surprise! You can’t escape yourself! I moved to Berlin and my same ole’ problems followed me, but now they were in a German accent. I ended up realising that 1 1/2 years into living abroad and only then did I really start to “live” while in Berlin. I also *found* myself abroad and wish I had known earlier why I wanted to move to a whole new country.
I wasted so much time at the beginning feeling defeated by my pre conceived expectations of what living abroad would be. I thought everything would be perfect and easy and I thought my life would be glamourous..etc. It wasn’t and I had to work hard to feel at home. I wiped that all clean, though and now I embrace every second trying to soak up as much knowledge/culture as I can from the people around me.
Bottom line: Expectations are killers. Travel is wonderful. And, living abroad is great, just don’t do it to escape. (in my opinion)
Also, Pico Iyer has some great opinions on traveling and being an expat: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/specials/nat-geo-live-specials/iyer-lecture-nglive/
I sat eating sandy plump strawberries in the late afternoon sun on the small stretch of beach close to the Cascais train station. Sun bathing in a town just a train ride west of Lisboa that dips its toes into the cold Atlantic.
It felt like home. It always had here and the aesthetic was hard to beat. “Stockholm with a tan,” is what I always say.
It had been hot and sunny all day and the sky and water were an unreal deep blue. My body had turned the color of a lobster. I forgot sunscreen and fell asleep with my hands on my stomach so there was a kind of tattoo sunburn in the rough shape of my hands that remained.
I looked like a total tourist with a red neck burned bright and my DSLR camera dangling from my neck. Wearing vintage torn Levis that fit me short with a high waist. On my feet were New Balance sneakers. I must have looked like I was spit out of the 80s. I guess I was.
I buried my feet in the soft grainy sand and listened to the Portuguese women next to me laugh loudly. They were drinking Super Bock and their skin was white, not yet tan from the sun as Spring just arrived. Dark lovely black hair flowed down their backs.
I looked like an alien in comparison, probably; an outsider. Not in a bad way and I didn’t feel like that but, everyone stared at me as I walked by tall, blonde and foreign. I hadn’t felt so different in a while but I didn’t mind it at all.
The sun was still shining, burning hot at 6pm and I was in my bikini. I positioned myself west towards the setting sun. An older German couple spoke to each other quietly near me but, I couldn’t understand them. So I listened to the Portuguese women and their words did some flips and somersaults and they finally landed somewhere near my ears and I kinda drank in their sweet sentences.
Simple words that flowed and slipped off their tongues with such fervor.
And, the sand was between my toes and I felt such a feeling in my heart that made my eyes water a little. But, not out of sadness. It was a comfort. It was a memory of a feeling I hadn’t felt in a while. It reminded me of California; a place I sometimes miss, especially in the Winter. It was soft and it enveloped me. And, there were no clouds — only the sun above me slowly setting in the west.
The tide started to swallow up what remained of the slowly deserted beach. I didn’t want to get swallowed up as well, so I packed up my things in a sandy heap and stuffed them into my bag.
The sun melted into the mountains to the west and I drank a cold beer on the moonlit walk home — my body still warm with the memory of the sun.