Change is the Only Constant.

The greek philosopher Heraclitus once said that “everything changes and nothing stands still” (my dad’s favourite). Besides Heraclitus’s quote, I don’t even know how many times I heard  “summer is over” in the last couple of days. The summer in Germany was not as great as I thought it would be. There were the occasional awesome days but otherwise I experienced a cold fall/rain mix that weirdly dragged me down. Summer 2017 meant working on my Master’s proposal, literature review and annotated bibliography for my research project. Summer 2017 meant being able to attend and enjoy the Forensic Linguistics Conference in Porto/Portugal. It also meant spending time with family and friends. Also, meeting new friends and spending awesome evenings outside in the garden talking for hours with my brother and sister. There was something definitely different this summer. It was a lot quieter and less hot but nonetheless there were still life-changing events and adventures. There always are. 

The last month and a half were enjoyable, loving and way better than any Canadian winter. However, soon it is time to go back to my beloved Canada. My home. Time for change. Time for something “new” yet I know what I get myself into. There is a lot more 2017 holds for me and that I can look forward to. Writing this way sounds as if I am a little less sad or that I am totally okay thinking about the departure.

I think it is just this weird stage of looking forward to something and trying to hold on to the past while living in an allusive present which is sort of uncomfortable. When I decided to take a summer course at my university I did not know that this sparkling allure of May, June, July and August slightly dims since I am not free from assignments, readings and writings while also taking care of my almost four year-old son. All this while trying to enjoy an adult summer with the same responsibilities, family matters and to-do lists. For my son the summer means that the world is on hold. Everything is awesome, special, he can spend time with Oma and Opa and life is just a 24/7 game. I learn from him and try to adapt. To pretend the real world is on hold seems kind of sweet and awesome. For my son, every day is magic! Then we grow up. We learn what real life is and feels like but I am lucky and able to feel this “kid-summer” of complete magic, being carefree without worrying; just a tiny bit different.

September is around the corner and the “ber-months” are approaching; they are just a couple of days away. September: still this summer feeling but I know I will need a cardigan at the river at night. October is next which always smells like a bottle of autumn perfume with a slight mix of melancholia and Halloween candy. November in Canada means the start of snow, cold and comfort that brings families together to snuggle inside with hot tea and cookies. December is pretty much the same but cozier, colder and more snow (and more cookies). January then is invigorating while February is introverted and one might get slightly depressed. March is sort of hopeful but new snowstorms are approaching.  April: pretty much the same as March but a tiny bit less snow. May: slightly better and the snow starts to melt. Spring is around the corner but then it snows one last time. “Are these actually tiny little tree buds?” 

These months I will study, work and write. We will be wrapped inside for those cold months but it will be all vacuumed away by spring and all the nostalgia and cookie-eating habits will vanish while spring arrives slowly. As usual. Spring always arrives. Life is just this ebb and flow of good and bad things. I appreciate the good things in the meantime and new adventures are just around the corner. 

I want to thank my parents for everything they have done for me. I love them forever unconditionally. “Summer’s not over until we say it’s over”. 

 

Hatsuun jindo. [Parting the clouds, seeking the way]

I ate at a restaurant in the center of Porto/Portugal and skimmed through my book. It was the last day of the conference and my brain was stuffed with new but inspiring information. While I sipped my strong coffee after lunch I thought about one topic that keeps popping up in my mind: weird family matters that seem to go nowhere and I don’t understand why. At the same time, two men talked and discussed their previous Karate lesson and that their teacher reminded them about the importance to always strive to see beyond their immediate problems and obstacles and keep moving forward to clearer skies which is the main challenge. 

I read an article about that it is good and healthy to argue. Further, it is normal to have fights and discrepancies within every family. Not everybody gets along well, nothing is perfect. I have had a couple of relationships in my life and I know that not all arguments are created equally. I also know that it is important to remember that an argument is somewhat a resolution to a conflict. Something happened and I did not agree. However, it is not a tactical outsmarting or some sort of out-talking of “the other” into submission. Emailing back and forth, accusations, he said she said, words getting turned and twisted around, talking in circles for hours or then agreeing to something I don’t even believe in just to keep the peace does not work for me. 

However, it is even worse if and when your “opponents” tell you “everything is okay” and “nothing is wrong” after I asked if I did something wrong to upset them. All I get is a poorly, sad unfair silence treatment and I feel resentment or rather a mild form of irritation. Apparently our communication styles are incompatible and I have to understand this. I also know that I don’t have to love certain people just because they are family. This was important for me to discover since I thought family is sacred and always needs to stick together; especially if the family size is rather small. Every family member makes their own decisions and lives their own life. If there are things in common – great. If not – great. And if I feel treated badly, I will eventually distance myself from certain people since the relationship is for me unproductive, empty, cold and unhealthy. 

The problem with it all is, that I don’t even know what I did wrong. I am attacked as a person instead of attacking and TALKING about the issue. I don’t understand why talking is so difficult for some. The response I receive conveniently distracts from the real subject at hand. Is it unfair? I guess it just is since there are no logical boundaries, it is all ridiculous and I feel like I am talking with my son’s friends at daycare. In the meantime these are adults (I thought) I am dealing with. Usually, if I did X and it was wrong I should be blamed for it. But I then cannot be automatically blamed for everything else. Also, I don’t even know what I did wrong in the first place or if I even did anything wrong. Well I guess this must be true since nobody talks to me anymore. Philosophical reasoning? 

I know that I have to remain objective to describe what the other person did, no finger-pointing etc. but what can I do if the other party just does not talk to me at all anymore and just tells me and acts in front of other people as if everything is okay? Do I need this in my life? The simple answer is: No! I tried to reflect on my own behaviour several times to try to understand what particular action may have upset some people to this extend. I cannot come up with an answer. I know that I only have this one life and I don’t want and need to clutter it with this kind of madness. I reckon that a normal discourse is just not possible with certain people and that is that. Accusations or insults are not my thing since they are usually just a simple way out and usually result in becoming illogical and dumb. Making my own conclusions here I have to say that I simply move on as I always do. I move forward to clearer skies and I learn from all this while taking appropriate actions and decision. Life is a challenge. 

Emails – or I don’t want to hit the “send-button” too quickly.

I caught myself many times over- or underthinking emails I write. Sometimes I agonize over every single word: I put too much information or too little but for some reason it is always something. Especially when it comes to professional emails. Do I address an email I write to a professor always with “Dear Professor X” and is there a point when I can stop writing so formally? 

I thought about all this the other day while my fingers hovered happily over the keyboard to formalize important emails for work. Who do I “cc”? Do I even write this email as a group email or just hit the send-button for one recipient only? All these questions while I craft a response that has to make sense, goes straight to the point without me fluffing around. 

First rule for me in life is: less is more. Another rule I learned along the way: chill first, breathe and take it easy. Some things can wait. Whenever I write an email upset, sad, embarrassed or angry, the outcome is usually not the best. Also, when I rush or skim through emails and don’t pay attention to what it actually says the response I type is well…. garbage or comes across like I am an arrogant, hurt, defensive demanding ass. What helps me here is that I draft the email in a word-document and wait at least a couple of hours before rereading or/and editing it before sending it. I don’t want to regret what I wrote later on. I have been down this aisle too many times. Sigh! It also helps me to read the email aloud to myself or someone else before sending it. Sometimes I actually need to adjust the tone, soften the language since it sounds straight-up rude. I don’t want to hurt anybody with my words [Wordcrimesince I know I can. I rather write an email that is direct, gets to the point and tells the reader what I want to say – no curse words necessary. 

When I write to my professors I rather go formal instead of treating them like pals. It is still a professional email. Unless of course I know them really well and we are friends and a way too formal tone would seem arrogant or not appropriate. I want to sound polite, professional, friendly but also keep the emails direct, to the point and concise. 

Before I discovered the “return-receipt-botton” I wondered for hours and days if the person received and read my emails. So annoying. Also, I have to keep in mind that the recipient is not only waiting for my email all day long. They have a life too. They do things and most likely receive many emails every day. I learned that it is helpful to write a catching subject-line and get to the point in the first sentence or two. Nobody wants to read 800 words to find out in the last sentence what I actually want to ask or to find out that my goal or topic is something completely different. 

Of course, this sounds all sweet and nice; however, there is an exception to my little “email-rules”. Whenever the person asks for it, the person is a dick and the obligatory passive-aggressive “you suck” email is necessary. For example, something (money, promotion) has been promised to me and now I am waiting for weeks for [insert what you are waiting for here]. Whenever a person is obviously a dick about something and it is of use to point out how much they suck for possible upcoming court cases or documentation reasons one of these annoying and thankfully not frequently necessary emails is necessary. With this being said, I still won’t use my curse word spreadsheet from A-Z but I just report facts without using any emotional language at all. I learned that I can guide an out-of-control situation through proper wording in an email or text message. In my emails I can also use words to make any situation worse and create a nuclear meltdown by behaving like a needy child. In the dick-email-writer situation I rather avoid any hostile situations by denying that I indeed sound passive-aggressive or playing any games. Even though sometimes I am. 

OverThinking.

I overheard a conversation between two women the other day. One was at a bar with her coworkers the night before and they all got a little relaxed after some drinks that followed a rather exhausting business meeting. The woman said she felt good, she was relaxed, laughing, happy and outgoing. Especially after her second and third drink. Everybody laughed at her jokes and the way she danced with another coworker after her fourth drink. Dancing the night away, f****** awesome. Then she came back home and went to bed. The alcohol wore off and she realized that she kissed this particular coworker (who she secretly had a crush on for several weeks now) wondering if this was okay. If she maybe was too drunk, too loud, to annoying or what the others may have thought about her dancing her “ass off” to ABBA’s Dancing Queen while pretending her empty wine glass is a microphone. “Creepy, no”, she asked her friend. “I feel like killing myself now. What does everybody else think now?” 

The other woman just nodded in silence and told her that “this guy will most likely never call you again. Maybe if you are really lucky!” This made me realize again how unimportant it is what others think. Who the hell cares. I know I should not have too many thoughts for too long  (just a couple of seconds really) about any (weird) interaction I have had with another human being. Thinking about some strange noises I made, too much alcohol I drank or [insert anything here]. I laugh about it, shrug, cringe and move on. It is in the past. Nothing I can do about it now anymore. To think about it longer than a couple of seconds is too much. I know that life can be painful and cruel sometimes so I won’t make it worse by overanalyzing things or replaying certain scenarios over and over in my mind. Other weird things will happen for sure so I stop worrying (German Angst) and move on to the next inevitable situation. No need to put my head down, curl up in fetal position and weep for hours or days. 

Of course, this is not a free-of-jail card to misbehave inappropriately and just don’t think about it anymore. If I did something totally crazy I of course apologize. This post addresses more the little weird annoying behaviours but not insane rudeness. 

I have one more example that proves that I don’t even have to overthink what other people’s reactions are. Tonight I spent a great evening with my family and certain people looked at me weird and talked when I danced or about what I wore. Do I care that I am not dressed all in white or dressed in expensive brands and pretend I am someone I am actually not? Nope! This most certainly does not make me cringe, think about how I look or what I wear for one second. I do not have to apologize, feel embarrassed or weird. Most likely, people like this will gossip about everyone and everything anyway so who cares. It’s not my problem. I am free. I am me. I am doing my thing. And I am happy the way I am. 

WordCrime.

The Forensic Linguistic Conference in Porto was fantastic and I have been reminded again that the words we speak every day are so important indeed. Also, the proposal for my Masters project is due tomorrow. It seems I changed, rewrote, reviewed, added and edited this thing about a million times and I cannot wait to send it tomorrow to have it off my plate. 

I had a recurring thought that popped up at the conference that I will address.  There were some excellent presentations of projects, dissertations and research and it mattered so much how the words presenters used shaped their attitudes and perceptions. And mine. It made me realize that using big, fancy words can sometimes confuse more than explain, especially whenever the presenter did not know what they were even talking about. The review and comments some presenters received were hurtful, created pain, sadness but also joy and happiness.  I can make the presenter feel good or bad. I can destroy him completely, too. Or like in the recent Michelle Carter case, make people kill themselves via text messages by encouraging suicide.  All with one simple things. Words. Or is it rather the case that words alone cannot kill? 

To get back to my initial thought from the conference: I am analyzing suicide notes for addressivity and am wondering if words can kill, which words can be used to save a person’s life? There is one particular suicide I tried to prevent when I was a police officer. I spoke for approximately two hours to a suicidal woman who stood on her balcony on the 9th floor of an apartment building. Two hours! I thought about grabbing her and pulling her back to change her mind and make her live but there was no way I could get close enough. After a while she looked at me and thanked me for “the nice talk” but she “has to do this now and I need to stop manipulating her by trying to change her plan”. And she jumped. My police chief told me to never look into the eyes of a person who commits suicide in front of me “because it is the eyes you will remember”. Also, to avoid looking at the person too closely after. Well, as a police officer, one really doesn’t have the option. I looked. And her eyes are still with me to this day re-appearing in my dreams here and there. I never dealt with this problem properly until a couple of months ago. Could I have used different words and saved her? 

In my professional life I dealt with way too many suicides. I know that it is always a pressure on me as well as on the families and friends of the suicidal person. In the case of my “balcony woman” I said everything I could think of, offered help, understanding, advice, support and maybe even love. “Life is worth living,” I said. I remember the words clearly. She looked at me and cried. My words just weren’t enough. Would she still be alive if a different police officer would have dealt with her? Coulda, woulda, shoulda! I will never find out regardless. 

She jumped from a balcony on the 9th floor. Not a beautiful picture as you can imagine and now the questions:  “Who is responsible? Is nobody responsible but the person herself? Do words really matter that much after all? Can words kill or can’t they? Can I simply resist or act differently even though words create and influence certain situations? Would the situation have been different if the “balcony woman” would have realized that I did not try to manipulate her but just save her life? 

I think that words alone do not have the power to kill. There is always more involved. It always makes me wonder what a person thinks just before they commit suicide. How hopeless, sad, angry, depressed or whatever else must they be to finally decide to take their own life? The “balcony woman” clearly did not see a different, new way. She decided that “it is time”. Later in a different police report I found out that her boyfriend left a couple of days before her suicide and sent her a goodbye-letter. 

Thoughts at the Restaurant.

“I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay 

I have listened to so many amazing research topics in the Forensic Linguistic field today that left me with this somewhat existential meltdown on the significance of my research. Uncertainty, why I am even doing what I am doing and, why other’s are working on topics that can be easily answered with a bit of common sense. I could answer some research questions because I am genuinely good at it; they are things that I have learned through experience in law enforcement. So are my goals to ambitious? Will someone else say the same thing I just mentioned about my research? I am kind of overwhelmed and bathe in a bit of doubt while I enjoy my Pastel de Nata and cup of coffee for dessert. My thesis supervisor tells me that “I am going to be okay if I want to go through with this”. But, I want to be great. I want this thesis to have significance and at the same time enjoy the journey of writing and all the shitty stuff that comes with it. 

Another problem I have is that I indeed have the motivation but whenever I think of my goals, I cannot help but question my thesis by thinking of all these hundreds and maybe thousands of people who are more qualified than I am. Who write better, clearer and are more precise. Maybe who have better skills since English is not my first language. So what happens next? I freak out even though people tell me all these supporting lines like: “this too shall pass”, “everything is gonna be alright” or “you still have so much time to work on the thesis”. How unhelpful it is in the situation but looking back, so true indeed. Having enough confidence in my work while being on this journey takes a lot of practice. For me, it is not something I hear and accept instantly. It has to sink in, like other life’s big lessons. And, for me to really learn is to live and experience new things even those some people warned me of those earlier. 

Anxiety aside, I reckon that I will have to go through the writings and research on my own. It will make me smarter, a better writer and more me. I just have to learn to take life’s occasional punches and get right back up. “Adriaaaaaaaan!” 

So in the end,  I have accepted I will be fine and I don’t have to make any major decisions about my future. I also don’t have to stress and worry about things that I cannot change right now. I actually realized today, that even though all this research seems like a competition, if I don’t want it to be, it is actually not. It is a challenge and personal growth and I allow to let myself dream along the way. New opportunities will emerge and twist and turns will appear when I least expect them. Also, new things that scare or excite me and throw me off my little seemingly secure path will appear. I don’t have to worry about them however if I cannot change them now. 

If one door opens, another one closes. I can choose a different path. One that takes me away from where I am at this point. This is a beautiful notion to keep in mind. Looking back at my life I am glad things happened the way they did, even though some events were very sad and full of stress or pain. An optimistic take on life is important to me. And even though I am usually pretty good at it, I know that there will be new crossroads and intersections life throws at me when I find myself standing right in the middle of it, wondering what way to choose or what to do next. I know I can plan things only to a certain degree but in the end it might not look as I expected it to be. It is in a way always a gamble with life. New mistakes will be made, I will mess up but it will be okay. Life is a learning process. Maybe I thought I love my new career and I end up hating it and have to quit. Who knows. The same approach goes for everything else: relationships, things I buy etc. The feeling of uncertainty is okay, I believe. It is just another emotion worth noticing but it comes and goes. Worrying and uncertainty go really well together but I stop wasting energy these days and rather find solutions that can help me get things accomplished. 

Sometimes I might feel like I am going nowhere or backwards and running around in circles. Sometimes it might be frustrating and I feel like throwing my computer out of the window while editing and revising. But, that’s life. Constantly striving for something better or bigger does not get me anywhere. It only takes me away from being in the present and enjoying the moment. While I type this my frustrated, exhausted, annoyed waiter is staring out of window observing the passing cars while possibly dreaming of a different job and life. 

 

 

Conversation Starters.

I am in Portugal, alone, attending a conference and spending my birthday week in style. I have to add, that I miss Petit Joel like crazy (did I just type this for real) but I enjoy every second here in Porto. What an amazing, beautiful and charming, laid-back, chaotic city. I am exploring and testing new food which is so much fun and yum. My favourite so far is Pastel de Nata, the famous Portuguese custard tart. Combine with a cup of coffee and a good book= perfection. 

Or this traditional Portuguese soup (Caldo Verde):

I don’t even mention that the ocean is almost empty due to the amount of fish I eat. So fresh and good. Diet soon. 

I mentioned that I am here alone. So wherever I go and sit down or wait, there seems to be this commiseration which almost is like a sign of survival for some people. Since I am here, I bonded with many women and men over different weird things that I lost track. For example insane long lines at a Pastel de Nata bakery where I turned around to look at other people in line and then made the head/eyes upward movement to wait for agreement how terrible it is to wait that long. Waiting for agreement? Maybe. This is communication, too. Why do I have this urge to emotionally connect with other people? Why do other people? Maybe because I am woman? I don’t know why but whenever the right moment comes along I have this urge to interact or connect with strangers. It is just this instinct to bond with a person close to me who is also happy, surprised, lost (like today at the beginning of the conference), upset (also at the beginning of the conference) or confused (see above). I want to share some other propensities of connecting with others and how I break the “we-are-no-longer-strangers-stage” and small talk starts. 

Waiting in front of a conference room, at a bus/train station or overall waiting for something that is delayed. Nothing brings people together talking more frequently. Being stuck in an elevator? It takes usually a couple of seconds until the other prisoners start talking to me. Also, anything that is confusing creates conversations. Looking for an entrance (like I did this morning) instantly creates a new family. 

Extremely insane slow or long lines in a store. Being in a store and the person all the way in front pulls out a checkbook or purse full of vouchers and coupons. Great conversation starter right there. 

A loud, sudden, crazy sound out of nowhere. I look around where the sound came from or jump in surprise. Many times the source of the sound will never be discovered. 

Always: Women’s bathroom at bars or clubs. Especially, when and if drunk. It always surprises me what is exchanged and said in women’s bathrooms but it explains why they always go to the bathroom together. Why? I don’t know. I never did it intentionally. 

The weather. What is the best conversation starter ever if you have nothing else to say? Yep, the weather. Most likely I get a response if I say how disgustingly hot, wet or cold it is. Any mutual discomfort is a great way for strangers to interact. If I sweat like crazy and the stranger is: bonus points. 

On the plane. I have already written about it here but want to add that the flight to Porto was a mayhem of turbulence. Turbulence on a plane create friendships. Also, great landings (German people usually clap), bad/good food on the plane or this amazing feeling that the 8-hour flight is finally over. 

Closed or closing stores. I immediately bond with the people waiting outside. People share my irritation and everyone who waits unites against the one and only enemy, the closing store. 

Raising my Son.

I tucked in my son for the night and realized again how quickly he changes. He goes in and out of the bed at night by himself to use the bathroom and is able to switch on the lights. But he could not do these things about a month ago. Kindergarten will start in September which is another huge, new chapter in his little life. He looks forward to it, without fear but rather excitement; I learn so much from him almost on a daily basis. My baby is not a baby anymore and grows up too quickly. Do I raise him in a good way? Am I a good mom? Can I raise him in a way to fight stereotypes later? The other day he told me what he wants to be when he grows up. He switches from pilot to doctor to astronaut (all fine with me, ha!) and I basically tell him he can do and be anything he wants to do and be.

If you followed my blog for a while you know that I love to listen to playground talk. I don’t really engage but I listen. [I always carry my moleskin notebook with me to get my thoughts on paper, especially stuff like this because it initiated this blog post]. So two mom’s spoke about how they hate it when their sons bring up any interests in let’s say “feminine things”. “This is not good for my son and he most certainly will not become a hairdresser or use makeup. He wants to use my makeup all the time. I think he is so weird because he wants to use my nail polish,” one mom says and I am inhaling and exhaling deeply. Don’t ever tell your son he is weird just because he wants to use your nail polish! Why not just raise my son to be a kind, a gentlemen and a confident person who is free enough to follow their dreams? Whatever they might be. 

I want to share a couple of things that work for me in this never-ending struggle or battle to educate and raise my son. We mothers signed up for this challenge when we got pregnant and nobody warned us. [Even if someone would have told me how difficult it will be sometimes, I would not have believed it since I know and will make everything better and different, duh!] This is one approach how I educate and raise my son: I let him cry if he wants to. I never tell him that he should not cry because he is a boy, or “only girls cry” and BS like this. I don’t want to raise a robot. He has feelings. He can cry. I also want to be his role model and I see and feel how he observes me. Questioning things, asking, researching, he wants to know what is going on. I can see how a certain type of behavior like heavy smoking and drinking, domestic violence etc. within a family can really mess these little people up.

Further, I think another important point is to just let him be himself. I let him chose what color he wants and won’t buy blue toothbrushes for him just because. The last time we bought new ones he wanted a yellow glittery one. Cool! It just always amazes me when I buy clothes for him and there is this teeny tiny boy’s section in the story with colors like grey, blue, brown or black and then five floors of girl’s stuff; which is usually a plethora of clothing from the standard (annoying) princess dress to a Carrie Bradshaw outfit for five year-olds. I want my son to follow his interests, I don’t want to put too many limits, within reason. If he wants to play with dolls and his girlfriends at the daycare one day, cool!. Who says boys have to play with trucks, lego and clay only? I never want to reinforce gender stereotypes. For some reason I also think that whenever he plays with girls he communicates differently. Different in a problem-solving kind of way. I encourage friendships with girls. [Must be a women-thing, I reckon]. Also, I think it is important to never use the word “girl” as an insult. [Or use “grab them by the pussy”]

I also teach him to take care of himself and others. He has certain little chores that need to be done. We clean together, do laundry, wash dishes, cook, go shopping. My son observes that there is a certain type of routine which is not a bad thing. The house can look like a mess when he plays but he cleans up when it is time to go to bed. We have a lot of elderly people in our neighborhood and my son observes how I talk to them and help them occasionally. He loves to take care of the neighbors cat when they were on vacation because I taught him. And now that he is “older” we can work together and he can help me with little tasks. I show him how I fold the laundry and he tries to fold his. So cute. 

I was not too good at teaching him that “no means no” in the beginning but I learned along the way and he respect me. This is the key I reckon. He knows the power of the word “no” and he mostly complies. One last point I want to add is reading. I love reading and so does he. I read to him almost every night and most certainly not only “boy-books” but also German “princess stories” like Rapunzel, and Snow White. I don’t want him to think that women need to be saved either. Being a mother and raising a child is not f*****easy. Far from it. 

FASHION POST: Love/Hate Relationship with Skirts and Dresses.

Another hot day in Barcelona sightseeing. Wanderlust. No clue about fashion but my Lois Vuitton is usually next to me while traveling. 

After a long conversation with a very good friend of mine on fashion and why fashion blogs are so popular I had a packing/cleaning date this evening with my closet and realized again that neither skirts nor dresses feel quite right to me. I own a couple because I think I should own them. They are awesome when it is really hot, comfortable and make me feel feminine while shorts are more practical and boring in a way. I wear those when I chase Petit Joel around at the playground. I love my legs and I never regretted the tattoo that covers nearly my entire right leg. However, those awesome legs of mine never look as I want them to in denim shorts. Question: When are denim shorts simply too short? I am not into fashion at all and don’t know what is in style these days but I have seen a couple of “girls” today who wore shorts that seemed crotch-threatening. 

If you really want to pull this look off, you cannot have a face and have to hold something in your hand. At least you have hands. 😉 

So, why love/hate relationship? I put on a dress or skirt in the morning because it seems like a fun option since it is finally warm enough here in Canada. Secretly however I wish I could just change into my black or blue jeans. I love my jeans. All of them. I think I am officially addicted to jeans and plain, simple t-shirts.

For some time I gave up on dresses and skirts altogether. It seemed like I try to be someone I am not. I know that some clothes just look good or fit a certain type of woman and squeezing into something just because does not work for me either. Fashion industry tells me what to wear, what is in style or looks great. Since I question everything these days I have to say: Don’t tell me what to do, fashion industry! I can think for myself and decide what looks good on me! The other day I observed a woman in a secondhand clothing store trying on a dress. I could tell that the color was just wrong and the dress way too tight for her without any fashion knowledge whatsoever. But the saleswoman went on and on telling her how beautiful she looks in this dress. They want to sell thing, right?! “And this dress gives you this special glow which is so great since it is summer now!” I wanted to tell “the client” the truth but who am I? I have no clue about fashion while I look at secondhand cardigans from the 80s and know for sure that I can combine them with my white vintage Karate club t-shirt that rocks. 

I accepted that I just cannot wear certain things and I have determined a somewhat stylistic choice which states who I am and what my character and  persona is. Then again, it is just clothing and you don’t know me by just looking at what I am wearing. So many times, wearing a shorter skirt feels to me like being at a party that I don’t really want to attend in the first place but all my friends are having a great time so I am pretending I am in a good mood even though I feel like crap and want to go home and read.

I can also try to figure out my skirt/dress issue by simply noticing that it gets more and more difficult over time to think about why I don’t talk to certain ex-boyfriends anymore. It just doesn’t work and I stopped doing it. And I apply the silent treatment to things like fashion since, I reckon, this is a great way to deal with it. Otherwise, silent treatment sucks. Period. 

At the end of my cleaning/decluttering closet process tonight I put some of my dresses and skirts on and I like them. Maybe it is because they look more flattering since I lost a bit of weight, and I believe I will, before grabbing my regular pair of jeans, have a little feminine talk, and opt for the dress or skirt instead even though it is totally and entirely out of my comfort zone. A skirt forces me to think about matching tops and shoes and whatnot which is way too much stress in the morning. 

Will I transform this website into a fashion blog? Definitely not. My passion lies in thought, analyzing, writing and reviewing things rather than fashion. And this realization just feels like a nice, comforting little breeze around my nether regions while wearing a skirt. 

Wanderlust.

“Wherever you go, there you are.” 

I felt this urge for Wanderlust [wan·der·lust, wändərˌləst/, noun, a strong desire to travel], this zest for something new strongly in early January when I actually came back to Canada from  Germany. What I missed was sun, warmth and since the Canadian winter is very long and cold. After I read this New York Times article on 52 Places to go in 2017 and some recurring dreams about flying high above the Atlantic, looking out of the window to spot some white Rorschach clouds I decided it is time for change. 

Changes. Today at my son’s daycare his teacher announced the list of children who will leave (travel to) for Kindergarten in September. How come many changes  happen usually at the same time? His teacher said, “Daniela, change and a new scenery is a good thing!” I did not say not too much to my son about it all and he is totally okay with the transition. So while we were at his new school for an introduction session he looks at me and says, “Can we see grandma and grandpa in Germany again, please?” And I am thinking and answer him surprisingly pretty quickly, “Why not. Let’s fly to Germany!” 

I heard many of my “friends” say that people who like to travel that much as I do usually always run away from something. They are not content. They are in this perpetual state of confusion of looking for something new, something that does not exist or keep running from things they actually cannot run away from. When we travel, are we running away from something? For me, it is obvious that I love to discover new things rather than to run away from anything.  Looking at ze husband’s life who currently arranges and organizes his life according to flight itineraries, I have to say that this is traveling galore to me and something I would love to do as well. Just not to the same locations he is traveling to. 

 My trips are usually always bittersweet with this anxious anticipation of the unknown. Leaving and coming home is usually even “bittersweeter”. Leaving my parent’s house is always a drama since good old Germany and the home base are predictable, comfort, rest and relief. Everything is familiar. Germany means hugs and smiles of loving parents and family. But I am more than fine exploring any other country. It is slightly different since I usually travel with my son and not alone anymore but we did not have any issues so far. I reckon, there is always some physical or emotional sacrifice when I travel. This will never change. If it is the sometimes intrusive security personnel or the new food we taste that 98% turns out to be delicious. [Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese in Italy! Now I can die. NOW I have had it all!] I find it challenging at some points to deal with a new found courtesy or hospitality as well as different levels of friendships or respect. Or when the words “Closing Hour” does not mean anything but partying until 6am. Sometimes a population is surprisingly cool, yet dramatic and angry when I ask for a glass of wine. Some curse at anything and everything while rushing through the streets and trying to hail a cab. The traffic, this f****** traffic in this city. How come cabs don’t want to take you to the suburbs? And how come so many people are homeless and poor in this seemingly rich, yet isolated society? 
 
Is there a problem with wanderlust? So far, not to me. I have heard others say that the more places they traveled to, the less satisfied they were. Anything fancy is boring to them now. The same happened with adventures, backpacking tours, road trips and whatnot. Well, I believe if I don’t see wanderlust as an addiction it works well. Of course I would love to travel more but I don’t need it all the time. Until it hits me again. Like in January. One thing is crucial for me however. It is that the more I experience and see in different countries the more similarities in personality issues and hate I discover and detect among the people. It makes me sad sometimes, angry or frustrated and I understand and have to keep in mind that the only reward of my journey is the journey itself. This journey on the path of my life with a never-ending bucket list of places to go, see and explore. 
 
To conclude, I want to reflect on the quote I added at the beginning of this post. I guess, I can never escape myself. Wherever I go, there I am. But I also cannot find myself since I just am. I also did not lose myself yet. I exist. And travel. And explore. And I do it with lust. Wanderlust. Germany first stop.