The Boys Were Eww And The Girls Were Aww.

She used to be a happy child. She found a lot of reasons to see her world in a beautiful light, find the good in everyone and everything. She used to dream of being a star, a pharmacist, a detective, FBI agent, famous writer, a traveller.
She used to be a happy child, until primary school began. Not exactly, when it began. She was as excited and full of positive expectations as every other child around her with those school bags - hers had mice on it - and school cones full of sweets and nice things. She was overwhelmed by all the impressions she gained from her surroundings, uncertain whether she wanted to be part of all that. She remembers her family reassuring her that this was going to be one of the best times of her life. They were wrong.  They couldn't know how wrong they were, nobody could. But with the principal welcoming the new students and teachers leading the kids to the first classroom they'd ever get an insight in, the by far worst time of her young life began.

In the beginning, everything seemed fine. She got along with everyone, they were like any other class. The boys were eww and the girls were aww. That's why she can't remember when it all started to turn upside-down. She believed she had found friends, naively trusted those friends she was so happy about with secrets who meant the world to her. How could they not mean the world to a young, little girl who finally felt free because she escaped the bully that called herself a friend back in kindergarden? She thought it couldn't get any worse than that so she blindly trusted anyone who smiled at her. Trusting them itself wasn't the fatal part, it was them finding out she would trust them any time again because she could never believe they spilled any of her secrets when her whole class suddenly knew about them. She assumed someone always must have overheard them, or hid in the bushes on the school ground when they were chatting and playing around. She could never believe her friends would be responsible for the scene in front of her, the evil, never-ending laughter in class. When she had a hard time holding back her tears.

Looking back, she's unsure about what turned her into their victim. They probably never realized how much of a victim she actually was for them. Having the best grades in class didn't exactly keep them from their actions, perhaps her grades spurred them on even more.
It made her cry that people told her every day she could've stayed home, they wouldn't miss her. It made her flee to the toilet and ball her eyes out when somebody said they wished she had died during her appendix operation. But eventually, she got over it as a child. A full night's sleep, another morning, and the world seemed brighter again.
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The problem was - is - that a part of her never got over it. The bullying continued on until 7th grade and she had learned how it felt like to hate someone - more than one person actually - so badly she started to imagine scenarios in her head how she could make them pay for what they did to her. The child who couldn't kill a fly did only exist in her memories anymore. She had pushed her back into a dark corner because she couldn't bear to make any more mistakes that could make her vulnerable to them. That's what those years were all about, avoiding to be vulnerable for them at any cost. To not let them hurt her by any chance.

Once she believed she could take anything because her outer appearance was perfectly masking her inner feelings, their attacks started to feel like nothing. And she turned cold. Because nothing could touch her anymore. She developed a form of depression where she wouldn't let anybody talk to her or get near her anymore, even when she had found friends who truly cared. No idea how she managed to even trust them enough to finally tell them about everything that's made her treat them like shit sometimes, but she did. And they helped her deal with the people from her past, with the memories they evoked every day she saw them in class. They still bring them back today, when she unexpectedly sees them. Nobody can blame children for what they did because children are too young to foresee the consequences of their actions, but this simple fact doesn't erase years of bullying either. Somehow she learned to trust her friends, but when it came to guys and relationships, more problems showed up. Nobody could say she wasn't pretty or friendly enough to be asked out, yet when she actually said yes and didn't turn them down right away, she backed out the second they told her they liked her or tried to kiss her. The thought of letting someone get closer to her and opening up to them made her feel sick. Terrified. She panicked. And ran away. Fled. They mustn't force her to let her walls come down again, the ones she had built up so carefully over years.

But eventually a part of her knew she couldn't go on like that. She didn't want the devils of her childhood to take the good that was left in her. It took her many years and she's still not completely done with breaking down the walls around her. And she broke many hearts along the way. But she's getting there. She can actually deal with being in a relationship. She can feel comforted when someone holds her in their arms instead of getting the wish to withdraw herself. It made her incredibly lonely to feel so much and not be able to express it, to struggle with accepting feelings and returning them. Show them. Funny enough, physical proximity is a minor issue compared to emotional closeness. She can't recap the last time she told her parents she loved them because the words didn't leave her lips for years. It's always the same cycle: Wanting to say something, opening her lips, realizing she can't speak, closing her lips again, remaining silent. She feels like a coward, not even being able to tell the people she loves that she loves them. It's one of the most important things in life and she can't express them.
Well, not yet. She's getting there. Slowly. In her own pace. Not at high speed.

Before she finished high school, she always used to say that she would leave her home town the second she received her graduation certificate. She wanted to leave behind all the pain those people had caused in her life, the experiences she didn't deserve because she never meant any harm to anybody. She used to pray to god each night before sleeping, praying to him to wake her up from the terrible real nightmare she was going through each day in primary school. He didn't. And so god and the whole idea of christianity became pure hypocrisy to her. Going to church nowadays sucked because it always brought back the memories to that time where she had believed in god and he left her alone in the dark.
But she's still there, in her home town. She realized running from her demons wouldn't make a difference. Those demons aren't the people those children back in primary school have grown to. Those demons are her own burdens she's kept from the past. And leaving that place wouldn't make them leave. So she stayed.

She only has to find back to the happy child who used to chase butterflies on a sunny day. To set this child that she locked up in a dark room free again. And not let the person those experiences turned her in get the edge on her. Hopefully, this will also bring back the happy memories from her childhood. Primary school memories are the only ones she can remember lively so far, everything else she gathered from storys of her family because the happy part of her childhood is a blur. Caged in foggy glass by some children who didn't know what their words would cause. Luckily, glass can be shattered into pieces.

Life is a series of moments. Nobody should let one moment inflict damage on all the others.


Think: #RefugeesWelcome

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They go through hell hoping for a better future. Some of them hoping for a future at all. A future they don't see in their country anymore, the place they call home. Where they've grown up, met friends, lived with their family, made memories that will last a lifetime. Memories which will now always have a bitter taste to them. The taste of hunger, the taste of thirst, of blood, bombs, war, threat.
A fear haunting them in their dreams, clinging to them, keeping them alarmed even when they've reached the destination of their escape. Their future. Safety.

Safety? Safety is described as the condition of being protected against physical, social, spiritual, financial, political, emotional, occupational, psychological, educational, or other types or consequences of failure, damage, error, accidents, harm, or any other event that could be considered non-desirable. (Source: Wikipedia)

All these souls, most of them innocent, helpless, frightened from what they've seen, what they've gone through, risked their lives, left their home, their former safety, in belief Europe is a better place to live. I live in Germany, and at the moment, we're absorbing a huge part of the refguees who arrive. From Syria, Serbia, Afghanistan. And I only named the top three on the German list. They don't arrive in front of our town house, or knock on a hotel's door. They arrive on boats, packed with way too many people, get hauled together for registration and then distributed. This process sounds like we were machining down products in a factory. Except they're not products, they're humans. What we have here are governments struggling, being overwhelmed by the masses of people seeking help.

I don't even want to talk about the political, economical side of all this, neither about the lack of space, clothing, items of daily life in general.
I want to talk about the human side. Humanity. Religious, ethical, educational, financial, spritiual differences don't matter. We're over that. At least I'd like to say we are and not feel like I was lying to myself. But. We. Are. One. To everyone of you to whom an Afroamerican person should legitimatedly be treated differently than anybody else (for instance be shot because their fingers look like a gun to you and it was so dark you couldn't see anything - hello, United States!) or whom mosques and synagoges are a bother - you should be ashamed of yourself.
And because of you, I am repeating myself: We are one. We're human. And everybody deserves living in a safe environment. Don't think any parent would put their child in an open boat if the land was safer than the water.

We're daily watching the suffering of others on the news, presented to us so sober, factual, objective that most of us don't waste any more thoughts on it. Neither do they think about the protests, the burning of asylum-seekers' hostels, the hate. And again, I am ashamed to be connected to these people who are spreading it out there how racist and evil we Germans are. Which is why I'm even more grateful for the positive movements  that were formed. I'm speaking of Aktion Arschloch or #RefugeesWelcome. Every smile, every warm welcome is so important. To send a message out there. Those people have suffered enough. They are seeking help and we should do everything possible to help them into a new life. We're lucky to live in a stable country, peaceful, wealthy, without war and terror. If it were us who had left our homes and fled our former lives, we would appreciate it either, if some stranger would voluntarily take some of their free time to make us feel a little less foreign, a little less strange and help us begin building up and existence again.

Disclaimer: Seeing so many posts on this issue recently, I didn't plan on throwing another opinion out there. I felt like some bloggers I enjoy reading had made their point - which is also my point - perfectly clear and I didn't need my own words to state my opinion. But now, with the heartbreaking picture of this young, little boy who had his life ahead of him, laying dead on the beach, I had to. Even if nobody may read this. But there's a tiny chance somebody does and that would already be enough. I think it's so important to not just let things happen because we think we can't change anything anyways. As I said, it starts with a smile...


Explore: Höllentalklamm, Germany

Has there ever been a moment in your life in which you thought "This can't be."? And you thought so because you were overwhelmed by the unbelievable beauty in front of your eyes, a beauty you've never seen before, never known of, never thought possible?
If so, then congratulations. If not, wait for it. It's gonna be worth every drop of sweat you might lose. Because I'm talking about nature. German nature in particular.

Since "Fernweh" - the longing to leave your place and discover the world - is a permanent feeling in my chest, I tend to look at pictures of foreign countries pretty often. I follow tons of photographers, travellers, explorers on instagram, i search tags like "landscape", "naturelovers" and "travelling" nearly on a daily basis. To me, it always seemed like real beauty only was to be found in afar. Nowhere near me.
Oh boy, I was wrong. During a week I discovered some places in Bavaria I would have never thought would exist. Whoops, starting to repeat myself, I should make my point now.
Höllentalklamm, Germany. If you love to be alone in the wilderness, don't attempt to go there on a Saturday like we did due to the rest of our plans for the week. If you love to study people, definitely choose Saturday because you will meet all kinds of them. Including the ones "hiking" up there in ballet pumps and a sequin top, with only one bottle of water.

Going all the way up to the Höllental from which several routes, to the Zugspitze for instance,  detour, took us around three hours, including a big break to eat some bits. Overnight stays will be possible from the beginning of 2016 onwards because they just rebuilt the Höllentalangerhütte. Be careful though, staying there isn't the cheapest!
Exporing Höllentalklamm is possible in one day though.
You should start in the morning, when the sun isn't up high yet and your skin isn't burning. If you're not staying anywhere near and not taking the train, you'll be glad to be an earlybird. From 8am on, traffic in and around Garmisch-Partenkirchen is jamming quite a lot. Same applies to 4pm. There are several parking areas along the way, you will find a slot closest to the hiking path if you're on time. We weren't - and had to find a spot somewhere in Grainau. Luckily, the owner of the property was a very friendly local who didn't mind us parking along his fence. He even gave us a cucumber for the hike since he had plenty.
Let me just say, the cucumber was delicious.
Definitely take a rainjacket with you, as passing by Höllentalklamm is a wet affair. And good hiking shoes obviously. It takes you about one and a half hours to reach Höllentaleingangshütte.
To enter Höllentalklamm, adults pay 4 euros, children, students pay half the price. Pass the turnstile and you're in and looking forward to half an hour of walking along narrow paths, on wet stone, with the ice blue stream beneath you. Partially, the air is so cold you can see your own breath. Once you've made it out, you've got one more hour to go if you want to reach the Höllental, it's worth it, too.
I never expected to see as many different vegetations and landscapes within these few hours. Basically every stage of our hike we found new beauty to admire. The 4 euros we paid for this experience seemed like nothing to us. I didn't count how often I thought "This can't be", just take me by my word - it was probably every time I peeked around me.
And also in the second I looked up and a little waterfall poured over me. Before hiking through the Höllental, I honestly believed a nature like this could only be found in New Zealand, Canada, or maybe in a national park in the United States. Not in my home country, Germany. It was a welcome enlightenment and I'm looking forward to many more.

P.S.: I took my best to do nature justice, but I still don't think a picture can. You should go and see for yourself. (More pictures on flickr.)