2015/09/07

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...



2015/09/05

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.)



2015/08/26

Live: Like a Machine

Although I've been on holiday for two weeks this past month, I feel like life has gone by in a blurr. Like somebody took a picture of light bulbs without focussing on the lights. Bokeh.
Days have passed and I couldn't tell you exactly how. I've had work to do - which is still awaiting me like a left-behind puppy when I return home, back to civilization from the cute, little town my aunt and uncle live in - I met some friends and contributed new memories to my imaginary jar before serious business starts again in October (I'll fill you in on what's happening in another post).

And I've read. I've read books like my life depended on finishing one after the other because I'm anxious to fail at the challenge I set myself: Read 50 Books in 2015. So far I'm at 39, but with October, November and December probably being the busiest months of my year, I could get into a reading slump - and hurry towards the new year.
Funny enough, this reading that I love so much has gotten me into the worst rush I've ever experienced.
Read more, know more, write more, be a better writer, enlarge my English vocabulary, along with my other acitivities being sports, volleyball, learning Spanish, taking pictures, watching series, studying magazines, working, meeting friends. I wanted it all. There's no mistake in being ambitious. Yet I had to realize that wanting it all at the same time was an overambition far from reality.
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With social media constantly shuffling off new information upon us - and ninety percent of it being absolute garbage - being in the picture about what's going on and also doing our own bit for the never-ending news float, became a top priority for us, especially when working in an internet-dependent sector (which sadly applies to almost every job nowadays because the www haunts us everywhere). We put ourselves under unnecessary pressure. Pressure we've created ourselves.  I am no exception. If others manage to deal with everything, why shouldn't we? Since we don't want to admit that we're overchallenged, we go with the flow. No matter how much time and energy it sucks up.

One of my favourite YouTubers has changed her channel completely. Beginning with her banner, ending with the way she speaks to her audience in videos. I don't recognize her anymore. What I would've labelled as her distinctive features that made her stand out of the crowd is all gone.
I'll spare her name because I don't want to talk about her in particular but about every one of us who finds themselves in the situation of being expected to share new content, to create new inspiration and collect new ideas on a weekly - if not daily - basis.
YouTubers, Bloggers, Journalists, Freelancer, Photographers, Editors, Programmers, Software Technicians, etc. etc. etc., we're all meant to deliver. Perfectly. Without a risk of not meeting our expectations and disappointing the hopes of others. Like a machine. Like we could never use a time-out. We could. But we won't allow ourselves to take some time off. In the meanwhile, there could be someone better, someone more creative, someone faster, stronger, more inspiring appearing on the surface who could push us to the edge. Turn us into a meaningless individual that's lost the fight in trying to prove their importance for society.

Being a blogger, I find myself being demotivated reading about topics I myself have also thought off, but never knew how to put them into words. If I had found a way, could I have written the better post? Would I have attracted more readers? Could I have grown my blog? No matter the work one does, everyone is longing for their piece of the cake, their little share of recognition. I do. Feedback is an important part of what keeps me going, what keeps me writing.
But integrity is another major one. If my hands don't start moving automatically on the keyboard, I close Blogger and maybe try again the next day. Why should anyone else feel the need to read my writing, if I don't feel strong enough about it to even begin with it?

Source
Do you ever check how many likes your new post on Instagram got? Do you ever wonder which outfit, place, tags could get you most? Do you ever plan on taking pictures for Instagram?
Sometimes I do. And then I stop myself in the middle of pressing my thumb on the camera symbol because I remember this word. Integrity. For me, when the planning starts and spontaneity gets missing, there has to be a halt. Possibly that's why I haven't been blogging anymore, why I've stopped writing in my diary, why I've stopped writing in general. Why I've stopped taking pictures, up until August. I don't want to let my passion feel like a duty. It would only become one. If I don't have anything to say, so be it. And if I do, if there might be three posts in a week in the future, that'd be fine, too.

Chapeau to all of you out there who own their money on these platforms and generate content each week, at set times, never ending, never not filling your space in the information chain. I respect that as long as the content is still you. But I can't do that. My inspiration supply is limited. Which is why I only post on here, on Instagram, whereever else, knowing, that I'm sharing for a reason. And the reason not being for the sake of sharing.

2015/07/17

Explore: A Little Frankfurt Getaway

A few weeks ago I took the last chance to visit a good friend in Frankfurt before he'd go away for University, so I packed my bags and hopped on a train. Unfortunately, I missed my connecting train due to a huge delay (because for some reason, drunk people enjoy walking on tracks), but I caught the following one, after I had to let my ticket be transferred to another train. Anxiety-wise, this showed me how far I've come in the past year. Had there been any trouble on the way, twelve months ago I would have taken the next train back home without wasting any thoughts on alternatives. I was so proud that I felt fine during the whole journey. And I still am. Because I had a blast in Frankfurt and I wouldn't have wanted to miss the experience.

I did take my camera with me - in case I would panic so that I'd have had something to focus on - but I felt like it was more important to take everything in without looking through a lens once. I felt like I had to cherish every moment, every happy thought without anxiety. Because honestly - this has been my first anxiety-free trip in months, if not years. I took plenty of snaps with my phone camera though and uploaded them on Instagram. I'll let them tell you the story!

























2015/06/10

Think: 15 of my Favourite Feelings

Admittedly, I didn't come up with this idea on my own, I've seen a YouTube video on Essiebutton's channel (She is one of my favourite YouTubers ever!) and felt like it was a nice idea to get in the writing flow again - haven't really felt like blogging in the past weeks...or months...you'll have noticed, aha.

So here we go, these are 15 of my favourite feelings! I could go on with this list for ages, so I just named the ones that popped up in my head first. Be prepared, it's getting cheesy in the end.
1. The moment I wake up
Source
2. Breathing in the salty air at the Sea.

3. Finishing a great book.

4. Laying on a meadow and listening to singing birds.

5. Walking/Hiking through the woods.

6. Seeing somebody genuinely happy when they see me.

7. Smiling at someone, even if it's a stranger, and getting a smile back.

8. Being hugged tight/hugging someone tight.

9. Eating pizza.

10. Feeling well rested.

11. Giving someone a present they're truly amazed about.

12. Feeling the sun warm my skin.

13. Capturing someone's natural laugh with my camera when they're not aware of being photographed.

14. Listening to someone's heartbeat, preferably that someone being an important person in my life. There's nothing that calms me down as much asknowing that warm body so close to me is alive and breathing (Is that weird?).

15.  Sleeping in/waking up next to the person I love.

2015/04/20

Advise: Gaining Time you're Losing

Source
I want to begin this post with a picture. Has there ever been a moment where you stopped doing the activity you were up to and just took in the happenings, sounds, lights, colours, people, scents around you? I honestly haven't. Or if I have, then I can't recap a memory right now.

This post isn't exactly going to be a "How To: Blablabla" as I don't have any actual tips on how to gain time you're losing (I love the idea I had for this title), but I know moments in which I felt infinite. in Charlie's words: "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite." (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, p.39). Feeling infinite is a very, very precious emotion in my eyes, because we're basically living in a world where each day is meant to be somewhat productive for our future, to give ourself a meaning and some importance in the soup with over eight billion ingredients. (Got the metaphor?) I myself realize far too seldom how days, weeks, month pass and sometimes I could sum them up in a few sentences. Shouldn't we make each day count? Shouldn't we make each day memorable? Shouldn't we fill each day with moments who make us feel infinite?

Guess what? I think I should. I think you should. I think everyone in this world should slice off their tiny piece of infinity. What I mean by "infinity"? Well, have you ever experienced a moment in which you felt like the whole world stopped for you whilst it went on for everybody else (Which is the reason why I chose the picture above)? In which you zoned out and your focus lay on a single subject?
Named subject can be a car ride through a tunnel (You'll know what I'm talking about if you've read or watched "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", it's one of my favourite passages/scenes - and if you haven't, I'm sorry for my constant references but I simply do think this book is genius (and you can read more about my opinion on it here)) or a date with your favourite person, or a good laugh with one of your best friends, a sunset, a cool drink, your favourite meal, running through the woods, laying on a meadow, watching waves crash against rocks whilst feeling the warm sand beneathbetweenallover your toes, scenting flowers, finishing a good book...The list is endless because we all have our little infinities of which some might still wait to be discovered.

And I've just realized I could have made this post extra short because in the end, my conclusion is "Do something of what makes you happy each day." since I believe that our happiness turns time into a relative instance (although some people might claim it already is relative but let's not get into this debate, okay?). So I hope you've enjoyed my little ramble and drew a little essence out of it for yourself. Don't let yourself get dragged into the current without occasionally holding on to rocks.

2015/04/14

Explore: Spring is in the Air

I know this post doesn't exactly suit the category "globetrotter" as I basically just had to leave the house to be in the vineyards, but I figured since not everybody lives in a region like this, I would just add it there.

Funny enough, I've never been a person to enjoy going for a walk as my parents do pretty much every evening when it's still sunny. Seeing the same landscape every time bores me at some point, but spring air, growing flowers and warm sunshine manage to drag me out every year. (It's the same in autumn, but let's stick to the actual season we're in.) Whenever nature begins its yearly cycle, I feel like starting all over as well. Which I mean quite literally, as the winter blues always gets me.
Something about the regularity of vineyards fascinates me and they are a good subject for a few photographs.
You can marry up there if you feel like it.
For some more impressions, check out my Flickr account!

2015/03/20

Dress: ASOS Haul

Good evening, everybody! (Or good morning, depending on when you read this post.)
There are a few bits and pieces I've collected over the past days so I decided to share them in a post. Most of them should still be available so I'll link them below!
P.S.: You will notice I'm not the kind of blogger who enjoys posing in front of a camera, so this will have to do, I apologize!

I actually never expected that dots would suit me so I ordered this dress for
fun, but it turns out that I love this print! It's such a cute and playful dress!
And the fabric resembles neoprene, it feels really soft and not too stiff though.
Still available on ASOS
In the past year, I've grown to love flower prints, so I couldn't resist this blouse!
Still available on ASOS
Love these shoes with the lace detailing, they are also really comfy.
Still available on ASOS
I actually bought this backpack in a store near me, but I wanted to include it in the haul. I wasn't sure about its quality since it only costed me about 20 euros, but I think the faux leather looks good for the low price and I also
like the paisley print on the inside! You can fit a good amount of stuff in it although it's rather little. It goes with
everything though.
(I know this is not a fashion item but I wanted to include it anyway) How cute is
this green roses frame? It looks so elegant on my shelf and the roses are more
detailed than I expected them to be. The green is pale enough to go with everything.
Still available on ASOS

2015/03/17

Work: Charity Work in a Retirement Home

Recently I've started to do some charity work in a retirement home. I knew I enjoyed working with the elderly when I did so about three years ago, so I decided to do it once again because it's also a nice experience for the Psychology studies I want to start in autumn. I also feel like I'm doing something worthwhile and senseful.

I'm working for four hours on three days a week. It's a good rate because the job is emotionally demanding although the people and the staff are absolutely sweet.
Nonetheless one is confronted with death, sickness (I find dementia the hardest to deal with - and seeing family members nearly not being recognized by some of the residents breaks my heart sometimes), the moods of everyone (Although occasionally being in a bad mood is understandable for me. I would hate living in a place that's not my home, with people that are strangers to me and to whom I have to explain everything, my habits, for instance. These moods occur no matter how long the residents have been living there, every day is like a restart though.)
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Before you start thinking that working in a retirement home is the worst job on earth, let me tell you: It's not. I said it's worthwhile before and it is. Why? Because the time you spend with the people isn't lost time, not at all. If it's a smile, if it's a "Thank you" I get back, a stroke on the cheek or on my arm, a laugh or a life story, it always feels like a little present to me.
Today, for example, I didn't stop smiling because we cut out easter eggs we want to use as a window decoration, went to the market to buy flowers for the tables and then, at midday, when I fed the woman I usually give food to, she said "I thank you". I honestly felt like a child who just got a new toy, haha. It took about one and a half months for her to talk to me. Patience is the key word in this case.
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Additionally, the elderly do have interesting stuff to tell. I think it's great to learn about life, how it was back then, the difficulties they had to deal with, what everyone did for a living (one of the residents is a professor who also wrote a book or another one lived in Paris for two years). They can tell history.

P.S.: Also there's a cute as button bunny I am taking care of. I love the little fluff ball.

2015/03/14

Explore: Short Trip to Paris

Before you read this post, I feel like telling you something. (If you solely care about Paris, then skip this part, please)
We've arrived on Sunday and I had a really bad feeling in my guts. I made it til Monday morning, but then my panic scale was right on top and I couldn't imagine spending one more minute in Paris. Let's not talk about the trigger for my terrible uncomfortableness - because I know nothing about it (like Jon Snow, aha, okay, it's really not the time for jokes right now) - but I guess acting like everything went the way it was supposed to would have just ruined the nice impressions I got during my short stay in Paris and not help anybody. I spent this week dwelling on things because I really was angry with me and my mind as there are so many people who can travel to a different country (besides, France really isn't that different to Germany when it comes to food etc.), people I know who spend a year abroad as an AuPair and I envy them so much for not freaking out (about seven days away from home!). I'm going to work on it and some day, return to Paris and see all its wonderfulness without a weird feeling in my stomach.
I thought a lot about whether to share the fact that my boyfriend and I were supposed to spend seven days in the city of love. Evidently this blog is a personal one and I write a lot about my thoughts and feelings, but I think there also is a border between which things you share with possibly the whole world (Interwebs!) and which ones you keep for yourself. But since a lot of people nowadays deal with mental issues, I decided to share it with you anyway. Maybe some of you can draw positive advice for themselves out of my experience (for instance: Don't let others pressure you to do something you're clearly not comfortable with or sure about. You don't need to prove yourself to anyone, take your steps in time.)

On to Paris! I can't quite capture the feeling I had about Paris in words, but let me try: I totally like London or Dublin better. It might be due to the English language with which I'm obsessed, or the popularity of tea (instead of coffee in France). Nonetheless, Paris is absolutely breathtaking. Parisian life carries a special vibe to it and I found it great to see how relaxed people sat on benches or at the Canal St. Martin with beer or wine and chatted away with their friends. Some even played the guitar or played cards. I also realized how many immigrants actually live in Paris (which isn't surprising as our rented apartment was situated right in Belleville - the quarter of immigrants, ha) and it occured to me for the first time that it must be completely impossible for everyone to find work - let alone the fact that probably not everyone has sufficient education. I'm really glad that I'm not living in a metropole (and I will never complain about Stuttgart being so huge, ha) because I also felt pretty insignificant. Oh well, I guess one has to be made for city life. I'm more of a country person that likes living close to a bigger city for some urban escapes.
What I didn't expect to be delighted about was Parisian fashion. I've always thought that the women we see in fashion magazines were the exception and that nearly no one actually walked around like that. Big fail, Sarah, big fail! I was absolutely blown away. I like fashion in general (although I don't see how some fashion trends became trends you're supposed to wear), yet I don't live in a surroundings were dressing like that wouldn't come across as overdone. So I just leave it be. Living in Munich would make a difference, for example. Enough from me, I hope you enjoy the few pictures I took on our Sunday stroll through Paris! I myself am not as content with them because I took them rather in a hurry and therefore the frames aren't always lucky. (But I'm hoping that I am my worst critic in this case.)
Loved the street art!
Canal St. Martin was my favourite.

In case you want to see more, check out Flickr!