Reading: I finished Wildwood last week and although I enjoyed the whole Narnia-vibe I am just not into that kind of fantasy. I was disappointed. Now I'm starting "Little Bee". I have read & heard good things about it and although I am VERY sceptical about a white male telling the story of a young Nigerian girl, I will give it a shot.
Listening to: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I am obsessed, not only with the music but also the lyrics are plain fantastic. Consumerism, LGBTQ rights, addiction prolems? Yes please!
Thinking about: The refugee situation in Germany. Our refugee camps are a joke, they are dirty and unsafe, medical help is sporadic at best. You only even get a place when officially recognized as a refugee which apparently is rather complicated. Since last week refugees are camping right in the middle of Munich to protest against institutional racism. They entered a dry hungerstrike 5 days ago. It's so sad they have to use such tragic action to be heard at all.
I am ashamed. Ashamed to come from a country where people are treated so poorly.
Anticipating: I have a few days off in July and am currently thinking about where to go. I'm still on a half-serious quest to travel every country in Europe and one of the countries I haven't been to yet is Portugal. I would love to visit Porto for a few days even though I do not necessarily have money to spare. But with my internship being almost over I feel like I have earned it. We'll see.
Planning: Reading blogs you can't avoid being inspired by all these awesome DIY projects out there. Unfortunately I'm not very talented craft-wise. There are projects I'm really proud of and others I failed miserably, that's why I put together a list of diy-stuff that seems foolproof enough that I should be able to make it.
1. A headband from an old t-shirt
2. these cute bracelets
3. a huge paper flower!
4. I bought a clear iphone case to modify
5. I really want to experiment with dip dying
Some days you wake up and you just know it's icecream day.
It has nothing to do with the weather or even the season, icecream day just happens.
Yesterday was one of those days. Sadly, I didn't have icecream at home, the best thing I found in the fridge was yoghurt, so I put that in my popsicle molds (which I have never used before and am not entirely sure where they came from) and a few hours later, voilá: yoghurt popsicles. Creamy, delicious almost healthy popsicles!
Oh and my favourite yoghurt right now is a storebrand from Switzerland with all natural sugars, flavours and colors.
For the pink one I used rhubarb-flavoured & plain yoghurt, the other one is mango & plain yoghurt.
Next time I won't use plain yoghurt, it didn't taste like anything at all and wasn't creamy either but maybe that's because it was low-fat.
I've already made a list of yoghurt flavours I want to try next. Blueberry! Hazelnut! Passion fruit!
Living up to the stereotype of Switzerland, these pictures were taken no 300m from my flat. We actually do live right next to a farm. I think everyone here does. Even when you live in downtown Zurich, chances are the next cow is closer than you think.
And I love that. Not only does it mean that cheese, milk and yoghurt taste much more fresh, it also forces you to stay in touch with nature.
I am a firm believer that being around animals has a positive impact on life. That's the reason I like pigeons, in a world full of big cities and concrete jungles, it's good to have an animal invade our space and share our streets so we don't forget about the actual world out there.
India for example is full of animals. Dogs, cows, goats, monkeys are all part of everyday life.
I remember one incident in Rishikesh, when a cow was lying down on a street and instead of honking or freaking out, people just stopped and went for tea, waiting for the cow to move. See what I mean?
This galette is a slight variation on the one Ina posted here on her blog.
Obviously instead of apple and nectarine I used peach and raspberry, I also substituted almonds and pistachios with rosemary and the most important change:
I didn't use any (added) sugar.
For the dough I used applesauce instead of sugar AND butter, so basically just flour, applesauce and an egg.
For the topping I didn't use sugar either but sprinkled some honey over it after baking.
It's the perfect dessert for summer, not overly sweet but very fresh and it tastes good either warm or chilled. I'm sure I'll bake this a lot over the next few months, I ate half of the galette myself today.
So a huge thank you to Ina for the inspiration and the recipe!
Lately, as I had a lot of time to think about where I want to be in the future, I questioned how I got where I am and fell into the trap of asking the 'what if..' questions.
What if I had never quit university? What if I had stayed in India, worked for an NGO? What if I was still working and living in my hometown? What if I went to live with my uncle in Australia?
Looking objectively at my life right now it's pretty sobering: At 25, I have no degree, I work as an intern, I am underpaid and still not quite sure where I will be living in about 3 months.
There are few people I trust enough to consult them when I'm in doubt and in the past I have been guilty of fighting my battles alone and in quiet. I am a bad audience for advice and even if I will listen to it, it's wasted on me. That's why I could spend days thinking about what would happen if I could go back in time.
Fact is I cannot.
Not all of my decisions were wise or right choices, but they brought me exactly where I should be, to an underpaid internship that makes my heart cry with happiness each day, to a place where I can sit in the sun and reflect, to a home I share with one of the most loving people I have ever met.
I needed this time to grow and deal with my parents' illnesses, to quit being someone I didn't like very much to find out what kind of person I want to be. And become that person.
I have very little in common with the girl who quit university and flew off to India over 3 years ago, but I thank her for listening to her heart despite everyone telling her not to.
And I can assure you my heart turned out to be an excellent counselor ever since.
It's offically summer and I am eating olives, tomatoes and feta cheese in every variation I can find. If it's too hot I mix it with some cucumber and have the perfect greek salad. For something more filling this is my all time favourite. Creamy tomato sauce which is made in about 5 minutes topped with olives and feta cheese. So easy, so perfect.
Another thing that is really fantastic in Switzerland (aside the obvious cheese and chocolate) is apple wine! I have never known they had such a big cider culture but apperently they do since you can buy huge plastic bottles of cider everywhere. Yay!
Listening to: First Aid Kit! The kind of band you can either just dive right into their songs and forget about everything else or have them on in the background, creating the perfect vibe for daydreaming and reading. Seriously though, I love everything about them, lyrics, voices, videos. Double girl crush.
Excited about: There's a public pool right next to my house and I have been waiting for the temperatures to rise so I could start going and this week it finally happened. The water is still a bit chilly but this morning I swam for an hour and felt like a champion. After a long period of no regular exercise it feels so good to be active again.
Thinking about: Life's funny way of teaching us lessons and giving us exactly what we need at the right time. Somehow I completely lost my way about a year ago, I knew I had to move on from being a waitress but I didn't quite know where to go. I failed at a couple of things I tried and was very disappointed with myself.
I applied for my internship because it seemed like something I would enjoy and I could do while figuring out where I actually want to go. Turns out the internship is exactly where I needed to be.
It has shown me that the way I originally had in mind has always been the right one: social work. But it has also given me something else. Time.
Coming to Switzerland knowing no one but my boyfriend was challenging and there were times I thought it was too much but over the months not only have I gotten closer to my co-workers, I also started appreciating the time I had for myself.
Loving: All the beautiful colors all around. The fresh fruit, the flowers everywhere, the sun, icecream on a hot day, homemade iced tea, planning my next steps, writing down what's on my mind. Life is good right now and I am learning to really enjoy the moment.
reading on the patio is my favourite activity ever, even more so if the weather allows for shorts and bare feet.
my beautiful bike which came out of the river. I can finally ride it now but I'm thinking about repainting it maybe.
this one was easy to pick.
Lately I have been considering adding some more to them, maybe apple-/srawberry blossoms to each.
just to make this clear: this isnt my bad habit. It's M.'s bad habit which I really hate. I would describe my own lifestyle as rather healthy with some guilty pleasures (read: cupcakes) so I am always worried about the effects of smoking on his health. It's something that really bothers me.
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere."
There is something about airports that makes me happy.
Actually it's quite obvious, the happiest times of my life were spent travelling. Airports are always the starting point of those travels. So airports remind me that if it all gets too much, I could always take next best plane.
Of course it isn't quite as easy seeing as I would have to get holidays at work, save enough money etc. Sometimes the wanderlust gets so unbearable I look up flights on the internet and start counting my money. Could I? Should I?
Yesterday was one of those days when all I wanted to do is hop on a plane and escape to anywhere at all. Knewing it wasn't possible M and me decided to do the second best thing by going to an airport and explore. Because there is actually much to see even if you don't take a plane.
We watched planes land and take off, wishing people we never met a pleasant journey and dream about where we would go, if we could go anywhere.
If travelling India has taught me one thing is that nothing is impossible, dreams can come true if you work for them, and sometimes all you have to do is buy a plane ticket and stop worrying.
This is my mantra for when I have a bad day: Happiness is always just a 12-hour flight away.
Life is crazy right now, nothing is stable and certain, I will start school again this fall, we will move to another city, back to Germany and who knows how we will pay for all of that.
New routines, new people to meet, new goals to achieve.
There is too much unfinished business in my life that would keep me from enjoying myself, so travelling will have to wait.
There is too much unfinished business in my life that would keep me from enjoying myself, so travelling will have to wait.
But no matter where we will end up living, I know there will be an airport somewhere close by.
I have never grown out of the phase of thinking my Papa is a superhero.
When I was really small, visiting him was the highlight of my week. It was like holidays and vacation, we would go on adventures together, ride ponies, feed deer, climb mountains, swam lakes and most of all he let me be myself.
Later on we had phases when I didn't visit him as often, but everytime I was with him I felt understood, not what I said but who I was, he just ~got me. He was my home and my anchor.
Today it has been two years since he died.
My lighthouse to which I could always turn to give me direction and lead the way is gone and I feel so lost without him. I saw this man fight and lose a battle we knew we couldn't win. But even in his last days, he was always smiling, so I wouldn't worry. Always the superhero.
Grief is something you are never prepared for. It haunts you and stays with you, even now tiny things trigger it and suddenly it just hurts, hurts, hurts. But grief is also a blessing, it shows me how deeply I will always love him, grief helps me keep memories, it inspires me to try my best to make Dad proud, it makes me thankful for every second I had with him, makes me realize how much of his spirit I carry with me.
I will never stop grieving and it will never stop hurting.
But my Papa gave me the strength to accept and embrace the feelings as they come.
Whenever I miss him, I think of his smile and how it would light up the room for me.
It still does.
My home and my anchor forever.
My june wishlist reflects my two favourite summer activities: picnic & pool.
I am looking forward to having a picnic soon, eating outside on a blanket is the best way of eating.
Today I actually went to the pool. There is something so relaxing about laying in the sun just reading and whenever it gets too hot you just hop into the water and do a bit of excercise aka swimming.
I love swimming, in fact at one point during the 'big weight loss' I think I might have been addicted to swimming.
Anyway these are the two things I want to spend the most time on this month.
Some more maxi dresses would be lovely but I'm poor so I can only dream, what I actually did spend money on is sunscreen. I have three different kinds: 1 for the body, 1 for the face and 1 for the tattoos (sunblocker).
As for books, the next three are already bought and are waiting to be read but I would like to re-read some loved books too this season.
For the stuffed tomatoes I first cut off the top of the tomatoes and used a spoon to get all the slimey stuff out (safe that!). In a pan I fried the cooked quinoa with the tomato-insides, half an onion, one clove of garlic and some italian herbs for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add crumbs of feta cheese and some cherry tomatoes. Then fill the tomatoes, place them in a dish, sprinkle with a bit of olive oil and bake for about 15-20 minutes.
It really isn't that elaborate or difficult to make, but it makes for a fancy side dish. We decided it would even suffice as main dish and had just some salad with these.
For Valentine's Day this year, I made M a jar with little heart-shaped notes. On these heart-shaped notes (that are color-coded for expenses) I have written different date ideas so when we have a day off we randomly pick one out and do whatever it says on there.
On sunday was our day off together and our note said 'Milkshake Day!'
First reaction was OH AWESOME!
Then I realized it was sunday. Shops were closed. So I had to improvise on flavors. I knew we had vanilla icecream so that was a plus and we had enough milk. But I don't like vanilla shakes.
Then I remembered the strawberries!
Then we moved on to watch TV, play xbox and sit outside because the weather magically got better.
Time for round 2! One thing I always have at home is cookies. I even had Oreo cookies last week, which made M very happy. He drank half of mine too.
Last but not least I made a peanutbutter milkshake for dessert after dinner. This turned out to be a big hit too, just the right mix between sweet and salty. I almost forgot to take a picture of it before it was gone.
This shake has the most icecream in it, about 4 scoops, 2-3 tablespoons peanutbutter and milk. You could even add some sugar and salt to bring out the sweet and salty some more.
We both felt like falling into a sugar coma afterwards but we really love milkshake day. M even talked about which flavours to try next.
Although May has been mostly rainy and grey, I had a very good month. I visited my friends back home then my mom and one of my closest friends came to visit me here and I'm having a good time at work. Also, I went to this fantastic market on one of the few nice days and bought some really good chai mix.
I am reading:
I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on this one, it's classic children fantasy (our heroine wanders into the woods and finds a magical world in there where she has to complete a task and fight against evil) and to be honest I've had my fill of that.
What made me buy it was
a) it was written by Colin Meloy, singer & songwriter for one of my all time favourite bands The Decemberists, loving his lyrics I needed to give his first novel a shot and
b) the illustrations. What you see on the front cover is just an example of all the beautiful artwork you'll find inside this book, unfortunately I got the paperback version of this so it's only in black ad white. I'm tempted to buy the hardcover.
I'm not even halfway through with it but so far I really am pleased. It's no Harry Potter that you just kind of obsess over, but still I find myself looking forward to when I can go back to reading.
I am looking forward to:
Call me an optimist but I still haven't abandoned all hope for better weather. So I am very much looking forward to higher temperaturs now that it's June and perhaps some sun. Sitting on our patio, reading in the sun, go swimming (this especially, I have a an open air pool right next to my house, I want to use it!) and for walks, wear dresses and shorts. Summer is my favourite season, I finally want it to start!
On my mind:
I finally came to love Switzerland after all, mainly because of my coworkers and cheese. BUT I am very excited about moving back to Germany in August. Not because I want to leave Switzerland (actually, I wouldn't mind working here one day) but because it means I can go back to university. For the first time ever I didn't have to argue with myself, convince myself, talk myself into it. This internship made me realize what I want to do with my life. Supporting people in being themselves, accepting disabilities as a form of human life, integrating and empowering people to make their own decisions and go their own way. It's what I have always believed in and it's something I'm passionate about. So I'm looking forward to getting a professional degree for it.
I'm proud of:
This blog! I have wanted to start a blog for a looong time and I finally did and stuck with it. I'm enjoying it so much because it is not only the act of writing a blog but also spending time with myself. While working on this post alone I have asked myself what is making me happy and what I would like to change. I really needed that.
Travelling! This is the number one thing to make me feel alive and connected to the world and my soul, to make me feel balanced and happy. I haven't been able to pack my backpack and travel around for a long time but I'm going to make it a priority. I won't be able to do that long-term thing in the near future again, I know that, but I'll try to have little getaways every now and then to keep my spirits up. I have a few days off in July and am now deciding where to go.
The near future:
Enjoy Switzerland. I might not have the cash to actually travel around here but I can explore this city at least. Also while I am still here I can concentrate on blogging and improving myself, I started a journal to help me define goals, I started doing yoga again and I'm reading a lot. These are all things I consider characteristics of myself, so it's like I'm more myself again lately. Which is great.