Top Tips for Exam Season

I. have. No. Time. To. Blog.
I don’t. The time is 00:20 hours, and I have just given up studying for tonight. Anyone else feeling those exams drawing closer and threatening to suffocate you? Can you already smell the failure? You have ended up on my blog, and if you’re still reading it probably means two things: 1.) you have exams coming up preeetty soon, and 2.) you haven’t really figured out how this studying thing works, or else you’d be off a blog that has a unicorn in the header image. Just saying.

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Everyone revises for exams differently, and I highly doubt that uniquely following my lead will help you pass your finals. But the way I see it, it really helps to try out new techniques every now and again. So I’ve provided a little list of things that help me revise and actually do get me through. Just pick what you find helpful and create your own study environment!

Get dressed!
I have the tendency to stay in my PJs for entire weekends. It’s comfy but I never get much done unless you count going through an entire series of Doctor Who on Netflix an achievement. So try not to feel like a slob and put something on that you haven’t slept in recently. If you’re anything like me, you’ll go for the most comfortable thing your wardrobe has to offer, like a fresh set of pajamas. You can even leave out the bra, but dress up a little.

Eat Eat Eat!
Last month I did a sugar detox and it made me realise how very often I just leave out a meal and have a chocolate bar instead. Don’t do that while preparing for exams. Even if you’re behind schedule, take your time to have a proper breakfast. You need energy to stay focused, and studying with an empty stomach sucks.

Clean your room!
Having dirty laundry lying around on the floor and empty yoghurt cups stacking on my desk destracts me very much from studying. It’s just not a comfortable environment to work in, so before you get started clean up your mess. It also gives you a feeling of having achieved something already and that’s a motivating starter!

Have no unfinished business
What I mean is, before you get started check your social media one last time. Text your crush, post an emoticon in that group chat, go through your Instagram feed… whatever it takes to be up to date. Then turn off your notifications! Nothing groundbreaking is going to happen in the next two hours, and Facebook and co will only distract you. I missed two calls from my boss yesterday, and I assume he called because he wanted me to take more shifts over the summer. This seems fairly important, but he will understand.

But social media aside, also remember to feed your pets, pay your bills and let the cleaning lady in before you start. It’s those small chores that will distract you later when you get stuck somewhere.

Don’t let the sun come in
It’s almost summer, and that means that it’s sunny outside and warm and if you’re living next to a camping place, like me, you might be hearing lots of cheerful voices and that annoyingly feel-good latino music. And it makes you want to be out there and live! Well, you can’t. Here’s what I do: I shut the blinds to get the sun out. I then turn on the soundtrack of the 5th series from Doctor Who and pretend I’m working on a master plan to save the world. Alternatively you can also use 007-background music or whatever else catches your fancy. Believe me, it feels so good!

Believe in the magic of colours
If stationary excites you like it excites me (a helluva lot!) then buy some new, shiny sharpies and use them! I waste a lot of time drawing graphs and highlighting words very carefully, and I realise that a lot of this time could be invested otherwise – but I need that. I like my notes to not only look tidy but also pretty. Colours supposedly help your memory, so go all the way!

Don’t force yourself
Last weekend was supposed to include hours and hours of revision; but fate had it that I should wake up with a headache and sore throat that saturday morning. I ended up spending three days pretty much asleep. My health is more important than any exam! That’s your mantra! Even if you’re not sick with the flu, remember that you are allowed to take breaks. If you’re really stuck, don’t go on Youtube or Tumblr, take a conscious break – go for a walk, take a nap, even watch an episode from The Big Bang Theory; anything to relax your brain!

 Plan ahead
To-Do lists really help keeping track of what you want to and can achieve in a day. Make sure you know what you need to be prepared for, then decide what you want to study for just today!

 Decide what to study for
Ah yes, if you are anything like me you are lagging behind. I have to say, though, that I have not been massively procrastinating fort he past 3 months; but having two jobs and planning to write a theatre play and having filled my curriculum to the brim with courses, I just never had the time to get anything done properly. There is no way I will score exceedingly high points in any of the exams to come, but hope is not lost. If you find yourself in a similar situation, pick a number of subjects to really focus on and leave out the rest. That way you’ll feel more confident during the actual exam as well; better to know a few things well than know a little bit about everything.

Summarise!
Don’t just read something and go, «Yup! Got it!» Chances are, you didn’t get it. Writing things down helps your memory and makes you sort out the important facts.

You will be fine, I’m sure! Because the primary thing to remember ist hat failing an exam is not failing life! Let me tell you a little story:

Fifteen-Year-Old Me was very worried about getting into a really good high school. But because Fifteen-Year-Old Me had been to three different secondary schools within the same year, there was no way she would achieve the grades to get in. So Fifteen-Year-Old Me did another year with the bullies and hateful teachers in that silly old secondary school and decided again to try for this high school she wanted to go to. Fifteen-Year-Old Me was pretty smart, I think in retrospect, because this time ’round she made it. But instead of starting that school right that summer, Fifteen-Year-Old Me went on exchange to New Zealand, something she would not have been able to do otherwise. The friends I found I am still in touch with today. I learned English which comes like a first language to me today and has opened so many doors for me; heck, it made that blog possible in the first place! I did eventually go to that high school I’d applied for, just when a new history teacher started, who made me want to study the subject. It was the same summer Anna started her career there, as did many other lovely faces that I might not have otherwise noticed.

I failed an exam, but I won at life!

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Good luck to anyone who has exams over the next couple of months! I hope this offers a bit of help and guidance.

Lots of love from the revision pit!
xxx

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Meet: Anna

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Anna in three words: Reliable, Funny, Thoughtful
Anna’s dream dinner party guests: The Queen, Matt Bellamy, J.K. Rowling
Anna’s favourite post: 10 Years of Lovely Letters
Anna reads: Top with Cinnamon

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Hello lovey-dovey folks! ’tis I, Noemi, and I am so excited to introduce you to one of my favourite bloggers, Anna! Some of you already met her when we were doing Blogmas together; so of course I could not resist and asked her for an interview. She did a really good job, as you’ll see, so pop over to her Blog and say hi.

Anna and I met in High School seven years ago where we were friendly but not friends. We had, however, the same two best friends, and they decided to leave us in the gutter and go on exchange. You can see where this is going, right? Around that time I had just discovered my love for James Blunt and when I found out he was doing a concert in Switzerland I wanted to go so bad! Alas, my best friend was busy partying in the US – BUT ANNA WASN’T! She agreed to go, and I in turn wound up going to a Hurts concert with her. Actually, she’s dragged me to at least three – but thus, our friendship was born. Heart warming, isn’t it?

Anna’s blog is called Tiny Trinket and it launched in 2014. It contains the bits and bobs of everyday life, thoughts and inspirations that haunt every twenty-year old, cat loving journalism student. She loves writing without having any reason to do so; and when you study something as fancy as JOURNALISM AND ORGANISATIONAL COMMUNICATION you are probably given LOADS of reasons to write, and I bet they’re not all as entertaining as observations of people at the gym or tellings of easter adventures at chocolate factories! On her little internet niche Anna is free to ramble, and she loves it!

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Anna, apart from writing beautifully, is an amazing baker. In fact, I’ve already hired her to make the cake at my wedding (who needs a husband when there’s cake, right?). Back in High School we only had two classes together, and I remember those wednesday mornings in history, when she’d present me golden cupcakes and raspberry slices. She really made me love history classes! In the future Anna would love to post more recipes, and when she does I’ll volunteer to be the test eater and review them!

If Anna had the entire world’s attention for just one minute she would tell people to stop fighting over economic interests or religion. Afterwards she’d blush to a tomato sort of red because the entire world is watching her, and then she’d blush even more because she’s blushing, and then… well, you get the picture! Anna is all for the world being a brighter place, which is why she would love for Harry Potter to come to life. He fights for a good cause, doesn’t he! (although The Independent did call him a «whiny sprog whose main achievement is not dying» … lol… what?)

Every summer Anna goes somewhere new with the friends she met when doing equestrian vaulting (that’s right, she can do friggin’ stunts while being on a horse!). Some of her favourite memories derive from these travels; for example that one time in Prague when they came out of a club at five in the morning and it was raining so hard they had to take off their shoes, and they ran through the Old Town back to the hostel, laughing all the way. Another time the girls were backpacking in Ireland and had an AMAZING meal in Letterfrack. Anna just remembers being so, so hungry after an entire day of cycling, and that pasta tasted, in John Green’s words, «like God Himself cooked heaven into a series of five dishes»!

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Anna’s just this really sweet person, wrapped up in smiles and bubbliness and all things pretty. She is the personification of a tiny trinket! And she can throw around smart expressions like no one – I asked her what her favourite word was, and it’s «Endoplasmic Reticulum». Try and bring that up in a conversation!

I love Anna and I love her blog, and you, too, should go give her some L-O-V-E! (and now I’ve got One Direction stuck in my head – «well if it was me/I wooouuuld!»)

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

An Evening with Aleksandar Hemon

On wednesday I was lucky enough to attend a reading with Aleksandar Hemon. Literally, the only reason I went was because one of my professors at uni fangirled all over the place the other day, and naturally I had to see this phenomenon of a writer!

fangirlAleksandar Hemon is a Bosnian-born American fiction writer (as Wikipedia puts it). His stories are largely influenced by Slavic literature and treat the issue of Bosnian immigrants in the United States. He pretty much got stuck in ‘Murrica when he was there holidaying and suddenly a war burst out in his home country. But he‘s still there now, some twenty years later, publishing what sound like incredible stories.

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Despite his native language being Bosnian he writes in English, and he writes a lot! When a member of the audience asked him how he deals with writer‘s block, he replied, «I don‘t get writer‘s block. I have a condition that I call writer‘s diarrhea!» He is currently working on three books simultaneously, while it‘s been taking me six months so far to hand in a 10-page thesis paper! I mean, WHAT?! He‘s so cool that he didn‘t even tell his agent he was writing a book called The Making Of Zombie Wars. Have you ever seen that book in a store? Well, it‘s pretty friggin‘ huge! And he kept it secret until it was finished and he could ask his agent, «So, when would you like something new?» And apparently she went, «Umm… how ‘bout June?» And he said, «Well, how ‘bout right now?» And he presented to her a brandnew manuscript. Look, all I‘m saying is that if an agent asked me to write a book until bloody June, no matter where we stand in the year, I‘d probably go, «Yeah, but you do mean June 2047, right?!» Right. And this is why I‘m not a bestselling author.

e8e6a3b40fa04ee32c1bc0d100bc1995As you can probably guess from all this, and if you don‘t already know Aleksandar Hemon, he has published quite a number of books and short stories and essays, and what have you. On wednesday he read a bit from his latest book, the cheekily written The Making Of Zombie Wars which sounded okayish, and then went on to read from his memoire, The Book of my Lives. And boy, was that a hit. It was beautiful, it was funny, it was smart – and then my fangirling professor went on to say this really nice thing about opening up a new book from Aleksandar Hemon: «It‘s like doing the Ice Bucket Challenge!» And, you know, I believed him. This man can make you feel so much, simply by rearranging 26 letters over and over again. Plus, the other thing my professor said made the books even more intriguing: «You must not read Aleksandar‘s stories to feel better, that‘s not what they are for. But his stories, they do not accept the world we live in as the most acceptable one. They offer us an alternative. Not an escape, but an alternative. And in my opinion, in this world we‘re living in, this is the best literature has to offer us.»

I can‘t wait to get my hands on one of his books. As always I‘m going to let you in on my oh-so sophisticated thoughts on the matter, but for now I just want to leave you a quote from The Book of my Lives which I thought was absolutely beautiful and deserved a mention here:

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Open Letter to My 15-Year Old Self

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Dear My 15-Year Old Self

I am writing to you tell you just how much I admire you. Going by the pictures, you are really serious about those pink-camouflage pants, and I think that deserves a salute.

I know that you are scared a lot because you feel different and most people don‘t seem to understand. All those nights lying awake and wondering, wondering how they can‘t see that you want to be just like them. Why don‘t they see how hard you are trying? How everytime you fall down you push yourself back up again? – But believe me, being different is not a bad thing. People will always laugh at you, they‘ll laugh at you for any reason. Whether you‘re too ordinary or you‘re too extravagant, they will always find something to mock you about. So be daring, and give them a jolly good reason to laugh. Be different, be ridiculous. Be everything that you are with a power that will knock them down.

So, I noticed you have bit of trouble finding your own style. To be honest, the pink-camouflage pants and the orange T-shirt with the stripes don‘t work very well together (but I‘m not going to mention it). The thing is that people outside of magazines rarely even have this thing called style. It‘s more like a disease, really. You don‘t have to become a demon-slaughtering shadowhunter to wear a leather jacket. You want that jacket, you go for it, girl! You want to wear smudgy black eyeliner and look mysterious? Just do it (although you will probably fail, but I‘m not going to mention it)! Everyday you can change who you are, don‘t you understand? You are not tied to one wardrobe or to one favourite boyband (and since we‘re on the topic, US5 are going to split up pretty darn soon anyway) or one version of yourself. You are never going to stop becoming yourself, because there will always be people leaving an imprint on your soul, places that change the way you look at the world and stories and that transform your thinking entirely. And girl, you are going places!

What is never going to falter is your love for books. Although I‘m glad to say that your taste in storytelling is. No, don‘t cry – Harry Potter and Jane Austen are always king and queen of your universe. But I wish you would stop believing you are Clary Fray. Honestly, that girl has a lot of issues. For a start, you do not need to have your first relationship when you are sixteen. You will, of course, but still; just take a moment here, all right? The guy you are going to meet is a real sweetheart, but he‘s not Jace. He‘s not the love of your life, no matter how hard you want him to be. Clary is a delusional idiot, made up by a desperate middle aged woman who probably has never had sex herself, so why do you think you need to live by the book? Write your own book, be your own superhero. There are more important things in life than having sex before you‘re seventeen and dating people that look like Richie Stringini (although he is pretty hot, I‘ll give you that!).

You are such a cool teenager, do you ever realise that? You read Charles Dickens for fun, your perfect night out is a Harry Potter midnight book launch, and you don‘t drink or do drugs. But I hate to break it to you, but soon that is not going to be you any more, so you might as well stop judging others for getting drunk on the weekends. You are going to love getting drunk! It‘ll take some time to gain control, but if you keep the people you love close to you, nothing bad will ever happen to you.

Growing up doesn‘t sound so bad now, does it? Responsibility is not such a sucky thing once you get the hang of it, you know? Sure, you have to make your own doctor‘s appointments and crying in public is frowned upon. But you still get to go to Disneyland and obsess over dinosaurs. Also, being grown-up means that you can spend all your money on chocolate AND THEN EAT IT ALL ON YOUR OWN! Being an adult, you don‘t stop loving certain things, you can just love them more openly, because you will stop caring what others think. And, OMG, guess what? Being a nerd is going to be totally cool! In fact, all those assholes that think calling you a geek is an insult, yeah, they are going to buy friggin‘ fake glasses to look smarter. And you, my sweet angel face, you are going to buy glasses to see better. Because you are already smart. Never think that being intelligent is a bad thing. Only stpuid people will let you believe that. Nope! Embrace your inner nerd with all your heart! 

You know what I love most about you, My 15-Year Old Self? You are on the verge of taking a massive leap into the unknown, and you are putting all of your heart and soul into it. I wish you would never stop doing that.
There are many moments of doubt still to come. You will find yourself crying on a bathroom floor more than once, and sometimes there will not be enough chocolate flavoured ice cream in the world to make you feel all right again. But I will tell you this: You are going to be happy, and you are going to be fine. You will always be surrounded by people who love you, and you will make many more people fall in love with you.

And finally: enjoy the Star Wars prequels while it lasts, because soon you will start to see Anakin for the whiny bastard he truly is and fall in love with Han. Also, don‘t cry because Tokio Hotel are not an item any more, you just haven‘t met One Direction yet. Also, the Sorting Hat puts you into Slytherin. Don‘t let it ruin your day, Draco is going to turn out so much hotter than Harry!

Unfortunately, 15-year old me, we have still not published our bestselling novel or saved the world from evil or married a prince. But we are in a good place. The kind of good place where on some days we go swimming in the Carribean, while on others the best thing that happens is somebody telling us that our dress is pretty. We are pretty amazing, you and I.

With love,
23-Year Old Me

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

BIG NEWS! Except not really big. And not really new. As I announced on Instagram about a month ago I have decided to join Emma Watson‘s feminist book club called «Our Shared Shelf» on Goodreads. My reason number one for joining is that it‘s Emma friggin‘ Watson, and basically if Hermione Granger opened a book club I‘d join without hesitation. But I also figured that I don‘t really know anything about feminism. I can see why women would need it in, say, Saudi-Arabia, but I have never really thought about why feminism might also be important to me personally. So reading a book about it every month might really be an eye opener.

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Last month‘s book was called My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. It was a bit hard to get by which is why I finished reading it a little later than originally planned. There is a huge discussion board on Goodreads, but I‘m usually so busy that I can‘t really take the time to actively participate in the discussions; however, I decided to read through some of the arguments and put them on my blog. If anyone still wants to discuss certain aspects or opinions, please feel free to do so in the comment section. 🙂

First of all, the blurb:

«Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. Every fall, her father would pack the family into the car and they would drive across the country, in search of their next adventure. The seeds were planted: Steinem would spend much of her life on the road, as a journalist, organizer, activist, and speaker. In vivid stories that span an entire career, Steinem writes about her time on the campaign trail, from Bobby Kennedy to Hillary Clinton; her early exposure to social activism in India; organizing ground-up movements in America; the taxi drivers who were “vectors   of modern myths” and the airline stewardesses who embraced feminism; and the infinite contrasts, the “surrealism in everyday life” that Steinem encountered as she travelled back and forth across the country. With the unique perspective of one of the greatest feminist icons of the 20th and 21st centuries, here is an inspiring, profound, enlightening memoir of one woman’s life-long journey.»

To me, one of the first and most important aspects of feminism that Gloria Steinem mentions is that of a functional community that listens to the needs of others. Or as she puts it:

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This doesn‘t just count for women but really for people in general. Women are just one group that is or was being oppressed, depending on region and culture. So feminism is about injustice being heard. And not just that – she states right in the beginning that helping somebody, be it women, men or children, you have to go about understanding them and their situation, every aspect of it:

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This can not be stressed enough. Steinem later tells the story of how she once tried to save a turtle by putting it back in the sea. Her teacher then explained to her that this turtle had just spent weeks crawling up the beach to lay its eggs – now it would have to start over. Her conclusion:

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To me that means that we can‘t, for example, just tell women in the Middle East to stop obeying their husbands. I, at least, am in no way entitled to do that. I know very little of their culture and I can not possibly fathom the outcome of such protest. Wouldn‘t everyone agree that Malala is a feminist? Yet, she wears a headscarf, just like millions of women do, and our western society tries to tell them that this is sexist and limits them in their freedom. How many women have we asked? Sure, they should be able to decide for themselves, and many aren‘t allowed to make such decisions – but unless someone from their own culture takes her headscarf off as an act of female liberation, many women will not even want that «freedom.» And I certainly have no say in it. Scrolling through Goodreads I found a few interesting comments on the topic and I take the liberty to quote them here (since Goodreads is a public sphere already):

«As a domestic violence survivor a friend of a friend used to try to help me by being mean to my abuser after we broke up. Nothing could have bothered me more than that because I felt that I had sacrificed years of my life to make him happy and someone making him miserable now was not a comfort to me, but even when I told her that she kept doing it. I loved this story because it reminded me of that and it gave me a way to remember that I have to make sure I’m doing the right thing for others.»

«I’m Mexican, which means my darker skin gives me away whenever I go on vacations to the US, and something that gets to me every time is the condescending looks people give me. People constantly talk to me slowly, as if I was stupid, when they don’t know that I’ve studied English ever since I was two years old. And when I reply with good English they look surprised, it’s insulting. As Latins we are constantly misrepresented as illiterate, lazy or even stupid. And even when I know I am privileged, it bothers me that people think they can put an entire nation down just because of the stereotypes they are bombarded with.»

That actually leads to another thread that I never even considered a part of the feminist movement: race. This certainly has a lot to do with the fact that I live in Switzerland where racism, although prominently existant, is not to be compared with racism in the United States. I never realised the obvious fact that black women in a white world would struggle twice as hard as their male counterparts – once because of the colour of their skin and the discrimination they had or have to face because of that, and twice because of their feminity that would discriminate them in both black and white cultures. I always think that stating somebody‘s skin colour is in itself a racist act – why should I care whether that girl next door has brown or white or purple skin?! But Steinem made me realise that in certain contexts it‘s an essential piece of information. Not because it necessarily says something about the person, but it says a lot about the society around them.

The author naturally also takes into account Native American societies. What I didn‘t know either was that gender roles aren‘t simply a given. They have changed throughout history and gender equality was a given in certain cultures. Steinem quotes Paula Gunn Allen:

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There is an incredible amount of topics Golria Steinem touches and discusses in her work and it‘s simply not possible to spread them out in a single blog post. I believe that the most essential thing I have learned so far is that feminism equals the fight for human rights. This doesn‘t come as a surprise, but feminism as a word has become more of an insult than the definition of an activist movement. It does not consider simple aspects of human rights such as a woman‘s control over her own body or the male rape victims or domestic violence. One very interesting opinion of Gloria Steinem‘s is the following:

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It‘s such an interesting thought that human rights would start with the fair treatment of women. I‘m not sure I entirely agree, and this quote will definitely have to be put in context. But it is certainly a thought I‘ll keep taking into account and that I might come back to on this blog as well.

My Life on the Road is a very moving and interesting read; I think I agree on almost everything Gloria Steinem has to say. She is definitely not a man hating, non-shaving women‘s libber that so many of my gender fear to be or seen as (and if you are, then good on you! There‘s nothing wrong with that either. Except, don‘t hate men. Don‘t hate, ‘k?)

I definitely recommend this book, even, and especially, if you don‘t consider yourself a feminist!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

A Family Dinner

There is this Taylor Swift song called The Best Day where she describes different stages of her childhood, and when I look back on mine I find this song to pretty much sum up my life. Of course, there were a few rough patches, and there will always be, but having a loving and caring family means that there will always be a new Best Day.

Tobias, my baby brother, moved out two weeks ago because he has a proper job and a shit load of money, so you see, he‘s nothing like me – and it should feel weird, but, you know, I kinda enjoy not sharing the bathroom any more!

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Tonight we had him over for the first time since he moved and it was such a lovely evening. I made a pineapple-kumara salad and risotto, and it was surprisingly delicious, considering that I never cook. My family is slowly turning vegan (although we can‘t quite let go of Nutella) and I took the recipe straight out of Vegan Lovestory, a beautiful vegan cook book I got my mum for her birthday.

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I like having my family together and listening to their stories about work and friends and idiots they met at the supermarket. Our favourite topic is my mum‘s trouble with her work computer, because she has to phone the IT-company about once a week and then practically tells them what to do. We always joke that they must be pretty terrified when the phone rings because they have started giving her administrative rights, even though they are not technically allowed to do that.

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So there you go, a little insight in my friday night. I know it‘s not the most exciting thing to talk about ever, but it‘s what matters most to me in the world, and I like people knowing.

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Oooohh, and I must also tell you that tomorrow I am going to watch all of Season 9 of Doctor Who! I haven‘t seen one single episode of the new series, and you will not believe how excited I am! This is my christmas, I swear!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

«Snowy Linen Land»

Apparently, what people are most likely to do when it snows is not going outside to build a snowman, but post «snow» on Facebook and take Snapchat pictures through their living room windows – or, you know, blog about it!

Winter is my favourite season and it‘s true, I mostly enjoy it from the inside. I love being all snuggled up in a blanket and working away with a mug of tea. I can‘t work when the sun is out, I always have to draw the blinds. But then snow is something else. I still get giddy when the first snow falls, even if that happens way after Christmas. I feel like snow is a valid excuse for the cold wheather, because cold with no snow, that‘s just eh. At least with the snow there it looks pretty.

I still don‘t massively celebrate the white scenery, but having a dog I‘m out in the woods almost every day anyway, and this week has been simply stunning. And because I have the world‘s cutest dog I decided to share some moments with you.

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On wednesday night I went ice skating with Samantha for the first time this year. It‘s funny how you can just go round and round in circles for hours and not notice that it doesn‘t get you anywhere. We discussed all the books collecting dust on our shelves and we talked about working in bookshops and how it‘s the best job in the world and yet the routine gets too much sometimes. And we talked boys and castles and poems.
It was a pretty night.

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: The Empire Strikes Back by Donald F. Glut

Just read: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back by Donald F. Glut.

I wasn‘t going to talk about this book, I really wasn‘t because, you know, it‘s a novelisation! But then I read it and as far as novelisations go (which, btw, isn‘t very far at all) it was really quite okay. In fact, it‘s the okayest novelisation I have read in a long time!

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I‘m sure everybody knows what Star Wars is about, but I‘ll give you the blurb anyway, if only because I love the word blurb.

«Though the Rebel Alliance won a significant battle, the war against the Empire has only just begun.
Several months have passed, and the Rebels have established a hidden outpost on the frozen wasteland of Hoth. But even on that icy backwater planet, they cannot escape the evil Darth Vader‘s notice for long.
Soon Luke, Han, Princess Leia, and their faithful companions will be forced to flee, scattering in all direction – with the Dark Lord‘s minions in fevered pursuit…»

I have a pretty clear image what «the Dark Lord‘s minions» look like, and the internet has not failed me! It just takes the edge off the entire saga a bit when THIS is what stormtroopers really look like!

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But moving on! Novelisations always have that exciting feature of telling you a little something that isn‘t included in the movie, and there are always small surprises, like a variation in dialogue or a change of action; many things that might not work in a movie, can happen still between te pages of a book. And besides, the book doesn‘t have to be incredibly good because all it does is still my inner geeky needs. And this one certainly did!

What I loved most, of course, was that there is some extended action between Han and Leia. C-3PO doesn‘t interrupt their kiss and that actually makes the entire scene more endearing. My favourite thing about the book, however, is the fact that Leia calls Han «Hot Shot» – repeatedly so!

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Leia has even more jazz in this book version than she already does in the movies, which I absolutely love. Still, my favourite part of the book has got to be when they settle in Cloud City and Han tries to win her over:

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Of course the book isn‘t just a sloppy Han-Leia fanfiction novel, it covers all the fun parts that we love in the film as well. It‘s just that Luke never call Yoda a «Hot Shot», or he might have got a bigger mention here!

Have a lovely (snowy?) afternoon!
Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Role Models

Whoohoo, I am so done for this week! In the best possible way. I have literally JUST handed in a spontaneous essay – in which I stopped believing on sunday, but somehow it still turned out okayish. Yay for that! Tomorrow I am off to Lübeck, also quite sopntaneously and the reason I‘m writing a post tonight and not as ususal tomorrow. And I‘m going out tonight to see a photo exhibition that my friend made, more yays for that! (well, he contributed one small part of the exhibition, but that still counts, right?) Frankly, I‘m just happy to be leaving the house for a reason other than to watch my dog poop. Yay Yay Yay!

Something I have been wanting to write about for a while now are role models. I remember that when I was little I had this massive crush on Emma Watson. I wanted to BE her in every way possible, so I would braid my hair at night to have curls the next morning; it helped that I was a huge geek in primary school, so all I had to do was tell others how stupid they were for not basically living in the library. But I also remember that a few years later I read an interview in a magazine, some hot shot singer or what have you, that I would have snogged at any given moment. He said that he had no role models at all because he wanted to follow his own path, blah blah. And I thought, neat! The truth has been spoken! From now on I will only rely on myself and trust my own instincts and Imma rock this! I don‘t really remember how that decision went down. I probably just locked myself in the library and checked my teachers‘ assignments for spelling mistakes (I did that repeatedly – the search for missing commas always proved to be very successful!) But you know, now that I‘m thinking about it, that was such a crappy thought! The truth is that we all have role models, people we look up to. It shouldn‘t get to the point where we compare ourselves to them in everything that we do, of course – but I firmly believe that we need people to look up to in order to believe that something can be done. So here are my own personal role models:

Hermione Granger

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This much has never changed. I sometimes still find myself wondering what Hermione would do in a particular situation and I find great comfort in the fact that she‘s a huge bookworm, and yet that doesn‘t make her any weaker at all.

Emma Watson

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Obviously. She is basically a real life Hermione and I admire her for being super pretty and standing up for women‘s rights and gender equality. She seems to be staying very true to herself and that‘s a hard thing to do.

Sophie Scholl

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Sophie may well be my greatest hero of all time. She was in a resistance movement during the Second World War and was killed by the Nazis. What I admire about her, however, is not that she died, it‘s that she lived. Even in the midst of a horrible war she wrote about spring and about hiking in the alps. To keep believing in something good and pure when everything around you is falling apart is such a strong and wonderful character trait.

My Mum

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My mum‘s just one super cool lady, and if you tell me «you‘re acting just like your mother», then that is a compliment.

David Mitchell

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The comedian, not the writer. Although he has written books as well. Anyway. I‘m not absolutely sure David is actually a role model to me, it may well be that I just identify with him quite a lot. But then I catch myself thinking, hey, he‘s still alive and happy, so there‘s not a bad chance for me!

Carrie Hope Fletcher

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I never realised that I actually see Carrie as someone I idolise with until I watched one of her recent videos on Youtube where she announces that she‘s moving in with her boyfriend. And it got me thinking, I don‘t necessarily crave a boyfriend, but I like to think that I can one day manage to actually grab hold of my life enough to enter that happy place… Oh my, I sound severely depressed! I‘m not, I am a very happy person and there is nothing wrong with me. But you know, I feel like I haven‘t quite grasped the concept of being a grown-up.

Elizabeth Bennet

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She is such an amazing heroine. Every person, male or female, should learn to think for themselves. Elizabeth doesn‘t get married just to secure her future and just because that‘s how it is done. She does what she thinks is best for herself and what she believes to maje her happy.

Roxana Vasquez

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Roxana is a girl I met on Zacate Grande in Honduras. She is working at a radio station where she fights against landowners trying to take away local farmers‘ lands. She‘s very upbeat and actually risking her life in the struggle of keeping her home. She told me that she might get killed, but if she doesn‘t fight at all she will surely die of hunger – so there isn‘t actually another option. I just can‘t help but think that we need way more people like her!

Princess Leia

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Of course Leia‘s on the list! How could she not be! Leia is very badass, she knows how to handle a gun and she rocks a lot of braids. I don‘t know where we get the picture from that strong women can‘t also be pretty or care about their hair – Leia clearly has her priorities set. Even in war time she must spend hours braiding her hair. And she knows how to fly a space ship, no one can argue with that!

Between writing this post and actually publishing it eight hours have passed (the exhibition was great btw) and I have only just realised that there are almost only women on my list. It‘s not that I‘m the sort of hardcore feminist that refuses to look up to men, but they simply stand for things that I feel I am lacking myself. Getting my own mind, standing up for what I believe in, embracing my own weirdness in its full beauty… I think these are the things everyone of us is struggling with all the time. We all want to be a better version of ourselves, and I think that is the best thing we can want. Because we are good the way we are but we can change if we want to to, and if we do want to we should! And it‘s good to have someone to follow, but sometimes we also forget that we can set examples to and that maybe one small person would like to be more like us. Isn‘t that encouraging?

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Meet: Deliah

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Deliah in three words: Cosmopolitan, Creative, Impatient
Deliah’s dream dinner party guests: Clint Eastwood, Julie Andrews, Ellen DeGeneres
Deliah’s favourite post: Healthy Living: Chia Pancakes with Fresh Fruit Topping
Deliah reads: Negin Mirsalehi, Food52
(because my computer’s a bit poorly I can’t link anything at the moment. You can find Deliah and Lara on http://www.halfwaytobroadway.wordpress.com)

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Deliah and I graduated together from High School in 2013, but lost touch soon after. I knew she was going to be an actress, and when I discovered the blog she keeps with a friend, http://www.halfwaytobroadway.wordpress.com, I couldn’t help but feel intrigued. I met Deliah in early October in Lucerne. Because of a play she was cast in, she returned to Switzerland for the term, thus making it easy to catch up. Of course we gossip all the way to the café we have our hot chocolates in. Who did we keep in touch with? Are these two still dating? Did that guy find a job? The talk evokes a burst of giggles from both our side and it takes a while until I finally get my tablet out and start with my questions.

Deliah and Lara are both completing their Musical Theatre Course in Hamburg and they soon found that very little is known about the Musical world. «When I tell people what I do, they often say, Oh, then you must be a good singer? – It’s a shame, because there is so much more to it than that!» Together the actresses decided to launch a blog where they talk about everything to do with acting and singing. «There is so much to be considered,» Deliah explains. «What food can I eat? What do I pack for tours? Which vitamins are essential? Musical is a serious sport!»

Being an actress holds many big plans in stock for Deliah. In twenty years she hopes to have lived in New York for at least a year and to have been invited to a Broadway Audition. «Being cast in a Broadway show would, of course, be a dream come true. But just being invited for an audition, that would already blow my mind!» Another secret little dream of hers is to study interior design, a little passion Deliah’s has always hoped to one day develop further.

Just as diverse are the plans for Halfway to Broadway. Deliah and Lara burst with ideas to write about. Their readers can look forward to reviews of plays the girls have attended, fashion posts and hair styles to try out. «One thing I would particularly like to write about is about dating an actor or actress. Being in a relationship with someone like us is very different from most other relationships. The other person has to deal with intimacy on stage and the stress of constantly being on the move. It’s not always easy.»

Deliah is very happy in her long-term relation with her boyfriend back in Hamburg. And she is incredibly proud to have pursued her dream. «I’ve been very lucky! But I also believe that we should not let our talents go to waste. If you’re good at something and if it makes you happy, then do it!»

As our time together ends we get off topic and down to business: Disney! «If I could make any fictional character come to life, it would have to be Mary Poppins!» Deliah grins. «She’s super cool – a nanny that’ll jump inside paintings with you? Come on!» But if she had to identify with one Disney character it would be Belle. «But I want Kristoff, not the Beast!» Now, wouldn’t that be a combination!

Deliah walks me back to the main train station later that day and explains her busy schedule at the theatre. I express my admiration for her work, but she just shrugs and says, «Being a professional means getting there on time, being prepared and not taking up everyone else’s time. That’s a quote I’ve taken very much to the heart.»

And as we hug good-bye, I’m sure this will not be the last I’ve seen of Deliah.