Things I’ll always regret

Everytime I hear Edith Piaf sing «Je ne regrette rieeeeen!» I immediately remember all the things that I regret every single day. Not deep stuff, just things like, I can‘t believe I didn‘t get glasses when I was fifteen! I look so much better wearing those! So, to keep myself from doing a mistake again, I created a list in my diary a while ago (my love for lists is deep!), and today I decided to share it with you. So bear with me!

  • Not using the bathroom before leaving the house
    I always have to pee as soon as I‘m out of any building where they had toilets. I think I must run across the town on an almost daily basis to get to a store where they have free bathroom facilities (it‘s the LOEB Warehouse, in case you‘re wondering. And there‘s always a line) – just because I‘m too stubborn to do it at uni or wherever.
  • Taking a mug of tea to bed
    This already sounds like a terrible idea, yet I never learn. Today I‘ve spilled tea three times, because I constantly place it next to my feet. Smart, huh?
  • Not feeding my cat
    Not that Mr Frodo ever has to starve, but he gets really mean when he’s hungry!
  • Eating TimTam the normal way
    So, a friend recently showed me a video of Carrie Hope Fletcher eating TimTams and I will never stop regretting not having done it her way all my life. So much wasted happiness!

  • Leaving my book at home
    Never, under any circumstance, leave the book you‘re reading at home, because you think you‘re not gonna need it. I‘m taking books to parties, lectures and on hiking trips; there is nothing worse than being bored and not having a book.
  • Joining Instagram
    There’s no turning back, I’m loving it way, way too much!
  • Not telling people how I really feel
    Okay, so there is deep stuff in my diary (and it‘s not just descriptions of the taste of deep fried mars bars!). I don‘t even mean that in an exclusively romantic sense. Telling someone you love them is always the way to go, even if you‘re not in love with them. I‘m always happy to hear that I‘m not just the annoying squeaky person I sometimes see myself as. And I‘m sure others feel the same way.

So, there you go! As far as this goes, I haven‘t actually managed to change at all. Except for the TimTam thing (although, it‘s reason number three for spilling my tea today!). It‘s not a very long list, so I suppose I could just look past it and sing along to Madame Piaf!

Btw, for those of you who are not following me on Facebook, my wonderful friend Inga, who travelled the UK with me, made a gorgeous video montage of our time on the island. It‘s so worth the ten minutes, I promise!

Rien, de rien!
xxx

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Last But Not Least: Day One

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London is a blur. I arrived, and it wasn‘t on Platform 9 3/4, and it wasn‘t magical. Just the crowded station of St. Pancras; anouncements, suitcases being pushed and pulled past me, a child crying, two lovers hugging, the music coming from some shop. I circled the top floor of the station and I circled the lower floor and when I was completely lost in my circle, Inga finally found me. She is very good at finding me (I should ask her how she does it, because I keep losing myself).

It‘s good to be nibbling at a Waggon Wheel at midnight in a stranger‘s kitchen when your thoughts slowly turn into dreams.

(Quote: A.A. Milne)

Sexy Books: Matilda by Roald Dahl

I haven‘t been home for a week and already I‘ve spent a day locked up in my room and curing an outrageous hangover. So goes life!

Since I‘m obviously not getting anything else done today – apart from watching Harry Potter and notoriously checking my Facebook for any kind of news or mesaages or whathaveyou – I decided to talk about a book I‘ve recently read: Matilda.

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I‘m sure most of you will have read it or seen the movie, and if you haven‘t, then please do so now! I had completely forgotten how brilliant and amazing and mind-blowing this story is! I‘m not very into summarising stories, so here‘s the blurb for you:

Matilda‘s parent‘s have called her some terrible things.
The truth is, she‘s a genius and they‘re the stupid ones.
Matilda is determined to get her own back and soon discovers she has a very special power.

The story is, of course, gorgeous! But more than that, it contains so much wisdom that many adults fail to understand. For a start, Matilda decides to get back at her parents everytime they are being undeservedly nasty to her. The author points out to the reader how difficult it is for a person so small to stand up to adults.

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Everybody has at some point in their lives met an intimidating bully like Matilda‘s father. And it doesn‘t always matter whether we‘re five years old or twenty-two, more often than not we forget that even though we‘re helpless against some people there are still ways to defend ourselves. Matilda doesn‘t change her parents at all, but she also isn‘t afaraid of them and finds the courage to fight back in her own ways.

There is one very beautiful passage where Matilda realises what power her mind truly has and she decides that there is absolutely no reason for her to be afraid of anything, let alone the terrifying headmistress, Mrs. Trunchbull. Later, when Matilda‘s teacher, Ms Honey tells her own story, we learn that grown-ups can be just as scared as children and that if someone has made you feel small and worthless when you were young you‘ll continue to feel that way even when you‘re an adult.

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This is such an important scene to understand. In that moment, we hate Matilda‘s father so much for destroying a book that‘s not hers in the first place but also for using such raw violence when his daughter has done absolutely nothing to deserve it. But Roald Dahl tries to make the reader understand that a bully is rarely a bully by choice. Being mean is a result of jealousy or stupidity, or, in most cases, it‘s a simple circle. Matilda ends this circle by punishing him instead of someone half her age.

I am twenty-two years old and I read this book on a train journey from Stradford to Oxford. I cried on that train, so no dignity there! But I also felt that I learned so much in those two hours! Being smart is a superpower and there is no reason for anyone to be scared. And if somebody bullies you, don‘t let them get you down, because you are worth so much more than them and just, please, remember that! Being smart is a really cool and awesome character trait that everyone should be proud of, and it‘s something only stupid people laugh at!

Last not least, Roald Dahl‘s just a funny guy and reading his books is always worth the time. My personal favourite is the introduction to Matilda that always makes me giggle:

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

There was a Nigerian Girl

Last weekend I was invited to attend an event called Come – Meet – Share organised by the relief organisation «Mission 21». It was a get together of young people from approximately eight different countries in celebration of the charity‘s 200 year jubilee. There was a lot of dancing and laughing accompanied by «Adam‘s Wedding», a Swiss based rock band; most importantly there was food and the entire evening was, in one word, just fun.

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What got me thinking, though, was that nobody appeared to be having a bad time, yet most participants came from challenging parts of the world and probably had a lot going on  inside the back of their heads. Especially one Nigerian girl got very emotional when she prayed for her country. It‘s not even close to possible for me to imagine what it must feel like watching your government fail in every aspect. For this «Mission 21» has come up with the wonderful idea of solidary bracelets; on each bracelet there‘s the name and age of a victim of Boko Haram written.

Boko Haram is a militant Islamist group based in Nigeria. Their primary goal is to create an Islamic state where western influence of any sort – including education, political or social activity, wearing T-shirts, etc. – is completely forbidden. Their ways are utterly violent; bombings, assassinations and abductions are the daily order, and they don‘t just go against christians but essentially also against «non-believing» muslims.

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The name on my bracelet is Hauwa Ntakai who was 20 years old. I keep fidgeting with the rubber wristband and wondering who Hauwa really was. Was it a guy or a girl? Was he or she muslim or christian? Did he or she have a special hobby? Are there people who now mourn the absence of Hauwa?

It‘s just one name out of thousands. I feel like we should remember them all; all the girls who have been raped and forced into marriage by Boko Haram members, all the boys who have been killed in the most gruesome ways, all the people who are now only bodies dumped on the streets and rotting their way into eternity – no one is ever going to know about them. How can someone be the object of cruelty in such inexplicability – and then just be forgotten? I have no idea what happened to this one person called Hauwa but I feel privileged to know the name of someone who endured what I would not wish on my worst enemy. Someone who maybe would have liked «Adam‘s Wedding» and who would have liked eating burgers with us on friday. Someone who maybe was not at all different from the rest of us except for the one tiny detail of having been born in the wrong country.

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It feels grotesque sometimes that we should be allowed so much fun when it is denied to so many others. But then again, sometimes dancing your worries away is not the worst thing that can be done.

There was a Nigerian girl that night and I saw her laugh. And whatever reason she had to cry and whatever reason she had to be upset, she still had a reason to be happy.

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Please learn a little more about Boko Haram and what is currently happening in Nigeria. BBC has a brilliant article on the topic – read it here!

Also I promised «Adam‘s Wedding» to mention them on my blog, so here goes: Have a look at their Youtube videos, they are great!

In Retrospect

A week ago the term has finished and I‘m looking back at an incredible year, so I thought I‘d reminisce for a bit!

Would you believe that one year ago I was still in this weird beautiful country called Honduras explaining farts to children? One of my friends has recently uploaded the video they made for me the day I left and I cried just a little (no really, it was a lot). I really can‘t believe I put up with Latin music and Salsa dancing for six months straight without going crazy, whereas now I want to punch my boss in the face for never changing the playlist at work!

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Less than a year ago I visited New Zealand again and realised that nobody had forgotten about me (which felt lovely); I saw the Hobbiton movie set for the third time and up to now I still totally want to live there!

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And now I‘m in Switzerland, stuffing my face with chocolate. I started university which was scary at first because as usual I was worried that everybody would see me as a complete dork and not want to hang out with me – but actually I immediately found a bunch of people who found me dorky yet endearing and are still willing to spend time with me. Maybe next semester I‘ll dive further into the student way of life; for now I was happy to just do my assignments, eat ice cream for lunch and go home to put on my onesie and read.
I really don‘t think that university is a necessity in life but it definitely works for me. Because, let‘s be honest, I love history. I get seriously excited when somebody mentions Martin Luther and if I could write more essays on power structures I would. And it‘s wonderful to meet others who are linked the same way!

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I‘ve started playing the ukulele, I took up a new job in february, I‘m learning Polish; all in all life has changed quite a bit.

My life is going to change even further as I‘m planning on moving out. I am so excited and looking at flats all over – actually, I‘m looking for a flat in one very specific part of town, so not that all over! I‘m sure I‘ll be completely lost for the first few weeks being on my own. I mean – how do you wash your clothes? I‘m probably going to be the crazy lady who hand washes her clothes down by the river! Also, how am I supposed to sleep without my cat? We‘re cushion buddies! He‘ll be crushed when I leave!

We have a tendency to think that we need to have figured everything out by a certain age but that‘s really just holding us back. Maybe sometimes it‘s enough to figure out just what the next step is. And maybe the rest will figure out itself.

So here‘s to a new year, new changes and sappy rainbows!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

The Mockingjay’s Point (Some Thoughts On The Hunger Games)

I have just seen Mockingjay, and I’m still, like, wow! I mean I can’t even… it was just…! Wow! Ten minutes in I started crying and now it’s 1:27am and I can’t go to sleep, because…. wow!
Actually, I don’t ever want to see this movie again. It’s really good, but it’s also terrible! Have you ever watched a documentary on Stalin’s Russia? Same thing!

There is a huge hype around the Hunger Games series and I think there’s two aspects to consider. One being the credit that is paid to the author. Suzanne Collins is a brilliant writer, the stories have so much depth and character, and the adaptions are genuinly good movies. I would definitely have to say that she deserves every bit of the success. But the other side to the hype is teenage girls obsessing about Peeta and Gale and trying to copy Katniss’s style in order to be more like their idol. There is so much merchandise out there, Mockingjay pins to put in your hair or use as a bracelet or pierce through your ears, T-shirts saying Team Peeta, T-shirts saying Team Gale – even T-shirts saying I love District 12! I realize of course that this is how every movie business runs – if you want to make decent money you have to be popular. But still I find this hype very disturbing.
The superficial story of The Hunger Games ist hat every year twenty-four teenagers are thrown into a reality TV show that is broadcast live and their only goal is to be the last one standing. The real story, however, is that of a government repressing its own citizens and killing off any sort of opposition. I’m not sure how many people trying to braid their hair the way Katniss does it actually see that Panem is not a fictional place. There are plenty of countries you could easily call Panem!

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The new movie starts off with the government showing a video of a bunch of so called traitors being publicly executed for socialising with Katniss; it’s a strong scene and people will do their best to remember that it’s just a movie and live happily ever after. Except that it’s all true. There’s children sitting in death cells right now. There’s a girl who was shot – simply because she wanted to go to school!
And as for President Snow, he is very alive, too. Egocentric old men with an insatiable hunger for power – they rule the world! We still have dictatorships, they didn’t stop when Hitler died. It’s so easy for us to believe that the world is whole and that we don’t need to worry about anything. Because we don’t have to. We can just go to the cinema and get angry at the Capitol for enjoying the Hunger Games without realising how brutal they really are. But we are watching the same brutal thing. We think it’s mean that the Districts have to provide the Capitol with food and raw material while the people are starving. We think it’s terrible that the Capitol refuses to see the truth. But I think what is even more terrible ist he fact that we, too, refuse to see the truth. And the truth is that we are the Capitol. We are the people watching. So long as the only thing we care about is how we can make ourselves look more like Katniss we are exactly what she isn’t. We should care that students were abducted in Mexico for being students or that a fat little dwarf reigns over North Korea or that in Irak women still don’t have access to basic human rights. That’s what should get us angry and upset – not the fact that Katniss’s inflammable dress isn’t available for the school’s christmas party.

“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise, that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses.”

I think Katniss is a great heroine, because she’s not very likeable, but she’s very authentic. She wants to survive. That’s it. Just a furious girl with a weapon that wants to live. And in spite of it all she gets people to believe in themselves and in their own power; I like the element of hope that so strongly underlines the entire plot. And that’s what we’ll have to take from the story – that we are never helpless. A system is changeable if people have the will to fight for a future.

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I think you get my point. And please, don’t feel guilty for styling your hair! Just as long as you care. Don’t fight in a revolution unless you really want to, but care! Care that you have a good life and care that others don’t. Care beyond looks. It’s a bit like Dr. Seuss said in The Lorax:

Unless someone like you
Cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.