Something Strange and Wonderful (Missing New Zealand)

I have said a couple of times before that in my mind, my life exists in two parts: before New Zealand and after New Zealand. Before I went to live in Auckland for a year when I was fifteen I felt out of place constantly, I felt uneasy about everything I liked, and said, and did, like it wasn’t cool enough or good enough; enough for whom, I don’t know. Maybe for myself, maybe for everyone around me. I was insecure down to the core.
New Zealand was a bit of a magical place for me. I met all those wonderful, strange people who took me in and made me understand that I had a place in this world, and that I had the right to fight for it. I came home transformed, and not only for the better. But I had got to a place where I felt safe. Happy even. And with that in you, you can master most anything.

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With the arrival of autumn, I have caught myself going longingly through the memories, catching my breath at the sight of a particular leaf in the wind or listening to the same old song again. I miss New Zealand. I miss it now more than I did in those past couple of years. I miss the sound of the kettle in the kitchen, a sound so uniquely ist own. I miss the glow on the pavement after the rain. I miss that one coffee shop that sold giant hot chocolates and banana muffins that tasted like drops of heaven. Sometimes I find that I miss the scenery, the sea and the beaches and the forests and the mountains.
Most, I think, I miss myself. I miss this version of me that embraced change, whose heart bumped fast at the prospect of anything new. The me that trusted her fate blindly.

Everything has changed now, too. I’m in a new appartment. I have two flatmates. I don’t live with my mum any more. A year from now I’ll have my bachelor’s degree. I can feel the change creeping up on me. And I so desperately cling to the memory of a time when this would not have scared me.

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I sometimes wish my kettle sounded just like the one Bill and Barbara had, and I sometimes wish the rain tasted like it did in Auckland on a gloomy monday morning, and I sometimes wish the coffee shops I visit sold the same cheap hot chocolate I was once so used to.

I’m in a good place. I have two wonderful and strange boys who keep me company, who compliment my baking, and who sometimes make me hot chocolate. And when I cycle to uni in the morning, the sun sometimes throws her golden light upon the roofs of the houses. And when I go shopping on a thursday night, there are musicians and jugglers and chestnut vendors lining the streets. And I am filled with a sense of home and belonging.
I just sometimes wish I had that former self of mine to accompany me.

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Maybe it’s a question of bravery. Maybe it’s not really about who I am or where my life is headed, maybe these things are secondary. Maybe all I need is to be brave enough to believe that something strange and wonderful is about to happen.

All About Love by Bell Hooks

I am extremely excited about having finished the third book from Emma Watson‘s feminist book club «Our Shared Shelf» All About Love. New Visions by Bell Hooks; I mean I finished it, and it‘s still March! Yuss! I‘m on schedule!
Sorry. That‘s not why we‘re here.IMG_20160322_233624I never read the blurb because if Emma Watson gives you a book to read you don‘t go questioning it, all right? But I‘m not Emma, so I might as well give you the blurb:

«The word „love“ is most often defined as a noun, yet… we would all love better if we used it as a verb,» writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provocative and intensely personal, the renowned scholar, cultural critic, and feminist skewers our view of love as romance. In its place she offers a proactive new ethic for a people and a society bereft with lovelessness.
As bell hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explore the question „What is love?“ her answers strike at both the mind and heart. In thirteen concise chapters, hooks examines her own search for emotional connection and society‘s failure to provide a model for learning to love. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for individuals and for a nation. The Utne Reader declared bell hooks one of the „100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life.“ All About Love is a powerful affirmation of just how profoundly she can.

To be honest, I had some trouble getting into the book, and at times also to keep reading. For one thing, the autho‘s big on generalisations. Right from the beginning she declares that love means something inherently different for men than it does for women. I generally disagree with feminists who claim that the difference between men and women is purely in the testicles because obviously testosterone does to a certain degree define how prone someone is to violence and other traits we claim as «manly.» Still, to say that «men» see love as such and such and that this would contradict any woman‘s point of view I found difficult to accept. She doesn‘t really leave any window open for cultural norms (I‘m sure that my male Honduran friends have a different idea of love than my male friends from New Zealand), nor does she really mention that her theories could apply to both genders.

Bell Hooks is also quite quick in drawing conclusions based on her own subjective opinion on the matter. For instance, in one chaper, she states without any lead-up:Bild 28I would have liked a little more information or reasoning as to how she came to this conclusion.

There were a number of other things that I‘m not going to go into detail about; such as the fact that she continuously contradicts herself or the beforementioned subjectivity. I still rated it four out of five stars, because from 20,000 ft viewpoint I agree with her overall message. In fact, many of the things she says can be life changing if applied in day to day life.

One of the things I‘m finding most inspiring is the notion that love is a choice. If we want to be able to love we have to let ourselves be loved. I feel she‘s sort of going into what we learned from Stephen Chbowski that «We accept the love we think we deserbe.» Well, actually, what we deserve and what we don‘t is our own decision. We can decide that we deserve the best ever treatment from our friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, parents, etc. Or we can accept abuse as a norm. What is important is that it might be a bad idea to value romantic love over friendship.Bild 29Abuse is not love, the author stresses. It‘s just that sometimes we confuse it for love, especially at a young age. But I completely agree on the fact that if somebody makes you unhappy in any way it is okay for you to leave the realms of this relationship.

Over all the book tries to lay the groundwork for a more loving society. And love appears in so many different aspects of our daily lives; honesty, justice, care, nurturing, forgiveness, selflessnes… the list goes on. Essentially, these are also the foundation of peace.

I hope the sun is shining where you are and I hope you have a lunch date, as I do right now, and I also hope that you know you‘re totally and completely worthy of love, you sexy noodle!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

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

Berta Cáceres

Berta Cáceres was murdered last week.
If we cared about every single person that dies and makes it into the news we would not be able to keep ourselves from devastation. But Berta Cáceres was a beautiful woman who cared quite a bit herself. About her people, about her country, about the land and the dirt and the water. She died because she wanted to live and she wanted her people to live.

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Berta Cáceres was an indigenous and environmental organizer who fought for indigenous land rights in Honduras. Land rights are a complicated thing in Honduras – essentially, what happens is this: Inigenous and Non-indigenous people have been living on those lands for centuries. They are farmers and as such their ethnic background is often of secondary importance. They never needed any titles to rightfully work the lands they were living on, they had formed communities and they had their own systems and treaties. I‘m not saying everything was always well, but all in all it worked. But Honduras is largely owned by oligarchs, meaning rich men who have the money to rightfully produce land titles that up until a few decades ago never existed. Probably the biggest jerk of them all is Miguel Facussé – he‘s rich as fuck (excuse the expression) and basically everything in Honduras belongs to him, at least in part. He and his rich friends now own lands that have been in the hands of peasants for ages, and they shoo the farmers away to build hotels or roads or oil palm plantations. This leads many families into poverty and is only one of the massive problems Honduras is facing.

Berta Cáceres founded the grassroot organisation COPINH (Civic Council of the Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras); since 2012 COPINH‘s biggest fight has been against the establishment of the construction of the hydroelectric project Agua Zarca by the internationally-financed Honduran company DESA. For the Lenca (an indigenous people of Honduras) communities, the approved constructions of over 40 hydroelectric dams presents a great threat; for the Lenca people, the free-flowing Gualcarque River has a special cultural and spiritual significance. Furthermore, the implementation of dams would choke the main source of irrigation and drinking water for the community.  For lack of respect for the rights of the Lenca people, the failure to comply with Convention 169 and the negative impacts of the project on their livelihoods, Berta Cáceres organised and led a peaceful opposition to the project as the coordinator of COPINH. In consequence of their actions, Berta Cáceres and other Lenca leaders have been the target of threats and intimidation. 

What‘s sad about Berta Cáceres‘ death is that it doesn‘t even come as a surprise. She was fighting for her people‘s rights, of course somebody murdered her! Because the rights she was fighting for aren‘t a given. Because rich jerks rule the country and they don‘t care about peasants or tradition or the ground they are standing on. All they care about is their little kingdom that will not fall, even if the world around them does. What‘s also sad is that the murderer is most probably still walking free. It‘s not unlikely that some rich person from DESA or the government or a sympathiser paid someone off to get the job done. Investigations? Better forget about that.

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They buried me, but what they don’t know is that I’m a seed.

But here‘s what leaves me hopeful; the rich jerks, DESA, politicians, they try and denunciate Berta Cáceres as a drama-queen, a liar whose opinion doesn‘t matter. Except that it did. Berta Cáceres did not have to lie to scratch the petty facade behind which all those denunciators are hiding. She merely told the truth, she pointed out the injustice and she had the courage to act and to speak. And it hurt them. It hurt them so much they had to kill her. And maybe, if we ask ourselves why things like this still happen in our 21st century world, the answer is because there are not enough people like Berta Cáceres.

We must not be defeated by her death; we do not live in a just world and if all we can do is stand up to a bully at school, then that makes the world an infinitely brighter place.

Be bold, and be courageous, and remember:

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I feel like I should mention that not every rich person in Honduras is a jerk. I know many wealthy Hondurans who are lovely, caring people and who are deeply shaken by Berta Cáceres’ death. Also, the conflicts in Honduras are not as straight forward as I put them. There’s a whole lot of aspects to be considered, which I simply ignored in order to make this blog post more readable!

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Wow. Just wow. In all honesty, I did not think I would like this book, but I am absolutely smitten.

«Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls „father“, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie, and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.»

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I read this book as part of Emma Watson‘s feminist book club Our Shared Shelf, and I have currently twelve tabs open, all of them full of discussion topics. It‘s way too much to discuss in a singe blog post, so I decided to instead focus on quotations. I promise I‘ll try not to spoil anything, in case The Colour Purple is still on your T-Read list. The language of the book is incredibly beautiful, and the author has the talent of bringing difficult topics to the point.

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With this simple line Alice Walker sums up the message that Celie has received her entire life. How can a woman, who keeps being told that she is nothing, keep her dignity and a sense of worth?

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This is the first time Celie sees another woman defending herself against a man. Up until that point, this has never been so much as an option to her. And Sofia, this woman, puts her own well-being before her husband, while Celie sees no other way than stay obedient and suffer through her abuse head down.

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Throughout the story Celie stays very suspicious of men. In her opinion they are all prone to violence and oppression, which is the only treatment she has ever received. Falling in love with a man, to Celie, is unconsiderable. But Alice Walker also makes it very clear that relationships based on mutual love and trust do exist, and that they have nothing to do with abuse. Also, she emphasises on the fact that a woman can indeed be in love with a man and still be empowered. Love is not a weakness, no matter who it is you love.

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One big topic The Color Purple discusses is religion. Can somebody who has been raped, had her children taken away from her and been pushed into an abusive marriage still trust in a God that‘s good and just and loving? Alice Walker presents the concept of a God that does not believe in sin but wants you to be happy and free. This is a thought that eventually pushes Celie towards emancipation and sets her free.

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Just for context, this girl has only just been raped by a stranger. And yet, she refuses to be defeated by rejecting the belittling nickname, Squeak, that her boyfriend has given her. By renaming herself, Mary Agney resists the patriarchal words he has imposed on her. By doing so, she refuses to let the man in her life gain interpretive control over her.

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People can change and, more importantly, people can be forgiven. When Celie finds the strength and the courage to leave her husband and finally be her own woman, the man who has been nothing but a possessive and lazy bastard finally gains control over his life and finds some sort of inner centre. It is made very clear throughout the story that violence creates more violence, and that no person is violent or oppressive by chance. Celie‘s husband had a father who decided over his head what his fate was to be, so he saw no other way than to control the life of his wive. It‘s only when she takes this piece of control away from him that he sees a way to change.

To me The Color Purple is about love and discovering your worth, and this is made to count for men and women alike. It‘s a complicated setting because women are twice the victim – once in their role as women, but also by being black.

While reading the book, all I could think of was how privileged I am! I could have been anybody, but instead I‘ve been born into a white upper middle class family in freakin‘ Switzerland. If I were even so much as involuntarily touched by anyone people would consider this a violation and support me. No one has ever told me that I‘m worth less because of my race or gender. And that makes me feel so, so lucky!

Definitely read The Color Purple, you‘ll cry and laugh and you‘ll want to spread love. Really, you‘ll just want to wave this book around because it feels as if everyone should read it and that would make the world a much brighter place. Yes, it‘s that good!

Meet: Aleks and Sophie

 

Bild 31Aleks and Sophie in three words: Honest, Lighthearted, Fun
Aleks and Sophie read: Hannah Maggs
Find Aleks and Sophie online: http://www.sisterhoodofthetravelingwags.com

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When Aleks and Sophie moved to Geneva because of their husbands’ jobs they had no idea that they would soon find a best friend in each other. Since then, two years have passed and they have launched their wonderful blog The Travelling Wags where they tell talk about their experiences, adventures and mishaps in Switzerland. I met them on a sunny autumn afternoon for a chocolate brioche in a lovely café called Mafalda Tivoli in Geneva and had them answer all my silly little questions.

Aleks and Sophie literally write each and every blog post together. They are such giggly ladies, it’s very easy to imagine how a post about hoo-has or drunk people in clubs came to be! They really do write about everything. «It’s a blog about day to day life,» they say. «We talk about marriage, friends, food – basically we wanted to create a blog people can turn to, especially those that find themselves in a similar situation as us. After all, living in strange city where they don’t speak your language can be really quite frustrating.» Having lived in New Zealand and Honduras myself, I know exactly what they are talking about. But every place has its plus side. Like the Wags’ favourite ice cream place, Manu Gelato, where they even sell Specculoos Gelato. «It’s life changing,» Sophie promises (Needless to say, I am extremely excited for my next visit to Geneva now!)

Sophie’s and Aleks’ most loyal readers are both of their mums who not only spot every little grammatical error but also gladly let their girls know when they look gorgeous in pictures! Family is very important to both of them. Even though – or rather, especially because! – they don’t live in close proximity with their families and loved ones, the Wags are really quite proud to have kept a good and loving relationship with the people closest to their hearts. Their husbands play a big part in their lives as well, and Aleks even goes so far as to calling meeting hers to be the best thing she has ever done! Sophie agrees, but then cheekily adds that if she could make any fictional character come to life, it would be Superman – then she’d date him!

There is a quote, that every two best friends can probably apply to themselves, that says: «You can always tell when two people are best friends because they are having more fun than it makes sense for them to be having.»
Sophie and Aleks can tell stories and giggle for hours on end. «One night out we put a really drunk friend into a taxi; as it was leaving we tried to get a picture of its number plate, but because our hands were shaky we ended up with a lousy picture – just the flash of the taxi taking the corner!» The memory actually brings laughing tears to their eyes. Then they remember that their special name for each other is Bertie. «That’s how we greet each other – by saying, Why, hello Bertie!»

An afternoon with these two is simply heart warming. Towards the end of our afternoon together, having finished up all the cake and extra pastry the chef had brought to our table, I ask them where they see themselves in twenty years’ time. «I just hope to be in a happy, balanced place,» Sophie says. Aleks nods and adds that maybe one day she’ll write a book. «Who knows. We hope we can keep inspiring people.» Is there anything they would like their readers to take with them? «Absolutely – Stop killing each other and be more tolerant – GIVE PEACE A CHANCE!» And on goes the giggling.

 

(Since writing the post, Aleks has sent me the following message: «Sophie has now also moved back to Singapore for her husband’s work! We will of course carry on the blog long distance and will now be including information about Singapore as well.» – Sounds like a fun reading experience, right?! :))

Last But Not Least: Day 7

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A letter to J.R.R. Tolkien as found on his grave in Oxford

Dear Pro. Tolkien & Mrs. Tolkien:

Thanks a lot for the Middle Earth.
Thank you for everything in the magical world.
Thank you for Legolas, thank you for Bilbo Baggins, thank you for Frodo, thank you for the Silmarillion.

Wish God bless both of you.
Happiness and peaceful forever.

E.G.

(Quote: Lewis Carrol)

Gold Star for Hannover

Hello dear reader!

[I was going to name this post Hungover in Hannover but I never was hungover in Hannover, so I decided not to lie to you.]

I am writing this while sitting on the train home from Hannover, and there is no time like a long train journey to write or read or sleep (or, in my case, eat!). I spent five glorious days with Inga up in the north. It was so lovely seeing her again after almost six months, and especially after having travelled the UK with her last summer. She is my number one travel buddy and I’m very lucky that she keeps going off to live in exciting places where I can stay with her!

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Hannover is a seriously underrated city. I mean, have you ever heard of it? Have you ever made any plans to visit at all? Admittedly, seeing Inga was my sole purpose of visiting, so no judging! Buuut for starters, Hannover has a mean coffee house culture. We spent so much time in cafés drinking tea and eating cakes. My favourite café was called Glücksmoment which translates to «Happy Moments» and is a very adequate description of what’s expecting you inside. They have a massive variety of cakes and beverages and the mugs and plates and inside décor are super cute and pretty in blue and pink shaded colours. They also have a little shop within the café that sells baking essentials. I couldn’t resist and bought Bavarian themed cupcake molds; I know that’s all the way down in the south, but, hey! They say I mog di! at the bottom, and I like being told «I love you!» in Bavarian!

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Another fun thing we did was visit the zoo. I am very very fond of monkeys, and I was so excited to see the cuddling gorillas and the tantrum throwing orang-utan, and OMFG the chimpanzees! Aren’t they the cutest?! I SO want to adopt one! I also got slightly carried away when I saw the flamingos. But, honestly, they are pink birds standing on one leg, looking elegant as fuck and matching my socks – it was an intense moment, okay?

One night we went to a concert in some dodgy bar called Glocksee. Well, I say dodgy, really I felt quite at home. It’s just your alternative, 21+, smoking-is-allowed-inside kinda bar that allows live music and encourages the dealing of drugs. In short, it was brilliant! The music was fun to dance to and even allowed for my microwave dance to bloom. Hannover supposedly has quite a number of secret locations to go out, but you have to discover them for yourself. And that’s what, to me, makes this city so utterly charming, the fact that the really great places are not as advertised as they are elsewhere.

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We got all of the touristy stuff done as well, as you can see on the badly taken photos above (yeah, sorry for the lack of quality). For me, some of the nicest moments we had were on the couch with a cup of tea and chocolate cookies, watching Doctor Who and talking about all the places we’ve been. Especially with the weather as rainy and windy as it was it was good to be sitting in the warmth. Carrie Hope Fletcher and Dodie Clark recently did a song together called Gold Star For Me – to which Inga introduced me one late night. I think I should probably some day write us our own song, but I still think the lyrics relate to us pretty well, too!Bild 98Today I insisted on visiting the History Museum and I was very excited, too, when we walked there after breakfast in yet another beautiful café, but I ended up feeling more and more tired the further we explored Hannoverian history. There was a lot of talk about kings and horses and houses, but my mind just kept spinning around images of kings’ beds (of which they sadly had none on display). So thus conclude my adventures in Hannover, and I’m going to try and get some sleep. I still have five hours to go, and tonight I have two parties to attend. It’s going to be a late night. Tomorrow is not going to be fun (except that I’m going to the bookshop and then catching the train to go on a skiing holiday with my family, so I believe the hangover will be just a minor distraction.); I told Inga I’m not going to drink tonight, but open bar? Who’m I kidding!

Okay, better stop here before anyone thinks I’m a hopeless alcoholic (if anything, I’m a promisingly hopeful one!). I hope your week has been as great as mine!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: Fools Rush In by Bill Carter

Just read: Fools Rush In by Bill Carter

I have been so excited to finally talk about this book! It has become one of my absolute favourites and I think everyone should read it, because there is so much to gain from it!

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Fools Rush In tells the story of Bill Carter who visits Bosnia in the 1990ies during the Siege of Sarajevo. He helps distribute food and other goods, he goes to rock concerts and parties and he finds friends.

Basically, the blurb already says it all:

«Some trips are chosen, some choose you. When tragedy strikes Bill Carter‘s life he finds himself drawn to a war zone. In the modern heart of darkness, the besieged city of Sarajevo, we meet a man rebuilding the ruins of his former self in the most unlikely of places. Carter joins a maverick aid organization, „The Serious Road Trip“, and dodges snipers to deliver food and supplies to those the UN can‘t reach. He makes friends with the artistic community of Sarajevo and fights alongside them for survival in a place where food and water are scarce, where you meet death every day, but crucially where life, love and laughter ring out all the same.
Carter takes his journey one surreal step further and enlists the help of major rock band U2. The ensuing events go no small way to influencing the course of the war and Western awareness of it.»

There is no way I can do this book justice by writing this review, so I‘m not even going to try. But let me tell you this: it wrenched my heart, it reduced me to tears, it made me giggle hysterically, it sent shivers down my spine – but most importantly, it gave me back some faith that even the smallest person can change the course of events. It had me believe that there are people who care and who stand above themselves. Not just Bill Carter, who just seemed to be acting without much further thinking, but also U2. Bono offered the band‘s help and meant it. During their 1993 world tour they did satellite link-ups where Sarajevans were broadcast onto stage and told their stories to so many people. Please, just look at this video!

Fools Rush In is such a genuine story, and it‘s really a work of philosophy. Bill Carter writes in large parts about loss and love and family and home – things that essentially have nothing to do with war, but have everything to do with life. And life just appears to be going on during any war.

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I know the Bosnian War has long passed, but there are so many other tragedies taking place in the world, and the least we can do is not turn our backs. Let‘s talk about it. Let‘s not pretend there aren‘t any people suffering. No one is required to go into a war zone and risk their life, of course not. But who has ever stood up to a bully or paired up with the unpopular kid at school? If anything, this book makes us care about each other.
It‘s a life changing read, I promise!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Last But Not Least: Day Five

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Two things. One, I had the best of days today. Two, Brighton is heavily overrated and I do not wish to go back. The pier was too loud and the pier was too bright, the beach was too crowded and the noise of the traffic was everywhere. The fish ‘n‘ chips made my stomach ache.
But.
Around noon the sun came out.
And we wandered along the promenade and we left behind the people and the noise and we told each other stories that we already knew but liked to hear anyway.
I remember waking up from my own snoring on the train back.

It was such a complete day.

(Qote: A.A. Milne)