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.

Sexy Books: Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse by David Mitchell

Just read: Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse. And Other Lessons from Modern Life by David Mitchell.

Ever since I started watching Would I lie to you David Mitchell has become one of my favourite comedians. He is relatably awkward (relatable to me, that is) and his jokes are just so profound and smart that I almost pee myself when he brings them on!

IMG_20160302_200237So you can imagine how excited I was when I found his new book lying underneath the christmas tree last year! The blur:

«Why is every film and TV programme a sequel or a remake?
Why are people so f***ing hung up about swearing?
Why do the asterisks in that sentence make it ok?
Why do so many people want to stop other people doing things, and how can they be stopped from stopping them?

These and many other questions trouble David Mitchell. Join him on a tour of the absurdities of modern life – from Ryanair to Richard III, Downton Abbey to phone etiquette, UKIP to hotdogs made of cats. Funny, provocative and shot through with refreshing amounts of common sense, Thinking About It Inly Makes It Worse celebrates and commiserates on the state of things in our not entirely glorious modern world.»

What I loved about the book was that David Mitchell really comments on a big number of topics that I either find myself thinking about in everyday life or that have been bothering me for quite some time on a more serious level. Like Harry Potter (which is something I‘m never not thinking of!); David Mitchell is not a huge fan himself, and although that is a hard thing to forgive, what he writes about the Harry Potter fans is so, so true:

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Something (very unrelated to Harry Potter) that I have been hellbent on defending ever since I saw a documentary about it on New Zealand television, is pole dancing. I can‘t even remember what the documentary said that was so enlightning, but I would have taken up pole dancing right there and then – had it not been for the fact that I was only fifteen and no one would let me. Quite to my delight David Mitchell has an opinion about pole dancing as well, but it‘s not the one I originally held. He describes a course offer at Cambridge University that wants to teach young women the art of pole dancing. I thought that sounded pretty cool, until I read the following paragraph:

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Yaaayy, feminism! Whoohooo! I like this example because it underlines what he‘s trying to show the reader throughout the entire book – that everything has multiple sides to it and we shouldn‘t agree with something all too easily. At least, that‘s what I figured upon finishing it.

I must say I thought the book would be way funnier, and was then surprised to see that David Mitchell is just too smart. He comments a lot on politics and historical events which are a bit hard to understand or relate to if you‘re not from the UK. Because the books consists almost entirely of columns he‘s written for The Observer many of the topics and jokes would have to be put in context.

But having said that, the writing is incredible, and I did laugh a lot; it‘s nowhere near boring! You also don‘t have to read the whole thing in one go, the chapters are so short you can read one while having a dump! (way to praise a book, I know!) I loved it and before I let you go, here‘s one last quote:

(this is the picture he‘s commenting on, and showing you this saves me a whole paragraph of typing)

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

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

Staying In Touch

One of the things I have been most lucky to have in my life are my friends. That sounds like such a cliché to say, but considering how many of my friends live oceans away from me, I can‘t pressure this enough. I‘m astonished, really, that people are still putting up with me. I‘m terrible at replying to messages or letters or remembering Skype dates. I‘m such a confused little person sometimes and I have my heart all over the place; and no matter how many times I tell someone that I love them to pieces via WhatsApp or Facebook, it‘s always a mere excuse for not saying it more often. But their pictures are all on my wall and I look at them every time I‘m writing or doing homework. Some of them I don‘t even talk to anymore, and some of them I talk to every day, and whenever I look up at our smiley faces I remember how infinite I felt, how grand, how little rain or sleet or snow mattered because we were all wrapped up within each other.

Even if your best friend lives a country away, it is possible to feel closer to her than the people you sit next to in math class. Sometimes the people surrounding you are the ones 2,763 miles away.
(The Girl in the Little Black Dress)

There‘s so many people who feel so close to me still and I feel like the world deserves to meet them.

There‘s my wonderful Kiwi friend Annie who sends me heaps of letters and cards and sexy firemen calendars. I keep buying her chocolates and end up eating them myself – one of these days, Annie, you‘re going to get a massive letter and a half eaten chocolate bar!

I can‘t thank Charlie enough for the endless SnapChat messages I get on a almost daily basis. I never reply because I suck. But my mood brightens so much when I get Snaps like this one early in the morning!

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And all my Hondurans! I could cry everytime I think about them. I‘m in love with all of them because they carry their hearts on their sleeves, because they tried so hard to understand my culture and they took me in as if I were just like them, even when everything about me screamed that I wasn‘t. And even now with life rushing on for all of us, I randomly receive messages from people telling me that they love me still. I miss their hugs  and I hate that all I get are hundreds of messages in a group chat, but I also love it because its a fragment of their lives and somewhere in there I have my place too.

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I met my cousin/aunt/whatever only a few years ago. Her name is Paulina and she‘s my dad‘s cousin, but she‘s younger than me. She lives in Hamburg and she‘s very pretty and I love her for also being a Harnickell because I thought I was the only girl. We haven‘t spoken in so long but I can‘t wait to see her again. Weekends with her have been the loveliest and they made me love this gorgeous human so much!

There is a girl whose name is also Noemi and who made me a Minion hot-water-bottle cover for my birthday. She likes weird things which is good because I‘m a little weird too. And sometimes she understands and sometimes she doesn‘t but she always makes me smile, even when I don‘t want to!

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Tashina listens to my endless dramas about boys and books and Cadbury chocolate and watches Doctor Who with me. She doesn‘t even like Science Fiction. Inga sends me a hand-made photo calendar every Christmas and Bethi let me stay at her house once. Samantha and I have a book club but we never read anything together. Jonathan makes me stay up until the sun rises, and Anna brings me back a plush princess from the Disney shop in London. Claire let me come to her speech but not her parents, and Anna went to the book shop with me afterwards. I have never met Rieke but last year she wrote me a letter and I really want to give her a hug. Jennifer wasn‘t my sister but now she is. Tamara and Magalie once went to have a picknick in an illegal place with me where we could look down on the entire city and felt like kings. Macarena was there too and I miss that little chilean munchkin.

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I love that there‘s Lucy and Jacqui and Katrien and Luis and Alice and Kerem among others who never write but who go out with me for Frozen Yoghurt whenever I‘m in the area. And I love that they still look happy on their Facebook pictures  and that I once had them smile and laugh like this with me.

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The favourite thing about my best friend is how she smells like home.
She is home
(cbrown93)

Life consists of so many tiny memories and it never matters where we are and if we are still with the same people or not. We are always in motion and friendships come and go but they never leave us completely. Not talking to someone is not the same as not thinking of them. And I can‘t even do all the people justice with this little blog post here. Who cares about it anyway? I just love them so much and I wanted you to know.

Lots of love!
xxx

Blogmas: I’ve Never Seen The Matterhorn!

 The strangest thing for me to understand is that a big part of the world population has never seen snow. Never having seen snow does not just mean never having seen frozen water. It means never having woken up to a winter wonderland, it means never having felt a snowflake dissolve on your skin, it means never having been even hoping for a white Christmas (not that I am this year!). Never having seen snow is very sad. Maybe it’s a bit how I feel about never having seen the Northern Lights. Do people wake up in the morning and squeal with delight because of them? Or is it just, you know, a light in the sky that’s there all year? It’s not as if I care too much, because I’ve never had a life with the Northern Lights in it, but yes, sometimes it makes me a bit sad that they don’t extend to my country.

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Yesterday my Honduran host brother arrived in Switzerland, and seeing snow was on the top of his bucket list – after all, what is Switzerland without snow?! So I took him.
Two hours away we found it (he was delighted) and we also found the Matterhorn, a famous Swiss mountain. It’s not that astonishing that we found it, considering that we went to Zermatt with the sole purpose of seeing it – and the snow! And now is my ime to confess: I’ve never consciously seen that mountain before! It’s so gorgeous! It has it’s own chocolate – that’s how beautiful this mountain is! Eating Toblerone will never be the same again.

I’m not a very patriotic person. I have lived in New Zealand where I could see the Milky Way and I have lived in Honduras where I could hardly see the stars at all. And I have lived in Switzerland where you get some stars, but if you’re lucky you always get snow and you have those mountains that can take your breath away if you just look. It makes me glad to be alive!

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Wishing you all the best!
Cheers!
xxx

Mount Doom And The Evil Glowworms

Road Trip!
Road Trip!

There were clear signs on the plane that I was heading towards the end of the world — for starters, while I was wearing multiple layers of pants and sweaters, the blanket pulled up to my chin and a beanie covering my ears, all the Kiwis on board were casually wearing shorts and jandals – if they were wearing shoes at all!
And of course then there‘s the fact that I just can‘t travel without a bit of drama. In this particular case I‘d forgotten to unblock my debit card and was stuck at the airport. Yet another time I had to be rescued by one of my friends.
It‘s been four years since I‘ve last been here and five since I left after having lived here for a year. So, to say that I was nervous is a bit of an understatement. I don‘t actually know why I keep bugging myself with What-Ifs. What if no one remembers me? What if we don‘t get on anymore? What if I can no longer find my way around? What if I’d just stayed in Honduras? Life was good there, why did I leave anyway!
I should have learned by now that things always turn out fine. Stuck at the airport? Annie‘s coming straight away to pick me up! Rainy winter weather? Sun‘s just waiting to rise! Hungry? There‘s crumpets and toast waiting in the kitchen at home! Note to self: Don‘t be so scared!

Catching up with Charlie
Catching up with Charlie

Anyway, so I‘ve been having an amazing time back in my beautiful New Zealand. All my fears and doubts left me when my friend Charlie picked me up for a road trip on monday morning that took us to her family‘s batch in Rotorua. On our way we stopped at the waitome glowworm caves which were simply stunning. Now, there is something that just has to be said. Obviously, everybody is thinking it, I‘m going to get it off my chest: Glowworms stink! Not in the literal sense (although I didn‘t get close enough to tell), but doesn‘t it bother anyone that they only glow, so they can lure their prey into the light? And by the way their prey? Totally their own parents! Yup, that‘s right, glowworms don‘t stay cute and glowy their whole lives, they turn into disgusting flies that then get eaten by their babies! How very metaphorical! I, for my part, feel a bit betrayed. See, my life‘s belief was built on this poem that goes,

I wish I were a glowworm.
A glowworm‘s life is never glum.
‘cause how can you be grumpy
when the sun shines out your bum?

That is just so hypocritical – I am sure those bastards are extremely homophobic and racist as well!

Wintery Mount Doom
Wintery Mount Doom
Charlie and our super cool Evil Glowworm
Charlie and our super cool Evil Glowworm

Moving on! We did a lot of driving around the North Island. Went to see Mount Doom – but more importantly, we got to see snow! We were going to build a snowman, because Charlie was really excited about the snow and I‘m obsessed with Frozen, but all we managed was an evil looking glowworm (it was hard sticking the face on)! One of the highlights was of course Hobbiton that has really transformed in the past couple of years. And I‘d know, it was my third time! It has a really hobbity feeling to it. I am so getting married there someday (granted I get either super rich or manage to get myself a super rich boyfriend… or just a boyfriend)!
I think I like the hobbits so much, because I feel so small sometimes – and I like being small. I like routine, I like staying in places, I like normal life, I like not being noticed. But then hobbits are brave enough to go out into the world despite their own better judgement.

Lovely Hobbiton
Lovely Hobbiton

One of the most intense moments was this one night where we went to some hot pools and watched the stars. I know watching the stars is a cliché and we all know how gorgeous they are and blah blah blah. But have you ever seen the Milky Way? You see all that blurry stuff up in the sky and realize that‘s thousands of galaxies and stars and we can barely get a glimpse of that. And it made me feel the size of a baby hobbit, thinking that in total we don‘t really matter. In the end we‘re just a blurry spot on somebody‘s night sky. And what else is there for us to do than to be happy!