Samstag, 12. November 2011

The Texture of Time

Picture from
Time is a weird construction. It can stretch like a rubber band, drip on you in jelly green drops and make you feel like you are running, but not getting forward. Or it can suddenly speed ahead, make you forget space and swoosh by like cars in the dark. My time rubber band has been stretched and released quite a bit during the past weeks. When I am with the right people it flows with me like golden light, other times I wait for it to pass and when commuting through Berlin it makes me dive into myself. Looking back, it feels like the past weeks just took a finger click. It was exciting, I laughed a lot, I felt a lot, I even learned a lot and suddenly I am in this bubble of loneliness where there is a sensation from head to toe and I am thrown back at myself again. I feel a bit powerless, confused and also kind of sad. But not that sadness of world pain and destruction. It’s more of a melancholic pain of how fast things can change. Life has taken up speed again, and I am not quite sure if I can follow.

First things first: friendship. If you are really honest, how often is it that you meet a like minded person you can just be yourself with, fool around, cry and tell your honest opinion about everything. With how many people that you meet do you really connect on a deeper level? Especially in rushed phases of my life, I met a lot of interesting people but only a few stuck with me for longer. I feel a deep connection to some people that live quite far away. That gave me a lot of strength during more lonely days in Berlin. Knowing that I have those friends, whom I might not have been with for two years and still meet and feel like no time has passed, makes me so entirely grateful.

Take my friend Letzu, for example. This women is like a sister to me, together we become something new and crazy and I enjoy every moment with her. When I met her again in October, we had the craziest dream night out, with secrets and beer and the whole program. I feel so close to her and even though she is one of my best friends in the world, I forgot her birthday. It was November second and I simply forgot. It didn’t even cross my mind. But does that make me a bad friend? I hope not. Because, Letzu, you are like a sister and since I forgot your birthday once, I will never forget it again, as embarrassment will engrave the date on my brain. See, time took me by the hand and hopped with me through the days and there was no yesterday or tomorrow, there was just life running by. I knew I had forgotten, because you told me. I AM SO SUPER DUPER REALLY SUPER SORRY. And I miss you right now, because I want to tell you abound my friend Time and what she did with me. She is not as crazy as you, you bet. She also does not wear as funny hats. And she has no clue how to secretly smoke at the window. But I want to tell you that life is good and that I think of you every day. I miss you!

So yea, maybe this bubble is good and maybe it is OK that I am a bit confronted with myself and the people who really matter. And one lesson I have leant is: don’t let the speed of time dominate your existence. I am responsible for my own happiness, so Time, please go to the corner, I have some catching up to do.

Mittwoch, 12. Oktober 2011

Mumified Bananas found at Sanssouci Palace

As everything keeps changing and dear people around me start new experiences, I am doing a small, big step myself by starting a Masters program in foreign language linguistics at the University of Potsdam, close to Berlin.

My first day out on campus was for a small introduction event. Still, I was excited as a 14-year-old starting school after summer and wondering what to wear. The problem was solved much faster than 12 years ago, though. Off course everything matched, even my handbag.

The campus was WOW! I went to a Scandinavian university before with modernist buildings and now I felt like going back in time. It was a big complex, probably really connected to the Sanssouci Palace back in the days with scattered buildings that looked like people with big dresses and long beards should walk around. Instead, I met other fellow students everything from goth- to tech-type people. I bought a ridiculously cheap cup of coffee and searched my handbag for my mobile to call my mom and hysterically tell her about the architecture of my new school and how she should from now on call me Duchess Anna. All I found was a mummified banana (I am not kidding!) and I had to laugh so hard about it, I almost forgot to find my phone.

See, the 100-year-old banana is like my life in a nutshell. I always leave traces of food wherever I go and when I went to school it felt like a science project when I cleaned my bags – I am a chaotic person, who forgets about EVERYTHING (but mostly where I left food). That’s why I love lists so much. I love to organize, just because if I don’t, I will eventually starve. What this small moment showed me, is that I am going to stay the same deep inside, whatever I will do one day and wherever I will live. I will stay the same in my core and that made me very happy. When things change and you develop, you might be afraid to meet an old, dark side of yourself. And that can happen, but with all that change there is that one tiny constant light: your essential you. Off course there is a lot more to it than mummified bananas – but I really needed this discovery to kick-start my new experience with new challenges ahead.

Montag, 15. August 2011

Melon Mix of Bananalicous Time

(C) Anna Streiter
Dear reader, there has not been a post in a while, as my life was so eventful that my head simply did not have the capacity to reflect on what was going on at the same time as putting it down in words for you to read.

Normally German news goes into summer break starting July, there is nothing going on in politics and you read about drowned dogs or dry cornfields in the newspapers. This summer has been different, the world seems different, things change extremely fast and the news are filled with partly horrible news which in return also show how horrible actions from some can bring out the best in others, like the massacre in Norway brought out such a wave of love from the Norwegian people.

Instead of slowing down, my live seems to have accelerated since June. I went to beautiful/morbid/delicious/sunny Palermo to visit my friend Sophia. Even though my Italian is practically non-existent I managed to communicate with people around me. Sicilians are a very interesting group of people, of course they mostly categorize you as tourist and try to keep communication to a minimum but they reward you for returning to them. So if you buy your fruit at the same stall at the marketplace every time, the salesman will trust and like you over time. It was simply great to visit a friend in a foreign country and to see Italy through her eyes; it is much different from lonely exploration with a guidebook. This experience was very vivid and refreshing.

(C) Anna Streiter
AND! I finally had visitors to Berlin. One of my friends, Nora, suggested to me to open a hostel, as she saw how much I enjoyed being a host. It was great to finally see friends again and to show them where I live right now. It was funny to see what expectations visitors have, as I would never go to a restaurant with German cuisine in a city like Berlin, where you can taste so many different cultures. I am very grateful for everyone’s interest in the city and for the love they brought to my house.
And one thing is for sure: I have to visit Copenhagen in October before I start in university.

YES! I will do a Masters Program at Potsdam University and I am totally geeking out about it! I will study foreign language linguistics and part of the program will be to learn a new language. So Spanish speaking people: Pronto voy a ser uno de ustedes! Thank you google translate : )

So yes, life is filled with friends & family, work and figuring out stuff. I hope that I soon will be able to reflect on things and also tell you more deeply how I developed over the past months.

Until then: have a great day – each day!

Samstag, 4. Juni 2011

Almanya - or why do I look like a genetic copy of my mom?

I just came home from an extraordinary experience at an open air cinema in a park in “Friedrichshein”. Together with some new friends (awesome!), I had the pleasure to watch Almanya. It is a movie about a Turkish family and their story of how they came to Germany, connected to how they live today and where they come from.

The story telling has many interesting aspects, like the use of language. As the main language is German, they had to illustrate how it was for the Turkish family to arrive in a country where they did not understand a word. So the “German” in the story is a fictive language and as a linguist, this was extremely exciting for me.

Apart from being extremely well told, the story left a main thought in my head: How everything in the past and somehow also in the future is connected. I have parts of my mom and dad in me, I carry their history with me and that of many people in my family. I am a result of the culture that my family conveyed to me. Personally, I feel extremely close to my mother and my sister and I really feel that we have a deeper connection that grows stronger every day. My most influential teachers of life lessons are from my family. My mom taught me that love is blind, my step dad taught me the importance of honesty, my granny taught me the beauty of forgiveness (and backgammon) and somehow everyone took part in who I am today. This close web of lifelines makes us who we are today.

I met people who struggled on their own, people who had left their family and sought after their own truth and happiness. For some time I thought that there were two categories of people: family people and independent people. Today I realized that maybe their web of family needed those people to get disconnected and start something different and new. And who knows, even though they are not actively connected to their family, they live up to some dream buried deep inside the family history.

In the movie, the grandfather was the one who uprooted his family and took them to a foreign land. It did not make them a family with less heritage and culture, it made them more diverse and culturally enriched. My mother, who was the first one in the entire big family to get divorced and who raised my sister and me on her own, also disconnected from certain parts of her heritage and it made us richer as a family. I know that my family respects my mother for her independence and that maybe sometimes some of them wish to be as brave as her.

I have always felt a bit disconnected from time and always very aware of the history I carried with me, or should I say that carried me? I like the thought of being an evolvement of something that existed before I was there. And my family is the proof that this evolvement is necessary, exciting and great. Tonight I am simply grateful for the things I carry from them.

Donnerstag, 12. Mai 2011

Everyone has their own little mean "me"

When life is to good to be true, I am flying on a cloud through the days and everything is as delicious as chocolate chip ice cream. There is nobody who could harm me on days like that; it’s the time where I collect self-esteem like a magnet. I just had one of those periods. Sun was shining, people where smiling and I was good at the things I did: work, friends, family, stuff.

I am addicted to the feel good drug and as soon as things do not go well, my mind screams – give me the drug, I cannot live without it! So when I fly extremely high, like in chocolate chip clouds, I can be sure that there will be something making sure I get dragged down again.

Most of the times the thing is me. I think, everyone knows their own little mean “me”. Nature made sure that we do not fly too high, so it invented a “me” for everyone. My “me” really dragged me down and it gave me a quite tough time. It taught me not to get too arrogant on that cloud, because it will make sure, that if I don’t cherish the cloud, it will show me it’s ugly face. There is a “me” that you show everyone, and then there is a “me” that shows up when you lose control, when you drink too much, for example. For some people, the drunk “me” is a good change. They get more outgoing and confident. I just get too much. And I hate when I am too much. “Me” knows that for example, so it did exactly that to remind me of how important it is to be humble. So I hit the bottom hard, I even hit my knee. The awesome thing is: It did not take too long to get back to normal. I ripped of the bandage and go by bike through sunny Berlin, but all in a very humble way.

P.S. The post was written while listening to"The Water" over and over again. I am addicted not only to the feel good drug, but also to this song!

Dienstag, 26. April 2011

This is where I hide my secrets!

Copyright: author
Last weekend I was in paradise. It is a simple place without any heavy baggage taking away your attention from what is important. When you work hard, it is good to keep a key to your own personal paradise hidden in a drawer, so that when you really need it, you can access it.

My paradise is a very small place. It is a little wooden house and around it grows a wild garden. Sometimes you can make a small campfire, when the right people are there and there is an old Christmas tree asking to be used for something else. You can barbeque, put your hands in the earth and plant flowers, you can hide small presents in shadowy corners. The most important thing is that you can just be yourself and you will be loved the way you are. To me, there are only a few places where I can feel so safe and this is my number one.

The weekend was full of sunshine and relaxing with my mom and sis and what inspired me to this post is the crazy thunderstorm running over Berlin. To some people it might try to destroy the past sunny days, but to me it brings back a needed balance, because we all know, in order for things to grow, they need water.

Where to you hide your key to your own little refuge paradise?

Mittwoch, 20. April 2011

Ice cream and cake and cake - OR WHAT!?

Today is a “big jumps” – day. I am all buzzy, smiling and just happy to be where I am. I truly enjoy this feeling after long weeks of feeling like my feet were dragged to the ground like clumsy magnets. It is incredible how the interaction with people you care about gives you energy even though you spend time and effort on make things with them happen. I discovered how a balance between social interaction and alone-time is what also keeps me going. I am not a person who can jump from date to date, party to party and dinner to dinner, without taking a break and spending some time with myself. There are times when things just fit together, circumstances are making sense and the whole karma philosophy of “you get what you give” is spot on.

I wanted to make a post of my final sprint of fasting. Last week I imagined me counting the seconds to finally being able to eat chocolate, pancakes and some meat again. Instead I would like to take a moment and cherish the things that I discovered the past weeks.

You can bake a vegan cake without sugar. It will not be super sweet, but with ingredients like vinegar and stevia, it can be a success. The longer you live without sugar, the less you actually need sweet things. My cakes are not as sweet as normal ones, but they are totally enough for me.

Rushing is stupid. Normally when I bike, I rush super much and get frustrated when I have to stop at a red light. Now I take the red light period as a mini-break and use the time to notice the world around me.

Some habits are worth keeping: I always eat at the office, cook here or take something prepared from home, while my colleagues eat out. I stuck with it and now we are already three girls eating here every day and many colleagues join us regularly.

There is many things you can eat as a snack: fruit, nuts, fruit puree, apple butter and also non-sweet things, like the great organic and vegan spreads they offer in German health food stores.

Life does not end without butter. I thought that for a long time, but IT’S NOT TRUE!

There are many more things I learned. I actually played the guitar and I also took up some conflicts I would have avoided before. The bottom line is that I do not really go crazy over the fact that I soon will be able to go nuts on food and drinks again. It is actually ok to live like I do now. I will take some new, better eating habits with me and I will definitely do a fasting period again. And off course, I am looking forward to once in a while being able to satisfy my urge for some pancakes or ice cream – it ‘s soon summer for heavens sake!