Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Two of things you can most definitely count on when living on the coast is, both, an immense availability of water and - ranging from gentle to gusting - wind. While the former is rather obvious, I find the latter is often forgotten about. I mean, let's be real, have you ever heard someone raving about the nice summery breeze or the hazardous stormy gales they encountered while spending an afternoon on the coast? I doubt it. Most of the time, people comment on anything but the wind: the water, the waves, the sand, the animals, the people...

But here's the thing, it's the wind that makes all the difference. I didn't realize how much I missed a good strong blow until I found myself encapsulated by one - the strong forces of the wind pushing against me like lovers do. Breathing in the fresh air, being shaken by its strength, I felt complete freedom - the same kind of freedom I felt numerous times when walking down the beach: strong, empowering and so life-giving.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Week of Firsts

This past week has been a week of firsts. For the first time in months, my heart felt light and at peace. I felt peace about being in Berlin. I felt excited for the future. I felt God's heart beat for mine again. It was a week of getting out of my comfort zone, of diving in and fearlessly embracing a life that doesn't involve much of my own choice.

On Thursday night I joined the local church small group gathering I was invited to earlier in the week. As I worshipped and prayed in community it felt as if I was with my small group back in Scotland. But I wasn't and I felt so unknown.

On Friday, I auditioned for a room in a shared flat - party style. I am rather proud of the fact that by the time I left the party mayhem, I managed to at least identify two of the seven tenants living there - as well as the room that could have been mine if I had still wanted to compete for it.

Following Saturday, I photographed my first wedding. I was put in touch with the couple through a mutual friend and to say that I was scared would be the understatement of the year. The wedding was absolutely beautiful and, gladly, the pictures turned out well. More on that later.

Sunday afternoon witnessed yet another first: together with my friend Laura, I strolled through an area called Mauerpark and its adjacent flea market. It seems to have become a traditional Sunday staple over the years and I can totally understand why. Laura and I enjoyed a gazillion treats (hello, crêpe galore!) and the oh-so traditional open-air karaoke.

On Monday  I painfully realized summer is over - and for the first time in years I am not ready for it. I am desperately holding on to the freedom of endlessly long days and sunshine. I wish I had at least a few more weeks to explore Berlin in all its summer glory.

On Tuesday, the long hours spent attempting to learn how to play the guitar finally paid off. For the first time, the tunes resembled actual songs and I was ale to truly enjoy the sound of it all.

And, yesterday, on Wednesday, I attended my first French lesson. Being more of a Latin and Spanish type of girl, I've never took French in school (don't judge, back then I really thought Latin was going to be useful. In retrospect, I have no idea where that reasoning came from). For the next six months, I will have classes twice a week. A lovely lady from Martinique will be teaching me about all the grammatical rules and regulations and I am only hoping I will be able to keep track.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Goose-Feather Duvet

It's been 50 days since I returned to the motherland and with each passing day, I am becoming more and more entrenched in a place I only intended to stay for a little while. I am flying back to Scotland next week to see two of my closest friends getting married. And to pick up the rest of my belongings. It's a funny feeling - as is the concept, to be honest: You know, to ship the most random material possessions halfway around Europe just because they are of some sort of sentimental value. In my mind, I ceaselessly catalogue every single item yet to be brought back to Berlin, just to avoid a logistical MCA when things are getting real. Over the years, I have perfected the art of efficiently moving across continents and my old childhood room has become a bizarre storage space for traces I left elsewhere.

For practical reasons, I will also be bringing back a goose-feather duvet set I bought not too long ago. I love the duvet as it kept me warm during many cold Scottish winter nights. In the meantime, though, it has become the pinnacle of lunacy - and yet a perfect emotional representation of how I feel. Not only is the duvet far too big for my single-size bed in Berlin, but it will also be too warm. Just as out of place the blanket will be in my room, I feel in Berlin 50 days after I got here.

Truth is, I never anticipated it. After all, being German should come naturally. Somehow, though, I lost touch with the German Lebensgefühl along the way. I missed out on four years of a nation creatively redefining herself and it feels like I am meeting a long lost cousin. I am rediscovering what it means to be German - cultural stereotypes and clichés I faced aside. It is heart-warmingly beautiful. I listen to a lot of German music and I am watching pretty much every important German movie released during past four years. This morning, I found myself crying one-third through one of the best movies I have seen this year.* A little later, I was laughing hysterically at the jokes of my favorite German TV series - because contrary to popular belief, German humor is hilarious and witty. Sometimes it makes me sad that so many of my close friends will never be able to enjoy it with me.

The advances of fully embracing it all and letting myself be carried by the cloud of German Lebensgefühl, however, aren't as successful as I'd want them to be. Part of it is due a subconscious resitance because I am not sure I want to be here at all. An even bigger aspect of it is, though, that as much as I'd want to fully embrace it all, I don't think I can. At least not in Berlin. Ironically, the city that has become a synonym of freedom for not only my generation is nothing but a gilded cage for me. I feel suffocated by the expectations people have of me in this place. I long for the independence I used to have and I envy anyone moving here to live in the freedom of the city as it is something I'll never be able to do.

* For anyone interested and able to speak German, it is called "Heiter bis wolkig". Trailer can be found here. But even if you don't speak German, definitely watch it - even if it just for the extremely handsome male actors ;)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


After watching a TV documentary about the Isle of Skye this afternoon, I was blatantly reminded of how I never shared the highlights of my time in Skye with you. So without further ado, here's a little summary of the trip.

My family and I decided to go to Skye for my 25th birthday. The Isle of Skye is the largest and most northern island of the Inner Hebrides and can most easily be reached by the Skye Bridge. The drive from Glasgow airport to our Bed&Breakfast in the Northeastern part of the island took about 7 hours, including multiple stops to take pictures. We drove through the West Highlands and the well known Glencoe, posed in front of Scotland's most famous castle Eilean Donan and marvelled at the not quite ordinary scenery.

Despite it being late fall, the weather during our 3-day adventure was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining brightly and we were spared rainfall. Solely the to be expected winds reminded us of where exactly we were located. Conveniently, a warm and knitted sweater proved to be excellent remedy.

We stayed in the sweetest little B&B, midway between Portree and the most northern point of the Trotternish Peninsula, facing mainland Scotland. The Trotternish peninsula is home to two of the most famous landmarks of Skye: The Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing. However, even off the beaten track, Skye wins over any traveller's heart. The interaction between Skye's breath-taking scenery and the ever-changing exposure to sunlight, is not only a dream come true for photographers but anyone willing to marvel at the beauty of God's creation.

I've had some of the best seafood while on Skye, which given its excellent location is not that big of a surprise. For almost every meal, I ate my fair share of lobster, shrimp and mussels - certainly enough to last me an entire year.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Saturday Morning Stroll

This past weekend my uncle and his girlfriend came for a visit. Both of them are from down South - where hills are actual mountains, milk is bought from a farmer and the beloved capital is dubbed Sin City. My uncle is no stranger to the vibe of the city, his new girlfriend... a whole 'nother story, my friend.  We spent most of Sunday morning strolling around the inner city, trying to at least cover the basics of big city life. While I enjoyed walking the streets filled with the air of summer and tourists, drinking ice-cold Berliner Weisse for refreshment, I took the opportunity to take some more pictures of this city I will never be able to fully love nor hate.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Cherry Crumble Tart

Earlier this week I made a cherry crumble tart. My parents visited friends of theirs over the weekend and brought back freshly picked cherries from their garden. Too sour to eat on its own, the only worthy alternative use of the cherries was to make a delicious cherry crumble tart. Mom and I cut every single cherry open to remove the stone - an act of bravery that left our hands stained in bright red. The smell of the crumble tart in the house reminded me of last year when there was hardly a week without someone in the house baking yummy goods. If you want to give it a try yourself, here is the recipe I used:

450g flour
200g sugar
3 drops of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
250g butter
at least 500g of cherries
icing sugar

Before you start, preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Then sift the flour and one after another add the sugar, vanilla extract, backing powder, eggs and butter. Rather than using an electrical mixer, use your hands to combine all the ingredients. Don't be discouraged, it will take some work to eventually make the crumbly dough stick together. Once the dough is more or less one big piece, take off 1/3 and put aside in the fridge. Grease a baking tin and then use the remaining 2/3 of the dough to make the base of the tart. Aim for the thickness of the base to be at least one centimeter. Add the cherries (obviously without the stones and as drained as possible). On top of that, spread crumbles made from the remaining 1/3 of dough evenly across the surface. This part can be a little bit tricky if the dough is still too warm, so if you find yourself struggling give the dough another 5 minutes in the fridge before starting. Put the crumble tart in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes. Once done and cooled down, add some icing sugar for a nice romantic look and some extra sweetness.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Funniest Person

I didn't mean to write this blog post, in fact by writing it here and now I am exercising my not too developed skill of being super spontaneous. Yet after having read through my friend Chris' tweets for the past month, I can't help but share some of them with you. You see, I always suspected that Chris was quite a funny person and always appreciated his humor when I was exposed to it. However, for some strange reason, whenever him and I hung out, circumstances dictated us to be very serious and business-like with each other so that often times I could never openly laugh at his jokes. After all, him and I were both on the same committee for the Psychology Society on campus. With Chris being the secretary of the society, I would get e-mails from him quite frequently. The other day, when I was clearing out my e-mail inbox, I happened to find a quite ancient one, where Chris forwarded and commented on an e-mail he had received from Big Brother. Inviting him to join. Needless to say he never accepted the offer.

Anyhow, his twitter account reads like a best of Buzzfeed. Below I picked my favorite tweets - from July only. I hope you find them as funny as I do:
  • My parents ate all the fig rolls and I hate my life.
  • YouTube just recommended I subscribe to the Eurovision Song Contest channel. Taking bets on how long my my self respect will hold out.
  • This is a good website http://dustindiamondisadick.com/ 
  • I have spent the past ten minutes looking at "huge cats" on Google Images…
  • Protected my tweets, now waiting for the job offers to start rolling in.
  • In response to this: I will love him like a son, Hugh. #ACNL
  • I call this piece, "Pilly" 
  • They announced Andy's win over the tannoy at King's Cross, but I like to think it was about my arrival. People cheered my arrival.
  • When I got up this morning I sneezed so forcefully the tears in my eyes splashed the mirror. :( #pollencount #housebound
Also, I would have loved to post some of his funny vine videos, but I have a feeling I should ask for his permission first.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Frozen Cassava

Today I went to the Chinese supermarket. Primarily to see what they have on offer, but I guess subconsciously with a hidden agenda of finding ingredients for making Singaporean Laksa. I've had Laksa for the first time a couple of weeks ago at my friend Iben's and absolutely loved it - so much that ever since I have been wanting to cook it myself.

As I was roaming the aisles, unable to find what I was looking for, two simultaneous incidents took place. Neither one of them is particularly funny, entertaining or noteworthy, yet it made me chuckle by the time I left the store.

The first thing that happened is that I found frozen cassava. Immediately I was reminded of last summer, when I spent some time in East Africa. Cassava, similar to sweet potatoes, is one of the most important agricultural crops in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia as it grows well on poor soil and with little rainfall. However, what made my discovery of the frozen cassava such a funny one, was the fact that it was frozen. Frozen cassava - that just really entertains me. While I understand the logistical motivations behind it, I find it funny that people would actually think about freezing it. I mean, with all due respect, it really isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the cassava production line in Africa, is it?

Second incident that left me laughing to myself was when I enquired about a Laksa spice mix and some friend tofu. I kindly asked one of the ladies employed by store if they had the desired ingredients. She looked at me - no blink, no words, face set in stone - before she rushed off. She was quick, I had trouble following her. In less than one minute, she found what I spent looking for 15 minutes prior. She dropped the items in my hands and left - ready to complete the next mission. I yelled a friendly "thank you" after her but I doubt it made a difference.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


If you had one word people could use to describe you - what would your special word be? Would it be an adjective, a noun or possibly even a verb? Would your word depict an inter-relational reality or would it be selfishly indulgent?

The other day I was stalking investigating my graduating class' "next chapter", when I came across a girl I was in halls with. She is tall and skinny and has fire-red hair. She always seemed like a nice person, but with the exception of seeing her at the occasional party or around town, her and I never talked for more than 10 minutes at a time. Bluntly, we are strangers. Yet, I know her.* I know her because, my friends, I know the one word people use to describe her. That girl has found something in life that defines her, brings her joy, and is worth chasing after. You see, she's got passion. A passion for books. And everyone knows. She's familiar with pretty much every book - from classic to contemporary, she's probably read them all because she reads all the time. She loves books and she loves reading. In fact, as Facebook informs me, she loves reading so much that she cannot imagine a day better spend but in bed reading. She's got her priorities straight, and books are at the very top of her list.

Now, I like books, too. And I read books. Frequently even. But, comparing this girl to me, I came to realize, I don't love books enough to schedule my priorities around them. I read books when there is nothing else to do, like for example when I am on the train. Or when there is no electricity. Or when I have to do it for class. Don't get me wrong, I always liked the idea of having a very big library at home. With beautiful old books, neatly arranged in dark-wooden shelves. I also always wanted to be this one impressive dinner guest who could talk eloquently about any book at any time, the one person who, with such ease, quotes from the most famous classics as small talk proceeds. I enjoy reading in bed all day long, completely soaking up a world that is not my own. Yet, I am no longer the book-nerd I was back in second grade. Even if in my mind I still think of myself as one. I may read more books than the average Joe, but that doesn't make me a book-lover, needless to say passionate about books. Nor does playing the guitar make me a musician, or going for a run a marathon runner. One of the things I've come to terms with over this past year is that a passion for this one special something isn't me. I tried but I like a lot of things and I like all these things equally well.

* That is compared to most strangers.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

2 Boxes

... a bag back and a guitar is all that remains. I packed up my university room two weeks ago, moved out and left this little seaside town I called home for four years for good. All my belongings are stored away until I figure out what's next.

I am in Berlin for now. Following an extremely sociable last semester, I am enjoying the solitude. I am enjoying the heat of continental Europe. I am enjoying my heimat and my people.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Successes and Failures

With graduation looming, my lease expiring at the end of June and just a general need to give my life some sort of direction, I spend most of these past couple of weeks trying to figure out what to do next.

It is an extremely scary, at times frustrating, yet in the grand scheme of thing exciting process - I know that by the end of it, I will have grown in wisdom, maturity and confidence. I know that I will look back on this transition period as one of the most defining times in my life, but quite frankly, at the moment I am not feeling it.

Part of me is rather scared, frustrated and annoyed. Although I was able to narrow down what exactly it is that I want to do and identify various routes that will get me there, I have only send off a handful of applications. Majority of places require at least three years of professional experience in the field, some obscure specialization or a nationality I don't have.

Moreover, I am not used to writing self-advertising cover letters anymore and, consequently, the application process to the few positions available is slow. I struggle with the idea, that I am defined by a mere two pages, a polished CV and a sugar-coated cover letter. That's not me because I am so much more than that. I have strengths and weaknesses and interests and experiences that cannot, and quite frankly should not, be compressed to two pages.

I find myself attempting to be superhuman, with no flaws, mistakes and unrealistic professional experience for a 25-year old - because that is the only chance to stand a chance at competing with everyone else out there. It is a balancing act between showing who I really am and advertising the best of me that so far has not been very successful.

Anyone else out there feeling the pressure of wanting to do something great with one's life yet being restricted by a lack of opportunities?

Friday, May 31, 2013


It’s the time of the year again where I find myself sitting on the most beautiful train route down South to London. Just like last year, the most precious memories of the school year just ended fill my heart – the good, the bad, and some yet to be processed moments that feel weirdly scattered around within me, in desperate need of structure and evaluation that only comes with time.

The last couple of days were bittersweet. Among tearful and quiet goodbyes that made my heart ache in pain and took away my breath, there were countless moments of love, depth and just living. The heightened awareness of finality looming on my back made every moment special, attributing to it a worth and appreciation that exceeds anything that’s been before.

One of the things I learned this year is that the goodness of life is only as good as the bad of life is hard. I am only able to feel the exhilarating height of joy and contentment because I learned to allow myself to feel the depths of pain and disappointment. More than just feeling the absence of any positive feeling, I learned to conquer the state of numbness and attempted to tackle every ounce of hurt instead. I learned that to live fully means to have my heart aching while at the same time rejoicing in the goodness of all.

I have yet some of the hardest goodbyes ahead of me before I leave this little seaside town I call home for good. Until then, I will make the most out of Party June – starting now with one of my best friend’s bachelorette party.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Mornings

Saturdays are my favorite, especially Saturday mornings. Whether they are spend sleeping, recovering from a night out or peacefully bumming around, Saturday mornings are always good. Saturday mornings are for pleasure - I do all the lazy things I would feel guilty about doing any other time of the week such as reading magazines in bed until well after midday, having long and extended breakfasts or just mindlessly staring out of the window. There are no pressing errands to take care of or deadlines to meet, Saturday mornings are me-time. This Saturday morning was especially cozy: I had a nice long chat with my flatmate Katie, who was gone for most of the week, sitting in her bed while it was pouring outside.

In contrast to the heavy rain this morning, the weather of the rest of the week has been rather nice. On Tuesday night, friends and I went to get some ice-cream and then went on a walk down to the Pier. The sunset was glorious, but see for yourself.

Tonight I will be going to a Eurovision Party. My friend Sharon sent me this video to get me in the mood.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Naan-Bread Pizza

I live in a house with four other girls. There are five weekdays and, rather strategically, each one of us picked one day of the week to cook for the whole house. 

My day of cooking is Magic Monday and yesterday I made the girl's all-time favorite recipe of mine: Naan-Bread Pizza. 

It is super easy to make. From start to finish it takes less than 20 minutes, no chopping, no frying, no mess - total piece of cake.

For making one Naan-Bread Pizza you'll need:
  • 1 naan bread (I usually use coriander and garlic seasoned naan bread but unseasoned will do as well)
  • 1 slice of parma ham
  • 20g of Feta cheese
  • 2-3 table spoons of green pesto
  • 1 handfull of rucola salad
  • Some olive oil

Before you start preparing the naan, preheat the oven to about 180 degrees celsius.

Next thing to do is to spread the pesto across the surface of the naan using a knife - similar to buttering a roll. Then crumble small pieces of the Feta cheese on top of the pesto layer. Make sure the Feta is somewhat evenly distributed so you don't miss out on the cheese in any of your bites.

Following the preparation, put the naan in the preheated oven for about 5-8 minutes. Remove the naan from the oven once the desired level of "crustiness" is reached. You roughly want to aim for a golden crust. 

Top up the warm naan with a handful of rucola salad and some parma ham. For the parma ham, rather than cutting it into small pieces I find it easiest to just tear the slice. Lastly, sprinkle some olive oil all over the Naan-Bread Pizza - and then, enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Web Wanderings

"We are taught ... that our worth is inextricably tied-up with male approval and that male approval is dependant on being beautiful, attractive and sexually available." - Super interesting response to nude photography in newspapers.

"Give gifts, give your time, your company, a smile, a hug, anything!" - My friend Sasha is doing a "26 Days of the Alphabet"-Challenge. I highly recommend her post on G for Giving.

As a psychology student I find this is an interesting take on hearing voices. Definitely worth watching!

"I just didn’t understand why he would get so easily annoyed with one of my cute little flaws that make me an individual!" - Insightful 'she says, he says'  account on the transition from honeymoon phase to marriage.

I really enjoyed this time lapse.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


This past weekend I had a friend come visit me from back home, which was just great. She's come to visit me every year since I started university and so by now there was not much left for me to show her in and around town. As a consequence, we just hung out, watched movies, slept - we basically lived life together exactly like we used to do when we still lived in the same town. I appreciate this kind of friendship. Even if we don't see each other for months at a time, we just continue where we left of next time we get together.

On Saturday we went on a little hike so I could take some pictures of her. Despite some overcast earlier in the day, the sun eventually shone brightly, giving the pictures a nice warm feel.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

It's always like Springtime with You

Although I inofficially finished university last Tuesday (read all about it here), there are still plenty of things to do and errands to run. I am busy like a bumble bee but in the most relaxed and awesome way ever.

Yesterday our living room was transformed into a library and people came around to revise for exams. The sun shone like crazy and we had our lunch in the garden.

In the afternoon my friend Sydney and I took a walk down by the beach, soaking up the sun while it lasted.

Judging from past experiences, this probably was the closest we will get to summer for the rest of the year. Maybe, though, if we are lucky, there will be some more sun during Party-June for hanging out on the beach and swimming in the sea.

Monday, May 06, 2013


As previously mentioned, the university I go to has a lot of ancient traditions. From Raisin Weekend (google it!) to May Dip - the academic calendar is full of bizarre traditions. Although I enjoy all of them, for me personally, it is the smaller, less publicly known traditions that have a special place in my heart.

One tradition in particular has always meant a lot to me. It is the soaking of students after they finish their last exam ever. Friends gather and pour gallons of water, glitter and whatnot on you - to wash away the worries of the past four years and to celebrate for making it through all the way to the end.

For most of my university time, the soaking tradition had been the pinnacle of all that was ever to exist in my university time. From day one, not considering graduation, THIS is what I was looking forward to, what I worked towards, and what I was excited about. It was all about this one special moment when you exit the exam venue for the last time and see all your friends standing in a big circle waiting only for you.

My soaking this past Tuesday exceeded all hopes and expectations. I was gobsmacked by the amount of friends that had turned up to soak me. Yet, it wasn't the numbers that made it special but the fact that everyone came to celebrate with me. The air was filled with jubilation - my friends were not only happy for me but they were proud of my accomplishments.

They wanted to be part of me welcoming a new stage in my life, even if they might not be a part of it in the future. In the most bizarre way, it is a testimony of an incredibly beautiful way of loving and that's what makes the tradition so special.

* Photographs were taken by my friend Claire. Check out her blog here.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

May Dip

Every year at the dawn of the first day of May, the whole student population of the university gathers at one of the beaches to run into the North Sea. From the moments of the first rays of light until long after the sun is risen, friends hurdle together, pump another up and eventually set off to embrace the ice-cold water. This year, of course, was no different. We stayed up all night playing Beer Pong and Ring of Fire before we eventually moved to the already crowded beach in the early morning hours.

I find it striking how there is literally nothing appealing about May Dip yet the tradition continues to exist. Think about it, the idea of it all is just insane and I am not going to lie, more than once I was inclined to just go to bed and sleep through it all - to avoid the cold, the wind, the yucky bonfire smell, the sand that will get everywhere and the sleep deprivation that will haunt you for the next couple of days. Yet, every year I find myself running into the freezing water and actually enjoying it. I love being up so early and seeing the sun rise. I love the how alive the cold water makes me feel. I love how majority of people want to be part of it.