Good bye Dear Sister

My heart broke today. It’s probably the gazillionth time it has done so. Each time it’s a new cut, each time the pain is different.
I met my old school nun, she is 94. I was lucky to meet her, or maybe I wasn’t… it would have spared me this fresh wound; nevertheless, I met her, albeit briefly. The sisters came down from Murree and were enroute to Toba Tek Singh. The half hour window in between was what I got. Mother Andrew lives mostly in the past, luckily she recognised me, said “ah Amber, I have missed you”… but then was talking to the Amber I was more than … continue

Sometimes I just want to be a bloody tourist

„Where are you from“, said the Israeli guy in a small souvenir shop in Tel Aviv conversationally as he put my set of kitschy postcards into a bag. I gave him an awkward smile. Hesitant, apologetically.
„Germany“, I said.
„Germany!“, he repeated and handed me my change. „You don’t look deutsch, though. You look Middle Eastern. You sure you not Israeli?“
„Well“, I said, my awkward smile becoming awry, „that’s because I am Middle Eastern indeed. Not Israeli, though.“ I thought he could figure it out himself by now.
„So you’re Arab“, he inquired, his face becoming stern. This conversation was getting weird now.
„Palestinian“, I said. „Half of me.“ … continue

Almost does count

The moment my life changed was six years ago.
It changed in the armpit of an almost stranger.

I believed he would be the man I’d share life with.
Instead, he became an almost lover.

We were naked. He was lying on the bed and his arms were crossed under his head. We were looking at each other. I looked at his armpit and heard myself say: “I want to snuggle in there.” I heard this with a delay, while I was already doing so—laying my head down, snuggling in his armpit. There was a pause in his breathing, and then he wrapped his arms around me. We must have … continue

How I learned to give myself the space I deserve

My sister who is two years older than me performed very well in school – but I performed better. So I learned to suppress myself in order to let her shine. My sister never asked me to do that, neither was it a conscious decision that I made. It was lurking inside me for forty years before I became conscious about it during a session with my therapist.
I am a lecturer and I used to fall in a deep, black hole after each lecture – no matter if the lecture was excellent or terrible. I did not understand why, it hurt, but I continued to lecture: I simply loved … continue

My best worst case scenario

I arrived in Berlin in one of the coldest winters I ever experienced. One meter snow, no one in the streets. I decided to move to this city, where I knew no one but my friend Cami, because I had a job offer at the most exciting vegetarian gourmet restaurant in the world. But when I was about to start, the Chef told me the restaurant was not running good and he couldn’t give me the job for which I left everything behind.
Life has trained me to deal with worst case scenarios. From losing my father at the age of 11, losing my childhood, losing my house to losing … continue

Sometimes you have to leave to be able to come back

Sometimes you just know that you really HAVE TO do something. „I need to travel by myself, I cannot say for how long, I just know that I have to do this!“
Nothing could have stopped me.
I left my hometown Hamburg not knowing when I would come back. I gave up my job, my apartment and my relationship to travel to Australia. No strings attached. Ready for adventure and ready to find happiness.
After the first excitements of making new experiences and meet a lot of people I just felt miserable. What was I doing?
I had imagined to feel free as a bee but I had never felt … continue

The Most Important Lesson I Ever Learned

My Mother has the best moral compass of anyone I’ve ever met.
During my childhood I did a lot of foolish things which she was not too pleased about, however there’s sone occasion where she was more disappointed in me than she had ever been.
It was summer and friends stopped by to go out on a bike ride. Leaving the house my Mother said… “You can only go if you promise to wear your helmet” and not wanting to miss out on the fun, I duly agreed.
At that time, I naively and stupidly thought that wearing a helmet wasn’t the ‘cool thing to do’ and as we turned … continue

Go kiss your grandma on the cheek

I got a call Saturday morning that my grandmother only had a few hours to live. She was in Massachusetts. I was in California.
I didn’t make it back on time.

My wife, infant and I live an hour away from her assisted-living facility. Close enough where I could see her often-ish, but far enough away that, with a baby and a job and dogs and a house and yardwork and a million other trivial things that seem so inconsequential at the moment, it became too easy to make excuses to not make it down to see her as often I should’ve.
I can’t even recall the last time I … continue

Let’s bloom

The shape of the leaves was very similar to the smiling lips on an innocent face, the plant with pale green and ivory leaves arranged as if it were a human face; was my favorite on the window sill. But as life would have it, there are ups and downs, the only thing that works is to be consistent and positive. For a straight line on Electrocardiogram told me loud and clear, the person I loved the most is no longer my dearest dad but just a body.

The harsh winters took away all the leaves of my plant and all I could do was to look at it with … continue

Life is all about making choices

Sometimes a pat on the back is all I need, especially when I was about to leave the company after everything that I have given. People may focus on the terms: 6+ months. But in those months, I exerted outside of my comfort zone to deliver, even beyond what was expected of me. So I thought at least a short message before I left would do it, until I learnt that I wouldn’t get any. Not from the person I worked closest with: my direct report.
He even blew up the chance to say something in person the last time I met him.
Brokenhearted, I was. Not only this was … continue

Morning always comes

Nine years ago, my boyfriend and I decided to leave our crazy Parisian life for a great experience: sailing across the oceans at least for two years. The plan was clear: live slow and enjoy. In my mind it was obvious that if we could make it together twenty-four hours a day seven days a week on a ten feet monohull, we would spend our whole life together. The story will tell I was wrong.
Lesson 1: do not make plans.

I will not go through all the details of one of the greatest adventures of my life but in a few words: when we left Marseille (South of France) … continue

The Magic Journal

About 2 years ago, I received a gift from my brother who lives in Paris.
He never sends me anything, so that was a big deal.
It was an agenda. This one had dates on the left and on the right page it had a colouring section. You know, adult colouring was quite trendy back then.
To honour the precious gift, I started using the agenda to schedule my appointments and my crossfit classes. Pretty boring.
The colouring part frustrated me. I wanted to create, not to finish somebody else’s creation. But I didn’t want to give up the gift! I started covering the colouring page with collages and I … continue