Monthly Archives: March 2011

Es ist kalt!!!

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Please forgive me for being so delayed with my blog posts – I just never seem to get around to them as often as I’d like. But at least I’m doing it now 🙂

So some friends asked me to send them pictures of my ‘home office’ and some of my surroundings here in Berlin – and I thought I’d share them with my readers, just for interest’s sake.

This is my (now) neat desk. (I use the word ‘now’ because it took me about 2 hours to tidy it up…Mani isn’t really the world’s most organized person – and I’m on the complete opposite of that spectrum.)

And this here is the view outside my window – not much really, just a bunch of apartments – that’s pretty much what Berlin is all about – apartments, apartments, and more apartments. And some apartments.

And here’s pretty much more of the same….apartments. You can’t see it here, but in the middle of the pic there’s a kids’ play park – so thank goodness for windows that are relatively sound proof! 😀

This is the lounge – please note the washing on the balcony…yes…I did washing (and it wasn’t all mine…)

And here’s my very sad-looking Parsley plant *sigh* I honestly don’t know how to make it feel better. It’s given up all will to live. 😦

Ok and here’s a special pic that I took for my friend Lauren who thought it was funny that I was sitting at my desk wrapped in a blanket, with a Russian fur hat on my head. What can I say – I was born in Africa, where the sun bakes the earth…and now I’m in a country where the temperature is -5…I mean -5 – have you ever?!

So I’ve been pretty much work my arse off because I don’t have the regular monthly income that I’m used to, so any money that comes in is derived purely from how hard I’m working. But I decided, nonetheless, that I’d meet Mani for lunch, and we went to a lovely Asian restaurant called Lemon Grass Scent.

Lemon Grass Scent: Schwedter Str 12

 

I had theeeeeee most divine coconut milk soup with chicken, coriander and lemon grass. (Just thinking about it makes my tummy rumble). And Mani had some sort of stirfry-whatever kind of dish.

Coconut milk soup

Stirfry-whatever dish

I cannot describe to you how good it feels to actually be able to meet Mani and do something as simple as share lunch together – it makes me realise just how yucky long distance really was – and I’m so glad we’ve made it through that. Though..who knows what the future holds, the Long Distance Days may not be over yet 😦

Other than that, I’ve been making small personal victories that I’m very proud of. Something as simple as using the train system was a real problem for me – where I come from, our train system isn’t even half as intricate as the one here, so it’s taken a lot of getting used to and it’s veeeeeeery confusing. But Mani’s helped as much as he can and I’ve just forced myself to do it – taking the bull by the horns and what-not.

And yesterday I met up with a lady who could possibly offer me a job as an English teacher. The interview went pretty well and was quite positive, but the only setback is the Visa process and my prayer is simple – that I would find a company that’s willing to walk the Visa road with me – because it’s a rather windy, long road that requires patience and understanding.

Then it was off to Connect Group last night (Biblestudy) – and guess what…it was all in German!! Hahahahaha! Ok, ok…I was given the option to have things translated and some of it was, but I chose for it not to be because I really just have to immerse myself in the language – kind of like jumping into a swimming pool even though you know the water will be cold initially. So there I sat, listening to a talk about Redemption…in German…and I understood some of it 🙂 Yay for me!

But now it’s time for me to make supper – I’m exhausted – emotionally, mentally, physically – and any other sort of “ally” you can think of! All this change, even though it’s very exciting, takes a lot out of a person. Even just trying to talk to Mani’s flatmate isn’t easy – he’s Japanese and doesn’t understand a word of English. He left the apartment a few minutes ago but then returned and rang the doorbell…after opening up for him and us gesturing with our hands and faces, I understood that he’d put the wrong shoes on and had to change them. I just laughed, said “Aaaaah Schuhe!!” and proceeded to pretend I was busy with something in the lounge. 😀

Day 3.5

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Day 3.5 – what has Berlin offered me thus far? The answer is rather simple – sore feet and a frozen nose. Ok no, that’s not all, but those are the first two things that came to mind. It has been freeeeeezing (though people here would disagree with me – they’re all ready to shed their clothes for Spring whilst I huddle in a corner with chattering teeth). And my feet being sore – that’s because I’m not used to walking everywhere – back home I hop into my car, drive to where I need to be and then….if I need to walk….it’s usually just 10 – 20 minutes. No no…here in Berlin, using Chevrolegs is the way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for the exercise I’m getting, but my poor feet are busted, completely ruined – in fact, I’m not even sure I have feet left – if I couldn’t see them, I wouldn’t know whether or not they’re there because I’ve reached that part where the pain is so excruciating that they feel painfully numb – is that an oxymoron? Yes, I think it is.

But enough of the bad stuff. The good stuff far outweighs the yucky stuff. Firstly, it’s so nice to finally be able to be in the same physical space as Mani (for those of you who are confused, I’m going to use GH’s real name now….because I can! :)) Long distance has been a challenge and finally I feel like things are one step closer to ‘normal’ for us – not quite complete, no, because I’ll be heading back to South Africa in 3 months’ time and I have no idea if I’ll be allowed back in Berlin. Our relationship won’t have the chance to be ‘complete’ until the day I can say that I’m in Berlin to stay. *sigh* And the  more time I spend here, the more I realise how I just love this place and I want to experience all of it without the nagging knowledge in the back of my mind that my stay is limited.I cannot describe what this place does for my soul – it’s the small things that just make me smile and feel content. For instance, the first time I caught the train in the U-Bahn after landing here on Thursday – I realised how much I’d missed the smell of the U-Bahn and when it hit me, I felt so comfortable, so at home. Also meeting up with friends and making new ones, seeing the different cultures around me, experiencing the language – this has all made me happy – so I think to myself: How can it be then, when these make me feel so content and happy, that God wouldn’t want this for me and that He wouldn’t make a way for me to get here, regardless of the bureaucracy and other nonsense?

Only time will tell…

Airports create a lack of sleep!

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Oh my, indeed I’ve been a very bad blogger! No actually, it’s not entirely my fault – I attempted to post something on the night before I left for Berlin, but WordPress was down so I couldn’t.

Yes, so I made it to Berlin and no, the flight didn’t go well. All in all it took 32 hours to get here – from waking up in Cape Town at 5am to putting my feet on German soil (or the airport floor) at 13.56pm. I haaaaave arrived!

The transit in Doha was the worst for me – although I had the entire row to myself during the flight to Doha, I couldn’t sleep – even though it was my intention; so when I arrived in Doha 8 hours later, I was super tired. But unfortunately, all I had to look forward to was a brightly lit airport with no comfy chairs and 9 hours of waiting. I’d intended to read a little and do some of my German language homework, but I just couldn’t. The thought of trying to make words make sense just turned my brain to jelly. So there I sat, in the middle of Doha airport, staring at the endless throngs of people who passed by; sometimes staring at the same people over and over again as they walked past more than once. I tried to position my body in so many different ways on the uncomfy chairs, so that I could at least get come shut-eye, but all that resulted in was sore muscles and bones. Eventually, after about 4 hours of sitting, I fell asleep and then 12 minutes later the airport cleaning staff decided it was time to polish the floor with a stupid, loud machine. *sigh*

I cannot tell you how happy I was when eventually it was time for me to catch the flight to Berlin. By this stage I was so tired that even blinking while standing upright wasn’t possible – every time I blinked, my eyes threatened to remain closed. You know what it’s like – when you’re so tired that if you just happen to close your eyes for 0.01 of a second longer than normal, while blinking, you may just fall asleep.

When I got onto the plane, I positioned the little pillow, put my head down to sleep and then…two moms with 4 kids between them, sat in front of me. And none of the kids were happy. So there went another opportunity to snooze 😦 Even just thinking of these flights gives me a headache, or makes the one that I have now so much worse. Blegh. Let’s leave the flight stories, shall we? 🙂

Landing in Berlin was wonderful – I waited a few minutes for GH to collect me at the airport and I just cannot describe to you what it did for my heart and my soul when I saw him 😀 How is it possible for one person to have this effect on you!? It felt so good to be able to hold his hand and joke with him and to actually be able to see his face and his eyes!

On our way to his apartment, we collected a 30kg package from the post office…a dresser that he’d bought. And we had to drag it to his place…yes, after oodles of hours of travelling and no sleep, I had to help schlep a 30kg dresser to an apartment which just seemed way too far from the post office! But we did it – and I have a feeling it could’ve been more difficult, but GH’s clever thinking came in handy – we used my suitcase, which has wheels, as a trolley. Once we got to the apartment it was a matter of having to now get the dresser up a million flights of stairs – I’m sure that at this point GH was regretting staying on the top floor of an apartment block that has no elevator…..! But we got that sucker up, somehow, don’t ask me how 😀 Everything after that is a blur – I just remember taking a nap and then waking up in the morning. I’m telling you – sleep deprivation is something akin to a debilitating skin rash!

And today….I realised that, contrary to what GH said – it’s friggin freeeeeezing here in Berlin, so GH met me at Alexanderplatz and we went jacket hunting. Eventually he had to head back to work, but I carried on the search. And I finally found something that met my approval. 🙂

And here we have the TV Tower (or, more precisely, the ‘Fernsehturm‘). I snapped this shot whilst on my way to Alexanderplatz because I know that a few of my friends would be very displeased if I didn’t post a picture in my blog post 🙂 Happy?

A little more Compassion

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One lesson I learnt a long time ago was that people will always disappoint you – so I get a little annoyed with myself when it happens, and I’m surprised because it really shouldn’t surprise me at all. But not only will people always disappoint you, it’s the ones you open your heart up to who will hurt you the most.

Again – this is something that, intellectually I know, but realistically it still comes as a shock when it happens. The world these days is so full of ‘he said, she said,’ finding someone else to blame, seeking fault with someone or something else – why – because ‘surely I cannot be the problem!?’ Most times though, a thorough soul-search will shed a lot of light and you’ll realise that perhaps there really is no-one else to blame, and although everyone has a million faults that you can find, the truth is…so do you.

So many misunderstandings abound, purely because no-one has the courage to switch the spotlight on in their own lives. I think this is something that’s happened in my life recently – though I’m not 100% sure what exactly the issue is with the person concerned, it’s pretty obvious that there’s some sort of misunderstanding which can probably be explained within 2 minutes. But I don’t think it will ever be explained and all I can do is accept things the way they are – not because I don’t care enough to sort them out – but because I’m a little hurt and I don’t have the physical or emotional energy (2 days before I leave for Berlin!) to be dragged through the mud.

How would I have preferred this whole sticky situation to be handled – hmmmm, I guess I’d have thought I’m approachable enough and that the other person’s mature enough to come to me and be open about what’s bothering them; I’d have liked to know that our friendship and love for one another overcomes any ridiculous misunderstanding; I’d have liked to know that our belief system comes into play and that we base our ‘resolution’ of the situation on that belief system.

It’s disappointing; it’s sad; it’s unnecessary; it’s hurtful. It’s really not the way things are supposed to be.

The Next Step

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And so the next phase of my Bootytoberlin journey has begun. Wednesday was my last day as an onsite writer at my company – now I’m officially an offsite writer. The transition was a little odd. I woke up an hour later than normal yesterday and proceeded to work from my couch…but it just didn’t work…and I sold my desk over a year ago. So I ended up driving to my parents’ place to work from there, seeing as they have a proper table and chairs that I could use – it aint easy working from a couch!

And it’s been rather enjoyable – I think I actually got more work done than what I normally would. But that’s quite sad…the only reason I got more work done was because I wasn’t able to have a few chit-chats with my friends, share a cup of coffee or just talk nonsense to make the work day go by quicker.

Anyway, enough of this boring post – I just thought it necessary to provide an update. So consider yourself updated.

*Over and out*

A gentle reminder

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I really hope that one day the world will get to a point where it’s not uncommon for people to do or say kind things. I’m sometimes surprised at how shocked we are when someone does something nice – even something really simple – it should become commonplace…it should just be exactly what we do, day in and day out.

What got me thinking about this was how taken aback I was today when a friend from work created a picture just for me – to say good bye (since tomorrow’s my last day in the office before I head off to Germany). I wasn’t taken aback because my friend’s not a really great guy or because he doesn’t do nice things – I guess I just never expected to be the recipient of something that I never asked for or never traded something for. It was a gift – and it felt good – something made just for me 🙂 But these kinds of things make you remember your worth as a person – they remind you that even though you may not always think much of yourself (though really, you should!), there are people out there who consider you to be an awesome person, and you should learn to see yourself as they see you!

Thanks Row for pointing that out to me by being so generous! 😀

And here’s the pic – he knows I’m crazy about faeries and anything with a purple hue – which makes the pic all the more special!

This dude’s going to go far with his artwork – and I wish him all the very best for his artistic future!

GH and a simple melody

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I’ve been clearing things off my desk and computer at work – quite an odd process to be honest. It feels a little eerie removing things from this little cubicle that’s become ‘home’ for 8.5 hours a day over the last two years. But anyway, that’s for another post.

Whilst clearing things out, I stumbled across one of my favourite pictures of GH. Anyone who knows him will agree that this pic is just “so him”. And often when I look at it – once my heart has settled back into my chest (yes, GH has that effect on me) – I think to myself that this is how life should be – lying in the tall grass, at peace, listening to nature and a simple melody 🙂

– Risk –

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I was lucky enough to hear Pastor Paul Scanlon preach at Hillsong this past Sunday – he definitely has a way of stirring people in their seats as they listen intently to the message he delivers – a simple message really: basically, take some risks!

So there we go, another sermon that’s so applicable to my situation – so hard hitting – hitting me right between the eyes…more than once.

Essentially there’s not enough risk in the world – people move forward until they reach their ‘comfortable’ point and then they turn around and head back  in the opposite direction – the ‘safe’ direction. So they don’t progress, but rather, just remain rooted in one position. But how can we know it’s really that safe if we haven’t actually moved beyond that point to have a look at what’s on the other side?

I’ve been living a safe life up until now – constantly reaching the point of change but choosing (both consciously and subconsciously) to turn around and head back to what I know, what I’m familiar with – my safe haven. But not anymore – falling in love with GH pushed me beyond the point I normally avoid; it gave me the dertermination and courage to peek over the wall and attempt to see what could possibly be waiting for me on the other side. Did I see anything? – No. So do I know what’s on the other side? – No. Do I want to turn around and head back to my safe haven? – No. If I don’t push forward, I’ll be making what I believe to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life – even if things don’t work out the way I’d like them to, at least I’ll know I took a stand for my own life and embraced Risk.

“You can’t discover new oceans unless you have the courage to leave the shore.”

This is the only shore I’ve ever known – it’s familiar; it’s day in and day out; it’s year in and year out – and it could easily become the rest of my life – playing it safe, keeping it in the box, treading lightly – but I’m choosing to live differently; choosing to jump out of the plane with a parachute, not knowing whether or not it will work.

It’s taken 27 years to reach this point; to muster up the courage; to realise and accept that even if things don’t work out, it’s still Ok; and God brought this revelation to me in the most beautiful form possible – Love.