I haven’t written anything in a long time and a lot has happened since.
2019 was the year for big changes for me. In October 2019 I got re-married in Gretna Green. In November 2019 we moved to Germany. The transition wasn’t as easy as expected, but that is a story for another day.
After several job failures, I am now settled in a secondary school, teaching English and I love it. I thought I had given up on teaching, but I have to say I found my love again for the job and it is very rewarding.
The reason why I decided to start this website/blog again, is all my friend Georgina‘s fault 🙂 Teaching is quite demanding and those of you that are teachers know: A teachers work is never done. There is always something that comes up, or needs doing. Always the next lesson to plan, or essay to mark. I needed to regain some personal creative space and that’s why I decided to start blogging again. I need to flex my writing muscles and I will take you on this journey with me (if you want to).
It‘s nice to be back and I already have a few ideas for future blogs and writing ideas. So watch this space.
This book was recommended to me by two people. By a friend who knows I’m writing a book about my life in the UK, and by my tutor. I finished it at the weekend and here is what I thought off it.
Sedaris starts off by telling the reader about his childhood and having speech therapy as he had trouble pronouncing certain letters. He describes in vivid detail what it felt like to be an outsider because he had to receive speech therapy and how he learned to adapt by using a whole different set of words that did not start with the letter ‘S’.
He talks about his drug abuse and his early years of being an artist. He briefly touches on the subject of discovering he was gay.
Sedaris then moves on about telling us about his move from New York to France and his journey on becoming a fluent French speaker, which is of course not easy at all.
The book made me laugh out loud at times and grinch in other places. I could identify myself with certain aspects of what it is like to live in another country and trying to master a foreign language. Particularly funny were the situations were he got a word wrong and everybody looked at him in a weird way.
As I was reading the book not for pleasure but for my studies I had to analyse certain parts very carefully. I found then book was lacking warmth. David Sedaris comes across as quite cynical. I was also wondering about how much he used exaggeration to achieve humour and how much he had to bend the truth in order to achieve that.
On reading more about it online I found that his book is used as some sort of bench mark in memoir/personal essay writing. It is definitely worth a read and it will make you laugh and `I have learned a lot from it in order to improve my own writing, although it may not be my style of writing.
I downloaded this book on audible as it was recommended to me. I managed to listen to it all within three days as it is such a great book. Because I am writing a non-fiction novel myself I ordered a hard copy as well, just so I can re-read the parts that touched me the most. Elizabeth Day describes with much honesty what some women have to go through to have a baby. She describes with much clarity what it is like to have fertility treatment. The bit that brought tears to my eyes was when she described her miscarriage. The rawness of the awful event and the emotions are captured in such a relatable way. The book talks about failure of friendships, relationships, jobs, a marriage and education.
In the beginning of the book she also talks about her time in Ireland and what it was like to be a foreigner, although they speak the same language. How she was an outsider because she spoke with a perfect English accent. I could really related to parts of the book. Day also talks about her career as a writer, first a journalist and later a writer of several novels. It made me realise that if you really want something in life you have to work on it and be dedicated. She wrote her first novel whilst she was still doing another full time job. As a writer I could really relate to that and it made me realise that I have to put more hours into my writing. Elizabeth Day is an inspiring women and this book teaches everybody, that in order to succeed one needs to fail. I can highly recommend this book.
This little fellow came really close yesterday and let me take this amazing picture. People say that when robins appear loved ones are near. I’d like to think that it was my dad sending me a comforting message from heaven. The 6th anniversary of his death was on the 26th June. This date happened to coincide with my visit to Germany. I went to the cemetery that day to put a sunflower on his grave. I do miss him. He was always very calm and collected and despite being 41 years old I could still do with his advice every now and again.
I am in Germany at the moment visiting friends and family. We were talking today and my friends mum gave me a worry monster. You write your worries on a piece of paper and put it in its mouth and the monster eats your worries right up.
I was very touched by this present. My friends mum said that I am such a worrier and my head spins in circles sometimes, so she thought that this little guy would be just right for me.
It is very true that I worry a lot. I mentioned before that I am an over thinker. I try to have every eventually worked out beforehand. I have however learned lately that making plans too far in advance is pointless as destiny puts you wherever you are meant to be. I hope however that the worry monster will help me with some other stuff that is eating up my brain. I’ll keep you posted.
Today I met this lovely elderly lady. She is 92 and still going strong. She told me that her husband died 4 months ago and that she misses him a lot. My heart really went out to her. That lady had such a warm glow to her. She told me they had no kids but that they traveled the world together.
I could have listened to her for hours. The way she talked about her life was so engaging. At the end she stroked my hair, like my nan used to do. This brought a tear to my eye.
In my previous post I wrote about unexpected kindness and today was such a moment. I felt quite low and tired and this lady brought a little bit of sunshine back into my life.
There have been a few time lately that people have been very kind to me and I noticed that I found it very difficult to accept it. Today a surprise parcel arrived in the post. My best friend from Germany had send me a yellow handbag. It is a very special bag as it is produced by a company called ‘Zwei’ and it is a bag that is not available on the market anymore. It can’t be bought anywhere. The model and the colour have been discontinued. For weeks I had been searching online, if maybe, on the off chance there would be one available anywhere in the world. my search was unsuccessful.
My friend lives in Weiterstadt where the bags are actually made and there is an outlet store. Every trip to Germany we go there. The lady that works there is called Funda. We have a chat and a chinwag every time I’m there. She has a Turkish family background and we often talked about what it is like to live abroad. My friend told Funday’s about my unsuccessful search of the bag. She said that she had one at home and it is hardly used. The next day my friend went to the shop. I was prepared to pay almost anything for this rare bag, but Funda said it was a present. She wanted nothing for it.
When the bag arrived in the post today my friend told me this story and I actually started crying. I was so touched by this gesture. Somebody doing something for me without wanting anything in return. It is so rare nowadays.
My life has turned by 360 degrees in the past year and I have noticed that I am truly happy. This happiness reflects in my own manor towards people. When I go to work and people hug me or say ‘Oh I love her’. I have noticed that when I’m happy the world reflects that back to me. My aim was never to be the most popular person at work, or even to be liked, it just happened. My environment reflected back at me what I’m giving out. It is a great feeling and gives me a real boost. The same is to be said for my relationship. My partner supported me in realising my dream and I’m supporting him with his goals in life. He is a very happy go lucky guy. This sounds really cheesy now, but our relationship is very happy. We talk about things without getting cross. We make plans together and have ‘adventures’ (days out). All this has really turned my life around and I feel I am just beginning to get my shine back.
Lately the pressure of assignments and deadlines had got the better of me, so my friend and I decided to have a day out. And what better place to chose for two aspiring writers than the home of Jane Austen were she produced some of her best known work. She had lived in the village of Chawton near Winchester from 1809 to 1817. When her health declined she moved to Winchester to be closer to her doctor, where she later died. It was a really great experience to see where she wrote and what her daily life must have looked like. The small round table in the picture above was the table she wrote on nearly every morning. She wrote with a quill and ink. in one of the rooms of the house there was table with ink and paper for visitors to try out what it feels like to write with a quill. My friend and I came to the realisation that we are very lucky to be able to write on a laptop nowadays. Writing whole books with a quill must have been incredibly laborious and strenuous on the wrist. I tried to write a few lines but I found that I was used to write certain letters in a certain way. For example the lower ‘e’ was really hard to form with the quill. I can also see that writing in such a way was time consuming. I can only imagine that Jane Austen must have thought very carefully about which words to put down on the page. Each sentence crafted very carefully. No ink wasted.
It is so easy today to just write things, ideas down and then later erase them or move them around or delete them. especially in emails we often write something in haste and don’t really chose our words carefully. and then we just press send and more often than not it leads to upset or misunderstanding. WhatsApp or snapchat are even worst. Words and sentences are written in a hurry to get a point across fast. Writers are often called wordsmiths. I like that. I think of a silversmith and how carefully they make jewellery and a wordsmith constructs sentences or even whole books in a very careful manor. I am guilty of writing things down in a hurry and sending a quick email here and there or a quick snappy WhatsApp message. Writing with a quill has reminded me to take time with writing. Think carefully about what I want to actually say and which words to chose. I forgot who said that words can be mightier than a sword, but he was right.
She writes that finding joy in your life is quite difficult and even if we do, that feeling of joy does not last very long. in the second paragraph she mentions how much pleasure and joy she gets from food. Even a little pineapple popsicle gives her great joy for a few minutes. I could really relate to that. Two years ago I went on the “a hundred days of happiness challenge. Every day I had to post a picture of something that made me happy that day on a social media website. After a while I noticed that most days my picture contained food. I once wrote a whole poem about how much I love coffee and cake. I thought about that a while ago, when I put myself through a really strict diet of shakes and bars. Why does food give me such joy?
Yesterday I had to go to my GP for my over 40 health check. This check up is to determine the risk of getting a cardio vascular decease. The GP weight and measured me, took blood and checked my pulse and blood pressure. at the end my result was 0.5%. Now that is great isn’t it? But she got really hang up on me being overweight. I have a really healthy cholesterol level, I don’t smoke and only very rarely drink alcohol. She also said that out of all the health checks she did that day I was by far the healthiest, yet all that wasn’t good enough she advised me to go on a diet. I guess she had to, as my BMI was not in the healthy zone.
Two weeks ago I had dinner with a friend of mine. She also has issues with her weight and knows she needs to do something about it. We had a long chat and she said that if she took food away at the moment she would deny herself the only pleasure in life she has left. While food is not the only pleasure I have in my live, I could still understand what she meant. Now this is a whole different can of worms when one uses food as an emotional pick up and I won’t go to deep into it with this blog post.
Of course people also derive joy from plenty of other things, as do I, but the article really made me think about food in particular. Thank you for reading.
Due to a family bereavement I am staying with my mum in Germany. Yesterday afternoon we visited the local salt grotto. I had never been to one before.
Here is a description of what a salt grotto is. I copied the text from their website:
A visit to the salt cave strengthens the immune system, prevents diseases and puts you in a comfortable state of relaxation.
Rest on comfortable loungers at comfortable temperatures without changing your clothes. Insulated light and gentle sounds invite you to relax. Enjoy the smoothing atmosphere and absorb precious minerals and trace elements with each breath. Your whole organism can easily relax from the stress of everyday life.
A session last 45 minutes. You are lying or sitting in a reclining chair and cover yourself up in a very snug blanket. You can really feel the salt in the air on your lungs. For extra energy you can hold two metal handles in each hand. I am finding it hard to relax, so I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing. Soon my whole body was tingling. The time passed very quickly. Afterwards I felt great. I have had a bad back for ages and I felt good. No pain and really relaxed.
Each blanket had a spiral on it as well. This spiral is a Celtic symbol. Here is the explanation from their website:
The spiral is an ancient and mysterious symbol of the Celts. Their importance is not fully understood and will certainly remain a myth. It is assumed that the spiral symbolizes the journey from the inner life to the outer soul. This outer soul includes the own way of the knowledge, as well as the way to higher mental forms. The spiral is therefore the epitome of growth, development and energy.
In the Salt Cave in Gießen you can try on our DAGREWA cuddly blanket. Feel the cosmic energy for your body.
The dark side is for warmth and the light side for cold, depending on what your body needs energy wise.