Check out my new blog!

Hi beautiful people,

my last few months have been filled with lots of ups and downs and I’ve been trying to find ways to enjoy my life again. I decided to “Call in the One” and started exploring more of Berlin and Europe. Well, and summer has come to Berlin, which has since vastly improved my mindset. There’s also a new guy in my life…

I started a new blog to document all these adventures and my soul searching journey. It would be hella great if you would check out my new domain and maybe hit follow!

 

https://sunshineandskyline.wordpress.com/

Thaaaaanks,

Ari

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Letter to Myself

Dear Me,

Hi – it’s… well, it’s you. I am you, the amazing you you want to be. I know right now is so hard. You keep questioning everything. Who you are, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there.

I know you miss him. I know you felt connected to him and are trying your best to hang on to that connection, even when two continents and an ocean lie between you. I know how you have guilt for feeling so deeply, for letting your guard down, getting your hopes up, while you never really knew what he felt for you.

I know you miss California and that this is a pain, an actual pain that you mask or suppress but never shake. I know you cringe inside every time you scroll through your Instagram feed and see pictures of your friends at a beach you used to hang out at. That a tiny picture of the Golden Gate Bridge in a board magazine can suck the life out of you. That you close your eyes whenever the plane touches down in London, Manchester, Glasgow or wherever your business travels take you these days, secretly hoping that you will miraculously see palm trees and sunshine when you look outside.

I know that, when you go to sleep at night, you’ll cry…uncontrollably some nights…softly others. You’ll toss and turn. And you’ll dream about it all– some will be dreams that will wake you up sad. Others will be nightmares and you’ll actually wake up happy, realizing what you’re dealing with now is better than what you dealt with in your sleep.

But, instead of letting those memories suffocate you, let them help you remember who you are and who you want to be. You will be that person again. You are (and will be) so kind, loving, open, fun and free. Right now I know it doesn’t seem possible and that’s okay. But trust that those pieces will come together again. It may take the time it takes to complete a 5.000 piece puzzle, but they will start to create an image you can visualize and it will all make sense again.

Until that day comes, however, try and be the best you can be every day. Do your favorite things. Find more good in your days than bad. When you’re back at base – and true to yourself – you’ll be extremely surprised at the great things that will happen to you…and the great people you’ll meet.

I know it’s hard to truly feel like you will get there. Be patient, love yourself, trust yourself, forgive yourself, be kind to yourself. Your time will come, and it’s so soon. Prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, physically. Be everything you picture yourself to be. It will manifest and it will be amazing.

Be the light you are. Share the gift you have been given and watch what unfolds. It’s worth it. And so are you.

Love,

You

 

Dear 2015: You Suck, I’m Moving On

Dear 2015: You have been the worst year of my life so far. I should have known that was going to be the case since you started with the death in the family of my, back then still, boyfriend. I was optimist enough to believe it could only go uphill from there. But, over the course of you, I have lost everything I have loved and let go of everything I had built for myself. Over the course of you, you have made me doubt myself in more ways and to more depths than any other year before you and there were few victories that did not come at a price.

Sure, you are the year I traveled to Hawaii, stood up on a surfboard for the first time and saw the magical fireworks show in Disneyland. You are the year I fought my fear of flying, saw my best friend twice and visited cities and states I never thought I would ever see. You are the year I got to enjoy countless breathtaking sunsets and dozens of beach walks. At your best, you are the year that made me realize, once again and this time for certain, what I want all years of my life to look like.

But you are also the year that leaves me with no certainty in any aspect of my life. You are the year that is making me start all over again. You are the year that has turned me into the ghost of a girl that I want to be most, to the shell of a girl that I used to know well… Heck, now you are even the year that makes me quote Christina Perri lyrics! You leave me incredibly scared of the future and pessimistic that things are going to get better. You leave me stranded, insecure and feeling like an idiot.

You might be the year I will look back at some day as the one that taught me the meaning of fighting, of not giving up, of growing. As the year that will pinpoint a remarkable change for the better, a year that will impact the rest of my life in hauntingly beautiful ways that I can’t even see from where I stand right now. But, until then, forgive me for hating you, for despising you and for impatiently waiting for you to be over. 2015, you suck, I’m moving on!

“But isn’t that awfully little money?”

Just in case you have never been in this situation, let me tell you: Discussing your career and lifestyle choices with the older generation is not fun. But I’m sure you knew that already.

Most of the time I feel pretty grown-up. I have a job. I can afford rent, food and clothing (okay, barely, but I can), I have a long-term partner, I get excited about kitchen appliances and I know how to do my taxes. I even have a re-usable shopping bag that can be folded into a tiny bag and hooked onto my key-chain. Okay, I don’t carry it on my key-chain… it hasn’t come that far. The point is, most days, I know how to adult, and I feel accordingly capable.

Nothing destroys that confidence faster than talking to, say, my mother’s friends. So, dear “older generation”, here’s a few questions that I would really like to never answer again, ever. In the future, please do me a favor and just refer to this article.

“But if you’re still studying, isn’t it going to take a long time before you have a career?”

Yes. Or actually: Yes, it is going to take a long time for me to finish my studies. Yes, I knew that when I decided to go back to school at 25. Yes, I have thought it through. Also, why exactly are you assuming I want or need a “career” in the classical sense? I mean, maybe I want one, but could you just ask before you assume?

On second thought, maybe don’t. I guess assuming is fine.

“Wouldn’t you rather have a secure job and start earning money?”

Ughhhh. Of couse I’d rather be rich. But no, I wouldn’t rather sell my soul to some corporation for a so-called “secure job” that is secure exactly until the next financial crisis, and in the meantime will suck every bit of joy from my life. I have a job. I am earning money. It’s part time, so it’s not a ton of money, because I have my studies as well, but I am independent. Hello. As long as I’m not asking you for loans, please don’t tell me how much money I should be making, or how you think being as poor as me is, like, the worst thing that can happen to a person. Or how you had that great corporate job at 25. The world is different today, okay? And I want to be happy. With my job, not just when I get to go home. It’s a core value of this generation – more so than money for a lot of us. So please take me seriously and don’t assume that I’m lazy, have no perspective and / or will always be as “poor” as I am now.

“Isn’t your apartment very small for two people?”

Yes, it is small. No, it is not too small. We could have had a bigger apartment, but we chose to prioritize location over size. And no, in this or a comparable location we definitely wouldn’t be able to afford the 70+ square meters that you think are appropriate for two people. Also: Who needs that much space? You’re just going to fill it with stuff. Since we moved, I have thrown out more stuff than I have brought in. And I still want to throw out more. Because the truth is, you don’t need a lot of the stuff. It becomes a burden. If anything, I’d really like to learn to live with much less stuff than I do right now. And I really, honestly, want that more than I want a bigger place.

“So, what is your career plan then, for after your studies?”

Okay, so you’ve accepted I want to finish my studies and you’ve grudgingly also accepted the fact that I will need until I’m about thirty to do so. You’re willing to entertain the idea that someone might be happy in a small city apartment with a master’s degree in something she really loves, ready to hit the working world full-time at thirty, finally, rather than being settled in the suburbs with two kids and a car by that age. Now you want to know what my plan is?

Well, see. That’s five years from now. I’ve thought this through, I promise. I have ideas, I have several plans, and I’m excited to see which one it will be. But I am really not ready to tell you exactly what is going to happen in my life five years from now. And to be honest, yes, that’s kind of terrifying, but you know what would be worse? If I really already knew everything.

Voltaire is with me on this, so I must be right:

“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”

Lost and Found

Lately, when people ask me how I am doing, I have been telling them that I am feeling very lost. With my US visa about to expire and my imminent departure from San Francisco approaching faster and faster, I have gone back and forth between ignoring my life and falling into sheer panic whenever I don’t. Everything I love is here. Everything I want is here. I belong here. And in a fair world I wouldn’t have to leave. I felt defeated and that’s not a good thing to feel.

When we lose ourselves, what we really mean is that we’ve lost our way. We’ve lost our direction, our end goal, our carefully charted course that we once found ourselves barreling down. We’ve lost the drive we used to use to propel us. We’ve lost the vision we once used to light the way ahead. We feel lost when what we had dreamed our life to be like falls through and it is beyond our influence to fix it.

But here’s the truth about being lost – we’re only ever as lost as we are in denial. When we don’t want the past to be over and the future looks too daunting to touch, we call it lost. When we’re barreling forwards at a thousand miles an hour but gazing determinately out the rearview mirror, we call it lost. When what’s been is so painfully appealing compared to what is coming up next, we call it lost. Because we’d rather be lost than be found in this new, uncomfortable place. And so we bury our coordinates. We toss away our compasses. And we declare ourselves citizens of no-mans-land.

The truth about being lost is that we choose it when we just aren’t ready to be found yet.

When you’re lost, you find yourself in every step you take towards gaining back control of your life. By stopping the cycle of passivity and replacing it with one of autonomy. You find your new self in each small choice you make, each risk you take, each opportunity that you fail to pass up, even if it ends up being a flop. You find yourself by re-creating yourself into the kind of person who is ready to take on what’s next.

Because the truth is, we can’t ever truly lose ourselves, because all ‘losing ourselves’ means is that we’re choosing a story that ended over the one that is still going on. It means we’re gazing in the wrong direction and calling our disorientation lost.

Getting found, by definition, is the simple act of recognizing where you are.  You simply have to recognize that you’re somewhere new now. Somewhere different and challenging and less than ideal, maybe. But there you are. And to find yourself somewhere new, you simply need to start walking.

You’ll find yourself in wherever you end up.

You’ll find yourself in any place where you go with your whole heart.

So, game mode is on. I’m fighting back. It sucks that other people decide that I can’t stay in the place I am so happy in, surrounded by the people that make me happy. It has been driving me mad. But here I am. Moving to Berlin to help my current employer expand to Europe. And working my ass off to come back next year. California is where I belong and heck, I won’t let anything get in the way off that. Well, at least nothing within my power. Now excuse me, I am taking back my life…

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Trust that everything will be okay.

There will, inevitably, be times when life will throw us curve balls before we’re ready to hit them.

There will be times where we feel so happy – or comfortably content- with our lives that we wouldn’t want to change a thing. But life wouldn’t be life if it didn’t throw you that curve ball every once in a while and suddenly everything needs to change. Perhaps the most challenging time of all will be the chasm that exists between these chapters in your life. When we have to walk away before we’re ready. When we have to leave what we want and what we love in the past.

Up till this point, I had always been ready for the next chapter. I could always acknowledge the memories made but would look forward to making more, different memories in the future. I had never been in a situation like this before, where I need to walk away from what I love before I’m ready to. Every fibre of my being understood that my visa will expire in September and there is nothing I could do about it. Every rational part of me knew that my situation wasn’t even all that bad: The company I enjoy working for wants to keep me employed and relocate me to Europe once my visa expires. And, since they don’t have an office established there, I could move anywhere in Western Europe as long as I have a working phone and internet connection. And yet, I’ve been spending the last 4 months either ignoring all that or trying to find a miraculous loophole or shortcut that would allow me to have it all. I wanted to linger.

But lately, I have been trying my best to return to my old self. The self that is adventurous and positive and happy no matter the place or the situation. In moments of transitions, you have to believe that there are so, so many better things coming than any of the things we have left in the past. You have to have faith in the future, in the unknown, in the tomorrows and somedays that will line up in ways you can’t possibly imagine from where you’re standing now. You have to have faith in yourself – faith that you will get yourself to where you want to go, even if you’re not entirely certain where that is yet. Faith in your future self to figure out if she wants to move to Berlin or London or Lisbon or Paris or Amsterdam or…

Yes, California has made me indescribably happy and I will leave a big piece of my heart in San Francisco. But before moving to this city, before making it home and becoming this incredibly happy here, all I had wanted was to stay in my protected bubble of friends and family, rainy German days and not push myself out of my comfort zone. I guess I sometimes forget that, just because the scene in the rear view mirror looks nicer than the scene on the road ahead, doesn’t mean you’ll never reach another beautiful destination.

It’s rare and it’s wonderful to ever find a place or a person or a certain situation that makes you want to linger for longer. When happiness hits us, we all want to cling to it as tightly and as mercilessly as possible. We want to capture it and hold it between our palms forever – not realizing that we have to let it go for it to mean anything at all.

I thing that, when we have to leave the things we love behind, we are allowed to mourn them. To miss them. To look back on them dejectedly and sadly. But we must never, ever forget that the best days of our lives are not all behind us. That there are more wonderful things awaiting us in the future than we could ever even fathom. That so many of our happiest days are still ahead. And that we have to keep moving to get there – no matter how tempting that view in that rear view mirror is. And in order to get there, we have to blindly and blissfully trust that it’s going to be somewhere indescribably worth going.

Oh San Francisco, how I will miss you

I will miss your rolling hills, in which the city is safely embedded. No matter how often your inclinations may have annoyed me, my upper thighs have never been fitter. If I can walk up Lombard Street, I can walk up any street in the world!

I will miss your beaches, your foggy, never-warm-enough-to-wear-a-bikini-at-beaches. I will miss sitting at Baker Beach, looking out at Marin and the bridge, searching for dolphins in the shallow waters and knowing that this place is all I need to be happy.

Speaking of which, I will miss the Marin Headlands. I will miss the hiking trails and waterfalls. I will miss Mt Tam and its majestic views. I will miss Stinson Beach and the Parkside Café, especially the brunch options there. I will miss the liberating feeling of being so close to nature and so far away from everything while, really, it’s only an hour bike ride from downtown San Francisco.

I will even miss the downtown area. I will miss the unique ringing of the F trains, when they turn corners. I will miss shopping at the farmers market at the ferry building and counting the pride flags in the Castro. I will miss all the restaurants in the Haight and North Beach and every restaurant in between. I will miss getting tanned in Dolores Park and standing in line for BiRite ice-cream.

I will miss being able to be weird without being perceived as such. I will miss walking around with flowers in my hair and long hippie skirts and I will never stop dressing in layers. Because that’s what you do, when you’re from San Francisco.

I will miss Karl the Fog. I love living in a city where the fog not only has a name, but also its own Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account. I will miss watching it roll into the city, devour the bridges and the hills and the ocean. I will miss being annoyed at how it suddenly got 10 degrees colder.

I will miss the sunshine too. Because we do have sun from September till April and it’s awesome. Even after two years of living in California, I have never once taken a day of sunshine for granted. I have never once stepped outside and gotten bored by the fact that it is – once again- sunny. I have never once passed by palm trees without sending a silent prayer to whomever for getting me to this magical place that is called the Golden State. I have never once doubted that I was the luckiest girl on earth for being where I was.

I will miss the Mission, my Whole Foods in Ingleside, the lake I run around, the beach that’s close by, my office on Market; heck, I might even miss my weird Muni encounters occasionally. I will miss Land’s End hikes and whale watching and going surfing. I will miss being only 5 hours away from Malibu, Yosemite, San Diego, or Hawaii.

I can’t believe that I only have 2 more months left in San Francisco. I can’t imagine that there will ever be another city I will feel so at home at. San Francisco is home. More so than Wismar, Bremen or New York ever were. And I am so sad to leave home.

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