The Parentchute

Phil from Modern Family once noted in his “Phil’s-osophy”: “Never be afraid to reach for the stars, because even if you fall, you’ll always be wearing a Parentchute.”

Nobody’s perfect but the great thing is, that you learn from your parents mistakes. So, although my parents didn’t do everything right, I learned even from their downfalls. Hence, here are some reasons why my parents provided me with the best parentchute I could have asked for:

1.) My moms’ OCD taught me from early onwards the values of cleanliness and efficiency. Thanks to that, no roommate would have to complain about the state of my space ever. (You’re welcome, Judith)

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2.) My dad was a firm believer of my natural interest in sciences. On every single vacation, he took me to the local science museums. I loved those father-daughter moments so much, that I would never have told him the truth- I hated science. But thanks to that, I got excellent in faking interest in something (You’re welcome all you teachers in your early-morning-classes).

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3.) My parents’ past (having grown up in communist Eastern-Germany and then having to adjust to a free market economy after Hasselhoff teared the Berlin Wall down) imprinted one rule into their brains: Good school grades= good future. I wouldn’t dare bringing a D home, so instead, I graduated as Valedictorian (You’re welcome parents).

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4.) My moms’ passion for Ballet led to me dancing for over 10 years. Lessons learned: I hate Ballet (You’re welcome tho, flexibility).

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5.) My moms’ confidence in her driving skills shaped my life goal: Move to a big city where I would never need a car ever. Some things just run in the family, no sense in fighting that.

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6.) My families’ fearlessness of spiders taught me that there will always be someone in my life to remove them from my room, so its OK to be scared.

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7.) My moms’ abstract concept of time (“Just five minutes, I gotta tell you about the neighbours’ daughter (… 30 mins later…) and then she picked up the apple and I told her to eat the apple but then she put the apple down and oh, she’s such a cutie, I wish I had grandchildren (…20 mins down the road…) but its ok, finish your masters but I’m telling you, that girl’s a cutie)
taught me to ignore phone calls without feeling guilty about it.

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8.) My parents’ love for a quite, provincial life increased my urge to live differently (been to NYC, goin to SF…see what I’m doing there?)

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9.) My fathers’ trust in my tolerance level allowed me to watch Stephen King’s IT with the age of 13. Clowns are awesome…said no one EVER!

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10.) My moms’ admonishing words that any girl should be able to handle the kitchen taught me the importance of knowing how to defrost and prepare microwave food.

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My parents sure had their fair share in me turning into this fun-filled triple-crazy popsicle that I am but I am thankful for everything they did and still do. When I still lived at home, they were the ones pushing me out the door to go clubbing with friends instead of growing gray hair over homework. They are constantly telling me how proud they are of my achievements, they support my dreams, confirm most of my decisions and make me question a few others. Sure, sometimes they annoy the heck out of me and I wanna shoot either them or myself to the moon to get light years between us. Most of the time though, I am touched by their love and confidence. I know how hard it is for them to let me go to “this big country with the tall buildings and the strange language” (they didn’t say that but I know that’s what my mom’s thinking of the States) and I endlessly appreciate that they not only let me go but support me along the way as much as possible. They might hate the thought of losing me to the US but they also know that it makes me happy. And I know that, should the States and I not work out (which we totally will of course), I will always be able to open the Parentchute and return to a loving home with home-cooked meals and free laundry service. So, here’s to my parents, I wish they spoke English πŸ™‚

Go hug your parents guys or write them a nice Email or bake them a cake.
Cheers!

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“Heeeey, you. Sorry, I’m a bit late. I’m one of the presenters in the afternoon panel and my name is Soandso.”

“No worries, let me get your name tag and welcome package.”

“So… you work here?”

“Yes.”

“Mhm… so, what do you do… I guess you helped a bit with the organisation of this thing?”

“…”

The right job for me?

So, I’ve actually been back on this beautiful campus that I just left earlier this month with a diploma in one hand and my teddybear Aristotle Panda, a goodbye present from my friends, in the other. (Okay, and a car packed to the roof… I really mean it, chock-full of stuff, I spent the car ride holding a plant on my lap and arranging my feet in between a guitar and a box that I’m pretty sure contained about 30 bottles of nailpolish.)

But never mind the tetris-like arrangement of stuff in the car… I wanted to talk about something else. I wanted to talk about coming back to help organize a conference. And by that, I pretty much mean, sending a ton of emails. Event management can be summed up in two words – “many emails”. I don’t want to offend any event managers reading our blog, so here is a disclaimer: It’s not easy. It’s not a lazy-person job. All these emails that you send – you have to make pretty darn sure you don’t delete the important ones, don’t forget to respond to the urgent ones, CC the people who will otherwise be confused and/or upset at being left out of decisions, and of course, you have to keep track of EVERYTHING.

A conference doesn’t just need people attending and people talking. It needs coffee breaks, cold drinks, accommodation, schedules, dinner catering, changed opening hours for the cafeteria, travel cost requests and reimbursements, conference fees, participation confirmations, flight bookings, emergency numbers, bedsheets, towels, soap, a welcome desk, a chair and table for said welcome desk, glasses, water, wine, beer, more coffee (this time for the organizer), and the list goes on and on and on.

Truth be told, I like most of it. I like being a head organizer. I like that this conference is something I created. I like knowing that people will have a vegetarian option at dinner because I requested it, and that they will have Internet vouchers because I thought of them in time, and that they will have a campus map with colourful dots on it that will make their lives so much easier. You know when you go to an event and you feel that you’re not being given sufficient information? Everything might be organized perfectly but you feel lost because nobody told you where to go. I like thinking that this will not happen because I created a guide to put in the welcome package which will tell people how to use the Internet vouchers and where (and when) they can get food.

So don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s not fun. But despite the fact that I feel I’m doing a really good job so far, I am also pretty convinced that this is not the right job for me. I’m not planning on pursuing it, anyways, this conference is the last big task of a student job I have held since October. But you know how people tend to tell you if you’re talented in an area, that is probably the work you should pursue?

I disagree. And you know why? Because I’m good at event management, but I’m not passionate about it. And I still believe that there’s that one thing out there that will excite me for the rest of my life. That one thing that will make me want to jump out of bed at some crazy early hour because I can’t wait to go to work. I know it’s in the creative direction, and I have a suspicion that it has something to do with branding, brand identity creation, brand design – both the strategic and the graphic/creative part of that field. I wrote my Bachelor’s thesis on this subject and I will start an internship in this field soon, so we’ll see if my suspicion was right. In the meantime, dear readers, I see a lot more post-graduation-confusion coming my way, and therefore your way… it’s good to know that our stories seem to be entertaining you guys, and by the way, can we say a big THANK YOU to our now over 20 followers… we know it’s a tiny number in the blogosphere, but it is hugely exciting to us that there are twenty complete strangers who like reading our ramblings. We’re not going anywhere – stay tuned! πŸ™‚

Forever Young

Today, for a random reason, I stopped by my old kindergarten and talked to the teachers for a bit. Naturally, that would make me reminisce and dwell in the past. I came to the realization, that my childhood was pretty awesome. Here is why:

1.) We grew up in an AWESOME neighborhood that was very child-friendly, full of wild-life adventures (or at least we perceived the near-by park as such) kids my age. My two best friends from then are still in my life- for now 17 years!

2.) The OCEAN. Growing up in a city by the baltic coast with ocean view from my room (if you lean far out of the window and crane your neck), made my childhood inevitably closely connected to the beach. We had the wild beaches 2 minutes away from the house, where we would go skinny-dipping in summer and ice-skating in winter, camping in spring and exploring in autumn.
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3.) Said Ocean carries irreplaceable memories: My first adrenalin kicks I got from standing on a bridge and fighting my fear of heights by jumping down into the water.
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The first time I slept outside without tens or mats, just me, my friends and the star-spangled sky on that beach:
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The go-to place for first dates:
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4.) I played with Barbie dolls- a LOT. And for a long time. When I turned 14 and still wouldn’t make any attempts of growing out of that phase, my parents subtly adviced me to think about hiding that stuff a little more, at least the barbie house and the stalls (yes, I had horse stalls. And horses. And a carriage. And a car, a house and what felt like 30 barbies. Awesome times). I did as told but still secretly played with that stuff until I was 16. In fact, the other day, my cousin and I digged up our entire Barbie collection. Barbie, we love you. Don’t listen to those people saying that your proportions are life-disabling. Haters gonna hate.
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5.) We actually went outside to play. I knew how to climb trees (trust me, I was the tree-climbing KING yo!). Today, I had a splinter in my finger and my younger brother asked me what that was. That’s when I realized, that the youth of today has no sense for reality!

6.) Our cartoons were cooler. What better is out there than the Lion King?! Huh? Huh? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

7.) Two words: Tamagotchis and Furbies. I wanted both so so badly. What I got, was another Barbie. And Polly Pocket

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8.) My valuable painting skills were awoken through Disney coloring books (I would throw them away after havingΒ  exhausting myself colouring the princesses’ dresses) and deepened through this handy-dandy tool:
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9.) This goes mostly to the Germans: Ever acted out the “Vogelhochzeit” in kindergarten? πŸ™‚
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10.) Apart from Pokemon, Digimon, Dragonball Z and Heidi, this holds true for my childhood as well:
images(because first thing I’ll do in San Francisco is finding the houses shown in the Full House Intro)

There are so many more things coming into my head right now but this post isn’t supposed to go on forever. Bottomline is: I had a really happy childhood, I was encouraged to use imagination, to be outside, to be around other kids as much as possible. And today, I was reminded that that’s something to be very thankful for and not to be taken for granted.

Cheers and go play πŸ˜‰

Closed To Hunting

It’s this time of year again- I have to go to the U.S. consulate for a visa interview. And while, last year, that seemed like the greatest burden to overcome en route to NYC, it definitely isn’t the biggest challenge this year. No. This year, the most difficult of all tasks is *click link before reading the rest of the sentence*Β  … finding an apartment in SAN FRANCISCO.

It’s not like people hadn’t warned me. “The living costs there are quite high, higher than in the rest of the US” “She can try to find something on craigslist but she really needs a good amount of luck” “An apartment? In San Francisco? For $1000 a month? Pfff, good luck gal!”, those and similar reactions were answers to my questions. To share my misery with you, here is some stuff I have learned throughout the past half a year that I have been searching for accommodation:

1.) San Francisco City has a vacancy rate of 3% on average. Henceforth, there are the extremely expensive neighborhoods where a decent apartment can easily cost up to $6000/month. Like…a studio kind of apartment. 6000 dollar. A month.
2.) The alternative to the extremely expensive neighborhoods are the pretty expensive neighborhoods. They hide secret treasures- places with more than one room for roughly $3500/month. What you pay on top of it though is less safety and more fog. Apparently.
3.)I know Craigslist is supposed to be helpful- sometimes. I’ve send off what felt like 200 replies to listings only to get 3 (!) answers back, one of them being like “Dunno if the area isn’t too shady for girls”, another one telling me to come by if I want to look at it (Blatantly ignoring my explicit remark that I won’t be coming over from Germany before mid-August earliest) and the third telling me that the apartment is gone.
4.) You need luck. And you gotta be fast.
5.) Find roommates and potentially say good-bye to the idea of having your own room. Or having a door for the so-called- bedroom (cause sometimes, living rooms just have to be turned into bedrooms, shit happens).
6.) You need furniture but think about that later. Worst case, you take a sleeping bag as a bed and a cardboard box as a table. Again, shit happens, you are on student loans, what do you expect?!
7.) After you’ve gotten over the fact that 3/4 of your monthly allowance will be spent on rent, consider nutrition and seriously ask yourself the question: “How bad would it be for my body if I lived of water and bread for a year?”
8.) After 4 months of unsuccessfully skimming craigslist, online rentals and estate agents, you have the illuminating idea: BRIDGES! San Francisco, being a peninsula, logically would have a lot of bridges. So, you google: “Could I sleep under a bridge in San Francisco?” and the first thing that pops up: “Sleeping under the stars in San Francisco is wonderful”. There you go. Problem solved.
9.) Your parents freak after hearing about the bridge thing. So you keep searching. I think my low point was when one of the online hunting sessions resulted in me finding someone renting out a tent in their backyard. For $700/month. A TENT! Basically, Germans pay less for renting a beautiful house by the sea than the citizens of San Francisco spend on a tent in a strangers’ backyard. Bottomline- I am so screwed.
10.) To quote a professor commenting on live in SF in comparison to Boston (where my school also has a campus):
“San Francisco is more expensive but so worth it!” And so I shall keep looking.

Disclaimer: Despite my sarcasm I am actually a really nice and funny person. And I am neat and patient and modest. So, if anyone knows of a free apartment or anything comparable, LET ME KNOW!! I will be forever thankful. No kidding!

DIY

The great thing about having graduated from college is ALL THIS TIME you have available now. Now, you can basically do all this stuff you were doing as means of procrastination during college already anyways…BUT WITHOUT GUILT! It’s awesome. Basically.

During thesis stress, everything seemed more important than expanding my bibliography or structuring my arguments. So, I was being productive my way- every day was Sex and the City day, I finished all of the seasons within a month or two. It’s so addicting and reminds you of the actual problems in life. How could I turn away writing about the social media paradigm while Carrie is breaking it off with AIDAN?! How dare I thinking that preparing a thesis draft presentation is more important than suffering with Miranda through labor? I think you get my point.

One of the really awesome ways to procrastinate, however, was a DIY project that my friend Tabi and I had conquered a little while back (btw, I finally made Tabi start a blog as well and its awesome, check it guys: Tabi’s-awesome-blog-that-I-cant-help-but-follow).

Both of us are huge US fans and so we figured, the following DIY project would be PERFECT for us. We were attempting to make this: Click for Awesome. At this point, I also need to insert a disclaimer- this was not our idea, if you click on the pinterest picture, you will find the tutorial that we have been following. But since I find it such an awesome, awesome idea, I figured I’d spread the word. You’re welcome πŸ˜‰

Ok, you will need: about 4-6 hours of time (including the time it takes to dry, during which you can pretend to do your homework), a white hoodie, painter’s tape and spray paint for textiles (red and blue, about 2-3 bottles of each colour per hoodie, depending on how dark you want the paint to be) as well as plastic backs to cover the floor. Ideally, you work outside because the spray paint can get pretty suffocating.

First, you have to cut out the stars. We used tape for that but it’s quite thin and breaks easily, so I’d advise to double-layer it. This is really going to be the most annoying part. After you have cut out +50 stars, you’re good to go. We googled “Star US flag” and copied a picture from the computer screen because we tried to get the star looking as similar to the one on the flag as possible. We really wanted to procrastinate. You can use any kind of star really.

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As said, working outside or in a hallway that can be aired out would be best. Cover the floor with plastic backs to prevent the spray paint from staining. Tape off the area you want the stars to be on, tape those on the hoodie and cover the entire rest with plastic backs to make sure that no blue paint gets on the parts that are supposed to be red-white. SPRAY πŸ™‚OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Let the blue colour dry but do not remove either tape or plastic covers. Repeat the same procedure on the other side (either using the same stars or by using a new set of cut-outs). Once the paint is dried completely on both sides, you can remove the tape and color protection:

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You can spray the hoodie at once or do it at last, depending on how many stars you have available.

Next, you tape the rest of the sleeves and the lower part of the hoodie. You can select the width of the stripes yourselves, depending on how thick you prefer them to be (thats what she said…kinda). Try and make sure the the stripes on the sleeves line up with the ones on the lower hoodie part. We chose a width of two tape strips. And once again- SPRAY (this time with red).

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After said 3-6 hours, tadaaaaam:
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We decided to also spray the inside of the hood so that, if you don’t pull it over your head, its not just plain white. But that’s up to you and your time really. We had leftovers from the paint so we figured we might as well…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Et voila! Have fun and feel free to post questions or share pictures of your DIY attempts.
In any case- it’s worth a try, it’s so much fun, a great way to take a break and you’ll have an awesome star- spangled hoodie that people will be commenting with an astonished: “What, you did that yourself? Seriously?! Awesome!”.

Have a productive week everybody! πŸ™‚

Cheers

Long Distance

So here we are, and the blog title applies once again… Ari and I are no longer “real” roommates.

I mean, we’re no longer any kind of roommates , at least not officially. But I’m telling you, living with your best friend for two years (and NOT killing each other) creates a bond for life. At least that what it feels like to me. I can’t imagine my life without my roommate, and that’s still true even when we’re on different continents.

Also, it’s not like we’re strangers to long distance. We’ve been long distance roommates before (hence the blog), and we’ve also been in other kinds of long distance relationships before. In fact my boyfriend of now almost a year (wow) lives on a different continent as well. Conveniently, it’s the same one Ari will be moving to… and there are plans that I might move there as well in the not so distant future. So while we’d still be in different countries, at least we might end up on the same continent again.

This, then, is really the essence of what I take away from college: The bonds we forged, the ones that I hope will last a lifetime.

The people I love will be all over the world, in fact, they already are. Some of my best friends are currently in the U.S., in Venezuela, Germany, Australia, the U.K., Chile, Finland, Norway, Kenya… honestly, you name the country, chances are I’ll know someone either from there or currently living there. Some of them I don’t see every year or even every other year. Some I haven’t seen in years, some I might not see until our 10-year-reunion. And yet, I don’t think it’ll matter too much. We have Skype, Facebook, Whatsapp, heck, even Pinterest to share those things that made us think of each other. The fact that we have Internet means we’re never really very far away from each other (except those moments when you really want to give the other person a hug).

So what’s next?

For me, it’s a six-month internship starting in August, and then… dare I say it… I might make my next move after that dependent on my boyfriend… because a year and a half of long distance is really quite enough. So one of us will be moving. Holy shit. That’s how serious we’ve become. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s the most amazing thing that ever happened to me, but… sometimes I get really freaked out.

For Ari… well if you’ve been following, you know about San Francisco. If not, GO BACK AND READ, seriously. And she’ll keep you posted of course. We plan on continuing this blog not just as a means to stay in touch but I guess also to sort out our “post college confusions” Β – credits for the quote to Tabi, thanks πŸ˜‰

So stick around… we can only get more confused (and therefore entertaining) from here on out… real life is waiting. (Yay?)