I, resident of San Francisco, take you, Fog City…

…as my lawfully wedded home. I know it hasn’t been that long, merely a year, but you have already given me a lifetime of memories. The happiest yet.

I vow to be as loyal to you as the guy at Fisherman’s Wharf is to dressing up as a bush and scaring tourists. Speaking of which, I vow to never stop exploring your many corners and alleys. You have so much beauty to offer and I vow to never shut my eyes to that.

I vow to love you even when you aren’t very loveable. When your feisty winds blow up my dress and I flash everyone on Market Street. When the M Train just won’t come or the F train is so overcrowded with tourists that I have to walk in heels for two miles to get to the nearest subway station. When the fog is so thick that it covers my neighborhood like a thick blanket, shielding it off from any sunshine. When the smell of urine is unbearable and you don’t even want to look too closely at the puddle on the bus seat next to yours. Because of you, I laugh, I smile, I dare to dream again. So, I vow to overlook all your flaws.

I vow to submit my bank account to your rents, Muni passes, phone rates and exorbitant living expenses. And to the occasional dollars for the homeless. I agree to disagree with you over kale, but I will meet you halfway when it comes to gluten-free and organic. Mostly, because you leave me no other choice. I will support your high-end lifestyle by paying $4.99 for a small bottle of Odwalla. I agree, it is damn good juice. Kambucha, however, sucks. You can take that to your friend L.A.! I will support the local economy by religiously buying Three Twins Ice Cream- you just know that the Peppermint Confetti flavor always lifts me up, don’t you?

I vow to never stop acknowledging your beauty. Even more so, I promise that I will never ever ever NOT be left breathless, no matter how many times I cross the Golden Gate Bridge or hike up Twin Peaks. You are the closest to heaven I could get and I shall never take that for granted. I vow to always keep up with the latest tech knick-knacks that you come up with. I will let Google deliver my groceries and Lyft bring me home and UP24 measure my health. I love that you have a crazy, risk-taking, out-of-the-box-thinking personality and I will never stop supporting that. Well…once I have money, I won’t.

I can’t promise you I will never smile about all your tourists, but I will try my best to be kind when telling them to “step down to open the door”. I can’t promise you I will always be happy about those insanely steep hills you throw in my way, but I will try my best to take it as a work-out. I can’t promise that I will never start taking your weather for granted but I promise that I will never stop loving the sunshine you bring into my life. All day, every day.

I pronounce my dependence on the eternal heat in Dolores Park and on the freaky hippies in Haight-Ashbury. On the parrots of Coit Tower, on the ice-cream at Ghiradelli Square  and the dolphins at Baker Beach. I vow to love and cherish every palm tree till earthquake do us part.

Lastly, to steal from Leo, “I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love. And to always know in the deepest part of my soul that no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find our way back to each other.”

 

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Welcome to Mosquito Haven

aka My bedroom.

Over the past days, it has been unusually warm in San Francisco. We are talking 28°C (82°F!!!!!!!!!) and NO FOG. I repeat- NO.FOG. I know that the rest of the Northern Hemisphere has been indulging in hot sunny summer weather since..well..the beginning of summer. Good for you. Come June, Karl-the-Fog starts lingering over our city like a thick woolen blanket leaving us with zero chance of sun and a hundred percent abandonment of beaches. But not so this week. This week has been so close to being perfect- until I learned about the downsides of hot weather in San Francisco.

Unlike any other city in the U.S. that I have visited, San Franciscans usually don’t have A/Cs in their homes. Or mosquito screens built into their windows. Are you following the equation? Exactly, it gets freaking hot at night. The air in your house becomes stale and the only way to make it through the night is to leave the windows open. The cool air brings an unwanted visitor with it thought: the mosquito!

This has been the fourth night in a row where I have barely slept. I had killed about ten mosquitos each evening before going to bed but these little bastards are night active!!! Which means, they will hide in corners of your room you weren’t even aware of, only to come torture you with their F****** annoying “EEEEEEEEEEEW” that will get closer and closer to your ear the minute you switch off the lights. From here on, you have three options:

A. Ignore

B. Wave your hands like a crazy person, hoping to discourage the little bloodsuckers

C. Jump out of bed, switch the lights back on and furiously stand in the middle of your room, with a shoe in your hand,   
              examining every crack or dark stain on your wall.

The option you are most likely to choose will probably depend on the time of night the incident occurred at. From experience, I know that these freaking beasts tend to travel in groups. You are, and always will be, outnumbered. So, you will eventually decide to give up. From here on, you have two more options:

 A. Build a blanket cocoon, which ideally will cover everything except for your nose. You will sweat to death, but at least your
body
will not be the victim of a satanic blood cult.

B. Let the tiredness win and just sleep. Acknowledge that you can’t do much and wake up the next day with mosquito bites all
             over. All. over. We are talking about 50 in all sorts of places in my case.

I have been living off of espresso since the beginning of this week and I am not sure how much longer I will be able to keep going. My walls have blood stains all over (guess I won’t get that security deposit back…), my eyes have deep shadows underneath, my hair looks gross every morning because I basically spent 8 hours in a steam sauna and they are still coming in. It will never stop. They will never stop. I surrendeeeeeeer.

DON’T find your purpose in life!

We have all been there. Sooner or later, you will reach a point in your life where you will ask yourself why? Why am I here? Why am I studying what I am studying or working where I am working? Why am I in this relationship, in this friendship circle, in this city?
And it will all play into the big, overarching, nagging question… THE question:

What is the purpose in life?!

When people don’t find a clear answer to that, they often despair. Or they go out search for whatever can make them complete…a partner, a mission, a religion, a certain type of job maybe?
But I believe that this is a waste of time, especially in your 20ies. When you’re 20, you don’t have to have it all figured out, you shouldn’t either. Imagine how boring it would be if you knew exactly where life would be taking you, if you had it all planned out, had all questions answered. And I also believe it is that continuous search for the bigger, better things, the greater meanings to your daily being that actually prevents you from living. Here is a daring thought: What if the purpose of life is just to live. As good as you want, as much as you can. Just that. Life is not always fair, not always rational and definitely anything but predictable. It doesn’t always make sense, it will toss you around and take you on some detours.

But, as a famous quote says, life is simply lived forwards and understood backwards.

So all of you out there who search and ask and wonder…don’t!  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you shouldn’t have any ambitions or dreams or goals in your life. I am saying that, while you’re out pursuing those, you shouldn’t forget to live. Over the questions we lie awake at night, the plans we make and the paths we travel on, we need to remember to stop every once in a while and realize the distance we have already gone. Living in the moment might be a hard skill to acquire but once you do, you will be so much happier. You don’t need one overarching goal in life to be happy, you can create your own happiness. You take the good things that are in your life RIGHT NOW and you don’t let go of them, you focus on them until they become all that your life is really about.
And yes, maybe that is a naive 22-year-old speaking. Maybe I would think differently if a loved one had passed or I got fired from a job or I was seriously ill. Maybe then all I could wonder about was why this was happening to me, how I could possibly deserve such cruel punishments. As of now, however, I believe that life is enjoyed by the minute. The other day, while sitting next to my boyfriend in the car, driving past Victorian houses in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury at night, I realized that I have already gotten so much more out of my life than I could have ever hoped for as a teenager. I don’t need to know what the greater meaning of my life is, I am creating my own meaning. And that’s the thought that helps me sleep at night…

#TimeIsNow

Hey y’all!

Can you do something for me, please?

All you lifestylers, dreamers, poets, life-lovers and friends that have been following the blog for a bit now? On June 27, 2013, both Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats voted to pass a bill to overhaul US immigration. But the legislation faces major obstacles in the House, with GOP leaders vowing to move on their own bill.

I love the U.S! I spent the past 14 years perfecting my English to the point where people confuse me for an American by now. I studied the culture, by religiously watching Parental Control or Dismissed on MTV, because those were the only non-dubbed shows on German TV. Every single person, within five minutes of getting to know me, can tell how comfortable I feel in this country, how happy it makes me, how I could see myself moving here for good. I am getting my Master’s Degree in California…did you know, by the way, that the money international students contributed to the U.S. economy between 2012-2013 created 313.000 new jobs? Did you also know that, when being interviewed to get your U.S. student visa, it works against you to indicate ANY sort of interest in staying in the United States beyond your studies?

I found the country I belong to but, unfortunately for me, I was born very far away from it. It is hard for me to get a work visa, to be employed…not because employers don’t value my skills. But because they know how hard it is to hire a foreigner and go through all the visa troubles, they barely look beyond my visa status.

Here’s where you come in!

Congress needs to be reminded that people in the U.S. care, that it is in your and everyone’s interest to continue the original idea of America being a melting pot of nations. Please take a moment to look at this super short checklist with things you can do to help me, or others in similar situations. Tweet your statements using #TimeIsNow. Write your representatives. Sign this online petition! I cannot stress enough how happy it would make me to know that people care!

Thanks a bunch guys!!

Love,

Ari

Our Deepest Fear…

This poem has been dedicated to me by a very good friend of mine. Ever since he gave it to me, it has kept reminding me to believe in myself more, to jump over my shadow and to enter a room with presence. Be the best you can be so that, when other people look at you, they are being inspired, encouraged and liberated.
Either way, it is a beautiful piece of poetry that everyone should have read at least once- enjoy!

Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

LA