I Miss You

It has almost been 2 years since we’ve said good-bye. I think it’s good that neither one of us knew back then how long it would be until we’d see each other again. It made parting a little easier. It gave me the illusion that I would see you again in no time. Instead, I have been missing you every single day for the past, almost, 2 years. So, I wanted to say thank you.

Thank you for being you and for letting me be me. Thank you for letting me feel so much like myself when I’m with you. Thank you for not making me wear any masks or put on any fronts. Thank you for sharing in my happiest moments, and for genuinely feeling the same; for listening to my saddest stories and radiating compassion and empathy from wherever you are.

Thank you for just showing up at my door that one night, in your soccer gear, refusing to leave me alone. Thank you for running to the pulse with me, getting prepped for that movie night. Thank you for making me smash those balloons and for that moment when we formed the plan of interning in New York City. Thank you for helping me make that happen.

Thank you for the laughs, for the cries, and for everything in between. Thank you for being my rock, my anchor; for keeping me grounded when I feel like I might otherwise blow away. Thank you for knowing my favorite ice cream flavor and what song I would die for. Thank you for always knowing what to say and for being one of life’s best teachers. Like I’ve said- if I end up married and with children, it is greatly because you have changed how I look at those things.

Thank you for helping me through really dark times. Thank you for the summer of 2012 and everything we learned from it. Thank you for making me reflect on myself and how I fight and make up with people. Thank you for setting the bar so high and making it impossible to find another friend as good as you. Thank you for making the four short years we have been friends feel like forever and for giving me enough memories to last a lifetime, but not ending there. Thank you for making me hurt when I miss you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for the absolute privilege and honor of being able to call you my best friend; thank you for being my person. Thank you for giving me these reasons, and a million more, to be thankful for.

Forever and Always,

Your Best Friend

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The Unexpectedly Wonderful Thing about Long Distance Friendships…

…is that the long-awaited moment of a reunion will eventually come around! After having had more miles and countries between you for much longer than you could have ever imagined, you can finally substitute that heart emoji on Whatsapp for a real hug. And no matter how long you haven’t seen each other, it will feel like grad ball was just yesterday.

Judith, the co-author of this blog, and I got to see each other in Hamburg after 1.5 years of having actively used all social media tools imaginable to stay in touch. We had 13 hours before I had to catch my flight back to San Francisco and a lot of catching up to do. I got to go to Vapiano with her, just like we used to after a long, much-dreaded final in college. We totally killed a bottle of our favorite wine. We watched the latest episode of one of our favorite TV Shows. We laughed at how old we had gotten when the planned allnighter ended at 3am due to severe tiredness. In the blink of an eye, it felt like we were roommates again. Except, she got herself a roommate upgrade- a handsome and witty guy she calls boyfriend. I approve of him because he took really good pictures of us that night and patiently endured Judith’s and my moments of girly squeakiness.

We wanted to share this moment of reunion with our beloved readers and let you know that more longdistanceroommates adventures are yet to come!

First hug caught on camera

First hug caught on camera

Le boyfriend, our triplet and Vapiano

Le boyfriend, our triplet and Vapiano

PLL and Hugo...college throwback.

PLL and Hugo…college throwback.

Judith, another one of our bests college friends, and I

Judith, another one of our bests college friends, and I

 

Early-morning goodbye at the airport :(

Early-morning goodbye at the airport 😦

 

See you…whenever Judith, I am already looking forward to that unexpectedly wonderful moment ❤

Thoughts I had while Christmas Shopping

Going home for Christmas means getting everyone at least one gift. In my case, having been gone for so long, it meant shopping for 18 people. 18. People.

I thought I’d be very strategic about it and so I blocked a whole entire weekend off of my schedule for what came to be known as Mission Christmas amongst my housemates. Here are thoughts that will inevitably cross your mind while out on Mission Christmas:

1.” Yay, I’m gonna put my Christmas playlist on shuffle while riding downtown. Nothing better than Christmas music to get you into the right mood.”
2. “Iiiit’s a holly jolly Christmaaas…and now everybody!”
3. “Might as well grab a Starbucks Christmas special! Peppermint Mocha, eeeeeek!!!”
4. “Hmmm…okay, let me look at the list of ideas I carefully crafted out last night. Because, remember, this is not about me, this is about the 18 people trusting in my shopping ability!”
5. “Holy shit, I look hot in that leather jacket! Urban Outfitters, why you so expensive?!”
6. “I mean, getting yourself a Christmas present is totally allowed, right? And the new phone I got myself last week was basically a delayed birthday present anyways, that doesn’t even count into my Christmas pile at all!”
7. “Okay, fine. Let’s do this: if I manage to stay under (insert $ amount here) for all of the Christmas presents, I’m gonna buy myself that jacket!”
8. “I am such an excellent prioritizer. Might as well get myself another Starbucks drink, seeing that I saved myself money by not buying that leather jacket.”
9. “Seriously?! How can it be that I have walked through two malls and a billion stores and still only have two gifts?”
10. “Man, it’s so hard to buy something for brothers. Why can’t I have sisters?! One trip to Sephora and I would have been done!”
11. “Next time you tell me that you don’t have any wishes, Dad, I’m gonna stop talking to you! Nothing worse than getting gifts for someone who doesn’t want anything!”
12. “Okay, this bookshelf is adorable. But, realistically, I’m not gonna fit that into a suitcase. Sorry mom!”
13. “Fine! It’s time for the big guns. I’m gonna go to Macy’s!”
14. “Why are there so many people in the stores this early? I mean, I guess 2pm isn’t that early. Dammit, why did I have to snooze my alarm five times this morning?”
15. “I want food. Like, Cheesecake Factory kinda food. Maybe I’m gonna get a cheesecake to go later.”
16. “And by maybe, I mean definitely. And by later, I mean now.”
17. “Freaking Christmas songs playing everywhere. I could not work at Macy’s right now.”
18. “Man, I’m gonna be broke after this weekend. And what could have been spend on an awesome leather jacket, will now probably go to paying for a second checked piece of luggage.”
19. “I.Hate.Shopping! It’s so hard. I’m tired. My feet hurt.”
20. “I mean, I don’t even know why I gotta get all my presents today. There is always next weekend. And I just signed up for that free trial month of Amazon Prime.”
21. “…screw this, I’m doing Amazon!”

Maybe some of you can relate. In the end, I did get all 18 people a present. I did not get that leather jacket, even though I am still dreaming about it sometimes. I will pay for a second piece of luggage at the airport tomorrow. But, most of all, I’m gonna go home for Christmas and that kinda makes it all worthwhile.

Cheers and happy holidays!

Ari

10 Reasons to Welcome December

1. Starbucks Christmas Specials
Personally, I have come to like the Pumpkin Spice Latte but my heart beats for lé Peppermint Mocha, an Eggnog Latte or (on sunnier December days here in Cali) a Cremé Brulee Frap! And, as if taste wasn’t enough of a reason to wait in line, you’ll get to have a pretty Christmas-y cup on your desk for the rest of your day, reminding you of the holly jolly days that are yet to come. Yay!

2. Christmas Candy
Hershey’s Peppermint kisses. Gingerbread M&Ms. Candy Cane Ice-cream. Christmas cookies. Speculoos. Peppernuts. The list could go on and on and on. Any of these options would go great with #1, too. Just saying!

3. Winter clothes and accessories
How about a cute scarf that matches the new tights you scooped up on Black Friday? Possibly a matching glove-hat combo, too? There is so much cuteness in fall and winter clothing. Not to mention that those woolen sweaters and fury jackets are every girl’s friend after the annual Christmas feast.

4. Lights
Lights, lights everywhere! Dark and grey November…ain’t nobody got time for you anymore! Every store is decorated, the buildings are framed with holiday lights, the streets accessorized with lit-up stars and bells… Definitely helps getting over the sun setting at 5pm!

5. Fireplaces
Not everyone is lucky enough to have one of those but if you do, go get yourself some of that delicious fiery warmth! Nothing better than being all cuddled up, drinking tea, reading a book and listening to a good Pandora Station while sitting home by the fire. If you don’t have a fireplace, you better make the right type of friends next year!

6. Christmas Songs
Okay fine, I admit that I am one of those people. One of those people that sometimes, very secretly, listens to one or two Christmas songs in…say…March or July. Just for the fun and to get a smile on my face. So, come December, I am the happiest camper alive because now it is legit to whistle “All I want for Christmas” or hum “Frosty the Snowman”. It just gives me flashbacks to all the past Christmases and reminds me of how magical Santa seemed to me when I was young. Christmas songs bring some of that magical feeling back into my daily life and get me excited for the holidays.

7. The smells
Pine Needles. Chocolate. New Clothes. Shopping bags. Even wrapping paper has a smell, a very characteristic mix of excitement, stress and secretiveness. All in all, come December, it starts smelling delicious everywhere! If you reside in Germany during that month, you will probably have dozens of Christmas markets around you to choose from! Hot spiced wine, toasted almonds, crepes with Nutella, fruits dunked in chocolate, candied apples, all those are smells Americans miss out on.

8. The people
Yes, December is very stressful for many. All this Christmas shopping, all these expectations. I personally have a list of 15 people I am shopping for and it keeps me up at night. But it is also that time of year during which, thanks to commercialization I admit, we are being reminded of love and family and spending time with those that matter. You forgive faster, carry a smile around more often and are a little more considerate and willing to share.

9. Christmas Movies
I have watched “Love Actually” three times in the past two weeks and am not ashamed to admit that. Whether it’s an all-time favorite, such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street” or more modern picks like “Elf”, Christmas movies spread pure joy. They are so over the top with everything, and there is singing and piano music and families all cheesy-peasy. It sets the stage for Christmas and totally gets you into the mood to eat, sing and celebrate. And eat some more.

10. The loved ones
Many of you might go home for Christmas or have family come visit you. That electrifying feeling of flying/driving/riding/walking home for the holidays is truly one of a kind, so embrace it! Count the days, mark you calenders, and use this month to appreciate the people you love in your life. Hug your mom extra often, call your grandparents more frequently, give your significant other an extra kiss. You know, all these things you should be doing anyways but are being reminded off by the jolly Christmas atmosphere.

So yeah, let’s embrace December, it’s not like you could escape it anyways!

Cheers,
Ari

22 Things I learned at 22

My 23rd birthday is creeping up in a little bit (and has been celebrated for a couple hours in the rest of the world) and I gotta say that my 22nd year of life was magical, challenging and beautiful. Here’s a sum-up of things that life at 22 taught me, in no particular order:

1. Sleep is vital! I mean, I knew that but actually sleeping 7-8 hours each night these days gives me such a much more productive day.

2. There is no “right path” in life. You will think you have found the right way of life or the final life goals for yourself, only to be proven otherwise a couple months down the road. You might think you know what the next years of your life are going to look like, you might feel old enough to make long-term plans but one day you might wake up and your whole world is upside down.

3. If your whole world is turned upside down, you will survive. You are young and will get over it.

4. Cooking is fun! I was a disaster in the kitchen last year around this time and considered Rice A Roni  a legit dinner
(hey, it’s warm and it requires mixing several ingrediences together!). Now, I wake up on Saturdays, feel like baking and end up with four dozen Rasberry White Chocolate Scones. True story.

5. Travel. As far and as often as you possibly can.

6. When in doubt, invest into an experience rather than into an object.

7.  It can still be official, even if Facebook doesn’t say so.

8. It’s ok to say No.

9. It’s ok to be antisocial and stay inside for four weekends in the row, binge on Netflix and Thai food and just enjoy your couch, your favorite sweatpants and GilmoreGirls.

10. Fake it till you make it. As a 22-year-old, people will start treating you like the grown eeryone seems to see in you even if you still feel like your 16-year-old self sometimes. It’s both kinda cool and pretty scary and will sometimes require you to own up to your actual age.

11. That being said though, don’t loose your inner child!

12. It feels good to start paying back student loans. Just eight more years to go, wohooo!

13. Build and/or maintain a strong support system. Family and friends are insanely important.

14. Be with yourself every once in a while. Checking in on yourself regularly is extremely helpful, in my humble opinion.

15. Invest into good shoes. I love me ma heels and boots but I feel most comfortable in my new Nike running shoes (my feet have written an Odé to them, I swear!)

16. Forever 21 is cute and super awesome for a  student’s budget. But really, after wearing the same dress three times, it will have completely lost its shape and just look kinda.. meh. It’s worth paying a little more for a bit more quality.

17. Don’t shy away from love. Ever.

18. You kinda stop caring about other people’s opinion. I mean, I’m still very sensitive to what others think of me but not being friends with the mean girls is not killing me anymore. If they don’t wanna be friends, their loss!

19. There will be many doors opening for you. Do keep as many of them as widely open as possible.

20. Applying to jobs sucks, has always sucked and will always suck but if you do it halfheartedly, it won’t get you anywhere.

21. Being ambitious does not equal being greedy. You can long for more in your life, while still being appreciative of what you have.

22. If you have a dream, freaking make it happen! There is no one to tell you what you can or can’t do or should and shouldn’t do. This is YOUR life, YOUR rules, YOUR action plan and the sooner you realize that, the quicker you can get on that bucket list of yours!

Happy Friday!

Cheers,

Ari

Guess whose birthday it is?

Today, the sun is shining in Berlin and the leaves have millions of different colours. It’s a gorgeous October day, surprisingly warm, and I’m happy.

I’m also a bit sad, because this is my co-author’s and best friend’s birthday and I can’t celebrate with her. So I had to come up with something else… and I decided on this blog post. After all, this blog is really our baby, our project, and I’m so happy we really started it after only talking about it for so long. When I think of her, the blog almost immediately comes to mind, so what better way to say happy birthday than with a blog post?

Of course, just saying happy birthday would be lame. So in honor of her 22nd birthday, here are 22 reasons why Ari is the coolest person in the universe and the bestest friend ever (yes, I KNOW that’s not a word).

  1. She’s the kindest person I know, and she always looks out for everyone else before she worries about herself.

  2. She’s got style. Lots of style.

  3. We’re usually the same dress size – can you imagine how cool it was to be roommates?

  4. When the sun comes out in spring, she basically overflows with excitement, it’s the cutest thing ever. It’s impossible not to be happy around her then – she can’t contain herself at all, and it rubs off on everyone else.

  5. She trusts me even when she’s worried I might judge her for something she tells me. The fact that she still opens up then means the world to me, and the fact that I can do the same makes her one of the most important people in my life.

  6. She does amazing hairstyles – and eye makeup!

  7. Getting ready for parties with her is usually even more fun than the actual party.

  8. She gets so enthusiastic about things – not just spring, but also TV shows or theater.

  9. Speaking of which, she’s a really talented actress. I’m not saying that because I have to support her as a friend, I’m saying it because it’s really true. So much comic talent.

  10. She makes me come out of my shell, not worry so much about embarrassing myself by doing really ridiculously random things, such as spontaneously dancing “Call Me Maybe” when there are at least 20 people around who might think that’s stupid. Who cares? Thanks, Ari 🙂

  11. She saved my ass by modelling for a photo shoot I had to do for class. I don’t know how I would have gotten that assignment done without her!

  12. She can walk even in the highest heels. I think it’s awesome, because it kind of forces me to wear heels as well sometimes in order to avoid looking like a dwarf. And then, of course, I look good. So that’s a great side effect.

  13. She’s the best study buddy ever. We can be super productive if we have to, and super unproductive if we don’t really care. Either way, study sessions usually involve instant noodles, diet coke and pringles. Oh, sometimes I miss college life!

  14. She is also the best Starbucks buddy in the world.

  15. And the best running buddy / motivator. I would have never done a 5k if it wasn’t for you!

  16. She makes the coolest birthday presents and surprises. Sorry, Ari, I know this one can’t really keep up with the video, or the whole “Day in Hamburg and surprise Bavarian food afterwards” thing (credit goes to the triplets as well for this). I promise, though, should we be in the same country again, I will organize something epic. And I mean truly epic.

  17. She doesn’t judge. Ever. I do some really dumb things (more so in the past but I still do). This goes with what I said about trust above, but it’s also who she is as a person. She doesn’t judge people easily. Unless they hate New York, then sorry, she WILL be judging.

  18. She’s not afraid to set me straight if I’m doing the above mentioned dumb things. She knows when to leave me to do what I feel like, even if it’s stupid, and when to actually sit me down and give me a serious no-nonsense talk.

  19. She’s the only person in the world to ever talk me into rapping for a class assignment.

  20. She ran to the store with me through a rainstorm, laughing the entire time. We came back soaked to the bones and water dripping from our clothes to the floor… it was the best thing ever.

  21. Germany’s Next Topmodel! We need to find a way to watch that together still, even if we’re so far apart. Also, that song we both spontaneously loved and that got stuck in my head from the show… aptly called “Stuck” (by Caro Emerald, if you’re interested).

  22. Because I got to #22 without having to pause and try to come up with more stuff. And because I’m sure there are a million reasons that I haven’t even mentioned yet. So I’ll just stop here, but please don’t take that to mean these are the only 22 reasons why Ari’s awesome.

 

So, Ariane, from halfway across the world – happy birthday!!

 

A Perfect Day In California

About three weeks ago, I met someone really awesome in a bar and we started going out. First date, second date, third date, and by now we are not counting dates but shared memories. It’s going really good and I’ve realized that our dates tend to be more like all-day adventures, each and everyone so perfect that both of us think it can’t get better- only it does. On the next date.  Anyways, I figured I’d share some of these days with you. Just in case you ever make it to SF and try to make every minute count. Or have a real romantic date. After all, San Francisco did get elected the most romantic city in the US.

1 Perfect Day in California á la Ariane:

  • 1 Car
  • 1 fully charged Camera
  • Water
  • Sun screen
  • Food
  • A map or iPhone for directions

We rented a car with AVIS and were lucky enough to get a really cool all-American car on discount- the Dodge Challenger. We named him Charlie. Now, I’m not too familiar with car types but this one just screamed road trip and we did him justice, I believe. So, here goes the perfect route for a perfect one-day-roadtrip:

1. Start off at Lombard Street
If you rent a car, you might as well go all out and do one of the most touristy things that SF has to offer: curvy Lombard Street. If you go early in the morning, you will barely have any cars blocking your ride down. Be prepared for some proper rollercoaster action.

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2. Cross Golden Gate Bridge
No matter how the weather will be that day, in the morning it is very likely to be foggy. Embrace it though, the bridge looks fascinatingly mystical when half covered in the thick grey fog layer. Toll is $6 one-way. For some reason however, we didn’t need to pay so bare that in mind. You might be lucky.

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3. US- 101 towards Sonoma
You will not be disappointed. After about half an hour you start passing the first vineyards and wineries, it gets hilly and the views are amazing. Find the River Road towards Guerneville and after about half an hour you should see a small parking lot to your left. Do park and stroll down to Russian River. It will be a nice break.

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4. Armstrong Redwoods State National Reserve
Continue on River Road until you come to the Armstrong Woods Road, merge onto that. Drive up to the Redwoods Reserve. It will cost you $8 to spend the day, there are a lot of hiking trails that lead you miles and miles into nature. Or, you can decide to drive up a really steep curvy road instead, which of course we did. I spent that part of the journey burying my head into my scarf. The Redwoods are amazing though and if you are all for the view, do go for the drive-up.

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5. Have a stop in Gueraville
It’s a really cute town with good diners, gas stations, banks and Safeway. Do try the Ice-Cream at Flavors Unlimited. They let you choose from an unlimited number of toppings, which get blended into vanilla and chocolate soft swirl making it taste like cheesecake, mint and white chocolate at the same time. Energized? Great, back on to the road!

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6. Blind Beach
Turn onto Hwy 116 W/CA-116 W/River Rd until you reach Jenner Pond/ Blind Beach. I mean, it’s amazing really. My favorite stop of the day. One minute you stare out of the window admiring the hills and forests and next thing you know you look ahead and BOOM. The ocean. In all its beauty. Take a break and climb up that hill about half a mile away from the parking lot. Breath and be overwhelmed by the majestic ocean, the clean air and the incredible feeling of freedom.

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7. Point Reyes
Continue on the CA-1 N/Coast Hwy to Marin. Follow the signs directing you to SF. Once in Point Reyes Fort, search for the Sir Francis Drake Road and follow that on. Warning- if you wanna make it to the Lighthouse, be aware that it’s a good half an hour drive crossing the peninsula. The road is not in the best condition and the land stretches further than we had expected. But, as with anything along the Pacific Highway, the views make up for it by far. It is a national park though, so technically, it is currently closed. We did see a lot of cars generously ignoring the govt shutdown sign though. As with many things in that regard, zero f***s were given.

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8. Stinson Beach
Turn onto Panoramic Highway and follow until you hit Muir Woods Road, then continue on that one. If you have time, stop in one of the many cute towns you will see on your way. Like Bodega Bay, that just looked incredibly romantic and seemed to have a great selection of seafood restaurants and beach cafés. Other than that, embrace the fact that you are on the Panoramic Highway (which is named like that for a reason…), wind down the window and blast Let Her Go by Passenger. Or California Dreaming. Or On Top Of The World. Once at Stinson Beach, try to find some sand dollars. They’re big on petrified ones there too! Definitely worth a walk.

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9. Back home
The city is calling, so you wanna swing back. Preferably, in time for you to drop of your car at your rental agency. We failed and could only avoid being charged high late-fees by driving to the SFO airport to drop Charlie off there. Oh well. Shit happens. We miss you Charlie!!!!

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Return back home and realize that you have gotten a glimpse of paradise. California is intensely beautiful and yesterday I saw landscapes that dreams are made of. I know that sounds super cheesy but I did not expect to be confronted with so many breathtaking spots. Do go people, do go!

Cheers and hit the road,

Ari