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.

One-Way Ticket

My first time of ever buying a one-way ticket was pretty much a year ago. It took me from Hamburg to London to Los Angeles and, finally, to San Francisco. I booked it with that bittersweet feeling of not knowing what to expect. Yet, it was the best thing I had ever done for myself. I knew it was my life, my journey, my way of starting over and I took the stir wheel once again. Booking a one-way ticket is a very liberating way of taking control while, at the same time, entering uncontrollable terrain. You should give it a thought!

Then, I arrived in San Francisco and fell in love. With a city. With a state. With a boy. With housemates that became more like my host family. With new places I got to see. Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur, Yosemite, L.A, Stinson Beach, the Redwoods, Santa Cruz, Vegas, The Grand Canyon…

I also changed. From the outside, I became tanned and happy. I surfed and I meditated and I tried Yoga and Kambucha and Kale Chips. From the inside, I became my own best friend, a little more confident in myself and a little more determined in what I wanted my life to look like. And, overall, I was -am- very fulfilled and happy. But, after almost a year, my studies are nearing an end. Being here on a student visa, I had one shot at finding a job related to my field of study. It was either that or going home, without knowing if I ever were able to get such an opportunity again. I wasn’t ready to go back yet, I knew that my U.S. journey was not over. So I worried and applied and reached out and really really tried.

Yesterday, I got a job. I will be staying in the US for at least another year with the prospect of being sponsored for a long-term work visa after. I felt like Will Smith in the final scene of “The Pursuit of Happyness” – which happens to take place in San Francisco as well, actually. So, I guess, that’d be the part in a movie where the main characters wander down a street, off into the distance. Or where a book would end. But I am nowhere near finished, I am so excited for what lies ahead of me. I will be starting my first real job at a tech start-up here in San Francisco. I want to finally get my drivers license, regardless of how recklessly dangerous those damn hills in town may be. I want to go surf on the weekends and get good at it. I want to continue living my life, see the things I never thought I’d see and keep on laughing and being happy. I will celebrate another Thanksgiving and another Halloween, will yet once more live through SF’s seasons (“sunny” and “foggy”) and keep meeting new people. So, for all you followers- stay tuned! I will continue with my San Francisco updates and I hope you are just as excited about that as I am.

For now, I will use Rowling’s words: All is well. All is more than well!

Cheers,

Ari

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…

Countdown Series: 19 Days

Hey guys!

First of all- we are overwhelmed by the number of followers! When we started our blog in April last year, we didn’t really expect anyone to be too interested in our college jabbering and now we are already at 52!! Thank you, every time you hit Follow, Like or Comment, we are really happy 🙂

So, remember how I started my Countdown Series on Sunday and swore to post every day? Well, I missed yesterday but it wasn’t my fault, we had an internet meltdown. It’s all fixed now (hopefully), so lets pretend nothing happened and go over to…

19 Days- Broccoli Au Gratin

Yep, another one about food. Even worse: It’s box food but, to me, it’s the best box food in the world: Broccoli Au Gratin. I first bought the “Rice A Roni” version but tried several other brands since and liked them all equally much.
Ok, I know what you think- Artificial ingredients to enhance color and taste, looks like vomit, basically no real broccoli or natural cheese in there blablabla. I get it. It’s not the healthiest of foods but when I tried it last summer, I fell in love with it. And I’m serious- nobody ain’t messin with ma Broccoli Au Gratin. I had fights with boyfriends about that in the past, who wanted to talk me out of this “unhealthy shit that just ruins your body”. We didn’t break up over that but….it was close. The Au Gratin is to me what cats are to the crazy old cat lady.

All you need to prepare it are:  a pan, 2 cups of water, butter and a package of Broccoli Au Gratin. You put everything into the pan, bring it to boil….é voila. There goes your dish. BOOM. 15-20 minutes and you have a great dinner, free of nutrition or vitamins, I promise. The ideal menu to end a fat-loaded couch-potato day. It’s super cheap (duuh..it’s box food), easy to make, a decent side-dish (if you have enough money to buy meat to go with it) and an acceptable main dish if you eat the entire box yourself. We all have our guilty pleasures, here’s mine.

Best part of it all?Apparently, Rice A Roni is a San Francisco-based brand?! Mommy’s comin home, baby!

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! 🙂

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*  … 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!

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”  – credits for the quote to Tabi, thanks 😉

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