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.

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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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Leaving New York, Never Easy…

…at least it has never been for me. I know, my next blog post was due long ago and I’m sorry. There is just quite some moving around going on at the moment and its only been now that I had time to sort my thoughts and write them down.

I’m not in New York anymore. At the end of August, my internship was over and it was time to pack my backs and fly back to Germany. First of all, I am scared of flying. Terrified. I just know too little about flight procedures to help myself with rational arguments. When the engines are started and the plane speeds up, I mentally excuse myself to god for being such an unchristian christian and only sending prayers when I’m sitting in a plane or the night before a final I know I didn’t study enough for. The flight from New York to Stuttgart, Germany, was especially bad. I didn’t wanna go back. I was excited to see my family again and my friends, to have certain German things back (like dark bread or Ketchup Pringles) but I would have preferred to go visit them and then come back to the States.When I left my apartment, I didn’t plug in my iPod as usually, I didn’t nap during the subway ride. I wanted to soak up as much of the city as possible. The smell of the Best Fishmarket in Harlem. The dialects and different accents. The stories you kinda overhear in the metro station.

Watching people in the craziest outfits blasting music or performing dances in the trains. I bought myself one last mint-chocolate calorie bomb, wore my most obvious “I’m a weird-looking person but its okay, because its new york and no one would ever care!” outfit and said good-bye.

Once in the plane, it got worse. I was turning on my New York Playlist and was fighting the tears…until the pilot decided to give us one last glimpse of the city. He flew a circle around NY before heading off into the proper direction to give everyone in the plane a good last look. And there they were- Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the Empire State Building, New Jersey and they all were so familiar. They felt like home. It had only been three months and I was ashamed I had been letting myself fall for something that quickly. I was crying my eyes out in that stupid plane, awkwardly turned towards the window with my bandana as low into my face as possible. It was horrible. At least it defeated my fear of flying for a while- until three hours into the trip. It was pitch-dark outside, we were above the middle of the Atlantic, I’m watching Hunger Games (which is a great movie by the way but pretty gloomy at times) and suddenly the pilot makes the following announcement: Ladies and Gentlemen, please excuse the disturbance but we will have to reboot our system. That means that the movies won’t be available for a while, we are sorry for this inconvenience.” The logical sight of my thinks: Ok, if their greatest concern is the  unavailability of the movies, then we aren’t in any trouble really. But the irrational part of me, myself and I mentally screams: We are DEAD! The system isn’t working and we lost contact to the ground and we have no idea at which height to fly, so if another plane is crossing our level, WE GONNA CRASH and my mortal remains will be lost in the ocean and NO ONE WILL EVER FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED!!! Well, guess what? Nothing noticeable actually happened. But it sure prevented me from sleeping for the rest of the flight.

Once back in Germany, I had a few hours to kill at the train station. So, I walk into this grocery store, pick something and go pay. Still under American influence, I greet the cashier with a friendly “Guten Morgen, wie geht es Ihnen?” “Good Morning, how are you?” and just get a suspicious glance in return. “Why is that any of your business?”, she replied. “Do you want the gummy bears or not?”. Oh yeah, welcome back to Germany! The train ride home was even gloomier than the flight. The sky was grey, it was chilly, people gave me weird looks for my leggins and no one would offer to help me with my heavy luggage. Sometimes I shrieked when people, that were clearly younger than 21, walked by with a bottle of beer in their hands. At least I won’t have to hide red wine in an orange-juice-bottle anymore^^ Well, once I arrived at home and had my family and friends around me, I felt fine, it was great seeing everyone. Same goes for the day I returned to my campus. People here become extremely close to each other, since we are all living and studying together, they become your family. So, it was also great to see my second family again, it was about time.

Now, normal college stress caught up with me and I have to stop making a big, mental fuss of how great my summer was, how pathbreaking and how instructive. I know what I wanna do in the future, I just don’t know if I can afford it. But for now I am back on campus and have to remind myself day by day that this is the very last year I will have with my friends, like this, under these circumstances and with this much freedom. I should learn to appreciate the past and live in the present but at the very moment, I am grieving about the past and longing for the future. Bad Ari!!! It’s time to focus my thoughts on the more appropriate things in life: What to do for which class, what to write my bachelor thesis about, where to go for grad school, what to wear for saturday’s party, how to loose weight by christmas and how to spice up servery food. And as I’m writing this, I notice that I am feeling good in this role as well and I’ll do my best to adjust back to it asap!! And now I’ll go and have my guitar tuned because I didn’t have it over the summer and really hope I didn’t forget how to play the chords 😀

Cheers guys!!