Lost and Found

Lately, when people ask me how I am doing, I have been telling them that I am feeling very lost. With my US visa about to expire and my imminent departure from San Francisco approaching faster and faster, I have gone back and forth between ignoring my life and falling into sheer panic whenever I don’t. Everything I love is here. Everything I want is here. I belong here. And in a fair world I wouldn’t have to leave. I felt defeated and that’s not a good thing to feel.

When we lose ourselves, what we really mean is that we’ve lost our way. We’ve lost our direction, our end goal, our carefully charted course that we once found ourselves barreling down. We’ve lost the drive we used to use to propel us. We’ve lost the vision we once used to light the way ahead. We feel lost when what we had dreamed our life to be like falls through and it is beyond our influence to fix it.

But here’s the truth about being lost – we’re only ever as lost as we are in denial. When we don’t want the past to be over and the future looks too daunting to touch, we call it lost. When we’re barreling forwards at a thousand miles an hour but gazing determinately out the rearview mirror, we call it lost. When what’s been is so painfully appealing compared to what is coming up next, we call it lost. Because we’d rather be lost than be found in this new, uncomfortable place. And so we bury our coordinates. We toss away our compasses. And we declare ourselves citizens of no-mans-land.

The truth about being lost is that we choose it when we just aren’t ready to be found yet.

When you’re lost, you find yourself in every step you take towards gaining back control of your life. By stopping the cycle of passivity and replacing it with one of autonomy. You find your new self in each small choice you make, each risk you take, each opportunity that you fail to pass up, even if it ends up being a flop. You find yourself by re-creating yourself into the kind of person who is ready to take on what’s next.

Because the truth is, we can’t ever truly lose ourselves, because all ‘losing ourselves’ means is that we’re choosing a story that ended over the one that is still going on. It means we’re gazing in the wrong direction and calling our disorientation lost.

Getting found, by definition, is the simple act of recognizing where you are.  You simply have to recognize that you’re somewhere new now. Somewhere different and challenging and less than ideal, maybe. But there you are. And to find yourself somewhere new, you simply need to start walking.

You’ll find yourself in wherever you end up.

You’ll find yourself in any place where you go with your whole heart.

So, game mode is on. I’m fighting back. It sucks that other people decide that I can’t stay in the place I am so happy in, surrounded by the people that make me happy. It has been driving me mad. But here I am. Moving to Berlin to help my current employer expand to Europe. And working my ass off to come back next year. California is where I belong and heck, I won’t let anything get in the way off that. Well, at least nothing within my power. Now excuse me, I am taking back my life…

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A heart in New York

Hello everybody!!

I think it is more than time for me to finally raise my words, to talk to the masses, to share my opinion, to PUBLISH A POST ON THIS BLOG…anyway…. Jupp, Judith is right, I will (hopefully) be crossing the big pond in three weeks to live and work in New York City for three months. I am really trying my best right now to transmit this hipster “yeah-so-I-will-be-living-in-NY-no-big-deal-man-slash-like-a-boss-slash-YO” attitude but the truth is: Whenever I even think about it, I  can’t help but jumping up and down and scream in a very high-pitched, very girly way. I am sorry, I am actually neither hipster nor girly. I am just about to fulfill something that was on the very top of my bucket list ever since I got to know what exactly a bucket list is (which was half a year ago). Im not gonna lie, at the moment I feel like Meryl Streep must have felt when she finally won the Oscar for Best Actress after 13 nominations in a row. I am so damn proud of myself. Okay, yeah…I know what you must be thinking: “Is she kidding us, the only thing that she did was finding an internship in the US, not even at a very known organization so what is the big deal???!!!” Yeah, you are right. I would still advise you not to raise this argument in my presence if you want to stay alive. The whole process is…it took… Okay, let me actually hold my Oscar speech:

Dear Blog reader, dear Judith, dear all other people in my life;

I DID IT!!!!! DADADADAAMDADADAMDADADDADADADAMMMM. I found an internship at a place that I love, in a position that I am passionate about, in a city I A.D.O.R.E! I did not let anyone get into my way, even though people tried. I wrote applications for three months straight, which sums up to around 40 applications. I got 38 rejections and 2 phone interviews, one in San Diego with Invisible Children, the other in New York at a theater NGO. I died a thousand (metaphorical) deaths preparing for these before-mentioned interviews, lying awake for hours and hours at night, repeating answers to possible questions over and over and over and over again. I drove my roommate crazy, who basically had to become the interviewer person for me for hours and hours. I got both internships offered and freaked out about having to make a decision. I chose the NYC one. I started the visa application. I was told that my visa will cost me around $1,000 more than I was planning on spending and will take 6 more weeks than I had available. Several embassy calls, a bunch of emergency calls to my parents (“Dad, I need an international health insurance within the next four hours” “Mom, can you let the bank somehow prove  by tonight that we have more than $3,000 available?” “Erm, so…Mom, Dad…this whole process will exceed my budget by pretty much $,1500…could you lend me some?”) and a lot of lost nerves later, I finally have an interview appointment next monday. And hell, I am scared. I have nothing to hide of course but these consulate officers are so intimidating.I understand, they are just good at their job. But if they look at me and ask me in all honesty whether I am planning on attacking the US terroristically or whether I am planning on transmitting any highly infectious deceases, I will have trouble not to die of laughter. Because that could go bad in terms of visa approval. No, but I think I will be doing good. Until they ask: “Will you come back?” HAHAHAHA. I wonder if they ever had anyone sitting in this office, being asked that question and responding with a straight-forward, dry: “No.” ?! Honestly though, I just hope everything works out. I put so much effort into this, I don’t want it all to fail because of any visa problems. So, please keep your fingers crossed!

In terms of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, this whole thing actually helps me a lot. Only the fact that I will have to cross the whole country to go to the embassy with the earliest visa appointment, going to a city I haven’t been to before, having to find the consulate and getting my visa makes me nervous. Not because I am spoiled but because I grew up very protected. Oh well, the things you do for three months in New York…

I got my apartment already, since I will be living with one of my closest friends from campus. She got an internship in NY as well and trust me, we have so many things on our To-Do-List already, you will for sure be entertained with us doing all of that!

Now, everything should be perfect, right? Yeah, except for one thing that I completely forgot about over this whole internship drama: My finals!!! I still have four finals and three research projects, one moving-out process and one financial aid renewal application to do before boarding my plane (not to mention above-explained process of crossing the whole country for my visa appointment and booking a flight in the first place). Will I survive? HA, of course! Will I have a break-down out of exhaustion once I am actually in the air? HA, that for sure! Anyway, all in good time. And now I think it is time for my favorite TV show 😉

….To be continued…