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Don’t judge a book by its cover

"Faire mouche", by Vincent Almendros.

© aNadventures

As my dear friend Trixie and I were queuing outside a Berlin club yesterday, the question whether we would be let in quickly arose. Apparently, you have to look cool enough to be allowed in. But why? And what does cool enough even mean? We were hardly moving forward in the queue and saw quite a few people being rejected. “I should have gone for the black one instead of this one”, my friend stated, pointing out her rosy jacket. Then she added: “We are way too colourful.” I looked down on my light blue jeans and shrugged. Standing in the queue was actually a nice way to get inspired, style-wise. The three guys in front of us were dressed up completely in black, except for one of them who was wearing red socks. Other people were combining tights with sports jackets or cropped tops with loose tops. They were wearing belt or gym bags.

As we were about halfway through the queue, the girl right behind of us jumped into our conversation: Read more…

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Barcelona: Bonding with strangers

A Chinese song.

Photo courtesy of Shazam.

I previously described my experience of making friends with strangers over brunch in my Berlin neighbourhood. Today, I’d like to share another story of bonding with strangers that took place last year in Barcelona and has been on my mind ever since.

After walking the Camino Portugués last year in spring, I decided to spend two days in Barcelona before returning to Germany. My feet desperately needed a massage, so I decided to enter a beauty parlour specialized in pedicures, manicures and foot massages. The one I visited was run by a handful of Chinese ladies. The woman in charge kindly welcomed me and asked me to take a comfy seat. Another friendly lady spread out her tools in front of me and after washing my feet, she started rubbing them in a soothing balm. As she was putting my aching feet muscles back into their pre-camino position, I looked around and observed the other clients. Read more…

Draw it with your tongue: 6 expressions to state your current mood in Turkish

Coulourful house in Salamanca, Spain.

© aNadventures

One of the many things I love about the Turkish language is that it’s so full of imagery. It literally feels like you can create drawings while talking.

In previous posts, I’ve described that Turkish is not that hard of a language to learn, that you can express yourself in 3 basic sounds, that you’re clearly at an advantage if you know some French expressions and that it’s important to take your time or the devil will interfere.

Next, I’d like to show you some examples of the strong imagery that can be found in the Turkish language in an everyday conversation, for example when you’re asked how you are and you get to express your current mood.  Have a look at the following 6 statements:

 

  1. Keyfim yerinde.

This means something like “My mood is at its right place” and you can use it to express that you’re feeling well, happy and that you’re having a good time. You may also say Keyfim, sağlığım yerinde which means that your mood as well as your health are at their right places.

  1. Canım sıkın.

Whenever you use this expression, whoever you’re talking to will understand that you’re feeling blue, that there’s something bothering you. Its literal translation would be something like “My soul is squeezed / crushed” which states a rather unpleasant feeling.

  1. Kafam karışık.

If you’re feeling confused, this expression comes in handy. It means “My head is mixed up”. Read more…

Besides reason

Street art in Salamanca, Spain.

© aNadventures

Isn’t it interesting how our language reflects the world around us? At the same time, our culture shapes our language. The two of them are intertwined.

Recently, I’ve been pondering upon the Spanish words razón (reason) and corazón (heart). I find it striking that these two are quite similar, their only visual difference being the prefix “co“.

This has led me to think that the heart may be perceived as a companion to reason, as this prefix generally suggests that two elements come hand in hand, as in co-worker, cooperation and cohabiting.

Interestingly, this strong semantic similarity is not given in English, German, French, Turkish or Italian. Does this mean that heart and reason are perceived as more autonomous from one another in these languages? Read more…

Between the lines

Between the lines.

© aNadventures

If you look closer, there it is:

A glimpse of hope, a reason for bliss

You once thought it never quite works

Deep down in your soul resilience lurks

A light shines from within

A voice so thin

Just listen to what it has to say

The hard times leave, your strength will stay Read more…

Wise words from Salamanca

As you may remember from my recent post about Salamanca, that city is simply full of incredible street art.

Some of the pieces of art I encountered there were uplifting, others provided me with food for thought.

Here’s a phrase I came across that I particularly liked:

Wise words from Salamanca.

© aNadventures

 

As he / she didn’t know it was impossible… he / she simply did it.

 

This sentence got me thinking: How often do we refrain from doing what we actually want to do, just out of fear of failing? Instead of trying, we often find excuses for why it’s impossible that we succeed. This is human behaviour, I guess. But what if we just take the risk, despite the fear? Read more…

A colourful city: Street art in Salamanca

Super girl.

© aNadventures

What comes to mind when you think of Salamanca?

Spain? A famous university? A UNESCO World Heritage Site? The birth place of Canadian writer Yann Martel?

Last year, when I first visited Salamanca to spend New Year’s Eve with my in-laws, I was surprised by three things:

  1. I was welcomed by a beautiful bright blue sky which, at the end of December, is a blessing for me.
  2. There’s an ornate carving of an astronaut hidden in between the many sculptures that adorn the cathedral’s façade.
  3. The neighbourhood called Barrio del Oeste is full of street art.

As soon as I stepped out the door, my eyes met one piece of art after the other. They were painted on houses and shops, on walls and garages. Read more…

Berlin: Making friends with strangers

Spring in Berlin.

© aNadventures

You don’t necessarily have to leave your city to experience something new.

On a Saturday morning that felt like the first spring day of the year, I was given a wake-up kiss by the sun. I instantly decided to make the most of the day and to have breakfast outside in one of Berlin’s many cozy sidewalk cafés.

I started walking towards a nearby square when I suddenly encountered a crew shooting a movie. I almost walked into the scene and was surprised to recognize a famous German actor on the sidewalk just a few metres away from me.  I was intrigued by the whole procedure and sat down at one of the tables of the nearest café.

The spot I chose was both facing the sun as well as very close to the film crew. It didn’t last long until an elder man, Peter, joined me. I ordered a breakfast with an emphasis on cheese and accompanied it with a cappuccino. Peter and I started exchanging some words. But I was rather hesitant, at first. Read more…

7 things I’ve learnt from 7 years of blogging

Lioness.

©aNadventures

This is no post like any other. This is a special one. This is the 300th I publish on this blog.

When I started sharing my aNadventures back in 2012, just before moving to Turkey, little did I know I’d still be doing so seven years later. The focus of my stories has been changing and evolving but the fun of putting down my experiences and thoughts has accompanied me all the same. So, to honour the enjoyment and resilience this platform has provided me, I’d like to summarize the most important blogging lessons learnt throughout the last years:

 

1. Be authentic

Writing means opening up to yourself and your readers. Whenever you write something, chances are high it’s somehow related to a personal experience or a topic close to your heart. You’re wrapping part of your soul into those words you put down. Writing from within and expressing yourself make you vulnerable. But it’s the only way to be credible to yourself and those who read you. It’s the only way to make blogging truly enjoyable.

 

2. Enjoy the flow

When I write, I tend to forget everything else in my surroundings ― the pain, the rain, the sadness, the madness. I even forget to eat, which is rather unusual. Fellow bloggers and whoever fully emerges in any kind of creative activity may agree that experiencing “flow” is a very special state that makes you be at peace with the present moment. Blogging has provided me with many such flow moments throughout the last years and I’m truly thankful for every single one of them.

 

3.  Take your time

Sometimes the right words take time to show up. Sometimes you sit in front of a blank page. You type a sentence over and over again. Then you delete a word. You add another one. It’s part of the process. We’ve all been there. And suddenly you’ve accomplished something beautiful, something real. You read your text. You make adjustments. You nod. Good things just tend to take their time if you let them. And when it’s time to hit the “publish” button, you’ll know it. Read more…

You know it’s a Turkish wedding when…   

Heart shaped wedding cake.

© aNadventures

When my former flat mate and dear friend announced she was getting married and asked me to be her wedding witness, I felt honoured. Of course I’ll be there, I told her and booked my flight to Izmir. Being back felt familiar and strange at the same time but I was particularly excited about witnessing my first ever Turkish wedding with the people that had become family to me when I was living in Turkey.

The Turkish culture is rich in traditions and ceremonies: What you say in whichever situation, who you serve coffee to in which way and order, what you do or do not do in public… So many things are determined by unspoken rules. That’s why I was very curious to see which traditions apply to a Turkish wedding.

The following are some of my observations. Read more…