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Street art in Valencia: The colours of my honeymoon

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A bright blue sky in the middle of November. A palm tree whispering: You’ll be just fine. A bike, a breeze, the ocean. Lightness. Pure delight. And me in the middle of it all. 

 

When I think of it today, it seems like years have passed. It feels like a dream. Yet, it happened. Less than two months ago. After a long period of fatigue, anxiety and depression, I decided it was time to go on an adventure once again, to treat myself to a honeymoon with myself. I boarded a plane that took me straight to Valencia (Spain), a place I felt excited to explore. 

 

I expected the blue sky. I expected the sun. I expected the friendliness of the locals and all the delicious food. What surprised me, though, was to find a street art paradise. On my first afternoon in Valencia, I strolled around the Old Town area and encountered so many colourful murals. A few of them hosted messages that spoke straight to me:

 

  1. Reset your heart. 
  2. Everything will be just fine. 
  3. We have what we want but not what we need. 

Here’s a selection of the pieces of art I spotted during my honeymoon in Valencia:  Read more…

café

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café domingo 1

café lunes 2

café martes 1

café miércoles 2

café jueves 2

café viernes 

cafécafécafé

The One Where 2021 comes to an end

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This 2021, I took up the habit of writing down one sentence at the end of each day, imagining my life as a sitcom and choosing which moments I’d like to remember in particular. I’m glad I did so. Now, as I’m flicking through the notebooks I filled, a vast mosaic of moments unfolds in front of me. 

 

The following are some of my exceptional episodes from 2021:

 

  • The One Where I travel around the world in 4 markets
  • The One Where I finally remove the mold on my bathroom ceiling. 
  • The One Where my friend Trixie and I build a snow woman that we name Susi. 
  • The One Where I get to meet my friend’s twin girls and we spend the afternoon playing in the woods. 
  • The One Where my crush tells me he’s seeing someone. 
  • The One Where I introduce myself as a giraffe within the setting of a workshop. 
  • The One Where I start my first job as a writing tutor.  
  • The One Where I have my first Covid test and accompany my coach to go engagement ring hunting afterwards. 
  • The One Where Trixie and I organize a writing workshop on self-love. 
  • The One Where my sister and I spend the day by the pool at her in-laws’ house. 
  • The One Where Trixie and I have an encounter with a fox at night. 
  • The One Where I get my first Covid vaccine at Tegel Airport
  • The One Where I start watching a Turkish series and keep hitting the “next episode” button. 
  • The One Where I ride my bike and go for a swim in the river after work. 
  • The One Where I have my first day at my second job as a writing tutor. 
  • The One Where I spend a day at the Baltic Sea with my friend and her admirer.
  • The One Where I decide I’m the CEO of my life. 
  • The One Where Trixie is my +1 at the river when my crush brings his girlfriend. 
  • The One Where my cousin moves in for a week. 
  • The One Where I get my second Covid vaccine. 
  • The One Where I sit down in a café after work and it starts pouring with rain but I’m all cozy sipping a cappuccino and writing haikus
  • The One Where my neighbours invite me on a cabrio ride for my birthday. 
  • The One Where the one who taught me unconditional love and I spend the day in Hannover doing everything we’d do if we lived in the same city: going to the pharmacy, to an ATM, having lunch and coffee, chilling by the lake, talking and hugging. 
  • The One Where I change my writing spot for an additional dose of inspiration: writing on top of the washing machine. 
  • The One Where the yang to my yin is back in Berlin after 21 months.  
  • The One Where I hand in my final uni assignments.  
  • The One Where I put the horse in my garden
  • The One Where I attend a virtual eleven-hour congress on Personal Writing and I love every minute of it. 
  • The One Where I travel to Valencia for some precious me-time in the South. 
  • The One Where I meet my soul mate in a hostel bathroom.  
  • The One Where my coach, her fiancé and I dance in their living room all while baking cookies and drinking mulled wine. 
  • The One Where my coach asks me if I want to be her maid of honour. 
  • The One Where I see my parents and my brother after almost 1.5 years. 
  • The One Where we all test positive for Covid and are stuck in quarantine at my parents’ house. 
  • The One Where 2021 comes to an end. 

 

There are many ways to let a year end and to welcome the new one. A Colombian tradition we usually enjoy is running around the block at midnight, a suitcase in hand. This is said to attract travelling in the new year. Since we’re currently in confinement, we won’t be leaving the house this time. Instead, I raise my glass to each and everyone of you out there and I wish you a happy new year. May it be filled with blessings and adventures, no matter how small or big. 

How about YOU? Which episodes of 2021 would you like to remember? 

Paper plane

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High five

conmigo misma

every time

I wake up,

making up

my mind

about going on,

about staying strong.

 

I grip my

courage,

fold it up

like a paper

plane –

not in vain.

 

Suddenly I fly,

smile on my lips,

like a paper ship –

unsinkable.

I want the lightness

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of the world at my feet,

of travels with Bob and Courage,  

of conscious choices

that get me out of bed and exploring, 

 

of losing myself in two-way streets,

of finding home again and again, 

of graffiti that gets me thinking

and a blue sky that gets me going. 

 

of freshly squeezed orange juice, 

of churros for breakfast,

of affordable coffee and tomato toast

that include sweet words and a smile, 

 

of a group of people that just met, 

of my soul mate in the hostel toilet, 

of paella for her and for me

and a meal for a good cause

Read more…

Soul mates

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Calmness is the brightest room in the house.

I would like to see you

take some rest in my arm chair. 

 

I won’t charge you any rent

to live in my universe.

Take a deep breath,  

unpack all your sorrows, and tomorrow

let’s have breakfast together.  

 

I can’t promise you the sun, 

nor the moon,

nor the stars.

But I’ll turn on all the lights

to make you feel at home

 

Calmness is the brightest room in the house.

I would like to see you

take a nap on my shoulder blade. 

 

For your soul and my soul

share a blanket of trust

as strong as an armour. 

 

Note: This poem is inspired by Hafiz’ poem “Your Mother and My Mother”, which I came upon in Kate Clanchy’s book “How to grow your own poem”. 

The horse in my garden

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To put the horse in the garden. It’s a saying in German: Das Pferd in den Garten stellen. That’s what I did today. Let me explain. 

After work, or rather in between work and work (different story), I went to a coffee place just around the corner from where I live. It’s one of my favourite things to do, lately. Just sit in a café, people-watching, sipping coffee, maybe accompanied by some cake, reading, taking notes, simply relaxing and spending time with myself

The place I went to is run by a Turkish guy. I’ve only been there twice, so far. I instantly felt reassured when I heard him speak Turkish with some of the guests who seem to be regulars. Just as I was leaving, heading towards the door, I dared to say a few words in Turkish myself: “Tschüß. [Ok, that’s German. But then…] Kolay gelsin!” The guy instantly froze and smiled. He asked me if I was Turkish, how I learnt Turkish, why I spoke Turkish. He had thought I was German and said he was learning German so we should MUTLAKA speak next time I went by. I’d like that, actually. 

Exchanging a few sentences, a few words, in Turkish made my day. It always surprises me how switching languages can cause a mood shift. I feel very close to my soul when I speak Turkish. Canımın içinde işte. And the like. So, on my way out of the café, I felt full of energy and walked around the block all while putting the horse in the garden. 

I pictured myself returning to the café sometime soon, talking to the guy, getting to know each other yavaş yavaş, falling in love, telling him I want to take it slow this time, being surprised by his maturity, finally facing someone who can support me on an emotional level, meeting someone I can grow and move forward with. I even pictured us having cute babies and raising them in both Spanish and Turkish. Oh well, the full horse in the garden, işte.

How about YOU? Have you recently placed the horse in your garden? I’d love to read your stories, if you feel like sharing them. 

How to love in Turkish

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In Turkish, love is loud. 

It shouts out from all corners

of the setting sun. 

 

An explosion of sunflower seeds.

The sound of teacups

on a summer night.

Laughter 

while coffee reading. 

 

In Turkish, love wears 

casual pants

as soon as you get home.

 

It kisses your hands,

your cheeks, your smile.

It touches your soul

and reminds you

of fresh pita bread. 

 

In Turkish, love flies away.

Its wings are on fire

with pet names.

 

The inside of my soul.

My one and only.

And the like. 

I like you as much

as I like green olives. 

 

How to love in Turkish?

There are no words.

Just images as sticky as baklava.   

The canvas

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I said maybe tomorrow, and pictured 

a canvas, spread across 

the future, ready to be sprinkled on

with dream dust. I thought

 

of me sitting by your side, facing

the tides of life, holding hands

as the sea gulls reached out

for my hot dog. I planned to wait

 

for the storm to pass. But it lasted

for as long as my doubts. The waves 

swallowed my pride as I asked for

help, as I put the weight of trust 

 

on your shoulders, and your hug 

told me everything would be 

just fine, as long as I let go

When I spoke of tomorrow, I meant

 

an ocean of lemon possibilities. I meant

a lifetime. I meant a rock called home

 

Note: This poem is inspired by Kate Clanchy’s poem “Patagonia”, which I came upon in her book “How to grow your own poem”.  

Hope

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Hope is all I have.

In between

bucket list dreams

and daytime heartbreak

I’m drowning

in tears

I’ve locked myself

out of myself. 

The one true home

I had. 

Hope is all I had.