The healthy life in København

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Five years later, they are all still here. Mads, Nicklas, Jacob, Daniel. The guys I used to hang out with when I lived in Copenhagen. The stories we share now over coffee, sitting in bars, or sitting on living room couches reveal heartaches suffered, cancers survived, projects started, and lovers found. Meeting them brings up memories of sweet moments shared half a decade ago. Just Matthias has moved to Berlin, but I am staying in his old apartment and so am reminded of him anyhow. Continue reading “The healthy life in København”

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My beautiful Lola

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My room is the room above the kitchen. When I wake up, it is just beginning to dawn outside. I open the little window overlooking the garden, the sunflower fields are covered in a soft blanket of damp morning mist, and I can smell that Sara is baking bread downstairs. It is August, a few weeks before my thirtieth birthday, and I am on the French country side. Continue reading “My beautiful Lola”

Vermeer on Sunday

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On Saturday afternoons the sidewalk in front of Saint Andrew’s smells of fish and salty water. The morning market has a seafood stand, and little pools of Irish ocean color the pavement around the stand a dark, smelly grey that lingers long after the market is over and the stand dismounted. When I pass by, I wonder who’s bought fish that day and whom they will cook it for, and I also wonder if other people wonder about things like this as well.

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The things I love

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The question of how much of my time I spend doing things I love versus just doing things occupies lots of my brain’s capacity. Like, what the hell am I doing in Ireland out of all places? It’s gorgeous here, mystical, totally unexpected. People say things like, Hey lads, and What’s the craic?, they eat lots of butter, and I love them for it. But still. I don’t mind going to the office either, I don’t mind calculating things and analysing things and planning things, but it doesn’t fill my heart with joy. Here’s what does: Jumping into freezing cold oceans, indulging in scrumptious veggie meals, feeling connected to people. I guess it’s the latter that keeps me at Google, because I genuinely do like a lot of the people there. Continue reading “The things I love”

Letting go… whatever

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I have the hypothesis that all of us come to this planet to learn certain lessons. One of the more annoying lessons bestowed upon me: Learning to let go. F.M.L. You’ve heard people talk about this before: You have to let stuff go for it to come back to you freely, they say, and I shake my head and consider turning around and running away, but then I obviously don’t run away, because that would be a little weird in real life.

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Me, among people

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I’m alone a lot these days. I spoke to two people this weekend, one of which was the guy at the store, the other my friend Aislinn. They are both really nice people, mind you, but I was thinking about how this time 3 years ago, I lived with a man, and the only time I wasn’t surrounded by someone was on my 15 minute way to work through early morning San Francisco. For the rest of the day there was someone there, by my side, even at night. Continue reading “Me, among people”

Midsommar i Sverige

IMG_1837Yes, yes, y’all. It’s been over 2 years since the last post, and of course that had to do with a heart-breaking break-up, the loss of a visa and a job and an apartment and a man and a future and a lot of self-confidence and any zest for living or writing at all.  Continue reading “Midsommar i Sverige”

You will not be able to extend your life by even a second

Encouraging Words by  Zen Master Guishan

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“Someday you will die.

Lying on your sick bed about to breathe your last, you will be assailed by every kind of pain.

Your mind will be filled with fears and anxieties and you will not know where to go or what to do.
Continue reading “You will not be able to extend your life by even a second”

I suppose & Swedish summer

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I suppose people change and relationships end, despite of what best-selling novels and Hollywood Christmas movies would like me to believe. I suppose life doesn’t always come with happy ends. Diseases aren’t cured, and distances aren’t overcome. Fathers die and don’t make peace with mothers. Promises and plans of a future life together disappear in nothingness. I suppose that’s a dismal, yet somewhat realistic view of the world. The thing here is this. I really don’t want to be realistic.  Continue reading “I suppose & Swedish summer”

What Balinese rice fields can teach us: Life lessons in emerald green

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Take a walk through Bali’s rice fields, and you’ll find yourself bathing in a sea of emerald green. Part of the paddies’ magic might be that they are located just a few hundred meters from the traffic jammed, hot, sticky roads. In the rice fields, you find yourself in another world, one that offers calm and a gentle breeze of fresh air. The endless rice paddies are speckled with scare crows improvised from bamboo sticks, as well as rusty huts that give barefoot farmers a place to doze off. And then, far away on the horizon, glistening in the sun, still partially under construction, you’ll see a three story hotel complex that could as well be on Ibiza for all you know.

What does it mean to live in a country like Indonesia? Continue reading “What Balinese rice fields can teach us: Life lessons in emerald green”

Bali, Hashimoto, and other things with foreign names shaping my life

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I’m on Bali. Bali is one of over 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia. Yes, that’s 17 thousand and not a typo. Did you know Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world with 245 million inhabitants? I did not. Bali is about one and a half times the size of Mallorca. Unlike most other places in Indonesia, it is predominately Hindu, rather than Muslim. What do I do here, you ask? I am staying in what one might call the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud. The city is nestled in the rice fields that line the beginning of the island’s central mountain terrain.

Continue reading “Bali, Hashimoto, and other things with foreign names shaping my life”

The rewards of climbing volcanos (may or may not include banana pancakes)

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We got up at a time of the night that is neither late nor early. My cell phone alarm had gone off at 2 am, I wasn’t sure I had slept the hours before. Maybe I just dozed off. I slipped into my clothes, we got on the mini van. There were more people than seats. That seems to be the case often in Indonesia, but they make it work somehow. After a one hour drive through the night, we arrived at a parking lot, where thin tea was served with even thinner instructions on how to climb volcanos. The tour operator promised banana pancakes with chocolate sauce once we reached the top. And so the mount began.  Continue reading “The rewards of climbing volcanos (may or may not include banana pancakes)”

Bitter Sweet Everything

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With Bali it is as with most things in life. Some smiles are genuine and sweet, some are a labor of duty. Some roads give views on rice fields lush and green, some irritate your sinuses with exhausts and pollution. Some meals are raw, fresh, and delicious, some send you on a 24 hour hospital stint with a bacterial infection. Just like most things in life, Bali is a little bitter sweet. Continue reading “Bitter Sweet Everything”

The day Paul Walker died

DSC01935The day Paul Walker died we were in New York City. We had dinner reservations at Acquavit that night, where we found ourselves indulging in everything tasty Scandinavia may have to offer amidst warm light and warmer service. There were plates that married tapioca pearls and quail egg, langoustine and sea urchin, sardines and elderberries, foie gras and radish, cod and sunchoke, squab and apple, white chocolate and a bird’s nest, smiles and hands holding each other across the table. Continue reading “The day Paul Walker died”

I’m at the gym

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I think we can agree on the fact that going to the gym is among the stranger activities humankind engages in. The whole concept of going to a closed room to move and sweat and be physically active, in order to make up for the rest of the day spent in other closed rooms where you don’t move and don’t sweat and aren’t physically active is somewhat bewildering. But then there are two places in the world where going to the gym arguably exceeds this level of general weirdness.  Continue reading “I’m at the gym”

Memories I take with me

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When I get up in the morning at 6.30 am it is still dark outside. I jog downhill to the gym through San Francisco’s moist and cold, and it smells of fried bacon on some street corners, and burnt wood on others. I hold my maze spray in hand, because – you never know.

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Special Saturday

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Every Saturday, Nicola and I embark on adventures we like to group under the heading ‘Special Saturday.’ We take turns in deciding what novel activity could fill our Saturday, and have a lot of fun plotting during the week to reveal our plans to the other on Saturday morning. Last week’s visit to the Botanical Garden had been my ‘Special Saturday’ pick. So this week it was Nicola’s turn and he decided we should take a scooter trip to Sausalito. Here we go.

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Kaua’i Part II & other stories

DSC01472California is sunny and hot these days, San Francisco fog clouds nothing but my memories. It has almost been a month since we took off for Lihue International Airport. Can you believe this?

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Kaua’i

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Well, my dear friends, upon our return from what might very well be called paradise on earth, aka the island of Kaua’i, it turned out that we had taken close to 500 photographs while on vacation. That’s as close to an excuse as you will hear from me for the August silence on Monday Notes. Sorting through all those pictures continues to take its time.

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Home again

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I am sitting at the Copenhagen airport, clinging on to what is probably my third cup of coffee this morning—who’s keeping count at this point—in the hope it might heal the current state of pain my brain is suffering after only 3 hours of sleep last night. Memories of the week at home sooth my state of mind. Besides running endless errands, going home in my case always means indulging in delicious meals, indulging in many pleasant conversations with my grandparents, about the past and the future, and about how to live in the present despite them both, and finally, indulging in cuddles with the world’s cutest puppy, Madame Flo.

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Style Crush: Utility, the German Edition

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Who knows – maybe this is the effect of being back in Germany? How else to explain my craving for the functional shirt dress depicted above, which somehow reminds of a boiler suit. In a good way. Pair this with some comfy sneakers, and all sorts of tassly, chunky, leathery accoutrements.

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5 years is half a decade

Memories Monday Notes

I remember today five years ago pretty well. I sat in a dark hospital room somewhere in Germany, watching the first red lining in the sky herald the break of dawn outside of the window. It had been a long night with bursts of sudden sleep interrupting my attempts to stay awake at all cost. The chair I sat on must have been immensely uncomfortable, but the pain flooding my body had nothing to do with it.

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Cross-Atlantic departures, of the unexpected type

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Oh, life. One moment things are are steady, the pace of life as per usual, the course of events calm and orderly. The next moment, you find yourself packing a suitcase for an out-of-the-blue cross-Atlantic flight home for document-related matters, demanding in-person-appearance and illustrating the nuisance that is German bureaucracy like nothing else. It’s a routine event shaking up my routine.

Continue reading “Cross-Atlantic departures, of the unexpected type”