Words of Wisdom with Oma • Adulting 101

Hello world,

Today I want to talk about my grandmother, my Oma.

Oma is turning eighty-five today. She has seen so many things in eighty-five years: She was born at the dawn of the Third Reich era, experienced the horrors of WWII, was separated from her father for a long time because of war captivity, was separated from her family for an even longer time because of the division of Germany and witnessed many important events we read about in history books today.

Oma is generous, funny, and smart. She has always been multi-talented, but as she has now entered a new stage in her life in a retirement home, she continues to amaze me with her newly found passions, ambitions, and zest for life.

On my recent visit to Oma (and Opa), I took the opportunity to ask her twenty questions I have never asked her before.

20 Words of Wisdom with Oma

Tea or coffee?

coffee

Sunset or sunrise? 

sunrise

Bungee jumping or skydiving? 

skydiving

Dogs or cats? 

cats

City or country? 

city

Favorite birthday ever? 

#80

Favorite author?

T. Mann

Favorite city? 

Barcelona Rome

Favorite flower?

forget-me-nots

Favorite smell?

yellow roses

Most important characteristic?

cheerfulness

Who was your first kiss?

Opa Günther

What is the secret to a long lasting marriage? (Oma + Opa = 58 years)

tolerance

What would you major in now at university?

art history

If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be? 

A. Merkel

What is your most precious material possession? 

golden necklace

What should always be in my pantry?

water

Which nickname you ever got was your favorite?

big girl (Oma is really short)

What do you think the world needs?

insight

How would you summarize your life? 

no ragrets regrets (*edit by the author)

Oma has lived eighty-five years on this earth. She has done a lot, seen a lot, said a lot, discussed a lot, and cooked a lot of good food.

Old people are often seen as a burden in today’s society. They are from a different age and may be more conversative and part of a different belief system. But they are also people, people full of wisdom and experience.

I used to work at a retirement home. One resident once said to me: “Isn’t it cool, how this house is made out of so many stories?” Our grandpartents are people full of stories who won’t be with us forever. So, dare to ask your grandparents for all those stories.

Ask them. That’s what most people forget to do anyways nowadays.

xo

17 Memories // April 2017

Hello world,

Time flies, especially now that uni has started again. I can hardly find time to catch a break between all the fascinating but demanding courses I am taking. But it feels so good to be productive again. Everyday I am learning new things, which I hope to keep doing for a lot longer time.

April, however, is over, and I am here today to reflect on this last month.

Here are 17 memories I made in April 2017:

1. I cleaned a closet that had not been cleaned in twelve years.

2. Upon moving back to Heidelberg, all male members of my family embarrassed me in front of my dorm mates.

3. I had a visitor from Duluth, where I spent my exchange year during the coldest winter in 130 years. We hadn’t seen each other for three years, but it clicked again instantly.

4. We visited Frankfurt. It was actually quite pretty.

5. On Good Friday, I went running at 6am with 300 m of elevation. So proud.

6. Speaking of running, I ran a lot this month. 92 km to be exact.

7. I spent Easter with my family and the Easter bunny above the treetops. On Easter Sunday I was mistaken for being fifteen years old. What a sad day.

8. Summer semester started. I took far too many courses I am all too passionate about.

9. I visited Sophia in Hamburg and fell in love with the city while running around the Alster. I will live there one day. I know I will.

10. We stayed out till 5 o’clock. Summer fling don’t mean a thing but oh oh the summer nights.

11. Oma, Opa, and I had lunch and lots of laughs.

12. I started learning Swedish. Hej, jag heter Layla och kommer fron schweiz. Talar tyska, engelska, italienska, franska och pittolite svenska.

13. More adult things this month: I am now insured and saving up for retirement. #pensionof2064

14. I organized the semester opening activity for my dorm. ’twas fun.

15. Laura, Chiara, Julia, and I baked a cheese cake, respectively I prided myself on being the chef because of my last name and made them bake a cheese cake for their boss, aka me.

16. I danced into the month of May as is the custom. I will never ever again get the smoke stench created by 10,000 fires out of my jacket.

17. After a busy but adventurous month, I am ready for warmer weather and more activities with my friends.

Have a great May!

xo

52 Snaps // Week 15

Topic: Family

This goof was my dream come true when I was nine, has been the main source of fun and action for our family for the past ten years, and he is snoring next to me this very second.

A Scottish Sunset

Hello world,

Some days are special. They stand out when looking back. They give you that tingly feeling in your tummy. They are hard to plan; You can try, but in the end it is a combination of adventure, companionship, nature, and a bit of magic that will set my heart on fire.

I had one of those magical days on my Highland tour in Scotland. The day would have been great in itself, but what turned into one my favorites was how it ended: topless on an isle amidst castle ruins during sunset.
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After a long day in the Highlands, we returned to our hostel in Kyleakin, which is right next to the bridge. There used to be a toll on the bridge, but far before the bridge there had already been a Norwegian princess making money from tolls: Saucy Mary.

Legend has it that Saucy Mary and her husband, a Scottish clansman, laid a heavy metal chain from Castle Moil on the Isle of Skye to the Scottish mainland. They then demanded a heavy toll from passing ship captains. Saucy Mary thanked them for paying it by flashing her boobs to the ships.

I could not find any secondary source anywhere online, however, our tour guide told us if we flash our breasts from the castle ruins it is believed to bring luck.

Seems legit. (Our tour guide was a young woman by the way.)
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We decided to go for it. Six girls, one husband. The tide was coming in, thus we did not have much time. The way up was already quite the mudflat hiking. I was the first and showed no mercy to my boots. So eager was I to reach the castle before the sun had gone down that my shoes were already soaked within two minutes.

If you ever encounter a similar situation: Always choose watching the sun set over staying dry.
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We reached the castle ruins ten minutes before the sun disappeared. We were all out of breath, sweaty, and disgusting, but we had a laugh about it. All of us had only met the day before — we were practically strangers. However, in that moment it seemed like we had been friends forever. 

That’s what travel does to you: It makes you bond with people you have nothing in common with except the love for adventures.

Speaking of adventure: We then all took off our tops, grabbed each other by the hands, and started cheering. That was the magical moment: Standing on that hill, sweaty and disgusting, on the Isle of Skye during sunset with a bunch of newly found friends flashing the whole Isle of Skye and Scotland and the Atlantic ocean. All the while howling and giggling.

I felt very alive in that moment.

Strive for the moments that make you feel alive. I know, I know, sappy sunset and sunrise pictures always make me say that, but seriously: Start living! Stop worrying. Get out there, get sweaty and disgusting, make new friends, seize the sunset.

The way back was very cold and wet and hysterical: Six girls on adrenaline wading through mud with their white converse can create quite some noise. But the moon was shining, and nothing could dampen our mood. Not even the smell from our armpits.

That night was a really good night, too. A lot of jokes on the guys who had missed out on our flashing, a lot of Guinness and a lot of Scottish folk stories.

Turns out, we are all just strangers with memories.

xo