Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An exposé on Germany's biggest TV network's journalism fails or: Go to hell, RTL!

I am the proudest sister in the world. Not only does my sister live and work in Egypt, a country that most people on Earth fear these days (for pretty insane reasons!), but she has also now been part of a TV documentary on Germany's biggest network RTL. Paradoxically the report was on two sisters, one being a famous belly dancer, the other one a salafist, living in Cairo. One naturally wonders where RTL found the addition of my sister's accounts beneficial to such a program. RTL might be Germany's biggest network but that doesn't really shine a bright light on the intellectual property of the nation. What I'm trying to say is RTL is dumb TV, trying to sell you a story for entertainment, definitely not information purposes, even if their star reporter Antonia Rados, Germany's pathetic answer to Christane Amanpour, is associated with the broadcast as she was in this case. This is my once in a lifetime opportunity to prove that the information RTL is selling is utter bullcrap because my sister was involved in the development of this "documentary". I saw what they sold my sister as and I know my sister. Guess what happened?

My sister (l.) with Antonia Rados and other converts
All together Antonia Rados met up with my sister twice for a few hours and in the end we saw footage spanning over 3 minutes. That's fine I guess, if only those 3 minutes hadn't been filled with information that was not given in the entire two days of conversation with my sister. I don't even want to know how many times Antonia Rados met up with the belly dancer and salafist sisters because even there she believed to see rivalry. Sorry Antonia, all I saw was two sisters with different lifestyles. Their supposed "fight" on camera was conveniently narrated, not giving us any original quotes by the sisters despite the fact I wouldn't be able to understand anyways. Still pretty curious. The title alone ("My sister, my enemy") is a complete embarassment. These sisters seem fine: One is promiscuous, the other one deeply religious. Doesn't that happen everywhere, all the time? Nobody but Rados seemed to have an actual problem with it. Things could be better for their relationship but animosity, never mind enimity was not really part of it, Antonia! My favorite part however will have to be Antonia Rados' effort to explain the term salafist. It didn't need any introduction, Rados only went for a picture of Osama Bin Laden. Wow! So RTL didn't say it but the introduction evokes the feeling that every salafist is a terrorist. Classy RTL! And so incredibly true... not!

Considering that my sister was almost lucky! Compromising two days into a 3 minute report can't exclude a pretty intense edit and my sister was very mad about the edit she got. I personally think that her personality was captured alright, not edited to make her look like a maniac for converting and living there as I secretly expected from RTL. However, the bad edits can't add content that wasn't said one way or another right?? WRONG! My sister was quoted to have said she had to scream for help after harassments by Egyptian men before. I can only laugh, these people don't know my sister at all. Not only did my sister obviously never say that but I can also personally vouch for this being a ridiculous overstatement. I have spent sufficient time in Egypt to say that harassments aren't worse than in India or Kenya, both countries also leaving me in one piece. If you aren't a total idiot these harassments can't even be considered as such. Jesus RTL! She never said that. What's the point of fueling this fear of Egypt? It isn't that bad!

All together the report didn't go that easy on living in Egypt these days. Pictures of riots were prioritized over the pictures they shot while with my sister which would have depicted a secure life of a German, blond convert living in Ad Dokki, Cairo. You wanna see pictures of Egypt, a wonderful country worth visiting? Look at anyone's pictures who's actually been. My sister's work was stated as being located in a noble district of Cairo which is a straight out lie. I've been there: there might be a gate to the Kindergarten but before that gate you have goats running around and a general area that Western people like to describe as poverty. Nevertheless, my sister has been walking these streets for two years now and has not been harmed yet. Still Rados actually called her "prey" to pretty much every man in Egypt. Way to go, RTL, acting as if my sister's life was sporadically in danger.

My sister was particularly sad about being associated with a report that made Egypt look bad although she is and has been very happy there. Yes, a bit of attention and an occasional verbal harrassment might be part of her life there more so than in Germany but she says that the impressions of people helping her, a sense of community and the general feeling of being secure and protected make up for that big time. Unfortunately that is not what RTL is reporting on because who would want to see that? RTL viewers have their picture of Egypt in their head to the extent that my aunt who is visiting my sister next month is now scared to go. Absolute rubbish. My sister survived 2 years by avoiding Tahrir and mass demonstration which shouldn't be too hard in a 20 million souls metropolitan area. If news would focus on information, and not entertainment, I am pretty sure Egypt would not be having the tourism problem it's having now. RTL, of course, stays true to its reputation of making absolutely horrible TV and proves that even the tag "Antonia Rados" is worthless.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thoughts on age... continued!

Realizing you're getting old is a very slow-moving process, and obviously being 25 doesn't really allow me to write this at all, but for many reasons I have come to realize that celebrating youth is coming to an end, even for me. "Forever young" was always my all-time favorite song and I only decided last week it will be demoted to second place because I am no longer getting the same feeling when listening to it, that feeling being fear of growing older! When discussing any age starting with a 2, usually even a 3, you get the "come on, you're YOUNG!"- look but the truth is that not being old doesn't necessarily make you young. Sure, I'm not 80 in which case nobody would be saying that (they ARE old!) but if we take away the numbers from the equation and base age on what's been happening, what is expected and, mostly, what won't be happening anymore I know I'm not that young anymore.

(Un-) fortunately for me I never realized I was getting older because, let's face it, I almost exclusively dated younger boys, the majority of my friends in Scotland are younger than me because I took a couple of gap years and I missed out on my teenage years which I postponed to my uni years. Then suddenly, I graduated, and everyone around me put a ring on the finger, including some people I thought I was gonna marry myself. The biggest drinkers from SKINT tuesdays in Dundee are now running around in suits! Pictures of babies are crowding my social media profiles and made a not so smooth transition from seeing pictures of drunk-out-of-their-mind friends one day to baby's first steps the next one. A baby is something I thought my generation was not really thinking of yet. We were just in our early 20s last week. Suddenly everybody has one, and I'm not surrounded by people who go wild anymore but with those I can babysit for.

The truth is that 25 is a very legitimate numeral age for this to happen. I have no children and way too much on my agenda to achieve before it's time but if I was pregnant now nobody would be upset. Procreation at 25 is anatomically and socially a fantastic idea, everyone around me would be delighted. If I was in fact young, or too young, a pregnancy wouldn't be that great of a thing. What's funny to me is that I see why 100%, suggesting that I am indeed not the same person I was five or six year ago when I was actually young. Others are different. My friend Marcus stopped being young when we graduated high school as he got married right away and had a baby a couple of years after. It worked out so so well for him, it would make anyone jealous. By the time he became a daddy for the second time I had only just figured out what being young means. Marcus is a few months older than me but I'm way younger than him. Numbers can't determine age!

So it took me a little bit longer to realize that I am suddenly not part of the generation "party" anymore and entering the generation "poopy diapers". The explanation might be that I was part of the generation "you have to grow up faster" when everyone else my age partied. Then again, they all still party, and have partied for the past 10 years so I'm certainly not behind. If anything I have realized myself I have abandoned the generation I have actively taken part in over the past five years on my own accord. I still have the opportunity to be part of generation "party" but I don't want to anymore. No young person would say that. Like, an actually young person. They would never voluntarily join the generation "career and personality growth". And many don't choose to do so but I did.

So my efforts dating younger guys make total sense. In the last year I saw a total of two guys that were older than me, one being a week older and barely qualifying for the honor. I did the whole age progression thing wrong. I was aging gradually by numbers but my actual age was all over the place. I'd say at 17, due to everything that was happening back then, I was not your average 17-year-old. Now I'm 25, ready for the necessary next steps but stuck because I participated in the "wrong" generation for slightly too long. The world is less of an oyster now. I cannot randomly move to Hong Kong anymore, not just because I'm too poor. Also, I'm tired of it. I saw the world, trust me, I'm good! I don't date a cute freshman anymore for the sake of it. I am too old for that sh**! Of course, if I say goodbye to the dream of having a family one day my youth can be extended for another decade and I can go live in Hong Kong and date Justin Bieber. However, I want some babies too and only have about 15 years on the clock left but a career plan that will take about 10. Things gotta start happening!

So NO, I am not young! I might not be saying my goodbyes yet but part of being young is having countless opportunities, and these are slowly running out for me. Of course I still have plenty left but I can't make decisions anymore without fear of consequences because consequences can be fatal now (at least for your dreams). Speaking of dreams, not all of them will come true, and that is a fact now, not an uncertainty. If I was younger now I'd probably be sipping Pina Coladas in Ipanema right now because my actual dream could still come true despite me doing that. If I did it now my actual dream suffers though. Differentiating between old and young is doomed to fail because age can't be measured by a number. I'd say in the last year I have aged about 5. Nothing I wanted 365 days ago I still want. Although I only turned from 23 to 24, then 24 to 25 I am basically just becoming less and less young. Fortunately I lived well so I'm ready to be less young!

Finally, as "Forever Young" was demoted to second place I'll share my new #1 here!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A very personal account on leaving a country

I have this friend on facebook who posts a lot. He lives in Glasgow but he was born and raised in Maryland, USA. Every time he goes back home he posts up a storm about how awesome Maryland is, and when he's in Glasgow he posts about how much he misses being home. Through John's social media behavior I realized how different our emigration efforts were. John left a home he loved. His posts make me think "why did he even leave?" because his life back home sounds awesome. Every time I left Germany I really wanted to, and if that wasn't the case I don't think I would have gone. That is a crucial difference between me and John. He left something behind. The times I moved I left my family, not a life!

The first time I left to California I was leaving behind a school I didn't like which I had left a year prior to my departure to find some new friends but got bullied rotten instead. So I was attending my old school in which I had acquaintances but few friends. My general attitude towards Germany was no secret either. Although I didn't know anything else I knew from age 10 that Germany wasn't really where I was supposed to be, or at the very least didn't want to be. I didn't know as specifically as today why Germany is a rather lame place to live but I knew it was deep down. I remember being on the plane to JFK, listening to REM's "Leaving New York" in which Michael Stipe recalls leaving a place he loves and thinking "I have no idea what he means!" From this day on I sometimes missed my family but I never missed Germany! Soon I would learn what he meant though...

Since Day one I had loved California. The problems I had there with the people I was living with once made me want to go home, back to the comfort of my family, but I always knew that fighting through the problems and staying was going to be worth it. California was the first place I felt I fit in: people were like me, I wasn't considered "crazy" and for the first time I had friends I would actually consider family (and do to this day). The only reason I got on the plane on June 11, 2006 to go home was knowing I would come back after the summer. Little did I know that three days from then my Dad would be dead and I would never be able to come back. If I had known there is no way that plane would have left with me on it. I was sitting at the boarding gate crying, listening to two German exchange students talking about how fat Americans were and how cheesy the Christmas lights were. That's what they chose to discuss after a year in California. It goes without saying I was not excited to return...

Unexpected things happen though so I actually ended up staying in Germany for another couple of years, taking care of my family who was obviously affected by my father's death for a bit. There was nowhere I could have gone back then, and I'm glad I spent this time with my family. On January 1, 2009 however I came home from a New Years' party and finalized my application for university in Scotland at 5am in the morning because I couldn't believe how little fun I was having. Germany had been better than ever but at no point did I have the feeling I could stay. I was definitely going to university but three or four more years in Germany? That never sounded appealing to me. Two days later I got into Dundee, at the time my fourth choice, so my decision to go to Scotland had been made for me. I had never been to Scotland but I knew it couldn't get worse. Different it would be but coming from Germany that was something I warmly welcomed.

The day I arrived in Scotland I realized I hadn't thought about this move properly at all. It was always so obvious to me I would leave Germany again I didn't realize it had happened again. Fortunately, on my first day in Dundee my new flatmate took me to a party and I had a great time so I never actually ended up thinking about what I had just done. It wasn't my first time away from home and I didn't struggle at all. As harsh as it sounds, I had gotten used to missing people in my life. If I was in Germany I missed my American family and friends, if I was in California or Scotland I missed my Mom and sister. At some point I just had to accept I will never ever not miss anyone, so I decided to not miss people all together. My time in Dundee was virtually perfect and I can honestly say that I might have been annoyed here and there but never, ever considered going back home. In Glasgow I was very unhappy, and if I had had a plan B I might have dropped out and returned. I didn't have a plan B though!

By the end of my Masters' I was, for the first time, excited to go back to Germany. I had found a place in Glasgow that I hated more than Germany which was new to me. Leaving Scotland, however, was the worst thing I ever had to do. Most of my friends were leaving, I was single, and there was more than likely no jobs I'd want to do in Dundee to stay there. However, my whole life was there. I had completely lost touch to Germany, not just its people, and I was leaving to uncertainty. And, before we forget, I love Dundee more than I love myself. Retrospectively, my last week in Scotland was the most emotional time in recent memory. The reality of leaving was constantly on my mind. The mere thought about it now makes my eyes tear up. I knew it had to happen but I didn't want it to happen at all. It was California all over again, just knowing I wouldn't be back.

I have constantly been looking for the place that makes me happiest, and even after I found it I still don't live there. Missing Scotland shows me what John is feeling: I had no reason to leave other than the fact the time had come. Much like John, I wanted to reach out a little bit more which had nothing to do with not loving Scotland anymore. I feel about Scotland the way John feels about his actual home: I miss it every day and I'd do anything to be there today but bigger things are waiting. I have taken everything away from it I still need. Although I don't hang out with them in person anymore my friends are still the same, I talk to them regularly and they will dance at my wedding. I wouldn't mind leaving Germany again but if I learned one thing over the years is that you can find happiness everywhere. In Germany it's much (much) harder to find than elsewhere but I believe I can. I've waited 25 years to start loving, not tolerating, living in Germany and I don't think it will happen. Maybe leaving Germany will one day actually become hard for me... I suppose I believe it when I see it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Vanity or raised awareness? Considering the no make up selfie

Anyone close to the UK facebook environment will have been spammed with no make up selfies these past 24 hours. Using the principle of the neknominations that caused an insufferable amount of debate last month, someone had the idea to take a selfie without make up, nominate others to do the same and get a lot of bare faces out there in order to raise awareness for breast cancer. Considering that nobody was ever going to participate in this if it meant posting pictures of clevages I think that is a sweet little idea. I feel naive for thinking the no make up selfies were going to get on my nerves. That was before each and every person decided to comment on what they think is the best way to raise awareness, and of course for most people it's not the no make up selfie. Gosh...

Obviously, because people are annoying and love complaining more than just leaving things be, the no make up selfies caused even more rage on my news feed today than the neknominations last month. Excuse me for thinking that someone's stupid idea on facebook doesn't need to be commented on by each and every member on social media. If someone thinks it's fun to down a pint and film it I couldn't care less although I obviously think it's stupid. No make up selfies are making neknominations look like a beginner's problem though. My news feed is littered with people complaining about the vanity of the selfies and people making the same joke about them over and over again. So I get it, half of my friends participate for whatever reason, whether it's vanity or a philathrophic ambition, and the other half abuses those who did. 

I genuinely don't have a stance in this. I neither took a no make up selfie nor laughed about those who did. It is absolutely clear to me that this is a PR stunt to put breast cancer on the radar, and obviously a very successful one, too. It could have been "take a photo of a strawberry and upload it to facebook to raise awareness for breast cancer" or "change your profile picture to a photo of Eddie Murphy to raise awareness for breast cancer". Fact is, with the amount of people participating, one little thing was achieved: awareness for breast cancer was raised! Nobody's talking about anything but breast cancer awareness and what's the right way to raise it. Are people just stupid or did they miss that however ridiculous this idea might be the plan totally went through and everybody's now thinking about breast cancer? 

What I find way more annoying than seeing 1001 selfies is people not getting this and complaining about how the people taking a picture haven't donated yet, or people taking the selfie and stating how much they've donated already. So I have to pay before I upload my selfie? Hell no! I donate but I don't donate to every issue I would like to change. Because I can't. I have no money right now and I haven't donated money to cancer research before but I am still entitled to raise awareness for the issue because it's in my heart just as much as in many others. I love dogs but never gave a penny to a shelter, and I won't do that as long as people are starving at the same time. I have never donated money to Kenyan kids either but I still want them to have a better life. If anything I can do will make people think about it I will do it, even if I'm not giving anything myself. I went to Kenya and built a school for them, taught there and brought clothes with me but never spent a single penny on them. Why not? Because it wouldn't have done anything. Upon my return though my story hopefully encouraged people to sponsor children. Mission accomplished!

Besides the fact that I don't give a crap at all about why people do what they do on facebook I just can't help but be more annoyed at people having to talk everything down that has ever happened in the world rather than just waiting those one or two days until the hype comes to a natural end. In real life it's always better to say nothing if you can't say anything nice and on social media it shouldn't be different. As far as I'm concerned people can take no make up selfies all the time, out of vanity, to raise awareness for cancer or to sell butt plugs, and it wouldn't annoy me. Post your breakfast, lunch and dinner if you enjoy it; it's everybody's own decision. If someone actively takes part in a cyber community to raise awareness for an issue close to our hearts I don't mind the way, shape or form. The only thing we know is that whoever's idea this was, it worked. There will be more donations, more check ups and more awareness as a result of this, and for that I can live with two days of bare faces... and annoying complainers. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A St Paddy's memory or two

So I'm not much of a drinker, hate Guiness and I'm certainly not Irish but March 17 has been a significant date for me in the past few years. My best bud in Scotland is Irish, I love potatoes and green is my favorite color so I had my fair share of drinking-related St Paddy's day memories. It appears that not being a drinker is a huge disadvantage on this particular date. But let's recap one by one:

5 years ago
Today 5 years ago I arrived in Dundee for the very first time. I had never heard of St Paddy's as it's not celebrated, or mentioned, in Germany (big surprise, Germany missing out on a fun day... read earlier post). I was amazed at the sheer amount of drinking I witnessed as I was unaware I arrived on the drinking holiday in a city full of Irish people. Needless to say, that day completely changed my life. If I had never come to Dundee my life would no doubt have been a lot different, and more than likely worse. March 17, 2009 is therefore a day of destiny that shaped the rest of my life. It was followed by the best decision I ever made when I decided that the impression I got on that day would determine I chose Dundee as my new home.

4 years ago
One of my very first friends in Dundee was Graeme Spowart and on March 18, 2010 he was running for Sports Union President on campus. I love that guy and he was a great candidate. I therefore agreed to be wearing his campaign T-Shirt all of St Paddy's 2010 and talk to as many people as possible in order for him to win the next day. Conveniently, I was invited to no less than 9 parties that day, so I party-hopped from Seymour Street to Seagate, wearing that bright orange T-Shirt, sipping on some green drinks and telling everyone who wasn't fast enough to escape that their duty to get up tomorrow was needed for Graeme to win. Graeme won with a landslide the next day, making the little bit of a headache worthwhile.

3 years ago
Oh dear, the beginning of the end. Today 3 years ago was the second worst night of my life. Actually, what I remember is fantastic, however, I don't remember much, making it quite horrible to talk about. I was trying to set up Conor with a girl he liked, and I was successful. I proceeded to go to the Union with some Spanish guys and later found out I texted Conor non stop, each time forgetting I had done it already. Low point! But it's Paddy's right? After I had been chucked out of the Union for smuggling drink I ran into some friends who then escorted me to a different club in town. While this was a fun day and night I am mortified I actually drank enough to lose my memory like that. There was only one time I escalated more, and that was...

2 years ago
Remember how I said March 17, 2011 was the second worst night of my life? Yeah, guess which one's #1? ding ding ding, March 17, 2012. It was a horrible time around then. My boyfriend was unemployed and very unhappy and life hadn't been very fun. I had a lot of hope to finally have some fun on Paddy's. Why, oh why, did I start drinking at 11am? What a horrendous idea! I remember going to see him at work because some friends were playing at the pub he worked in. These friends were from my church, and I arrived there a state. So so unfortunate. I never drank as much as on Paddy's so I must have given such a bad impression. From 10pm there are no memories whatsoever. I obviously cried a lot and eventually woke up at my boyfriend's the next morning completely unaware about how I ended up there. Worst state ever, never repeated. After this absolute low point of drinking history I quit the drink for months...

Last year
Last year sucked. I had made plans with three different friends because living in Glasgow I had gotten used to people being lame all the freaking time and canceling last minute. Just like most experiences I made in Glasgow this day was no exception and I was disappointed once again when all three of them independently canceled. I spent St Paddy's day two minutes away from Glasgow's Ashton Lane alone in my room with a container of Ben & Jerry's. I didn't even have a drink. Considering my states the previous two years I can't say it was a bad idea. However, I feel that even a boring social drinker like me deserves a bit of a buzz on St Paddy's. Well, not that time...

This year
Can't even say anything. Did nothing but sleep, eat, and annoy the jobcenter for finally paying me some money. Apparently making a fool out of yourself and applying for benefits isn't humiliating enough, they also ignore everything you ever say to them and don't call or write back when you're desperately crying out for some support. I must say I don't enjoy being drunk but today I would have preferred to be drunk, partying with Conor and eating some potatoes than feeling like the halfwit they are treating me like.

Next year
I pray to God that this trend of deterioating experiences may stop and next year I will be able to have a drink with a couple of Irish guys in a pub somewhere without escalating. I miss the Irish presence in my life although I am way too boring to acclimatise to their lifestyle. I am not half, not even quarter the drinkers they are but I appreciate a day like St Paddy's to let go and enjoy that not everything in life has to be serious or make sense. 364 days a year I think getting smashed is a bad idea, and of course an Irish holiday shouldn't really be the exception, but why not really? Not everything must be thought through, and I would happily celebrate St Paddy's again one day so I have one more day I can remember... or not!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Germans: a great people I have little in common with!

This weekend was different than the other ones because we went away. We spent a very short but fun two days at the coast in Holland in a little bungalow. Who knew that only two hours away they have little villages that literally look like some huge hand would appear in the sky and we all found out it's the hand of a child, the houses are made of plastic and we're all puppets. It was beautiful to see that there are places, like these villages, where life is still alright, and quiet, and peaceful. Lately, I have not had that feeling at all in my own life. In part it is because of my far from ideal living situation right now. But on top of that, I know that I was right the past 20 years of my life in thinking that Germany just isn't the place for me and that is now back to haunt me with force.

I am lucky to be living so close to the border so that whenever my actual heritage gets on my nerves I get to escape it within seconds. I can't even explain how different it feels to me just being one minute to the West of my house because that's where I cross the border. Although there is no sign suggesting you just entered a new state the changes are visibly there: the houses look different, the streets have different names and groceries are a lot more expensive. However, what actually makes the difference big time is that you actually see happy people sometimes. Or someone smiling. Or someone you have never seen before says hi to you in the streets. Hell, you see friendly people! The absence of such things usually means one thing: you're in Germany!

I love Germany. It's my home and I'm proud of it. Germany is one kick-ass country! On the other hand, I have never in my life been able to imagine a future here. I have tried to persuade myself numerous times because Germany is the best country in possibly the entire world to live in and it would make a lot of sense for me to stay here forever. As much as I'd love that, I don't see it happening in the slightest. Good healthcare, great schools, a high standard of living and cheap rents unfortunately don't make a place liveable to me. I want to live somewhere I FEEL good, surrounded by people that increase the quality of my life and not spoil it. I'd like to be able to pick up vibes that do not rhyme with "regativity" and "koredom". That seems to be impossible around here...

There is nothing wrong with being German; having your entire life planned out, not accepting any spontaneous or adventurous changes, minding your own business and being your own personal Jesus is a completely legitimate layout for anyone's life. I don't judge those who live a German lifestyle because I'm sure it's a good one. The only thing I know is that I want to be as far away from it as possible. That ain't me, sir! Being a good German sounds absolutely crap. I'll tell you exactly what it means to me: being monotone, boring, negative and close-minded. Adjectives that are not valued in Germany are unique, different or interesting. Unfortunately I'd quite like to be unique, different or interesting. As a result, although I think I'm doing quite well in life, I doubt I would ever get recognition in Germany for the person I am because there is no demand for me. 

As an illustration we have my experiments with hair color. I dyed my hair pink and purple before. Not because I am a junkie but because I like pink and purple hair. That is all, believe it or not, Germany! There is no way denying I looked freaking awesome, the hair was so pretty. And for those who don't think colorful hair is pretty it must still have looked hella cool. In Scotland, there was hardly a soul that didn't compliment me on the hair. In Germany, I was stared at, frowned upon and avoided because, to Germans, people with colorful hair must collectively be drug addicts. At least that's how it felt. Even if Scots didn't like my hair color I wouldn't receive a different treatment after I stood out from the crowd visually. In Germany having a pink sweater would probably be enough to make one stand out because everybody looks the freaking same!!!! What's worse, everyone thinks the same, too! So lame...

Where are my people with some stories? People that are happy to talk about themselves in a good way and share what life means to them? Is it some kind of secret? No, I basically think that Germans haven't really discovered what life is yet. I wish they'd be less concerned with performance and more with fulfilment. Everybody in Germany is chasing, nobody is enjoying. If what I see on a daily basis is a fulfiled, happy and positive life to them I have no chance to ever become like them. The life most people around me live would never be enough for me. Few of them have the money problems I have, almost none of them had to face what I faced in their equally long lives and I still prefer my life. I embrace individuality and appreciate people for who they are, and not what I want them to be. While I am very sure that many Germans would describe themselves as similar my experience is that there is indeed no demand for individuality and that makes exposing who you really are extremely difficult. 

As much as I'd love for my children to benefit from Germany's great schools, safety and wealth I want my kids to grow up to become unique individuals who are not afraid to be what they are whether they are gay, are obsessed with piercings or simply love being fat. Most Germans are tolerant and would never act in a demeaning way but what happens in their hearts at the same time? I want the society I live in to treat my children well AND love them the way they are. What good is it being tolerated but not loved? I don't want to be tolerated. I want people to praise the little bit of individuality I have and appreciate my expression of it. Those Germans who agree with that tend to have left. Looks like I might have to follow them...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hooray, Juan Pablo finally found "love" and nobody is happy for him!

I know initially this blog was supposed to make me a more interesting person. Instead, I am once again blogging about the most boring show known to men: The Bachelor. I can't lie, I love this show although I never really watch it anymore. It's the same every season which is probably why I like it; it takes me back (to times Jason Mesnick was the Bachelor, for example). This season I probably wouldn't have finished without the existence of Candy Crush Saga which is what kept me entertained while Juan Pablo was saying "I'm just being honest" and "like I said before" way too much. I can't say I properly watched a single episode and when recalling why I don't even know where to start. I'll try anyways:

#1 Juan Pablo's accent is not exotic but annoying
I have always had a problem with people having a German accent. Why? Of course because I'm German. To me it's obviously the most overused and predictable accent in the world. I therefore hate it. But why in heaven's name did they pay a guy to be the Bachelor whose command of the English language is lacking the basic necessities to be on a show where you are verbally getting to know 25 women. I'm not surprised Juan Pablo tried to constantly make out with the women only because the poor guy probably had no idea what they were saying. Much like the constant exposure to the German accent I got tired of Juan Pablo saying "it's ok" at the end of every other sentence. In the end the poor guy didn't even say "I love you" to the "winner" Nikki to the outrage of everyone watching. I think odds are that he simply doesn't know what "Te quiero" is in English.

#2 "Clare, this is a reality TV show, you are not auditioning to be in a Disney movie!"
Clare has got to be the most annoying contestant on the show ever. To me she was the epitomy of desperate, and her last minute rant after she was left at the altar did not spark respect in me but embarrassment. How is she suddenly the hero after she told the guy off after getting dumped? That's internationally known for being ridiculous. She went in thinking the guy is the shit and after she hears "I can't give you this rose!" she suddenly realizes he's not the man she thought he was? Yeah, I can see that. Obviously, since week one Clare thought Juan Pablo is the guy that is already in love with her. It must have come as a huge shock to her that he is in fact not in love with her despite her endless attempts to throw herself at him. Her passion to speak as if she is reciting a romance novel was the worst though. The only thing missing was a wind machine that made her hair blow while she longingly looks into the distance. Geez...

#3 Congratulations Nikki for landing America's most hated bachelor
This has got to be the only show where every loser was the winner. In fact, the only one who relly won was #3, Andi, who eliminated herself just in time to become the new Bachelorette. Apparently he was very disrespectful to women. I can't see him not having said the things he said to Andi and Clare that were regarded disrespectful to Nikki but apparently she is into it. Maybe Nikki enjoys hearing that Juan Pablo "loves to f*** her". So he loves screwing Clare but he doesn't love Clare... ouch! Nikki who just won a reality TV show gets a great price: a man nobody in America would still date. The girl has told Juan Pablo she loves him 4 months ago and she got a "I like you... a lot!" from him.  And that guy is now her boyfriend, woohoo! So let me get this straight: she now "won" a hated man who refuses to tell her he loves her. I also read he lives with his ex-wife so sounds like Nikki has all the reason to celebrate!

#4 Juan Pablo forgot he's on reality TV
I do agree that some people are different and want to take their time but should they be on the show? Clearly not. Just because 4 or 5 weeks would be enough for me (or Nikki, or Clare, or any other person on the show) to know if I could spend the rest of my life with someone doesn't mean Juan Pablo can. I actually think that's alright but just can't help but to still slag him off for his choice to be on the cheesiest show in television history then. He was clearly pissed how he had been portrayed but he handled it in the worst way possible, leaving him to be widely being granted the honor of "Worst Bachelor Ever". Now Juan Pablo decided he wants some privacy which is the main reason people sign up for the show... not! Since when did looking for a spouse on national TV become a private matter, Juan Pablo? Mate, don't say you hate gays, or don't care about the format of the show, or anybody watching it while pursuing a very public profile. He could have at least thrown in one or two remarks about the girls that were not limiting their appeal to how hot they were. Why didn't he study his manual before?

So in conclusion I agree widely with the internet's impression that this was the worst season ever. It is hard to say because every season is the exact same with the exception of the male lead. However, they must have realized that casting a guy with looks only is not what the desperate for love demographic wants to see. They want a cheeseball who does weights in order to be able to lift puppies or a baby, or learns an instrument so he can perform at his wedding. I'm truly happy for everyone except Juan Pablo and Nikki at this point. Happy for the girls that didn't get chosen because they can still be seen in public without being shamed, happy for the producers for fearing their pick will ruin the format and happy for the public because it's finally over!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gotta love that Vitamin D!

Between today and two weeks ago virtually nothing has changed for me: I'm still bored, I'm still unemployed, I still have no money and the vast majority of the people I love live abroad, far away from me. I got used to sleeping as long as I could, not facing the day, sitting on my butt all day, doing nothing but snack. How is it that today I woke up at 8am though, gladly got up, went for a run, had a fruit juice and can't stop smiling? That's right, the sun is out. I have come to realize that that's all it takes.

Of course the cloud of especially unemployment still throws a shadow on the otherwise sunlit environment around me but with sunshine, the ability to be active and an alternative to this god-forsaken room I sit in day in and day out it is easier to distract myself. I try all the time to become a more positive person but when all you're looking at is this computer screen, job applications, and if you're brave enough the clouds outside I find that hard to achieve. It is much easier to be positive if there is in fact something to enjoy, and that is the sun.

I have made this observation a bunch of times in my life. I lived in Glasgow for a year, also known as the most miserable place in this universe, and I was genuinely miserable for pretty much the entire time I lived there. It is impossible to wake up energized when you open the curtains to yet another day of pouring rain. In one year I once managed to sit in a beer garden, with a hoodie that is, and twice got some ice cream. If that is reality the negativity comes much easier than the optimism. How did I manage to stay positive and smiling although everything around me was drowning in rain and darkness? That' right, I didn't!

The truth is that once the sun is out I feel like I don't get to be sad. Imagine a sunny day and a guy with a frown walking down the street; I find that hard to imagine. People are nicer, we're not cold, we get to be outside and see the world that is waiting to be explored, only that that is no fun when it rains. My favorite part about sunny days is the air. Although it's still winter I smell that spring is coming. Warm air just smells better than the one cleaned by rain. And the extra sunlight and warmth does the rest.

My life rocks/sucks just as much as it did two weeks ago when it was dark at 4pm due to an outrageous amount of rain clouds but the fact is I feel a hundred times better now. I have no reason to be happy: I'm just as lost as I was two weeks ago, still no job, still bored and alone. However, today, on a sunny day with almost 20 degrees it doesn't bother me as much. I can turn on some music and sing along because it feels right, and not paradox. With sunshine having this effect on me I now look forward to a fantastic rest of the year because let's hope we're done with winter. Oh gosh, please!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Reminiscing about times when the Oscars were fun...

Oscar winners and hosts... and Peter N'yongo, whoever he is!
When I was 12 years old I spoke virtually no English. That didn't stop me back then to stay up all night, before school, to watch the Oscars. Needless to say I had no idea what Whoopie Goldberg was saying back then, I tried to laugh anyways. Growing up many kids in Germany dreamed of America, and I was no exception. I loved everything American, especially movies. Also, my crush, Haley Joel Osment, publicly known as the creepy kid in The Sixth Sense, was nominated. And of course I also wanted to be a famous actress one day.

Nothing is left of this. My dream of becoming a Hollywood star died the day I first came to Hollywood. What a shithole! LA is not a place I'd want to make it. With increasing education I also realized that I'm actually quite a big fan of conventional ways to get rich and not really that into movies. I would love to be famous for my intellectual work or work that changed the world, not because I date a celebrity. And I kinda got too fat living in America to ever make it in the business anyway. Mostly, however, this whole Oscar conversation became a complete embarrassment to me. And I'll tell you why!

I struggle with people being superficial a lot, and I suppose it makes sense for me to stay away from the most superficial industry in the world. I can't believe a bunch of rich people walk a red carpet and out of all questions reporters could ask them they go for "what are you wearing?" What I can't believe even more is who cares. I enjoy the principle of recognizing good work and people being told they rock. What they look like while they win or not should not matter. In fact, it seems that looks determine who wins these days. The uglier the performer is in a movie the more likely he or she is to win a price for acting.

There are a few particular examples I have which have disillusioned me from actually enjoying the Oscars over the years other than it simply being a horrendously boring show. First and probably most significant, Reese Witherspoon won. Reese Witherspoon is a horrible actress. So is Halle Berry. Or Catherine Zeta-Jones. This year Matthew McConaughey walked out with an Oscar before Leonardo did. This kinda stuff infuriates me. While these people got lucky once with a fantastic role that would make close to anybody an "acclaimed actor" the likes of Leonardo, Joaquin or Peter O'Toole died or will die before the honor finally strikes them. Embarrassing!

This year's broadcast was especially cringe to watch, if you ask me. The amount of times Hollywood stood up for a standing ovation was pathetic. They stood up for Lupita N'yongo winning Best Supporting Actress for the only film she's been in. Where exactly does a 10 minute appearance in ONE movie qualify for a standing ovation? That's right, it doesn't. They raised for Pink! Yes, the "singer" Pink and her tenor version of Somewhere over the Rainbow. I've heard that better on American Idol, every week! Maybe each time it was just Liza Minelli needing to get up for the bathroom and people copying her because she's Judy Garland's daughter and a big deal although she was pissed drunk all night.

In general, the trend of a movie only being Oscar-worthy if less than 10,000 people saw it annoys me. It makes no sense giving the Oscar to The Hurt Locker while the entire world is united in the belief that Avatar is the best movie of 2009.We're not talking about Twilight, we are talking about a movie almost nobody hated. Even today nobody's watched The Hurt Locker. Can I also say that the ceremony itself is as boring as most of the movies that are being rewarded every year? This year was an all-time low in terms of entertainment as the number of surprises equaled zero. I'm bored writing about it. As a result, I will now cease to do so and not watch next year.

Will I get my dream job?

There are many reasons I was too busy to write a blog this week. First my best friend's dog was slowly but surely leaving this world, then Karneval hit town, then I missed sleep for the Oscars, and then, yeah then, I casually took a 10 hour megabus to London to interview for my dream job...

You know how Rory Gilmore always wants to work for the New York Times since the first episode of "Gilmore Girls"? And how Ryan Reynolds marries his boss to stay at his company in "The Proposal"? Yes, that's me with that job, and I would go as far as marry someone to get it. I have been wanting to work there for two years and applied to every opening they have worldwide. I am genuinely a fan. On top of that, I also know I'd be very good at it and have the necessary qualifications so it's not just desire, it's also a reasonable plan. What happened this last week has confirmed to me that it's worth chasing the dream.

So last week I found out I was invited to their last recruitment round: an assessment day in London. I confirmed my attendance right away because even if I don't get the job I knew there was a lot to be learned in that office. If I don't get the job I will slightly regret going because the employees did a fantastic job convincing me I'd be great at the job even more than I thought before and I will be devastated. I couldn't be more excited if I tried, it's kinda sad actually!However, as a rookie in Public Relations getting this close to being hired by my favorite company will no doubt fuel my career ambitions in the field. If nothing else, the assessment day already did that big time.

I don't need to go into detail over why this job is perfect. Everybody in attendance thought so, I'm sure. For me personally, however, it was much more than the exciting work that is done there and the fancy office. I arrived 30 minutes early (as you do as a German) and got to take a look around. The employees all had a certain character about themselves. This character usually attracts me to talk to people. I am always very keen to talk to interesting people but there are few around in my town. All of these people coming in looked like they would maintain a good conversation, not just because they have exciting stories to tell working in this office. They are people I would try to befriend. This might not be necessary for my professional performance but my personal happiness. Bummer, another thing that rocks about a job I don't have yet...

Essentially the office was one massive room which held all employees. It reminded me of my favorite place in the world: the Library! I have never been more productive than in Dundee Uni Library so I can only imagine that I would strive in that kind of work environment. The reason I abandoned my PhD plans was that I did not want to sit in a room by myself for five years, working on something alone, creating a piece of work that will be relevant to about a hundred people in the world. Next thing I know is I walk into this office where people interact creatively, learning from and helping each other, producing an outcome that touches hundreds, thousands, and sometimes millions of people. Couldn't have found a scenario which made quitting education more worthwhile...

From the first minute I entered the assessment day I felt like the job was created for me, not the other way around. Of course the company picks who fits best but from my personal point of view it's hard to accept that there could be someone who fits better. I might not have the most experience in PR out of the candidates but I know myself, and I know my potential to work when I feel passionate about something. Everything that was raised an employee should bring to the table I know I had. The office and people naturally appealed to me. I'd be required to do research, write and talk to people which I essentially have a degree in. Christ, "Research" is part of my official title if I was so desperate as to use my degree titles in my name. Most importantly though, I feel that passion. I don't have the knowledge the recruitment personnel has and I didn't see the competition properly but I'm scared my true potential didn't shine through because I know I have it.

I like to compare. I compared coming to Scotland to finding a potential husband in my earlier post, and this job inspired a similar comparison. No woman sees a man and knows this is the man she's going to marry. However, in the first few minutes she can tell if there is a possibility of falling in love with this person one day. Walking into this office I saw a potential I didn't see in any other job interview to completely fall head over heels in love with the job. I can see myself suffering for the job because I love it so much. I can see myself not sleeping because I think about the job. And I can also see myself sticking with the job until the very end. This is what you look for in a man/job. I know I'm already very blessed to know this about myself although there is still the chance I will lose it again but I suppose it's no different in love. Should the job decide to accept my proposal, however, I see a fantastic life ahead for us...

Gosh, if I don't get hired this will become a very, very sad and pathetic post haha....