Lost and Found No. 2

Hello, all! It’s Easter weekend, and here in Germany we have a lovely four-day weekend to give us a break from the daily grind of our jobs. As spring has hit its stride, so have my allergies. As much as I want to be outdoors, I’m spending a lot of time sitting indoors trying to avoid the pollen. We could do with a nice rain shower to clean the air, but there sadly isn’t any precipitation in the forecast in the next days.

Anyway, let’s get down to it. What has been lost and found in my life and the greater world lately?

Cherry blossoms

Found: Spring blooms, ducklings, and swans

As you can probably guess from my spring allergy statement, the trees are turning green, flowers are blooming, and nature is going wild. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom (yes, they’re in Germany, too), as well as another tree with small white blossoms of which I do not know the name.

I sometimes hop off of the bus a few stops early on my way home from work so that I can walk along the small lake near my flat. This past week, eight new ducklings were chirping their way around the lake.

Mother duck with ducklings.

At the end near my flat, a swan pair have built a nest and are protecting it from passersby (meaning any duck stupid enough to come near). Still waiting for their offspring to appear.

Found: An ache to read more from Margaret Atwood

Last October, I bought some new English books in the London airport where they are not as expensive as in Germany. Two of them were my very first Margaret Atwood volumes: Alias Grace and The Handmaid’s Tale.

I read the latter quite soon after my purchase. And yes, I already saw both seasons of the series. Alias Grace was different. I’d seen the mini-series on Netflix back in 2017 and was not quite sure what to make of it. The book is really an amazing work of art, tying in many themes that are just too subtle to come through in the TV version.

Having read both of these, I’m hungry to read more of Atwood’s books. Not that I’m lacking any reading material at present, but any advice on which ones I should tackle next?

Found: New growth

After not doing much of anything all winter except protesting because I accidentally exposed him to direct sun, my avocado plant has finally started shooting up some new growth.

New growth on my avocado plant.

New leaves are shooting out of the top like a little crown of velvety new green. Let’s see if I manage to nurse him back to a happier state. For a while in the winter I thought I might have to scrap the tree and try again with another seed.

Lost: History

What has been very sad is the news of not only Notre Dame burning, but also the burning of three historically black churches in Louisiana. While Notre Dame is an accident and a loss of symbolic European history, the burning of historically black churches in the States is something that has been going on for decades.

I’ll never understand racism and hate against an ethnicity or religious community, but at least one can take heart in the fact that those donating to help restore Notre Dame in Paris have also been donating to the churches in Louisiana. I hope that communities on both sides of the pond are able to rebuild and find a sense of peace and safety again.

Found: The bees of Notre Dame

In the aftermath of the fire at Notre Dame, many have been focused on structural stability, the historic art inside, the stained glass… But some Parisians who knew that there were also bee hives up on the roof were curious to know if the bees made it.

While it isn’t clear how many survived the blaze, there’s evidence that these bees are quite hardy and the hives will live on!


So that’s what’s been lost and found in my life view lately. Hope you all have enjoyed / are enjoying a lovely Easter weekend, and please keep your fingers crossed that the rain comes to Germany soon!

Cheers!

Lost and Found No. 1

Welcome to my new “Lost and Found” series. In an effort to be more mindful of myself, the space around me, and the world at large, I want to share some tidbits of note for me that were either lost or found. Simple, right? Let’s get to it

Found: My Blogging Mojo

Blogging is hard. I don’t mean the thing itself really, but I mean keeping up with it. I have so many ideas of what I want to write, but sometimes I just run out of energy. During the final part of my studies, I even managed to lose interest in making time for blogging all together. I wasn’t sure if I would ever fully come back to the space, or just pump out a post every once in a while when I felt inspired to do so.

As of right now, I’m feeling more excited about this space than I have since I arrived in Germany. I sure hope I can keep the ball rolling, because it’s doing wonders for my motivation and emotional energy.

Lost: Snow

We had quite a bit of snow in Munich this winter. Thankfully, the warm weather lately has pretty much melted away all of the snow. I’m hopeful that this means spring will come soon and the bitterly cold weather will stay away. Looking at the chilly gales and rain outside, I’m not so sure when we will get properly warm weather, but at least it’s above freezing.

What I have seen still hanging out are piles of dirty snow next to the parking garages of the shopping mall. I’m still waiting for those to finally melt.

Found: Snow Drops

I have seen the first snow drops of the year! If you don’t know what they are, they’re the small white flowers that pop up as winter transitions into spring, sometimes coming straight up through late snow and blooming before trees even start to wake up after winter. I unfortunately don’t have a photo because the lighting was so bad, but it’s a pleasure to see these little guys in Munich after having watched for them in Virginia as well.


That’s all for now. I hope to be back in this space more often going forwards.

Cheers!

Being with Myself

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

-Margaret Atwood

We had quite a winter here in Munich. It was the snowiest and coldest winter I’ve experienced since moving to Germany, even if you don’t consider the three weeks I spent back in the States over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

It wasn’t that long ago that we were bundling up and trudging through the dirty snow on the city sidewalks. Suddenly, the heat came with its full force, reaching what would normally be considered summer temperatures for this region.

Spring came quickly this year. The warm weather and later sunsets have given me the energy and the time to take walks after work before the sun sets. In the area of Munich where I live, there are three parks, each with a small lake. One of which, Fasaneriesee, is only a five-minute walk from my building. I’ve gone there many evenings either with A. or just to take some time on my own.

I value time with myself so highly these days. The rhythm of my life is interacting with people at work, interacting with A. at home, interacting with people at the grocery shop, interacting with people over the internet and through my phone. Don’t get me wrong, I like to talk with people and spend time with them. The problem is that I spend so much of my time with other people that I rarely have the time and head space to just reflect and be with myself.

In Missouri, I would take walks on my own at the local state park or just around my grandparents’ lakefront property. Downtown and around-town walks by myself were the norm for me when I was studying in Staunton, Virginia. The most alone time I ever had was during my time in Konstanz while studying for my Master’s. I would even take cycling rides by myself along the lake which lasted several hours per round-trip.

And now, now I live in Munich. It’s a city of 1.5 million, the most populous place I’ve ever lived. It is nearly impossible to be alone in this city. You want to take a walk? So does everyone else. You want to grill out by the Isar? Half the city will be there with you. You want to hide alone in this little grove of trees? At least five other people had the same idea.

No matter where I go, I am surrounded by people. Mastering the art of being with yourself while surrounded by others is no easy feat. But it is easier when you take your walks in the twilight and the majority of people have gone home for dinner.

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I take my walks when there is less light, fewer people, but still much beauty. I’ve seen the tiny buds of the leaves and watched them grow into full-fledged summer leaves. Some of the trees started to blossom, and I could take in the smell and rejoice at the sight of bees returned from their winter slumbers. The ducks have built their nests and laid their eggs, more of which I seem to find every walk I take around the lake’s grassy shores.

All the while during my walks I quiet my mind against the noise of the city and reflect on the day. I let nature smooth over the frustrations I have with myself, my work, and my relationships. Every little why-did-I-do-that moment is washed away when I see the miracle of spring bringing the world back to life, glowing in sunset hues.

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Time with myself in nature is my own personal self-therapy. It heals my anxiety, or at least it quiets it. It lightens my mood and helps me to feel more awake when the city puts me into a trance.

At the end of the workday, I take in the sights, sounds, smell of the outdoors. That’s exactly how spring should be.

Cheers!