Fountainmania and Spain. A Reflection.

(My dear Americans and Spanish, I don’t mean it. I love you all.)

Time to reflect.

Paella is done, time to go home. (Valencia)

I have learned many things in my time in Madrid. I have learnt that it is perfectly acceptable to have a siesta at 9 o’clock in the evening, because coming home at 6 instead of 3 from a night out puts that into perspective. I have learnt that there are places that will give you free food. That is, if you order it with a beer. No, seriously if I have to have a beer to get a free tapa, I can take that burden. Also have I learned things about different cultures. American’s say aluminum although spelling it aluminium. That seems crazy to me. And they really are in fraternities and yes, their life is like American Pie II. For them, our life is like Eurotrip and all of Europe is only one country which was implied in the many times I heard the sentence: „Oh my god, that is so European!“ Italians do love scooters. Spanish people love scooters too and try to copy the Italians but without saying „ciao“ it doesn’t have the same effect so that doesn’t count. French people like being French and talking with French people about French things in French. It is quite a simple equation and you pretty much can’t go wrong on that one.

The Spanish. Where do I even start. The country where men are men and women are women. You DO NOT wear flip flops to university or at any point in the year before May. You also DO NOT say sorry or look let alone smile at someone if you bump into them. Their look might kill you and you will die a slow and painful death in the Metro and then be buried in one of the tourist cemetaries that have been built purposely for people who are too kind to their fellow human being. Speak Spanish in Spain or be prepared to burn at the tourist stake. Don’t get me wrong, there are good things about Spain (no really, there are some..). Fountains. I fucking love fountains and thank god that before it went bust Madrid spent all of their money on building a ridiculous amount of fountains in the city. They come in all shapes and sizes, with statues, round, oval, around monuments, with clear or dirty water and with kids playing at or homeless people washing in it. It simply is a joy for the fountain-loving traveller. The right to siesta at any given time of the day has made my life seem so much less useless. I thank Spain for making me feel like a chronic napper can still have a respected place in society. It has also made me realise how blessed I am living in a music rich country. If I had to listen to Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and J.Lo for the rest of my life every time I walk into a shop it would probably be a fairly short life.

I have also met some great individuals and many of them have inspired me in different ways. Turns out, not every American is a Republican bastard much in contrast to general European perception. Most of them are pretty cool. They have tought me new words like side walk and backpack and that I have to say ATM if I want someone to come to the cash point with me. Which is fine, I can do that.

As an homage to England – I miss being politically incorrect and openly insulting people as a means to connect to them. This is not accepted here. I don’t even know if I can do sarcasm anymore. I shall do my best, because as you know surviving in England as a German can be like fighting the Third World War – you know, you’re definitely gonna lose but man up and fire back whilst you can.

Spain, I will miss the people I got to meet with you hosting the events and providing me with parks, fountains and night establishments to go to. I will miss my flat at my lovely plaza with my OWN fountain and homeless friends and benches and trees. I will miss my flatmates. I will miss travelling places. I will miss living in the illusion I don’t have to grow up. I will miss talking about Venezuela. I will miss the temple.

Sunrise at Temple De Debod, Madrid.

Cuidate everyone.

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For the sake of the fully painted walls just behind my eyes

 

This is my first blog entry in yonks (one of the weirder words I learnt on the island of Britannia).

That does not mean that I didn’t want to write anything, it’s just that, once there is a backlog of the immense random universe that is my mind it basically all goes pearshaped. I could think of a thousand topics to write about but they would all be stuck right behind my eyes and sit there in a corner and draw on little walls.

It was only, when today, I had a conversation of the incredible phenomenon of formulating our own thought that I realised: I need to say it for it to fall into place just by itself and BOOM all will be good, my heart lighter and the walls in the corner of my mind will be slowly but surely painting themselves white again ready for some strange shit to be drawn back onto them.

So I have decided just to write. Just write and not think. Pretty much what I do when useless social network chat window lets me perform craziness in form of language without even thinking about it.

Enough of empty words and walls.

I would like to quickly fill some words with content that needs to be said now.

I had an amazing summer. I got a tan which was great. And I got it at Glastonbury whilst watching Germany beat what appeared to be Tewkesbury F.C. but was dressed in England shirts. That was quality (I have just offended 80% of my readers. Good! Emotion is good, let it out!). Pretty much everything about Glastonbury was simply amazing. I don’t feel that we, that have experienced the greatness of this event need to act like we’ve just been for a weekend at Butlins and only be allowed to secretly love it. I have witnessed this absurd behaviour let me tell you. Fools! I loved every minute of it and will gladly tell everyone about it. I have never come across a bigger, friendlier and opener crowd of people in my life. For 4 days and three sleepless nights I felt that humanity isn’t to be written off but we should all chill and drink a glass of vino in a field. The world would be a better place.

I have also discovered what I will call the  “reoccurring temporary balance of things” (I have made up a new term and am therefore a qualified Media Studies author by the way.). Since coming back to university this year I have met some lovely people that with the amazing folks that I already knew have made Leicester more of a home than I ever thought it could be. They make me think back of my friends at home and THAT’S when it occurred to me: this is no coincidence, this is me being an electron in the world of social connections and what is happening is just natural – magnetism. A reoccurring balance of social magnetism. “Happiness” in essence but made more complicated, like most things in my head.

That is all for now. Thanks for listening…reading I mean.

Good night/evening/morning/afternoon (please delete as appropriate).

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Decision making for beginners

Decisions, decisions, decision. Oh how we all love to make them. Make, make, make decisions. I HATE making decisions. I am probably one of the worst decisions makers in the world. I just can’t cope with choice. Most of the time I would like someone to say: “Dina, this one?” And I could just go: “Yes! Brilliant.” BUT, that doesn’t really happen that often.

When I was younger I would try and just ignore decision making. Just try and wait, maybe the decision will make itself or the force will come round and solve the problem for me. May it be with me. But there comes a time in every girl’s life, when she thinks to herself: Ok, right, hiding and running might not be the best method to decide where I should study or live or which number to pick from the take away menu. So I tried to establish a system. My system has many names: Over-thinking, worrying, basically going mental. At the end of the process I usually do what my first thought told me anyway but am mentally exhausted. So why do I put myself through this – it’s crazy!

We have heard of all sorts of adventurous decision making tactics like throwing dice for example. This ended up in the man killing someone. Not so good. Another one: Saying “yes” to everything. Jim Carrey running round like a lunatic on speed. Again, not for me. I hadn’t developed a better method than the one I mentioned above when it came to deciding whether or not to move to England. I was given three weeks to make a choice. I knew I wanted to go, but once someone had actually offered me the job and it was all getting closer the worrying started. Leaving everyone behind, especially my brother, that wasn’t easy. But I knew it would be the right thing to do. And it was. I am grateful for the opportunity of starting a new life, depending only on myself and clearing my head to move on to better things. As you might have read in a previous entry it has also brought me closer to my home country which is truly great.

The next tough one was deciding about my place of study. Germany or England. Both places had their advantages and disadvantages. Committing myself to three years abroad was different to simply working here as I could have quit work anytime. Somehow I knew it would be best for me to study here and it was. I love my course and have met fabulous people. To tell my brother was one of the hardest things I have done in my oh so long life (22 in 5 days, argh.). I also now, feel “ready” to go back home, when I have finished my course. That feels incredible.

I now remember my colleague telling me about a book in which the author describes a study about his own decisions. He notes that decisions he has made by just following his intuition have been the better ones throughout and made him happier along the way. Looking at decisions I made in the past I can confirm that. I KNEW what was right but it didn’t feel to be a grown-up decision if I didn’t think about it properly and didn’t weigh up all the pros and cons. I will from now on try to listen to my intuition more often and stop worrying so much. Because as someone once said to me: “Worrying is not productive. Be concerned if there is a true problem and find a solution, one issue at a time.”

Very wise and true.

(Note to self: Intuitional decision making is NOT acceptable in shall-I-get-a-McDonalds-before-I-go-home-situations.)

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Happy Birthday Max!

Today, I would like to wish Max a very happy 19th birthday! 

A birthday fox

 I have only known him for about 8 months but already I can say he has become a true friend. That is mainly down to his ever so relaxed attitude and fabulous sense of humor. Sometimes it’s so fabulous that I don’t get the joke but I like a good laugh on my expense. 

A new take on "The Scream"

 I cannot wait for Wednesday when the Max-visits-England event plan will begin. It will be a great 8 days with lots of music, climbing, laughter, the three investigators, comedy, falafel, dvd shops, safari park animals and lots of talk about foxes. 

This is what could have been a lovely picture (me, Max, my brother) if I didn't have a bottle right in front of my face. Thanks.

 I am also in the lucky position to not having to go to Down Under alone as it so happens that Max the traveller was planning to discover the countless beaches and poisonous animals at around the same time as me. So we decided to travel together. I am happy about the fact that the likelihood of me being taken hostage and killed has gone down considerably. I would like to thank him for that, too. 

Australia is going to be awesome and we have decided to get a pet koala bear and feed him with eucalyptus sweets. 

I hope you have a great day Mr. 5 and I shall see you in 3 days. 

^^

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Mysterious man Joaquin Phoenix

After I had watched “Walk the Line” once again and it slowly started to move up into my top 5 films of all time I felt more and more admiration for Joaquin Phoenix who is just incredible in the film. He just plays the story and the suffering of genius Johnny Cash so convincingly that it blew me away the first time I saw it. It’s mainly the slightly aprahensive look in his eyes that makes the character in the film. He has got something strange about him, I thought, or he is just a good actor.

Straight after having finished the film again last night my friend showed me the video of Joaquin’s appearance on the Letterman show late last year. 

First, please watch it. I didn’t last the whole video and had to switch it off about half way.

I cannot properly put into words how sorry I felt for the guy throughout the video.

He is barely present. Most likely he is on drugs. But does that give Letterman the right to so obviously riddicule him in front of the greatest part of the country?! The audience is in histerics about a man that probably doesn’t even know why they are laughing at him. I actually felt ashamed to have watched the video more than 3 minutes for “entertainment” purposes. Since then I have read several blogs and articles stating how shocking Joaquin’s appearance was and that his condition was really quite concerning. What I find concerning and shocking is that this example of lowest human behavior was even broadcasted. Maybe I live on the wrong side of the pacific to understand this kind of humor. Or maybe I don’t think economically enough.

A documentary called “I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix” is meant to be shown in the near future. The film shows why Joaquin quit acting and went on to try and develop as a hip hop artist (Joaquin at Glasto next year?! Aha.). It is said to be very controversial and “include more male frontal nudity than you’d find in some gay porn films” (LA Times, May 7th, 2010).

Producer Afflek is currently looking for a distributer for the production film but it seems to be unsure if they are fighting for the right to market a documentary or a satire.

“Two buyers who saw the movie were unsure if Phoenix had turned out an elaborate piece of performance art, where the joke was really on the audience. While they were debating the film’s commercial prospects, the buyers did agree on one thing: They’d never seen anything like it.” (LA Times, 2010)

All of this is mysterious as well as confusing, Joaquin! It has even been said that the whole Letterman-show-thing was just a fabulous piece of acting. Bravo, if THAT was acting (still hatred for the audience and Letterman though!). Videos of Joaquin earlier this year show him back to normal. I hope he will go back to acting and bring us more amazing films that show him singing and dressed in black.

Until then I encourage everyone to watch Walk the Line at least twice and listen to Johnny Cash A LOT. Genius. And go Joaquin I like you A LOT, still!

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Rain – my enemy or my friend?

Before I had to go out to do my shopping today I thought: Oh no, the rain! When I actually I stepped outside I thought: Oh no, it’s even worse than expected. Arctic wind blowing in my face and I hate cold.

So I started walking and I just wanted to get to Morrisons as quick as possible so I could wrap up at home and watch a film. So I sprinted down the road like a manic, probably looking completely ridiculous in my thickest coat, scarf and with the hood up I spotted a puddle. You might think: ‘Well it was raining so nothing too exciting, is it hood girl?’

 Suddenly this little collection of dirty Leicester rain water looked quite beautiful to me. I got out the camera and started to take some photos. 

As I was stopping here and there to get a good shot I could hear the rain. There was no one but me and then remembered when I was a child and the countless times my dad had to convince me to go for a walk in the rain. I never wanted to go. I used to just look outside and cringe. After a little discussion that I seemed to lose every time and wrapping into what felt like 10 layers of clothes we then would go out INTO THE RAIN! Ah. Nightmare. But then something weird would happen. My mind would put itself at ease and really….. enjoy the rain! We would stroll along for hours and I would simply be happy. It was nice to think back today feeling absolutely content as I was taking photos of what had transformed into a beautiful scenery just by thinking back.

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British General Election 2010 – a statement of a non-voter.

Mr. Nick Clegg.

Apparently a man of the future and “change”.

His visit to De Montfort University was quite an experience for me.

A friend and I arrived at the brand new some million pounds expensive Hugh Aston building of our Business and Law friends from over the posh road. A good 200 people had turned up. The atmosphere a little tense. Most of the spectators were pretending nothing of big importance was just about to happen but really there was that little excitement in the air. The one that nobody likes to admit as it’s “just” a politician isn’t it? Then, the yellow fun bus arrives. He gets off and nearly causes a hysteric girl, who acted like we’re back in the 90’s and the Backstreet Boys had just arrived, to faint. Something must have changed. This level of excitement for a politician, this side of the pacific, was new to me.

If we believe what Nick Clegg tells us in countless interviews with people like Dermot O’Leary to cruel Jeremy Paxman then it is going to be a historic election. Even us foreigners can sense that. And he admittedly came across well. At least in the 10 minutes I was stood about a meter away as that was the only time I could properly hear him speak. Mr. Clegg is either a very good actor or it’s his tennis playerish charm. He seems to be an honest man. As far as politicians go anyway.

So, if I had the right to vote in the British General Election 2010, who would I vote for?

That I am not a fan of the BNP (to say it mildly) you can probably imagine. Not much more needs to be said about them at this stage. Just visit their website and look at the picture that comes up when you click “Immigration”. Enough said about serenity. I would never vote conservative. I just wouldn’t, because if their way to creating a stronger society and reducing inequality is supporting privatisation then something has gone seriously wrong in some minds. So in the last British general elections I would have probably voted Labour. I vote the German SPD who are, sort of, the equivalent. A socialist party and I like socialist ideas. But just like their German companions it seems that New Fresh Shiny Labour have lost their shininess a little bit. Gordon Brown looks like he has given up already and apart from that weird mouth thing he does he doesn’t particularly grip people’s attention. So it is between Labour and the LibDems. If I was English I would represent their exact “target audience”. I am a student and of course I worry about my future and I like the idea of not paying tuition fees or at least see an immediate reduction in the first year of a possible yellow government. I do struggle to see how that can actually be achieved, but for now, the idea is a good one. But the point that gets my attention the most is the intention to reform the voting system. In my eyes – a good thing and necessary. Votes shouldn’t simply be lost. Every voter should get the opportunity to vote for the party they support and not just the MP that runs for their region. So, my vote would go to the Liberal Democrats with tennisboy and more importantly pro-EU Nick.

I can’t wait for the 6th and instantly hope that many people go and vote because us, the ones, who are privileged with a right to vote should use it.

I wonder which form of change Britain will decide is best for them. I will sit back, watch and have a cup of tea with milk and one sugar.

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