Personal

Boxes and Suitcases

Boxes and suitcases everywhere. This is my current reality. Those boxes we’re not shipping to Canada are full of stuff for charity. It’s a minefield.

The clutter makes me anxious. It’s a combination of excitement and being totally overwhelmed, so every now and then I find myself disengaging to regain some semblance of focus. I do this sometimes. Browse the internet, read a book (and I’m beta reading a FANTASTIC ONE at the moment), or do a watercolour. Or, in today’s reality, write a blog post.

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Anniversary Pics

As promised, here’s the bonus Thursday post. 🙂

For the 9th anniversary, we headed to Düsseldorf. This actually happened by accident. The real reason for the trip was to pick up our passports with the brand-spanking-new visas to enter Canada. Both of us had completely forgotten it happened to be our anniversary too. 😛

Since we were already there, we figured a meal would be nice. You know, because it was an event. We conquered the wind and found a cosy restaurant.

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A(nother) Note

Today, folks, is my wedding anniversary. Nine years ago, I married the awesomest dude on the face of the planet – he’s my best friend and soulmate, the greatest father and sweetest husband ever.

In honour of that, I’m taking the day off blogging. 🙂 OK, not only that, we’ve got some errands to run too.

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Explanations

Fair warning – this is a long post.

After Friday’s big news, we’ve had a lot of good wishes, emails and questions. I thought I’d address some of those today.

Most people were surprised that we’re so unhappy in Germany, especially considering how happy all of our photo diary posts look. I talked about this briefly on Friday, but one of the main things I’ve learned while living abroad is that you can’t judge people’s lives on an hour Skype session every now and then, or on the photos or blog entries they post online.

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The Big News

As a teenager, I dreamed of moving to Hollywood. At first, I wanted to act. Who doesn’t? But then, one fateful day, I saw the work of my first idol, Steven Spielberg. More than anything, I wanted to follow in his footsteps and make films. I wrote many brilliant screenplays (they were Oscar winners one and all 😛 ) and the lands over the ocean beckoned.

Little did I know back then that I would end up immigrating, but to a totally different part of the world. Germany. And today is the two-year anniversary of that move.

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Life Update

After the Writing Update post, I was asked how it’s going otherwise. So, here we are.

Somehow, these kinds of posts are the most difficult to write. I don’t know why. It’s such a no-brainer to put in hours of research for *writing topic* or spend an evening painting something for an art tutorial, while writing about my personal life never gets easier. And I don’t mean sharing photos of the stuff we’ve been getting up to. Those kinds of posts write like a story.

These honest ones, though. Posts like these mean being vulnerable on the internet. After six years of blogging, that’s still not a feeling I like.

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Sunday Afternoon Hike

Sunshine has been rare this summer – I don’t know what’s going on. Apart from three or so heat waves, we’ve had an excess of rain and gloom this season. Pretty depressing, if you ask me. Especially considering the fact that I had a tan last year this time.

So, when the sun is out, we are too.

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Writing Update

You were supposed to see this post at the end of July, I know. Apologies. I’m more scatterbrained than usual lately and I forgot. But better late than never, right?

The writing has been going exceptionally well. After The Great Word Draught of 2017, I never imagined I’d be writing so much, especially now that The Physician’s Apprentice has been completed (again).

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Saarner Kirmes (Fair)

In the post about those things I love about Germany, I mentioned random fairs popping up at every opportunity. This weekend, we found one of those. 🙂

The Saarner Kirmes set up in our hometown of Mülheim an der Ruhr, on the bank of the River Ruhr (Saarn is a suburb of Mülheim). We wouldn’t even have known of the fair’s existence, had we not went out to lunch. I was in the mood for currywurst, but we couldn’t find a nice place to have that. So, we went in the direction of the river.

By chance, Kayla spotted activity on the far bank. I say chance, but I really mean her fun-radar. That thing is accurate within half a centimetre. 🙂

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The June Report

My… month in pictures? The monthly recap? As far as alternative titles go, these aren’t the best. Sorry. 🙂

Since I didn’t do a single post with photos from this month, I thought I’d give you an overview today (all my WIP posts were of adventures from past months). I’ve been toying with this recap post idea for a while, since so many of our photos taken in the week are share-worthy, but never get featured because they weren’t taken on weekends.

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Help a Blogger Out

Here’s an interesting turn of events. I don’t know what to blog about.

At first, I couldn’t understand what the hell this caused this sluggishness. Sure, blogging is difficult sometimes. I’ve been doing this for six years and I know ideas dry up at some point. That’s why the blog changed its direction even before I moved here from the Couch. Still, I was on a roll a while back, so this drought is both unexpected and seriously annoying.

Help a Blogger

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The Random Post

This is the end. We had a blast, saw amazing things and bonded with our tribe. We miss them terribly. The house is still quiet. Going through all of these photos somehow amplifies that.

But, before I get too soppy, let’s get on with the post.

While I shared all the main events with you, I have hundreds of photos taken on the in-between days. You know, those ones that didn’t involve buying tickets to enter tourist hot-spots. That’s what I’m sharing today.

anigif

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Cologne 3.0

There’s a feeling that fills your chest when you round that corner, or take that step out of the train station in Cologne. The first and most undeniable structure in the heart of the city is the Cologne Cathedral – majestic, impossible and awe-inspiring. It claims your every thought and emotion with its sheer size, then slams its hooks into your heart with its gothic spires, stained-glass windows and grotesque gargoyles. You’ll always kind of shiver when you recall this place, never fully capable of wording what it is you felt in the cathedral’s shadow. And an enormous shadow it is.

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The House is Quiet

Well, I’m back.

This vacation was one for the record books. Having friends over was seriously special, and more so because we experienced so many new things together. It was an honour to have them fly half-way around the globe to visit us. All the warm and fuzzies were felt. Having said that, I’ll try to keep the emotions contained while I write this. You know me, a big old softie. 😛 I cry at McDonald’s commercials.

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Being in the Moment

A while ago, a friend suggested that I write something on this topic. Yea, I’ve been trying. Do I have a nice, glowy outcome planned for this post? No. Not at all. #idontknowwhatimdoing

All I know is that this is something I struggle with immensely, especially when I’m obsessing. As in now.

Being in the moment is difficult enough in our day-to-day lives. I mean, we’re bombarded with things to consume from all angles. We can access anything from our phones, which means from anywhere we have wifi reception. So checking Twitter while at a coffee date with a friend is totally doable, and also kind of the norm.

BEING

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The Rain is Late

Last year this time, we had maybe an afternoon of sunshine every two weeks. The drizzle was constant, predictable like the beat of my heart. Depressing too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of rain. I come from a place where the thunderstorms are legendary, with rushes of rain like waterfalls and crashing thunder like battles in the sky. Hard rain – I love that. This misty, more-like-wet-wind-than-actual-rain? Hate it.

Still, it left its mark. Last year this time, everything was green. Some trees had already started to blossom and the air smelled sweet and earthy. Spring showers (showers, ha) transformed our surroundings to something magical – something Johannesburgers aren’t used too. I mean, Jozi is awesome, but doesn’t have the same amount of trees and forested areas as we do here in Germany.

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Fanart Feb Results

Because February wasn’t hectic enough to start with, you know. That’s why I figured I’d do this thing. Like with Inktober, the idea was to make art every day of February, sticking to the fandoms you love.

In the end, I failed to draw every day, but at least I had fun making those artworks that I did.

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You Are What You Make

I’ve been watching Tessa Violet for around two years now and she’s become one of my favourite YouTubers. Why? Well, she’s what I’m not. 🙂 She shares, openly, all of her thoughts and fears, and even rethinks some of her older video topics. If she’s evolved, she’ll explain how she’s learned to accept parts of herself that she previously denied or disliked.

I find that both brave and admirable. Sharing so much of yourself on the internet is (IMO) a scary choice, but it’s also a great way to document growth. And that’s what I’m attempting.

To continue Monday’s tone, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on handling creativity while dealing with angst, in a kind of late reply to a video of Tessa’s. Hers is specifically about creativity and depression, but I find many of the core ideas are totally relatable even when measured against mental issues other than depression.

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Downtime

Hi there.

I know Mondays are supposed to be for Weekends in Pictures, but this weekend didn’t go down in that kind of way. While I do have a few photos, they’re just of stolen moments in between, and I want to keep them for our personal records.

So, this is another update post, to keep you informed and my schedule running. 🙂

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Kaiser Animal Park

With the weather in Germany finally turning, we’ve been seeing some sun. Though, that thought barely crossed my mind when the rain arrived. As I type this, it’s dristing outside. No, that’s not a word. It’s a weather phenomenon that is neither drizzle nor mist, and is so definitive of Europe that you probably have the exact image of this drist in your mind right now. I HATE IT. But OK.

Saturday graced us with some relatively good weather – cloudy, but wind-still. Kayla’s been nagging to go to one of the local animal parks again, so we figured Saturday was perfect for that. I’ve blogged about Kaiserpark before, but this remains one of our favourite places to hang around in nature. If you ever find yourself in Oberhausen with kids, I totally recommend this outing. Entry is free, and you can either bring or purchase carrots to feed to some of the farm animals. There’s a nice restaurant and a small outdoor café too, and some beautiful park-scapes.

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A Quick Update

Nothing feels real in my life anymore until I share it here. â—„ That’s healthy. 😛

I had some awesome news this week and I want to share it with you. You know, so it becomes real.

update

I belong to a writer’s group and they’re releasing an anthology later this year. Submissions opened November 2016, with the theme ‘elements’. I figured I’d submit – a thing that came loaded with first-timer’s angst. I didn’t believe I’d be selected, but there’s nothing lost in trying, right? What can go wrong when your story is scrutinised and poked at by people with much more experience than you?  *Yolandie laughs forever*

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Unexpected, but Fun

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll know I’m the obsessive type. Whenever I do something, I hurl myself at it until it’s done and I’m exhausted. Then I go into a weird, anti-climactic ‘what the hell now?’ state. That’s what I’m combatting now.

So, since finishing the latest revision of The Physician’s Apprentice, I’ve been focussed on spending time with my family. Because of that, I’ve missed a few days of fanart February, but I’ll make that up with a few quick sketches. Point is, it hasn’t been as rushed for a week or so and I’m actually coping with the quiet.

Our weather has been turning too – this is awesome. One week we were still freezing, and the next was just cool. We actually had some SUNSHINE too. Then, on Thursday, the chill returned. It snowed through Friday night and left us with a frosty surprise Saturday morning. Snowball fights ensued.

anigif

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On Stigma

I guess I should make it clear from the get-go that this is going to focus on mental issues, though you could probably use the message for any other kind of stigma too. I don’t know yet, I’ve just begun to write this post. 😛

This is a topic close to my heart. It’s one I’ve failed to voice too frequently. In fact, I failed yesterday when an opportunity presented itself.

A big promoter of stigma is false information – a thing we spread or allow to keep spreading too easily. So. This is my chance to redeem myself and add some facts to my ramblings. Please click the links, learn something, and hopefully, understand certain illnesses better.

 

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Water Fun

I’m happy to report that my insane revision period is over. For the moment. The editing was strong with me this weekend, but I did have some forced breaks mixed in. Also some spontaneous breaks, otherwise known as procrastination, which led me to find my Patronus is a St Bernard. I know.

Anway, while not working, we went for walks along the Ruhr. Since we live about 2 km from the river, we tend to find ourselves next to it quite often. This weekend, however, we followed paths yet unexplored.

anigif

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Kindergarten Fun (TGC)

Yes, this is a German Chronicles post on a Friday. My week has been kind of topsy-turvy.

For the first time in a long time, I have a FAQ that I want to answer. Why isn’t Kayla in a preschool/nursery school/kindergarten?

The short answer is because Germany. I’m guessing that’s not what you want, though.

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On Excess

We entered 2017 to a chorus of whistles, glittery explosions, pops and sizzles. Fireworks. Hours and hours worth of fireworks.

Just to keep you in the know – in South Africa, fireworks are pretty much illegal. The minority of people still shoot these pretties to celebrate the new year, but on the whole, it’s a big no-no where I come from. For the greater part of my life, I only saw fireworks on special occasions, and then never on a large scale.

You can imagine how weird it was when we came to Germany. Here, tradition dictates that you shoot away all the bad things from the last year, so that you start the new year with a clean slate. The fireworks start when the first early watch says it’s midnight and pretty much continues well into the next morning – this year, it was about 6 o’clock on January 1st.

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Snow Day

If you’ve hung around the blog, you’ll know we’re a family of South Africans living in Germany. Johannesburg is our hometown, and is overall not a very snowy place. In fact, we’re used to truckloads of sunshine all year round, with some thunderstorms in the warm season.

We find European weather a strange phenomenon. Here we have misty drizzle and near-constant overcast in the winter, with weather patterns that shift because a baby farted. One thing we’re particularly fond of, though, is snow.

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Neuschwanstein Trip

We’ve been ogling this castle for a looooong time. You know how I feel about castles to begin with, but this one was kind of special, and not just because it’s the template for the Disney castle. Imagine this place, with its majestic spires and pristine white bricks, keeping its vigil on the side of a snow-covered mountain, rising above a thin veil of mist. It’s the kind of thing fairytales are born of.

Even if you ignore the incredible imagery that the area has to offer, the history of Neuschwanstein is really interesting – a fairytale backstory in itself. The castle was commissioned by a mad king, who was so indebted to his people because of his obsession with building this castle, that he was taken into custody. While under arrest, he was mysteriously killed while strolling with his psychiatrist, and both bodies were found in a lake. To this day, nobody knows what happened or who killed them. Read more on Wiki.

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Munich Zoo

Hello, all you lovely folks. Hope you had a good weekend.

As I mentioned on Friday, our trip to Munich ended in a zoo, because of a three-year-old’s heartfelt request. For this reason, we braved the cold, ignored the patches of snow on the ground, and went to see some animals.

The highlight of the zoo trip was the aquarium, because it took us out of the cold (win!) and Kayla ADORES fish. Might have mentioned that before.

This zoo was interesting in that it has a lot of indoor areas, built to simulate the climate of the natural habitats the animals would typically live in. With this came the plants, birds etc that would be grouped in each area. Zoo visitors can enter each of these spaces and observe the animals through massive glass panes.

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