Monthly Archives: November 2010


Besides living in one house with our parents and the parents of my dad, my sister and I spent a week, if not a couple of weeks every summer with the parents of my mum. My grandparents M were both teachers and my earliest memories with them are those of painting, of story telling and of walks through the parks including questions what the name of this plant here or that tree over there was. At least this is what my memory tells me.

Over 20 years ago, my grandma was diagnosed with leukaemia. For over 2 years, she went through chemo therapy but I don’t recall being at the hospital often. She remembers the shocked 10 year old who could hardly believe that the cheerful and strong grandma she always knew was the same thin woman sitting  in that wheelchair.

This, hard to believe, is 20 years ago. And, while my other grandparents died at old age a few years ago; she and my grandpa are still with us. It even seems that the older I get, the more I need them. They lived through many harsh moments and still, they inspire confidence, gentleness and a belonging that is hard to describe and even harder to find anywhere else.

As time moves on, I don’t know how much longer I’ll have such a place to return to but I do know that I have been gifted by their presence.



I know that I have been lucky in life. Whenever I go back home and see my parents, my grand-parents, I am aware that not everybody had the chance to grow up surrounded by family.

When I was four, my parents moved into the farmhouse of my dad’s parents. I cannot remember being one day alone at home before the age of 14. It felt very weird then. One of my first memories of my granny K was making cake with her. She would pour one ingredient after the other in a bowl while I had to stir it. Of course I had the right to lick out the remaining dough.

It sure was not always easy for my parents to live with my grandparents in one house. My grandpa K could be quite a stubborn, hard man. But then again he would take us kids – my sister and me – with him in the garden, in the barn, or give us a hot potato that was actually cooked for the pigs.

In the kind of village it was, my sister and I were free to roam as much as we wanted from the day I was able to read a watch. Being home on time was the only condition. Amazingly enough, we didn’t do that much mischief. Probably also because there was always one neighbour or the other close by and sometimes my parents knew about what we had done before we had a chance to confess.

I also remember the day it snowed so much, my sister and I were able to build an igloo; or the many evenings we drove to the closest lake for swimming; the games and fights with the neighbourhood kids… It was a time of light heartedness; of safety, of love.


For the first time ever in my life, I arrived too late at check-in. Even though I could still check in. Landing in Berlin, my luggage as well as the one of my colleague who was more than early for check-in were the first ones to be on the luggage trail.

Now, I always wanted to figure out if it made a difference if you checked in luggage late or early. Apparently it doesn’t. Strange though…


Doing something good for someone in a difficult situation. Knowing that there won’t be a return other than the gratefulness of this person. Sometimes not even this. End then, later in life, you find yourself in a tricky situation. And somebody helps you out. Without a return.

Every once in a while, I do believe that there is such a thing as universal justice in the positive sense.

Word of mouth


Ok, Ok, I am someone with a rather sensible stomach. Not food but emotion wise. Stress, anger but also joy will get on my stomach. This, and a pretty big fight made me discover the deeper meaning of the German saying “jemand kotzt mich an” roughly translated by ‘someone is throwing up on me’. Though it is actually the other way round.

For the first time in my life, I got so angry at someone that I really felt the urge of throwing up. Preferable on this person’s shoes…



  • Familientag in der Schwimmhalle. Dutzende Gummiboote in Form von Schmetterlingen und Seepferden.
  • Gefühlte 20 Kinder pro Gummiboot
  • Kann mich nicht entscheiden, was schlimmer ist: die Kinder oder der Kerl, der meint er würde Kraul schwimmen. Ich nenne sowas Wasserschlagen mit Vorwärtskommen.
  • Männer schwimmen mit Kraft, wenn sie es nicht können; Frauen nur langsam.
  • Beeindruckend schlechte Rückenschwimmerin. Verschlucke mich beim Lachen.
  • Geisterschwimmer stoppen müssen. Natürlich meine Schuld.
  • Brustschwimmen extra platzbrauchend. Ist ja auch sonst keiner da
  • Der ich-bin-Profi-und-schwimme-ohne-Rücksicht-auf-Verluste ist auch da. Hatte mich schon gewundert, wo er bleibt.
  • Warum ist Slalomschwimmen eigentlich keine olympische Disziplin? Immer gerade hin und her ist nun wirklich keine Kunst.

Und trotzdem bin ich froh, dass ich mich aufgerafft habe.


  • How many times do you have to have a cab showing up for a certain organisation without anybody needing it, before you finish on the taxi company’s blacklist?
  • Why are the chances of a taxi coming on time inversely related to the hurry you are in?
  • Why bothering to book a taxi 24 hours in advance if they don’t show up?
  • Why are there taxis bleus, taxis verts and taxis jaunes but no taxis rouges? And why don’t they colour their cars accordingly but are all black?

My biologic clock

is not very well aligned with the needs of modern – read office – life. The other day, I was working just fine – at home on private stuff from 13 to 22. Productive, average efficient and with some decent results. The later it got, the better was what I wrote but no, my employer thinks that I need to be in the office at 9.

Honestly, I admire people who are early birds. Getting up with the light, getting things done, singing, shining and utterly annoying. The problem is; I’m not one of them. The first couple of hours per day, I merely function thanks to what must be a natural auto pilot.

There are however also those who envy me for being able to sleep 12 hours in a row; for being able to sleep in trains, planes or buses. One day, I’ll have to write about the naps I have in the office. But not today, it’s getting late…

Mais pas tous les jours

There are moments when it feels just perfect to walk in the rain: late at night, slight drizzling rain on the way home when the streets are empty and life slows down.

The road

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.