Tides of Life – Weekly series part 6 (chapter 6.2)

Dear Readers,
Today I didn’t really have time to write anything at all, because I’ve got a week full of exams ahead of me. So it’s not gonna be a huge intro. I just hope you’re all doing well and having a great Pre-Christmas time. To read the beginning of the chapter just click here. So let’s get started:

August 23rd,1898

A lot had changed in that year. Jason and I didn’t get married. He couldn’t wait for it that long. But we stayed good friends for the whole time. We were still lovers he still drank coffee with me and we went on walks. Late-night talks. Sunrises. Goodnight kisses. But it was different. There was a crack between us and it was widening every day. I worked more and finished more articles in my free time.

One afternoon Rachel was helping me with fixing up the kids’ room. They had made a chaos. Rachel turned to me and said: “Have you ever missed them? Your family at home, life in Germany. The people. Your siblings? It seems to me you have been keeping feelings to yourself and trying to deal with it on your own. Why is that?” I was surprised by that question; how did she think of this now? “In the beginning, yes, a lot of the time. Some days it was harder than others. The feeling of leaving them behind seven years ago, it almost broke my heart. Family traditions like Hanukkah or New Year’s Eve would make me sad in the beginning. It was a completely new world, Americans and their traditions, their culture. Their eating habits. But now, it feels like I’ve got two homes. And my home in Germany seems distant. Like a slowly fading memory. It feels like I’m losing a part of me. And that scares me. But since my sister has been sick, I am constantly reminded that a part of my soul still belongs there. Always will. On the other hand, I would not want to leave here, I feel home. It’s where my heart feels home. And if I had to leave you I would miss you like my own family. You’ve won a big place in my heart, you all have. Don’t worry about me dealing with things on my own, I’ve learned that a long time ago. And I am capable of doing so without having to depend on others. But thank you for your concerns. I really appreciate it. Why did you want to know that now?” She smiled: “It just crossed my mind. And I want you to know that you have become a big part of our lives, too, and that there would be something missing without you. You don’t always have to deal with your worries and sorrows alone you know? It’s not a sign of weakness if you let yourself get helped. If you can’t solve a problem alone or if you’re not keeping your feelings to yourself. It only means you’re human. I want you to know that.” I didn’t quite know what to say but it made my eyes fill with tears. I didn’t remember when the last time had been when words like that had touched me so deeply. I forced a bitter smile and said: “Thank you, Rachel. I know that now and I will keep it close.”

The next two years that followed were hard. One of my sisters back home tried to emigrate, too, but she got sick on the ship and was sent back. William and I had to provide for her treatment. And try to get her out of isolation on Ellis Island. We didn’t succeed. People were rather tense around the beginning of the new century. They were scared, not knowing what the future might bring. Trying to make predictions about the things that would happen. And I, as a part-time journalist was privileged to tell the world. Or at least all of Baywood. There was a lot of fear, industry made a big step forward, people were afraid that they’d lose their jobs. Machines became more important than workers. Working hours never stopped for construction workers. Jason had been called back to his old Job. Almost no breaks, hard work. But we never stopped seeing each other. And I still loved him. But we couldn’t make it work, no matter how hard we tried.
April 16th, 1900

“Dear Henriette,
I am sorry to give you the bad news this way. The cancer has returned. Worse than before. They say it’s everywhere. And now, the chances that I will survive another two years are next to nothing. There is something I am begging you to do. I want you to take care of my boys. When I’m gone they’ll need someone to care for them, someone they can trust. And someone who can help them through the pain. At least the two older ones Henry and Paul. George will be too young to really remember me. But I am begging you to take care of them as if they were yours. I know you can do this. And I trust you most of all. I am so sorry. I tried. But I just can’t win this fight. Not this time. My strength is leaving me daily. I can barely hold the feather I am writing this with. The doctors say they’re trying everything they can. They’re telling me to be strong, strong for my children. For my husband. Otto is trying his best to act strong in front of me, but I know he is having a very hard time dealing with it. I don’t know what to do. And I am scared that I might never see you again. If that happens to be the case, please know I love you. I love you so much my dearest sister. Please be there for my kids. I cannot leave them behind in peace. Cannot die in peace if I don’t know them to be safe. I am so sorry to have to tell you. But you’re the only one I trust most with them. Please don’t stop hoping. Don’t stop loving. I don’t want you to do that. I really hope to see you again.
Love, Frederica.”

It was like a kick to the stomach. A scenario of her lying there in a hospital bed, dying. I was drenched in pain. It was a sunny day. No clouds, less windy than usual. It was almost quiet even. I looked out the window to the beach and I knew I’d have to go. Have to leave Rachel and David, have to leave the kids. Amy was now 14 and Nancy would be 18 in a month. Nancy had grown to be an adult. Working and getting paid. Amy would be ready to pick a job and start an apprenticeship somewhere soon. And Nancy would fall in love and probably get married in five years. And I wouldn’t get to see it. In my thoughts I was with my dying sister. But also, with my family here. With Jason, who I would have to leave behind. And it broke my heart to admit it, but I’d have to make sacrifices for my sister and her children. I had a promise to keep and I would have to leave him. Leave my life, again.

February 15th, 1901

When the time had come, I packed my suitcases and my belongings. Looking back at those ten years I had spent here, I felt a deep sadness. Because these ten years had been the best in my life. Leaving a part of me behind. Saying goodbye to Rachel, David, Nancy and Amy. “Farewell Henriette. You’ll always be a big part of our lives and have a place in our hearts. Thank you for those years you spent with us, we will never forget you. Now go, live your life and remember you’ll always have a place to come home to, should you go to America again. We’ll miss you.” Rachel smiled at me. “I have to thank you for letting me stay, for taking care of me when I was sick, for letting me be a part of your family. I will never forget you. You shaped me in a way that I now know to appreciate. Goodbye.” Then I went to Ellis Island. Before I left I saw Jason. “You’re leaving, is it true?”, he sighed “You were the love of my life. Please don’t forget me. But move on, too. I am sure you will find someone and love again. I wish you that, and the strength to care for your sister. I will never forget you, Henriette Meier. You changed my life. We can still write letters. Farewell, my love.” his eyes were glassy. I smiled “Don’t worry. I could never forget you. You showed me what love feels like. And that is one of the things I am so thankful for. I am sorry to have to leave you but there is no other way. And of course, I will write you when I get there. I hope you find someone, too. Someone who won’t break your heart. Goodbye Jason. Farewell.” And so, we went our separate ways. I went on the ship and I didn’t turn back. Not once. And when I looked at the ocean I knew that a very different part of my journey was yet to come. And I felt ready because I knew that sometimes you had to sacrifice yourself in order to find peace in life.

So, I really wanted to end this in a meaningful, life-lesson way. And yeah, that’s it with Henriette and Jason. Or is it? Guess you’ll have to wait till next week to find out.

Goodnight, Morning or whatever time it is, wherever you’re reading this from.
Love,
Gioia

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Tides of Life – weekly series part 5 (Chapter 6.1)

Dear Readers,
Happy December to you all. Christmas time means stress to most of us. Tons of exams, things to get done, presents to be bought and family. Christmas, however, isn’t only stressful but also a time to reflect on the past year and experiences. It’s a time to say ‘Thank you’ and to show love to the people you care about. Before starting off this chapter I want to talk about what Christmas used to mean and what it means now. When I was a kid, Christmas time was all about getting presents and celebrating and eating fancy foods. But as I’m growing up I look at it from a completely different perspective. I think about friends and my family and I can really appreciate the gift of being loved and accepted as I am. I think about the good and the bad stuff that has happened and I don’t regret a thing. Because sometimes we have to be sad in order to appreciate happiness. Sometimes we have to make mistakes so we can learn from them and improve ourselves in the future. And that no matter how much life sucks sometimes, we’re in control of how to deal with it and make it better. So remember, you’re in control of your actions. Now without further ado let’s start this chapter:

August 23rd, 1898

I remember three years ago, Rachel and David, Amy, Nancy, Jason and I were going back home from those eventful holidays on Fire Island. Three years had gone by so fast. It seemed like yesterday when Jason had asked me. We had been so happy, believing it would happen. Two people in love, thinking nothing in the world could harm them. It sounds foolish, but lovers are nothing but that, fools. And when something happens, everything turns into chaos. Three years ago, we didn’t see the storm that was brewing. But it was there. About to change everything. A tornado, ready to leave destruction in its wake wherever it goes.

We had gotten the news through a letter. That fateful afternoon in September there had been a knock on the door. I had opened it. My brother William had stood there. “William”, I had said surprised, “what brings you here? Follow me. Did you hear the news?” But he had looked very sad, and that meant he had heard something else. We had stepped into the living room. “Which news are you talking about? I’ve only got bad ones. Have you got good ones?” I had smiled, uncertain whether I should tell him. “I’m getting married. That’s my good news. His name’s Jason and I met him in my journalism course almost three years ago. What are your news?” he had seemed surprised and fighting with himself. “First off, congratulations on your engagement. I had no idea. But I’ve come here to tell you, something happened. Something very bad. Our sister, Frederica. She’s sick. Very sick. And they don’t know how to cure it. Our parents are asking us to send them money for the treatment. She has three children and they need to be fed and tended if she should…”, his voice had started breaking, “… if she should die.” It had seemed unreal. The tornado that was brewing and getting bigger every day. It shouldn’t have happened. She shouldn’t have gotten sick. “What can we do, or can we even do anything at all to help them? Is there something they need, except the money of course?” My brother had given me a sad smile and I knew there was nothing we could’ve done to make it better.

That night I had spoken with Jason. I had told him that we would have to wait with the wedding. Now the time I had invested in the wedding, had to be spent on helping my sister. He had nodded and tried to understand. He had tried to help me get through those hard months of uncertainty. Then they had known. Cancer. They had given her three years if she got lucky but that rarely happened. But still, I had to keep going. Working. Jason had gotten a job at a paper and I had worked overtime to pay for my sisters’ treatment. The years that had passed were filled with worry, anger and love. My love for Jason had grown stronger every day. If that was even possible. He had always been understanding, always helping. Amy and Nancy, in a way, were my saviours. The days I spent with them, watching them grow. It gave me the strength to keep moving on. To keep growing, as Jane had said. Another New Year’s Eve, 1896. Fire Island in summer. Nancy was now fourteen years old and Amy was ten. It was unbelievable how time had gone by so fast. A year after Jason had asked me we were still stuck in the same place. Nothing had changed. Except that now, we were providing for my sister at home. And back then everything had seemed perfect. My brother William and I regularly met for coffee to discuss the situation that hadn’t changed. But we kept hoping. Time didn’t stop for anyone. Then I had gotten a job as a journalist but had to turn it down because of my work with the kids. Then they had given me the chance to work there part-time. I agreed. Occasionally I turned in reports to the ‘Baywood Paper’ and would get a small amount of money for it.
Then, last year in May 1897, the good news came. A miracle had happened. My sister got better. We got the news three weeks after they had found out. The cancer in her body had started decreasing. They had said there was a chance she’d survive. Truly no one had believed that, but we enjoyed the months when it got better. We got letters from her saying she was feeling much stronger. In one letter she wrote:

“Dear William, dear Henriette,
I want to truly thank you for the things you did those past two years. I know you have had a lot of work to put in to provide for my treatment. And either the treatment is working or there really are miracles. I enjoy seeing my three boys and Otto has tried so hard to keep them as far away from those worries and fears as possible. I have heard that you (Henriette) are getting married. What is he like? Thank him too. I heard about his help. Tell me all about him in your next letter, will you? Have you already forgotten your promise? Now William, how is your wife, and how are the kids? I’m sure they’ve grown up very fast. I can see it every day with my boys. They’re growing up so fast. And I am so thankful to see it all. Cancer has made my body weak and now I am very thin. It was eating me away. But now there’s hope. Hope that I will live on to see my children get married and become a grandmother. Mother and Father are worried, they look at me, fearful. As if I might break only through their glances. I understand it but it’s not something I enjoy. I think it to be rather hateful. Our other siblings are doing really well. Two of them finished school this summer. They will start working soon. What else is there to say? It was really lonesome in that hospital bed and I am glad to be home again. What does the sea look like from your side of the world? Is it as wild and carefree as it is here?
Write back soon, I cannot wait to hear from you.
Love, Frederica”

And that letter made us hopeful that she would soon be well enough to provide for herself. And that she would be in good health, living on. I could finally enjoy time again. Feeling less worried. A weight that had been lifted off of my shoulders. I was free from those worries now. Jason and I could finally get married. My sister would be better than ever, and we would see each other again. I would go visit her and meet my nephews. Life would finally turn around for the better again. All those problems would dissolve into thin air. Rachel and David would become the godmother and godfather of my children and I would be a mother. I looked out of the window, the waves were high, there was a storm coming. I didn’t care. I ignored it. The stormy sea was not going to change the fact that my hopes and dreams had been lifted up high. The wind was blowing, I heard the sea gulls screaming. Then I put a feather, ink and a paper on my desk and replied carefully:

“Dearest Frederica,
Your letter made me smile when I read it. It’s full of hope for a better future. You cannot believe how happy that makes me. And I hope you will soon make a full recovery. As to Jason. That’s his name. He is 26 years old, living in Hempstead, which is thirty minutes away from my home. I met him in my journalism course three years ago. He is tall, has dark, wavy hair and is extremely handsome. Furthermore, he is a gentleman who works at a paper in Hempstead. I fell for him after drinking a lot of coffee together and getting to know the man behind those beautiful eyes. He is the love of my life. And I want to spend the rest of it with him. That is a completely new side of me. I would turn my back to boys. But with him it’s different, he showed me what it was like to feel safe. And I haven’t felt safer any place else than in his arms. No, I haven’t forgotten about my promise. But right now, you are my priority. It truly is a miracle. You have made me believe. Of course, mother and father are worried. There is no way they wouldn’t be. But they will change and stop looking at you like that. I am sure of it. The sea does not look any different here. Maybe it’s a little less rough than it is back home, but not very much. I can’t speak for our nieces and nephews, for I don’t see them very often, but I can speak for the girls in the family I work and live with. It’s unbelievable how fast they grow. When I came here they were a 4-year-old scared toddler, hiding behind her father’s legs and an 8-year-old straightforward little girl. And now they’re 11- and 15-year-old, adventurous girls with an energy that never lessens. Playing hide and seek, running around, fighting about not doing homework, and the fears they have that are so easily overcome. They’re growing every day. How old are your boys now? I cannot wait to see you again. If I have enough money after the wedding, I will come visit with Jason. You’d love him. He’s the person that always has your back and that is always trying his best to be there for you in any way possible. Shortly, he’s perfect for me. And I’ll do everything in my power to make that visit happen. Get well soon.
Love, Henriette”

I wanted to end this with positive words so that’s it for today I guess.
I wish you Goodnight, morning or afternoon wherever you’re reading this from.
Love to you all,

Gioia 🙂

Tides of Life – Weekly series part 3 (Chapter 4)

Dear Readers,

Here we go again. You might’ve been waiting for the next chapter so without further ado, let’s get started:

                                                                       June 7th, 1891

         It was a beautiful house. Three steps that led up to a green door. I rang the bell. The door opened and a pair of kind, deep eyes stared at me. “Hello. You must be Henriette. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Rachel. My husband and I are very happy to welcome you to our home. Still, there are rules to follow. Rules that you have to obey in order for this to work. But first I’ll show you to your room. You must be tired.” Those were her first words to me. Rachel was a tall woman with a strong sense of order and justice. She was a woman of determination and you could see that from the way she moved and talked. People who didn’t know her might’ve described her as severe and maybe even mean. But she was always kind to me. And I knew to appreciate that. Her brown, wavy hair was always tied to a knot which made the impression that she would not tolerate chaos.  “That is true. It’s a pleasure to meet you too. Thank you for the job offer in the first place. It is very kind of you to give me a chance. And I will do my best.” She nodded and said some words I didn’t understand. I followed her. She led me up a set of stairways and opened a door which led to a small room. It gave me a feeling of home. It had a small window with a breathtakingly beautiful view on the ocean. I laid down my suitcases and went into the kitchen. It was a big house and I felt like I would get lost on my way downstairs. So many new sensations.

By the time I got to the living room, dinner was ready. Which was where I met Rachel’s husband David and the kids, Amy and Nancy. They were four and eight years old. Amy hid behind her father’s legs. But Nancy came straight up to me and said: “Hey, I’m Nancy. It’s very nice to meet you. I hear you’re going to be my new Nanny. Better be good”. David tried to hold back a smile. “She can be very straightforward sometimes so, don’t take it too seriously.” For dinner, there were fries and Campbell’s beans. What an unusual dinner. It was a new culture, that was for sure. We ate quietly. After dinner, Rachel put the children to bed and David poured himself a glass of whiskey. Its colour was golden, just like one of our sunsets back at home. But then I remembered that this was my home now. I went to bed without any further conversations and let all those new experiences sink in.

The first three weeks went by in a haze. I had a lot of work to do with the cooking and the kids. Every day at 7:30 I had to wake them, make them breakfast and bring Amy to kindergarten and Nancy to school. When that was done I was washing, cleaning up, fixing broken things and running errands around the house. At lunchtime, I started preparing for when the kids would get home. Homework with Nancy, who usually never did them if you didn’t ask for it, board games with Amy. Storytime. Stories about boys having adventures. Dragons. Maidens that had to get rescued by the Prince. In the late afternoons, I prepared dinner. Short, I was the maid for everything. The work was hard, and some days I wished for a change of things. But they were good people and made my life there as good as possible. Sundays I had my break day. I would go out and take walks to the beach. Explore nature and watch the waves. It reminded me of home. At the beginning that used to make me sad. I missed them. I wrote letters, it took a long time for them to arrive, but I would write them anyway. I’d tell them everything. How life was like here, how much I missed them, and what the people were like. I’d describe landscapes and tell them how different it all looked. I’d ask them questions, on how they were doing, what the news was back in our hometown and how my siblings were developing. And I’d send them money.

Then I got sick. I felt it in the morning. My body gave me signs that it wasn’t doing good. Maybe I had eaten something bad. No, it couldn’t be that. Otherwise, the kids and Madam would’ve been sick too. I ignored it at first. I’d had a stomach ache and my skin was itching. Something was wrong. But there was work to be done. Kids to be looked after. Food to be prepared. Errands to be run. I wanted to do it all. Work felt more important than some sickness I was carrying inside me. So, I continued as if nothing was wrong. After three hours of work, I fell unconscious.

I didn’t know how long I had been lying there or even where I was when I opened my eyes. A pair of two hazel, worried eyes were looking at me: “Good morning Henriette, I’m doctor Julian. Do you know where you are and how you got here?” I felt slightly dizzy and gave a simple “No, I do not” as an answer. “That’s completely normal for your condition. Do not worry. You’re at the hospital and we can help you. You passed out. Your landlord found you on the floor and they brought you here. You had been unconscious for quite a while.” Looking around, I realized, that the room I was in was an examination cabin. I looked at the doctor and asked: “What is my condition, if I might ask. And how long will it take to be healthy again?” He looked at me with an apologetic look on his face and said: “We have not yet found out for sure what your condition is, but as an educated guess I would say you were infected by Typhus. But to be completely sure I would like to run a few tests and ask a few questions. Is that good with you?”

Being in that hospital bed, not really being able to move, for my feeling of weakness had overcome my muscles, I didn’t really have a choice to say no. “Now, how long have you had this skin rash, and tell me what other symptoms you’ve been experiencing.” I had to think hard, maybe it had been there already and I hadn’t noticed. “To be honest with you, I did not notice the rash till yesterday evening. The past few days I have been feeling sick and feverish, but I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t feel it to be important.” That was all I knew before it started. And then I started seeing things. Fever flooded my brain. There was a fire burning in my body and nothing seemed to soothe it. The good moments were those when I was unconscious. Because then I didn’t have to feel anything other than the black nothingness that controlled my body. When I was awake, the fire felt worse than anything I had ever experienced. I stared at the ceiling and started hallucinating. I saw things that weren’t there, people dancing with me. Talking to me. Telling me to let go. They gave me medication, but the diagnosis was not very promising. Many people had died due to its affecting the body and organs.

When I was getting a little better they sent me home. Rachel and David cared for me with all they had. I still had fevers and nightmares. But they did all that stood in their power to keep me alive.

After weeks of sickness, I was finally doing better. From that point, I worked harder than ever before, because I felt there was a lot to make up for. And there was, because not everyone would’ve done this. Months passed, living for one purpose only: Work. Because with it, I could concentrate on things that mattered. I could run away from the homesickness for a while. Sometimes it was extremely hard though. Family feasts like Hanukkah were moments when I felt loneliest. It would remind me of home and give me a bittersweet ache in my heart. But as time went on, I started to love the people, to love this place. Life in America seemed to normalize itself.

I learned what it felt like to have two places to call home. After a year of being there, I felt like I had really arrived. I realized that I still missed home but now it was more of a memory that I could look back to and smile at. Letters became less frequent due to storms and problems at the post office. But that was something I could live with. Summer, autumn, winter and spring. Another year went by without me really noticing it. Holidays on Fire Island. Swimming and staring at the wonders of nature. I saw Amy grow from a shy, scared little toddler to an adventurous, brave young girl. And Nancy to a bright, trusting young woman.

As to my free time, I preferred going to an Irish pub or the local library where I met Jane. She would grow to be my best friend and very helpful in situations when I couldn’t bear it anymore. Jane was a very honest and straightforward person. If she was angry at you, she’d let you know. And if she thought you had made a mistake she made sure you would be reminded of it. But other than that, she was the kindest person I knew. And one of the most important ones too. She was there for me all the time and supported me when needed. Late-night talks about dreams and desires. Watching the stars. Short, she was really important to me.                                                                                                                                                                                                   May 15th, 1894

In my third Spring on Long Island, I had made enough money to finance a college course, where I learned how to write like a journalist. It was one afternoon in a week. I learned to observe, to anticipate, to see the things no one else sees. It was hard, but it also broadened my mind.

One day of those afternoons a handsome, 23-year-old man with a strong built body, smiled and sat down next to me and introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Jason. I am the new guy. What’s your name, if I might ask?” He smiled at me and gave me a very firm handshake. “I’m Henriette, the not new girl. Very nice to meet you, Jason”. He laughed a little and said: “Where are you from, not new girl? You sound a little different. I’m from Manhattan, by the way.” That was a very nice way to ask where someone lived, so I answered. “Originally, I’m from Germany, but I’m currently living in Baywood. I moved here three years ago. Do you live around here somewhere?”, I said. “Oh Germany, what’s it like there? And yes, I do. I’m living in Hempstead. It’s not very far from here.” We were interrupted by the beginning of the class. After we were done he said: “Would you like to get a coffee sometime? Because you seem like a very interesting, smart, beautiful young woman who has so many stories to tell. And I would like to listen to them.” I started blushing a little. But he seemed like a gentleman and I wanted to get to know him, so I agreed. “You might take me to the next forking in the road. And we could set up a meeting time and place.” We did that and agreed on a coffee after class the week after.

That night I couldn’t sleep. My mind was somewhere else, somewhere very far away with the tall, wavy, dark-haired boy I had just met. And I felt something that I hadn’t felt before. A feeling I couldn’t quite grasp. I felt an indescribable happiness and a smile that I couldn’t stop.

One week later we went to a small café and talked. There was a lot of things to talk about. I learned that he had grown up in Manhattan and that his dream had always been to work for the paper. But things hadn’t turned out as he had first thought and he had taken an apprenticeship as a construction worker, at the age of sixteen. He had always hated his job as a construction worker, but he had to earn money in order to fulfil his dream and go to a journalism course. And now he had tried to get a diploma, hoping that papers would take him. The reason for his passion with words and journalism had always been the truths about certain events and honesty. To bring truth into the world. To find out the reasons of actions from other people. I told him that journalism had been something that had just gotten my attention a few months back. I couldn’t quite say why. Some things just happened. After we had finished drinking our coffees, we decided to meet again. He walked me home and gave me a hug. “Thank you for the coffee, it was really nice. You were really nice. I suppose I see you next week? Goodbye.”  I said.

When I got home I took my Jacket and went on a walk with Jane. “He’s so smart, so nice and he always makes me laugh. And he most definitely is a very interesting person.” I couldn’t believe it. “That sounds to me like you’re falling in love with him.” I gave her a look that said everything. “But maybe I’m wrong and you talk that way about all the boys,” she said. “I don’t know, I might. But what if he is not who I believe him to be? I’m scared of the pain.” And I was. Really badly. “Fear is part of life, but only because you’re scared, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Fear shouldn’t stop you from living your life.” I thought about what she was saying, and it made sense, to some extent. But there was a part of me that still didn’t quite believe it. “I will try, I can’t promise anything, but I will at least try.”

And with those words I went back inside and made dinner. Rachel had seen him. “Who was this young gentleman earlier who got you home safely and hugged you?” One part of me wanted to go hiding in the living room. But I knew better. “Good evening Rachel. His name is Jason and he is new in my journalism course. We had a coffee and it was getting dark, so he made sure I got home safely.” Rachel smiled but said: “That is good, as long as you don’t involve Jason into your work life. You must not get distracted by love.  I will not tolerate such behaviour. I am sorry, but I will have to let you go if you get careless.” She seemed really serious. “I understand, Rachel. And I am well aware of the importance of concentration in the job. I will not let you down.” I meant it as I was saying it. These coffee meetings went on for the next few weeks. And as the months went by, I started to fall in love with him. Afternoon coffees turned into late-night talks at the beach, hugs into kisses and affection into love. I enjoyed every minute of it. But we didn’t have much time. I had my job, taking care of Amy and Nancy, cooking and taking care of the house. He had his job, working construction. Sometimes it was hard to see each other at all, apart from the course. I missed him, but I felt work was more important, so I decided to slow down what had turned into a relationship.

But had I known then how things would turn out I would’ve valued those moments with him far more deeply than I did then.

This is it. The 4th chapter. You’ll see what happens next week. Goodnight, Good Morning or whatever time it is wherever you’re reading this from.

Sincerely,

Gioia

Quotes to live by

Dear Readers,

Today I came across a quote on the Internet that really stuck with me. It was something I found to be quite inspiring and helpful regarding trusting myself. As you probably know by now I’ve been struck by wanderlust and am planning a backpacking trip next summer. But it seems to me the only ones who support the thought of me going alone are a friend who did it himself and I. Not the best circumstances for a solo travel. Everyone seems to be worried about something happening to me. Yes, most of the people who know me, if not all, think I trust people way too fast. So they’re worried I’d let my guard down way too fast because of the sometimes fake kindness of strangers. They’re scared that I’ll be taken advantage of. And even people who’ve just met me tell me to take care of myself. So yeah, I might trust strangers way too fast and I might not be focused 100%  all the time but I wanna challenge myself. I wanna get out there. Have the adventure of a lifetime. It’s been really confusing for me because there’s this part of me who gets that they’re worried and even sees why. But there’s another part who wants to say “fuck it and do it anyway.” I’m not sure which part is bigger. Well, I’ve almost let myself be convinced to first go with a travel agency called STA Travel. But after that, I’ll do what I want and be on my own for a bit. Maybe one to two weeks for the beginning. And maybe I’ll like it or maybe I won’t. I wish I could just go for it now. Leave and not be scared of what the future holds.

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for – and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool – for love – for your dreams – for the adventure of being alive.” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

This quote inspired me because I wanna live like that. I wanna live like there’s nothing to be afraid of. I wanna face my fears and be brave. And most of all: I wanna love. Deeply, passionately and truly. “Because what an awfully big adventure it would be to just live.” (J.M.Barry) Another quote that has inspired me, is one from an amazing book I’m reading right now. It’s called “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac. Now, 50 years after the edited version was published, Penguin Classics published the actual unedited version. And guess what it’s about (drum roll!!!): A Road Trip in America.  The book itself inspires me and helps me find ideas for my own journey, and be a little less scared of the unknown. Because I wanna feel free. Which I am right now but I wanna feel completely free. Doing what I love while screaming at the top of my lungs.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” by Jack Kerouac – On The Road

That’s encouraging for me to be who I am. And to accept me. Which I do most of the time anyway. But when I’m in doubt and it gets hard to take it helps to read something like this. Keeping it as a reminder. I don’t know what I’d be without words. I’d have a lot less depth, at least if there were no words at all and thoughts couldn’t be described. Probably. But luckily there are words and I can express myself with them. Most of the time. Sometimes it’s a little hard to focus on what I’m saying. Because I tend to jump from one subject to another in a matter of seconds. But that’s okay. You can just ask if something’s not clear and I’ll tell you as well as possible where I made the transition. So there’s nothing to worry about. Not one thing. I thought that I’d get that straight for the people who read my blog for the first time. I guess that’s about it for today.

Goodnight, Good Morning or whatever time it is, wherever you’re reading this from.

Sincerely yours,

Gioia

Tides of Life – Weekly series 2 (Chapter 3)

Dear Readers,
Number 2 of my weekly series, here we go! I hope you’ve all been having a great week and that you enjoy every single day. Let’s get started:

June 4th1891

I had been on the ship for two weeks now. I knew that because there was a clock. And I always knew when a day was over and another one started. I was on a cargo steamship in the steerage. 3rd class passenger. Not allowed to be on the deck for more than an hour a day. In a cabin with three other people. One toilet for fifty people. The desperation was terrible. Not knowing how much longer we’d be on this ship. It was a prison. People stashed together like cargo. Talking objects.
Peter and I had been separated. Unmarried men and women were kept in different dormitories. Which was why we couldn’t see each other. Only families could stay together. But luckily my cabin members were kind people. There were Eva from Germany, Susan and Hanna from Ireland. Susan and Hanna had already been to America and they were returning to their hometowns. Originally, they had left because of the aftermath of the Great Famine. Whereas Eva and I went there for the first time. We were inexperienced and more vulnerable than they were. Not knowing what was expecting us. America would change our lives.
There was a tension on the Steerage floor. Especially on Wednesday of the first week. The first few days had been quiet. But there it was. The wind got stronger, we picked up speed. Which, at first, was a good thing. It meant that we would arrive in New York at least a day early. But the wind kept getting stronger. Whistling sounds, the power of nature to destroy everything in its path. A storm had been bottling up. And the silence, the almost peaceful quietness that we had felt on our first few days, was gone. The wind was playing with our ship. One side and then to the other. Waves about forty feet tall, there was a smell of anxiety and tension in the air that day. Would our ship sink? The excitement that had been on most of the people’s faces was now gone. Fear got the better of them.

Being on that ship, in the middle of this storm, scared me. But it also made me think about past choices I had made. And there were a few things I regretted in my short life. Not always appreciating my family and what they did for me. Not standing up for myself when “Miss Rich Lady” was blaming me for something I hadn’t done. But I couldn’t look back now. What would’ve been the use in it?
Belongings of people tumbling and rolling around on the floor. Objects that were of personal value for them. Mementoes of a past time. People reflecting on their lives.
I didn’t know how much longer we would last on this ship. And then I saw the workers throwing out boxes of apples. Unloading. Workers moaning under the heavy load of that job. I wondered why, they said they’d have to free the ship from weight, otherwise the ship would lose its balance.
The next morning the storm had gone by and the sea was still. No movement. And then the awakening of most of the other passengers. It was noon, so the sun stood high already. The vastness of the ocean was two things: Terrifying and Beautiful. Terrifying because there was no end, no consistency. Just the ocean and our ship. But beautiful because at the same time it made me hopeful that there was a better future at the end of the voyage. As I was standing there at the bulls’ eye staring, I felt that I had a perspective. A future. A life. And I was so thankful for that.

The next few days were rather unpleasant. I ate bad food. The result of that were constantly needing the toilet, which was rather hard these days, and being in our cabin all day. But Hanna was tending me, she knew how bad it could get if you had eaten something bad. The food on the ship could give you the chills and fevers. Which I got after initially throwing up. It was a terrible few days. As a result of the delusions of my fever, I could see my family waving at me. Wanting to hug me and shake hands. But no matter how hard I tried to grasp them, they were just too far away. And I thought to myself, what would’ve been if I hadn’t gone on that ship. I’d be with my brothers and sisters, as well as my parents. But I had left them behind. I was alone and helpless. I couldn’t trust anyone. But then I felt a cool hand on my hot forehead. Hanna was here. Through my clouded mind, I could see her smile. But I wasn’t quite sure, due to my hallucinations. She was taking care of me. Giving me water, carefully though and not too much. This went on for 4 days. It was hell. Some days I knew where I was, some days I didn’t. The fear, the helplessness and that feeling of being left alone. A silent hell without hope.
But on the 5th day, I was finally feeling better. I could even keep some of the bread down. And I hadn’t been left alone. I’d made friends. The sun was setting when I felt strong enough to stand on my feet again.
I hadn’t been the only one with that sickness. The smell of vomit was a constant one on the steerage floor. Everyone had to rely on their cabin mates. Because we weren’t looked after by the crew, we were treated like cargo. We weren’t too expensive, and we hadn’t paid as much as the others. They treated us with less respect and looked at us to be less worth than the others.

I stared out of the bulls’ eye. Still nothing but the ocean. Waves rising and falling steadily. In a heartbeat. It felt like this journey would never end. I was starting to lose track of time. The only thing I knew was whether it was day or night. I wasn’t alone, yet I felt lonely. No one could understand my feelings, my thoughts or fears. Or so it seemed. On that ship, I had a lot of time to think. To reflect on those things in my head. To keep having faith. Believing that we’d make it. Believing in a better future, a better life. Finally, being free to make my own decisions. To take responsibility for my actions. Taking chances. Some days it was easy, some days it wasn’t. Days that felt like centuries and days that felt like hours. Sometimes it was easy to laugh, for example when Hanna, Susan or Eva made a joke about something they had just heard on board. But there weren’t many of those. Most days were filled with worried glances and sighs. Each person facing their own troubles and thoughts.

I looked at the clear night sky and I thought about how small I was. Compared to that infinity I was about the size of an ant. It made my troubles and fears just as small and less important. Looking at this beautiful view of millions of stars, I felt calm. I realized I wasn’t completely alone. That those stars were the same stars the people I was missing were looking at. It made me feel close to them. Not as if I was miles away from the people I loved. But as if I was right there with them. Those were some of the best nights on the ship. It was when I could really let go. When my head could go wherever it wanted to.

After two and a half weeks of being on the ocean, the captain finally announced we’d arrive in a time range of the next two days. Of course, everyone was very excited. In our cabin, Hanna and Susan were glad to go back to their hometowns. Whereas Eva and I would start a new life. New people and new Jobs. New routines. Jumping right into it. It was a big step. No going back. Just forward. And somehow it made me happy. It meant freedom. That was all I wanted right now.

The next day I heard screaming. But it wasn’t screams of sadness, it was joy. So, I left the cabin to see what was going on. I fought my way to a bulls’ eye to see what they saw. We had arrived in New York. I could see the statue of liberty from afar. It represented hope, future, perspective and so much more.
We had made it. After all. We were there. Just a few kilometres separated us from NEW YORK. We had survived. As I was staring, I felt like I had just climbed a mountain to its very top. The future was there, right in front of me. I could almost grab it. I was there. All those worries, the tension, the fear: gone. Finally, after those two and a half weeks that had felt like an eternity.

The 1st and 2nd class could disembark right there. No further examinations, no questions, nothing. But the steerage floor had to go through full body examinations, which were sometimes embarrassing and painful. After that stressful questioning followed, “What is the reason of your stay? Are you able to finance your life? Do you have any mental illnesses? Do you have a criminal record, if so what are your crimes? Are you an anarchist?” Not much time to answer them. If one answer was peculiar, further investigation started. And then, if we were lucky, we could go straight to the counter with our passports. A young man was standing there with two stamps. One said “Approved” the other one said “Denied”. I went to the counter, gave him my admission papers and passport. He smiled, stamped them and said: “Welcome to the United States of America”.

Walking out of the building with my papers and my suitcases, I realized that I was now an American. Not looking back. I was over the line. Done. Taking deep breaths, I could still smell the ocean. But I also smelt freedom and choices. Nothing could stop me now. No one. A new beginning. That’s what it was. It felt good. I looked at the pavement. Then at the trees of Castle Gardens. Those first steps were big. A little scary. But that was okay. It was good even. It meant the change into a new society, a new life. And change was always hard in the beginning.
Strangers. People everywhere. And the buildings, they were huge. And I felt so small in that society I barely knew. Standing there, completely amazed by everything, I bumped into someone. I mumbled some “Sorry” and quickly started moving again.
Suddenly I remembered what I had been searching for. My brother. Standing there. As amazed and in awe I had been, I had completely forgotten that my brother would pick me up. So, I started looking around. Trying to find him and possibly his wife. I had always liked her. And my nephews, they’d be there too. But it’s really hard to find a person in about a million other people.
Eventually, I found them. It was really nice to speak to someone who I knew. To family.

Sitting in the car, on the way to my brothers’ new house in Rosendale. I took everything in. The buildings, the streets, the spirit. Everything. And it was overwhelming. To see so many things. To think that this was my life and not a dream.
We arrived at the house. It was beautiful. A garden. “How are you feeling, dear? You must be hungry. And tired. How was the journey? Were there nice people? Has the food changed? Did you have a hard time finding us?” Questions which I could answer shortly but not very detailed. “I’m good. I definitely could use some food. And yeah, I am tired. Yes, it was mostly good, except one time. We were in a terrible storm and we had to throw overboard some of the apples to be able to continue because the ship was too heavy. But other than that, it was fairly well. It hasn’t really changed. It was a little hard finding you with all of the people.” We ate, caught up on each other. My brother wanted to know a lot about our parents and our siblings, of course. “How are mother and father? It’s so hard to read it in their letters, it’s always a guessing. I never know whether they’re doing well or if they need anything. It’s hard not seeing them sometimes, you know? But on the other hand, I don’t regret coming here. Not one bit,” he said. “They’re doing okay considering the circumstances. I can imagine. They have a lot of mouths to feed and with you and I being off to America makes it a little easier. But they do not need more than the money you and now apparently, I, are sending them over. I get that it’s hard, I already miss them too. I just hope I can ever feel at home here.” I meant it, as I was saying it. “You will. At first it will be hard. But with time, you’ll feel as much home here, as you did there. And you’ll meet new people. Friends. Pick them wisely. You never know when you need them.” That gave me some hope. I didn’t quite understand why but I didn’t feel as lonely.

After dinner, I suddenly felt tired, an unbearable tiredness. The stress and everything just disappeared into thin air. And my energy with it. Gone. I changed into my nightdress and fell into a deep, recovering sleep.

A few days after, I was ready to leave for my new home. The family that I would be working for. Who knew how long? I hadn’t unpacked. It was windy in New York, that day. And maybe it was just a feeling, but maybe it was the wind that made me feel ready. It made me feel as if I was entering a new story. And I could only find out where it was heading if I thrust myself into this. Fully. Completely. So, I did. I didn’t know what they would be like. I had no idea if I’d ever feel at home where I was going. In a nutshell, I just had to have faith.
The carriage pulling out the driveway. Leaving again. Cars and buildings moving past me. Landscapes. The Hudson River. Out of the city. Manhattan. Queens. Hempstead. All the way to Baywood. Everything was new. But now, compared to the voyage I had taken, I had someone. I wasn’t alone anymore.

This is chapter 3, I hope you enjoyed it and if you’ve read till here congrats for making it.

Good morning, night or whatever time it is wherever you’re reading this from.

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE and ENJOY

Sincerely yours,

Gioia 🙂

Tides of Life – Weekly series 1 (Chapter 2)

Dear Readers,
You might remember that I told you quite some time ago that I was writing a Novella. If you didn’t, you do now. Well, I finished it and because it is far too big to put into a huge blog post I will post a chapter weekly. Which is still a lot to read. I could split up the chapters and make it a little less hard to read for you. But I’m not sure yet. To read the beginning click here and then read the following posts till this one. So let’s get started:

May 1st 1891

These two and a half months had gone by without me noticing. It was starting to get warm and the flowers were blooming. Spring was my favourite time of the year, at least it used to be. From now on I would only see spring as the time I left. But in a way, it made sense. Spring was supposed to bring change. New Beginnings. It was supposed to bring life to the world and its inhabitants. And that was exactly what it did. Soon I’d be leaving for America. I had no idea how long I would be away from home. I didn’t know anything. Except that I would be working for a family that was rich. And that my brother knew them. “Henriette, come on downstairs. We need you in the kitchen!” my mother was calling from the living room. “In a minute!” I answered. It was time for ‘The Talk’, and I knew that. Compared to last time, I was ready. So, I went down into the kitchen. They were already sitting there. “The reason we called you down here is, you’re leaving in 15 days. And we don’t want to send you off without knowing anything about the world and how people act,” Mother said. “I’m twenty years old and I am capable of taking care of myself.” It really was true. I was ready to explore the world. And in a way, I even felt excited. In a good way. I would meet new people, be part of their lives, walk side by side. Life would be different without my family. I’d miss them terribly. That was something I could be sure of. Because I already did. “We know you are. We just don’t want to send you off without having told you why. We love you. And you might’ve had problems believing that lately, but we don’t want you to think we did it out of money problems or anything else. We want to be able to give you a future, a perspective if you want. And we can’t give that to you, not here. Not in this situation. That’s why we’re sending you away. We’re so proud of you. And we know that you will find your way over there.” They said it. And I understood them. But it still broke my heart to see them this way. “I want you to know that I understand. I’m not mad. I’m going to miss you. But I also know that it’s a chance. I’ll send you letters. Loads of them. And one day I’ll maybe even be thankful that you sent me to America,” I said. Maybe one day I would be. I didn’t know anything about the future, but what I knew was that no one could control it. It was just happening every day. And it was ruthless. It showed no mercy at all.

The sun stood high in the sky, which meant it must’ve been about 2 PM. I would have to start packing soon. Which was difficult, considering the fact that I didn’t know how long I would be gone.
I went upstairs and opened my closet. Looking at all the things that used to belong here. Turning around to look at other things in my room. The bookcase, with all those books, carefully stashed away; stories of people on adventures, exploring the world, seeing new places, meeting people and learning things about different cultures. Soon I’d be on my way to a far-off land being on an adventure myself. And as scaring as it was, it was also exciting.
My belongings weren’t a lot but still enough to need two suitcases.
I started with my clothes. Packing them carefully, so everything had its place. In all of these clothes were memories. Times when I’d been playing with my siblings, running around, doing stupid things. Those times were over. I needed to grow up.
When I was done with packing my clothes, I put in all the books I wanted to keep. And those were a lot. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to keep everything. I knew that. So, I only took those that I really couldn’t leave behind. And of course, the book that my mother had gotten for me. Because that book would help me improve my English skills. And I could definitely need those in America.
I opened the window, and from afar I could almost hear the sea. Waves crashing into the cliffs. And I wondered what it would be like, not waking up to the sound of the sea and the wind. Waking up far from home. Millions of miles. Nothing but the buzzing sound of cars and a city that never sleeps. A family that was eager to get to know me. Which was a beautiful thought. With the exception that I wasn’t too keen on meeting them. At least not yet.

A loud noise pulled me out of my thinking right back into reality. I looked around, nothing was there. Probably just my siblings bumping into each other while playing hide and seek. Nothing bad. Everything was fine.
I closed my suitcases and went downstairs. There were a few days left to finish packing and I’d take those to say goodbye to everybody. I looked at my baby sister and smiled, she wouldn’t remember me. Then I saw my sister Frederica who was two years older. She had just gotten married to a man named Otto Sandhagen. And soon she’d leave too. The difference was that she could come back to visit our parents and I couldn’t. But I was happy for her. Happy because I cared. Happy because I knew she had worked hard for what she wanted. She turned around and said: “Two weeks. That’s all we’ve got. Two weeks before you leave for the States. Let’s go for a walk so we can talk a little. About the future and milkshakes. And about all those crazy things you’re going to achieve.” I was a little baffled by that proposition but gladly agreed, “Sure, let’s go.” So, we went. Outside into the fresh air. Away from our house, crossing the fence, we figured we had no idea where we wanted to go. But after a split second of staring into each other’s eyes, we knew.

45 minutes later we arrived at the beach. We sat down in the sand and looked at the sea with its constantly crashing waves. “I know, two weeks is such an unbelievably short time. Especially saying goodbye to you is something I can’t imagine doing. We can’t tell what might happen. But we’ll definitely exchange letters. And we,” – she interrupted, “we’ll tell each other everything. And if I get pregnant, you’ll be the first to know. Next to Otto, of course. And you’ll tell me everything about any handsome young man you’ll enchant with your charming personality.” We went on like this for quite some time. Until we ended up having a laughing fit because we came up with the weirdest ideas on how to keep in touch. After that my sister went very quiet. As if there was something she was worried about. Something she didn’t dare to say. But I didn’t push her. Because I knew she couldn’t be pushed. She’d isolate herself if I did. But then she smiled and said: “I love you, little sister. And I want you to take care of yourself. To not get hurt by people or things. You have a big heart and I’ve known you since you were a little toddler. I also know that you can handle your life. I just want you to be careful. Okay?” she looked like she took it very seriously. “Okay. I will take care of myself. You should do the same. I love you too, my dearest sister.” We hugged each other, and a feeling told me there was more to it. More behind her words than just that. But I let it be. Afraid of its true nature I shoved it into the darkest corner where no one could find it. Not even myself.
It was getting late and by the time we got home, it was 6:30 PM. My little sister was home. She looked at me with those eyes that told me she knew how torn I felt. Of course, she did. No one was as sensitive as she was in those matters.

My mother called. Dinner was ready. Bread and butter. A little jam from last year and a little meat. The best food we had. It tasted good. And I took a sip from my cup of tea. Dad was there too. Everybody was sitting at the table. Our whole family together. Dad didn’t have to work on Sundays. Which meant it was the only day everybody sat at the kitchen table and ate together. It wasn’t much of a tradition, but it was something. It was one of those times when we could talk about anything and nothing at all. This time I valued even more, now that I would only have one dinner left. My siblings would eventually grow up as well. Maybe leave for some other country. Or maybe they’d stay. Work here forever. Marry, have children and a house for themselves. I helped my mother clean up and went to bed.
The next day at work felt like forever. I’d have to quit soon. Hearing the news would probably make them happy. They never liked me anyway. And they let me know every day I came to work. Whenever something was done wrong, it was always my fault. Even if I hadn’t done anything wrong. They just assumed it was me. Of course. But then I remembered. I wouldn’t have to tell them. They already knew. Rich lady had already told them. And everybody knew.

Those two weeks had gone by in a rush. It was my last night at home. My last night with my family. And I felt torn. In a way, I knew that this would be the adventure of a lifetime. I also knew that I would make my own choices and take my own risks. But in another way, I felt a deep, cutting sadness for leaving behind the people I loved the most. The pain of having to hurt someone you care about. The fear of never seeing them again.

That night was very long. We talked and laughed at daily basic things. But there was an unspoken tension. I could feel it, my sister could feel it, we could all feel it. I didn’t want to say goodbye. Neither did they.
After dinner, I helped clean the dishes and talked to my mom. She looked at me and said: “Tomorrow you’re leaving. And before you do, I want you to know that I’ll always love you. You’re a strong, young and independent woman. And I know that you’ll find your way. Just make sure you don’t let people get to you. If they don’t accept you for who you are, they’re not worth it. Take care on your voyage and don’t trust anyone.” I didn’t know what to say to that. I had to hold back my tears. What my mother said to me touched me. I only got out a “Thank you, mom”. And then we hugged. For a very long time. I talked to my sister afterwards. We spent the night talking. About all sorts of things. Until we fell asleep. Exhausted to the bone. Thick, dreamless sleep. Nothingness. No troubles, no worries. Nothing.

The next morning my dad took me to the train station. The tickets in my pocket, I hugged him one last time. Then I turned around and I didn’t look back. I knew that if I would, I would’ve seen my father crying and I didn’t want that. I got on the train and heard the puffing sound of the engines being turned on. And as we were driving away I looked out the window. I could see the landscapes passing by. Away from home. Into a new beginning. And in a way, as I was looking back, I felt peaceful. Like there was something that told me. Everything was going to be okay.

After a six-hour train ride and sleep, I woke up in Hamburg. It was nothing like I had imagined. It was huge and there were steamships and people all gathered around waiting for their ships to take them to a different place. Waiting for their future to begin. And there was a mood in this place that I couldn’t quite grasp. A mix between fear and hope. People asking questions. Place of destination, birthplace, age, marital status, ability to read and write, health. List, passenger 35064. And then I came to the waiting halls. Sweat, suitcases and the sound of thousands of people talking. Getting ready. I found my place for the night and fell asleep immediately. The trip had made me tired. I didn’t even have the possibility to think about all the things I had seen today. So many faces and stories. It was a lot to take in and I had to find a way to deal with it. That night it was hard to find sleep, but at one point I felt so exhausted that I fell asleep anyways.

The next morning was cold. At first, I didn’t know where I was. After completely waking up I realized that I was in the Emigration centre. And wasn’t allowed to leave the premises. I didn’t know why but that wasn’t important. While going to the food halls, someone bumped into me. “Hey sorry, beautiful young lady. Might there be the slightest chance of me escorting you to breakfast? On my account. I’m Peter, by the way. Nice to meet you.” I was a bit baffled by his way of introducing himself. What was he thinking. Talking to a stranger like that. But I said yes because I enjoyed some company and distraction, and a few minutes later we were eating bread with jam and cheese. Drinking coffee. As it turned out later, we were on the same ship.
“Thanks for escorting me. I had a joyful time. I’m Henriette, by the way. How come you’re leaving Germany? What are your reasons?” I wanted to know. Hearing about other reasons for leaving would probably help me understand. “Well, first off, that’s a beautiful name. Secondly, one of the many reasons I’m leaving is the chance of a better life. I don’t have many chances here. I’m already working as hard as I can, but it’s just not enough. There’s this longing for more. This yearning for a choice. And I can’t have that here. There’s not enough place for this. I feel like America is the only place, where I can truly reach out to my full potential. Where I can follow my dreams. And you? What drives you to leave home?” He actually wanted to leave, I could see it in his beautiful brown eyes. There was this glistening. And somehow, I knew he was being honest. “My parents forced me. We’re just too big of a family and they can’t afford my living at theirs anymore. And my brother lives over in New York. Apparently, there’s a job for me as a cook. It wasn’t my idea. And at first, I was vehemently against it. But now I’m not so sure. It seems like it’s a chance for something new.” We finished the food and went to the main hall. It felt good to talk to someone. And I knew to enjoy it as long as I could.
The next two days we could see a lot of desperation. People leaving because of their religion. Having to leave because of what they believed in. Many Russian Jews. Those days passed in a rush. A few days later on May 20th, the ship was ready. I took my suitcases and got my last medical check-up. Which was an obligation on these ships. I showed them my papers and went on board. And as I looked down, I could see all those family members of other passengers saying goodbye. And I knew that was it. The beginning of a new life.

I hope this wasn’t too much to read. And that you’re curious about what happens next week.

Whatever time it is, wherever you’re reading this from, I wish you a great time.

Gioia 🙂

Still here

Dear Readers,
I haven’t been on this blog in almost three months. Dear Readers,
Quite unbelievable that I’m still here, huh? I haven’t been on this blog in more than three months. But the reason for that is that there was and still is a lot going on in my life right now. There might be some things to explain for you to understand. First off, I had to finish my Novella and hand in the Matura paper, which is a thing you do in your last year of high school in my country. It was a lot of stress and I had to get it done for the deadline. I have finished it and held a presentation about it, which is really relieving. But that doesn’t mean stress and exams are over. And I’ve just had to focus so much on doing well at school that I didn’t have the time to really write or read. Which, frankly, sucked. And yeah, I’m gonna have more time in the future. And yeah, this might turn into a travel blog one day (hopefully summer 2019). But right now it’s just not possible to write book reviews with quality. Another thing that is taking time away lately is that my dad is not doing so well and he’s been in the hospital for almost a month now. And even though I don’t have the best relationship with my dad, he’s my dad and it scares the shit out of me seeing him like that. And I’ve visited him a lot lately which means I come home from school rather late. And then I need to study or do homework or something else. And yeah, I know it’s all about the organisation. So I’m gonna try that. It’s just not that easy sometimes. But I’m gonna try. And as soon as I get my grades up I’ll be more active. Actually I think I’m gonna make a weekly series out of my Novella, so each week I’m going to post a chapter for you to read. If you’re interested that is. Tell me in the comments if you’d like such a thing. This is just a reminder that I still exist and that this blog will live on for the years to come. As I like to put it. This is it for today, because it’s getting late and I need to get some sleep.
Goodnight, Good Morning or whatever time it is, wherever you’re reading this from.
Yours truly,
Gioia

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck – Or how to stop giving too many fucks.

Dear Readers,

I usually don’t read self-help books. I always think that they are too preachy, too positive, too unrealistic. But this was different. Something that gave me exactly what I needed that moment. Before I start this I want to give a big shoutout to Chaz whose blog I stumbled upon by coincidence. I thought to myself, this guy seems interesting so I’ll contact him. He told me about this book he was reading and convinced me.  So I bought this book and here I am writing a review. Thanks for telling me about it, Chaz! This is going to be another sort of review, you may like it, you may not. But I’ll still try it out. Because a special book deserves a special review. So let’s jump right in.

What the hell is this? You need to change? Seems impossible at first, but hell we all do. We live in a society that forces entitlement upon us. We feel entitled to give way too many f*cks about things that don’t matter. But then again, where does this come from?

Star blogger, Mark Manson, explains it with examples from our daily lives. What is going on in our heads? We’re asking ourselves more than not. Starting off with the Feedback Loop from Hell going to the Importance of problems and failure, ending with the Importance of our mortality, which can be a reminder (ironically) why we should live. But now, what is the Feedback Loop from Hell? Every day we see people on TV or Facebook or Instagram or whatever social media you’re using, living their happy, perfect lives. We see them every day and we realize we’re not happy all the time. That’s when the feedback Loop from Hell kicks in. You’re getting upset at the fact that you aren’t as happy as everybody is. But then you’re getting upset about being upset and (help!) you feel lost. We all know it, the feeling of freaking out. But freaking out isn’t helping us. Realizing that those shitty days are part of life, is. It’s really hard because everyone is having an awesome time and you see it, feeling miserable. Manson says: The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” Now, what does that mean? It simply means that the less we invest in something the more we’ll achieve. It means the harder we try the less it will actually work. It may not make sense to you right away but think about it. For example, we’re trying to figure out how to be happy. Thinking about it the whole time, giving a fuck. But we’d actually be happier if we’d just live. And then see what happens. Because if we keep on thinking about it, we won’t have time to actually do something. Or let’s say you want to write a book, but you keep on thinking about how you can do it, you will waste your time thinking about something and not actually doing it. We should allow ourselves to suffer and be hurt. Because this is this beautiful part of life called improving.

There’s something especially Millenials have to deal with every day. And that is Entitlement. Now, what is Entitlement? We believe we deserve special treatment because we believe ourselves to be special. We believe ourselves to be better than anybody else, so we deserve special treatment. We feel entitled to deserve things. Growing up in our society today means being entitled. We were raised thinking we could have anything in this world only because we wanted it. But then we came into the real world and realized that we couldn’t. And that’s not what we expected. Not at all. But we’ve gotta deal with that. We’ve gotta realize that we are not special, but we can still live a good life. Because this helps us figure out what to give a f*ck about and what not. It helps us figure out what is really important in our lives. There’s a quote that I was reminded of when I read this book.

” We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” (Tyler Durden, Fight Club, 1999)

Especially the part about learning that we won’t. Because that’s exactly what Manson says too. Being entitled may make us think we deserve to achieve greatness in everything we do, but it doesn’t make us happy. At least not in a real, meaningful way. In order to achieve happiness, we have to acknowledge our mistakes and problems. Because through acknowledging them we can improve ourselves. We know where to work on ourselves. The other option is staying entitled, but this won’t solve anything. It will only delay dealing with the problems. But they will eventually come back to the surface. Leaving you again with the choice of dealing or ignoring. This brings me to the next point.

Taking Responsibility for your actions

We are responsible for everything that happens to us. That’s what I understand when I hear people say you are responsible for everything that happens to you. And in a way, it makes me angry. Makes me scream, how am I responsible for having problems with my motor skills, how was I responsible for being bullied when I was a kid, how am I responsible for people leaving. But when I read on, I understood that it’s not the action itself but how we deal with it. We are responsible for our own misery after a breakup. Now, that might seem as if I’m a nonfeeling monster. But I’m not, I’m a human being just like you. Being responsible simply means we always have a choice. We might not have the power to control what happens to us, but we are in control of how we deal with it. It’s about choosing your values and metrics by which you judge actions and situations. We are responsible for our emotions. We have got the choice, make others responsible for our problems and never receive validation from them or be responsible ourselves and improving our lives. Which is simple but not easy. There’s a difference in what is simple and what is easy. It’s simple to say that we have to take the choice, actually taking it, however, is not easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s the worst thing to do. Same with when something is easy, it might not be the best thing to do either. This is individual for every situation. And I’m not polarising when I’m saying this. It’s important to me to make this clear.

Failure, Travel and (gasp) your Mortality

Travelling is something that I have been wanting to do for quite some time. My Wanderlust getting bigger every day. And I believe I’ve mentioned it a few times on here. What does this have to do with failure and mortality? The fear of failure is something that paralyzes us. It keeps us from improving ourselves. We’d rather stay in the same safe environment than dare doing something that is new to us and may take away our success, may take away our perspectives and change them. Change is always scary so we tend to settle for the safe version. But is the safety of certainty really better than the unknown that might improve ourselves and give us something even better? I’m not quite sure. Manson says that we should dare to do it. And that we should accept failure, not avoid it. It’s part of life. What does travel have to do with all of this? Well, it’s a lot about self-development. The freedom that is achieved through travelling is not everlasting. We tend to think freedom is only found out there and that it’s about not having to commit to one thing only. But Manson says that there is freedom in commitment itself. If you go from place to place and never commit to anything you might make a lot of experiences but you might miss others. You might see a lot of things if you’re travelling the world all the time, running from commitment. But you’ll never know what it’s like to have something constant. A constant partner, a constant place to call home. Commitment doesn’t have to mean missing out on all those opportunities. It means choosing what opinions to take and which ones to miss out on. Our consumeristic society makes it hard to do so, but we still have the choice. Now, what does your mortality have to do with all of this?

You are going to die

Scary thought, isn’t it? You are going to die, but so am I and so is everyone. That’s nothing new. We already knew that. Now, why is your death important for your life? Two opposites yet close to each other. In a weird way, death gives meaning to our lives. Because without it there is no reason to live for. Nothing would matter. With death, however, we know that our time is limited and there’s meaning. We are scared of being forgotten, which is why we do things that make people remember. Manson refers to a man called Ernest Becker who said that “{…} all the meaning in our life is shaped by this innate desire to never truly die.” He calls this “Immortality project” it means that we don’t want our second selves to die. We want to make them happen, but we don’t always succeed. Those projects are nothing but distractions from our fear of death. Becker realized that those projects don’t help us, they are only a form of distraction, denial. Instead, we should accept our fate. The inevitable fact that we are going to die. Manson explains:” {…} we can then choose our values more freely, unrestrained by the illogical quest for immortality, and freed from dogmatic views.” It can be scary to think about death, especially if you think about what happens after you’re gone. Will you have made an impact, will the world even notice? And that is a question we’ll never know the answer to. That’s scaring the hell out of us. The only thing we know for certain is that we’re gonna die. And that’s what we should build our lives around. Wanting to make an impact, we ask ourselves, how? Manson suggests that we start caring about other things than ourselves. That helps to get away from the entitlement. Because entitlement is isolating us from the world. Society doesn’t really help there. It makes us think we’re only great if we achieve being famous. But that is not true. He says: “You already are great because, in the face of endless confusion and certain death, you continue to choose what to give a fuck about and what not.” That is what makes you successful. You succeed to continue to live. And that’s already pretty damn great. So always remind yourself of that fact. Of that inevitability of your own death. Because if you can accept your mortality, you can deal with entitlement and failure. Maybe even easily. Because at that point, you realize everything comes together. And then you can live without being afraid to die. Even though you know that you are going to die. Awesome, isn’t it?

This book blew my mind. It made me realize a lot of things that I hadn’t before. And it made me rethink my own values. It helped me understand a few things about myself that I had been having trouble with. It helped me to see that I was understood. And I do not regret buying this book. I’m not saying that all of my problems are solved after reading this book, that’s impossible and unrealistic. And there’s a long way I will have to go to figure certain things out. But now I at least know how to deal with my problems in a better way. And it was a really interesting journey of self-discovery. Now I am reminded to doubt myself and my thoughts. It made me question myself. And I am glad I did. This book is really interesting even if you are not looking for a self-help book but want to educate yourself psychologically.

Now thanks again to you, Chaz, for telling me about it. I really enjoyed writing this blog post. I hope you are all doing great.

Goodnight, morning or whatever time it is, wherever you’re reading this from. Live.

Yours Gioia 🙂

 

 

Trip to Germany: Old faces and new stories

Dear Readers,
Remember when I told you I’d go on a trip to Germany and maybe do a post on it? Well, that time is now. And as I’m writing these lines, I’m reflecting on this past journey.
Thursday 12th April 2018
4:00 AM. My alarm woke me and weirdly I wasn’t tired at all. The excitement of travelling gave me a rush. I woke my dad so we could start driving. At 5:00 AM we were on the road. After 2 hours we crossed the border. Suddenly the rush disappeared. I slept for the next 2 hours as the landscapes were moving past us.
P1070312Coffee and caesar sandwich. Driving. Sleeping. After 8 hours of being in the car, we finally arrived. Unpacking. Talking to my grandmother I hadn’t seen in 3 years. Asking her questions about my great-great-grandmother. The main reason for the talk. The story I’m writing. But I learned so much more. I heard stories of travels they made when they were young and things I already knew but now could look at in a different perspective. After a lot of talking, I took my camera. The garden in all its beauty made me think. And the thinking didn’t stop. After some time to myself in the garden, I realized how calm and peaceful it was. Nothing but silence. No phone, no social media, no emails to check, no stress. Just the garden. And it felt like a break for the soul. I realised that I’ve become dependent on my phone, as many of us tend to these days. So I decided not to use it as much. At least for a while.

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Wasbüttel b. Gifhorn, Germany

After that, I went inside. Dinner was just what I needed. I don’t quite remember what we did that night, but it wasn’t really spectacular. Just sitting there and talking about the following day and when the others would come. Since it had been a long day I went to bed early. At least for my sleeping habits, 11 is early. Especially since I haven’t really managed to go to bed before 1 AM lately.

Friday 13th April 2018
After eating breakfast I made an interview, to get more details about those ancestors of mine. Which really helped with my story, because now I know that part of those ancestors lived in Rosendale, New York. And luckily there were still pictures of those family members. Sadly my photography skills are really bad. Which is why you won’t see good versions of the pictures, but still, it’s great to have pictures from the 19th and early 20ieth century. I really enjoyed looking at those mementoes of the past.

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House in Rosendale, New York

Especially since it feels unbelievable that those people in the pictures are part of me.

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Henriette and her sisters (Ancestors)

Ever since I’ve started researching this subject, I’ve been captured by it. By talking and asking questions, by just listening and being persistent I got more information that I thought I would’ve. I’ve learned things about my family I didn’t know before. For example, that my great-great-grandfather served as Uhlan, which was a very high position in Military. Or that my grandparents used to do spontaneous trips to places like Island. And that they liked travelling. After Lunch, the first guests arrived. Uncles and aunts I hadn’t seen in years. Only vast memories, basically strangers. But familiar strangers. I’ve found this whole time very interesting because I got to meet them in a new way. The last time I had seen them I was very young and less mature. Not that I am completely mature now. But I understood things that would’ve been boring to me at a younger age. I was very happy to see them again. It was great talking about things we had missed. And I got to know a new side of my Uncle. Let’s just say each time your eyes are not on your glass of wine it’s full again. And let’s just say I had a fun time staying there till 2 AM with him and one of my aunts. Because those conversations were deeply interesting. I don’t quite remember what they were about either but they were expanding my horizon. At around 2 AM I found my way to my room and fell asleep quite fast. The only bad thing about going to bed late is having to wake up early the next day.
Saturday and Sunday 14th and 15th April 2018
So after a few hours of sleep, I ate breakfast. Later that day my favourite cousin came and it was amazing. I hadn’t seen her in 2 years. The day was full of celebrations because it was 65 years of marriage between my grandmother and my grandfather. There was a lot of cake. And I really enjoyed it. There was even a service for them. In the afternoon I went out into the garden again. And it looked as amazing as it had the day before. I just enjoyed taking some more pictures. P1070315There isn’t much to say about Saturday except that I stayed up till 2 AM again. And that I was talking a lot. I realized that not using my phone as much, was actually a relief. It felt great. Not having to stress about anyone or anything. But on the other

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Spring has arrived

hand, it was exhausting. The family members. So many people. Asking what you’re doing with your life, wanting to know how you’ve been. “Is there anyone in your life, do you have a boyfriend?” Me answering:” Yeah, my life is going great. I’m writing a book. Yes, that’s right. I’ve been doing great. Well yeah, I’ve had some things going on. Didn’t work out though. Yeah I know I’m still young. Oh yeah, I’m gonna focus on school and stuff. Great. How’ve you been?” Yup,
P1070308that’s basically it. I like to talk about things but if there are too many people I feel exhausted. So many expressions to read. And hell, half of my family are sarcastic and ironic. But they’re kinda great. Enjoyable. On Sunday after a few hours of sleep, I went to breakfast and everybody was almost finished. Amazing. Well It was feast again, one of my uncles, he has Down Syndrome, had his 42 birthday. And we gave him lots of great presents. Like a huge Teddy bear and clothes, T-Shirts mostly. And a puzzle. He was so happy. And it made us all happy too. It was that lightness. That almost childlike mind that made me rethink how I look at certain things in life. But it also gave me a certain seriousness to things we don’t value enough. Such as being able to look after oneself. Because it’s not given. We take so many things for granted, and they’re not. It’s not granted that we’re able to conquer all those daily challenges without any help. It was a reminder that I should be thankful for all
P1070344 I’ve got. We all should. I really enjoyed that day too. In the afternoon we left for Hamburg. My godfather lives there. And I really wanted to go to Hamburg because of the Museum of Emigration. The drive there took about 2 and a half hours. Whenever I looked outside it almost looked the same. Alleys, trees, cars, and some more alleys. Then some sleep. Another road. Listening to the audiobook. Crime. Best thing if you need P1070352some sleep. Another alley. Never ending. I have so many pictures I want to show you but not enough words to describe them. And you might get bored. To lighten this whole thing up a bit I’m just gonna skim through the travel and put in a few pictures later. While I was on that ride, I thought about how good it felt to see different parts of the country. And also different parts of the world. I could feed my Wanderlust, nurture that dream of mine. But I fell asleep some of the times. So I didn’t see everything. But I took a few snapshots with my camera out of the car. They’re not quite good but I still enjoyed taking them. As the afternoon approached we finally got there. And it was as amazing as I had thought it to be. THE HAVEN. It was such an impressive view. It was huge. And as I looked at it, I felt like I was looking at a giant piece of Art. I really enjoyed it. It was amazing. And as we drove through the city I came across this beautiful Park and I just had to take a picture of it. It enchanted me with its beauty.
P1070359Especially the way spring changes everything. It changes your perspective, gives you flowers. The sun comes out again once or twice. It’s beautiful. I actually took another picture that is completely different: the Elbtunnel. It’s pretty dark and not good quality but I was under a river. So that’s not bad. It feels kinda creepy because you can never be 100 percent sure that it’s safe. Definitely worth the risk though. Especially since there is a good constructionP1070357. The picture is really bad, I know, sorry guys. Never mind. In the evening we ate in a Tibetan Restaurant and the duck was delicious. I like ducks. Then we went to bed at my godfathers’ and I fell asleep at about 12:30 AM. It had been a long day. Especially the weekend that had been full of people and talking that I was really tired. So after checking social media, after 3 days of nothing. I fell asleep.

Monday 16th April 2018
After a night of some bad sleep, I went to the museum of Emigration called Ballinstadt, Hamburg. It was really interesting to hear about all those stories. People who had to leave their homes because of their beliefs, ethnicity and other reasons. The most shocking thing was that some of those reasons are still there today, it’s like history repeats itself all over again. Of course today it’s different. We’ve got better technology and are more advanced in knowledge. But that also means that our problems are more advanced, yet they’re just an improvisation of the old ones. The first Hall was about the background story of this whole institution. It was about Albert Ballin who came up with the idea of taking passengers in cargo ships to increase the income from the passages. P1070356

That was a revolutionary invention for the process. He then started working with the Hapag Lloyd. They expanded the project and made the first luxurious cruise. This project lasted until 1918 when Albert Ballin killed himself because of losing the 1 WW. He knew this was the death of his company. Well anyways, this was what the first hall was about. And some background details about what it looked like. In the 2nd hall, the awesomeness started. A map of the world and a live count of the people being born and how many people are there in this world. Then the journey started. The whole exhibition was a walkthrough of a journey that usually took months. And was hard and arduous. But with that exhibition, I had the possibility to experience it in 3 and a half hours. In a safe and comfortable yet informative way. This experience was very helpful. Especially for my project. Since it gave me the information I needed. As I went through the room with the push and pull factors I was fascinated by the stories that were written
on the walls. Stories of dreams, stories of hopes, stories of 20180416_154739desperation and many more. Then you went into a literal ship, in which they talked about what it felt like to be treated as cargo. There was a lot of desperation and hope. When they got to America, only the healthy ones were allowed to immigrate. The other ones were either tended there or sent back. In the third exhibition hall, we could discover our past with the help of anchestry.com. It’s free there and you can pretend to be a genealogist. You can try and find your ancestors and you might even get in contact with them. This was an amazing opportunity to find out where I really come from and who I really am. Maybe my obsession with English comes from my great-great-grandmother. Maybe it’s just a part of who I am. I am not quite sure. But I guess that’s not really what I’m trying to say at all. Long story short it was really P1070373interesting and amazing. And after that, we went to one of my aunts. On the way out of the city, I thought why not take pictures. So I took a few snapshots. They’re all out of the car so don’t expect too much. I hope it’s not too bad though. I think Hamburg is a beautiful city. From what I’ve seen. Which wasn’t nearly as much as I wanted to. But enough for knowing that I absolutely love it. Its buildings, the river, the trees and parks. I could go on and on about this. But you’d probably fall asleep. I don’t wanna bore you to death. I just think this was a really great trip. Because I had time to reflect on certain things. Which really helped me.

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The Elbe

On the way out it started raining heavily. And next thing I knew we were at a completely different place. On the way home. Except we weren’t on our way home but to my aunt that has basically a zoo in her Garden. Dogs and cats, even a tame goose. As well as chickens, Quails and rabbits. Many things to see. But to be honest I was glad when we left on the next day. All I wanted was to go home. Talk with friends, enjoy times together. Spend fun days in the city and just be. I was done with staying at places only 1 day. Either real or not at all. It takes more than half a day to explore Hamburg, it takes more than one afternoon and a night to explore a city.
Tuesday and Wednesday, 17th  and 18th April 2018
Funny thing the next day we were in another city. But even though we stayed such a short time, it was very enjoyable. And I did enjoy it very much. Göttingen is a University city (not sure if that’s the right term). It’s very pretty and idyllic. We went to a Greek Restaurant where the food was delicious. The people we stayed with were another aunt and her husband. He’s a biker and told me about this amazing thing they have in the Netherlands to make people use fewer cars. There are houses that give bikers or hikers a bed for the night for about 30 Euros. Which is not much if you consider it. But only for bikers or hikers. Breakfast inclusive. And I thought this was an amazing opportunity to travel in an inexpensive way. Maybe I’ll do it one day. Who knows.

P1070363I’ll figure it out. It was a very interesting evening. And at the end of the day, it was 2 AM and a very hot room. The next morning I woke up with the sudden need for a coffee. Then we left for home. It was time to say goodbye to old friends and family. Time to get back to daily life. Time to leave this part of life. With 29 Celsius and an old VW Bus. Not a good working air conditioner. Sweat. Food at the next gas station. Coffee, Wiener Schnitzel and fries. I know it sounds gross but it isn’t. Believe me. Sun. Hot weather. No clouds. Sleeping again. Making a short visit to some other acquaintances. Pizza and salad. Cake for dessert. 2 hours after the actual lunch. But one can’t say no to nice people who ask you if you want some food and answer their own question. 🙂 But it was really good. Then we finally went home to Switzerland. Hey back.
I really learned a lot about myself on this trip. Even though it was a short one. I realized I shouldn’t use my phone as much because it takes away many hours of a day you could’ve spent doing something far more interesting. Although I’m not saying that I don’t have my favourite series on Netflix or Words with Friends on Facebook. But all I’m saying is that I’m gonna try.

Now congratulations if you’ve made it all the way here. I hope you’re all doing great and enjoy life as much as possible. I hope you’re following your dreams and loving yourselves. And having fun of course. Good morning, Night, Afternoon or whatever time it is at yours right now.

Yours truly and Wanderlusty

Gioia

Adventures, Life and Questions

Dear Readers,
I didn’t post on Thursday because of things I had to get done. And then, on Friday, the family dog died. And I really didn’t feel like writing a blog post then. Our dog was 16 years old, which is really old for a Golden Retriever, and I knew it would happen sometime but I was still really sad. Now I can write. Updates on the story are that I’m kind of having concentration problems. And I wanna work on it but I keep getting distracted. I should probably try and just do it. But it’s not that easy. Or maybe it is and I should just get my stuff together. In two days I’m leaving for a trip to Germany. First I’ll go to a family feast and hopefully see loads of cousins and stuff. Then I’ll go to Hamburg. Visiting Ballinstadt, the Museum of Emigration in Hamburg. Hopefully, I’ll see a little more of the city than that. I wanna take pictures and maybe do a post on it. I’m not sure yet. We’ll see. My mind is kind of blank right now. Not a lot has changed since the last post. I’m still having Wanderlust and it’s getting stronger every day. I hear of all these people that are travelling, having the time of their lives and exploring the world. And I want that too. I just don’t have the time or money. I’d have to get a job first. That’s not foreseeable any time soon. Because I haven’t even finished high school yet. And that binds me to this place. I love living in Switzerland, don’t get me wrong. It’s beautiful and I feel privileged to live here. I just wanna see other places. Cultures of other countries fascinate me. It seems like there’s this whole world out there, waiting to be explored. Yet I’m staying at the place I’ve known my whole life. But I guess if it’s waiting now, it’ll still be there waiting in a year or two. The only thing I need is patience. And the power to dream on. Living in a world full of people who tell you, dreams are nothing more than childish thoughts in one’s head. I believe we are destined to have dreams and follow them. Well most of them anyways. They still have to be reasonable to some extent. For example, another one of my dreams is getting my drivers license. Which would be pretty achievable. The only thing stopping me from doing so is, that I’m scared I won’t be able to drive because of my dyspraxia. You probably don’t know what that is so I’ll give you a short version. It’s basically that my motor skills suck, fine and gross motor skills. It’s also being able to focus on more than one task at a time that’s really hard. And it also takes longer to learn things. It’s not impossible it just takes more time. For example, when I was a little kid I didn’t have the reflex to put my arms in front of me when I fell down. So I always fell right on my face. But I learned it with determination and after some time I managed to do it. The same with tagging eggs. I used to do the movement out of my elbow and not like one should out the wrist. So I’d basically smash them. Now I can do it because I worked for it. Thing is, those are basic things. If I wanted to drive a car I’d have to focus on so many things at the same time and I can’t even do it when I’m not driving a car. Especially the movement of steering because it requires a lot of movement control. Which I certainly don’t have. At least not yet. But I’ve done quite some research and I’ve seen that it’s possible to drive a car with dyspraxia, it just takes a lot longer. And I’d have to have the determination. Which I would possibly have. Hopefully. Maybe I’m going to do it next year. Many of my friends have done it. And I can too, even if it would probably be an automatic car. I should embrace this possibility. I really should. And I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for help if needed. But sometimes it makes me feel frustrated because there are some things others can do easily and I just need more time or struggle. And I know it’s stupid because other people have it so much worse. And I have it really good. I have my strengths too. Languages, talking, being an empath, writing and Philosophy. It’s just that sometimes, I tend to be rather hard on myself. And if I don’t succeed at something I try again. I know what my resources are and I try to work on them and with them, rather than focusing on my weaknesses. At least trying. And that’s important. Trying is my way of living. I live after the sentence: How do you know it’s not worth it if you’ve never tried? I believe if you haven’t tried you can’t say whether it’s good or bad for you. So at least try. What’s the worst that can happen? You fail. But is that really such a terrible thing? At least you’ll know that you’ve done something, you’ve tried. And I think that’s more important than failing or succeeding. It can be scary to try something. It could hurt you. But it could also make you really happy. Now the question is, do you want to take that risk? I definitely would. Because I don’t want to regret the choices I have made. And if there’s a choice to be made from which I know that it’s risky but I also know that I’d regret it if I didn’t make it, I definitely choose the risk. The worst thing that could happen would be getting hurt. And that’s scary. But you can recover from the pain. And you will. What you can’t recover from, however, are the choices you didn’t make. You’ll always be left wondering with the question of what would’ve been. And no one will ever answer that question. You’ll be left wondering. I’m always searching for adventures. Still, most of them happen in my head. Speaking of search, I’ve decided not to search for anyone. And I’ve decided to stop waiting. I will just live my life and if someone comes along I’ll take the chance. And I’ll be happy to share my life with someone new. And I’ll fall in love once again. And if I get hurt, I just will. And it I don’t, even better. I’ll just take life as it comes. That’s the best I can do.
Goodnight, Good morning, good afternoon or whatever time it is wherever you’re reading this from.
Have the time of your lives and Live. Love. Be respectful.
Yours,
Gioia