Why I do make up.

Beauty & Fashion

A Facebook post from Julia Roberts shared by a friend prompted me to write this blog post. The beautiful actress recently wrote,

“Perfection is a disease of a nation. We overlay our faces with tons of make-up. We get botoxs and even starve ourselves to become that perfect size. We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see. It’s the soul that needs the surgery. It’s time that we take a stand. How can you expect someone else to love you if you don’t love yourself? You have to be happy with yourself. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s whats on the inside that counts. Today, I want to put up a makeup-free photo. I know I have wrinkles on my skin but today I want you to see beyond that. I want to embrace the real me and I want you to embrace who you are, the way you are, and love yourself just the way you are.”

And with it, she posted a picture of herself looking beautiful and radiant sans make up. But she’s Julia Roberts. She has great genes, and is naturally and commercially beautiful without help from Charlotte Tilbury. Magic Foundation, how I covet thee!!

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I want you. I need you…Thank you so much Ms AJK for my first TF lippy!! source

I completely agree with what she is saying. Everyone needs more of that juicy self-loving. But …

Look. The love and respect I have for my makeup-free self is unconditional. Took a load of work, many tears, therapy and taking a whole lot of responsibility for my thoughts and not blaming the parents to be at a place where I can look at myself in the mirror in the morning and say with complete convition, “I love you. Warts/wrinkles/spots/fill in the blanks and all, I love you!”. No cringing, just plain old love directed at me.

However, that doesn’t mean I have to love or like the way I sometimes look in the morning without the smooth skin filters that make up provides. No siree. Do you always love or like your family members at all times? If you do, you’re a better person than me. So it goes without saying that you should not have to “love” your appearance in order to be a loveable/socially acceptable/normal/non vain and narcissistic person. Appearance isn’t everything and it shouldn’t be, but I care about how I look. If that makes me vain, so be it. Sometimes the odd hormonal break out, fatigue and poor dietary choices results in a face I don’t want to present to the world. A face that I don’t particularly care for when I look in the mirror.

Make up and the millions of ways you can recreate looks by the simple application of eyeliner and mascara, or blush and concealer is something that I’m grateful for. I don’t make my face up for anyone but myself. If it were up to Mr B, I wouldn’t spend any more cents on make up as he prefers me bare faced. I don’t do it for him. To present my husband with a dolled up version of me to keep him happy in his marital choice in having me as his wife is not why I spend a crazy lot of money on make up. I do it for me. I love the magical way it transforms a tired looking and feeling, three decades and more year old woman into someone who is wider-eyed and more refreshed. It gives me a small confidence boost especially when I’m feeling sick, sad and lonely (although those moments are, touch wood, not that frequent). It gives me ten minutes in the morning to myself. And bonus, it saves me from having surgical procedures done, like double eyelid or eye widening surgery. The power of the eyeliner and the v-eyeshadow blending technique has given me more appreciation and love for my Asian monolids and features than surgery would have to look more Western. I would have bigger eyes, more Western eyes, but let’s face facts. I’m of Korean Heritage and I don’t want to look like I’m from Sweden or a Manga doll. I have small eyes and accept them. I don’t crave perfection in my appearance the way Julia Roberts describes how obsessed people can be in their aesthetic. I just love to see a more polished version of myself when I look in the mirror. And what I love even more is how I feel when I’ve spent a few minutes highlighting this or evening out that.

And as much as loving the ‘underneath the surface you’ is important, it’s also important to love the way you feel about how you look on the outside. I have a few loved ones who have experienced either chronic acne, psoriasis or other so called and perceived un-beautiful physical features. It can be a major cause of anxiety, depression and dampening of the soul. Just Youtube ‘acne covering make up’ and you’ll see dozens of vloggers sharing their stories and experiences with acne. You’ll realise just how traumatising something so benign can be (first world probs and all that), but you’ll also see the magnificent transformational effects that make up can have not just physically but also emotionally and soulfully. I’ve learned a lot from many vloggers and make up professionals who are so passionate about making people feel amazing through make up. For them (Frmheadtotoe, Wayne Goss, Charlotte Tilbury, Lisa Eldrige), I am and will be forever grateful.

Some people say make up is anti-feminist. I wholeheartedly disagree. Think about what feminism is actually about. It’s about choice. That and being able to make the decision to wear a bit of lippy without people assuming you’re either a slut, want to cater to a man’s desires, have really low self esteem or all of the above. In any case, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what ‘they’ say. What matters is how I feel. I feel good and have fun with my high street and high end beautifiers. I love myself before I slap on the slap. And I love my appearance more when I’ve finished curling my eyelashes.  That’s why I do make up.

I’m not sensitive. I’m just not German.

Miscellaneous

Okay, most of you know that I am a sensitive person. In fact there is a category of people that psychologists call highly sensitive and I am one of the 20 percent of the population that is more sensitive to the world around us – emotionally as well as to physical surroundings. And despite what the post clearly states, I am not implying that all Germans are insensitive. That is just silly. Bear with me and you’ll know what I want to get at.

One of my probably erroneous favourite pastimes is to bitch about how rude people in Germany can be. They are in general very direct and it does can come across as being rude. It’s wrong and what you focus on expands and all that. Really, I believe in the power of language and emotion and how it can guide our tomorrows. But sometimes you just gotta have a good moan. I’ll stop for a while after this post. Promise.

I’ve lived here for just over a year now and have become immune to what people from Oz, the UK or America might consider as rude. Us Aussies like to take detours when it comes to saying anything negative. Being an Aussie with a Korean heritage makes this even more complicated when voicing desires. If I am hungry, for instance, and someone older than me who I am with asks me if I would like to eat, I wouldn’t necessarily say , “Thank god you asked because I am starving. Let’s get a pizza!”. No, that would be a bit forthright and unbecoming. So I would say something like, “Oh, you know… It’s not that I’m not hungry…Are you hungry?” All the while, hoping that the older person will suggest going out for a meal. Clear as mud.

I was saying to my mother in law the other day that the hardest part of living in Germany was not the language (no really) but actually adjusting to the cultural differences when it comes to communication. In general.

So when I was discussing a certain unpleasant exchange of words this morning involving some yelling and finger pointing (I was first the receiver of this lovely exchange of words until I had enough and became guilty of giving back as good as I got) to my father in law, he asked if I knew what the word ’empfindlich’ was. Like hell I do. I’ve got my B2 certificate <proudfaceemoticon>.

And then I proceeded to tell him about the cultural differences yadayadayada which had nothing to do with being sensitive and all about decent human interaction. And that shouting at a shocked mother (that would be me) on the street and finger pointing was not acceptable. That DM doesn’t take that type of garbage from anyone. When he asked why I responded to the lady in the way I did, the exact words were “Ich lasse mich nicht verarschen.” I don’t know if that is entirely applicable in my situation but it sounded good at the time.

So I before I close this unpleasant chapter of the day for a good while, I’d like to let you newbie German expats know that being shocked at the ‘rude’ German communication style will unfortunately be experienced at some point. If not to you (lucky! Where do you live? Or: Lucky! You must be soo evolved!), then to your friends and family. So you have a few options when someone just decides it’s in their right to have a go at what you’re obviously doing wrong:

1) Don’t participate. Ignore, move on and let the “Besserwissers” have the last say. This works for me most of the time. Feign ignorance, say in a very foreign-y accent that you don’t speak German or if you’re in a very international city, just say “I no English”. I ain’t got time for this kinda shizzle on a normally fab day. Life is sweet.

2) Apologise, agree with them and move on. I did that one time even though I knew that the person was out of order. “If only I was back in Sydney, I would never let them get away with this. Better still, this would have never happened in the first place!”, I angrily thought to myself. It made me feel like shit the whole day so I vowed never to do that again. Which brings me to the third option.

3) Participate. Engage in the ‘conversation’ in the style of the initiator. If they start yelling at you, yell back. If you can’t understand exactly what they’re saying, yell back slowly to s p e a k  s l o w l y (Koennten Sie bitte langsamer sprechen?). If your German is not at debating levels, then just give back in whatever language you fancy. Just. Do. Not. Cower. Your lack of language skills should not make you feel like you have nothing worthy to say or that you cannot stick up for yourself. You matter, your feelings matter and common courtesy matter. Just make sure that you are not in the wrong before you embark on a verbal world war. You cannot be wrong.

If it wasn’t clear, this morning I chose option three. I don’t feel good about it, but I would have felt shittier if I had taken option one or two. Sometimes it’s better out than in!

And that my dear friends is all that I’d like to say on this matter.

Aiming low to achieve high.

Parenting & Musings

The last post was a month or so ago, so I reckon if I tell myself to just aim for the goal of publishing one post per month, I could actually achieve it, and thereby get rid of those “I feel bad because I’m not writing as many blog posts and feel really lazy which makes me feel even worse so I’m just not in the mood to write at the moment and what’s another week of not writing when I haven’t written in such a long time” feelings. Know what I mean? You writers who only write when inspiration takes you but secretly want to be wanting to write all the time will empathise.

Aim low, exceed expectations and repeat until you get to the ideal frequency of writing. Which is all the damned time more than once a month. Good plan, DM.

I have so many so called great ideas for posts that pop into my head, but by the time I come to actually logging in to WordPress and click on “new post”, I experience blogger’s block. Is there such a term? Can I claim rights on that term? No. Not according to google. See, if I had been writing with greater frequency I could have been the first one. Does that it even matter?

So, onto life update. Amazing M has been exactly that and more (much much more) these summer holidays. Summer break is quite long in Europe, six weeks to be precise and I have one and a half glorious weeks left to entertain my little angel at little cost to my equanimity and mental health. If you could only see my additions on my Vivino app, you’d understand the secret to my inner peace. For those of you who don’t know what kind of app that is, it’s one for wine. WINE. The more M whines (which currently amounts to eleventeen hundred minutes of the day) the more DM wines. Not to worry, friends. I drink in the evening when she’s in bed and it’s usually not more than a couple of (big) glasses. And people who see her on play dates and catch ups: she’s only showing you her cuteness. It can be another story at home or at the shops with mama. Parents will relate.

As much as I whine about M’s whining, I’m also re-falling in love with my little Mona (har har). Her inquisitiveness and intelligence when it doesn’t annoy just astounds me. Can I give you an example? No, another one of those great ideas to put in a blog moments sucked into the black hole of procrastination. That and the lovely glass of red I’m currently enjoying. Who’s got time to remember stuff when you’re just so in the moment of savouring a Sangiovese? But when you get a chance to converse with M, you’ll understand what I mean.  And her sense of humour… Sarcastic and cheeky just like papa. She’s slowly developing wit which is her mother’s domain. Or at least I like to think I’m somewhat witty*. The past month has been long so you gotta give me that one.

Till the next one!

*in reality it could be mistaken for corny. But right now I’ll go with wit.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I run.

Miscellaneous

Lovely M, thank you for accepting that mama runs in the morning. Thank you for either eating your breakfast alone quietly while papa sleeps and mama runs. Or for cuddling up to papa in bed while I run off the excess mental and physical energy that I so easily accumulate.

I run because it keeps feelings of anxiety at bay. I run because it’s such a quick remedy to any feelings of negativity. I run because it’s the most efficient form of burning the calories (bonus!). When I’m feeling restless, hopeless, bored and frustrated I know it’s been too long since the last run.

And it’s (almost*) free.

* trainers and attire cost. But no gym membership required. Just motivation, dedication and action.

 

 

 

 

How I feel about my sister’s success.

Parenting & Musings, Relationships

I’ve got an amazing younger sister. She is kind, generous, funny, clever as hell, beautiful and all you could ask for in a sister. She also has a very successful business.

sister

You said you wanted to fly and now I’m making it happen. source

What I’ve noticed in the the past few years is that people assume that because I’m the older one, I should be more successful than her. Or that I must begrudge her success as the work I’ve done since having Amazing M is quite measly financially in comparison. Funny that but also perverse.

It’s probably got to do with the fact that society has become more competitive and the rush to financial and social success is the only measure of true success and happiness. And somehow, because I was afforded a few extra years, I should have accumulated more coinage than my baby sister. Well, I don’t like and I don’t buy it. Everyone has their own lives and stories. One’s success is subjective. What’s an extraordinary achievement for me could be your tragedy.

Truth be told, I feel nothing but pride for my little sis. Her success and happiness is my success and happiness. Is there a trace of the green monster? Not a sliver. Envy? Nope. Sorry to disappoint you but I’m one of those annoying people who don’t feel jealousy or envy. Sometimes I yearn for certain skills that others possess, such as incredible public speaking skills, or very occasionally, psychopathic arseholeness when dealing with some people in the service industry in Germany (and annoying neighbours who tell you that they don’t like seeing your bicycle parked on the sidewalk. Seriously?!). But the latter skill isn’t really a necessity, as I would feel awful for the rest of the week and I just don’t have time that shizzle.

My own financial success right now is not at the level I am aiming for. But where I am right now works for me. Money is not the primary goal. Enjoyment in my work, balancing work with family life and having the time and energy to be there for Amazing M and Mr B is what I want.

Snippets of a successful summer.

Parenting & Musings

It’s extremely warm in Germany right now. Yesterday was 44 degrees. I wanted the Universe to give me a proper summer. It’s been seven summers in Europe and it hasn’t come even close to the Aussie season of eternal sunshine. Until this week. I asked and I received so this lady ain’t complaining. Can I just say that I wouldn’t mind sweating it out here?

yao noi

We are well overdue for our yearly visit here. via sixsenses.com

Since the last time I posted, I’ve achieved a few things. The biggest achievement: Passing the frickin’ B2 German Language test. Big external whoop! The lead up to the exams was more stressful than I let on. The perfectionist in me put a bit more pressure on not just to pass, but pass with good grades. “What’s the point in just passing?”, she kept whispering at me while I was trying to learn verbs with prepositions. How rude and how very annoying. In any event, it’s done and dusted and I won’t know my final mark until next week or so. As much as I am hard on myself for not speaking super fluent German after 200 hours of classes ( I mean, come on, how can one not talk in detail about the Greek financial crisis in perfect German?!), my vast improvement in German is evident in two areas. Firstly, I can understand my husband when he converses at a silly speed of  five words a second. Secondly, I can read and enjoy novels written in German. Current read: The Girl on the Train. Addictive and makes for a very good holiday read.

Another achievement: scoring some freelance work to help people out with their conversational English. Getting paid to talk is very awesome in my book.

The next achievement isn’t completely mine. M is now able to jump into the pool unassisted! This is big progress, as when we first started swimming lessons, a lot of coaxing, bribing and seething through gritted teeth were involved in getting her away from my legs and into the pool. A few months on and she’s getting on so well in her class. While most mothers I know appear to effortlessly take their kids from one extra-curricular activity to another, I have to admit that I found it bloody hard at first. We don’t drive so the trip to the pool involves some walking, Strassenbahning, changing, showering, feeding and more traveling back home. I guess that it’s convenient that I hold the view that a lot of these baby and toddler classes are not only a bore and waste of time and money, but also benefit the child no more than if she were to stay with the parent just playing or chilling. I’ve tried a few classes but none of them really appealed to either of us. And I wasn’t going to fork out money for baby ballet when she was more interested in running around the ballet hall than in sitting down and singing silly nursery rhymes whilst having me move her limbs in all directions.

Off to enjoy post lunch home made raspberry gelato, which will take all of three minutes with my Thermie.

Happy Sunday

M is growing up.

Parenting & Musings

Sometimes when it gets a little challenging at bed-times, getting ready times and ‘Please, help me eat it’ times, I exercise the “one day she will retch at the thought of me trying to help her eat her lunch/put her pyjamas on” technique. Or the “relish it now when you can” practice. ‘Being present in the moment’ is too grand a phrase to describe the situation where I’m trying to accept the moaning and stalling tactics whilst I trying best to keep my eyeballs firmly on M lest my insane desire to let my eyes roll take me into dangerous passive aggressive territory.

But now that she’s moving towards the magical fours (I’m promised by friends, acquaintances and the internet!!!), I’m starting to really enjoy mothering more. Tantrums are, fingers crossed, getting better. Or perhaps it’s that I’m getting better at managing my temper and reactions and tactics, which involve being firm and sticking to your guns. NEVER EVER go back on your threat word. EVER. E V E R. M has the memory of an elephant and in the words of a dear friend, you just cannot negotiate with terrorists.

We have semi- decent conversations. Where we actually converse. She also calls me out when I half heartedly say, “Uh-huh” at the wrong time. “Not gooed mama”. (That’s how she pronounces good). We talk about birthday plans, Thailand and share opinions on clothing when we go window shopping. And sometimes we just walk in silence, hand in hand, enjoying what the city of Frankfurt has to offer at the Zeil: Minnie and Mickey Mouse charging a buck to have pics taken with them, buskers, beggars and junkies civilly begging for drug money. Thankfully M hasn’t started asking questions about the beggars…

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She’s such a big girl now. And her hair!!! via deliciousmother.com

And now that I’ve written about how well it’s going with us of late, there might just be another post tomorrow excusing this post.

DM’s first European Half Marathon.

All things German

Hey M!

Your mama is running the Frankfurt half marathon this Sunday. Although she isn’t 100% prepared for it (colds and miserable weather in Feb are the reasons and excuses she uses), she’s done pretty well overall. She has even given up on alcohol and chocolate for Lent. Now if that doesn’t impress you, God help you.

Let’s go back to speaking in the first person, cause it’s kinda getting weird and hard speaking about myself in the third for longer than a couple of sentences.

So yeah, the half marathon. 21.0975km. Huhhhhhhh. It’s long and it’s not that long. I’m hoping my body will execute what my mind wants it to do. The reasoning or maybe lack of sane reasoning for this challenge was to see if I could push myself a little. Somewhere in me is willpower. Stainless steel willpower. My seven plus months of raw veganism is a testament to that. I mean, can you imagine not eating bread for more than a week? Or pasta? Or chocolate? Or God forbid, wine? I did that for more that seven months, so I know have plenty of willpower.

cake

This cake has nothing to do with the blog post, but I saw it and loved it and thought, ‘why not?’ via

 

But I’ve been lacking that stuff of late. I don’t know if it was the arrival of M or maybe I’ve just become lazy or less resolved about anything that has made any plans of sticking to a healthy eating and working out regime lacklustre. I’d set out on a radical health campaign only to quit it within the week. So this half marathon was a bit of an exercise (excuse the pun) to achieve two things at once: get my body pumping and to stretch the limits of my will power throughout winter. Come Sunday afternoon, I will have achieved a massive goal. Yoga is calling now.

Wish me luck!

 

 

The Orange Rhino: AKA the non yeller.

Parenting & Musings

Just over a month ago I was a yeller. It had been an awful start to the year. I was in a bad mood almost every day, was tired, annoyed and to boot, Amazing M was going through some things as well. Perhaps she picked up on my mood and was acting out but it seemed I just could not make her happy and she would not easily listen to my requests. Sleeping was one of those requests.

What’s a mother to do when she’s on the end of her tether? Yell. Man, was it god awful. Tears on her part, tears on mine, yelling from mama, screaming and I mean ear deafening screaming from M. We could have easily been a family from the Supernanny series. And it was clear that the yelling was not working for either of us. So what does DM do best in times of crisis? Google.

Type in ‘How to stop yelling at todder’ and you’ll find a link to a blog called The Orange Rhino. The blog was borne out of a mother’s resolve to not yell at her children for 365 days straight. What she said resonated with me and I immediately downloaded her book on my Kindle as well as the app to go with it a few days later.

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From the Orange Rhino App. Doesn’t apply to husbands, but really, I could do this with him, right? via deliciousmother

 

I am excited to say that I’ve reached my goal of a month of no- yelling. That’s not to say it’s been easy. There were times where I really needed to gather my strength and apply some suggested techniques such as talking in a robot voice. Not cool when out in public, but I’d say it’s quite a lot better than yelling.

I hope to continue my non-yelling approach for as long as I can. But in order for that to happen, I need to care more for myself and ensure that my cup is full. In other words, be vigilant with self care. Very vigilant.

 

 

 

I adore you.

Relationships

Mr B, it’s been seven long years and a day since we said, “I do”. Long doesn’t necessarily mean bad. I think I say that because we’ve been through a lot.

A cute card from Paperchase, available at Karstadt. via deliciousmother

A cute card from Paperchase, available at Karstadt. via deliciousmother

Breaking the cultural barriers of marrying a non-Korean was a toughy. Moving to the other side of the world, just as my mother and father did as newly-weds, was a mega toughy. Then came the baby, and a few years after that, Germania <toughyemoticonfaceadfinitum>*.

But let’s forget about the toughies for now (hard to when I have just repeatedly written them), and think back on the incredible experiences we’ve had and memories we’ve made.

Best friend, I am so grateful to you. You’re my teacher**, my grounder and the love of my life. I am so stoked to be able to say that I still fancy the pants off you***. Literally. I’m envisaging it now. TMI, friends.

Happy Anniversary, meine Liebe. Looking forward to three more incredible years with you. Then, I will get to wear a really nice flowy wedding dress in Thailand when we renew our vows for our 10 year anniversary. You promised. And obviously after that, I will be looking forward to many more years of togetherness.

Lova ya long time,

DM

*I’m only half serious about this. I love Germany, I really do. I’ll love it more when I’m fliessend (fluent). ** in the general/abstract/philosophical sense, not Germanic. Thank goodness I’m going back to Goethe. *** in my youth I just could not fathom how a person could be attracted to the same person for more than a few years.