Moving

expat parenting, German expat, mindfulness

I’ve been stuck in blogging inertia for way too long. While days and weeks have dragged and sped on, filled with lesson planning, translating, German lessons, play dates, baking, arguing, cooking, eating, guilting, laughing, interior planning, anxiety managing and too much wine & coffee drinking (plus a bit of Netflix-ing), I’ve been ignoring the little writer, cowering under the tens of thousands of thoughts that get processed in my head. ‘Write..’, it squeaks. But the thoughts of doing other things holler loudly and hold my attention longer than the little mousy writer.

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BUT! Today my procrastination skills are really working for my writing.🙂

Being the master procrastinator can have its advantages. We’re moving out next week and I have lots of clothing and linen to wash and iron before ensconcing ourselves in a hotel opposite Alter Oper for at least a fortnight due to building delays. So instead of getting out the Persil capsules, I open up my laptop and log into my blog account after doing the obligatory Facebook browsing, article reading and ‘liking’ of the inspo memes and endearing photos. So here I am. Sorry, it’s been so long, M. The gap from the last post was a bit on the massive side but better late than… never (say never).

Instagram has been a sort of surrogate blog for me for the past few months – it’s much easier to ping on a pic and write down some thoughts that accompany it, but it’s not the same as sitting down and really thinking of stringing a few decent and sometimes not so decent sentences. There’s really only so much I can type in one go on the smart phone, and now that I’m displaying carpal tunnel symptoms which get worse with phone usage (I know!) , I’m trying to minimise writing essays on it.

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Bakeup artist me via Deliciousmother

Minimalism update: satisfied with the purging of unused, unwanted and unloved things. The move will go smoother for it, and now that we’re downsizing, it will be much more practical as far as storage goes. Working on getting the number of M’s toys down. Hard. When she looks at me with those eyes and frowns, it makes it bloody hard. But no one needs nine Barbies (all gifted!). I hate Mattel.

Sanity update: pretty sane. blips mostly in the early hours but managing with meditation and mindfulness. Rate TAD program and the Headspace app. Life changers!

Getting used to living in Germany update: pretty good. Language is key and now thatI can bark back at people who decide to give me lip, it’s ok🙂 I’m using German as much as I can when out and about. Even went on a hiking trip with three German ladies and spent the majority of the time chatting in Deutsch. While this is great, it also means my English is suffering even more. This is why regular blogging would be useful for my written English.

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I love these things so much I felt the need to quadruple them. via Deliciousmother

(Mummy) guilt

mindfulness, Parenting
guilt

Source

If I got given a Diptyque candle (190g) for every time I felt guilty about being depressed/anxious/stressed and for letting it (negatively) affect my parenting and partnering skills, I wouldn’t necessarily be happier, but my place would just smell divine. On top of all the guilt I feel for feeling the way I do, given the fact that I am well fed, housed, warm and have an incredible little family, I feel the post-rant/hissy fit/frustrated sigh/eye-roll/snapping/yelling/mean comment/etc/etc/etc/ guilt. The two loves of my life have had to deal with some not so nice moments in the past couple of years. What doesn’t make me want to throw myself into the river (and slowly swim myself back to safety) is that they were lucky enough to have thousands and thousands of yummy moments with me. I’m not sure I would have been able to say or write that last sentence a couple of months ago. I was so full up self pity and woe is me creek I wouldn’t have been able to recognise what a great mummy and wife I can be. I am. I AM.

Back to the guilt. I don’t need to tell you how useless it is and to focus on other things and blah blah blah. Most people know that it really is not  very productive and feeling bucket loads of it does not make up for being a dick nor erase the pain that can ensue when you do not want to spend every spare minute you have with the kid(s). Despite my disdain for the G monster, it’s getting better. How I’m reacting to it is improving. It’s definitely still there, just not as heart breaking. And guess what I think is causing it?!

MINDFULNESS. My daily meditation practice. Me, dedicating myself to it. Despite more stress from external sources. Despite not knowing if I am getting better at it or not. Even Mr B has noticed that I haven’t gone all “that time of the month” on him for a good while.

I’m trying to not have any expectations of this new practice. That’s a hard thing for me. Really hard. But I’m persevering because I’m not sure there is another way for me to manage these episodes any better. I’m sighing and procrastinating less. Eating better (still eating lots of chocolate). Cooking and baking more. Sleeping better. Crying less and laughing more. Chucking out unnecessary things again. Playing with M more without feeling like it’s the most boring activity in the world. I’ve come to fall in love again with my loves. And that is something I am so grateful for.

 

 

 

 

Where does the time

Miscellaneous

go?

It’s been over four months since I posted anything.

Many reasons. I got depressed. I got anxious. Blogging about how awful I felt just did not appeal to me in the slightest. And I kept hoping, or rather, kept promising myself to write another post when I got “better”; when I’d feel an inkling of joy, hope and a sense of looking forward to something. But the days and weeks and months rolled by without a significant change in mood. Life was just suckety fuck. Fuckety suck. My life was in constant black and white with Donnie Darko on repeat.

But things changed. I discovered or rediscovered mindfulness meditation. This time, I signed up to a program called meditationSHIFT. I’m almost through with the 21 day program, but the practice isn’t to end EVER.

And slowly, I feel like the colour is returning. S L O W L Y.

 

Where did Sep/Oct go?

Miscellaneous

You know that cliche, “Be careful what you wish for ..”. Well, it’s true. September and October have clearly highlighted the fact that my wishes do come true. Some wishes. My first class travel only has not yet materialised. Nor the BFF thing with Jessie J.

There have been so many days during my three years of being a SAHM, where I longed for busy-ness that had nothing whatsoever to do with raising a kid. Important, money making or brain stimulation busy. Not play date, tantrum controlling or laundry busy.

It’s taken a while (just over four years), but my desires have been fulfilled so fully that I have completely become of fan of Boredom, my new idol and god.

Not that I’m complaining. Just saying.

dog

I’m sooooooo in love with this tea cup malteser. We’ve been thinking about getting an apartment friendly dog for a few weeks now. source

To keep those anxiety bogeymen at bay I just need to take on less projects – in fact, I turned many down in the last months. The people pleasing part of me who finds it hard to say no said no. Big yay.

So as we slowly wind down for the year, I’m trying my best to be as calm and present as I can with my mischievous M. Now before I sign off, let me point out that this really stupidly spelled adjective is pronounced “miss-chuv-us”, and not “miss-chee-vee-us”. That really gets on my grill. I need to get a life. I. Know.

Amongst the headless chook running these last couple of months, I did manage to squeeze in a couple of major baking sessions for some lovely friends, so I am so stoked about that. Baking is one of my favourite un-paid passions and maybe, just maybe, my wish in this area will be fulfilled and I will be able to sell some cakes legally in Germany. And this month is also my birthday month so expect to see a ridiculous cake in my next post. I’m so excited about this one!! Eeeeeee!

Have a great November!

 

Only adults say fuck.

Parenting

WARNING: This blog post contains extreme levels of coarse language.

When I was pregnant with Amazing M, I was in bliss. I wasn’t afflicted with the common nausea or major physical discomforts that usually accompany pregnancy. I daydreamed about our perfect Eurasian daughter wearing the cutest and most avant guard outfits and how I would parent perfectly. Sugar and spice and all things nice. Reality check: she sometimes wears cute and maybe at a stretch, avant guard-ish stuff, but most of the time she wears high street and discounter clothes: think ALDI. Now, don’t be dissing -those clothes wash amazingly.

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cunt has such a bad reputation. It’s only the opposite of cock, afterall😦 source

When M was a newborn, I was in deep shit. I felt like I had entered a first world kinda hell that would take at least 18 years to crawl out of. It was never that bad that M would be neglected. Through the grace of whoever/whatever is out there, I managed to get my daily shit together. I would show only a happy face to this beautiful child. I was in essence worthy of an Oscar. Outwardly I was put together and lost loads of weight. Other mums were openly jealous over my rapid weight loss. Inwardly I didn’t want to live, and the secret to the lost weight was breastfeeding round the clock (I fed on demand and boy did she demand) and not sleeping with an ever active dysfunctional mind. Never before in my life had I wanted to be heavier in exchange for happiness, for normalcy. I just wanted my life back. But strangely with the shit hitting the fan of my mental health, I endeavoured to refrain from anything negative in comment to my child or in front of her. No scolding (she was a baby, after all- she is going to cry when she’s hungry or cold) and definitely no swearing. No one around her in my family was allowed to swear. I lectured my sister in setting good examples and being a role model. And how important Motherhood is. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Fast forward four years and a bit. I’ve realised that motherhood is and isn’t the most important thing. It’s important to nurture your kid and try your best at least some of the time to not be dick to your spawn. But at the same time, women have been doing this for eons. So just humble yourself to the fact that motherhood is just another part of human life and get on with things. We all know what happens when you take your self ascribed role in life too seriously…you get either physically or mentally face punched.

And now that this mama is no longer a demon to her thoughts and is pretty content with a sort of fabulous life she has created, all this perfect parenting nonsense has gone out the window. I swear harder and more frequently than anyone of you could imagine. I’m not hiding this side from you, I swear (ha ha, you know I just had to put that one in there). It’s just that when I socialise with my fabulous friends, they don’t moan, whinge and writhe on the floor because I didn’t give them a perfectly cut piece of apple, which usually warrants a, “Oh, for fuck’s sake” kind of response. When you have a normal kid going through a normal childhood, developing the normal emotions, reactions and behaviours that happen to homo sapiens at the tenders ages between three and 23, and parents go through the normal everyday pressures and pains of living in a technologically and materially advance world, parental cussing is inevitable. Ok, some parents out there don’t swear but in my universe, perfect parenting is out and good enough parenting is the orange is the new black.

Which is why fuck and any other combination of swearing involving fuck and worse come out of my mouth. It’s not intentional. I don’t need to shock anyone in my family for the sake of it. Let’s just say that for me, it’s an honest release of exasperated emotion rolled up into a few little words that are deemed uncouth by society. When M hears me say it, she hardly bats an eyelid- she knows mama is frustrated. Only once has she repeated me after I said fuck for something obviously rage inducing. I promptly told her quite nonchalantly to stop it because only adults say fuck. And that was that. No fucks no more, at least from her side. For now. And I kinda reckon saying a frustrated fuck is better than raising your voice to mean and angry levels. I’m definitely guilty of the latter as well as times, but I don’t think I combine the two societal no-nos in the one occasion.

In all fairness, if M was of a different personality or disposition, I might have to reign it in. Some kids are just parrots and like to repeat words and phrases, often ones that cause major embarrassment. Luckily most of my parent friends are cool – i.e. don’t take themselves too seriously with the parenting circus. In fact a good friend would rather her daughter say “Fuck you!” than “Pardon?” (here’s looking at you marvellous, Ms S).

But seriously, if the worst thing your kid does is say shit or fuck, then you’re pretty blessed.

Touching wood now!!

My ‘for me’ errands

Beauty & Fashion, Food & Travel

Here is my ever growing list of things I do to look after and pamper myself.

Daily:

  • Prayer of thanks for all that I have.
  • Shower/bathe myself.
  • Attend to oral and facial hygiene.
  • Send M to kindergarten except on weekends🙂.

Weekly:

  • Hair wash and blow dry at my local salon.
  • Manicure without varnish.
  • Personal Yoga training session.
  • Life and Breathing session via Skype with Gaia.
  • Yoga session in the Park.
  • Date night with Mr B.
gold facial

Gold facials are the best. They make me look gold. source

Fortnightly:

  • Pedicure without varnish.
  • Thai massage/aromatherapy massage.
  • Psychotherapy session.
  • Cinema night with friends or Mr B.

Monthly:

  • Bowen therapy session.
  • Facial at Villa Kennedy Spa.
  • Four hour brunch at either a nice Japanese, French or Italian restaurant with a few hilarious and uplifting friends.
  • Book club meeting with brunching friends (obv on a separate occasion) where we discuss either very serious, intellectual books or just entertaining drivel or just talk nonsense until the restaurant asks us to leave.

Quarterly:

  • Three night stay at Das Kranzbach, located near Garmish Parten Kirchen. This is definitely a sanity saver.
  • A visit to the dermatologist to make sure my skin is in top condition.
  • Weekend trips to London with M. Food, friends and Selfridges. Need I say more?

Biannually:

  • An exotic family holiday entailing sun, surf, good food and being embarrassingly lazy rolled into a week.
  • Trip to Oz to see family and friends. We don’t travel economy.

Annually:

  • Another family holiday, but destinations are always a bit quirkier. Sun is not an essential, but proper doses entertainment and good food is a given. Think Bhutan, Helsinki and Faroe Islands.
  • Pre-Christmas shopping in New York. Economy travel is out of the question.

With so many errands to run and so little time, isn’t it then a tragedy relief that the list above  (minus my daily rituals!) is just a fantasy? And isn’t it funny that most of the rituals don’t actually involve acquiring material goods. Yeah, yeah they still involve spending a bit of moolah, but it costs nothing to daydream!

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.