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Project German – American Citizenship / Projekt Deutsch – Amerikanische Staatsangehörigkeit

Ahoi, ich bin die Birgit und ich lebe zweisprachig.

Hey, my name is Birgit and I live a bilingual life.

Ich wohne zur Zeit in Amerika aber fühle mich gleichzeitig Deutsch, das wird sich niemals ändern. Dennoch habe ich durch meine Beziehung auch eine starke Verbindung zu den Staaten.

I currently live in America but I simultaneously identity as German and that won’t ever change. However through my relationship I have developed an important bond with the States.


Das Jahr eilt jetzt schon wieder so schnell voran. Es ist Mitte Februar und die Winterzeit sollte sich ja eigentlich super dazu eignen endlich wichtige Bürokratien in Angriff zu nehmen, aber irgendwie liegt noch immer alles unbearbeitet auf dem Tisch.

The year is flying by faster than I can keep up with, a blink of an eye ago it was the beginning of January and now we are already passing the mid-February mark. You would think that winter is an excellent time to tackle important bureaucratic paperwork but somehow it remains untouched on the table.

Die Bürokratie, die ich einfach nicht schaffe in Angriff zu nehmen ist die allerwichtigste überhaupt! Ich möchte mich für die Erlaubnis bewerben meine Deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft zu behalten und gleichzeitig die Amerikanische zu beantragen.

The bureaucracy that I have just not managed to tackle is by far the most important one in my life. I am going to apply for permission to keep my German citizenship while applying for American naturalisation.

Das bedeutet, daß ich zwei Pässe haben werde, wenn alles gut geht und mir Deutschland diese Freiheit erlauben wird..

That means that I would have two passports, if all goes well and Germany permits me this freedom.

Daher habe ich mich entschieden hier und jetzt in’s tiefe Ende des Beckens zu springen. Sagt man das überhaupt so? Ich bin schon lange aus Deutschland weg und manchmal erfinde ich ganz neue Wege etwas auszudrücken. Das sah ich vor langer Zeit einmal als Schwäche derer die in Deutschland Ausländer sind. Heute finde ich es lyrisch und interessant. Jedenfalls hier mein Projekt: Ich werde den Prozess öffentlich mit Euch teilen.

Therefor I am going to take the plunge, I am going to share my process and progress (and lack thereof) publicly with you! This is step one. Acknowledging my slowness and formidable procrastination skills.

Falls irgendjemand dies hier liest, dann würde ich mich wirklich so sehr über Eure Unterstützung freuen. Könnte Ihr mir über die Kommentare schreiben, ein kurzes hallo und vielleicht stellt Ihr Euch kurz vor? Geht es Euch auch so, daß Ihr zwischen zwei Ländern lebt und Ihr nach einem Weg sucht Eure Zukunft abzusichern? Es muß auch garnicht Amerika sein.

If anybody is reading this at all, please let me know in the comments, maybe you could say a quick hello and introduce yourself. Are you perhaps in a similar situation, between two countries and looking at ways to secure your future? or send any sign of life via the comments form, and support is so very much appreciated. Because this is a daunting journey to me. Brrr. All hands on deck.

Die Übersetzungen hier sind nicht Wort für Wort und weichen ganz leicht auch ab und an vom Sinn ab. Ich schreibe wie ich gerade denke und das ist jeweils auf Englisch und auf Deutsch etwas anders.

The translations here are not absolutely exact, and the individual paragraph meaning can vary a little, it is all depending on what thoughts come to mind as I type. And what I think and how I think changes a little depending on which of my two languages I think and write in.

Anyhow. I would appreciate your support so much. If you would like to help me find my way you can click like, leave a comment, send a good karma point. It’s free and quick and makes the world of difference.

Wie beantragt man die Beibehaltungsgenehmigung wenn man schon recht lange nichtmehr in Deutschland wohnt und nur noch eine ganz kleine Familie und wenige Freunde hat?

How to apply for permission to keep my German passport when applying for American citizenship, too.

Exploring coding bootcamps #1

I was just putting my ‘feelers out’ and then life got in the way of follow up.
I am comparing curriculums and calculating risk, given that I am from a non-science and non-finance background.
Once I enrol in any program I won’t have a strong safety net to fall back on financially, it feels like this will be my last shot, if gone wrong it could throw me off the economical, financial cliff, so I have to consider a few factors.

a) Want to make sure the program is a fit
b) I need to be employable with the skills acquired, yet it does not have to be in a high profile capacity. Bear in mind I am starting from scratch. I’m a html baby!
c) My best starting month might be December, I didn’t find wasn’t anything compatible with that preference. But it’s not a sole deciding factor. But if the program is 12-24 weeks and outside of the US (which is where I am looking for cost reasons) then I also need to consider the effect on my American Greencard. (In case you don’t know: to have and keep a greencard one must be more or less permanently in the country, one should not do anything that could be considered as no longer resident in the US or run risk to be denied re-entry, yes that could happen at the airport!)

d) Of course I am comparing multiple program options, including Le Wagon in Berlin, London and Lisbon, Northcoders in Manchester UK, Ironhack in Lisbon, Hackbright Academy in San Francisco (depending on finding a scholarship). But I am really still figuring it out and I think I’ll make a spreadsheet to compare curriculum offerings to get a clearer overview.
e) The train route between Liverpool and Manchester is unreliable and that could be a final stumbling block for enrolment to Northcoders as my other place that I still spend time in is Liverpool. (British infrastructure argh! Why is it such a mess. What about the promise that privatisation would solve everything?)

So for the moment I dropped the ball, I need to clear a week to dive deeper into pre-course prep. For pre-course prep Codecademy looks great, I paid for a month of pro-membership and it’s been a week and I haven’t done any coursework, what a fool am I to waste time = money like this? Freecodecamp is also really good but for as I go through the tasks I didn’t notice any way of being able to tell how much further it is to the next road marker. This actually meant that I practised for less time than on Codecademy which tell you how many tasks of how many you have accomplished.
An example would be 7/14 , this lets me know that I am half way to the next road marker, to an interim goal. This helps me push through for longer practice sessions than Freecodecamp, which doesn’t seem to offer some way of checking progression.

I have only completed a few hours html learning so far, but I live in one of the global hotspots for tech environments and am listening in to tech related conversations often. It’s something that reaches me almost by osmosis here in San Francisco. Among other things I also work occasionally with a range of mid career and senior tech field professionals in a number of employment positions, providing German lessons at their place of work.

Being here, in this surrounding, is what is alerting me towards tech being a possible matching future for myself. It is still quite daunting, it would be a complete change and I am not sure that I have the courage. The fear of the unknown is still greater than my curiosity and risk taking courage. But listening to all the internet ‘gurus’ I should know better. Still risk taking is hard for me, I am sure it is for most people? Would you share your stance towards risk taking with me in comments? I’d love to hear it.


Thanks for checking in and reading. Please keep me on your ‘check-on-that-woman-list’ (aka: subscribe, leave a comment if subscribing doesn’t work for any reason and I’ll try fix it.)

What I am loving in October

I used to write journals all the time and I recently noticed how the absence of journalling left me with a scrambled brain that is trying to hold way too many thoughts, emotions, information, strategies and more.. I have toyed with the idea of trying out a bullet journal for years, pretty much since they first became ‘famous’. So I am finally going to jump on the bandwagon with all you out there for whom this is old news and are already doing it. I followed this video and started my first bullet journal and even so it’s only been a few days my brain is already relaxing, little by little, as I transfer my brain overflow back onto analogue paper. ahhhhh, relief.

It was actually Sorelle who reminded me of bullet journals. When even this digital content creating nomad dedicated a whole video to bullet journaling I didn’t even watch it to the end before starting mine. (I finished Sorelle’s video once I’d gotten my journal started.) Sorelle is a fun, upbeat Youtube Content Creator, creating positive tips for photography and life hacking. (Excuse me, I just used life-hacking….I am not sure I like that term, but let’s leave it here as I am typing between other tasks and maybe it’s not that offensive a term to you anyway.)

This is just such an inspiringly creative music video. I couldn’t look away, and once again regret not having learned French.

On another note, a more self improvement, life optimising one: these two videos below really helped me see the world a little bit differently this month. Don’t judge them before watching. I think both contain valuable insights into our human struggles and how to be more in control of our life.

This 5 second rule has really helped me this month, I had a few days on which I felt like a low, sloth like, slumping, gloopy thing and focusing on Mel Robinson’s 5 second rule actually helped. Really. Of course it won’t fix chronically depression, but pause a moment (!) I do believe it can help. Because even when in a slump sometimes we have the ability to override the brain and just do something. Little things are more than no things. Run with that when life seems too hard to anything at all. If your accomplishment is to do the dishes and clear the table then that’s a great start.
Maybe you are a step ahead and your accomplishment is to grab the keys and go out for a 10 minute walk despite the unwashed hair (or maybe you washed your hair first as well, wow, double score!).. Or if things are even better you put all digital distraction at arm’s length (out of reach) and sat down to write the Epic list of all things that need or want to be done this month! That’s amazing. And now you can use the 5 second rule and every time you do start one of those epic list items!
Tidy those bills, arrange them in chronological order, tackle the topmost one. Make a call.. Do that stuff. Do the coursework, one task at a time.

OOPS, that got out of hand fast. Well, as you can tell, I am a fan of the 5 second rule as well as of the bullet journal. What life changing stuff in such small steps.

What I loved in September

Because laughing is medicinal:

I came across this on one of the last days of September, it is a little corny but I was just reminiscing about the Acupuncturist who gave me my first series of Acupuncture treatments and was able to affect me so much, at a time when I felt needles couldn’t possibly make a difference to my situation. I often think back to that time and recall our conversations. As I recalled the troubles that caused my emotions and equilibrium to flutter he would always say “Sit with it.”

That advice, as simple as it sounds, was always the hardest to follow. But he was always so right! As I am now facing a whole shopping list of troubles I wish I could revisit those acupuncture appointments, those conversations that would always end with the same advice, always being good advice: “Sit with it.”

2 “I have a problem” … “Sit with It.”

I am actually receiving acupuncture from a highly qualified Chinese Medicine doctor, and have been since the first month of the year. His work has been astonishing, but he never listens and then tells me “Sit with it.” So now I need to remind myself to reign in my emotions, my life flutters, and be still, allowing it all to be and stop trying to fix it. It appears unfixable, it has to fix itself. Life, time, health.. (Yes, I know I have power to influence change, but I also know that too much trying affects the outcome negatively. Some peace, acceptance and stillness is needed.)

I will later (maybe today, maybe in a few days) add a few other items to this ‘favourite things in September’ post, unless I forget, which might happen.

3 Work Life Balance is serious business.

This video by Matti Haapoja might at first glance not exactly relate to me or to you but then again I think it does. I seem to lack an ‘off’ button, I am always worrying, nonstop, always trying to better myself, and if I am not actively ‘doing’I am engaged in telling myself off for lack of ‘doing’. In effect I never have time off. Always trying, hustling, planning, solving & preempting problems.

4 Learning from other people’s experiences:

Most of these 29 tips that Sorelle gives are relevant to most people. And if not to you then to somebody you know. Simple life insights, worth taking note of.

I realise this is a little unusual for me to reference Youtubers who are younger than I and are kind of in the business of ‘lifestyle’. But wisdom and meaning can be found everywhere, it doesn’t matter if they re 10 years younger or older than I am.

5 More humorous medicinal content:
And because Ylvis made me laugh SO much, here is a second video by the Norwegian brothers.

6 Keeping Age at Bay: 
I seem to be at the age where I just ‘by chance’ find content like this: Face Yoga..

7 Learning about Passive Income is never wrong! 
I might take Roberto Blake with a pinch of salt, BUT there is value in his videos, of course you will still have to take action, but he is good at inspiring and helping along on the journey to independent income alongside or entirely without a traditional job. But it’s work, don’t be mistaken to think that there are any quick shortcuts.

(NONE of the links on this post are affiliate marketing by the way, I am just sharing my September favourites with you. Let me know if one or some of these resonated with you, too.)

Sites that promise enlightenment (of the financial type)


Do you want to hear my thoughts on some of these strategies below?

Let me know and I’ll untangle some of the good and some of the ‘optimistic’ at best, misleading and wasting your time at worst. 

Want to Pay Off Debt? 45 Honest Ways to Make Extra Money Online

offered by the The Penny Hoarder

50+ Ways To Make Extra Money

offered by Fitnancials

11 Sites That Pay You for Your Photos (Up to $100 per Picture)

offered by Moneypantry


This was my favourite web content this July (great to ready, hear, watch any month of the year)

I discovered Roads and Kingdoms as I was looking up Anthony Bourdain’s body of work left behind. I was trying to find out who edited the intro to Parts Unknown, his travel & food series. The introduction is so multilayered and absolutely amazing, if you haven’t seen it ever and are interested in seeing a great (really great) video edit then click. (The intro sequence that I am referring to always starts about 60 seconds into the beginning of each episode.)

But back to Roads and Kingdoms, we can talk about Anthony Bourdain again soon.

Roads and Kingdoms in their own words: “Roads & Kingdoms is dedicated to a simple idea: the more you know, the better you travel. We use talented local journalists, deep storytelling, and the good things in life—food, music, booze—to inform and inspire about destinations around the globe. R&K won the 2017 James Beard Publication of the Year award and is a winner of SATW’s Best Travel Journalism Site award. We focus on useful information for armchair and aisle-seat travelers alike.

The late Anthony Bourdain was our first and only investor, our spirit animal, our guide to so many things. continue reading

DO click right through to Roads and Kingdoms, you will not regret it but thank me! They have some of the best content that I have seen online in so long and where have I been to not know of them sooner! And: Where have you been? Let’s know interesting things.

Dispatched by Anthony Bourdain:

Roads and Kingdoms front Page:



What I loved about this documentary: Well it’s informative and nothing snazzy but information doesn’t need to always be snazzy, does it? I enjoyed learning about the history of this building.


Music I discovered: Paris Combo

Here is the first music video that I saw of theirs and it is so wonderfully lively and enlivening, quirky, happy sounding, but I admit I don’t speak a word of French, so I don’t know what it is about.


ALMOND MILK (seriously do it! d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s when you use it how I do anyway. I suppose I better add my full morning ritual breakfast recipe some time soon! So that you can actually taste the amazingness that I am tasting daily!)

I enjoyed learning how to make your own Almond milk. This was the shortest video that I could find. It is super easy:

Turns our fresh almond milk is AMAZING. I make enough for 3 days worth of breakfast porridge for 2 with about 1 cup worth of almonds (? I need to double check that). We can’t stop making mmmmmmmmmm sounds when we have our breakfast now. YUM!

This is what I do:
1 part almonds that have been soaked overnight (!) + about 4-5 parts room temperature or cold water, more, less water it really is up to YOU. Blend finely. Pour through a cotton cloth that rests in a strainer into a bowl (squeeze). Transfer to a glass jar and put into the fridge until needed. My gosh is this stuff tasty when used in place of milk. What to do with the leftover, dryish almond ground? Press into a storage container and keep in the fridge. Make anything edible with this, add 2 teaspoons or more to your porridge. You’ll tank me later. DELICIOUS!


This documentary about families in China. The cost of providing for one’s children, the cost of our global economy, too? It is food for thought. I recommend looking up more documentaries about this theme. I have seen some very strong ones in the past (better than this one, more comprehensive) but this one makes a thought provoking start. Do watch it and tell me what went through your mind as you did in the comments?

NOT a perfect documentary but a good thinking prompt. We found it left many questions unanswered for us, some information felt incomplete and could also at times be misleading. BUT what can one fit into a short documentary? To answer all the aspects that were left short would require our attention span for a whole day and who has so much time. Just use your mind when watching anything anywhere anyway. And look up the gaps as needed. (I probably say something similar to this about most information that I find in the world: it is always going to be incomplete as completeness requires ALL the time in the world.)

Fear of letting go, digital storage space & Freedom

I am not sure where all the things in my life come from, somehow I manage to accumulate additional suitcases filled with more stuff than I use, but which I also have a hard time letting go of. I tell myself that I am frugal. But this doesn’t really work in my favour.

This tendency to hold onto.. isn’t this really a form of hoarding? Even if I still have space to breathe and my hoarding doesn’t quite manifest in the true crazy person hoarding, I still feel that I have a problem letting go of things.

If belongings stop me from being free to follow opportunities or new ideas then surely I do actually have a real problem. So what’s going on? Why this fear of letting go? I always come up with great reasons why I need to hold onto this and that, and often the reasons are really solid, make great sense and are difficult to argue against.

However, in my heart I know that no matter how good the reason for holding on, the reason for letting go is better, letting go allows something to happen in my life that fear of letting go doesn’t.

All this wisdom is of little use unless I implement it, too. I’ll ponder on what is holding me back another time but next up is the issue of digital stuff.

My digital life is about as bloated, if not more so, than the life of my physical possessions. I seem to forever struggle to clear my laptop hard drive. Today I again had a warning from my mac that its storage is almost full. Oh, no, not again. I actually ran out of storage space on my external hard drives, too.

I will once more give in, purchase a couple of new hard drives. I always buy 2 external hard drives to be able to set up a mirrored backup system, I can explain why I do this and why you should, too, another time. Keeping onto digital files and storing them on external hard drives isn’t so bad, but now that digital files are larger and larger it is becoming an expensive habit. I estimate that I will need about 12TB storage space a year total from now on (double that for the mirrored backing up system). That sounds like a crazy amount! But I deal with a lot of images and video files and as I mentioned above I have a serious problem with letting go of things. So I hold onto most digital files, when really I should make it a regular habit to delete what is of no use to me.

It made more sense 10 years ago to hold onto each photo, I took fewer and my memories were more remarkable than they currently are. Or maybe that, too, is just a perception.

I like 4TB Western Digital for hard drives, they seem like a decent price point and a reliable brand. That doesn’t mean they are never going to fail, all hard drives may one day fail (or may not). Actually this brings me back once more to why I use a mirrored backing up system.. Ok I’ll leave this standing as is, but here is the hard drive that I will buy. I am planning on getting 2x 4TB red hard drives this time, as I already have 2 identical black Western Digital hard drives . I recommend these drives to all of my friends. I used to use the rugged Lacie drives, but in America they seem much more expensive than they were back in the UK, which is why I now use Western Digital (WD).


You can also just click on the picture of the hard drive that you would like and it will take you straight to Amazon, sometimes the red drive is a little bit more expensive than the black, which for me is worth it because I have multiple drives that are identical and it makes it easier for me to be able to just grab the right one in a rush, without even needing to read a label. If you want to save about $10 then you can click on the black drive and usually those are cheaper. For hard drive labelling I just use masking tape or anything else that is sticky and can be written onto with a permanent marker.


If you use the link to the hard drive that I am getting and purchase one for yourself, then I should let you know that this link is an affiliate link. It will NOT cost you anything extra to use the link, yet I gain a small percentage reward for bringing you to Amazon today. There is no catch and the recommendation is genuine: I use WD drives and am feeling confident that they are a good product.

We are petsitting again

After a several month long break from everything caused by an intrusive health issue that sent me to a Chinese Medicine Doctor while I waited to eventually to have surgery we are back! Petsitting was never really meant to be a career move, but here in San Francisco it really is a sort of low hanging fruit of income options when life allows the flexibility with regards to taking the time out to visit or stay with somebody else’s pets.
We are starting to build up repeat clients, who will give us a call before asking anybody else to look after their pets.


Petsitting through Rover & by word of mouth.

To get started with petsitting as a ‘side-hustle’ we recommend using Yahoo Groups, neighbourhood message boards & Rover. Build repeat clients over time. If you would like to start petsitting using the booking agent Rover then you can follow this link to become a petsitter:

I will get a bonus from Rover if you sign up AND book your first petsitting appointment within 90 days of signing up. Do read about the way Rover works, they take 20% of your fee and the host also pays a small booking fee to Rover. But despite this I still really value the platform. It has helped us earn $1000 over Christmas and New Year, a time when it is common to spend more than we earn. I think it is a great way to spend the holidays when one hasn’t got many family commitments. But petsitters are needed all year round. We get calls when people take a spontaneous weekend trip, visit family for a wedding or for other personal family reason, sometimes people have work trips or had a last minute cancellation from a friend who was going to look after their home and pets.


A picture of our current petsitting engagement. We document playtime & feeding of the pets and send daily pictures to the pet owners to let them know everything is going well during their absence from their home.

We use Rover exclusively for housesitting petsitting & pet-visiting. We don’t take the pets to our home but stay at theirs. We don’t participate in the Rover Dogwalking at all, we don’t want to get too involved with dog walking. Ultimately Jason and I have careers that we are trying to build but our Rover experiences have been positive and welcome cash injections.

It is important to state that petsitting in somebody else’s home is a REAL job. We take on a lot of responsibility and we conduct our service very professionally. We don’t short change the animal or their owner. We now charge $60 per day/night stay but to start with we initially charged only $30-$35 for a regular night stay. Yes, of course $35 for a 24 hour period is not good money, but if, like us, you have a flexible work schedule, then it makes sense to take the $35, work from home if I was going to do that anyway, and take the dog for a walk 2-3 times. We only accept what works for us. This means: usually only medium sized dogs not large ones, but sometimes we say yes to a big labrador, it always depends on our schedule and how we get on with the pet owner, too.


We try to captures attractive pictures of the pets that we petsit, I think of it as added value for the pet and home owner. I recommend presenting pet updates nicely.


This is definitely a big tip: ONLY accept booking requests that work for you. If you are not feeling comfortable with the owner, turn this opportunity down. This ensures that your Rover petsitting experiences will be predominately positive.
Above I created lots of links to the referral link, every link in this document opens the referral window. If you sign up and also use Rover I will get a bonus (an Amazon gift card). You can then in the future also recommend Rover, but please only do it if it works for you. We really benefitted from being part of Rover, I would not recommend it otherwise. If you create an amazing profile, with great pictures showing you, you with somebody’s pets and with a strong write up answering the questions pet owners might have before feeling comfortable to request you to take care of their home & pets. Create an ambience of trust. And then BE trustworthy and professional. Don’t say yes to everything, take it slow. And over time you will build a good portfolio and make a nice little extra income, which might help you take a holiday or see the dentist or create a savings buffer for a small emergency in the future. I highly recommend it!


Things I buy & Why I signed up to Amazon as an Associate

I just signed up to Amazon Associates, again (I got kicked out previously for inactivity), which means that when I post a link to a product here on my website (or elsewhere) I can qualify to receive a small percentage of each sale that takes place as a result of somebody following the link.

Following a link to a product that I post on my blog will:

  • NOT cost you a cent more
  • Benefits me, as I get somewhere between 1-4% of the sales price

Why does Amazon pay me a few cents from the money they make of your purchase? So the way I understand it Amazon considers that unless you used my link to the product you may not have bought anything or that thing. So they pay this referral fee, which is kind of like an advertisement fee?

When you open a magazine of any kind, most have some adverts in it somewhere (some appear to be 90% advert, 10% content, but that’s another conversation), those adverts are paid for by the company. Now that so much of the information and content that we enjoy is on people’s personal websites it makes sense to reward us who are recommending something (because we personally enjoy or desire the thing in question) with a small fee for bringing a potential customer to Amazon, who stand to make their revenue through the sales..

Hang on, so the title of my post is: Why I decided to join Amazon Associates.  It is simple, I think it is amazing that if I use a product that is available on Amazon and I genuinely feel that it is something I can recommend then it is fantastic if I can over time earn a few cents for sharing what I like. Maybe to you that seems like a waste of time, but it is free money. Well, I know this is debatable because time is money and to create a link can take 10 minutes + the time to write a post to put here, so maybe there are other ways to earn $10 way quicker, but I like the idea of a tiny trickle that can come in over time here and there and surprise me.

Do you have any objections to this? I mean I am not sure why you would because I am not going to terribly spam you, however I will put everything that I purchase on Amazon here on this website with a link, and I may also put links for things I really want to have but can not myself afford.

So in the spirit of this post, here is what I am purchasing today on Amazon. I genuinely love Dr Hauschka, their products are very natural and I can never afford to buy them but right now I found the exact day facial lotion, that I have been wanting since before Christmas, on sale for under $25, the usual price is $45.

Dr Hauschka Rose Day Light Cream, 1 Fluid Ounce

I am not sure if this can really be true but I am going to order it now and find out. I read the reviews and it shipped via Amazon Prime, so I feel that I am thoroughly covered in case I need to return it (which I highly doubt I would do).. I look forward to pressing ‘buy’ in a few minutes, but first I wanted to share with you the direct link to my much desired face lotion. Here it is:

Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Light Cream, 1 Fluid Ounce


Update: The creme has arrived and I love it! I have wanted this for over a year. I paid 50% less than full price, I recommend being patient and waiting for good deals. It was really worth it for me.


And then this happened.. deeply saddened to hear about the misconduct of Pattabhi Jois.

{{This piece is a work in progress. I am not finished writing it. But it is worth your while even in its fragment state as it is. The links I included shed some more light on the matter. And I think each of the 4 numbered links is an important read & view to begin grasping the complex and uncomfortable matter.. signed at 2:55am, December 12th, I will write UPDATE in this place once I have updated my writing}}

In a way I wish I didn’t have to face this conversation, another wildfire that once again reduces a teacher we once looked up to, to a problematic pyre of trust.

After glancing at a post on one of the Ashtanga FB forums I fell down a rabbit hole reading my way through several webpages and multiple Facebook Comments that each lead on to the next. It all began with a post about Karen Rain who responded to Mary Taylor’s post on about Pattabhi Jois?

It leads through the following rabbit warren:



4) This is one very clear evidence that the above allegations did take place. I recommend watching it LAST.

And now I feel nauseous and sad.

I am trying to untangle a few of my parallel thoughts, parallel to the conversation that is active on several Facebook forums and probably comments sections on the posted links above, too. 

“However, if she truly doesn’t want to blame ‘scantily clad or overly effusive women,’ for his behavior, she really shouldn’t mention them in an apology. By doing so, it says that either on some level she accepts it as an excuse and does blame the women or is hoping that other people will accept it as excuse. After all it is a classic, easy to use excuse. It’s the one that the most people buy into. Plus, it takes the focus off of the behavior of the perpetrator, which is a relief when you don’t want to talk or think about it.” Karen Rain (Please read her full statement on to get the full context of her words)

It took me a moment to have something to say myself about Mary Taylor’s writing about the sexual misconduct of Pattabhi Jois. But then it struck me as quite noticeable and in its own way quite shocking.. First a couple fo the passages that I am going to refer to:

“Around the same time, Western students stopped bowing to his feet in appreciation for class and instead began hugging and kissing him as a demonstration of gratitude. I am certain both of these things were mixed messages to him culturally.”

“Not to say that the scantily clad or overly effusive women were at fault for the sexually inappropriate adjustments. He was the teacher; even if he did misconstrue their message due to cultural differences, he should have seen through his own mind and through them. His behavior was wrong and it caused damage to many women, for which I, as one of his students, feel deep regret (as does Richard).” Referencing Mary Taylor’s post on

Isn’t Mary Taylor’s playing Pattabhi Jois’s behaviour somewhat down to cultural difference a form of infantilising a grown person, a form of expressing that one is making excuses for an Indian man like as if people in his country and culture had no barometer of right and wrong?

Isn’t this ultimately insulting to tell a person in India that one makes such excuses like as if Indian people were not able to manage their physical actions? This sort of making excuses is naive when expressed by a 20 something-year-old with time ahead to grow the spectrum of their comprehension and learn that this sort fo statement is a form of racism and is simply wrong. But a longterm Yoga teacher who teaches a wisdom from the same country that they just publicly stated can’t control its urges..? Isn’t this a big contradiction? ‘Your ancient wisdoms are worthy but you are excused because you can’t differentiate right from wrong because you were confused by women’s clothing items not matching those of your own background’ (this is what inadvertently can be seen as the implied meaning of the above quotes by MT)… Are we not speaking about a man oftentimes declared a wise guru who surely could have found a way to explain that if clothing or lack of the same was an issue it would be mandatory to wear more of it? Not that this is even a rabbit hole that I want to take my contribution down. As I in NO way want to imply clothing is an excuse for misconduct! 

I am a little bit lost for words right now! So I shall leave this open ended, but I hope you understand my thoughts.

“First and foremost, I don’t think that his perverse behavior is an irreparable flaw in the Ashtanga system. It is a system of practice that has worked for me.” referencing Mary Taylor’s writing on

I don’t want to untangle each mis-phrasing in Mary Taylor’s writing but the argument that there is no flaw because it ‘works for me’ is very flawed. It plays down the possibility that maybe the system is flawed; if it is or not needs more critical engagement than: “It worked for me”. For the whole text please do visit the website because you should not be informed by only my text selections if you wish to honour this complicated subject with understanding the entire context of somebody’s words. 


I don’t want to chew Mary Taylor into pieces, I really don’t think we are all equipped to handle every sensitive conversation flawlessly. I think discussing what is at miss with each other’s way of responding to critical issues is exactly what will hopefully make us all better at handing them. But should each of us be flawlessly educated at how to discuss painful and sensitive matters? Probably not. Nobody has the time. We are all too stretched as it is. So please do not read my criticisms above as mean spirited, venegful, intentionally hurtful, positioned to undermine Mary Taylor’s authority as a teacher or anything else in that direction. Please consider it instead a contribution towards more awareness of the nuances in what we say, just for those who are interested. The last thing we now need is a bunch of gnashing teeth directed at each other


None of the above should dismiss what I gained through my time at the AYRI shala. What I gained was life changing, perhaps a subject for another time. I did not experience any of the above described misconduct. 



P.S. As I mentioned in the opening: This is a bit of a stream of thoughts and it is not finished. I have other thoughts on the difficulty of understanding why a victim of harassment might return to the place where further harassment then might take place. I would like to ask of you to not be too quick to judge and shall try and return to this piece of text to edit it a little and add my thoughts on the complexities of being at the receiving end of abuse and the difficulties that can be present in acknowledging one’s self being abused and acting ‘logically’.. It is not a clearcut situation.


My letter to Bloglovin’ about their inadvertently facilitating human trafficking

Dear Bloglovin’ team,

I have 2 people ‘following’ me on Bloglovin’ who clearly advertise the sale of females for sex in their Profile description.

This is one of the two ‘followers’ that I have on my profile with Bloglovin’ :               “Ashley Bartel
http://www.sеху.xxxxx (URL address altered by me)  rеmаrкаblе уоung wоmеn livе аds соmраrаtivе sех аnd sех in thе аbsеnсе оf оbligаtiоn is lоокing оut fоr уоu thеn.”

I sent you another email about the other person.

What shocks me is that I noticed the person, whom I am reporting in this message, starting following me maybe a week or two ago and I didn’t have time to figure out how to report this. I hoped and actually assumed that Bloglovin’ checks their content often enough to find and ban profiles like this. I thought hopefully somebody else will report this issue.

It is shocking that maybe 2 weeks later NOBODY else has reported this. And I think it is largely due to the absence of a report this user function on your platform. By omitting this (maybe you re short of staff and hope the problem will go away by itself?) you are giving a free advertising platform for human traffickers, the users of their services and the crime of forces sex, abuse and use of women as objects. Not offering an easier way of reporting this makes you inadvertently complicit. Yes I would go as far as that. Not because I think you express any personal support for the crime but you are facilitating the advertisement of it.

Could you please make it easier to report crime, every other platform at least has a repot hate speech / spam option. Spam doesn’t describe the magnitude of the problem but is a start. At least the content gets removed.

In your ‘what can we help with’ scroll menu you should have a ‘report abuse / spam / harrassemend / crime’ option.

Thank you for taking this seriously.
I will finish my message here and leave you with a couple of URL addresses about trafficking and sex trade. Since the adverts that I am seeing on Bloglovin’ specify ‘young women / girls’ I will focus at least one link on this target group.

Please take more action than only deleting these two accounts.:

hotline for help:

“The internet facilitates access to victims and is being used to facilitate the sale of sex.”

70 Percent Of Child Sex Trafficking Victims Are Sold Online: Study


I would like to also add that I DO really enjoy using Bloglovin’ , my concern about the lack of reporting options isn’t intended to beat down the entire platform. They are amazing. I follow my favourite blogs through this one platform, not needing to click on multiple open tabs or entre lots of URL addresses nor do I need to clog my email inbox, everything is right there in one view on Bloglovin’ . I recommend it. I just wish they took their responsibilities serious enough to not require prompting to create a report function of the obvious lack of misuse of the platform ..

Wildfires close to San Francisco : information resources (fire locations, air quality, health prevention tips)

List of information sources about the California fires, air quality & preventative actions for your health. :

The air quality in the Bay Area (San Francisco) and North Bay Area (Sonoma, Napa) today is in the red and deep red zone:

From an official government page in case the air quality declines further, preventative actions to take:

Here something about breathing masks, it is recommendable to use them, the smoke particles are microparticles that are harmful to lungs and health:

Where you can buy breathing masks (check the link about breathing masks above before buying): This is a link to masks on Amazon, select the quickest delivery option in case the fires will continue to burn for a while longer. Protect your lungs.

Here updates directly from Sonoma:

The active wildfire map, where you can check where there are active wildfires in America, updated frequently:



The air quality in San Francisco is already in the RED zone. This means that it already can cause noticeable health reactions. However don’t panic: keep physical activity to a minimum, stay indoors as much as possible. As a tourist: these are the days for museum visits and spending time in cafes and aquariums.

In the North Bay the air quality is in the DEEP RED zone = very bad, it is strongly advisable to not expose yourself unnecessarily. Many people will notice negative effects on their health at those levels. Use the first link in this post to enter the postcode of where you re to check your aibquality and read all the links to thorough information.

AQI: Unhealthy (151 – 200)
Everyone may begin to experience health effects members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

AQI: Very Unhealthy (201 – 300)
Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects.