Latest Posts

This Blog is lost

.. that’s right, it simply doesn’t know where it started, where it is, nor where it is going to, it isn’t even moving or displaying any other form of life, or is it?

Here a few photos that I recently uploaded to my, similarly inactive, instagram account @oversevenseas – Come not join me over there, too when you have a moment! We can be sloth like together, and perhaps you will witness the magic emergence of purpose in the near future!

 

Taking inspiration and courage from the small silver linings of life…

What are they? Those elusive silver linings at a time when international politics has gone upside down and many re scared, me included? What are those silver linings when the intercontinental love affair that has now lasted over 7.5 years also be the primary contributing factor to the situation that I may have forfeited my residency right in the country that I have called home since the 90’s !? When all that nomadism has rendered me quite penniless, quite literally, at this moment in time? When health is shaky because stress is constant?

Silver linings: First and for most of course the answer just has to be: Espresso is a primary silver lining!

And: I have had the great luxuries that money can or can’t buy: time. I have had a lot of time in the arms of the one who truly loves and supports me. I have had time, a lot of it, to become the person I am, which would have been impossible in an easier, more standardised and more secure life. I have a library of books, which admittedly would be bigger if I had a more secure existence..

More silver linings… we are jointly inspired and share many of the same values, nourishing and pushing each other to better ourselves and raise out standards all the time. While also be forgiving of each other’s shortcomings or struggles.

I was just today reading one of the early blog posts on the travel blog of 8 Miles from Home, a young, much younger than me & us, couple who did something that I find incredibly amazing and limitlessly inspiring: They created a life for themselves based on their photography and film making skills; they were based in Thailand for a long time, legally, they found a way to obtain the correct visas to be in Thailand longterm, something few digital nomads, do. They also created a rather sustainable, while modest, life for themselves and recently made their move to Portugal, where their living and life continues. I am forever amazed at their continuity / consistency, their discipline and clearly their integrity. I am not always hugely ‘entertained’ by their vlogs that they post (unfailingly regularly!) on youtube but I do very much admire the incredible amount of work that goes even into an uneventful day’s vlog. Planning and editing, posting always like clockwork on time.. Those are just a few little snippets of what I find makes this peaceful and harmonious couple admirable.

So what…? What I was saying was that I read one of their early blog posts on their website today, in it they wrote about how it was, what was involved in getting ready to begin their life together in Thailand, where they stayed living for several years. The time and effort involved in just shedding life’s surplus possessions. The emotions that one goes through letting go. The obersvations and realisations of what extra stuff affects in life.

I too find that the belongs that are stacking up everywhere are adding to the imprisoned more than enriched feeling of life. But this may well be that my specific situation is affecting this experience.

My partner is American and I am German and it is frankly very hard to no longer truly feel safely grounded in any which single country. Our life is dominated by too many location changes, often accompanied with location insecurity when we are in America. (We do not have a fixed address that we can permanently call home there but rent a month here, a month there, however we can piece it together with our income and available rental spaces.. It is far from ideal for 2 workaholic adults trying to work with focus)..

Where is this going?

As a couple we are as strong as ever, as happy together as ever. The difficulties are heavy but we are right now considering to first make out permanent base in America and then spend a year together in Thailand..

 

This means resolving my entire Art studio in England, 20 years of Art and equipment, life belongings, some of which have become dusty and lost all their monetary value… It is an emotional journey and grief is definitely an apt word to use as I pass through the first miles of this long metaphorical road trip from a place that is filled with memories to finally letting go so that I can journey to a place that is open and spacious for new memories.. I knew for many years that in order to be happy with the love of my life I would have to find the courage to let to of my life as I knew it up until we met..

 

I have not had that courage. And I have paid a high price of fearfulness and feeling that my stuff is holding me hostage, emotionally and physically..

So I am reopening my ebay shop. I am only just beginning to list everything I can there and my target is to fill it with at least 100 things at a time.. I am still not very good at Ebay-ing, my descriptions are too long and cumbersome and I wonder if I am putting people off.. But hopefully soon the rock will start rolling down the hill and gather momentum and clear a path ahead.. (hopefully without rolling over anything precious.. I am not sure this was the best analogy to use.. rocks rolling downhill usually cause collateral damage..)

Here is a link to my ebay shop, in case you find something that fits your life without being a burden on yours, it will lift a proportional weight from mine and set me free a little piece at a time:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/artist-over7seas

everything is posted from the UK.

{{ p.s. I opened a second ebay shop, and will actually close it again once the first batch of listings expires, it was a bit of an error of judgment because I thought it would make sense to have a US & UK ebay shop, but actually I can just change the currency and location of my existing shop in the future.. But here is my second, temporary ebay shop, too, because I have listed different things in it:

Ebay shop 2  – everything also ships from the UK, despite the shop being a US based setup.. Sorry if that is ultra confusing. I’ll try and merge these two accounts over the coming weeks.}}

notes: What price to pay for love ?

A list of rhetorical, pondering questions:

What price is love worth?

Would you give up your home, life as you know it, your career, your vocation (irrespective if it is working for you or not), would you give up your successes and failures, your friends, your books, your everything that sort of makes sense to you right now? Would you hand over your right to reside in a country that you have called home for 20 years? Would you hand it all over for love? Could you handle it? Would the weight threaten to crush your love? Could your love survive all of this loss?

How would you handle the grief, the disorientation of this loss of everything? Would you experience as a loss?

Add to all this financial instability, you have no powers, all your security nets are gone.

How would you handle this? Would you still trade it all for love? How would love change? Would it change?

journal entry

I am really distracted and not studying enough lately.. Running behind with all my jobs.. Is it ok if I blame the elections? I think they made me ill but I’ve been trying to pretend that I was less moved than I am.
 
Also we are in the middle of trying to figure everything out: house move not knowing where to yet, big life changing decisions.. And I feel like I am sort of in Groundhog Day, just Bill Murray isn’t here, nor are groundhogs..
 
Just the time and life consuming energy hungry constant reinvention of the wheel.. J wants me to stay until the end of the year and I only ever want to wake up next to him, the idea of not waking up next to him is horrible. But I also am wearing so thin on this moving house every few weeks business, and never quite knowing what or where life happens in 3 weeks from now.
img_0036-2-2
Intercontinental romance: perfect on so many levels. But without a trust fund it is hard as a rock and tangled like a whole car full of yarn balls that a whole family of kitten has been let loose on..
 
Writing this while deeply exhausted and unsure what should happen or when or where, except: I would most like to keep waking up next to J. But I might need to go and drop this juggling match to be still somewhere.. Wish I had a friend who had this life, too and whom I could ask for the recipe to making it bake right…
 
Stay in the US to help Jason in the busiest month while ultra tired or abandon the man and go be tired in Liverpool and wrestle my old friends for help to get me a job at a theatre for a few hours a week while I re-settly my soul.
 
img_0049-2-2
I can only say: ugh I am too tired to even contemplate.
 
If anybody dares say: “why don’t you just….” followed by anything akin to: “…make a decision” or “….get a 9-5 job”, then I may have to wring your neck, despite me in greatest likelihood really seriously and thoroughly liking you tremendously much.
 
NEVER ever use the word ‘just’ when dealing with a messy, complex, interesting but exhausted life situation. You can bet your pennies and cotton socks that whatever you think I should ‘just’ do I will have examined from every external and internal angle many times over and it greatest, humongous likelihood will know way more about than anybody else. Some time back a doctor tried sending me to a councillor so I could talk with somebody about how difficult it is when you don’t know what will happen with immigration regulations.. I passed. I would be spending my allotted 10 sessions just bringing the councillor up to scratch with what the regulations are and what conundrums we are facing aside form immigration policies.. And I just see no point in spending the energy to lecture a councillor on something they can damn well go pay to take a course on. It’s certainly not helpful for me to be giving free comparative immigration lectures on the policies of 3 different countries.
 
In case you might STILL be hanging on the illusion that I don’t work… bawhaaaaaaa get to know me better!
img_0020-2-2
 
Ok, I had my exhaustion fuelled mumbling grumble…
Suggestions always welcome, just careful I might accidentally bite off your head. I don’t mean it, promise….

I just discovered & signed up to Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

They suggest that I paste this code (what you might see above) into a new blogpost to activate some link between bloglovin and this page. Let’s see how it goes..

Let me go and check it out before I write a little feedback about what I think of it.

My first impression is that it will make life way easier than receiving lots of email subscriptions into my email inbox, which realistically just pile up and make it impossible to get on with work..

 

 

This post is really just for my real life friends: I have a question for you

Before I forget my question, let me begin with it:

Do you think that it would be a good idea to create 2 different sized calendars with my photography from around the world (or only from my time in California?)? Would you think about owning such a calendar to hang in your kitchen or office or to gift to somebody  at the next celebration worthy occasion? Your feedback here would be incredibly valuable. If you are a real life friend you could maybe throw a glance at my personal Facebook page to check my recent photographs for the once that I only post there and not here.

Please take a moment to help me plan this project. I’ll give you real life hugs and cups of delicious green tea or coffee in exchange when we next meet. Much love. x

But now to my letter for you guys:

Hello, 

I am sorry I am not doing great at keeping in touch with everybody, this nomadic life can be quite consuming and sometimes not all that much newsworthy happens. But in terms of updates I can report the following:

So far we have lived in San Francisco for 2 months, rented a garden cottage (aka a hobbit home) for another 9 weeks so far with just a little over a week to go before we will move yet again. On October 15th we will move back to San Francisco into another housesitting opportunity on top of Bernal Heights.

For the many who don’t know what Bernal Heights is: It is a neighbourhood at the edge of San Francisco, but central enough to make it possible to visit downtown San Francisco by bus and bicycle.

For a woman who travels often and has now lived on 3 continents (because Morocco technically still sits on the continent of Europe and not Africa, despite it being joined to the landmass of Africa much more immediately than it appear to be a part of Europe), for a woman who has now visited so many countries that it would take a few minutes to make sure I am not missing one in the counting.. For such a woman you would think that I was incredibly adaptable to new places. And yes, I am.. well.. apparently America and I don’t bond so well.

I can’t explain why each time that I am here I seem to be like oil on water, every usually simple activity or life solution becomes so insurmountable that a problem or life-hurdle will take me many times longer than anywhere else in the world to solve. I feel like I am truly a stranger here more so than anywhere.

Naturally wherever else I went I tended to arrive with a financial buffer, while my time in America is increasingly experienced through the interface of a relatively poor existence, with the accompanying concerns for dental health, for health in general, for basic surviving things.. Not trendy to speak about but very real concerns.

All of this in itself would not be so bad if it wasn’t for also leaning towards introversion.

Also we truly have had a lifetime’s worth of curious experiences here that feel like America would like to push us out if only it could. Despite all that: we are staying for many very good reasons; well, we are staying for a while longer.

I am in the process of signing up to become a language teacher through a website that matches teachers and students and it may be time to brush up again on my native German to impress some future students with. (My method is simple: indulge in many kilograms of German literature and many hours of German multimedia material: movies, documentaries, news shows and such)

I am hoping that taking on more digital based work will help create some more stability in my life where personal life and global events have created a lot of instability. As things stand it would be an incredible change of fortunes to just have an additional regular $500 a month pour into my life.

So the plan is to return to more teaching work, in person and online, languages as well as Art and yoga; to also develop my travel related photography and begin to dip my toe into selling some, which is why I thought calendars might be a great way to get started. I am not expecting a lot of financial gain from the first year’s calendars. Production costs are always high and I imagine I may make around $5 per calendar after print costs. But wouldn’t it be great to have my work hanging on a wall in your life for not-art-price-costs?

dsc_7741

From now I also net to set clearer boundaries about the kind of space that I need to flourish and not allow us getting stuck in tiny spaces anymore. Our current place is adorable, but not really suitable for me typing this long letter to you at 1am, which it is now. Jason is tossing and turning and deserves his rest as he is currently the main breadwinner. But my letter writing mind doesn’t truly come alive until the ghosting hour.

dsc_7752

You know that we are currently living in the smallest space, right? It is barely the dimensions of one of those (now on trend) Tiny Homes. And I can report those dimensions are not workable for 2 grown adults with very different sleeping habits. For a while, I too was fascinated by this Tiny Home phenomenon, but it truly is madness. If one has a choice, then one needs a room of one’s own.

dsc_7757

Where does all this leave us now?

Well here you have it, an unfinished, work-in-progress letter to you.

I would love it to hear, read, watch a video from you, too. If you are less camera shy than I then maybe you can make me a youtube video! I would love that.

With love, and wish you were here (but not exactly here because we simply haven’t got the space..),

Birgit. x

 

 

 

The incredible firemen & women of San Francisco !

It feels like it is already such a long time ago in the past that this tragic car accident happened right in the same neighbourhood where Jason and I stayed in San Francisco.
But actually I took these photographs only 3 months ago. I moved around respectfully not obstructing the paths for the firemen and this one smiled at me as he came closer and passed me. I congratulated him on his incredible work and dedication to keeping San Francisco safe from fire as best as possible.
dsc_4400_w
It seemed amazing to me just how incredibly fast these men and women arrived at the scene, how smooth the operations were carried out and how they saved the neighbourhood from the extended damage it could have sustained from a fire had it been allowed to spread.
What happened? The last I heard was that an elderly man lost control of his car. There had been many rumours spread across the web at first, with many spiteful, mean comments saying a person driving so recklessly deserved this fate. How horrible to think about the world this way.
In the end it was much more a case of it being a tragedy with little sense, the driver lost his life, the firemen said that with greatest likelihood the time of passing was at impact.
Some South American workers even tried to pull the person from their car but just couldn’t do it in time before it exploded.
It was such a sad event but it gave me an incredible trust and confidence in the fire services of San Francisco. I navigate the city feeling much safer, feeling that if anything would happen then at least I could completely count on the firemen & women to arrive at the scene so fast that it might be fast enough.
These are really important comforts for me to feel here, where I still experience the world as wild and scary.
dsc_4361_w

Photographing in San Francisco

 

I’ve gone out photographing in San Francisco and especially China Town last weekend, when I was able to escape to the city! Hopefully it will now be a weekly opportunity to spend some time in this beautiful place, with the dirtiest streets and saddest stories that I have ever seen.

So much neglect, so much wealth, such a strange city. So harsh and so addictive. Opportunity is always only inches away but if one grasps and doesn’t reach it, then one could fall far, as there are no security nets. I purposely avoided photographing the people and their fates whom I am referring to. A lot of tragedy is present.

But in these photographs San Francisco shines.

dsc_9022-2

This, too is San Francisco. Photographed from atop Stockton Street Tunnel. There is more to this city than the Painted Ladies and the Golden Gate Bridge. View of the busy street before the city woke from it’s slumber last Saturday morning.

Below I enter China Town

dsc_9105-2

Early morning exploring of the neighbourhood in China Town, before the tourists got out of bed, still seeing sleepy locals out for their morning walks, hearing buddhist chanting faintly waft through the air from a nearby Temple on a second story of a building, hidden somewhat from passing strangers. It seemed that nobody else noticed the sweet sounds, as I stood with one ear perched upwards to catch just a little more of it..

dsc_9107-2

Eastern Bakery seems to be a neighbourhood institution. I will ask if their sweets are vegetarian the next time I pass by. I would love to try a snack. But I also know that Chinese baking is prone to using animal fats and I of course want to avoid that, being vegetarian.

dsc_9086-3

Chasing Dragon Murals in Chinatown, San Francisco

dsc_9112-2

Finding dragons in China Town is really not difficult..

dsc_9149-2

Out of the frame of this photograph, to the right is a phoenix. I wonder what the story is, why the lady turns away from the phoenix. Maybe something in her past, maybe something in her present that she does not want to be tangled up with. But it looks like the flames of the fire that engulf the phoenix have caught up with the lady already. There seems no escape. I shall as the resident neighbours when I next pass through. (I am hoping to visit China Town again this coming Saturday)

dsc_9111-2

Just off to the side of a building, along the main thoroughfare of China Town is this glowing mural of a Buddha. In his heart he carries San Francisco.

As I leave China Town:

dsc_9154-3

dsc_9161-2

Last but not least, this view of San Francisco. Perhaps one of my favourite. It seems to glisten, like as if reflecting the light from a pool of rippled water.. Can you see what I mean?

I saw so many more things, and took many more photographs but as I am writing this and editing these images it is nearing midnight and it is time to close the computer and get ready for sleep.

Driving around the neighbourhood:

Just sharing a couple of neighbourhood pictures with you so you can get an idea of what it looks like in this part of California. Depending on the neighbourhood the streets are really as wide as you would imagine them, and in some places a saturday afternoon traffic looks like these 2 images. But it really does depend which direction and area you visit. Only a few miles from this spot it is nearly impossible to find a parking spot.

These 2 photographs are taken in Richmond, California. A relatively industrial and often low income area. Some parts of Richmond are very high in crime, while other parts (including where we are currently staying) are pleasant, green and very liveable.

IMG_0306-2

‘Kars for Kids’ – that only began making sense once I also read the smaller caption text at the top of the billboard.

 

 

From trying out life in America: Finally found a dentist .. What a relief!

report:
Reasonably positive experience. Good welcome by reception, the dentist is definitely friendly and gentle (! yay!) and I’d be very happy to share coffee some time. bonus points: she likes popcorn, too.
 
I’m on the fence about:
1) the office set-up – there was no spitting sink with running water: only a suction device in my mouth..
2) the follow up: I should have received an email with my x-rays.. I haven’t yet.
 
Would I go back?:
YES if I had an urgent issue, but if I could I would prefer my UK dentist, simply because of cost and 18-20 years of trust.
 
Recommended?:
I don’t know how other dentists in the area are, so if you need one then I would say YES. If you can have other options in Europe with your usual dentist or you need a lot of work done then I’d say: wait and go in Europe.
The total cost for entire procedure required (I only took the emergency portion and will complete in the UK):
US: $1800
vs
UK: $600 max (likely my cost will actually only be $50, due to low income)
vs
Germany: $0
 
What I did pay for the emergency portion: $215
What I would pay in the UK: $50 contribution for the first visit then: free treatment
 
What I got: one tooth looked at and emergency work done
What I would get in the UK for the $50: all teeth examined and all teeth needing attention worked on.
 
verdict:
US passes, UK wins, Germany wins even more.
 
p.s.
I have attended dentists in Germany, the UK and India and this was the first time I was very confused by the absence of the spitting sink with running water, or sat on a chair that didn’t fit into Star Wars. It all felt like 1970’s. Not that it is a bad thing, but it is a little unusual.. Add to this that the cost is so much higher I am simply mildly confused.

another chapter of trying to figure out how life in California works.. today I tried buying a bagel…

“Hello. Can I have a sesame bagel with jam please”
“$4.22”
“gosh!” (but I pay anyway)
…. waits 20 minutes….
“here’s your bagel”
“hang on, there is no jam, I didn’t want butter”
“it’s not butter”
“well, I would like jam”
“it is cream cheese”
“no thanks, can I have jam please as requested when I arrived and paid?”
“we are out of jam” “there is no jam” “no, absolutely no jam”
“oh…”
other member of staff intervenes: “we have jam”
6 minutes later:
“here’s your bagel”
“thanks”
….
spreading the miraculously appeared jam on the bagel.. hmmm… it smells strange for a sesame bagel.. hang on … Oh I give up!
 …
“excuse me, I would like a refund, this is an onion bagel with jam, not a sesame bagel with jam…”
 …
get’s refund, leaves the cafe still exceptionally hungry and wondering why a bagel that can never be the actual bagel one asked for costs $4.22 when service clearly is sleepwalking with reluctance..