All posts filed under: Culture

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 are 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 …

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..

Trying out life in California / USA :

After having been invited to a job 3 days a week with healthcare before I even arrived in the US (yay) the job turned into just weekends and no healthcare, then the company couldn’t actually hire staff until further notice and now they are excited to hire me for 8 hours (naturally without healthcare). This process took 3 months so far.. (not that I am waiting only for them, I have other projects I am busy with but I find this a curious example of how to handle not yet employees.. what does this promise for the future working relationship?) Anyhow this has turned into a zero hour contract job and then as I am trying to fill in my details (on a 3rd party site! OBJECTION!) I find that I can not really proceed until I sign the below document release form… As a part-time photographer I am familiar with model release forms and this one is on a whole new level. I would never ask anybody to sign such a dreadful thing. Who …

It never rains in Northern California…

…. at all. It’s day after day sunshine here. It is definitely very tantalising and the flavour of opportunities around the corner is everywhere. In our case without a car we can’t really reach them because it is true, America is a car culture and you better have a car here or be limited but the opportunities are there. There is a distinctly different attitude here to everything. An optimism that I am always trying to understand the origin of. For example in real terms being poor here sucks more than In the UK even (!) thanks to this culture of ‘the individual’ this mentality that creates and progresses SO much “everyone out for themselves: ready, steady, go” but it leaves one a bit by the wayside when in the UK (up until ‘Cameron the Coldhearted Opportunist’ came into power) and Europe there would be some support to helps bridges gaps until one can gain a foothold again. This here really is not a model I would follow if I had a say over government …

Beginning to forgive California

Being in America I felt pretty angry and helpless a lot of the time. I was there as a guest, with no space and not a lot of small change. I was holding back getting involved in anything because, I realize in retrospect, because I didn’t want to connect and get stuck in a country that I don’t understand. I mean they do things like pour fracking water into rivers.. What crazy people would do this? Don’t even get me started on all the insane rhetoric logic or lack thereof that gets prime airtime in this country. And this wild patriotism, it all astounds me. As does the apparent lack of terms like solidarity, social care, social security nets… I don’t really understand how people live there. Is everybody blindly stumbling around, is this why the media is so dominated by the mantra of: “live for the moment, be happy”, because you better be happy now because ultimately we are all somewhat doomed with threatening poverty in age etc… Well. I don’t know. I simply …

The signs of a good coffee & good café

A good coffee in my books requires this main characteristic: have a long lasting, beautiful créma. If there is no créma it might as well be filter coffee and I go to Cafés for the romance, the ritual, the specialness of the experience… If my Espresso or Americano lacks créma then it’s pretty much ruined for me. I am more likely to forgive burnt coffee flavour, cheap aroma lacking coffee even, but not the lack of a stable créma. There you have it, I am a snob. Ideally the coffee should be rich and aromatic, too. I have a bone to pick with the lacklustre service in American Cafes, especially those that model themselves on a European theme. None offer table service. And it always makes me feel like I am doing half the job myself. Maybe I should also pour my own coffee while I am at the counter or make my own snack? (The American Diner Cafes do table service , but if all you seek is an espresso and a brioche then …

New Beginnings

.. my new site came with a ready made set of colours and I quite like them, so I will keep them for a while. Welcome to Over7Seas tips for healthy travel and musings on places that I have seen. Over 7 Seas covers travel, craft, food and health. It is a small business managed by me, and I am a qualified yoga teacher, massage practitioner, inspired wanderer, hopeful seeker, sometimes tearful worrier and at other time a smiling conqueror of life’s challenges and tangled yarn. I am an opponent of ignorance, mindlessness and not too keen on fluff, I support all expressions of mindfulness and kindness. I say it right here and right now: If you do not care about the food you eat or the planet and the people living on it then you and I will not see eye to eye. I support a woman’s right to choose, I understand those who wish no woman ever needed to choose, I have a sincere interest in religions of the world yet no time …