July 8, 2013

In drei Tagen fliege ich nach Berlin.

Komisch ist es. Die letzten Tage, die ich hier verbringe. Ich gehe weg und weiß nicht, wann ich wiederkomme.

Und wenn, ob ich jemals in dieses Haus wiederkomme. Ob das jetzt ein Abschied für immer ist, oder nicht.

Komisch ist es von einem Ort Abschied zu nehmen, der mir so absolut aus dem Hals raushängt und an dessen Schönheit ich mich nach wie vor nicht sattsehen kann.

Komisch ist es, an einen Ort zurückkzukommen, der mir einmal so zum Hals raushing, dass ich nicht sicher bin, ob ich mich dort jemals wieder einleben werde.

Ich freue mich auf alte Freunde und muss neue Freunde zurücklassen.

Ambivalent nennt man das, glaube ich. Eine Antwort gibt es darauf nicht. Eine Lösung auch nicht.

Nur ein: Mal sehen.

IMG00530-20110912-1550 IMG01353-20120928-1437 cats lucky feebee IMG01343-20120922-1643 IMG01342-20120922-1640 2 IMG01270-20120728-1401 IMG01265-20120728-1228


February 15, 2012

Son, 17, had a surprising revelation this morning. He found the cause of his stress and constant exhaustion.  After starting some schoolwork at half past eight last night and sitting through it until half past eleven, he said, school is so much more fun when you do your homework.  It really stressed him out every day, to go to school knowing there is something he should have done and didn’t.

He found out, that it is so much less stress to do your work in time than to not do it and play on the computer instead, which he thinks relaxes him.
Not something he hasn’t been told over and over again. But parents words regarding this matter are like flies on a hot plate.
Precious insights that you can only gain through experience.

Which reminds me of insights I had over and over again.
Insights like: if people don’t ask for advice, shut up. Even when it screams in your face, what they are doing wrong.
And every time it hit me, it hit me deeper, and I thought, now I really got it.
And then came the time, when I really got it. It seldom was the first time.

Dream Life

February 9, 2012

Last night, I gently dozed off, the house was dark, silence, everybody sleeping.
I woke up and went to the bathroom. Tapping naked and barefoot through the house, I went past our guest-room, looked at the big windows, the room slightly lit by the moonlight; it looked so beautiful and I was reminded that I always dreamt about living in a place with big, old, wooden windows which you have to push up to open.

And how perfect this moment was, the summer night, the full moon, the warm wooden floor under my feet. I felt such peace and gratitude, and I realized this is what I always wanted. This is the life of my dreams.

Not because of the windows, of course, they just reminded me. There was nothing special, nothing different, it was more like a waking up to something, that was already there. Always has been. A deeper revelation about the perfection I am already living in.

I realized I can sleep through my dream life and have nightmares about all the things I don’t have and don’t want, and can’t do; I can live in a haze of negativity, or I can wake up and see the truth of the perfection around me and enjoy it and live it. The life of my dreams.


January 31, 2012

I spent the last days taking portraits and self-portraits.
It started with Anton, who needed pictures for an Id-book.
So I  put up my tripod and placed him in front of a white wall.

Anton, age 17

I compared it to the one I took in Berlin, three years ago.  And I regretted that I didn’t do this every year with a neutral background, same angle,  so you can follow the changes.
I actually always wanted to do this with myself as well. But it is never too late and I will continue to do that for the rest of my life. I also took one of Luzie.

Luzie, one week away from her 15th birthday

Then I needed self-portraits for my new novel, which will come out in autumn this year. I don’t like anyone taking pictures of me, because they never turn out the way I like to see me. Or better, they way I want to look like.
The older I get, the harder it is to take a decent picture. I always hope that I look much better, younger and thiner in real life. The truth is, I don’t.

But I decided to have fun and that was my lesson taking these pictures, that I will always have fun whatever I am doing and to find a way to do un-fun things  in a fun-way. Serious attitude-change challenge.

My attitude toward being photographed was making a grumpy face to show my disapproval and hoping it would turn out nicely. Of course it didn’t and I thought of myself as non photogenic which made me  look even grumpier when someone turned a camera on me because I thought: I know, this is going to look bad.

As a writer I always wanted to look deadpan serious in a striking, beautiful way.
For my first novel, I took a picture in a photo booth. I still want to look like this:

But it is not possible. Even if I would dye my hair again. I also found the serious look is not working at all any more. If I don’t laugh or smile in a picture, I look as I am in pain, tired and grumpy. Sigh. So I acted seriously friendly and funny in front of the camera, pretended I was a model and tried to look pleasant and it really worked. These picture turned out much nicer than the deadpan ones.

Another attitude change: I have to try hard to look good on a picture. No more “I don’t care if you take a picture and how I am gonna look” .
I have to go for a different look, making fun of myself and laughing like mad is the only thing that works right now.  You have to work with what you got.
These are the only two pictures I almost like of all the hundreds I took. Note the eye-brow.



Year 49

January 24, 2012

On the fifth of January I turned 49. I know! I could ignore turning 50 someday so far but not anymore. It is coming. And with it the challenge of throwing a 50th birthday-party. Or not.

From the safety of the distance I always told myself, I am going to have a huge party. After my 40th birthday when I compiled a playlist last minute and got so stressed out over it that it spoiled the whole party for me, I decided to learn from this mistake. From now on, I wanted to choose one song a day for my 50th birthday-party playlist. The playlist is still empty.

Turning half a century old made me recapitulate my life. Was I where I wanted to be with 50? Is there anything I should have put in place until then? A frightening thought.

The reason I started bloging again was to share to first 50 of my life. To be somewhat accountable about changes I want to make. And to pass on wisdom and life experiences I have accumulated together with grey hair and wrinkles through all those years.

I don’t feel very different from 39. No, that’s not right. I do feel very different, but I don’t feel any older. At all.

I always went through life with a feeling of frustration or utter excitement. One of the things I want to change are the frustration periods. What I never want to change until I am very very old is the excitement I feel, when I know something new is about to begin. I am excited right now.

This picture was actually taken on my 48th birthday.

Back Again

January 11, 2012

Hello world, I am back. A lot happened the last two years. I joined facebook after I stopped blogging. It felt like coming from blog island to a party where EVERYBODY was. Why did nobody tell me?

Luzie told me years ago, you must join facebook and I said, none of my friends are there, because they are old. And then there they were. Young and old. Almost everybody and even more. I made lots of new friends. Suddenly a hundred people wished me happy birthday. I felt loved and reconected with the world (Germany).

I started to play farmville. Inspired by farmville, I finally started a vegetable garden. I grew tomatoes from seeds. And lots of salads. And herbs. And that was it.

We planned the Sharehouse, we started to build furnitures and sold salads at the market. (about three times).

I became sick and spent 6 nights at the provincial hospital. They released me on Christmas day.

I wrote a new novel and sold it. It will come out in October.

We moved to Hermanus.  (again)

Friends died and became sick and died and divorced.

We experienced the first miracle healings.

I started to knit and crochet.

I turned 49.

We took a family photo for Christmas. We haven’t done this for years. If ever. Only the top one made it.

These are the blurbs. We took about a hundred pictures. I arranged the setting and put up the tripod and Anton’s friend Lorenzo pushed the button.

First test shoot with Lorenzo. He plays the piano since he is six years old and he has the tiniest ears I’ve ever seen. He said, they called him “Shrek” in primary school.

July 9, 2010

I am still only sporadically online. I still have to drive around the corner and sit with my laptop in the car, which I am doing at the moment. It is dark and cold. I am sitting in front of the school hall where the band plays “born to be wild” to the tenmillionst time. I am enjoying it because we are back home and I haven’t heard the band playing for more thn 4 weeks. It feels homely and familiar.

The World Cup was amazing! I didn’t expect it to be. We almost fled to Germany but fortunately it didn’t happen. I wrote a weekly column at the Sunday Frankfurter Allgemeine, which I enjoyed very much, but I said everything I had to say and now you have to go with amazing.

But here are pictures from our trip. We went to Durban and drove Andries Bakkie down via Coffe Bay and the Karoo. We had two season in two days. One day we swam in the warm Indian Ozean, the other day we were snowed in 150km north of Umtata. Was für ein Erlebnis!

We had so much fun on this big swing at the first place we stayed at the coast south of Durban

Rondavels in Transkei

The day before the snow

The best feature of the house in Cape Town


June 23, 2010

We had an open network but it doesn’t work anymore. I balanced my laptop high in the air in the corner of my garden, but no reception. If I want internet, I have to drive around the corner, sit in the car in front of the school hall because there is excellent reception. I saw the neighbor carrying her laptop through her garden, she seemed to have the same problem. Since we don’t know how long we are going to live here, this problem will not be solved qickly and this is the reason why I didn’t blog for such a long time.

We are staying in Cape Town for a while, with internet, so I will catch up soon!


May 17, 2010

When my life becomes frustrating and dull, it is because I lost the plot. A plotless life where you just go on, get up in the morning, eat breakfast, do some washing, remove dog hair, write stuff, prepare a meal, get tired, have a nap.. Who wants to watch this? I don’t. It makes me mad and sad.

In movies, this is the part which you always see in fast forward, when they are happy in love, depressed, recover, or just go on with their lives, until something  happens and the story finally continues. In a good story, there is a purpose to every scene. Even when you don’t see it now, it will be revealed to you later. Everything makes sense. The good and the bad. If it doesn’t, it is not a good story.

There is this young Xhosa man, P. He is about 20. A year ago, he had a bicycle accident which left him paralyzed. After several month in rehab, he is back in the hospital for more than six months now. Not because of his accident, but because his operation wounds won’t heal and resulting from that he developed bedsores. We see him every Tuesday. Things happened in these six months. Life and hope came back. He gained weight, he got filled with the Spirit and came out of his depression, someone bought a special bed for him, so his bedsores can heal. Some feeling came back into his legs. Two weeks ago they transplanted skin on to his open wounds and he finally starts healing. Last night he phoned Sven and told him he is allowed to go home for two days. Things are happening very slowly. Much too slow in our opinion, but they do happen.

Sven went to visit him last night. They chatted and Sven told P. about Anton, our son and asked P. if he could pray for him, because Anton struggles in school and life, and P. listened to him and he was so touched, he almost cried. He said, when he was Anton’s age, he felt exactly the same, but he had nobody to talk to. P.’s father died when he was 6 and his older brother’s car was stolen at this time and the brother was so angry and upset about that, he was not available for him. He said, how wonderful for Anton to have a father like Sven to talk about all these things and he P. shared about his life like he never did before, how he dropped out of school in Grade 10 and started to drink and take drugs and have sex and messed up his life and then the accident happened. P. said, it really bugs him that he had never finished school and robbed himself of the opportunity to do something with his life. Sven told him that I also dropped out of school after grade 10 and that I went back to school later, finished my Abitur and studied.

Sven said, it was if a light went on in P., when he told him that he can also finish his Matric if he wants to. It totally shifted his perspective. He thought that he had made a mistake and his whole life is now spiraling downwards and there is no way back because he has gone too far. Suddenly he understood, there is another chance, a life is opening up again for  him. Then P. prayed a long prayer in Xhosa for Anton and when Sven left, he was changed.

Meanwhile, Anton and I sat in bed, watching Nip Tuck. I decided he was old enough and it is time to introduce him to some excellent storytelling.
Nip Tuck is genius. If you don’t know Nip Tuck, please watch the first season.
It is about how people try to find meaning and happiness in a godless world, choosing the obvious like money, sex and beauty, and watching them fail. In a good story like Nip Tuck, the characters are multilayered and this is, where it becomes really interesting.
Meaning and a sense of purpose and truth occur when they for a moment get over themselves, admit that they were wrong and make decisions against their own interest out of love and compassion, only to fall back into their old, destructive pattern afterwards.

When Sven came back late at night and told me about his evening with P., I felt this excitement, which I always feel, when a good story comes together. When people touch each others lives. This is the opposite of a godless world. A world with God makes sense, gives hope and a purpose. Suffering and even death can lead to life and resurrection. There is no such point in life where you can’t turn around. My son’s struggle and my worries about it made sense because by sharing it with P. his perception changed.

If one could just fast-forward the dull parts, when nothing seems to make sense, like six months in a hospital. And yet, this time of pain and being stuck is crafting our character for a new season in  life. And like in a good story, it only makes sense later.

Two things everyone who wants to have children should consider:
#1: They will get sick. A lot!
#2: They will become teenagers.
If you have kids, you will know what I mean. If you don’t, and still want some, you don’t want to know.

We were watching a movie the other day and there was this  scene where the little girl woke up in the middle of the night, holding her ear, crying in pain, when  Sven and I cringed simultaneously.

It is horrible to have a sick child. You think he will die or never get over it and three weeks later you can’t even remember he was sick.
But some Krupp cough nights will stay in your memory, the horror to wake up by this horrific sound of the cough, the sound of desperately gasping.
Calling the ambulance at three o’clock in the morning and calming the panicking child being in utter panic yourself.

But times will come, when they get less and less sick, recover quickly and this is when they turn into teenagers. Suddenly the sweet little child becomes a person you have never known before. Some other being sometimes takes over and then they are back to normal as if nothing has happened. My fear is that this strange, rebellious and completely unrational being will stay one day and my child will never come back again.

I looked at photos of my little children and thought, they are gone, they are dead, they will never come back, lost forever. But I think I wrote this before.
When you have a baby you think this is now your life forever and for the first years it seems as it is, and suddenly they are grown and in five years time they might be gone.
Part of me can’t wait, part of me too. I think I am ready for them to grow up.