“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously..”
I have made this artwork while I am struggling with a sick body. I am battling a nasty cold and cough that made me restless from the past days. I couldn’t get enough rest that I needed because I feel lethargic. Fortunately, we have better days now, the sun is up, shining and we have clear sky that gives me just the right mood boost. The weather is perfect, still chilly but fresh and no use to complain about it. As the saying goes ; “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak ..”, but when I am sick, I felt sluggish each day.
Fortunately, my mind is still active and I managed to draw out some inspiration from painting. Here are some photos I wanna share with you.
I am still trying out different techniques in painting and I am learning a lot through the process. I am a work in progress and perfecting everything through constant practice. Everytime I draw out some portrait of faces, the most exciting part is when the face finally evolves into a personality. It’s like they have a hidden message through their eyes, expression and mood.
What can you say about this painting?
Are you in Instagram? If you want to follow my Expat life and see more photos like this, please follow my artworks in Justbluedutchart and my personal posts Here.
For me, everything just looked so vibrant with colors! What are you up this weekend? We are looking forward to celebrate Fasching ( Carnival season in Germany ) tomorrow and my daughter is too excited to wear her costume, (so am I) . I am also excited to have a look at this festival here so sure thing I am gonna write about it and share some photos so stay tuned!
Hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy it to the full. Tschüss!
Expats outnumbered the locals in Kuwait, with 70% of its population is composed of expatriates. So expat life is rather diversified compared here in Germany. One typical street sight in Kuwait is summed up in the photo above. It doesn’t matter where you are and who you are and what you do in life. An office janitor can have the latest gadget phones same as his Modir ( Boss) as well as anybody. Everyone seemed to be glued in their mobile phones anytime of the day. It seems like if you don’t own a smart phone, you are left out and isolated. It becomes a necessity and at the same time a hazard especially for reckless drivers who are pinned to their phones while driving. Taxi drivers,mostly Egyptians, Indians, Bangladeshi or Syrians, have 2-3 phones to manage while they go on their work. Crazy, right? but its true. They are talking to their families and friends while driving around. Insane as it may sound but Kuwait becomes fanatic to smartphones and internet calls. Before I was in wonder, but now, no more, horrific and fatal car accidents happens everyday, especially in the Gulf road and 5th ring road where drivers drive like maniac. Everyday life revolves around internet, social media and chatting. You should take a look at this article to see how far it goes. If you’re living in Kuwait, I know how it feels, it sucks!
If you’re an expat, having a smart phone with internet is a must. It’s a materialistic symbolism too. One can easily get an internet line provided that they have a civil ID to present when they purchase. One’s number is linked to your personal data in the country’s ID system. Another particular sight in is how Kuwait evolved into mobile parenting.While out in the mall or park, you can see that children have iPads and tablet to keep the child occupied in their buggies while busy parents do their errands. Kuwait has become a symbol for parenting in the iPhone stage. When you move to Kuwait, a way to combat homesickness, your mobile lifestyle becomes elevated and your life revolves in your phone.
Hungry? just log in and check into Talabat or call for delivery from Canary for mushakel and kebab. Even if the Matam ( restaurant ) is just around the corner of your flat.I am writing this because I have never seen such incidents like this here in Germany. A total culture clash I must say. Or maybe not yet…
Oh well, Happy National Day Kuwait!
For expats out there, enjoy the long weekend with the Hala February festivities and stay away from the Gulf road or you’ll end up harassed by the water gun fanatics!
Want to know more about Expat life in the Gulf? Here are some related further reading :
I’m telling you, Germans have a serious love affair with their sausages. If the Netherlands have a museum for cheese, Germans have a museum dedicated to Currywurst!
Did you know that Germany have almost 1,200 types of wurst? Unbelievable.
It so happened that Germany is the biggest pork producer in Europe. Internationally, Germany is third behind China and the USA. They love pork so much that If you’re a Muslim here, you might feel’ intimidated ‘ by the amount of pork products in the grocery shop. The sausage section are bigger than the fruit section! I find it funny for myself that after living in Kuwait for almost 8 years without pork, now I am overwhelmed with the amount of pork products, especially sausages.
I am now on my 7th month mark living here in Bavaria and Oh men, for the love of food, I think I have eaten sausages more than I have ever eaten in my whole life!!
Looking back at my first days here, everything around me now seems familiar, especially when it comes to Kaffee und Kuchen , Biergartens and of course, the infamous german sausages, especially Bavarian sausages. For a very long time, I only know hotdogs– the tender-juicy red bullies I love to eat with eggs and fried rice during breakfast. I used to think that hotdogs are same with wurst but I am mistaken. They are two different thing! Back home we have our local ‘Longganisa’ — it’s the Philippine version of sausages, more like the Spanishsausage (embutido) similar to a chorizo and also closely associated with the Portugueselinguiça.
Then I came to know frankfurter, and chicken sausages. While living in Kuwait where there is no Pork, I indulge in delicious Arabic foods that I’ve learned to love, like Shawerma , kebabs and chicken shish tawouk. On lazy days, I opt for chicken mini- sausages too. They are always quick to prepare and light. Little did I know that coming to Germany would introduce me to another sausage species–the German sausages or commonly known here as Wurts.
Here are some of the sausages that I came to know while living here in Bavaria. Here, the food culture is not something extravagant or complicated recipes, but what I love about Germans is how they celebrate everything with sausage, pretzel and beer. From their local Biergartens to Volksfest, to the world-renowned Oktoberfest up to their beautiful Christkindlmarkts also known as German Christmas Markets, these sausages bond people of all ages,always creating a cozy atmosphere, rain or shine.
Germans certainly adore pig.Unsurprisingly the pig is a good luck symbol in Germany. Also it is very cold here and they have long winters, so sausage was an excellent way to preserve the pig and use up all the trimmings ….”all but the tail and the oink” as some have put it.
Here are some of the sausages which I have found interesting and the ones I can recommend. There are so much more but I never had the chance to try them so I don’t have an idea how they taste.
Bratwurst -It is a favorite in Germany, and each region has its own version. There are over 50 kinds of bratwurst, and they all vary in size, texture and seasoning – so no wonder it’s confusing. Although Germans now associate “Brat” with “braten,” which means to fry, broil or grill, the name originally derives from Old High German: “Brät” meant finely chopped meat.
Nürnberger (Nuremberger)-Among the different varieties of Bratwurst, you can recognize the one produced in Nuremberg by its size. It’s surprisingly small, not much bigger than a pinkie finger. Historical documents already mentioned this wurst back in 1313. These sausages are traditionally grilled over flames, served six at a time, and accompanied by sauerkraut and potatoes with horseradish or mustard on the side. This is my favorite so far, also my daughter love to munch on this one.
Currywurst-A currywurst is simply a steamed bratwurst seasoned with ketchup and covered with curry powder. This has been the very first sausage that I have tasted when I came here. I was shocked to see its size and I was open-mouthed looking at my husband how on earth am I going to devour it.
In a country specialized in high-tech cars, it sounds a bit exaggerated to call this fast-food snack an “invention,” but Herta Heuwer, the Berlin cook who developed the special sauce, actually patented it in 1959. It’s since become a street food classic. The Currywurst has become an essential Berlin experience, served sliced with ketchup. Its history is celebrated at the Deutsches Currywurst Museum, not far from Checkpoint Charlie.
Weisswurst-This veal Bavarian sausage translates as “white sausage” for its color. It has no preservatives, nor is it smoked, which is why it’s meant to be eaten fresh the day it was made. A German saying recommends the Weisswurst should never get to hear the church bells ring at noon. To eat it, some suck out the meat from the skin, or, more discreetly, cut it in half and roll out the filling with a fork. Here in Bavaria, Weisswurst is often a morning treat. No true Bavarian dream of eating weisswurst after midday.
Blutwurst-The German Blutwurst (blood sausage) is usually made with pork blood and bacon. As it is already cooked, it does not need to be eaten hot – but some people do. Some regions include it in dishes with colorful names: the Rhineland’s “Himmel und Erde” (Sky and Earth) combines it with mashed potatoes and apple sauce. “Tote Oma” (Dead Grandma) is Berlin’s way of serving it with liverwurst and potatoes. Germans loved to eat sausages with pretzel, warm rolls and potato fries.
Salami-Salami is typically Italian, but it is just as popular in sausage-loving Germany – and it’s much more than just a pizza topping. If Italians usually stick to coffee and sweet bread rolls for breakfast, Germans will gladly serve slices of salami first thing in the morning, too. They’ll enjoy it all day, as salami shows up for the simple evening meal called “Abendbrot“. In local bakeries here, there are lots of sandwiches with salami next to the usual dense rolls and dark breads which Germans also love to eat.
I am already looking forward for Spring and for the BBQ season to start. When its sunny and the days are longer, expect that it’s typically German thing when the air suddenly smells like BBQ. Yes, pork, sausages and beer are all unfriendly to the belly, but Germans have a lifestyle to balance it all off with a sweat – they just cycle the cholesterol away!
Have you ever tried eating sausage? How was your experience?
Do you like patterns? or do you appreciate beauty in a messy state?
Beautiful Mess is the new painting I created by using Acrylic paints and some mixed media by experimenting with patterns. Normally, I love faces and splashing colorful washes on it but lately, I love the idea of incorporating the patterns and geometric figures which are inspired by nature and textures that I see everyday. Putting patterns into your artwork helps you to express more of your visual thinking rather than immediately pleasing the aesthetics. Nature is one big source of inspiration. Just take a look at the leaf patterns, the barks of trees, the free flow of grasses, and the texture of scenarios.
For a newbie like me and a self-taught multi-media painter, the best way to move further is just doing it. Experimenting with patterns always creates a mess and yet, the best part, it gives birth to beauty. Only now I realized that creating something is also against all odds. It’s tricky, but you just have to keep your patterns on track.
Patterns are also evident in our daily cycle of life. The routines, a flow of repetitive actions are just examples of how patterns are ingrained in us. Sometimes I thought of myself as a risk-taker, but oftentimes, I dreaded the act itself knowing that it scares me. Starting a series of pattern can either destroy or enhance your artwork, or it can totally change the mood you are into. I love geometrical figures as well and the way it adds ‘edge’on the overall mosaic.
I am surrounded with mess everyday, and frankly speaking, I hate it. Toys everywhere, scattered books, more clutter and there’s more things to tidy up, It’s a headache, but it’s how we roll with our life with an active toddler. Just like my approach to tame the tiny Goblin lady in our house, playing with colors and unleashing its potential to enhance the soul of my work is an effective way to embrace the beauty out of the mess. It’s against all odds, but the only way to do it is : Doing it!
Though it requires a lot of work and doing the intricate details, it was also so much fun to do.I think I will be doing lots of painting with this concept since it really fuels my creative mind to think of patterns along the way.
On serious note, how do you handle mess in your house? Are you fond of patterns?
If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out my other paintings which I shared Here and Here.
The New Castle-My favorite place to photograph in our lovely town.
Am I the only one or is there anyone else waiting for Spring? The landscape surrounding it is really beautiful.I have photographed this castle many times and yet everytime I passes by it, I can’t help but to admire its simple beauty.The past seasons showed its different charm and I can’t wait how would it look in the bright, sunny spring time!
Here are some related content about this beautiful architecture which you might find worthy to read :
Last week, one of my favorite Blogger, Timo of CrazychineseFamily mentioned my Blog for another Liebster Award.For those of you who have been here for quite some time,you might think that awards like this are only nuisance and better to simply ignore,just like virtual chain letters. I won’t deny that after a year of blogging here, I consider myself still a newbie, It still brought a smile in me whenever someone mentions my Blog or even highlight my page. I feel grateful and I always appreciate the thought of the Blogger behind it. I remember receiving my first Liebster Award last January 2016 and since then, I had great respect for the awesome community that I have here in WP who took their time to pass on this kind gesture of appreciation. Without them, my Blog will just be lost in the net. I know time is precious for all of us, and there is no “newbie” or even an “oldie” once you decide to “Pay it forward”something like the Liebster- a virtual love. It’s all your choice.
Anyway, what I like about Timo is his down-to-earth posts about what his life after he married into a crazy chinese family. If you are also an Expat, his story of Raising a Kung-Fu baby and being an Expat Papa in Germany might inspire you how to raise a bilingual child as well. If you want to read real, and personal stories about his crazy MIL (Mother in Law), WhiteMale/AsianFemale relationship ( or interracial couple) and multiculturalism, check out Crazychinesefamily Blog and you will know why it won last year’s Nepaliaustralian Blog awards!
Now what is The Liebster Award?
“Liebster” is a German word meaning beloved or dearest. It is an online appreciation in form of virtual award which started in 2011 passed on by bloggers to fellow bloggers for enjoying and valuing their work. The idea is to recognize their efforts and give credit.
Here’s my response to Timo’s questions :
Why did you start blogging?
I’ve always wanted to have a Blog but because of work, I can’t find the time and I don’t know how to start.But last year, I finally did it as my inspirational hobby.
How does blogging and connecting to other bloggers change/ help you?
Having a great circle of friends and fellow Bloggers who shares the same interest as you is very important. You write for the purpose that your work will be read by someone else, that is why I always admire responsible blogging.When somebody comments on my posts either negatively or sharing inputs, it encourage and inspires me to write better. Feed backs are great tools for improvement and reading other’s work is a way for me to learn and know people. Before, I am not very active in social media, not until I start Blogging where in I have learned to use the internet to connect with quality people. As an Expat, I have met wonderful friends here that are totally more appealing than the friends that I had in my real life.
What are your favorite topics to write about?
I love to write about my Expat life, my experiences living in a foreign country and being a new mother. I love sharing my photography stories as well. Lately, I am incorporating my personal art in my Blog.
In which country do you see yourself living in ten years?
Hmm, I don’t know really. Right now, my daughter is only 2 and is on crucial stage of development, soon she’ll start Kindergarten and I really wanted her to develop her German language and moving again means another change for her. We’ve just been here in Germany for only 7 months, and still too early to say, but then, we love it here and looking forward for more. It is my goal to learn Deutsch as well.So options are limitless.
Couch or Sports?
Definitely sports. My metabolism is quick so I wanted to be active always.
A good Book or TV?
A good book.
What would you do with 1 Million Euros (or Dollars, whatever you prefer…)
A million Kuwaiti Dinar so the value is higher ! I’ve always wanted to travel with my mother or maybe invest in my personal business.
How long do you prepare for a blog post?
It depends. Sometimes I only do photo challenges which are quick to do.I can only sit behind my laptop on my free times, maybe 2 hours in a day or if I’m not so tired at night I make some drafts, also depends on my mood.
Your worst experience with blogging.
None so far. I never experience yet anything I could call as worst.
What is your hobby with which you find some peace?
Nature-tripping, my wandertags and painting. I also find peace while baking.
If given a chance, would you meet a fellow blogger or attend Blogger meet- ups?
What is your favorite post? and why. Please provide a link.
What do you want to accomplish in your Blog for this year?
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done in your life?
If you would write a story about one famous person, who would it be & why?
What is your dream job?
Do you think your mother /father would be proud to read your Blog?
What is your most prized personal possession?
How many languages you speak?
What is your guilty pleasure?
If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award and you choose to accept it, here are the simple rules;
Display the award on your blog and write a post about the award.
Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog. Tell the reader a little about your nominator.
Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you.
Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award.
Give the nominees 11 questions to answer on their blog.
List these rules in your post.
Notify the nominees of the Liebster Award and ask if they would be happy to accept? If so, send them a link to your post.
I have received other Blog awards such as the Versatile Blogger Awards from Pooja of Lostinprettyeurope and Lucas of ldpfotoblog, some I have forgotten already, so many things to do. I wanted to thank you all for thinking of my Blog worthy of these awards. These kind gestures are never wasted. Thank you so much guys!
P.S.I don’t declare my Blog as Free-Blog awards but I will do my best to respond once I got the time.
When you have a toddler to entertain, you just got to be creative. And when you have enough sunlight even indoors, you’ve got to soak your toddler in it! That is why I love Light & Shadow play concept for kids. It is just a great tool for creative learning for young, curious minds like my daughter.
One of the things that we have an abundance back then in Kuwait is the SUN.Yes, too much sun that when I came here in Europe, I find that the skies are always gray and I get a mood boost when I see its sunny. In Kuwait, we were lucky enough to have a bedroom with a sea view. The big windows allows some great amount of sun to penetrates into our room and many times, I would put my daughter to enjoy the sun and let it create playful shadows on her. She loves it! One of my favorite captures of her is when she was playing inside a laundry basket and the shadows from the sun creates a mask of circular golden tan on her baby skin. She was just about 7 months here. So young, so free, so playful, and so curious.
One of toddler’s fears are their shadows. I have heard of stories where in young children are terrified when they have learned about their shadows. The moment I put my daughter inside the basket, it was amazing! She become so engrossed with the patterns in her skin, pinching it, touching it while it changes when she moves.
In summer in Kuwait, where in the temperature could reached up to 50+ degrees C, there is no way your babies can enjoy the outdoors. The sun can already be scorching at around 5 am so we go to the beach at early mornings or late in the afternoon in weekends. I guess when you’ve lived in the middle east, you would have a fair share of knowledge why people wear the Abaya & the Dishdasha. It is really for functional reasons. Instead of agonizing with the heat and the sun, why not embrace the fun you can get from it, plus, nobody complains that you can actually dry your laundry within 5 minutes!
This post is in response in this week’s DP Photo Challenge |Shadow
Let me define to you what hyper active means in a toddler-friendly vocabulary.
Not that she’s medically diagnosed with hyper activity disorder type— NO, she’s just super active.She has this thing like a green-blue-yellow-purple goblin inside her that makes her moves so fast, so lithe, always on the go and full of energy. She’s a picture of curiosity,touching, exploring, wiggling, running, climbing hyper-type of toddler. An active fireball monkey disguised in an angelic face. I remember so well that when I was pregnant with her, I always hide my bump in my desk at work because she makes my bump looks like there is an alien about to pop. She gets hard numerous times in a day and my bump looks scary. Maybe that’s the reason why she’s in transverse position and did not rotate even though I was induced for labor for almost 3 days!
She started cruising early , learned to walk at 10.5 months I think, and already attempting to run. She climb out of her crib and fell once so we immediately switched her crib into a bed. Back then in Kuwait, we live in the 7th floor, she loves to climb the flight of stairs by herself automatically. I know that she’s a climber when at 11 months,she mastered climbing the steep Dutch stairs.
I thought only boys are active. I am mistaken. What I read online was a LIE.
My little girl has the stamina, speed and enthusiasm of a toddler-athlete. Always on the go.She runs everywhere.She can’t sit still for longer than a minute especially during feeding so a high chair for us is a must, but not too long.Later on, I saw her standing on her chair, she managed to remove the strap, I don’t know how, but she did it. She runs like crazy the moment I let go of her hand and start looking into my purse for my keys. I dropped my iphone three times already and changed the screen because of panic that she might be ran-over by a car or that she bump into something. She can dance and jump in muddy puddles the entire day and still jumps around once we get inside the house.
Whenever we are out, I am always doing ‘the check’. I look out for doors that can she can open, handles that she can turn, open stairs, glass doors, and especially breakable, fragile items she can run into. As of this stage, it would be a disaster if I go grocery shopping without a stroller, alone. I am afraid that I might pay for damages for broken things. In a restaurant, my eyes scanned the area for any possible danger zones, or things that she might find ‘interesting’, like a table already set-up with knives and cutlery. She can easily get loose if nobody’s watching her. One time I caught her licking the knife!
My real definition of horror: She managed to run so fast while I am closing the door while we need to get into the elevator in our building. She’s on top of the stairs, scaring the horror out of her already-half-traumatized mother. I screamed so loud and cut my lips when I tripped myself running like amok to grab her before she make the next move. I was shaking after that incident and never leave her loose in the hallways. EVER. Not again!
The moment you take a walk with her, she zoom like a fireball, cruising like a maniac and touching everything that goes on her way. Leaves, walls, garage doors, trees, plants–anything.We have a garden but when I let her play there, she climbs the gate leading to the main side street and crawl to the holes in the hedges where the cats go. She’s a pure genius! She can even roll the lawnmower If i will just let her. She loves anything that wiggles, ran after a dog, and count all the cars in our neighborhood plus I need to say the color of each cars.
She climbed out from her crib at around 9 months, you see that photo above, yes, that’s her trying to do acrobat stunts, testing how sturdy her crib was, or was she looking for her Poo bear that fell out. She has a very strong grip of things that she stayed in this position for a minute I think. One time that I let her be alone, she’s already on top of the table, dancing, and playing with the roller shutters.
Going into a friend’s house can be a daunting experience, especially if they don’t have kids like her or they don’t know my daughter’s personality. Our decors and furniture now were set to minimal. Nowadays, we can only eat in peace out in a restaurant if there is a play area nearby. Nearby means it’s beside our table–that is why we love dining out in our local restaurant here that has a play area, like for example in Dinea in Galleria, or doing some shopping in DM where in they have a play area right inside the shop. Total lifesaver!
Honestly, I love to but I don’t really feel comfortable leaving her to be watched (even for a short time) by anyone who doesn’t know her REALLY well. Even friends who we regularly see don’t necessarily realize the speed at which my daughter can do, and how quickly she can get herself into precarious situations due to attempts at climbing, investigating, or get herself drowned because she wanted to dive right into every fountain she sees.
We’ve enrolled her in a dancing class and guess who becomes famous the very first day? Yup! She doesn’t need introduction because everyone knows her name in an instant. We became the center of attention from other parents and kids because we ‘make the best moves ‘ all the time!
Does this sounds like your kid too ?
If this looks like your tot, here are some practical things we do to handle the worries and anxieties and embracing the energy of my hyper attached tiny Goblin. I realized that not all mothers do the “check”as I did, only those parents with an active child. So here it is:
Treat your child like a dog! – We make it a point that she goes out at least an hour everyday and let her loose in a place where in she can climb, run like crazy and just burn her energy. This way, she can sleep fast because her energy is depleted.
Avoid putting yourself and your child to uncomfortable situations– Make playgroups outdoors, as much as possible in places where your child can have more freedom of spaces where she can be herself without damaging yourself and your child be branded as ‘misbehaving’. I try not to bring her to functions where in there is limited activity or crowded places that she might easily get bored and create scenes. I am so thankful that here in Germany, we have play grounds ( Spielplatz ) in almost every corner. We avoid libraries and crowded malls.
Choose activities which feeds her curiosity and the ones you can comfortably handle – We are engaging in Creative Dancing Class or Tanzmaus. Here in Germany, there are so many activities that are suitable for active kids to satisfy their energy such as gymnastics, swimming etc.Find one that suits your schedule best.
Embrace the positive side of being an active child – Her hyper activity makes her personality so different, so unique and special.She is the perfect companion in my Wandertags. She loves nature and being out so you can count on her being out for longer hours. Give her a box of Duplos, Legos , wooden blocks, and books and even by that she can still rock! I can’t count numerous times that we got comments from strangers on her being so friendly and sweet, she could be active, but she’s not the annoying-agressive type.
Remind yourself that toddler stage is temporary – Every child will outgrow toddlerhood . Eventually, you won’t be running after your child anymore. You will realize that time flies so fast that your adorable munchkin no longer asks for your company and becomes independent. I know things will change for her this year that she’ll be in Kindergarten soon and she’ll have more educational and social interactions.
My life with my active toddler had been a roller-coaster ride for the past 2 years. Our long haul flights together are as unforgettable as it could be and she is such a jet-setter! I know that it’s still early years of her toddler life, but the wisdom of just being around such a positive energy is both challenging, yet the most fascinating joys of motherhood.
Have you ever been around with active kids?
Photos in this post are from my Instagram feed. If you’re on Instagram, follow me for more Expat life stories ! Thank you and see you there!