Today is ” Ostermontag” or the second day of Easter here in Germany.Yes, same as Christmas, Germans have two days to celebrate Easter .One day is enough so we have an extra day of holiday. Well, it´s really a very difficult Easter this year because it doesn´t have the freedom from Corona yet.But then, it´s all okay, at least it´s Spring!
It´s lovely, smells heavenly and feels so romantic!
If there were no cherry blossoms in this world How much more tranquil our hearts would be in spring.- Ariwara no Narihira (825-880)
The whole world is celebrating Easter and so are we. After a peaceful gathering at home, where we had Easter breakfast followed by the egg hunt for the little girl, we head outdoors to get some fresh air and enjoy some beautiful cherry blossoms. It´s timely, since I observed that around first days of April, cherry blossom trees around our neighborhood and in the parks are due for blooming.The branches are ripe enough to cast it´s yearly spell.
In Japanese, they called them “Sakura” .They doesn´t last long, normally they are gone within a week. Today was totally windy so most petals are being blown away by the wind.I´ve read that even the petals of Cherry Blossoms are edible. Famous brands like Bath & Body works & Rituals have their famous and top seller sets with Cherry Blossoms as one of the ingredient. I tried them so I know that it smelled heavenly! I am wondering how would it taste on cookies, rice balls and Mochi…now this makes me dream of it!
No wonder they symbolize Renewal, but also the fleeting nature of life.
It´s a joy to see them, and you can´t help to feel “romantic” when you see them.People are happy and smiling under the cherry blossoms. People gather around it, smelling it´s sweet fragrance and looking up to the skies.Nature seemed to be doing it´s wonder once again.I watched a couple under the tree making lots of photos and I guess they just simply wanted to enjoy this magical moment same as I did.In Japan, people loved to do picnics and hang lanterns at night.This tradition called “Hanami ” which means Flower viewing.
One old couple are taking countless photos under the cherry blossoms and watching them makes my heart warm. A picturesque pink photo together with your loveones is definitely a must once you see these pink blossoms. Whether it´s your child, spouse or partner, Cherry Blossoms is a love flower. I think we´ve made it as a yearly tradition to make photos under the Sakura blooms. I have a collection of my daughter on its branches , climbing and smiling.It´s a treasured memory, a lovely keepsake.
Despite the Pandemic, we always opt and turned to nature´s beauty, gasping for hope and endurance. It provides us strength and healing.
I guess some cherry trees are suited for ornamental purposes only. In some parts of Germany, they are really a huge tourist magnet.Although the sight of these pink blossoms are fleeting, it´s really worth it.
Bees surround the fluffy flowers and hovering around it, and never letting them go.The soft sun gives it´s more radiance, like wanting to show it off.The branches are wide, and provide a gentle shade to people who sits under it.It´s a momentarily comfort, a swift escape, a fleeting gift.In April the weather can be so finicky and thesepink blossoms doesn´t like rain. Today was cold and windy and I could already see that some blooms are wilted.
In the cherry blossom´s shade, there´s no such thing as a stranger.- Kobayashi Issa
More snapshots of our Pink World these days …
Our cheery blossoms here are nothing compared to Japan and US and other countries.But then I am grateful that we were able to see it´s beauty once a year even for a few days.It is definitely a tender beginnings for us as we see another year and battling the scares of Corona.
When I was younger, I am addicted to bags and shoes.I needed different bag for each day and I wanted to wear pretty shoes.I often wear heels at work and I really don´t mind them on my feet.When I got pregnant and had a child, I opt for comfy ones, something that I can run with it and my bags turned into backbacks full of my daughter´s things.
I prefer also large Tote bags and sling bags, since they are so practical , wearable while cycling and when we are always on the run.
But something had changed. I got hooked into plants. Green plants mostly.
I got obsessed with green.Lots of green living plants inside our home.Through time I got to know different kinds of plants.First I saw them online, there are lots of trendy plants in Instagram and I frequently visited garden shops.I think my environment now influence me a lot since a lot of people here, not only expats like me love the urban jungle phenomenon.
It started with one pot, then comes another, then comes another, then the rest is history.Most of these plants are a year younger than my daughter now, so basically, these plant babies ” grew” up with us.We got older, they blossomed, pruned, and had babies as well.
I love being with them and though it´s a lot of work to take care each of them, it makes me happy.I also killed lots of them.I overwatered, I pruned too much, and learned from doing trial and error.I ma overjoyed when I see new leaves, or new sprouts.When my purple Oxalis Triangularis bloomed, I was jumping because they are so pretty. She had so many babies and I already gave away to my friends some of it.Some of my all time favourites are the Monstera Deliciousa, Adansonii, Mother in law tongue or snakeplant, ZZ plant, Fiddle Leaf fig tree, Rubber plant, African Milk tree, Arrowhead, Weeping fig, and Pilea Peperomoiodes.
Now that it´s Spring, my plants are happy to get more sunlight, extra dose of fertilizer and new soil. Some of them got moved into a bigger pot. It´s the planting season so they are really gearing for a new growth spurt.During the pandemic, I noticed that most of my friends, here and abroad have opt to do gardening and getting into plants.I felht good, and I know its really great especially when you have something that you are passionate about.
Besides, growing your own veggies and herbs are really cool. Nothing beats it when you personally grow it.This Spring, I planted carrots, radishes, herbs, paprika and tomatoes. I can´t wait to see them grow and hopefully, land on our plates.
I think living with plants requires a special dedication. It requires patience and hardwork. Maybe people loved only to design their homes with plants, but that also requires attention since plants are living things. You can´t ignore them once you put them in the corner.For me, each plant becomes a treasure.I bought them when they are so small ( I only buy baby plants ) and watching them thrive and grow gives me such happiness.
I frequently visits the library and borrow books about different plants and how to take care of them. Some plants really need special care from the other and that makes sense since every plant has its own personality. I mastered the watering schedule and pruning times, and I become addicted as well of propagating them. I have a big Pothos now and they mostly came from cuttings.
I think aside from painting, I would love to continue taking care of my plants until I can do it.
They are beautiful, cleaning the air we breathe, and they make our tiny home so liveable so I cannot ask for more.
I guess, this is the kind of obsession that I wanna keep.What about yours?
This post is totally inspired by the exciting Life in Colour Challenge hosted by Hey Jude which coincidentally themed with “GREEN” colours.Definitely, for me, green obsession is a kind of life, a lifestyle where green plants are the stars.
Anyway, tomorrow is maundy Thursday, and here in Germany, we called it “der Gründonnerstag” .Traditionally this means that we need to prepare and eat something that is “green”. Spinach, kale, green beans,lettuce and alike are normal favourites!
What do people usually means when they say “Not to Scale“?
Looking back in my college days where we are asked to draw a floor plan, elevations and everything, this term is very common and eventually it becomes a normal terminology. Triangular Scale is a very important tool that I have often used, and through the years, I have learned that in reality, not all things can be presented with the exact proportions. Everything depends on how you make your own perspective.
Just like we gain and lose weight as we grow old…
Idealism has a fair play through the years.I asked myself before where could be a perfect place that expats finally call it a “home”?
To scale means allowing us to understand the relationship between a drawing or an illustration and a presentation or a scale model—against the Reality. If you are able to draw accurately as per scale and you can immediately shift from one scale to another, like from 1:100 to 1:50 then you can do very well in doing architectural drawings and spatial design.Looking at scale models help us to have a perspective of what would it look like once it built, a bird´s eye view, a glimpse of the vision into reality.
I can very well use the principle of Scale in my life as an Expat.
After we leave our homelands, we , too have a perspective in minds. We all carry a luggage of dreams, hopes and expectations.
I know from a fact that from an Expat eyes, everything is different from the tourist’s view and from the locals itself. A Tour Package always highlights the best, the most sought-after destinations and attractions, the off the beaten path are reserved for adventurous ones.As tourists, we want to see the icing of the cake.
What´s in? where´s the famous places? where are the top attractions?
A place is only a setback of your expectations, dreams and aspirations. Everyone has their own reason why they decided to move to a new place—either for work, better life, education, to bridge a relationship, or to just simply fulfill a wanderlust—the longing for a change.But in reality, the moment we started to see things in a different way, our perspective of the new place is changing.Probably this is the stage where we start to integrate, accept and ” do as the locals do“.
I grew up not knowing what is “Recycling ” or upcycling is.But since I came here, I started to obey and do what is norm and not just to avoid the angry stares of my neighbours if they ever saw me putting plastic in the Restmull, the black container.I started to dispose the Green, white and brown glasses in the Glass Containers as well and yes, I got acquianted with the “Yellow Sack” as well. In my bag is always an extra shopping bag, even in my bicycle and in the car, there is always a place for shopping bags.
Why, because here in Germany, you bring your own bags and pack your own grocery. I even observed the Rühezeit, the silent Sunday where we don´t mow the lawn in the garden and no loud music.I remember our times in Kuwait where the shopping cart is alwys full of plastic bags. There is no recycling there, people totally just throw garbage everywhere.Littering is quite a norm.They are really a big fan of using plastic bags there for grocery shopping.I think you collect up to 20 pieces of shopping bags for every grocery!
Now that I remember it, I felt odd.
Fast forward,5 years after, I began to look at Germany, especially Bavaria, in a “Not to scale”terms.Do I really belong here ? or this place does even exceed my expecation?
If you have your own terms of measurement about the quality of life that you want, or your preferred surroundings, then it is better not to put borders. If you expect too much and then ended up into a mountain of dissapointment, then you just feel worse.
“Why are people here are so unfriendly and “cold”?
“Why the weather keeps on changing every four hours?”
“Why Winter here in Germany is too long”?
” Why learning German is necessary to survive here?”
” Why customer service here sucks or totally non-existent?”
Because in reality, things can be crooked, out of proportion, partially twisted, and though it looks to be perfect, it will have uneven features. I call this “Reality bites in the life of an Expat.”
As an onlooker, with naked eyes, I always ponder on the views that I see. I think it´s normal.For 5 years that I am walking the streets here in Bavaria, I still am not that fully integrated yet…or maybe I am, but sometimes, I feel like I am feeling at home.A combination of these rollercoaster feelings.
I hate it here during the long winter months but I really love it here during Spring and Summer. I loved how good the roads are and how communting can be so easy and flexible, and yes, that everything adheres to punctuality. I loved that I can even worked from home during this Pandemic times ,do part time jobs and have a job security. I appreciate that women even can take longer maternity leaves to care for their babies and come back to their jobs.
I loved the fact that my child is growing up in a kid-friendly environment and we are surrounded with playgrounds and nature.Its even amazing that traveling becomes easy, and I don´t need to worry about cash when I get sick because of the good Health Insurance System here. I even got new vaccinations ( all for free!) since I came here.
Speaking of Not to scale scenarios, here in Bavaria, the tallest building ( a Tower or a Turm) actually that I have ever been to is the Olympic Tower in Munich and the Pfeifturm here in Ingolstadt, which is btw a former watchpost. The tallest building here in Bavaria is actually the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt, reaching up to 259m.Actually, Frankfurt is the only city with lots of Skycrapers.Here in Germany, they try to preserved the German cultural heritage therefore the historical, Medieval and Renaissance skyline still dominates most of the old towns up to this day. It´s actually its unique charm.
There´s nothing compared walking into lovely, German old Town´s unique streets lined up with well-deserved architecture and rich history.
This is an absolute contrast to the former views that I have while living in Kuwait. Kuwait is a small city but it has skyscrapers and modern buildings. Quite a few are worthy to mention actually, just like my favorite-the Al Hamra Tower, the tallest building in Kuwait.It´s even named as one of the best inventions in 2011 by Times Magazine.After we left I´ve heard that there are more sleek buildings and modern architecture built.We´ve got used to the norm that modernity and functional aesthetics comes with beautiful modern buildings.
Speaking of malls, I haven´t seen quite comes close to the Avenues in Kuwait.It´s really a shopping mall with beautiful architecture.This mall itself is an attraction there.While here in Germany, shopping is like taking a leisure stroll in the inner city lined with authentic, unique shops.I haven´t really had that “mall feeling” even from our local Ingolstadt Village where “branded” marks have their boutiques and it´s already considered high end .I am not a shopaholic and into top end brands.I am more of the functional shopper–getting what I need and love to ogle some pretty nice things.Nowadays, a trip to the Greenhouse, Botanical gartdens and anything with plant shop is my thing.
But then I guess, “not to scale ” in Expat life also means that you perceive things depending on your taste.When you have seen beauty and therefore your standards have been set, then others can either comes to second or outweigh your preferences.
But, looking through Kuwait from above made me realize that scale is really not important. Some things might quite look a bit odd, or lacking in proportion, but then, it embodies the urban presentation of the area.
“Why would the local ladies dressed up to kill , heavily make-up on, nails are done and perfumed when they are covered in Abaya with only the eyes being shown , in stilettos and doing grocery shopping?”
Or why would most of the drivers love to speed up their cars, with children in front without seatbelt and with loud banging music?
Recently we came across a car and it´s driving a bit faster than allowed, with loud Arabic music in the background and then suddenly, I realized that I already made an assumption .They are absolutely Arabic ( doesn´t matter if they came from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon or UAE; or even Kuwait) but when I´ve heard the word “Yalla“ , then I am sure I haven´t been wrong.
Was my mind programmed? or were my ears gotten used to these local behaviors?
I am sure I would probably recognized in a crowd that they are German,or coming from Bavaria if they say ” Servus, Grüs Gott! ” as well!
What do you loved the most in your city?
Wishing you all Happy Sunday and Stay safe.Tschüss.
“Natural Light uses the sun as the natural light source..”
The theme for this week´s LAPC is natural light.I love this theme since I am fond of watching sunrises and sunsets.It´s one of my favourite subject to photograph.Photo above is my very first encounter watching a naked sunrise before my eyes, up close and personal.I managed to get up at 4am and did some hike to Kiltepan Peak then watch the skies turns into dancing palletes of different colors.This is truly special for me.I remember this time I haven´t had a good camera, only my old Sony phone I think.But then, I can´t trade this experience for other thing.
A gentle Tropical sunrise and the clouds slowly descending from the mountain peaks to the valley.(Kiltepan Peak)
Oh we had a such abundance of natural light from the sun in Kuwait.I´ve been wearing sunglasses everytime I get out since I can´t help but to squint since rays is too strong for my eyes.
There´s not much nature to photograph there since it has a dry, arid desert climate but then I love watching the sunsets & sunrise there.Because of its soaring hot temperatures, enjoying the sun is not as favorable as here in Europe or in Asia. We have dark curtains and windows are often closed because of dust. Thank God I was living 5 minutes away from the beach and yes, I do miss the views of the beach from our bedroom. We have abundant scorching sun even past after 7pm, together with humidity and heat as high as 49 degrees in summer. During sandstorms, the skies are totally grey, dark and sickening.
Here are some of my favorite spots where I spend countless times walking and watch the skies turns into orange, and pink to purple.So many golden precious hours….my favourites were taken from the Marina, and the endless seafront along the 5th Ring Road in Salmiya.
In the broad daylight, natural light brings bright colors from Kuwait´s unique marine and aquatic architecture.The displays of Dhows and marine life becomes so alive and the culture itself is so enticing. Mind you, it seldom rains in Kuwait, I think only 2 times in a year and it´s like a light drizzle compared here in Germany. Kuwait´s skies is often cloudless, clear and blue .
The first time I saw this rippling orange purple skies during Fall here in Germany.It was quick but it was definitely worth the wait! I took this photo just outside our bedroom window.Amazing!
Soft bright light turns an ordinary view from the Danube River into like marble slate finish.
The dancing Date Palm trees in Kuwait creates a wonderful backdrop for a purple blue skies.
I think light portrays a vital part in this cascading greens in Munich, Germany.Natural light gives nature more power to affect us and makes us better storytellers.
The rugged hills in Mittenwald on a crisp, bright morning and during dawn it looks like flaming mountains.
Below photos are taken from my neigborhood where I spent countless running and walking.Ordinary places becomes special and go through into a metamorphosis depending on the season and weather.
This view is the reason why I never stop exploring and wandering.Afterall, the light is there to guide my steps…
Here´s another interesting German word : Frühlingsfreude (n) which means Spring Joy.
Frühlingsfreude is actually a combined words of Frühling ( Spring) and Freude( Joy) . Anything that brings gladness in hearts during Spring .As always, nature comes first but it can also means a simple act of kindness, hearing all day long the chirping of birds, or even running on an early morning with fog.
Over the past few days these are what gives me Frühlingsfreude;
I smiled when I finally saw these tiny yellow buds, and purple Crocuses! They definitely brings me a feeling of new beginnings.It´s still so cold outside and mostly minus temps, good thing the sun shines graciously.
The amazing smell all over the house filled with the scent of freshly home baked Èmpanadas` and Frühlingsrolle or Lumpia for a light Dinner.
Taking long walks while soaking up under the sun.
I don´t know why but there are plenty of swans and ducks over here.Everypond, lake and river it is impossible not to notice a duck.So yes, seeing them at this time is always refreshing.The other day, we sat by the river and ducks came to us immediately, waiting for some bread pieces…!
I had also few trips to Garden shops ( since they finally reopened!!!) to get some soil , pebbles , fertilizers and seeds.This Spring I wanted to start a new Hochbeet ( or elevated garden) to plant some veggies and herbs).Its still minus temps at night so I am waiting until the last frost then I could proceed with garden work.
I gave it a ” Go” when I read that this month´s color theme from Travel Words Life in Colouris Green. In German, its called Grün. In my native language its Berde .It´s one of my favourite color and inpiration in my Abstract paintings .I love it since it´s fresh, calming and very natural. Aside from Blue, I can´t imagine the world without the green color. I am a plant lover, nature wanderer and I find just looking at greens so Zen.
Here are some of the fascinating green moments in my travels and wanderings.
Few more weeks and its Spring here in Europe, I am sure my walks would be full of green sights again.For all my lady Friends, I wish you all Happy World Women´s Day!
Graffiti Art “ I will love you always and Forever ” by Zomb, of Moin Designs, Ingolstadt
Spotted this super cool Graffiti Art the other day and it looks like we can´t wait for warmer days to come. It´s fresh, colorful and yes, free. No masks, no restrictions, just no inhibitions.
It´s hard to get a full frontal view of this Graffti art since I still needto cross the other side of the road. Cylists came and fast cars behind me reminded me that I have to do my best shot quickly.Fortunately I managed to get some.
Sending you warm vibes for another weekend! Stay healthy and safe.
Interested about other Graffiti Art in Ingolstadt? Here are some more.
My usual visit from the weekend Market last Saturday was extra special because of the Ice Figures Art exhibit by Markus Jordan.The Art made of Ice and Frozen water with Figures are installed directly in the heart of the City of Ingolstadt, just a stone throws away from the weekend market. Itwas totally eye-cathing and immediately drawn lots of visitors and people walking through the old city.
We had a row of days with cold temperatures up to approx. minus 16, and these Ice figures just came in time. The front yard of the Stadttheater was transformed into a little winter wonderland with frozen figures. It really depics our current frozen state,with the pandemic and lockdown as well. My most favourite figure was the man with dark cape holding a skull, the robots cycling and my daughter adored the frozen Dinosaur.
What a difference these icefigures could bring to a normal , Saturday market day indeed!
At night, visitorscan enjoy watching them with special lights and effects that makes it even more beautiful.more stunning shots and videos are seen here and here. Doing our daily walking routine was definitely more fun during our visit to this Ice Art Figures.
Today, we´re just thankful for the sunshine, snow and the chance to see this wonderful creative Art!
Also, I recently discovered this App called ” Too Good to Go” , the number 1 anti Food- waste app that is currently being raved by my neighbors so I finally decided to try it and I must say that it is really good.I love vegetables and I really dig in to the weekend offer in our nearby stores and finally I found one being offered in Viktualienmarkt, just in front of the Stadttheater. I arrange my order, the Vitamin C-Heimat, and I was totally satisfied of what I´ve got just for 8Euros! Lots of different kind of Veggies in one big bag.I certainly can´t buy that much with the same amount in a supermarket.
After I posted my Life in Color : Yellow pt.1, today I discovered that I still have an unfinished Draft about “Yellow” . Just in time that I was rummaging my Photo Archives for “Yellow photos” which then reminds me that this month´s theme for Life in Color is all about Yellow. So I decided to complete this oldie one so here´s the second part.
I guess it´s never too much too add more brightness on this dark grey stormy weather we are having now here in Germany.This would probably the one of the lasts snowy days, soon days will get warmer.There´s few yellow things to spot on but then, take a minute to notice, there´s quite a lot of ordinary yellow things can still be found outside.Having lots of walking made me appreciate more my neighborhood , surprisingly we found more yellow!
Here is the second part of Life in Color: Yellow
Writing this Post made me remember my previous work with colors.I worked in a Lab and I am sort of in charge of the RAL colors for Powder Coating.I kinda know all these shades by heart and distinguishing the color and matching it with samples and required colors is quite a task , but definitely rewarding.Ral has all in all 213 colors and out of the 30 Yellow Hues, personally I find that only 16 shades is actually seemed to be yellow, the rest are just combination shades, if you look closely, it looked exactly not yellow, more like beige, .
I am now so curious if I have captured every shade of Yellow, from Sand Yellow, Ochre Yellow to Sun Yellow.From my naked eye, yellow is yellow! I guess I haven´nt yet so the chase is still on.I am also quite astonished why all warning signs is in Yellow.Road signs and in autobahn though it is blue or green.
I had lots of fun doing “Let’s paint the Town Purple” color photography post. Lavender, Violets, and different shades of Purple flowers is such a soothing subject so I would definitely be doing another series this coming Spring.
Yellow is such a happy color. It symbolize sunshine and freshness. It’s the total opposite of gray. Watching yellow-orange-burnt red sunrise is actually one of the best pleasures in life. Imagine a sunrise without that golden sunrays?! For me, yellow is bright, unsuperficial and brightness and positivity.
And here´s a photo of my golden Sunshine…!
One of my favourite sport is running and cycling.I cycled almost everyday except in Winter.When the snow is too thick and the roads are slippery, I prefer to walk. But in Summer, cycling through the yellow fields and sunflowers is a favorite family pastime.
Yellow with orange fringe tulips
Of course, this post won´t be complete without my favourite Yellow Tulips. Oh did you know that Tulips only blooms 3-7 days in Spring?They are really seasonal beauties, no wonder visiting a Tulip Garden is only possible in the early weeks of Spring.But anyway, how is it that I always see Tulips bundle in the supermarkets here in Germany? It´s like the all year round flower here , same as roses!
Yellow and even more yellow…
Sometimes the beauty of nature can leave you speechless…like it did to me.
Yellow and purple can be a great palette, a color coded happiness.