And then everything changed

Mittwoch, 16. August 2017

#Readmyowndamnbooks Challenge 2017 - Mid August Update

It's time for another update of the Read My Own Damn Books Challenge. It has been a couple of months since my last reading update and there are still many unread books in my shelves, but I did make some progress. I've read four of my books during the last months and I didn't buy any new ones.

Philipp Schmidt - Schattengewächse. Auftakt: This is a German distopia book, the first of a series. I went to a reading of the author and found it intriguing enough to buy it together with a friend. The reason it's not on the photo above is because it's already at my friend's now. The book itself was fine. It wasn't phenomal but it wasn't bad either. There were many interesting ideas of a world ruled by huge companies plus some witchery and stuff. What I didn't like was the portayal of the main character. He was this tough fighter ex-con which is fine but the story was for a big part told from his view and I found it a bit strange that he never really showed any emotions, not even in his thoughts, not even after a huge loss and threat. I got sick of him after a while. The next books focus more on other characters but I still don't think that I will continue with the series - it worked as a stand-alone fine, too.

Holly Smale - Geek Girl: This is the final book of the Geek Girl series which like most of my books I picked up spontaneously second hand. I've read the first and second book of the series, so I missed a couple of books before the final one but it was no problem at all. It was a fun and quick read, which I enjoyed very much. I like the tone of the Geek Girl books and there definitely were some pretty passages which felt true to me. The know-it-all attitude of the main character is always on the edge of been cute and being annoying, though. It was a well written and deserving finale of a fun book series.

Harold Robbins - The Storyteller: So this book was an utter suprise. I had no idea what it was about except that it's soft erotica and that the main character is a writer. As sex and writing are pretty much my two favourite things in the world, I was instantly on board with it and I wasn't disappointed. Turns out the novel is set during the Second World War, however the protagonist, a Jew living in the US, never goes to war, first because he makes some shady deal which has him working as a drug dealer and pimp, then because his writing which started with erotic short stories takes off, he moves to Hollywood and becomes a successful screenwriter. This book was a delight to read. It was juicy in every possible way, from the intrigues over the struggles up to the sex scenes. To be honest, the way women are portrayed wouldn't be publishable in the 21st century but it was fun nevertheless.

Keira Cass - Selection: I was kind of afraid of this book. I decided against buying and reading it so many times because it didn't seem to be my kind of book, but now I finally gave it a try. And I'm so glad I did! I was a bit nervous because I have a really hard time with fantasy at the moment, I just can't get into it, so I was relieved to find out that so far there has been no fantasy at all. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic society with castes. The main character is from a lower caste but is selected to participate in a casting through which the prince chooses his future wife. Regardless of the distopian setting, it feels very contemporary. There is a love triangle and the first book is truly only about the love story with a few mentions of terrorists now and then. Though I have been waiting for the terrorists to become a bigger plotline, I was fine with the shallow beginning of the series. I truly enjoyed it, because as it turns out I apparently like love literature. To be honest, it was pretty predictable but I didn't really mind. I have already purchased the next three books as ebooks and am reading the second one right now. It is already better in regard of unpredictabilily than the first one and has more action (though there's still a lot of love stuff, too.) It has been a long time since I really dept deep into a series, reading one book after the other, but I am ready to dive all in with the Selection series.

I'm not listing the books I want to read soon, as I never keep up with my plans and as the four other books of the Selection series will occupy me for a while anyway.

Mittwoch, 9. August 2017

My College Years

I am almost done with university. Well, if having to do one more semester counts as almost. I'm through with all my classes. Now all I have to do is write three more papers and one thesis and take an oral exam- If everything goes well, I'll be getting my Master's degree next spring. On one hand I'm a bit nervous because when I stop being a student, I will finally have to figure out what else to do with my life. But on the other hand I'm glad that my college years are coming to an end. Though they were mostly awesome, I've studied alltogether for almost nine years (with many breaks and detours) and at some point it's just enough.

I got my High School diploma in 2009 and started studying immediatly after. I always dreamed of being a student. When I was a teenager I looked up to the students I knew because they seemed so mature and independent and cool, they always went to parties and discussed important topics. I wanted to be like that. I waned to have a legendary univeristy experience. And it truly was pretty epic.

I started studying European Studies in a little town in South Germany, but I couldn't have cared less for my classes. I was all about the college life. In 2009 there was a huge student protest movement in Germany and all over Europe against the new Bachelor/Master system, against tuitions and more - and I was in the middle of it. We occupied the biggest lecture hall and it was so much fun. But we also were serious about our fight. We did so many cool things, performances, strikes, demonstrations, art, everything. I loved it. I had a protest blog and because of a university intern scandal I found out about and which I wrote about, my blog blew up. Many people were not happy with my involvement but I stood up for what I believed in. I also critizised the official university blog for being too one-sided, till the editor asked me to write for it, to make it more diverse. My whole job was pretty much pointing out all the flaws in the systems. It was so much fun. We also reached some of our goals: attendance at the classes was not mandatory anymore and the university counsel got another student representative. Also years later the tuition was abolished.

But with all the protesting, obviously I was way behind with my classes. I think in the end of the semester I took only one exam. Besides protesting, I also really liked to party. I went out with friends most nights, stayed out till the early morning hours and slept till the afternoon. Those truly were the easy times.

In my very first week at university I met my best college friend who later became my roommate. It was pretty much friendship at first sight. We bonded on similar levels of craziness and got along instantly. At the end of my first semester I found out that I had to move out of my room like the next day. I didn't know where to go, so my friend suggested I move into her room. We changed apartments once more during our Bachelor years but we shared a room for the rest of the time. In Germany this is not common at all. People thought it was strange that we lived in the same room, there were many rumors about us, including that we're a lesbian couple. Rumors and gossip was a huge deal in that small university town anyway. It was a pretty conservative catholic town, so that every little wild move was a big deal.

After my first semester, I decided to change my major. I realized that the only subject of European Studies which interested me was Politics, so I changed to Governance and Public Policy which was much more up my sleeve. Which didn't mean that I got any better in actually attending classes in my second semester. I was still very ative in protest groups. Also I was dating a guy living in Berlin at this time and skipped school to visit him. For a couple of months I was head over heals for him but it soon faded. Deep down I still believed that love is a scam.

Then my first big summer break came and it too was epic. I spend two weeks in San Francisco with my best childhood friend. It was such a magical time and I fell in love with this city. San Francisco is still my favourite city on this planet and I can't wait to go back there. I also went on an Interrail trip with an old High School friend who is still my best friend after all these years. We traveled around Europe for one month, always traveling by train, staying at friends', in Hostels or camping. This was such a sensational trip. We went to Milano, Cannes, Arles, Bordeaux, Paris, London and Exeter. Our planning wasn't the best and many things went wrong but the spontanity and unpredictability of the trip was also exiting. We had the time of our lives and I could write an entire post about this trip.

After summer break, everything seemed a bit dull back at my university. I broke up with the guy I was seeing. The protests quieted down. Also I was really getting into problems because I was so behind with my studies. I didn't reach the minium points which you were supposed to have in your third semester and they wanted to kick me out. But I talked with my professor and he put in a good word for me to give me another chance. However I knew I had to speed up a bit.

We moved into another apartment, away from the ghetto with creepy neighbors we lived in before into the old town which was so much better. Still I somehow had enough of school for the moment. So I took two vacation semesters and got out of there.

I moved back to my hometown and did several jobs. First I worked for an online portal and wrote about shops etc. in my town which was awesome. Then I did an internship at a big Germany newspaper but I didn't like it and quit. Then I worked for an advertisement company which was alright.

I dreamed of studying abroad. Originally I wanted to go to Great Britain but they told me I would have no chance there with my crappy marks and I should try the US where there are more universities to choose from. I applied for a partner program from my university with the University of South Alabama but I wasn't accepted. Then my professor sent me infos on another program with the Western Michigan University and I was accepted there. I was beyond happy! In August 2011 I finally made my way across the Atlantic Ocean.

My exchange semester truly was everything. It was fun and scary and interesting and overwhelming and magical and life-changing. I took writing classes which was awesome. In the beginning I went to all the parties and it was fun for a while but it also got pretty exhausting after some time. I felt like all the relationships I had were only superficial. I finally made friends with other international exchange students.

One of them was a fellow German student. We became best friends but I fell in love with him pretty quickly. Love is probably the wrong word, obsession is more accurate. We actually started dating after a while which is when everything fell apart. I don't want to get into the details but it got ugly. He dumped me and I was heartbroken.

Then there was this other guy, an American, who hang around with my friends now and then but I didn't really know him. The night after my ex broke up with me, he found me crying and consoled me. Three days later we kissed for the first time. A week later we went to prom together. More than five years later, last month, we got engaged.

The people I met during my exchange semester who I thought were going to be real friends, disappointed me. I was upset but in the end they didn't matter. What mattered was him, as I soon grew to love him, really love him like I never loved someone before.

In December I went home to Germany and had to leave him behind. It was a really difficult time, but we visited each other. I actually went back for almost two months and stayed with him because I couldn't stand being apart from him. In May 2012 he moved to Germany. I was back at my old univerity city. He moved in with me for some months, then started an exchange year at another univeristy.

Suddenly I didn't care about all the parties and protests anymore. I couldn't wait to get my degree so that I could start my future with him. Which is why I did so many classes and took so many exams till I was done with them three semesters later.

My boyfriend was done with his exchange year too and we both moved back to Michigan. I wrote by Bachelor thesis and he finished his Bachelor degree. I also did an internship at a newspaper over there which was amazing! It was such a great experience! I had to do one more semester because I failed an exam and had to re-take it. But in summer 2014 I finally got my Bachelor degree.

We moved back to Germany, to another city. My bofriend started a Master program over there. Actually I was already tired of studying and wanted to work but I didn't find a job and also I didn't really know what I wanted to do. My Mum suggested that I also do a Master, so I thought: Why not? But if I continue studying, I want to do something different. So I started a Master's program in German literature. It was really interesting.

After a semester a publishing house to which I had applied for a training program after by Bachelor, contacted me and the publisher said that someone left the company and now they have an open spot. I took the opurtunity and paused my studies. For the next one and a half years I worked for this publishing house. It was stressful but it was also an amazing experience which shaped me into the person I am today. I learned that I'm actually good at things I never expected to be good at. I got a lot more confortable with social situations, people in general and big crowds.

After the trainee program ended, the publisher offered me to continue working there but I decided to continue my Master's program. It was still really interesting and I already wrote papers on so many fascinating subjects. I'm looking forward to working on my thesis but I'm also looking forward to being done with studying once and for all though I'm not sure what will come after. It feels weird to think that next year I won't be a student anymore. My college years are coming to an end and it truly feels like the end of an era. Also I'm getting married soon, so I'm optimistic that it will be the beginning of a new era full of even better and bigger things. I can't wait.

Dienstag, 1. August 2017

Don't wait for the perfect moment

A lot of things are happening in my life right now and the truth is they would never have happened if I waited for the perfect moment, the perfect day, the perfect oppurtunity.

When I was younger I used to think that you can only make significant decisions in your life, when everything else is in order. You have to have it all figured out to move forward - or so I thought. Which obviously is utter bullshit. My idea of making a decision was taking a long walk, rationally contemplating the pros and cons and then making a consious, well-informed decision. Well, I can't think of any major decision in my life since I graduated High School (which was eight years ago) which I made that way.

Usually things just somehow happen to me. An oppurtunity comes my way and I either grab it or leave it. (In most cases I take it.) Even if it might seem like these decisions were initiated by someone else or even by fate and I just spontanously react to them, I think that sub-consiously I still made this happen. I notice an ad for a job and spontanously apply to it, which turns out to be an awesome position. I get the oppurtunity of a job training I applied to six months ago because now a position has opened up. I kiss a guy because I was heart-broken over my ex and he was nice and sweet and handsome - and five and a half years later we're still in love and just got engaged. You get what you send out into the world. Oppurtunities happen because your attitude makes you notice certain things which align to your mood and needs.

My point is, if you wait for the perfect moment to make a big move, you are going to wait forever because life will never be perfect. Neither your career nor your private life has to be perfect in order for you to move forward.

So stop saving that pretty dress for a special occasion. Stop hiding that expensive wine for the day you reach that major milestone. Stop keeping yourself from doing something you want, because it's not the right time. Timing is always crappy. Just do it. Life's short, so tell the person you're in love with how you feel, quit your job and take on your passion project, accept that ring if you want to spend your life with someone, hug your family, have amazing sex, go on the trip you dreamed of. Do it now. The perfect moment will never be there but if you stop waiting for it your life will be perfect on an everyday basis.

Freitag, 28. Juli 2017

Recap of the Game Of Thrones Season 7 Story Lines

Game of Thrones is back and I'm already obsessed with the new season, which is why I decided to recap the story lines and comment them.

*** SPOILER ALERT for Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 1 + 2 ***

The King of the North and his Sister (or Cousin)

So, Jon Snow is truly King of the North, which by itself is fine, he is a very righteous man who wants nothing but the best for the people, even if by this he means all people and not his people - which might be his biggest problem. The scene in episode 1 where he decides to forgive those houses who fought for Ramsay Bolton against him pretty much sums up what kind of person Jon is. Yes, he does want justice, but not as much as uniting as many houses as possible to fight the Wight Walkers. To be fair, he's absolutely right with this, as the White Walkers are the biggest threat to Westeros, but his way of welcoming traitors and enemies into his rows is dangerous. After all this is what got him killed once, when he stood by the Wildling after they raided villages, robbed them, killed hundreds of people and burned their houses to the ground. It looks like Jon has learned nothing from being stabbed by his brothers at the Night's Watch. So though I believe that Jon is trying to do the right thing, I have to agree with Sansa that he does it in a massively stupid way.

Speaking of Sansa, she has become one of my favourite characters and I'm totally rooting for her. She is smart and fierce and badass and she is absolutely right about everything she says. She has learned quite a bit in the midst of all the shit she had to go through and she came out a bigger and better person. I adore her. I'm so annoyed by Jon constantly undermining her knowledge and never listening to her to the point where I even hope he will feel the bad cosequences of this soon. At least now he has left Winterfell in her hands. There is also Littlefinger at her side but I think by now Sansa is not in any way weaker than Littlefinger, in fact she is manipulating him. We all know that Littlefinger wants Sansa and wants to sit on the Iron Throne with her by his side and though this will probably not happen, it's definitely not the worst that could happen. Sansa deserves better than living in her brother's (I mean cousin's) shadow.

By the way, the only time I liked Jon in season 7 so far, was when he grabbed Littlefinger and threatened to hurt him if he touches Sansa (though he will obviously not be able to do so, as he is leaving her alone with him in Winterfell). I want to see more of this passionate, dangerous Jon Snow, because the calm and reasonable one bores me so much.

Cerceis Reign and her Suitor

In Kingslanding Cercei is sitting on the Iron Throne. After all her children died, she is left with nothing to loose and totally made this her mantra. Unfortunately she has run out of allies, which is why she envited Euron Greyjoy, who wants to marry her but first he has to bring her a present. I thought the present might be Tyrion or possible a dragon (as in the books he has a horn which controls dragons) but it turns out it's destroying the fleet of his relatives Yara and Theon Greyjoy. This scene was so cool and I was happy to see such a fun fighting scene already in episode 2. While Yara is captured, Theon pulls a Theon, jumps over board and flees. But Euron still has Yara Greyjoy and (more importantly) the queen of Dorne who poisened Cercei's daughter Myrcella to bring Cercei. Plus the fact that he totally ruined Danaerys plan and robbed her of two of her Westerosian allies which I was glad to see.

Can we pause a moment to appreciate how hot Euron is? I didn't see it in season 6 (not at all) but his new look and his Viking's rough charm really gets me. I can't wait to see more of him!

In the meantime Cercei is rallying more lords around her though she is utterly unpopular but they still fear her and prefer her over Danaerys' foreign army. Also there's still Jaime at her side, handsome, loyal, brave Jaime who is still fighting her fight though he has lost all his children. The only thing he is fighting for anymore is Cercei herself, so let's see how long this will be enough for him. Many people predict that he will turn against her soon, which might happen at some point, but I still think that people underestimate how much he loves her.

Arya's Serial Murder Spree

So, Arya has turned into a serial murderer. She killed the entire Frey family and was on her way to do the same with the Lannisters, before she got to know that her favourite brother (or rather cousin) Jon is King of the North and decided to go there instead. Which was honestly a huge relieve. First, because if the rest of the show is Arya going from enemy to enemy and slaughtering everyone, this would get boring fast. Secondly, because her new murderer self is absolutely disturbing. She is truly broken beyond repair and now she has the ability to make her sad murder spree a success (but at what cost?).

Danaerys is Playing War

So, Danaerys has finally (after six seasons) arrived in Westeros which means that the Essos story lines are coming to an end. Next to the Greyjoys and the Dornish (which are both in Euron's power now), she has the Tyrells as allies, also Tyrion and Varys are on her side, plus now obviously the Red Priestress, who is very powerful. She also has a plan, which I won't get into here, because I couldn't care less about Danaerys. In fact, after six seasons she still annoys the hell out of me. Now she has invited Jon Snow and he accepted which will be interesting but is just another one of Jon's decision which makes him unpopular among his own people. I do like Tyrion and I enjoy watching him and I can understand why he is standing against his family after he has suffered so much shit from them.

Sam is Solving Mysteries in Old Town

Sam is training to be a master in old town with the goal to find ways to fight the White Walkers. He just found out, that there's a gigantic pile of Dragon Glass beneath Dragonstone, where Danaerys has moved in, which kills White Walkers and which is the reason Jon is going there (though he was eager to do so even before he found out about the Dragon Glass). I still wonder, how they're going to get the Dragon Glass. They probably whould have to blow up the entire city to get there, right? Also Sam is helping Jorah to get rid of his Grey Scale, because he is a very decent guy after all.

Bran Possible Screwed Everything Up (Again)

Bran has passed the wall and there's a theory that this will liften the magic boundery which keeps the White Walkers out, as he has been marked by the White Walker leader. So, it's quite possible that the White Walkers will either walk around the Wall or just knock it down. Either way they will get into Westeros. I am excited for all the remaining Starks (Sansa, Bran and Arya) being united soon, though.

The Hound is a Prophet Now

Oh, and there was the bit about the Hound looking into the fire and seeing said White Walkers passing the wall, which seems like a pretty accurate prediction. He is travelling with the Brotherhood without Banners who serve the God of Light which makes an entertaining combination of people.

That's what happened so far. I can't wait to see more of Euron, of Cercei and Jaime as well as of Sansa being her usual classy self. This is going to be an epic season.

Mittwoch, 19. Juli 2017

Quotes to guide me in my 26th year

Sorry, that I missed the post last week - so much was going on. Among other I turned 26! I originally wanted to choose 26 quotes but as I have saved like 1500 quotes it was tough to narrow them down to only 26, so here are a few more (or more precisely: a lot more!). Here's to a hopefully sensational 26th year of my life!