Hi Friends– an Important Note!

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Hi friends, how are you? It’s been a hot minute since I last wrote. Speaking of hot, southern California has been experiencing a heat wave the past few weeks and we are all weather wimps out here ;p It’s finally cooling down and I am settling into America again. I still have random bouts of culture shock, though. For example:

The light switches are on the outside of the room in German, but the inside in America. I keep trying to turn on the lights from the outside and can’t find the switch haha!

People here are so smiley and greet each other on the street. I have to remind myself to smile back and make small talk!

Driving a car in a crazy thing. Like, what a concept.

Messaging via normal SMS/iMessage instead of Whatsapp is strange.

I keep saying German words instead of English as vocal fillers lol!

Anyways, all is good. A note: I am not renewing my domain name passportsandpaintbrushes.com. It expires tomorrow and will return to the free version: passportsandpaintbrushes.wordpress.com. Your girl is a cheap skate who can’t be bothered to pay the fee haha! So please visit the latter URL when you want to check out this page from now on. I don’t think it will be automatically rerouted so you will need to type in the new address manually. Then again, who knows. I defy the stereotype that all millennials are tech-savvy. I don’t want to loose any of you lovely followers.

I hope you are having a lovely summer and please leave a comment below just to say hi!

So you want to be a writer

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetSo you want to be a writer, you say? Well, my first piece of advice is to try your best to be anything else. Race car driver, president, astronaut, a race-car driving astronaut, really anything else will do. Try your best at all the other subjects, even though you soon learn you can’t tell the difference between an isosceles triangle and a right triangle to save your life.

Find you neglect your other subjects in favor of spending all your time on your English essays. Your favorite theme is man’s inhumanity to man, so try to work it into every prompt. When your teacher returns your work, covered in so much red ink it probably required the sacrifice of a small animal, the words “off topic” are scrawled across the top. Sink into a dramatic depression for days, until you decide she has no idea what she’s talking about. Continue to write off topic.

In college, try to be an art major. But your favorite part is writing the descriptions beneath the paintings, so you finally change to Creative Writing despite your parents gentle pushes towards business.

In these classes no one is right and no one is wrong. Mostly you just sit in a circle asking “Does this work? Is the metaphor wind of change over done or genius?” No one ever knows. But you are growing prouder of your work. Show it to your roommate occasionally and sometimes even to her boyfriend, an athlete who asks you what the word myriad means.

Try to diversify, but somehow all your characters end up sounding like variations of you: a college girl who has no idea what to do after school. Study abroad your sophomore year and consequently write about it unceasingly until you’re classmates beg you to stop. Still, your final thesis senior years is about an american girl who goes abroad. Decide you need more life experiences.

Date a pakistani guy upon graduation to gain said experiences, and furtively write down everything he says for material. He will make a great character one day. See the breakup as only more material. Unfortunately you will continue to view people this way for approximately the rest of your life.

So write because you have to. Because when you don’t you are a worse person than when you do. And if all else fails, I hear the job of race-car-driving astronaut offers surprisingly good benefits.

 

 

 

Goodbye DBS

Today was my last day at DBS, the school where I’ve worked for the past year. German schools have Project Week the last week of school, where kids get into groups and create things or learn new skills. As a parting gift and project, I made a video about the week along with the help of students. Enjoy!

 

Today I Turn 23!

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetToday I am 23!

The typical response I hear is, “That’s so young!”

And while yes, it is young, I can’t help but think of all the millions upon billions of things that have happened in these 23 short years. And when I do, it actually feels quite old.

In the last 23 years…

I was born.

I grew up in Malibu, surrounded by two kind, handsome brothers, a mom who packed stellar school lunches and plans vacations like a pro, and a dad who’s easy laugh makes everyone love him. I passed afternoons playing in the Santa Monica mountains and summers swimming in the salty Pacific.

I moved to El Segundo, where I learned to drive, kissed a boy for the first time, attempted geometry and politics and biology but discovered the only thing I really like is writing.

I attended university, where I had an endless turnstyle of rooms and roommates and unrequited crushes. I learned to speak mediocre German and studied abroad in Heidelberg, where I was introduced to good coffee and train travel for the first time.

I graduated and moved to Weinheim on my own with two suitcases and tried my best to figure life out. I found an apartment and held a job and attempted to teach kids and get to know my coworkers. I cleaned a cooked and shopped and budgeted for myself. I rode a childs-sized bike everywhere in all manner of wild weather and dreamt longingly of my Honda CRV. I paid bills and made a few friends and deciphered what it means to feel simultaneously like a kid and an adult. I experienced genuine loneliness and joy and depression and elation and anxiety and triumph and love, to name a few. I felt the kindness of strangers and friends alike, who stuck with me through it all even when it might have been easier not to at times.

Thank you to so many people, near and far, who have supported me this year. From the friend who sat with me in a cafe when I was depressed and just listened, to the neighbor who brought me furniture when I had none, to the girlfriend who sent me a letter just because, the mom who mailed me socks when my feet were cold, the family who flew across oceans to visit me, the coworker who bought me american peanut butter, and so many others. I know without a doubt that I couldn’t have done it without you.

And that’s just scratching the surface! So yeah, can you blame me for thinking 23 is actually quite old in the grand scheme of things?! Even though there were times when it wasn’t easy or fun, I’m so grateful to have had the chance to do it all. I don’t deserve these blessings but hey, look, there they are anyways. I think maybe, just maybe, I am finally learning the meaning of gratitude at my advanced age :p

So here’s to 23+ more years of living in and learning about this beautiful world and trying my best to do myself and others proud. What a gift.

Córdoba!

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Spending a bit of time in the south of Spain with my brother and a few friends. My high school Spanish is a bit rusty but I am trying! I loved visiting the Mesquite Cathedral here in Córdoba and seeing the intersection of Christian, Muslim and Jewish architecture in the city. So cool!

Amsterdam 2018

 

 

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetAmsterdam is so hip. Honestly, I almost didn’t feel hip enough to be there!! It is such an artsy, whimsical city filled with friendly, cool people. I am a fan. The only downside is that I contracted Strep Throat while there! Lame. At least I could suffer in a beautiful place 🙂