70% nostalgia – a monthly roundup

Saturday, August 1, 2020

July has been very good to me. So far, we had the kind of summer I love: Sunny, dark blue sky, 23°C max and a bit of a chilly breeze. And a rainy day once a week. Being able to wear shorts and a sweater outside without breaking a sweat – that’s my idea of perfect summer weather.

July has also been the month of very big capital-B-Big Life Changes: We signed the lease for a new apartment and finally, finally got a puppy!

We’ve been thinking about both of those things for at least three years I wanna say. “Any dog news?” became a running gag in my family because we’d been talking about getting a dog for so long.
I also remember us looking at apartments for the first time back in early 2016. I had just moved to Berlin the year before and we were definitely happy with our place, but would have loved a bit more space and a balcony (and quieter neighbors)… We live in a very beautiful but (for my liking too) busy part of Kreuzberg. I’ve absolutely loved living here, but over the past two years, I felt like this area and I were slowly growing apart. It got even busier, the building we’re living in got louder and when I went on runs or walks I felt like I saw trash lying around everywhere all the time. I realize that I probably started focusing on the negative and thus noticed even more negative things instead of also seeing all the positive aspects. Situations like these never only are either good or bad – but people change, I changed, and other things got more important: Living in a greener, quieter area, with less people around, more (breathing) space, closer to a lake or forest. This, of course, comes with being further away from museums, cafés and restaurants etc., but as I said – at this point in my life, I’d rather have a little back porch or balcony and a lake fifteen bike minutes away than sixteen different cafés and twelve yoga studios (I never went to any of them btw) within a radius of 500m of my apartment. Goodbye vegan sushi, smoothie bowls and iced americanos.

Hunting for an apartment was tiring and time consuming. But compared to the struggle people without our privilege surely would have had to go through, it probably was a cake-walk. I’m grateful we found something we like and managed to sign the lease before our puppy moved in. Driving all around Berlin and looking at places with a little puppy who just wants to play, pee and sleep all the time wouldn’t have been good for either of us. We were also lucky enough to find a place that’s really perfect for a little dog, with access to a communal green space right at our doorstep and lots of parks and woods close by.
Nevertheless, we’re also really sad to be leaving Kreuzberg and our current place. As the moving date draws closer, I feel this heaviness in my chest sometimes.
As I said, things usually never are one thing or the other. I always find that when something new (and very positive!) is happening, I still tend to grieve the old chapter I’m leaving behind. I used to get really frustrated with myself when I felt that way, because I thought I was refusing change or that I (self destructively) wanted to remain in a bad or not ideal, but familiar situation instead of taking a leap and trying something new. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster going back and forth between feeling sad about leaving this borough, this place, this set up and being very excited about a change of scene, a new and bigger space, a new area of Berlin to explore…

I also realized – … or it’s a theory of mine – that ever since my mum passed away two years ago, I’m having a really hard time with change and especially with leaving something behind that she knew. My mum has been in this apartment, she knew our place, she was able to picture me in my space when we were talking on the phone, we went to the café around the corner for breakfast when she visited, she knew and really liked this area. Leaving it feels a bit like leaving her here. I cannot show her around our new neighborhood. I cannot invite her to our new place, show her how my life has changed and evolved. It sometimes feels like the life I’ve been living since the day of her death, isn’t even real. Because I wasn’t able to share any of it with her.

~ Life is hard ~ . Change is a part of life and so is saying goodbye to chapters before starting new ones. Change is good and scary and uncomfortable. But discomfort is necessary for growth. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. Now I only have to start believing it.

Everett moved in on July 9th and has been the determining factor in our lives ever since. He’s settling in very well and we’re slowly accustoming him to our daily routines as well as establishing new ones with him. It’s another huge change, but we thought about it for so long and were finally brave enough to take the step.
Since playing with, taking care of and trying to train Everett is taking up most of my time, I didn’t get around to doing other things like drawing, writing, reading or posting on social media. Everett is teaching us to live in the moment – when he’s ear deep in his food or chasing something in the garden or wrestling with a toy – nothing else counts.
There have been days where I plain forgot to check instagram and opened the app for the first time in the late afternoon. I’ve also been posting much less, or sometimes forgot to even take pictures or just didn’t bring my phone in the first place. It’s been good … this trying to be here now.

Speaking of: My daily yoga practice is still very much a priority. I actually splurged and signed up for Adriene’s Find What Feels Good membership site. After doing “Yoga with Adriene” on YouTube for over five years, I thought it was time. And I really love it. Yoga is more important to me than ever. Since Everett is taking up so much of our time, having short periods of time to oneself has become even more precious. I’m also incorporating brief meditations at the end of my practices and the time on my mat is something I’m looking forward to each day.

Who’d have thought that 2020 would be the year that I buy my very first Taylor Swift album? To be honest, I’ve never been a TS fan and I probably will never become one either – I’m evil, I know. I only ever listened to a few songs from Red and 1989 back in the day – apart from that, I used to ignore Taylor Swift’s music. With Reputation she then lost me entirely.
And then, last week, when I saw someone’s story on instagram, reposting Taylor Swift announcing her new album, I all of a sudden felt the excitement that die-hard Swifties surely must have felt. And this kind of excitement was exactly what I needed. Being excited just because I knew how excited other people would be – … am I losing it? Probably.

Summer always makes me feel so nostalgic. Summer makes me miss past summers, people, places, feelings. Most of the time I’m 70% nostalgia and the rest is anxiety. This year even more than usual. We don’t have any big plans to look forward to, no visits home, no traveling abroad. So I’m reminiscing in memories of past trips which of course, is only feeding the wanderlust and nostalgia further.
What I currently can’t stop thinking about is 1) the Lake District where we went two years ago and 2) the glorious Pacific Northwest, where we spent three weeks last year.
Ironically enough, we had planned trips to the UK and the US – the latter for August and a brief visit to England for late September – neither of which is going to happen, of course. I would have been in Washington for the release of the new Twilight book – judge me, I don’t care, but what is more nostalgic and (also needed in this time) than the (very unexpected) new book in a series you loved over ten years ago? I also would have been in the UK for the release of the new Detective Strike novel. The last one came out during our aforementioned trip to the Lake District. I bought a copy in Newcastle before we headed to Ambleside, where I read it in our cottage overlooking the old town.

What a great luxury to be able to reminisce in memories like these and also have cancelled travel plans be my biggest “problem” or disappointment in these times.
Circling back to folklore – … the album sounds like pure nostalgia to me. It sounds like all the feels, like past summers, like travel memories, like a thunderstorm after a hot day, like a very soft, favorite tee. Especially august and this is me trying.
I’m excited – legit first hand excited – that this music just magically appeared. I’m also first hand excited about the new Twilight book, the new Strike novel, today’s weather and a summer spent at home.

And yeah, considering how July showed me this breezy, sometimes thunderstormy, sometimes sunny, but not too hot, happy-go-lucky side of summer … I don’t want summer to be over. For once, I’m not ready for fall.

I hope you’re well and finding things to be excited and happy about every day.
Stay safe and take care!

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