My studies or why I do what I do

In the past couple of weeks my main focus in life started to be on my graphic design studies again. Not that it wasn’t that important before, but the more this semester took it’s course, the more serious (and stressful) it got. I received several messages with people asking about my art, what I study, why I study, what I like about it or if I would recommend it. That’s why I’m writing this blogpost, and maybe it’s not even a bad idea to tell you what I’m doing and why I’m doing it – I guess that’s pretty much who I am and as I said before, my main focus in life right now.

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Why did you decide to study graphic design?

During High School I discovered that I’m neither very talented in science, nor in languages. I’ve never been passionate about anything but art. I planned on studying fine art after graduating from school. At first I finished my apprenticeship as a dressmaker at home and moved to Cologne where I got a job as a flight attendant. I worked for a German airline for about a year – but I knew when I started that it was just some transition before studying. I had a fun time, got more self consciousness, met some people who still are my best friends today and made good money for traveling. I applied for fine art at Central Saint Martins College in London. I didn’t get in. It was my first attempt to get into university and I was disappointed – now I know this college is highly regarded and only the best of the best get a place to study there. I wasn’t ready in any way to study in London but it was a dream I’ve had for a longer time. In the meanwhile I also got interested in design and applied for graphic and communication design at HMKW (the name of my university) in Cologne – somehow I didn’t want to leave this city again and design seemed to be a better option to get a job in the future.


One of my Aquarelle Illustrations

What are your studies about?

The name of my study program is graphic design and visual communication. It’s definitely not only about design; there really are no borders between media design, communication design and graphic design, just main aspects that are dedicated to one of these subjects. I took classes in photography, art history, press, print, entertainment law, 3D and motion design, film, illustration and drawing, app design, color studies and communication. It’s important to learn various things of this broad range of subjects because every one connects to the other ones. For example, working with photography taught me things I can apply when working with cooperate or UX design. If you’re interested in studying the same you should be interested in all kinds of creative fields that design can offer. It’s ok if one of these subjects is ineligible for you, for me it definitely is 3D and motion design, but a certain curiosity to try new things is required.


A poster I made in university

Do you like studying?

I absolutely love what I do – but it has not always been like that. When I started studying about two years ago, I wasn’t sure if I’m into it. Having a creative mind was in my opinion not something that is controllable. I was creative whenever I felt like it and amazing things resolved out of that. In university it was unfamiliar being permanently under pressure to produce creative and decent works in a short space of time. There were some hurdles I had to overcome, but the good thing is that gradually you learn what it actually means to be creative, you get taught how to encourage creativity and how to cope with stressful situations. I have these moments where a deadline is near and I didn’t even start working because nothing I do satisfies me and I feel lost having not even one good idea. This also teaches you time management. You see, I learned a lot of things and there probably also are things I learned I’m not even conscious about. There are some people that say being educated in creative fields like graphic design shouldn’t take place in university but as an apprenticeship – I don’t have any empirical value in that but I can tell you that my studies are more than practical and I feel more and more prepared and ready to work in that business in a couple of years.


A children’s book I made at my illustration class

And what about your art?

I get a lot of messages from people asking me about my illustrations and what material I use. First, my illustrations have nothing to do with my studies but here and there I can make use of them. Funnily enough, there is nothing special about my materials. My grandma used to paint and she gave me all her old Aquarelle colors: I only have this one set of colors from “Schmincke” – I guess they’re over 30 years old but still work perfectly. I buy my paper, pencils (Faber Castell) and fineliners (waterproof, 0.3 mm diameter) at an ordinary stationary where you can get all kinds of office supplies. I outline my motive with a pencil, use the fineliner to sketch the final and color it in with Aquarelle. One thing is really important when starting to paint: Don’t be afraid. Just paint! Don’t think about how untalented you are, if something might go wrong, or if it will look good in the end. I promise you, if it’s not you – someone else will like it! In art there is no instruction, there are no rules or guidelines to follow. Just let yourself drift in the flow of colors.



Why searching for someone is self- defeating

If you read my latest blogpost “how dating evolved into nonsense“ you got an idea what my opinion about (online) dating these days is and how I feel about the evolution of getting to know someone -I think falling in love lost some magic. It wasn’t supposed to be a post which puts a wrong complexion on dating, but there definitely were some things that had to be said and I got interesting comments and feedback on it. Apparently I’m not the only one regretting this development – one reason why I wanted to continue this thought in a second blogpost.
Since I’m back in Germany days and especially weekends seem to mold together, sometimes I can’t reconstruct my days, and some nights out with friends seem to be identical to other nights. However, one night a couple of weeks ago I was dancing in a club with friends, dawn was about to come and I was tired. I left my friends and was on my way home, waiting in the subway station, when an advertisement catched my eye. It was a poster on the opposite side of the platform claiming “You can’t find your prince charming? Just draw one for yourself!“. I looked up the advertisement on the internet. It’s a book about a girl hopelessly searching for her prince. She draws one and the next day the prince turns into a real person. Sounds like a funny story, but it wasn’t the story that made me think about the book. It was the way the advertisement presented the book. The statement “you can’t find your prince?“ implies that we should or have to look for someone. To me it sounds like a task each woman has to fulfill: find the prince. And then? Life makes sense? Love makes sense? Is life a task of finding love? Is it only a task for woman? Do we have to look for our prince, work for it, fight for it? All these questions popped up in my head. And as I thought about these questions, I more and more noticed how not only advertisements like this one want to tell society and especially woman that we have to begin the search for somebody. It’s love stories, hollywood movies, tv spots and advertising in general. It’s easy to tout with love as we are emotional beings. Love will always catch us. Of course, love is one of the most beautiful and most important things in this world, but is it wrong to presume that it shouldn’t be a cramped, unsatisfactory search? It sounds like being without a prince is less worthy that being with one, or in other words, finding a prince makes you happy, and if you don’t find him your simply unhappy. In my opinion, looking desperately for something never results into actually finding something, or at least not into a satisfactory result. And this connects to my thoughts about dating; using dating apps as Tinder should support us to get to know people, but in the end it just makes love unemotional, superficial and disposable.

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Thinking about my girlfriends, most of them are single and from time to time they date guys. But they constantly are in contact with guys. Talking about them, and of course also about myself, it feels like we have to be in contact with a possible prince to have an opportunity, an option. Maybe we all are unconsciously looking for someone or “the prince“? Realizing this shocked me, because I didn’t see myself in this search of “the one“ or the prince. Maybe we all actually are, because advertisements tell us to do so every day. Are we getting manipulated in our emotions and goals in life?
I think that my generation definitely doesn’t have to find the prince right now. We’re theoretically adults, but practically not at all – we party, we do stupid things, we are on our way to find out who we really are. How should we get to know someone for forever, when we don’t even know ourselves? Thinking about girls in my generation, let’s say at an young age of 18 or 19, some of them settle for relationships that don’t fulfill them, but they do it anyways because they’re afraid of not meeting someone else. Better to be with someone, than with no one – right? You could almost call it pressure to look for and find someone. Because they’re way too young to define themselves, to know what they’re goals in life are, or what they really stand for, they define themselves with their partner in a relationship, which is, at least in my opinion, most of the times a subordinate, very dependent one. Compensating issues or questions you can’t answer with another person was never a good idea. But we still do so. Why?

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It feels like we define ourselves and our identity with another person, who, basically, doesn’t have to do anything with our beliefs. Why even talk about another half, when we can and should be both halves, a whole in one person? We feel like we have to find someone until it’s too late, and this pressure of “finding“ is unconsciously introduced way too early. A contradiction in terms. We see ourselves as weird unlovable individuals if we’re not in a relationship, we question if maybe something is just wrong with us. Why can’t we find this soulmate, prince, or fairy tale person? We’re actually not ready for this person at all, because we’re not fully in love with ourselves, we’re under pressure to look for someone; we have a fragment of life experience but already think we need to finish the chapter of finding “the one“. I don’t want to judge people thinking this way, society implanted this thought in their head, and I  caught myself having the same thoughts – until I realized how important self love is. Everyone talks about loving yourself first, but the fewest actually practice it. Especially during my semester abroad in Hawai’i I got to know myself way better than ever before. On the opposite side of the world, thousands of kilometers away from home and everything I used to identify myself with, I found myself more than in any other surrounding. Isn’t that contradictory too? Neither my hometown, nor my family or my friends could give me this cause of thought of defining myself – but myself, being just with myself. It’s important to understand that we don’t need anyone else to get to know ourselves, and even more important: to love ourselves. I’m not saying it’s easy, but start to spend more time with just yourself and you will realize a lot of things you did not before. Being away from home made me discover different sides of my personality, it made me experience myself in ways I never saw myself before. Personality is always in transition, it never stays the same. Just accept this as a fact; you will never be the same person for forever, in this great, complex world we change every day. But the time to focus on yourself is now, don’t let any presumable “prince“ tell you who you are, don’t ever let yourself be defined by people talking about you, and never stop to get to know yourself. Some day, when you know who you are and what you stand for, you’ll be ready for it.

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How dating evolved into nonsense

It’s been quite a while that I’ve been thinking about this topic, and as well a long long time I’ve been talking to friends or even exchanging opinions about this with strangers – and at this point I feel like I want to talk about it in public. And the good things is, I know that everyone else does, too. We all are affected by it. It’s not that I didn’t want to publish it before, it’s that I feel like now, at this point, I finally finished or completed my personal opinion about it – whether it’s due to experiences, or to courage that I acknowledged myself to stand for something. Not even due to my private circumstances right now, mainly due to circumstances that friends are in at the moment. I want to talk about dating. About love in a broader sense. Because that’s what dating should be about, right? And that’s exactly where confusion starts: Nowadays, at least most of the time, it isn’t even about love anymore. It’s about self-affirmation, senseless cat- and mouse games and group pressure.


But let’s start somewhere else. A few weeks ago I came back to Germany, excited about a new semester of university starting. New opportunities, new friends, new challenges. One of my classes in school deals with brands, marketing strategies and advertising. My professor presented the app Tinder. It’s an app that got popular in a very short time using a simple strategy and handling. People from all over the world download it on their smartphone, and each one of us understands what a red cross or a green heart means. And we all know what it is about. I won’t explain what this app aims at in detail because I’m pretty sure each person reading this right now knows, and if not, their friends can explain it to her or him.

However, my professor asked us if someone could explain how to use the app. Silence. Not even one person raised their hand. And every person in this room had the exact same thought: Well, I know how to use it, I already did before, but I’m to shy or embarrassed to admit that I use or have been using this app. Some seconds of awkward silence passed. After quite a while a girl raised her hand. Her wording reads as follows. “I’m not sure but, uhh, I guess, uhh, the red cross means a no and the green heart a yes? And, uhh, I guess then you can contact this person and chat?” Of course she’s right. But not because she’s a good guesser, simply because she knows. Which made me start thinking about why she used so many “uhhs” and why we never admit using it, and if we do, we still get some weird silent glances telling “Wow that’s so uncool”. Bullshit!img20171022_21115206-1.jpg

I think the digitalization, the internet, dating apps, and online dating in general is a great opportunity. I actually know a few couples that met through online dating or social media. But it may bring something sad with it for sure; we always know what the other person is doing right in this moment, whether we gain knowledge of it through Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp. We definitely lost the tension of being excited to see someone, to hear about all that has been going on in their life for the past couple of hours, days, months or even years. We visualize their life before we even heard their subjective opinion. We judge, before we know the details; before we know the truth. We create our own truth. That’s how misunderstandings are made. We are updated, almost every single minute every day. We know where the other person is. We know who he or she is hanging out with, we know if they had some beers or some superfood in the new vegan store that just opened in town. We know what size their jeans is. We know what food their dog eats. We even know how people talk, without ever meeting them before. We feel like we have an insight in a life of a person which actually is a stranger to us. And we wouldn’t say Hi if we meet them by chance in real life. We won’t call someone we like and arrange a meeting, because there is nothing we don’t know, we are super spontaneous, act as we’re super straightforward and hang out for a few minutes to smoke a cigarette or drink a beer on the corner. Most of the time, we don’t meet someone for the first time and go out for dinner, because we’ve set up that appointment a week before, no, we meet someone to give them a little insight in our life which they already know too much about.


Besides, not only online dating has changed. Of course I haven’t been dating someone 10 years ago, because I was way too young, and 25 years ago I didn’t even exist. But maybe just because of online dating, regular dating has changed as well. The world gets more connected every second. There are myriad opportunities to get to know people you usually would never be able to meet. Why not start chatting with someone thousands of kilometers away? Why not? You can. And as I said before, that’s great. But it’s also a trap. We meet someone, are attracted by outer appearances (a non virtual red cross or green heart), tell ourselves yes or no, and then we hang out. Even if it’s for a cigarette or a hallo and goodbye at some party. A decade ago, you wanted to get to know someones personality and someones flaws before you meet them. Today it’s so easy to arrange a meeting. If you use a pretense, and both attendees know it actually is a pretense, who cares. You check out if there are some similarities, and then you think ” wow, it really fits”. You cheat on yourself. But that’s all it takes. Because as soon as you realize some discrepancies, you just have to open your app decorated with a little flame, and you’ll find something smarter, prettier, or wittier. People, or dates, are disposable. We’re given the opportunity to run away as soon as a tiny voice inside of us tells us “I don’t like that”. And we train this voice to an extent that is unhealthy. Is it wrong to presume that dating now may be easier, but was better when we didn’t have the chance to simply exchange our dates?img20171022_21110776-2.jpg

And now to the actual thing. If we (finally) found someone we really like, more than liking someone in a superficial way, we’re still so affected by the disposal or exchangeability and the way dating functions these days, that we are scared to really show our feelings. In my experience, and also the experience of a couple of friends (guys and girls!), it’s not appropriate to act what your heart tells you to act like. To be emotional. As said, we’re straightforward, cold hearted, very rational and sometimes even heartless. That’s what we act like, because we’re scared. And our inner world looks completely different. We’re scared to make a mistake, to be less smart, less pretty or less witty than someone else. We’re aware of the easy exchange happening around us every day. And I don’t think that we leave less impression on someone we first meet for that cigarette or beer, I really think the fear of being less impressive actually makes us less impressive. Fear is powerful, and being thrown in this digitalized world of online dating affects us even if we don’t want to, even if you’re someone of the rare persons that didn’t touch the app, somehow you can’t escape this influence that took over the most human thing we know: dating, and in the end, love.

If someone shows you how much they like you, you automatically don’t like them them that much anymore. If someone doesn’t show you that much appreciation, or let’s say “love”, you automatically like them better. It’s a hunting game. Or well-known: You want what you can’t have. And as long as you can swipe right all the time, you’ll continue to play a cat- and mouse game that makes you want more in an endless loop, but dulls you at the same time. It’s kind of like gambling; if you were honest to yourself you’ll lose with a chance of 99%, but these tiny 1% won’t disappear from your head. And these tiny 1% will tell you, maybe unconscious, this person is great, but how do I know if there isn’t something better? Someone smarter, prettier, or wittier?img20171022_21115206 (2)

And this thought won’t disappear. In my opinion, there are two different ways you fall in love with someone. I definitely experienced falling in love with someone at first sight. Sure, it’s about outer appearances, but maybe about a little more. If it would only be about outer appearances, probably most of us could fall in love with a stranger in the subway every other day. However, I also believe there is a second way of falling in love with someone. Sometimes you get to know a person, and don’t realize their full appearance or magic at first sight. Sometimes, you know a person for a while and all of a sudden you fall in love. Sometimes, in a petty moment this person is doing something hilarious, or this person smiles, or fights for some extra cheese on their pizza – whatever. I experienced both ways. And I think the way dating evolved through the possibilities of the internet and fast pace in general, we abolished the second way.

Either you fall in love with someone right away, which I would consider as very rare, or you run away from someone as soon as you don’t like a tiny piece of personality or looks. Which burries getting to know someone and falling in love with flaws. To summarize, that makes it pretty difficult to fall in love, right? I could write an endless novel about this topic, and there actually are so many more things I have to say – about monogamy, the (or my) truth about love and dating. But I think for now you got my hint and maybe you’ll think about this when dating the next person you like. I really hope dating becomes more personal and irreplaceable in the future, and if it does, it’s on us as an individual to have a certain attitude towards it. Get to know the real person, not only the surface or their life they represent on social media. Go out in the world, and get to know someone way more than just their Tinder profile. It’s worth it, I promise.


During my stay in Hawai’i I considered visiting California on my way home to Germany. I wanted to see the west coast and meet up with some friends. When I saw that one of my favorite musicians would play a gig in San Francisco, I booked a flight. Besides, my friend Kenny lives in the San Diego area; we decided to see the concert together and started planning a road trip through the state. It was the best decision I could have made for the end of my stay in the US. We made so many unforgettable memories. Let me tell you about this adventure!

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The Oceanside pier

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The first night in San Francisco I stayed with Ania and her two cats, who I met in my last couple of weeks on the North Shore in Hawai’i. We had some drinks and she showed me around her area. The next day we met Kenny and Ben, who I also got to know in Hawai’i. He’s an amazing photographer and moved to San Francisco about a year ago. We took some photos in his studio and he introduced me to several districts in town. I absolutely fell in love with the city and the vibe. In Height Ashbury the streets are full of hippies, hipsters, colorful dressed people and some crazy ones. And guess what, by chance I stumbled upon a bar where we had some Kölsch (German beer from my hometown Cologne). At night we had dinner with Eva, a German au pair I met in Hawai’i, Ania, Ben, and Kennys sister and her boyfriend joined us as well. It was a table mixed up with people who didn’t really know each other – but we had a good time!

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Kenny & Ben in San Francisco

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Driving through the city

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Kenny at night (looks kind of evil, right?)

I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge and went to Herny Jamisons concert. He plays Folk music and is on tour in Europe, too. Eva invited us to come to a house party with her and we all had a lot of fun. I met a guy who is DJ and moved to Germany last week. Small world..

Kenny and I also spent two nights in the Yosemite National Park, located east from San Francisco. It was breathtaking to see huge cliffs surrounded by pine trees and rivers. The first day we drove through a broad area until we arrived at our small wooden house next to bass lake. The second day we went on a hike and saw well-known landmarks like El Capitan, Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley. We hiked to a waterfall, and couldn’t believe our eyes: In front of the waterfall was a huge gorgeous rainbow. While having lunch some squirrels sat down next to us and tried to steal our food.

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My desktop wallpaper in real life: Half Dome

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On our road trip through Yosemite National Park

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Kenny taking photos at sunset

Our next stop was L.A.; at first Malibu where we stayed with Kenny’s cousin, then Venice where we stayed with one of his friends. Almost 7 years ago I lived in Australia for half a year and got to know Fitzi, who lives in Frankfurt. By chance she was in L.A. at the same time and we met to stroll around Santa Monica and Venice. Isn’t it weird how you sometimes have to travel to meet people, who actually live next to you at home? We really enjoyed seeing each other again and the day ended with some cocktails in a bar in Venice.

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Marc & Fitzi

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The road trip continued to Carlsbad, located about 40 minutes away from San Diego. I got to know Kenny’s family and his hometown. We went to a farmers market, watched sunset, had some beers and made a way too spicy dinner. His roommate Dustin joined us to walk around the pier in Oceanside (yes, that’s the actual name of the town), had some tasty burritos at their regular Mexican food place and played bowling.

Early on Friday morning we left to Las Vegas. The girlfriend of Kenny’s brother celebrated her birthday for the weekend and she invited us to come with her and some friends. We had so much fun! Vegas is a plastic city, so colorful, noisy, full of party people and freaky figures. What were we to do but party?! I watched people gamble, saw strippers, dancers, homeless, drunk and funny people. It’s a great experience to see Vegas, but I think once is enough and I would never want to live there.

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Las Vegas

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We had some fun nights in Vegas

On my last day in California I went to Blacks Beach in San Diego. The cliff at the beach provides a beautiful view over the ocean and parts of the city. I met so many nice people during my stay in California, especially all of Kenny’s friends and family members who I really like. The road trip through the west coast was the best possible ending of my adventure living in the US. Leaving the States made me heavy hearted and happy at the same time. Leaving people behind that mean a lot to me made me sad, but at the same time I couldn’t wait to see all my German friends again. If it wouldn’t be hard to go, I would not have left my mark. I’m so grateful for everything I got to experience for the past couple of months and I’m taking myriad of unforgettable memories home with me.

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Santa Monica

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Bye, Cali!

Hawai’i VII

Countless days at the beach. Salt on my skin. Wind through my hair. Soaking in the sun until the light fades and the sky turns into all these beautiful purplish colors, like someone painted the sky. The moon, the stars, the sound of the waves never ending. Walking through streets with palm trees and flowers everywhere. Nights on the road, listening to music. Drinking wine with friends. Laughing. A different life feels sometimes like a whole different world. Turning strangers into friends.Turning friends into strangers. Having coffee and conversations that stay in your mind. Listening to the sound of a guitar or an Ukulele. This easy life. So slow. So sweet. So remarkable.

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North Shore

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Hanging out at the beach at night

Goodbye Hawai’i. A couple of days ago I left the island and flew to San Francisco. It’s still hard to believe that almost 5 months have gone by that fast. I can clearly remember the first night I arrived, seeing the skyline of Honolulu for the very first time, the first early morning at the beach, jet lagged but happy, my first days and weeks when everything was new and exciting. And now everything has come to and end. I’ve spent some wonderful days up in North Shore where I lived for the last three weeks. Most of the days I visited my friend Bianca at work, had some coffee with her, went to the beach and hung out at my house with some girls I became really good friends with. As if living in Hawai’i didn’t feel like being on a vacation anyways, I really enjoyed the days away from busy Honolulu. I went on some hikes, watched sunset, camped out at the beach once more and met a lot of new people living around the northern part of the island. I also had a lot of time to reflect about my whole experience living so far away from home. I decided to write this very honest blogpost about the bad times I had. I noticed that (especially through my Instagram profile) people assume I had 5 wonderful months living the easiest, paradisal life. And yes, I did. But there are not only good times; there were times when the only thing I wanted to do is go back home. It’s about your attitude towards bad things happening; how you cope with these moments.

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Camping out at the beach


Hawai’i may seem like the absolute paradise to everyone. And indeed, it is paradise; nature wise. Looking back on my stay I wouldn’t want to talk about Hawai’i in a bad way. But there are some things that have to be said; I want to share my experiences, opinions, and thoughts about this place. I want to share the other side of the coin. As an old, wise quote says: not all that glitters is gold. Especially speaking in the tone of social media, where everything is beautiful, and no one ever shows the shady side of an experience. I want to share my experiences just as they were, naked, true, and not decorate them and make them more beautiful as they were by only showing the beautiful part.

I came to Hawai’i all by myself without knowing anyone. The first two months were a challenge. It was difficult to get to know people; even in school it wasn’t easy at all to make friends. In my small classes people were busy with studying and working to afford college. Some of them already had kids, or were in a relationship and didn’t have an interest in getting to know someone who would leave in a certain period of time anyways. My roommate was working and didn’t know a lot of people either. I went to coffee shops, to the park, the beach, art exhibitions, but didn’t get to know anyone being interested in a friendship. I felt lonely at times. For a girl it’s always easier to meet guys, but most of the time they weren’t interested in a friendship either so I didn’t stay in contact. To most of the people I hung out with more than once I found my way to through photography. Slowly, I got to know more people. I’m a very open minded person and I don’t care about your origin or age if you’re a nice person. I made friends with people who were in their mid-40s. What also made it hard to have a permanent circle of friends, is that Hawai’i is an island and a place where people stay for some weeks or months and then move on to their next destination. I got to know a lot of people who left the island.

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The night sky in Hawai’i

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In my new home in Haleiwa

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Picking some Guava when hiking

During my stay I also met a lot of people who disappointed me. A lot of people who I trusted, and who misused my trust. People who I thought were my friends, and turned out to be people who didn’t care about me at all. People making promises, the same people breaking promises. Unreliable people. Selfish and and disrespectful people. Unbelievably naive people. Maybe I was naive too. I know very well that these kinds of people are everywhere, and a lot of people from Hawai’i won’t like me for saying that, but there are plenty of these people on the island. By saying plenty, I mean plenty. A lot. So many. To be honest, I feel like a lot of people with problems and personal issues from the mainland come to Hawai’i and think that paradise will fix their problems. Instead of making a change and working on themselves, they ignore that, change their home and think that’s all it needs. Believe it or not, a lot of people in Hawai’i are lonely, unhappy and have several issues with themselves. I noticed this as time passed. At first I thought it’s me, meeting the wrong people, maybe seeing Hawaii in a too negative light. But as time passed, I got to know more and more people, also some beautiful and trustful human beings, and they confirmed my whole view on that topic. Hawai’i is the home of broken people. So many sad people faking smiles and faking a beautiful, paradisal life on social media. Being in paradise won’t make you happy if you’re not happy with yourself. Of course, being in an overwhelming surrounding may lift up your mood, but it will definitely not repair your broken heart.


Sunset Beach

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Sunset in Haleiwa

I didn’t expect these difficulties when coming to Hawai’i. But I’m glad everything has happened as it happened. Only in this way, I learned all the things I learned. You can watch yourself get more and more independent, grown up and self conscious. At some point I realized I don’t need anyone else to rely on, as long a I can rely on myself.

In between stumbling over all things that are new, learning to accept, learning to adapt, you find something else: yourself. This island makes you feel lonely sometimes, but also has something magical. It’s on you how you cope with the bad times. So far away from my everyday life, it seems as time would stop. Just freeze. Being busy with life back home just disappeared, and I got very clear about a lot of things. About who I want to be, and who I want to be surrounded by, who’s presence I desire and who’s presence I don’t need. About the simple things in life: who stands beside me, who really has an interest in me. I learned how I really want to live my life, and how I don’t want to live it. I learned who really is my friend back home, and I learned who is my friend in Hawai’i. The bad times just make you appreciate the good ones, and I know now how to turn the bad ones into good ones.

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My last weekend in Hawai’i

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Ania at the beach

Hawai’i VI

12 days left in Hawai’i. Let me tell you what happened the past couple weeks on the island. If you read my first Hawai’i blogpost, you can possibly remember that I planned on moving into a treehouse, a place I completely fell in love with. Things got messed up,  eventually I didn’t move in and found an apartment to stay. Guess what happened? I went to this place again. Some friends and I had a barbecue at the beach and by chance I got to know Eva, a girl from Germany who lived in San Fransisco for the past year. We started talking and as it turned out she stayed at the treehouse for a week. Sometimes accidents like that make me doubt coincidence. This place is a secret spot on the island and not a lot of people know about it far less where it is located. She invited me and my friends to a house party at the treehouse, and I visited her the next day again.

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Eva in the treehouse

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Eva & Kermit

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Me sitting in one of the nets above the rainforest

The owner of the property is an older man who seems to be a very thoughtful and spiritual person. He built the treehouse over 35 years and owns other properties like this one in Bali, Sri Lanka and other islands. Huge trees connect various wooden buildings up in the air. Walking over that bridge in the photo gives you a breathtaking view over the skyline of Honolulu. Words can’t describe the atmosphere there, listening to the sound of a waterfall underneath you, surrounded by starfruit, papaya, passion fruit and avocado trees it feels like a fairytale sitting in nets stretched onto overgrown and tropical plants.

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Eva’s “room”

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“The Christmas ball”

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The house area

Over the past months I figured that a lot of people (especially from Europe) don’t know that the state Hawai’i consist of 8 main islands. Oahu, the island I’m living on, is the one with the biggest city Honolulu and the most population. It was my dream to see another island before I leave, and by chance Marvin, a photographer I know from Germany, had a job appointment on Maui. That was the perfect opportunity to fly over to this island, spend some time with Marvin and experience Hawaii’s incredible nature a bit more. The flight was not even 30 minutes and the island completely overwhelmed me. It’s definitely the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to; Endless roads through eucalyptus or passion fruit trees, next to huge rocky cliffs, red sand beaches and from time to time very bleak landscape. We stayed in an air bnb which was more like a hostel, with self-made bamboo showers outside, and small comfortable huts where we slept in. Lizards came out to sunbath in the morning, and beautiful palm trees and flowers decorated the whole place.

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Our air bnb at night


photo by Marvin Kleinemeier (Instagram: @bob_sala)

On our first day we drove around the western part of the island, which is very diverse; you drive along very curvy roads through rainforest, and suddenly you end up in a very rocky surrounding with almost no plants. We stopped at some lookouts and ended up in a restaurant called “cheeseburgers in paradise”. By accident I got to André at the airport, a German guy  who travels the world for about two years now. He rented a car and we drove around the southern and eastern part of the island, also known as “road to Hana”. The road is known for beautiful spots like bamboo forests, beaches and waterfalls. I planned on staying two nights but then all flights were fully booked and I spontaneously stayed another night. That was the best decision I could have made as I moved into the hostel André was staying at, and we went on an adventure the following night. There is a volcano in Maui which has an amazing lookout above the clouds – but you have to reserve a ticket 2 months in advance. Sam, an American girl, booked this ticket and invited us to come with her. With her and Jan, another German, we got up at 2 am, drove up to the Haleakala volcano crater for about two hours and waited another two hours for the sun to rise. Luckily this night there was a solar eclipse! It was freezing outside (of course I was wearing short pants) and all of us were tired. Eventually the trip was totally worth it. Clouds were slowly floating over the mountains until the sun rose clear and warm, and transformed the rugged landscape into a gentle and sun-drenched painting.

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Road to Hana

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Haleakala crater at sunrise 6 am

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The night sky in Maui is incredible!

What else happened? Me and my roommate Melissa had to move out of our apartment in town. The contract for the flat was set up for one year and the landlord wanted to use it for himself. As I was supposed to move in at a friends house, located in Honolulu as well, I didn’t look up any other options where I could live. Due to a misunderstanding I didn’t end up living with my friends. In the morning we had to pack up all our stuff and I spontaneously booked an airbnb in Haleiwa, a small historic town at the North Shore of the island. It’s about an hour to drive there from Honolulu.

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Red sand beach, Maui

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My new roommates

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A beach party in Maui

The air bnb is one of the craziest places I’ve been to. In a good way. It’s a light flooded house with a couple of rooms, 2 bathrooms, a nice living room which goes over into the kitchen. It’s more like a hostel as you have roommates and bunk beds. The rooms are tiny, but comfortable. Outside the house are melon and papaya trees, and surfboards decorate the upper wall. Right now there are about 12 other people living in the house. The owners are Blake and Alexandra, a young married couple. There’s Sal, 28, a hispanic guy from Arizona who paints tennis courts and studies philosophy. Another guy, Brandon, 23, who grew up in Germany and emigrated to America when he was 10. He’s an instructor for Scuba diving. An older guy, who presumably left his wife and dog, looking for an apartment. Sergio, a 30 year old guy from Cansas, who was dreaming of leaving home all his life, and eventually came to Hawai’i. We had some longer conversations, and he told me he wants to go to Europe soon and see all the countries over there. He writes novels. There is Juan, a guy from Argentina, who offered me his fresh made Mate tea and some banana bread in the morning and we listened to traditional Tango music from Argentina. Kioki, a Hawaiian guy. Bianca, a girl from Florida, who I became good friends with. She works at a food store. In my room lives another girl from Seattle, who came to Hawai’i for a wedding and stayed longer to explore the island. Everyday I meet new people and it feels like this is another chapter of experiencing Hawai’i.

So many different people, different cultures and different lives. During the day it’s quiet in the house, but at nighttime, when everyone finished work, they come together to sit outside with a beer and a cigarette. I feel like everyone is pretty much doing their own thing, but they share this house and that connects them, no matter how different they are. I’m glad I get to spend my last days surrounded by multicultural people and I can’t wait to see San Francisco in a couple of days!

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“little beach”, Maui

the effects of change

Everything is in a constant change. Some things change rapidly, sometimes it’s a slow process and we don’t fully experience it, because we live in and with the transition. There always comes this point where we wake up and start to realize: something is just so different. All of a sudden, after a certain period of time that seems like a rainbow bubble which finally pops. We have the ability to change things. If we don’t change them in their tangible essence, we can at least change the conceptual variable of it. The way we see it, and the way we feel and think about it. The only thing we can not change, is change. That’s what always will be there. Nothing stays the same forever.

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Shot this photo in Maui, Hawai’i

I had some thoughts about this lately and reflected myself about change in my behavior, opinions, and attitudes towards several things. Being away from home, from your natural surrounding, clears your mind. Not having your friends around, who automatically become part of your identity, somehow turns you into a new human. In transition. In change. Well, at least on the paper. The people who meet you don’t know about your flaws, and they don’t know about your loveable traits either. They absolutely have no clue who you are and what made you the person you are today. In that, I see a great chance. And a tiny bit of work, too. Work in the sense that you have to show or convince your surrounding that you’re a cool ass person. Because, how should they know you are? The amazing opportunity in this consists of defining yourself in a new way. At home you’re sometimes inhibited to act in some ways, because that’s not how people know you. People build up their own image of the person you are. And most of the time, the first impression determines their whole view on you. Forget about that! I learned to do whatever I feel like doing, to write about what goes on in my mind, and if people don’t like that – well, I simply don’t care.

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North Shore, Hawai’i

Back to my point – Defining yourself. I discovered to ask myself: What kind of person have I been yesterday , who am I right now, and who do I want to become tomorrow? What are my flaws, what are my lovable traits? I have the opportunity to change. I know, I would always have this opportunity at home as well, but finding yourself in a completely different and new life supports that process (or decision?) in a very positive way. I believe the secret tone of finding yourself, lies in changing yourself. There will always be a better version of the person you are right now, and how could you find yourself if you don’t fully dive into trying, experiencing and losing yourself? Get lost along your path. Stumble, fall, back out, get up until you’re on a path that makes you bloom and sparkle. And if you’re on the right track, I promise you, you’ll know it. There is a voice inside you, your gut feeling, that tells you if something feels right, or if you’re just telling yourself it’s right – and it actually isn’t.

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Road Trippin’

Don’t let the past decide who you could be tomorrow or even today. All the things that stop you from discovering, defining and changing yourself, are not the people who tell you who you should be. Not even the whole society. Not the beauty magazines or social media stops you. The only thing that stops you from being the person you want to be, is yourself. It takes time, and also courage, to understand that. Believe in yourself, trust in yourself. The most powerful instrument you will ever own is your own mind. A positive mind means a positive life.

If you want something, or want to be someone, go for it. Put aside the fear of not pleasing certain people. You’re not on this planet to make people like you. You are here to like yourself. And if you don’t like yourself, change. Don’t wait for things to happen, for it to be summer again, for it to get the perfect body or for it to afford fashionable clothes. The point where you think things are going to change due to the circumstances you’re awaiting, won’t happen. Or it happens, and there pops up the next thing you’re awaiting. I know that’s not easy in a materialistic world that aims at consuming and manipulating others. But you can make a change, in changing yourself. A few days ago I got asked if I fell in love during my stay in Hawai’i. I know something inside me changed. I smiled and my answer was yes, I fell in love. With myself.