Etepetete – saving organic groceries | Advertisement

How often do you throw away groceries? No one really counts that, but it sure happens to every one of us. And we know: it happens way too often. Whether we didn’t organize our food consume for an upcoming week and just bought too much, or waited to long to cook a dish and precious fruits and vegetables tainted, lots of groceries find their way into garbage bins while uncountable people on the other side of the planet would have been more than thankful for these. In this situation it’s on us to visualize in which privileged society we live in. How ironic and sad it is, to even have the option to throw away food. Not only end consumers waste food, tons are thrown away in the whole supply chain. Processed with VSCO with k3 preset

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I found some interesting and devastating world hunger statistics on the website of the food aid foundation. 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth. The vast majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population is undernourished. Can you believe that roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, gets lost? Fruits and vegetables have the highest wastage rates of any food. Food loss and waste also amount to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital and needlessly produce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change. “Food loss refers to any food that is lost in the supply chain between the producer and the market. This may be the result of pre-harvest problems, or problems in harvesting, handling, storage, packing or transportation. Tomatoes crushed during transport because of improper packaging is one example of food loss. Food waste, on the other hand, refers to the discarding of food that is safe and nutritious for human consumption.  Food is wasted in many ways: Fresh produce that deviates from what is considered optimal in terms of shape, size and color, for example is often removed from the supply chain during sorting operations. Foods that are close to, at or beyond the “best-before” date are often discarded by retailers and consumers. Large quantities of wholesome edible food are often unused or left over and discarded from household kitchens and eating establishments. And this is where the Start Up Etepetete comes into play. (Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)

A few weeks ago Etepetete came up to me introducing their company. Since 2014 they questioned food waste and had the vision to create a nationwide, organic food box containing raw food collected from 100 percent organic farmers in Germany. Without much float they crowdfunded their idea and started packing up boxes with help of friends and family in 2015. Etepetete started to hire staff, and slowly they made their way from their own warehouse in Munich, Germany, to the point where they saved 1.3 Million kilograms of fruits and vegetables.

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With a network of organic farmers Etepetete created a safe haven for raw food looking a little more extravagant, but tasting the same as perfectly shaped, shiny food in a supermarket. Not only by avoiding food waste the company impresses with sustainability, but also because of a much shorter supply chain and plastic-free, recyclable packaging. You can chose the date of delivery and also pick a box: Vegetable boxes, fruit boxes, mixed boxes and raw food ones – each in different sizes between 4 and 7 kilogram. Currently Etepetete is working on the possibility to pick certain types of vegetables and fruits and the option to send back the empty package.

A couple of days ago I read a sentence on social media that really impressed me. We don’t need a handful of people being perfectly sustainable, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly. You can start today and do something that your future self and also people living in our future will thank us for. And I believe every tiny step in the right direction, getting more aware of how we consume and how to do it better, makes also our beautiful planet and life a little better. And we should not forget how far we’ve come: There are people out there with amazing ambitions. The people of Etepetete are part of it, and they need our support!

You can find out more about Etepetete on their Website or check their Instagram. This post was written in cooperation with Etepetete and is unpaid advertisement.

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Film photos ’18

Hello and welcome back. It’s been very quiet on this blog in the past months. The reason for this is not that I don’t enjoy writing anymore, I actually really do and drafted a few posts, but didn’t publish them. I think the expectations I have to myself and my standards are a little higher these days and I only want to show you what convinced me to be a blogpost worth reading and maybe taking a little something from it. Which may be a reminder, just something to stir your thoughts and your imagination. My goal is to get people inspired and not only leave them with something written that is forgotten as soon as the tab is closed. I don’t want to write something just to write something.

Not sure though if this inspires you, it really made me think about my past year, the friends and experiences I made and brought back some memories that I don’t want to miss. I’m not a fan of end-of-year reviews, especially on social media it honestly annoys everyone, but this is my personal one. I love taking film photos and some days and nights I took some photos which I now scanned and want to show you. I don’t like writing diary as well, but somehow I like the combination of my film photos and the memories linked to them. If I’m not content with my written posts, I can tell you something by showing these images, right?

I didn’t bring my camera everyday or each time I hung out with friends or went to an event or festival. But the times I did, I think some really nice and authentic shots came around. Film photos often catch real moments in which people are just in the present and don’t pose in any way. Not everyone that had an impact in my life 2018 is on these photos, but I guess I got most of them 🙂 Enjoy!

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Slow fashion – Kleiderei | Advertisement

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We live in a very fast and globalized world, in a consumer society in which we buy more than we need. We can have it all – so why not purchase it? It’s never been that easy to get something you want right now, online or offline, you can wear it tomorrow. The fashion industry has become an object of luxury. We don’t need clothes in order to survive, we ‘need’ them to be fashionable, appreciated or simply because our society expects us to buy more and more and exchange clothes even there’s no actual reason for it. Retailers sell fashion at low prices, and what still seems hard to understand for a lot of people is that we actually pay a bigger price: our environment. For a couple of years now several sustainable brands came up and second hand fashion got more attractive, especially for younger generations. It’s on us to obtain the world we live in, and to change the fashion industry could be seen as one of the big challenges our future generation will have to cope with.

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Photo by Theresa Damen ; Jacket from Kleiderei

A lot of people are aware of what happens when retailers sell the latest fashion: child labor, exploitation and pollution of the environment. But I also think a lot of people don’t know what can be done to not be a part of it, or at least how to find options that are not part of a huge catch-22. Obviously, flew markets, swap meets and (online) second hand stores are a great option. But since it’s hip to wear ‘vintage’ clothes, a lot of people start making money with it. They open up store chains, sell second hand clothes at prices that are way too high, and the worst thing: they get clothes from all over the world, even countries thousands of miles away. If vintage fashion is flown or shipped in, the meaningful aspect of why we all want to wear second hand clothes gets lost, doesn’t it?

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Photo by Thilo Wilcke ; Hat from Kleiderei 

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Photo by Jaqui Dresen ; Dress from Kleiderei

A couple of months ago Lena, the owner of the Kleiderei shop in Cologne contacted me whether I would be interested in collaborating. I heard about the concept of Kleiderei before, but wasn’t too sure what it was all about. Kleiderei was founded by two students in 2012. The concept is simple: you pay a monthly contribution to borrow 4 different garments (online or offline, the contribution is higher when ordering online as they need to pay for mailing). At the end of four weeks you give them back to the shop and you can borrow your next 4 garments. It works like a library, only for clothes. It’s possible to keep one item for a longer period or purchase it. Simple, right?

Kleiderei also works with charity partners and only provides clothes which origin from donations. If you have too many clothes and want to make a contribution to local (or national) second hand shops, Kleiderei is a wonderful option! They cooperate with various foundations (e.g. Deutsche Kleiderstiftung) and as well support a charity fighting for woman rights in the fashion industry. The durability of a garment is maximized as they only use second hand clothes. That’s the most sustainable way of consuming fashion. Pretty impressive!

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Photo by Theresa Dahmen ; Jacket from Kleiderei

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Photo by Martin Bregulla ; Shirt+bag from Kleiderei

I can highly recommend you Kleiderei as I already lowered my consume of fashion. If there is a possibility to slow down the fashion industry and familiarize people with sustainability and eco-friendly clothing, the first step is to buy, or in this case borrow, second hand clothes. As you can see in these pictures I found super nice habiliments at Kleiderei and can only encourage you to question your consume of fashion. To be honest and keep this post as transparent as possible: I don’t have clay feet regarding this topic, I still buy clothes from retailers (even though I try to minimize that) and in the supply chain I still leave my ecological footprint. Sustainability is a huge and complex topic, there need to be changed so many things in the future, but as an individual we can still make a change. Even if it’s a small one. Same thing with consuming food, traveling and being attentive with our environment. But that’s a different topic. Start somewhere, it’s always better than nothing.

You can find the Kleiderei store here: Venloer Str. 459, 50825 Cologne, visit their website or check out their Instagram. This post was written in cooperation with Kleiderei and is advertisement.

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Photo by Tilo ; Dress from Kleiderei

some place I call home

More than 4 years ago I moved to Cologne. I finished school and an apprenticeship and felt like it finally was time to leave the place I grew up, went to school and called home. I got approved to a full time job in a city I had never been to. Growing up on the countryside I never even lived in a big city before. I had no idea what was going to happen, all I knew was that I was in desperate need of a new experience, something challenging and exciting. Of course that’s what everyone feels like after finishing school. You feel unbelievably free and independent, finally released from a time of 13 years you can’t just quit, even though you rebel against it. But I think at this point it’s always a huge step to really do it. I was really young and scared. To not find any friends, to not feel welcome in a strange surrounding, to just not like it. What would I do if that happened? I had to go back where I came from – which was not an option. Scared and hopeful to make the best of it, I packed my stuff and said hello to Cologne.

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You might wonder why am I thinking of all this. Tomorrow I’m moving to a different place. I’m not leaving Cologne, but I’m entering a new time frame of my life in Cologne so far. Something new, exciting and challenging. Maybe it’s something that makes sense to me only, but each time I moved in Cologne, a new period of my life started. Probably some incidents overlapped somehow, but important events occurred when I moved. That’s why it has some kind of meaning to me. This should not be a biography, I just want to tell you my experience and maybe, at the end, you can take something with you from reading it. It may be a question mark – it may be a smile 🙂

My first move to Cologne to an outer district was magical, I felt like I finally arrived the place I was longing for. Right from the start I got to know warmhearted people, especially one girl I am still good friends with. She’s the person I knew from the beginning and went through all my different periods with. I had a circle of friends built up by colleagues from work. Slowly meaningful friendships evolved. My friends got mixed up by friends of friends and other people, I got more into partying and got to know people I still hang out with today. The fear not to find friends vanished. My 3 roommates and I lived in a house which was huge, we had a big cellar where we threw housparties with more than 100 people. After a year I quit my job and moved into a nicer area close to the city center.The second flat was beautiful, close to university and in an area with lots of students. I lived together with two guys and didn’t really have a connection to one of them. With the other one I became close friends and we went to a festival and to Spain together. It was a great time, in a different surrounding with different people. I started studying. Got to know people there and made friends with a girl who is my best friend today. I started a job at a coffee shop where I met some girls who also grew very close to me. Another period of time, different people, different parties, a different lifestyle. A completely different challenge. At some point we had to dissolve the flat share.

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photo by Dennis Janßen (Instagram: @itsjanssen)

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As I had to move out and move the third time, I got to know two guys who wanted to establish a flat share. On the weekend I went out with them two times and we decided to move together. We found a beautiful apartment very close to the city center, found another girl to move in with us and a new period started. Again: different people with different friends, a completely different surrounding and unprecedented events. Sometimes I think the reason why I’m not in contact with all my friends from time periods before is that I didn’t really have a choice but dive into that new “world” and fully embrace it. Sometimes people just vanished, as I may have vanished for them. But don’t get me wrong – first, it’s just normal to let people go their own way and let them do their thing. Sometimes you’ll find your way back to each other. But you can never be friends with all your friends forever. That’s how it is! Second, the really important ones will make it by your side. An era with a different feeling started; I really settled in the city and had people around me who I really trusted and belonged to.

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I tried out different jobs, different circles of friends, my interests and hobbies changed, or, became clear.With my roommates I had a great time, especially at the beginning, but they didn’t have a solid circle of friends so they often did things together when I was with different friends or my boyfriend at that time. I somehow got an unintentional and  inconspicuous but present distance. Everyday life at university passed by, weekend trips and travels passed by, and then I went to Hawai’i for a semester abroad. (About that you can read lots in my Hawaii posts.) That passed by too. Now I’m here, got to know the most beautiful human who moved to Cologne for me and I’m starting a new time period again. A new job again. The person I love by my side, a new apartment, my very first own one. Exciting. And this time too, I’m a little scared. I learned to like this kind of fear within the past years. It just shows you that despite that fear, you want to know what’s on the other side. You go for it, you do what you would do without having fear. Except that fear is ubiquitous. And that makes you grow, and curious about all the other things you are scared of – and leads you on the best way.

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photo by Lukas Piel (Instagram: myname_is_lukas)

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I don’t want to sound like a heavy-handed amateurish advisor, but let me tell you one thing: Try out different flats, roommates, parties, jobs, hobbies and whatever. Get to know as many people as you can – which doesn’t mean to leave your friends behind. Mixing up circles of friends resolves into more friends and different experiences. I’m absolutely in love with Cologne, and it’s the only big city I lived in so far, but I’m totally convinced that a city is only as good as the people you hang out with. Without them, nothing is fun. Nothing challenges you, nothings makes you angry or happy. Give everyone a chance. Not everyone shows their real face when you get to know them. It’s beautiful to learn which facets complete a personality and friends can complete your own personality, too. And I also think your friends become part of your identity. Especially when I was abroad studying in Hawaii I noticed that my friends, all these different people of different time frames, shaped the person I am today. Each time you get into a relationship with someone, they bring something new to you, and you leave something for them.

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photo by Frieder Helmig (Instagram: @friedercarlo)

Before this post gets too long, let me say what my point actually was: just do whatever you feel like is right for you in this moment. If you doubt a decision, and you’re not sure what to do, you eventually just have to go for it to leave behind that thought that knocks on your door again and again. When you’ve done it, you’ll feel relieved and you will know it was the best thing to do. Maybe just to learn that it was the wrong decision, but that makes something more clear, doesn’t it? To know what you don’t want is better than not knowing what you want. I wasn’t always a self conscious person. I doubted everything, was unsure and insecure about every step in my life. I never knew if it was the right thing to take a job, quit it, move in, move out or study. But wouldn’t you want to have tried instead of still having that thought back in your head? The only thing stopping you is yourself – so just go for it. A lot of people like to stay in their comfort zone just because it’s easier. You don’t put yourself in all these thoughts, doubts and stress of changing certain things in your life. But these people miss out on something that perhaps might change their life. The tiniest decision can pull you in a completely different situation – which you may like more than the one before.

Moving the fourth time is also a decision for me: a confession of love and the decision to settle for Cologne. It’s the city I want to live in the next years for sure. Of course I could have always tried out a different place, but my gut tells me this, right now, is the right thing for me and I can’t wait for my next period starting – which is tomorrow. You should try too. I bet you won’t regret it 🙂

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photo by Frieder Helmig (Instagram: @friedercarlo)

RackBuddy | Advertisement

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Almost 4 years ago I got a job in Cologne and moved away from my home town. I lived in 2 different flats with several different people until I set up my own flat share with two guys and a girl I met. I finally wanted to move into a flat big enough to have sufficiently space for eating and hanging around with friends. Which is – if you have experience with the living situation in Cologne – pretty hard. The apartment market is awful. We didn’t really know each other but moved together in a beautiful flat in the city center. The only thing I had to accept: I got the smallest room. 11.5 square meters in which I had to fit a bed, table, and something to store my clothes. Whatever way I moved things around, it always looked super squeezed and uncomfortable. A couple of weeks ago I decided to make my own tiny room more beautiful! There had to be a way where both would be possible: aesthetic and enough space. I bought plants, cases of wine and threw away a lot of unnecessary stuff.

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Last month I stumbled upon RackBuddy while scrolling through feed on Instagram. It’s a start up from Denmark created in 2013 – a customizable wardrobe made out of water pipes. The idea behind it is that a clothes rack can be more than just that. It “can be a piece of furniture shaping the identity of its owner’s home”. Often we attach great importance to furniture like chairs, beds or lamps. Why wouldn’t you also want to have a wardrobe that fits the look of your home? It brings along something kind of industrial and grave, but has a gently and perfectly plain appearance at the same time. When my RackBuddy arrived I got involved in the design process: it’s a minimalistic and simple item that gives you the possibility to apply and decorate it just the way you like.

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The campaign of RackBuddy has the slogan “Design. Build. Make it Yours.” which reflects the thought of creating something. I like how it’s not ready when it arrives at your place, you have to build it up and make it your own. I decided to get the RackBuddy Wild Bill Elliot Silver. For a longer time I was looking for a wardrobe where I could hang up long coats in winter but also have place to store short jackets and shirts. The knob on the side is perfect to put on bags or scarfs. Because its pretty high (210 cm) it doesn’t consume too much space in my tiny room.

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My result? I couldn’t be any happier with my new buddy. It really changed the look of my room and I finally feel at home in 11.5 square meters. RackBuddy is a simple solution which also gives you the opportunity to make it individual.

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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.

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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.

California

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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Malibu

 

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Venice

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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Eva

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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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Venice

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Marc & Fitzi

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Venice

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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Oceanside

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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

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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.

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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

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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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Waterfalls

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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