Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week Rewind: Valentines Day, Moving, Cologne

VALENTINE'S DAY. This has already been more than one week, but since I didn't blog about it, you can see here what I had been up to on that supposedly lovey-dovey romantic day. My boyfriend is currently on the other side of the world, thus leaving me with a lonely valentine's day. First I thought about going out to the city, but I refused to hand myself over to the snowy hell of coldness.

In the end, I stayed in my warm, cozy, little apartment and turned valentine's day into a "FEEL-GOOD-BEAUTY-AND-WELLNESS DAY", haha! If it's all about giving and receiving love, why not give and receive love oneself? No need to be sad to not have a date, just treat yourself to something you enjoy, right? Thus, I turned on some soft music, wrapped my hair into a hair mask, put on a facial mask, grabbed a nice book to read while enjoying a relaxing, flowery-smelling, feet bubble bath! Yay!

Let's keep on MOVING, MOVING... my home. Since I will be leaving Germany for at least one year in the next month, it's time to say goodbye to my own little home in which I spent the last four years as a student. Time flew by faster than expected, and I actually got to really love my little room, although it's not very spacious and not one of the very attractive rooms, but rather old and maybe even frail because I can hear every little step of my neighbor above. The more familiar and comfortable I got with living here, the more feelings are attached to it, and the less I want to let go of the personal space.

However, what I could easily let go were all my readings and notes from my bachelor and master studies. If I  spread it evenly on the floor, I could cover my entire room with it. I still cannot believe how much I studied compared to how much from it is now left in my brain. Moreover, moving that huge mountain of paper to the disposal took me three runs.

Spent more than three days moving my stuff back to my old room in my parents' house. I definitely haven't done enough sports lately, because the muscle soreness from carrying heavy furniture, boxes and bags was so horribly intensive... I couldn't even lift my arms anymore.

When I was sorting my stuff, many surprising things popped out from my shelves and drawers, that is, many precious memories came back to light after being buried and forgotten in dusted corners for years. What I realized was that many things changed because I had changed.

When I was still a beauty junk, I would non-stop collect as many product samples as possible to figure out the best products for me. These are the PERFUME SAMPLES that I gathered throughout the last years, but now they might wander to the disposal. When I was young, I damned these CHINESE STUDY BOOKS and would have loved to throw them into the trash bag. But as I grow older, I started to slowly develop some passion for this language myself and these books suddenly regain their value to me.

As time goes by, many things become more worth, other things less worth to us. We might start to appreciate what we didn't appreciate before, and we might let go of what we thought we could never let go. I'm happy that I discovered many of these while moving back to my old room, because they are signs of growing up.

NIGHT SNACKING. I have to admit that I totally messed up my sleep pattern and kind of turned around day and night. Thus, I find myself night snacking a lot (although it's simply my dinner, just that I have it at an unusual time, haha!) which is definitely a bad habit to break. On the left, my friend and I went to the sushi restaurant where we used to job part-time. Back then, there were times when I couldn't see its meals anymore, but now that it has been a while, I missed the food there. On the right, homemade pho - ooohh, how I love noodle soups!

Here in Germany, in the area where I live, there aren't many big attractions around. But one which is certainly worth a "wow!" is the cathedral in COLOGNE (Kölner Dom). Although I've been there many, many times, the level of detail in this Gothic architecture still amazes me considering that it has all been created by human hands only. It's said to be the third highest church building in this world, and also the most visited landmark in Germany.

However, my friend and I didn't go there to visit the cathedral. We simply had a nice shopping afternoon (but we ended up not buying anything) and then headed for INDIAN FOOD at Buy Buy. Their curry was sooooo good, and that for a very reasonable price. We ordered a lamp curry à la chef and a chicken curry with tomatoes, garlic, onions and ginger, while the latter was a bit more spicy. However, I love spicy food (although I always get a running nose from it) and I can totally recommend that Indian place to everyone who also likes Indian curry.

That was again one week that has passed by quite fast. Countdown is running, just two more weeks until my departure to Hong Kong! Can't wait to drag you along to my new adventure over there :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Familiar

I thought I would dislike this place because I can't stand its silence, dullness, coldness and emptiness. But as I move further away from it, its silence becomes tranquility, its dullness turns into harmony, its coldness depicts stability, and its emptiness inspires the feeling of freedom.

I thought I would feel relieved facing a change, but sacrifices become more visible and more weighty as I am preparing to set out for change. Will the gains compensate for all that I am leaving behind?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Roadtrip away from Sydney with no Destination (Pt.4) - Byron Bay

Isn't that adorable and cute? Although Byron Bay was again another beachside town we had arrived, we weren't much attracted by the beach (also because we already had too many on our roadtrip), but rather by the lovely souvenir and crafts shops and nice dining restaurants.

We actually went to Byron Bay twice. The first time we stopped there for dinner and also wanted to stay there over night. Unfortunately, hotels were all booked out so that we were forced to continue our trip and eventually made it to Gold Coast. However, the dinner we had there was an exclusive experience.

St. Elmo - Dining room and wine bar. The place gave an impression of being quite high-class with dimmed lights and the big wine bar with all the fine wines on the shelves. It was a relaxing and chilling place where you could hang with your group of friends for a nice cocktail or wine, or even for nice food platters to be shared with friends.

They have a diverse menu, but in my opinion, the dishes are a bit overpriced for the fact that none of us had had enough although the bill was already more than decent. The dishes did taste good though, just that portions were quite small. The service was also awesome and very professional.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Roadtrip away from Sydney with no Destination (Pt.3) - Brisbane

Brisbane City Centre
We could have stayed close to our hotel and taken some nice walk at Broadbeach, but after we have already seen so many beaches and places related to water, we needed some variety. Thinking back, I find it a bit regretful that I didn't make at least one footstep on the famous Broadbeach, but one day only at Gold Coast was really too rushed. For that one day, we rather gave priority to half day of theme park and half day of city life to balance out all the "water views" and beaches that we already had. After we had our fun in Movie World, it was time for some flashing city lights in Brisbane.

I remember how rushed we were, because we were so afraid to miss out the sun and the sunset. Brisbane was totally an unfamiliar place to us, so after we parked our car somewhere close to the city center, we simply followed the last sunbeams and ran towards the sunset until we would reach an interesting place - very random and spontaneous, as always.

Can you imagine from this random shot how in need I was for some interesting spot worth taking a photo of? The visit to Brisbane was not planned at all. It was a quite spontaneous reaction to the "what's next?"-question after we had just left Movie World. Therefore, no one was prepared for Brisbane, and none of us had an idea of where to go, where to find the must-see spots or even where to get good food. We were so lost that even a boring garage was suddenly inspirational enough to be worth taking a photo of, haha!

- "The cloud there looks super cute!"
- "Huh?"
- "There, where the sun is behind! Take a photo before it's gone!"

Thanks to my friend who spotted this little golden view. I love things which shine, glow and sparkle in a minimalist or soft way and thereby create brightness which is not too striking - something that one could call "understated beauty". It warms the heart with a pleasant feeling without being too obtrusive or thrilling.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Roadtrip away from Sydney with no Destination (Pt.2) - Gold Coast, Movie World

View from Sofitel Hotel,  Broadbeach, Gold Coast
Day 4 - We were about to cross the border to Queensland which we had never expected. The plan was to be back to Sydney on day 5, and going forward to Gold Coast would add up at least one more day. But hey, it's Gold Coast right in front of us - the Australian touristic hot spot overloaded with various theme parks, world-renowned beaches and year-round sunshine which wows over 10 million of visitors each year! Being so close to such a promising holiday destination, could we really just abandon that opportunity and simply alter our course?

Sofitel Hotel, Broadbeach, Gold Coast
I just say, seize the moment, babe. Who knows when we would have the chance again to go there together? Leaving Australia for good was just a matter of time to all of us, so we better cherish the great things right ahead of us. In that moment, it was us, being together, there.

When we arrived at Broadbeach in that little village, we were surrounded by huge hotel buildings, lovely cafes and restaurants which all created that relaxed, chill and laid-back holiday flair. People must be so happy living here, because it doesn't seem to be ever necessary nor appropriate to feel stress in that area.

Sofitel Hotel, Broadbeach, Gold Coast
Summer, sunshine, 25°C degrees, beaches, bikini, thongs, Christmas tree - Please find the mistake in that word list. Well, if you are Australian, all these things will fit together very well and nothing seems wrong. Not every man on this world gets to enjoy the typical snowy white Christmas (disputable if it's unfortunate or not), and even more people on this world can't get to experience a hot summer Christmas. As I belong to the latter group of people, I just had to grab the opportunity of posing next to a Christmas tree with a summer dress and thongs on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Roadtrip away from Sydney with no Destination (Pt.1)

This trip dates back to the beginning of last year when I was in Australia. I've always wanted to write down the entire story of it, because it was such an awesome experience to me, but I never found time to do so throughout the year until now...

Well, we did have destinations, but they were decided on at the very last moments whenever we felt like making a stopover. Normally, people plan days ahead which route to take, where to stop and where, where to sleep over, which hostels to book etc... but we prepared nothing of these. A road trip has never been that spontaneous and random before for me.