There’s something inside you, it’s hard to explain

I am just going to continue the 25 Days of Songs challenge pretending I was never absent!

#4 – A song that calms you down. That would definitely be the London Grammar version of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall”. Hannah Reid has such an enormously therapeutic voice. I rarely read with music on, but if I do, it’ll be London Grammar.

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Spines & Stories

Finally, after having had some more than crazy days, I’m getting back to writing a prompt. Such a beautiful one, to it!

If you were one part human, two parts something else — another animal, a plant, an inanimate object — what would the other two parts be?

“We are all books, because we have spines and stories to tell.”

I really, really wish I could remember who said this to me. It was dropped in a conversation a long time ago and I remember how it struck me perfectly. Yes, one of my three thirds would definitely be a book, just as I believe everyone else is. A thousand words swirling, until they finally crawl up your spine and write your story, good or bad. No matter which direction life will take you, your story will be there. The words will never stop swirling and forming new plots; a genuine and unique blend of the things you lived through and the things you wish you had experienced, the things you wish hadn’t happened and the things you think you saw. It’s that perfect storm when you read through someone else’s story and finally discover what they are, what they are not and what they want to be. When you start to understand the inner workings of someone. We are all books, we are the sum of words and stories, inter alia.

My last third would be tea. Every blend of tea you can think of. That warm, comforting feeling, whispering that everything will be alright. I promise, I’m just as many million flavors. And steamin’ hot, of course. If you know what I mean.

All jokes aside, I might love books and tea a little too much. If you do too (at least the books-part), you should check out the bookaholics rehab – definitely a personal favorite.

Also, if you have taken the time to read this, leave me a comment with your favorite book and/or tea, one can never have enough of those!

– C

Chitchat with an ancestor

If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?

Unf. This is a really bad question to be answered by a German. Chitchat with our ancestors isn’t our biggest strength, since, you know, usually wars are involved. I really, really, have a hard time answering this question, but I suppose, an ancestor from times long passed would probably be shocked by the lax relationship my family has with each other.

Don’t get me wrong, of course the younger ones still respect the older ones, it’s just… all very easy. I like to have a glass of wine with mom or go to concerts with my dad. Also, there’s an unreal amount of divorce and re-marriage going on in my family, which is crazy cool, since I have a huge and super diverse family now, even though I’m only blood related to a few of them.

All in all, I definitely think morals and standards have changed and my ancestors probably would not agree with that. My family is a pretty charming bunch though, so he might just deal with it and get involved in the end.

– C

Is it wrong to have fun?

What’s the one guilty pleasure you have that’s so good, you no longer feel guilty about it?

For the longest time the biggest guilt I had was not being productive. I loved doing so many things, but in the back of my mind I was always  stressing out about just how much work I still needed to get done. I was the kind of girl that’s attached to her smartphone’s e-mail inbox on vacation or even has some sort of legal textbook with her when waiting for dinner at a restaurant. I ruined things for me and quite possibly others. So here it is, my guilty pleasure: Fun.

By now, I have come to understood that having fun is nothing bad, even when you have work to do. But do it right. Enjoy the time with friends, traveling, reading or doing whatever you like. The more you enjoy yourself, the more balanced you will feel when actually getting back to work. Stop stressing out so much, eventually, everything will fall into place. Have fun without your smartphone or books or laptop. Things can wait!

And then, after having had a great day/week/5 minutes – get back to work, take matters into you own hands and be productive like a champ.

– C

Stone set in your eyes, thorn twist in your side

Today on “25 Days of Songs“: A song that reminds you of one/both of your parents.

For some reason, all the challenges and daily prompts bring me back to my parents. So it shall be, my parents are wonderful beings. If I’d have to think of a song that reminded me of them, it would definitely be “With Or Without You” by U2. My parents have been married for 15 years and are still the cutest lovebirds you’ll ever see. Everytime this song comes on, ever since I can remember, they look at each other like they just fell in love all over again. I don’t know the story behind the song and I wouldn’t want to know – that will be their secret, forever.

 

“Through the storm, we reach the shore,
you give it all but I want more.”

May 13: Unconventional Love

Over the weekend, we explored different ways to love. Today, tell us about the most unconventional love in your
life.

This prompt definitely was the reason why I stayed away from my reader today. I spent all day trying to figure out a smart or witty answer to this, but I just couldn’t come up with one. I didn’t want to read anyone else’s answer, because I feared that I wouldn’t be able to think for myself afterwards.

So here its is, straight up and probably not as unconventional as intended: my father. My father, who is technically my step father, bounced into my life straight from the beginning. It’s one of these cheesy love stories where, thankfully, no one dies or gets criminal. My father had been my mother’s best friend for years; when I was two, they fell in love. It will always be beyond me how my father was able to take in a child that wasn’t his and love that child like his own. Never, in all of the years, have I wished for my biological father to be with my mother, I never wanted anyone as a father but him. Every little girl looks up to her parents, but to the day, my father will always remain my idol, for teaching me to love unconditional, and yes, also slightly unconventional.

– C

 

 

 

All I wish I had

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five or ten) ago?

Count. Your. Blessings.

The only advice I wish I had been given earlier. Maybe people even did advise me, maybe I was too young to understand. When you are a teenager, life seems infinite, friendships seem to never end and loss is a concept far in the future. Whereas some of us had to suffer through losing people early, I was, thankfully, not one of them. I grew up sheltered, but with a good grip on reality.

But standing here now, a good 10 years later, I start to realize that growing up also means parting ways with many loved ones for different reasons. Some die too young, some pass away, some just take different paths in life than you do, some change and some might not understand your changes. I wish myself back a few years ago way too often.

So wherever you stand in life, count your blessings now. Be aware of the things you have. It may not be much to you now, but ten years in the future it will probably be all you wished you had.

– C

…, inter alia, …

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Recently, I had the pleasure to rework an old case (ca. 2003) of the European Court of Justice and turn it into a case brief. You don’t need to know all that much about the case (which can be found here, if someone deliberately would like to subject themselves to the torture of European bureaucracy), but the bottom line of the story is that a Moroccan man tried to immigrate into the UK several times and was deported repeatedly, despite being married to a British citizen.

There’s much more to the case, but I’ll reduce it to the essential question here. The Moroccan gentleman is not allowed to stay, because he broke laws, therefore the usual “Marry a different citizen and get residence permit” doesn’t work. However, this conflicts European Convention of Human Rights, as Article 8 guarantees the right to family life. Basically, what it comes down to is the question wether Human Rights are more important than national (and in this case also transnational) law. Should he be allowed to stay despite having broken law and the European Court of Justice holding that the usual laws don’t apply to him?

As a Human Rights activist, my stance on this is rather clear. Personally, I believe Human Rights are worthy of protection and need to be applicable and not only theoretical. The modern occidental world is still full of crimes against humanity, which is sad given how “civilized” we see ourselves. Wether it would be the death penalty or black sites like Guantanamo in the US, the so called “Sicherheitsverwahrung” (imprisoning detainees longer than their actual sentence for the sake of “public safety”) in Germany or the discrimination and deportation of Sinti & Roma in France, those are just few examples. Just recently, the access to clean water was denied the status of a Human Right.

So yes, I firmly believe Human Rights matter more than national law does (with certain exceptions). Article 8 specifically has limitations to rule out criminals from abusing their options, so just imagine yourself being a whole continent away from everything you love and not allowed to change that.

On a completely related note, the European Court of Justice was with me on that decision. (Mental) high five!

– C