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“The Importance of Being Irish”

When I arrived in Dublin five weeks ago I didn’t know I would fall in love just days later. Sometimes I was walking around for several hours, eyes wide open, eager to see all the 111 places mentioned in the travel guide my father gave me for Christmas, afraid to miss something. On other days, I spent my time in cafés because I felt the atmosphere and the people would bring me closer to this city than trudging round all the sights.

By the way: being a bit ‘Dublin-experienced’ by now, I can recommend Simon’s Place at George’s Street Arcade for coffee and cake. The best sandwiches, you’ll get at Avoca. And for a beautiful dinner go to Wuff at Smithfield.

I will miss all this when I hid back home. I will miss constantly speaking English. I will miss my Airbnbs and Maddy, the cleverest dog there is. I will miss Hodges Figgis, the greatest bookstore ever. I will miss the Gaelic announcement in the Luas “Sráid na Mainistreach“ at my final stop. But most of all I will miss working at Hot Press Magazine and its lovely people, some of whom became good friends in a short time.

I dedicate this blog to the love for #Dublin, to #Gilmore Girls, to #travelling, to #food, to #literature and to #acting. And to Peter and Paul who encouraged me to start blogging.

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In Omnia Paratus!

The beginning of a new year is always an interesting time for me. It kinda feels like buying a new notebook with all these beautiful untouched pages and all you can think about is not messing it up. You’re using a special pen, you’re trying to write as neatly as possible, even though you already know that this new notebook is not at all unlike the ones before and will also be chaotic within a blink of the eye.

And that’s exactly what happens at the beginning of every year. I try to be more tidy, more punctual, more friendly. I start watching the news every night, try to read more and eat healthier. I want to write more letters, work on my novel and publish at least one blog post a week.

I don’t know why I always think I’d become a better person just because of a new year starting. Shouldn’t we constantly work on ourselves instead of giving up halfway through the year and postponing the “being-a-better-version-of-myself” to the following year?

IMG-20181001-WA0005I guess, working on myself was also the initial idea behind the bucket list I published in August 2018. Since then I went to a Kodaline concert (#12), I’ve visited the Harry Potter Studios in London (#27), I’ve kissed a frog prince (#41) and fell in love (#42). I didn’t plan any of these things. Well, of course, I booked my concert ticket and the flight to London, but both times it happened rather spontaneously, and I definitely didn’t plan to fall in love.

“I’ve got about the next two and a half hours planned, and then there’s just darkness and possibly some dragons.” – Rory Gilmore

And that’s when I realised that the most wonderful things happen when you don’t expect them at all (something I should’ve learned in my four years of playing improv). We can’t plan to be a better version of ourselves. We can just constantly try and stop feeling bad if it’s not always working out!

Wow, it’s gonna be just like “Lady and the Tramp”

Bella notte, a small Italian restaurant, a wine bottle candle stick and the best spaghetti in town that is what comes to my mind when I think of Spaghetti & Meatballs. And as you would expect from an almost perfect show such as Gilmore Girls, of course there’s a reference to this very iconic Lady and the Tramp-scene during Rory’s and Dean’s three-month anniversary in Season 1’s “Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers”:

Wow, it’s gonna be just like “Lady and the Tramp”. You’ll share a plate of spaghetti, but it’ll just be one long strand, but you won’t realise it until you accidentally meet in the middle. And then, he’ll push a meatball towards you with his nose, and you’ll push it back with your nose, and then you’ll bring the meatball home and you’ll save it in the refrigerator for years and …

Of course, there’s also that moment in Season 7 when Emily is actually serving the dish and accidentally turning a quite normal conversation about celebrity hair colours into an argument:

LORELAI: How can you possibly say she looked better with the dark hair?
RORY: She did, the blonde just seemed like she was trying to be her sister.
LORELAI: The dark hair makes it look like she’s trying not to look like her, plus she does not have the nose for dark hair.
RORY: What does that mean?
LORELAI: Dark hair is like a giant light-up arrow pointing to what is wrong with you. Blond hair, it all sort of blends in in a haze of beige.
RORY: Nuts, you’re nuts.
LORELAI: You’re double nuts!
EMILY: All right, that’s it. No more spaghetti and meatballs. Musepa, come get these plates.
LORELAI: Mom!
EMILY: Every time we have spaghetti and meatballs, you fight.

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Anyway, my best friend’s birthday was coming up and I was flipping through some cookbooks for inspirations. You should know I’m one of these crazy people who prefer experience gifts to material purchases, mainly because I believe, it’s more meaningful but also because we all have too much stuff anyway.

Well, I was flipping through Eat Like a Gilmore and all of a sudden there was this fantastic idea in my head, and I decided to throw him a Disney-themed motto night. With 16 square meters living space and a student income there was, of course, no way it would be as perfect as Lorelai’s fake Asia vacation or Rory’s Logan-farewell/Pre-London-party, but with self-made Disney decorations à la Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Peter Pan and The Princess and the Frog, and myself dressed as Mary Poppins (I had used the outfit before for our graduation motto week “Children’s heroes”) it still promised to be a great night. I borrowed a plaid tablecloth from my grandma, lit up some candles and was quite surprised by the atmosphere I had created.

The recipe is quite time-consuming but not hard to prepare and it’s definitely worth the effort (even though you have to gut sausages instead of simply using minced meat). As a student, I have to admit, pasta is one of my three basics – coffee, pasta and cookies (yep, quoted Gilmore Girls again) – mostly in combination with tomatoes and cheese, maybe a bit of zucchini and mushrooms, or sometimes a little more fancy with salmon or prawns, so it was great to try a dish that was different and definitely more special from what I would usually have. For dessert there was Chocolate Fondue with pink and white Marshmallow mice & we ended up… no, not fighting (!!!)… watching Zootopia.

All in all, a perfect evening (which would probably make a pretty good date, too 😉) at home with a 5-stars recipe!

 

 

We Have Buried the Putrid Corpse of Liberty!

#26 Be a Bridesmaid

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Rory: Oh, I printed up some sample invitations for you. I made them on my computer.
Lorelai: Aww.
Rory: All you have to do is pick out a quote for the front page, and I’ll print them up.
Lorelai: Okay. Um “What is love? It is the morning and the evening star.” Ugh.
Rory: Sinclair Lewis.
Lorelai: Sinclair Sappy Lewis.
Rory: Fine, next.
Lorelai: “And all went merry as a marriage bell. But hush! Hark! A deep sound strikes like a rising knell!” What is it with poetry?
Rory: Lord Byron.
Lorelai: Byron and Lewis, together again.
Rory: Okay, last one.
Lorelai: “We have buried the putrid corpse of liberty.” Perfect!
Rory: Mussolini it is.

There are girls who have been dreaming about their wedding for most of their lives. They have an image of what they’re going to wear. They know which music they’re going to play when walking the aisle, who they would invite and which cake they’re going to serve.

I’ve never been one of these girls. I’ve never passed a bridal boutique and imagined myself wearing one of the dresses (reason for #39 on my bucket list). I’m not getting excited before a royal wedding. I don’t enjoy watching TV shows such as Married at First Sight or Say Yes to the Dress (apart from that one time when I was channel surfing with my roommate & we realised Emmet Kirwan was the narrator of Don’t Tell the Bride).

I’m not saying I don’t like weddings at all. I just can’t remember a time in my life when I seriously dreamed of getting married. Like every girl, of course I used to have a back-up-husband-to-be during my teens & several celebrities I wouldn’t mind calling husband. 😉

Actually, you could have probably described me as kind of cynical, until, about 1 year ago, one of my best friends, Ronja, got engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Michael.

Ronja and me are pretty similar and very different at the same time. We met at an improv festival when I – a secret fan of her music – overheard her talking about an upcoming song release. It took another year before we became friends, at the final party of that same festival. And of course, like every good girl-friendship, it all started with a guy… She knows about every crush I had in the last three years, my secret fears, my worst styling choices, my positive and negative characteristics, and why moving to Dublin became my #1.

Anyway, one of my Lanes was getting married, and – knowing her – it promised to be perfect!

From time to time, I was really sorry I lived in Dublin and couldn’t really be part of the organisation. Yes, I was with her buying the dress. Yes, I came to Germany for the bachelorette party. And of course, I flew over for the wedding. But apart from that I was just another one of her 1,468 Instagram followers waiting for daily updates, because we were just too busy to call each other or even chat on a regular basis. 😅

Believe it or not, she still chose me as one of her bridesmaids ❤️ (yes! That’s #26 on my bucket list)!

I won’t describe the wedding itself in many words. It might sound crazy, but I think some things are just too precious for simple words. I may be able to recount it one day in a different genre – something fictional like a novel that leaves room for interpretation and a chance to catch some of the atmosphere.

I’ll just tell you that she looked gorgeous, that almost everybody was moved to tears, and that it felt like a dream – even more after I came back to the location the next day and found it lifeless and cold without the decorations (reminder to reread this scene from Percival).

Thanks Ronja, for giving me a wedding to dream about! I’m honoured to be your bridesmaid, and part of your life. Love you! ❤️❤️❤️

 

The Answer is 42

 

Rereading my blog, I realised it wasn’t my smartest move to write a post called ‘The Sweetness of Doing Nothing’ before disappearing for almost three months.

Well, too late to worry about that now …

Of course, I wasn’t exactly doing nothing… But five Hot Press issues, four visitors, three festivals, two apartments and one week in Germany later, it’s more important than ever to concentrate on my writing again.

From time to time, I remembered how much I loved writing just for fun and without a work context. I remembered it every time somebody was asking me about my novel. I remembered it seeing one of my colleagues filling his notebook during his lunch breaks. I remembered it watching Anne with an E. And I remembered it last Sunday listening to David Keenan at the All Together Now Hot Press speakeasy stage.

And here I am, a 22-year-old wannabe writer who hasn’t looked at her own works in at least seven weeks. AFTER Neil Gaiman told me the trick in becoming a published author was to finish a work first. I really took his advice serious. For a week or two. I’m so sorry, Neil! Apparently, focus isn’t my biggest strength at the moment.

To change that I came up with a bucket list of 42 things. Initially, this had been my friend’s idea over 3 years ago, but the old list is a bit out of date.

These 42 things can be anything, from small things like reading a certain novel to big things like travelling around the world. Writing this, I have to accept that in this world of unlimited possibilities, my own existence is small and limited. So I may be never able to speak fluent Chinese or live in space – but that’s okay.  As long as I have a few things to focus on, and always remember that life is too short to not to do what I want.

  1. Move to Dublin.
  2. Swim with a dolphin.
  3. Buy a book after running out of books.
  4. Visit Silindo in Cape Town.
  5. Write a novel.
  6. Publish a novel.
  7. See the penguins in Alaska.
  8. Eat lobster.
  9. Learn fluent Danish.
  10. Read ‘War and Peace’.
  11. See the Northern Lights.
  12. Go to a Kodaline concert.
  13. Make a difference in someone’s life.
  14. Direct a play.
  15. Ride on a camel.
  16. Meet my favourite author.
  17. Travel to the Warner Bros. Studios in LA.
  18. Learn how to sew.
  19. Eat at Patrick Guilbaud’s.
  20. Go to the airport & decide spontaneously where to go.
  21. Finish the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.
  22. Go to a casino.
  23. Watch a film at ‘The Stella’.
  24. See ‘Hamilton’ at the Broadway.
  25. Go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.
  26. Be a bridesmaid.
  27. Visit the Harry Potter Studios in London.
  28. See the Bangles perform.
  29. Sleep on a boat.
  30. Rub Theodore Dwight Woolsey’s toe at Yale.
  31. Be independent (more or less) from material possessions.
  32. Travel to Iceland.
  33. See a Shakespearean play at ‘The Globe’.
  34. Read a novel in French.
  35. Visit Juliet’s balcony in Verona.
  36. Travel around the world with a backpack.
  37. Follow the footsteps of Laura Ingalls Wilder in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri and beyond.
  38. Coffee with Lily James.
  39. Try on a wedding dress.
  40. Get a tattoo.
  41. Kiss a prince (or a frog).
  42. Fall in love.

With two things already done this year, I think I’m on track!

What’s on your bucket list? Comment below!

Thanks a million!

 

 

 

 

 

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

You’re the kind of person who appreciates a quiet night at home with a good book? I definitely am. From time to time it’s nice being all by yourself for a change, talking to nobody but the checkout guy at Lidl (who unfortunately doesn’t bear any resemblance to Dean), watching Netflix, eating junk food, sleeping, … A whole weekend, however, would usually drive me mad. So after two days of basically doing nothing, I have to admit I am kind of surprised that I am still doing pretty good! Somehow I managed not to feel alone at all – and, more important, not to constantly feel bad about the fact that I didn’t spend my time more carefully (Dolce Far Niente! as the Italians would say). Doing some research on my next article for example or going on that trip to Galway that I’ve been planning for weeks or finally buying a bridesmaid dress for my friend’s wedding in August…

There’s always something to do, but don’t you ever get tired of doing stuff? I certainly do… And if this is what makes me happy right now – eating pie taking turns at watching ’13 Reasons Why’ and ‘A Year in the Life’ – then so be it!

LaptopBesides, life is way too much about trying to create meaning instead of just living. It’s all about putting things straight, about striving for more in this confusing world, about dealing with all these overwhelming human emotions. I believe that’s the reason why we constantly remodel our homes and create new spaces for our junk – so that there’s at least one thing in our lives we are in control of. Truth is, we never really are in control of things. And I don’t want to rearrange anymore. I just want to get rid of things I don’t need. Hi minimalists out there! I think I have your attention now.

These past few weeks I did a great deal of decluttering, moving not once, not twice, but three times altogether! Have I mentioned we were moving offices as well? After dealing with 24 years of stuff that had to be trashed, recycled, sorted and packed up in boxes you can imagine that the less-is-more concept kind of grew on me.

Yesterday, however, I spent two hours looking for Lorelai’s “Everyone Loves an Irish Girl” T-shirt from 4/1, trying to find a way to deliver it to Europe, although I knew light green isn’t necessarily the ideal colour for me. Normally, I’m wearing darker colours like bottle-green, ruby and ocean blue. Goes better with my hair and my skin. Anyway, when I finally gave it up, it was not because I couldn’t order it. It was for the sake of Emily Gilmore. Remember after Richard has died, Emily reads Marie Kondō’s ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ and suddenly wants to get rid of everything she owns.

You know Marie Kondō? […] People swear by her. She says you have to take everything you own out and put it in piles on the ground. Then you pick up each possession, and you hold it. If it brings you joy, you keep it. And if it doesn’t, out it goes.

This concept might seem radical; for Emily, however, who has just lost the love of her life, it makes perfect sense. Like Emily, we know that the junk we own cannot bring us true happiness. So, why are we surrounding ourselves with all these things? Maybe because we’re trying to hide the fact that there’s something else we’re missing? Doesn’t that mean the first step to find out what we’re missing is to declutter our lives?

By the way, this doesn’t mean I want to get rid of all my stuff or that I will spend all my future weekends all by myself. I just think we shouldn’t constantly strive for more. Sometimes we should just be happy spending a weekend at home watching Netflix and eating pie.

Well…

Maybe I should get that T-shirt after all…

In Defence of Rory Gilmore

Once in a while every girl dreams of living the life of their favourite TV character. Being invited to one of Blair Waldorf’s sleepover parties, attending a ball with Lady Mary or strolling through the Enchanted Forest with Emma, Regina and Snow… I must admit, from time to time even a serious conversation with Charles Ingalls seemed tempting to me, for as far as I know he’s the only human being that can solve every single problem mankind has ever faced. (Fun fact: I was named after Laura Ingalls Wilder, cause ‘Little House on the Prairie’ was my Mum’s favourite show when she was younger.)

“A dream is a wish your heart makes…” But most of the time these wishes remain unfulfilled, and you’re left alone with the cold reality that desperately needs a repaint à la ‘Pushing Daisies’. In my case, however, things are slightly different.

In Secondary School a friend of mine used to compare me with Rory, and although I always felt flattered I couldn’t really agree with her. Rory was drop-dead beautiful, smart, kind, modest and loved by everybody and I was … well, definitely not ugly, stupid, mean, arrogant or hated, but eh well… HUMAN. Still, Rory was everything I always wanted to be, and sometimes I wonder how different my life would have been without her as a role model.  Would I have chosen journalism, for example? I don’t know.

However, as the years went by, and I was watching Gilmore Girls over and over and over again, I couldn’t help but notice some of the similarities myself. Of course, I loved books, films and coffee, but had Emily and Richard always been that much like my grandparents? Did my father serve Amy Sherman-Palladino as a model for Christopher? Why did I never see the striking resemblance between Luke and my stepfather? And how on earth could it take 10 years for me to realize that Rory’s birthday was October 8, just like mine? Even the boys I liked were similar to Dean and Jess (although I’m still waiting for the rich guy to show up). And yes, my gay best friend’s name is Mich(a)el! All this can be seen as coincidences or maybe it’s just me desperately wanting to be a Gilmore Girl. I don’t know.

Growing up, I started to see Rory’s imperfections, and at least since the revival the tone has changed entirely. Rory is no longer the perfect daughter, girlfriend and granddaughter. People started calling her selfish, spoiled, unlikable, dependent on the people around her. A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this extract from an online article on AYITL.

“A seminal show for many women growing up, the series seemed blind to how terribly entitled and overprivileged Rory Gilmore is and always has been. And then the reboot did what the original never explicitly did: highlighted Rory’s immature relationship with her privilege and essentially made her the most unlikable character on the show.”

Speaking for myself, Rory is still my role model. Yes, she’s made some bad decisions. And yes, she’s not perfect. But honestly, who is? I intend to learn from her mistakes without making the same ones! And in the meantime, I’m going to start Gilmore Girls all over again.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there!

Thanks Mum, for being the Lorelai to my Rory!

“You are my guidepost for everything!”

 

About the Life-changing Power Of Improv Theatre

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When I was 17, life was different. And I’m not talking about going to school EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR FUCKING TWELVE YEARS (by the way, I liked school). I’m talking about me being different. Sure, I already wanted to be a journalist. Five years of hard work for our quite unpopular school paper, which never sold more than 25 issues, prove that point. But apart from that…

I remember I loved staying home at the weekends, reading fantasy novels, having sleepovers with my best friend, watching ‘Buffy’ or ‘Vampire Diaries’ for 12 hours and eating Pizza, while the other girls went out to make their first experiences with alcohol and guys. At school, I was not exactly popular, but people liked me for my readiness to help them with their homework and listen to their problems (you see, very much different from my crazy popularity nowadays 😀). All this doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

What people keep forgetting about teenagers is their self-consciousness.

When I was 17, I couldn’t call my dentist to arrange an appointment. I made up excuses to not order food myself. I didn’t talk to guys. And somehow, five years later I almost had forgotten about all that. They say, people don’t really change. But when I go back in time, I can’t really connect with Past-Laura anymore. I remembered her a few weeks ago, when I was talking to a friend about the first time I had been travelling alone. How she used to sit in a hostel’s common room with a book, pretending to read while actually hoping for someone to talk to her. There was always somebody, and most of the conversations started with: “Hey, what are you reading?” My friend only got to know me in 2017, so I felt I had to introduce Past-Laura to him, and was like: “Well, that was before I started acting!”

And that was it. I once again realised how improv has changed my life. A lot! Cause theatre gives you courage, self-confidence, spontaneity, and a bunch of crazy irreplaceable people. I’m incredibly thankful for all that!

The problem is, the more experience you gain, the more critical you become, and after a while you feel stuck with the same five characters you always perform. And of course, the audience doesn’t care, because all they really want is to laugh out loud, and to forget their everyday worries for two hours. But you care, and you get impatient watching some of the other players feel superior, although they’re performing their same old five characters just like you do. And suddenly you realise that improv is not all about fun, and friendship, and love. It’s also about arrogance, narcissism, and superficiality – characteristics that would turn any person into a jerk, no matter how nice they used to be. Realising that made me want to take a break: a break from superficiality, a break from arrogant, narcissistic people, a break from this beautiful art form that used to mean everything to me and that is not responsible for people using it in the wrong way.

Improv has taught me a lot about the person I want to be, but also about the person I don’t want to be. Moving to Dublin was the perfect opportunity for a break, and I’m going to use these six months wisely. As an actress you learn how to be somebody else, and now that I know how to do that, I want to try something different. I want to learn how to be Laura. And I have the feeling this could be way more difficult…