Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

As mentioned already in my last post my grandma passed away. It’s weird really, how little I really tend to know about my grandparents even though I would argue that I spent quite some time with them when they were still alive. I tried to ask them questions about their life, the 3rd Reich (ok, granted, never got any real answers out of them on that one) and everything else that they might have told me. All in all they always told the same stories. Granted, all my grandparents had already been in their 70s or 80s when I came along so I never had those young grandparents that took me on shopping trips or holidays as so many other grandparents of my friends did. Still, I loved them and am lucky to have many fond memories of each of them.

Looking back my grandfathers have always been the greater focus points. Especially my paternal grandfather was such a charming person, you just couldn’t help loving and admiring him and I often wish I were a little bit more like him. Talking to my parents however, it seems that my grandmothers were actually the more courageous people. They both were well-educated businesswomen and certainly ahead of their times in many ways. My grandmother that just died was bitter and really difficult in her last years but in her youth she was quite the successful business woman in Germany, emigrated to the UK, fell in love with my grandfather and became, again, a successful business woman, who actually earned more than my grandfather (might be normal now but I assume this was quite an achievement in the 1950s, especially for a German born female in the UK (remember, the Brits weren’t too find of the Germans after WW2 ;-))). Whilst my grandmother wasn’t the warm and motherly type, she provided financially for her family, survived a major car crash (more bones broken than still intact) and craved out a life for herself outside of the strict boundaries of her home village. While I certainly don’t want to end as bitter and lonely as she was in the end I have to admire her courage and willpower. From her example I strive to learn that nothing is impossible if you put your heart into it.

RIP Gramma, you shall be missed but may your legacy live on!


Two weeks ago I had the unpleasant task of organizing my grandmas funeral. While the passing of a close person always sucks (please excuse my language, but it truly does, doesn’t it?), it in many ways is even worse when you have to deal with the aftermath i.e. the funeral. Since my parents were on holidays, my sister in London and my uncle and his family in Stuttgart I took on the task of organizing the funeral. Whilst everyone would have come to Cologne to support me, I decided that there was no point in them doing so, since it really only takes one person to organize it all and I was able to call upon them via phone or mail.

So, for all those of you, who never had to organize a funeral, here a short list of things that need to be done:

  1. Get a doctor declare the deceased dead (you need to provide the passport/ ID of that person)
  2. Decide on the clothes the deceased will be wearing and put them out for the undertaker to take with them
  3. Decide on an undertaker, contact them, instruct them (and already mention you preferred date for the funeral!)
  4. Together with the undertaker decide on a coffin, the grave (if you don’t have one already), the amount of candles, whether or not you want a pries & a mass, how many dead certificates and whether or not there shall be cushions in the coffin, etc. The undertaker will also cancel the pension, health insurance, etc if you give them the details
  5. If you decided on a priest, talk to him so he knows a little bit about the deceased if that person wasn’t a terribly active member in the church community
  6. If you have a grave already, remove all the flowers, the light, etc so the grave can be opened. You can also order a company to do that for you if you are not able to do it on your own
  7. Order flowers (don’t forget the flowers that will be thrown onto the coffin)
  8. Order food for after the funeral (in Germany there is usually some lunch/ coffee & cake provided in a nearby restaurant or hotel immediately after the funeral so you can catch up with all the family & friends that are assembled)

I know that this topic isn’t a terribly popular one but I assume that everybody who doesn’t feel comfy has already skipped this post J Anyhow, I think it is important to know these things. While organizing this funeral I spoke with many friends and colleagues and realized that nobody (me included) really had an idea what all needs to be done. In many ways this is a scary thought given that, as much as we all wish otherwise, there is a high likelihood that all of us will be faced with such a task at one point in our life.

Girls and diets probably go back as far as Adam and Eve. I can’t really recall a time I didn’t feel self-conscious about my weight. When it came to dieting, however, I have always been a slacker. Apart from one diet (where I lost about 15kg in 5 months) I was always way too lazy about dieting and way too fond about chocolate to really “do the diet thing”, preferring to enjoy life and feel a little bit self-conscious. However, 2 years A.D. (after diet) it’s time to go back into the dieting world. A year of school and 6 months of consulting (aka no time for sport and a solid 3 big meals a day) have added 7kg which need to go again. Also, now I have the chance of jumping the bandwagon since a couple of my colleagues entered a dieting contest. While I am not fond of contests (you loose a lot very fast but losing is one and keeping the weight off an entirely different thing), I intend to swim on the wave of weight loss and keep the weight off long-term.

Whilst I don’t intend to share my weight with anyone, I will share my thoughts, acts, successes and failures with you in the coming weeks.

Obviously, I haven’t started to diet just today but it has been growing over the last couple of weeks (fuelled also by the fact that some of my summer clothes don’t properly fit anymore). So, what have I done so far:

  1. Bought a pink scale (oh my gosh, am not a big fan of weighting myself, it always tells truths I don’t really want to know). But then, it’s pink 🙂
  2. Decreased my coffee intake. Whilst coffee isn’t a bad thing, I tend to drink it with plenty of milk (or even worse cream) and often also with flavor – hello there calories, lovely to see you again! I am trying to swap to green tea for most of the coffees, though there are a few coffees I can’t and won’t replace: Monday morning (getting up at 4.45am to catch my flight to Dresden, no way I make that day completely sans coffee!) and Friday morning (at the train station, a great start to the last working day of the week).
  3. Replaced sweets by fruits. Well, obviously I still have the odd piece of chocolate or some ice cream but I try to eat fruits whenever I feel like chocolate.
  4. Portion size. One of my biggest problems has always been portion size. I am one of those people whose eyes are bigger than their stomach and since I spent quite a lot of time with my grandparents when growing up that tendency is mixed with the urge to “always clear my plate”. I am actively working on both these tendencies since I’d generally say that I am eating healthy but just too much in many cases.

Aims for the next 2 weeks:

  1. Be more diligent with counting calories. I lost my weight last time with this method and I assume that with my type of personality (uhm, control freak?) that is the way to go forward again. I am already entering now and then but I need to get more diligent again.
  2. Sport, sport, sport. Right now my running shoes are torn and I am having a nasty cough so running was out of the question for this weekend. Next however I need to buy new shoes (I know, great sacrifice to buy shoes) and get back on track. Also, I intend to check out a few Pilates places in Cologne (an maybe even get my health insurance pay some of it, that’d be sweet!) to build up some muscles.
  3. Lose my first kg.

I will check in back again soon, to let you know how my first 2 weeks worked out and whether of not I stuck to my plans.

If any of you has any good weight loss tips, let me know!!!

I know, this post is way overdue and I apologize for this.

So, here goes the tale: After an alcohol drenched evening one friend gave me a voucher to help paint my flat. Unfortunately this friend lives in a far away country and was not able to make the long trip when the time came to paint. Still, that voucher was not forgotten and always held a special place on my fridge… When said friend came back on one of her too short infrequent trips, time had come to cash in that voucher. After another alcohol drenched evening (I guess you get the hang of it now…) we met the day after, bright & early, only slightly hung-over to paint one of my shelves in a lovely shade of purple. Yes, purple… I inherited a lot of dark brown furniture but also have a lot of red and pink décor items, purple fits quite nicely in here.

So we painted and painted and painted. Surprisingly we managed to only get the shelf painted and not the floor or anything else.

While waiting for the paint to dry off, we also hung pictures to my beloved picture wall, replanted my carrots (yep, carrots, but that’s worth another blog post on its own) and just had a fun time hanging out (with, surprise!, a sip of alcohol).

I hope you enjoy the pictures, given they probably show more about what we did than I could ever do 🙂

So, I tried to kick-start my resolutions and made an appointment at my hairdressers’ to get my perm.

May I say FAIL?

I wanted to go from this

To something more along those lines

And ended up like this

Jup, you see correctly – new cut, a little shorter, lighter colour but NO curls 😦

Sadly it seems I don’t have bad hairs (aka certain days, when my hair just sucks) but bad hair (aka my hair sucks because it’s to fine and to straight to accept any kind of perm that is available right now). After some discussions and some real life material (the girl from the flower shop next door – may I say bad hair gone worse?!), I was finally convinced that a perm might (with the current technology – hey, I can always hope!) not be the very best idea right now. Well, since I was already there and, admittedly, a little disappointed I went on with cut and colour anyways…

Sooo, as already indicated, point 1 from my list I was, sadly, unable to accomplish and hence need a new point to add to my list. I still don’t have an idea as to what the new resolution could look like, so I’d be grateful for any suggestions you can come up with 😉

Till then!

Disclaimer: I will alter the list, if points prove to be unachievable (already happened, but more about that later) but will add new points for them, so I’ll end with a minimum of 12 at the end of 2012. Also, the list is in no particular order but will be “worked” off as I can work them into my schedule.

  1. Get a perm – always wanted to have curly hair
  2. Write an article (and possibly publish it if I am able to) – somehow I miss writing
  3. Do volunteering I: Read stories on a regular basis to little kids
  4. Do volunteering II: Not sure what yet, maybe soup kitchen?
  5. Visit Stockholm – Kathi beware
  6. Visit India – Indians please give me a good excuse to make the trip (like a wedding)!
  7. Visit Lisbon – Sara, we need to make good on our visiting schedule!
  8. Do a Sightseeing-tour of Cologne
  9. Sew a skirt
  10. Run a half-marathon
  11. Renovate (or at least assist) a flat – Where I will live in
  12. Actually stick to writing this blog – anybody remember my Amsterdam blog? yeah, thought so, too :-S plus see item 2

Admittedly, most of these points are going to be a lot more fun than a “challenge” and I will do them very, very gladly, but the fact remains that some will be hard work and most of them I’d probably, possibly not do if I don’t feel a kind of “obligation” to do them (yeah, I am lazy I know!)…

Hi there,

so, after a pretty damn awesome 2011, 2012 promises to be exciting but will be hard pressed to beat all the memories, fun and incredible experience I was lucky to make in 2011.

You may wonder what exactly made 2011 so amazing:

  • Living in London, Boston and Cologne
  • Finishing my MBA and starting a new Job
  • Being THE German amongst THE Indians and South Americans
  • A visit to Shanghai with Maya
  • Seeing long lost friends again and making plenty of new friends all around the world
  • Being truly international
  • Hult Global Case Challenge and other projects
  • Sailing in Boston
  • Lingo’s
  • “My Pub” in London
  • The Portuguese aka Vampi 😉
  • Living for 3 months with my best friends
  • Skydiving

You see, it’s a hard to beat list 😉

Hence, to set myself some goals and to give 2012 a reasonable chance of living up to 2011, I am intending to do at least 12 things I always aimed to do, but somehow never managed to do or never mustered the courage to do it. (Admittedly, I stole the original idea of “12” from my sister (I aimed to make New Years resolutions like to lose a couple of kg’s, eat more healthily & a bunch of things that will go into “The List” anyways) – thanks Eli!)

So, follow me on the journey of 2012!

The List

1. Learn how to keep a garden alive - IN PROGRESS
2. Write an article (and possibly publish it if I am able to) - IN PROGRESS
3. Do volunteering I: Read stories on a regular basis to little kids
4. Do volunteering II: Not sure what yet, maybe soup kitchen?
5. Visit Stockholm - IN PROGRESS
6. Visit India - IN PROGRESS
7. Visit Lisbon - IN PROGRESS
8. Do a Sightseeing-tour of Cologne - DONE!
9. Sew a skirt
10. Run a half-marathon
11. Renovate (or at least assist) a flat - DONE!
12. Actually stick to writing this blog - IN PROGRESS

Get a perm - FAIL

Completed: 2/12
In Progress: 6/12
Pending: 4/12