KARLSHAGEN, USEDOM: A STORY IN PICTURES

Life is better at the beach, they said. I second and can resonate with this. Some 3 days visiting Karlshagen, Usedom for great access to the Ostsee through just a walk from the hotel was freshing.

Some rain, salt water, shells, and the sand, all I needed after o overdue period of being sick with an unknown allergy. I suppose going to Ostsee, was, like my girlfriend says, a purificaion process. Rather, a process of healing like it was it was done years as a place for people not feeling well would visit for regaining health.

One the perks was visiting one of my fourth European country, Poland, included among:
Belgium
Netherlands and
Germany

I did this on a raining Saturday travelling from Karlshagen to Świnoujście, [Swinemünde in German] taking a walk and chatting coffee with my girlfriend. Both a city and a seeport located on the north-west of Poland, seemingly wrapped in what is categorised to be what is to be the “norm”. More like Ostsee, a version of a layed back place but uncertain to visit if you a person of colour. Tourist attracting but still boxed into what seems to be a not mullticultural or racial, for a black person getting attention for just being black.

Otherwise, an location refreshing and a great escape from the city.  Life is better at the beach indeed.

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IMG-20170604-WA0008IMG-20170604-WA0017IMG-20170605-WA0004IMG-20170604-WA0018Anja UsedomIMG-20170604-WA0010IMG-20170604-WA0014Lebo 2 Ostsee

A ROCKET, MY FIRST TATTOO: POTENTIAL

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The day that I got my first tattoo – live music was playing in the background und [and] some Donnerwetter [thunder weather] emerged. 🚀🎷🎶☁ 

You might find it interesting to ask why a rocket tatttoo. Reverting to the question, I would say, I know for sure that everybody, dispite who they are and where they come from, will reach their highest potential in something, someday. This  simply means, one’s purpose will spark at one point and whatever God has placed for them to be and to do at their best, will shine out in one of us.

The word potential is perhaps not a good word to use, but in this case, I choose to use this word as meaning both what one can work towards achieving and abilities one is born with.

I am optimistic about this and the inspiration is from all the kids I have worked with. Both here and in South Africa.

If you have worked with children, you will understand and most importantly start appreciating individuality, embracing the fact that, there is a rocket in all of us. What makes uniquely capable.

Be it groomed or ungrooomed, it takes a little while for all of us to unfold into what we can do at our level best. But because there are purposes why each of us lives, we are bound of reach our highest point of our developed selves, achieved and succeing  in doing what we love.

This is yet to take up, like a rocket. And it is called Potential. 

 

A QUICK GUIDE-LINE: WANNSEE

Thanks to a colleague who suggested that I visit Wannsee as one of my weekend spring excursions. For someone like me, located in Groß-Klienicke- Potsdam, a place more or less on the boarder to Berlin, I have had to take an advantage to some boat riding and island weekend. Given that I am only 10 minutes away from Kladow- Berlin, where I can take a boat to Wannsee conveniently, I used this guild-line to find my way there.

Below is the quick guide created by my colleague in my favour :).

  • Fähre von Kladow nach Wannsee (mit normalem BVG-Ticket).
  • Bus nach ”Pfaueninsel”
  • Fähre nach ”Pfaueninsel” —–> dort Spaziergang oder Picknick
  • Weiter Spaziergang nach St-Peter-und-Paul (russisch-orthodoxe Kirsche) und Nikolkoe (Gasthaus mit schöner Terrasse und super blick) —–> kaffee trinken?.
  • Weiter Spaziergang bis Gasthaus (Biergarten) Moorlake und dann zurück zum Bus, der an der Pfaueninsel abfährt
  • Bus nach Wannsee —-> Fähre nach Kladow (wann fährt die lezte?)

To be translated into English*

Feature image by: _an

 

WHAT CAN YOU BUY WITH 1 EURO IN GERMANY? COMPARED TO SOUTH AFRICA

Although Berlin is no exception to expensive cities in Germany. Places such as Frankfurt or Munich are cash demanding. Not to mention, how countries like Switzerland and Finland just would require pre-calculations when intending to go there for a visit.

Imagine yourself in a predicament. A financial one, caused by economic differences and less insight one can have on the literal meaning of how much a certain amount of money really weighs or is worth.

Sometimes it takes being in context to understand currencies. I still do not fully understand finances myself but, I found it interested to talk to a few people around me about finances and doing a few personal observations. Since the last 7 months in Germany, I have been doing a lot of comparison. From general things to basic essential things. I find it of course interesting too, to be exploring and attempting to comprehend what it means spending the money I earn as a volunteer.

One of my goals during my stay here has been to be financially conscious and smart. And that is, learning more than just that a euro is equal to 14 South African rand. But understanding a currency from a more practical perspective of how residents use it.

In this blog post, I compare and contrast what one can buy with one euro (1 €) in Germany, as compared to South Africa. This article focuses mainly on Germany alone, particularly as my current destination and a country I am exposed to as a volunteer. I am certain that examples I use here can either apply or not apply to other European countries. For instances, my argument or use of practical cases may not be applicable perhaps in Switzerland and Finland, as these two countries are examples of expensive countries. While, perhaps in Turkey and Greece may proof otherwise.

Although, I am also writing from a more exchange volunteer perspective, this article may come across as useful to students and young travellers.

South Africa currency

The South African currency, plural for Rand, is part of the common monetary currency between South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia. Its code: ZAR and sign: R, is from Dutch Zuid-Afrikaanse Rand (South African rand). To date, a rand when compared to a euro is equal to R 14 (fourteen Rand).

A comparison on what you can buy with 1 Euro and 14 Rand: Germany and South Africa

Firstly, in South Africa it seems that with 1 € which one can use it on valuable things like food, for instance. These may include taking a local taxi and buying bread. Or even buying a few fruits as a student to eat in between breaks or as snacks. Of course R 14 cannot change the world or even 1 euro for that matter, but I am extremely amazed how a euro can not literally be of help during any emergencies in Germany. Even tablets against headache are not at a cost less than a euro. This may be the case, but a few things that may such as Colgate toothpaste and DM branded lip balm are commonly cheaper than a euro at cosmetic store called DM and perhaps at the others too.

Looking into a store called Euroshop, selling different house hold utensils is definitely a place to get things at this cost or less. The question to ask, if things offered in this store are good quality?

The following list is also not limited. I have mainly focused on these items as the most pin-pointed things by people I was in conversations with.

Chewing gum, Chocolate, 3-4 Rolls, and a small bottle of water

Items you can buy in South Africa with 1 €/ R14

While in South Africa, 14 rand makes huge differences. It goes a long way. This amount of money can buy: a small bag of maize meal which can be cooked for one night for a family of 4 to 5 people. A bag of 4-6 potatoes or onions or even tomatoes at this price are possible to buy. The packaging of how much potatoes or any of these vegetables one can get depends of course of how big these vegetables are. But on a normal basis, it is possible to buy one of these options, often including something else.

14 rand for many commuters enables one to get to the city’s central business district (CBD), often taking an approximated 30 minutes from Soweto, the township I come from. Whereas in Germany, a less than 20 minutes trip would cost you a little above 1 euro. To about 1,80 €.

As a student, one can catch a snack in between like buying fruits at the costs of 2 rand each or so. It is even possible to catch one local taxi at 8 rand. Meaning one would need 1,30 € to and fro going somewhere locally. For example, going to a mall, a clinic or another neighbourhood.

Some of other essential things 1 € can buy in South Africa includes bread (white and brown bread), which in this case, brown bread turns to be cheaper than white bread with a difference of 1 rand or 50 cents. A bathing bar soap, a small box of powder soap and township fast food like kota. Which is almost a similar version of ”Döner” in Germany, which costs from at least 3 € (42 rand).

Besides food, I find it interesting also that my German volunteer friends during their time in South Africa embraced that fact that they could cut their hair in Kliptown at about R 10.

My chronicles have unfolded in this order: Exacted from my Facebook.

Some of the unfavourable things about living in Germany, Europe, is realising that although R14,57 cents which makes a complete difference in South Africa enabling one to buy a loaf of bread and tomatoes or even get a hair cut at a salon stand (mainly for guys), is not at all possible here. All this is not possible here. To get a hair cut costs at least 20-35 € (R 290- R 500) or more, 8 tomatoes at 2,40€ (basically 30 something rand) and bread that never costs anything to a euro. Although R 14 is equal to 1 euro, there is no so much that one can do here with a euro. Even coke “buddy” does not amount to this. Instead it is between 1,50 to 2 €. (20-30 rand).

Perhaps one can be able to spot items less than a euro but probably not during an emergency or even so, less important things like candy. Some of the things you can expect to pay incredibly for are:

*Monthly travel tickets which can amount to 105€ (R 1 531) in Frankfurt and around 57 € and 75 € in other places, which in my understanding seems to always surpass R 500.
*Maintaining dreadlocks here is like starving yourself all in the name of beauty. Attempting to get my hair done, ridiculous charged prices between 80€ to 200€ , 1 166 to 2 915 rand. Derived from the length, thickness and if you want to do get half or full the head done.

Just thinking out loud.

 

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: A MELTING POT IN THE BECOMING

A concrete jungle of culture,

diversity and a different indifference,

embedded in influential educational institutions- talk about Goethe University and the like,

A financial hub of commerce and culture…

from busy to not busy streets, less experience to expensive, to men in less formal to formality.

A metropolis, to which explored.

Frankfurt am main. A city culturally and ethically diverse. From a shift from a busy street, dirtied by waste from food stands and small businesses; to less crowds and sounds of people in conversations; to posh, big business skyscrapers, suits and further, a mixer of both spheres.

So is my view after my 2nd visit in Frankfurt am Main. My first visit was unintentional and a quick stop during my trip to Karlsruhe for my second seminar aimed at teaching about politics in Germany.

It was due to the Deutsche Bahn (abbreviated for DB), Germany´s railway company. I and a colleague were inconvenienced with a train to break down at just know-where. According to announcements after what seemed to be an over 1 hour 30 minutes stop, we were stuck 10 minutes or so away from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (main train station). Which, with so much delay was to at least try to get to the main station, allowing passengers to find alternative transports or connections.

Our arrival there meant trying to get a connection to Karlsruhe without noting what Frankfurt am Main looked like. I at least spotted a few things. We finally got a train in what was so chaotic with travel times changing. One could see how one broken train can cause a sudden disturbance to other travelling trains.

This was my experience. Even so, during my first experience using Intercity Express (ICE). I had been waiting in anticipation, perhaps.

But soon even without knowing, I had started planning a trip heading there. This time intention and aimed at better view of Frankfurt am Main and a few days excursions.

It was fantastic and of course these my experiences and maybe through my own, I can make suggestions to the next generation of volunteers, young tourists and people who are avidly touring. This is a list of different places to visit or what to eat and or generally can do do when visiting this city. The list will be continuously amended, expanding it.

  • Bahnhofsviertel (city district)
  • Münchener Straße
  • Willy Brandt Platz
  • Alte Oper
  • Goethe Platz und Denkmal (memorial)
  • Zeil
  • Kleinmarkthalle und Fleischwurst bei Frau Schreiber (Market hall and sausages sold by Mrs. Schreiber)
  • Frankfurter Paulskirche
  • Römer
  • Altsachsenhausen (city district)
  • Bornheim (city district)
  • Apfelwein Solzer
  • Handkäs’ mit Musik

Food and drinks (traditional)

  • Grüne Soße (Green sauce)
  • Apfelwein (Apple wine)

*Photo credit: Frankfurt Skyline

A SECOND WINTER COME BACK: MY FIRST TIME ENCOUNTER WITH SNOW

This is one of many untold stories. Or perhaps, many of late posts to come.

Second in a row, after winter in South Africa during last June to August 2016, I experienced a scotching long winter in Germany. Starting off with a warmish autumn full of rain. Then, a demand of not only wearing warm clothes, of re-working on the one`s winter collection. But somehow, totally unfriendly despite all efforts of wearing padded or double layered items. A winter looking like it intends not ending and by so doing, still revisiting us in so called spring.

This is one of my longest winter ever. At least with snow to make it magical, casting away the weather depression and dullness. The whiteness was total bliss, bringing light into darkness. Regardless of how the coldness turned, snow was a reason to be outside to take walks, throwing snow balls at each other and being childlike.

It was a beautiful thing irregardless. I suppose everybody would make up their own experience regarding this and that even people who have been exposed to snow have their own conclusions. Luckily enough, a couple of predictions on the weather turned to be so. I had being crossing my fingers, with many of my good friends here who had being hoping the best of snow to come. And, once I knew it, it had been tasked by kids in the kindergarten to make snowballs until my gloves got wet and fingers were stiff cold.

In my other learning curves, I did things I always wanted to do during snow, like eating snow, sliding down on snow and building my first snowman. What great attempts. I absolutely achieved these.

Some of my highlights was walking on a frozen lake: which of course had perks of ice-skating and people playing related sports like hockey. Unplanned visits to the lake have all being great. Not forgetting amazing experiences of hand measuring the thickness of the ice at the lake. The anticipation of some 12-13 cm was somehow one my geography lessons, I must say. I was patient and had not much reaching ideas, given that I am have weaknesses of ice-skating. Not even at an inch could I even say I am swimmer.

I am more just a “shoe slider”.

The feel of experiencing thick ice under your feet and dazzling sounds under the water is a surprising phenomenon. Seeing people coming out to ice skate on this ice which is in literal form, a lake is priceless. Unfortunately, I am not one with ice skating abilities. But literally shoe sliding on ice. That is what I am good with.

One of my highlights is finally trying out being a snow angel. I am totally humbled by taking quick lessons from one of the children from the kindergarten I volunteer at, named Waldorfpädagogik Havelhöhe kindergarten which is within the premises of Freie Waldorfschule Havelhöhe. Without any hesitation, I hopped into the lesson and pulled through as taught.

It has been now winter overdue. Winter is not ending. The only thing that seems to have being changing is plantations and the use of terms, with people of course, re-emphasising that is spring. My impatience is running out. My only hope is ultimate spring and the sun.

More like I expected a snowy and cold winter overseas, it has simply been long overdue.

(WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE) AFFINITY: BE YOURSELF

FKK Ostsee“This [is] how it [is] with travel: one city gives you gifts, another robs you. One gives you the heart’s affections, the other destroys your soul. Cities and countries are as alive, as feeling, as fickle and uncertain as people. Their degrees of love and devotion are as varying as with any human relation. Just as one is good, another is bad.”
― Roman Payne

Compatibility. Affinity. On Thusday marked my 9th month. What a big swing. To absorbing a not flexible language, to living with a host family and all that is between. A break into the 9th month of being able to withhold all this. To therefore, must embrace myself. Being content, being myself. After all, you define your life and yourself before defined by others. Feeling content to have found my feet beyond expected boundries.

To love others, is to first love yourself. Let alone, respect, appreciation and loyalty.

I am still growing,  but I am myself.

Late Post: Brandenburger Tor

During Paul Veigl weekend visit in Potsdam. We walked through Berlin and visited Potsdam to catch drinks.

Paul is a good friend of mine whom I met in South Africa during his one year voluntary visit at Kliptown Youth Program (KYP). He was also teaching me German at an A1 level.

We have ever since being good friends, exchanging thoughts about various topics such as politics, university, life, history and all that is in between.

These pictures reflect and remind me of his visit and stop at Brandenburger Tor (to read more),  is a structure in Berlin, Germany. It is the only remaining gate through which people used to enter Berlin. It was built between 1788 and 1791. It is located between the Platz des 18. März and the Pariser Platz. Nearby to the north is the Reichstag building. During the Cold War, the Reichstag was in West Berlin, and the Brandenburger Tor in East Berlin (Wikipedia).

There is more to see. Berlin is an ideal place to stay in.

Feature image credit: creative commons/ Wikipedia

 

A NEW YEAR WITHOUT RESOLUTIONS

new-year-resolutions
Image by Pocket mindfulness

I am frankly a planner. I am simply a time conscious person, always aiming for productivity, getting everything on the list done, making decisions about my life and future and so forth. Determined, aspiring and clear aims.

It is 4 months, 7 days today. I feel like I have been having more intra-personal conversations than interpersonal ones. Neither have I been writing. The new year I am declaring to be a beautiful one has started, but I soon realised how I have got into it without resolutions.

What does this mean?

Need I say, I am in a different context where I am constantly confronted by different things daily. It feels to me as a really eye opening phase in my life. Often also overwhelming.

I have set myself to no expectations. Like I have learnt in the last four months that in context much can be learned. I am learning about the kind of person I am, people around me and all linked to it. Without saying, it feels like I signed up to resolutions already. But frankly not.

Although saying I do not have resolutions, may sound as daunting as saying I have no plans thus far.

I am certainly still running my good cause. Simply volunteering, using my combination of love, kindness and happiness into it. But, I have concluded in the mist of everything that I just want to live. Perhaps I am determined to attaining certain things. Maybe using the word ´resolution´ is just not my intentions at all this year.

I just want to live. My intentions go beyond this “I am living life phrase”. Learning, loving, and being me.

My year is without resolutions. I am living life ❤