Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Hi, my name is Bettina and I live here.
Yes, yes, yes. I know. I has been way to long. So shame on me. You can tar and feather me, call me names and spit on me, as long as you only do it virtually. And as long as you don't mean it, of course. But thank you to those of you who have told me they missed me- you are stars and of course make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I actually have been back from India for about a month, but somehow just had a total lack of motivation to write my blog. Slack, I know, and a pathetic excuse, but it happens to the best of us, or so I hear. Anyway. Considering I have been absent for such a long time, it would probably be appropriate for me to write a big fat update now, but sadly that's not gonna happen as it is late and I've got an early morning tomorrow and have been having some monster days lately. I just wanted to drop by and tell you that I'm still alive and that I still love you and that it's not you, it's me. I swear.
Oh yeah, and here are some impressions from India. I will be back soon, and if not, you can tar and feather me for real. As long as you don't mean it.
Friday, April 17, 2009
India is never nothing
Namaste, my friends. Six days in India and already, I can barely remember how Switzerland works. This place is incredible in every single way. And while it was more than overwhelming for the first couple of days when an absolute overdose of Indian craziness washed over us like a wild river and left us gasping for air, we have settled into the Indian life now with an ease that surprises and amazes me. We let the current carry us from one magical moment to the next and let the power of coincidence guide us... it has served us well. My friend and I fortunately have a very similar travelling style: We listen to intuition, let little things amaze us and ignore the hassle as good as we can.
India is different. India is loud, pushy, dirty, chaotic, crazy, intense and challenging. But India is also full of magic and wonder, so colourful, beautiful, surprising, seducing, hilarious. We have learnt not to expect anything while being prepared for everything. India is polarising and challenges us to get involved and live as much as we can. India is always either this or that but never nothing. It always either smells like heaven, of fresh mangoes, curries, saffron, sandalwood and herbs, or like absolute crap, which could be sweat, garbage, urine, cow shit or a mix of all of the above.
India is funny. It still makes me smile to watch the complete traffic chaos that dominates the cities: Cows share the streets with rikshas, street vendors, cars, beggars, little kids, stray dogs, cars, bicycles and sometimes also camels and even elephants. It also makes me laugh how cunning a lot of the people are, although this can no doubt be annoying at times. But we have become street wise in no time and now know what things should cost and that if someone tells us that the hotel we want to go to doesn't exist anymore or that he can sell you a 100% pashmina scarf for 4 dollars, he's probably lying. Those things can be tricky, but they now make me laugh. I listen to my heart and don't take too much advise of people on the street- if they insist on telling you a better way, they often have hidden motives.
India is beautiful. The colours are stunning- I absolutely love how the red, green, pink, orange and yellow saris of the Indian women turn every place they grace with their presence into a happy place. I love the spice stalls, the colour of the bazaars, the incredible old buildings with their light blue colour peeling off. I love the smiles of the kids that run around on the street, the piles of lemons on the wooden carts, the narrow little streets, everything. India has certainly taken my heart by storm.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Chanting chanting shanti shanti
I know, I know. My track record on this blog has been absolutely shocking lately. And I don't even have a great excuse, other than the usual boring one: too much else going on.
Things are great though. Work is busy and challenging as usual, but I still adore what I for some reason continue to call "my new job", although it's been more than six months now - I think it's because time has just passed so incredibly fast. I really did score the jackpot with this one, I think. Who would have ever thought I would be so happy working for a regional newspaper? Not me. But I am, and I love it. I just had my staff appraisal today with my boss and he heaped so much praise on me that I came out of the meeting rather overwhelmed. He said he couldn't stress enough how lucky he felt to have me on the team and that he wanted to do anything to make me comfortable and make me stay (and no: I did not ask for a raise then, although it does sound like a good moment. But it's still early times). He said he felt I made a really positive impact on both the content of the paper and the team in general. And that he thought I had great potential and he could see me taking on some leadership responsibilities when the time was right. So yeah, a great success on the whole line.
What else? I'm going to India this Saturday for a good three weeks. I cannot wait. It's been a dream of mine for so many years that it feels absolutely surreal that I'm actually going now. I would have preferred to go for longer, three months would have been nice - but we don't want to get greedy. The three months gig is just not a possibility right now, so I take what I can get and I'm still stoked about it. So if you notice someone chanting "om shanti om" while standing on one leg and eating a curry at the same time, it will probably be me. I'll try to say hi on the blog at some stage over the next three weeks if possible but don't hold me to it. Namaste!
Saturday, March 07, 2009
You'll be tested
Today, for the first time in ages, I had a lazy afternoon all to myself with nothing at all I really had to do. Absolute bliss. I've been busy with work and play and a couple of other little projects, so some down time was just what the doctor ordered.
On the website of my favourite newspaper, The Guardian, I came across this article called "Let's play...make your own album cover!" It's basically all about "seeing what beautiful collisions of image and text fate can throw together, and then imagining what kind of music the resulting band might play." I'm a huge fan of accidental beauty and the miracle of coincidences and because I was just in the right mood to do something fun that served no purpose at all, I gave it a try.
These are the five steps:
Get a band name:
Simply use the title of a randomly-generated Wikipedia article.
Get an album title:
Use the last four or five words from the last quote on a page of random quotations.
Get some album art:
Use the image thrown up using this Flickr tool, which generates random images without copyright restrictions.
Make it look nice:
Using Photoshop, Paint, or whatever graphics software you have, fiddle your band logo and album title into some kind of visually-pleasing assemblage.
I swear to god I only spent about five minutes on each album cover and came up with five albums good enough to top the charts, I think. It's amazing how beautiful randomness can be. There is something so pure about coincidence, which you can almost not create by trying. The idea is that you also write a little blurb about what music the band might play but that was a bit too much time for me to spend on this little project, as much fun as it is. Here are my results:
Monday, February 16, 2009
I totally dig this spreading the love business.
Hello my lovelies. Sorry I've been a bit quiet lately. There's just been too much going on- a lot of work, a couple of new projects on the side and also- yeah, I do gladly admit it- a lot of partying. I'm happy though and really love my life at the moment. I feel balanced and at home here again- like I have finally arrived in Switzerland. And to make up for not posting for a while, I will tell you a cool little story.
Just before Christmas, one of my best friends and I went on a little princess trip to Milano. We stayed in this most adorable little boutique hotel and just spoiled ourselves with good things- lots of shopping, lots of laughs, lots of prosecco, espresso and good Italian food, breakfast in bed... all that kind of stuff. On the last day, I was getting close to a shopping overdose... we had been hitting it really hard. We went and had a prosecco and nibbles break at this cool lounge bar to get our energy levels back up. You do what you gotta go.
When we left, I still felt quite exhausted from all the walking around. We crossed the piazza in front of the beautiful dome and I said to my friend, "My god, I'm so stuffed- I can barely lift my feet." Next thing I know, we see this two young guys, maybe about twenty year old, in the middle of the piazza, holding up a sign saying "free hugs". Needless to say, I loved the idea and went straight over to get a hug. I was so impressed with the idea and we spoke to the guys for a while to find out why they were doing what they were doing. They said it was just an art project for them to spread the love and see how people react. Apparently they had been getting all kinds of people coming up, from business men to kids to pregnant ladies to teenagers and little old ladies.
Then one of the guys said, "Do you want to try?" Of course, I was all over the opportunity. I held up the sign, and before I knew it, I had people queing for hugs. There was a couple of young men, a middle aged woman in a business suit, a young girl, another man... it was amazing. I had seen a couple of people at music festivals in Australia before with "free hugs" t-shirts, but this was in a city in the afternoon, where people don't usually talk to strangers and where the majority is not drunk and feeling more liberated than usual. I couldn't stop laughing and was simply blown away to see how many people craved just a little bit of love. It was incredible. After a little while, we said good-bye to the guys and were on our way. And miraculously, I felt like a new person. Suddenly, I wasn't tired at all anymore. In fact, I felt full of energy, happy and bouncy and ready to take on the world.
It was definitely one of my highlights of this trip. To see how love can multiply itself out of nothing was unbelievable. All it took was someone to do something unexpected and the love spread out like a fire. Every single one of the people coming over for a hug walked off a happier person- even if just for a moment. I've always been a huge fan of random acts of kindness, but this puts a whole new meaning on the term.