Retelling some Tales of Retail (and a Poem)

I can honestly say that in the past few weeks I have had no time to sit down and write about things. I have also had no time to paint my nails, moisturise my legs, buy enough Christmas presents or go to the gym. I did manage to buy some more oats and fleece lined tights though.

I've basically been working full time in retail, which I can assure you, is no easy feat. It started subtly, I folded some jumpers, I made sure rows of parkas were neat-ish. I remember being pleasantly surprised after my first day of work: I get payed for this? Marvellous!
And then I began to understand that working with clothes during the holiday season is hard labour, physically and mentally.
That clothes lose their charm when you've seen them and felt them over 723 times.
That to most shoppers you are nothing but a minute part of their consumer experience, there to serve when needed.
My arms ache every day from carrying at least 18 items of clothing at once and the back of my left forearm is permanently slightly numb. Nerve or muscle damage? Hoping muscle.
The idea of spending more time in a brightly lit area blasting the same musical playlist every day is magnified by the simple fact that I have not received my pay check for what feels like too long. But, when it arrives a mere three days after Christmas I know my achey numb arms and I will breathe a sigh of relief and visualise the flight to Tokyo I'm hoping to purchase very soon.
You know that beautifully Gangsta-esque saying: Work hard, play hard? I get that.

What has made the past few weeks of intense work much more bearable (aside from really sweet colleagues and listening to Tame Impala) is that I was finally able to send off my UCAS application! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported to me and helped me get to this point. It's been a long journey, and it's only just properly starting. The dream to finally move back to the UK, and to study something I am so keen to learn about is becoming reality and it's just.. wonderful. Hard work  pays off. However slowly.
Having received an invitation for an interview at one University already, I'm feeling very positive and excited. Life is what you make of it, as cheesy and as impossible as it sounds at times.

As I have really had no time for photography, here is a poem. It's about someone much older than me, who no one I know knows and I wrote it waiting for a train on Thursday.

Thank you for being a comfort
Through spilled and loosely arranged words
And salty eyes, red eyes
Acne, dry fingertips
When my life had died.

That quiet room
That journey to and fro
And hasty words, true words
Answers, questions
One hundred and fifty times you drew the curve,
I filled in.

Of all the people
That don't share my blood
I feel you are proof,
Of relations.

And now I'm back to enjoying my Sunday off. Because last night I didn't get home until about 2 in the morning. And I had to cycle. And it was freezing.
So all I'm doing today is drinking green tea and planning trips to London with old Australian friends.

(This is the original version of 'Riot Van'. Yes, it's really got something the album version hasn't, and not just the word 'bong'.)


Better Late Than Never (?)

I cannot believe that what feels like a week ago, I was worrying about getting sunburnt  and now I'm worrying about surviving sub-zero windchill riding my bike downhill.
Or maybe I should approach it in a more positive manner: I cannot believe that what feels like a week ago I was enjoying iced coffees outdoors and now I'm enjoying cosy jumpers and knee high fluffy socks.

I turned 19 recently, which means I can only use the phrase 'teen angst' for one more year. Among other things I enjoyed receiving well-wishes from people I hadn't heard from in a while and Morrissey's Autobiography.

Annika's turned 20 a week later and we celebrated the fact we were still alive in Amsterdam. What a fantastically beautiful city it is, which should be known for so much more than the availability of otherwise illegal substances.
Water dividing streets filled with more bikes than cars, the absence of sky scrapers, little friendly shops and a very high concentration of attractive male creatures, polite tourists and locals offering us free rides on public transport... I liked it, a lot.

Please enjoy a fraction of photographic remains of a week in adolescent limbo. Read on for more gushing from me on Suite 1888, the most beautiful Bed and Breakfast I have ever slept in.

You should probably check out the photographs of Suite 1888 on its website. My badly lit grainy photographs may appeal to me on some artistic levels but you can get a better idea of the impeccably designed apartment there.
It was very close to the centre of Amsterdam, beautifully furnished, complete with complementary fruit, wine and daily breakfast delights. Not only that, we were welcomed and taken care of by the most friendly, helpful, lovely couple who lived upstairs.
Suffice to say, I would happily sacrifice a year without coffee in order to stay there again. Which is saying a lot.

I am in limbo now by the way, working, sleeping, eating, cycling, reading, watching Season 2 of Gossip Girl. I miss when 2008 music was new. Remember Alex's longer hair, the slight hint of low self esteem?


A Hasty Homage to Astrix Boots and AM

I am ill for the first time in months. It has given me plenty of time to lie around feeling sorry for myself, read Rivers of London and watch YouTube videos.

In between drinking loads of herbal tea (in that beautifully cliched way everyone does, or says they do when they're ill), I just had to pay homage to these these amazing new Astrix boots by Topshop. I have been eyeing them up for ages and finally decided to give in to materialism. They add quite a bit of height without being uncomfortable or heavy. They tick all my "Shoes Desirable to Short Girls Who Fancy Being a Bit Taller" boxes.

Floral dress, floral arm chair, floral cushion, flower on the windowsill, just pointing out that I am very aware that I love them florals.

I feel the need to stress that the new Arctic Monkeys album is gold; I would be hard pressed to not love any of their music because they've been my favourite since 2005, but I do really think it's gold.
The whole album will fill you up like a roast dinner for your ears after being out all night, lying somewhere on your own.
The album closes with the song 'I Wanna Be Yours', which is actually a poem by John Cooper Clarke they put to music. It will give you goosebumps every time you listen to it, even if there's nobody's you wanna be.

Whatever gal he's been phoning slash texting whilst drunk slash high, thank you so much.


Library Antics, Gatsby Commentary

I have been visiting the library a bit recently in an attempt to gather all my enthusiasm, disbelief and eclectic ideas concerning finally moving back to the UK to study into a personal statement necessary to secure a place at uni. It's very difficult to explain in 4000 characters (including spaces) what makes you an excellent future student.
The other day after having cycled into town to the library (I am no longer in possession of an annual bus pass) I found myself, whilst searching for a book I never found, confronted by a young male, circa 21 who asked me following question:

"If heaven existed, what would it be like? Not for everyone, just for you."

Surprisingly tactful chat up line or not, it had me thinking long after I had laughed and said something about endless supplies of sushi.
It was an unexpected reminder that I can't imagine it any more.
I remember being about seven at school in England and Mr Sage said that in heaven, you were the age you felt your best (and I'm sure I haven't reached that age yet). And I remember thinking of everyone living in an infinite place of satisfaction which involved trampolines and the absence of tiredness and tragedy.
Unfortunately, the older you get, the more you understand that trampolines aren't fun if you play with them all the time, tiredness is necessary because sleep is wonderful and happiness isn't worth much without tragedy. And in the absence of knowing how wonderful 'life' will be after death, we find in our mind's the desire to make life before death as close to an idea of heaven as possible.
Much like James Gatz, perhaps known best as the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby.

I watched the Great Gatsby the other night and it was the first time in a very long while that everyone in front of the electric square, which was projecting wondrous images and spilling beautifully planned words and melodies, remained absolutely still and silent.
A lot of movies are made today, a lot of blocks are busted, and more often than not, the profit-hungry undertones of its makers seep through.
Gatsby was a box office success and I suspect it was for all the right reasons.
The kindle version was on my iPad hours after enjoying the film and now I have finished reading it I have to get my hands on a physical copy of the book.

I was so in awe of F. Scott Fitzgerald's descriptive writing that I literally let my mouth drop multiple times, sitting upright in bed at 2 AM. So many sentences are floating in my head, but this one in particular moves something in my gut and I'm still wondering if he spent hours, maybe days, perfecting the sequence of his words, or if they simply tumbled out naturally.
For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened- then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret, like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.
Although the novel seems relatively short, it's left me feeling fuller than longer books, the titles of which I have already forgotten. I wonder now why when spending hours of valuable time in education contemplating the notion of the American Dream, this book didn't once make an appearance.

Gatsby's desire to recreate the past, control time (insisting Daisy tells Tom he 'never loved him'), make him seem so driven, so passionate, obsessive, somehow heroic and on a much more basic level, so timelessly human. And thank God for Nick Caraway's almost painful honesty, good-naturedness and patience, without whom there would be no believable narrator.
I want to write more, but there's really too much to say. But I had to write something, somewhere I would remember, because I cried at the end of the film and at the end of the book.


August Bits

In terms of personifying months, aren't June and July like twin sisters who have come to terms with getting mixed up because they are loved by many as being young, fun loving bringers of summer? And isn't August a sort of saucy crush-worthy teacher? He's definitely still hot, but teases those inhabitants of earth who enjoy the seasons with the imminence of September and thus autumn, reminding us that everything is a cycle, nothing stays static and everything changes. But even August depends on the sun, and the sun is a glowing gorgeous star blessing us with life every second of every month. I have no idea where I am going with this, but I hope that you too start imagining the months as actual live people who chat and get excited and go to the cinema together on their days off. Let's write short stories about them and get them published while we're young!

So anyway, here are a few photos of a few things in August.

August book: The Age of Absurdity by Michael Foley
An amazing read which is rich with philosophical and psychological references, discussing the way we live in the 21st century. He starts by explaining how humans define happiness and continues with elaborating how this ties in with the actions and thought patterns of the individual and society today. 
What makes it appealing is that it's written in an incredibly witty and non-intimidating way. Foley manages to invoke a sense of self-awareness that is perhaps not for the weak hearted. Brilliant.

August food: This salad
Takes the biscuit as the best salad I've eaten for months. Rocket salad, goats cheese, croutons, walnuts, steamed vegetables, apple, honey, .... This wasn't a salad, this was a culinary surprise, a day-enhancer!

We put our iced green teas on this box so we could unlock our bikes and I said "Gotta snap this, perfect tumblr pic!"And Annika said "So knew it!" (Just that you have to imagine the dialogue in German, then it will be more accurate.)

August film: The Bling Ring
I watched this twice at the cinema. Sophia Coppola is responsible for a series of aesthetically pleasing, loveable motion pictures. There is an undeniable depth to the Bling Ring even though it seems simple, almost as if the real issues are barely touched on. The soundtrack is flawless and I will now keep listening to Drop it Low by Chris Brown as a result of my favourite scene in the movie.
I have no shame in admitting my slight crush on Marc played by Israel Broussard. Although the film was hyped partly because of Emma Watson's role, personally I feel he easily outshone her slight frame and lip-licking with his authentic character and amazing perspex-armed shirt.

And finally...

August male: Colton Haynes
 I think this gif I made speaks for itself.

This tune caught me off guard on the 1st of September. Enjoy! The video is pretty sweet too, love them dudes swimming in 90s nostalgia, groovin' out in band tees with paint!


El Classico

The smell of burnt egg reminds me of all the mistakes I've ever made, I ponder, and all the mistakes I am still to make.I remove the pan from the heat and examine the promise of life I had robbed of its value as even a culinary delight.

That was just one of the moments from the past few days when I have gone from doing something considered by many as a simple task, to unintentionally confronting myself with problems better left until after eating an omelette.

I love this skirt to smithereens. I mean it in all honesty. It's my favourite item of clothing I have ever owned. And if you ask anyone who sees me on a regular basis they will confirm I wear it to smithereens too.

The shoes are metallic Zara bad-boys which have been an extension of my legs on special days since before I left for Singapore. They are utterly beautiful. A sweet spanish shop assistant removed the final size thirtyeights from the shop mannequin for me. When it's sunny, the light reflects off them so it feels like you're walking on disco balls. 

Skirt: Romwe
T-shirt (temporary DIYed): Annika and Topshop (ich bringe es dir heute mit, habs in Kroatien ausversehen eingepackt!),
Shoes: Zara 
Earrings and sunnies and anklet: Topshop
I'm also wearing Shanghai Spice by Mac (as if you can actually see)

Keep your eyes peeled, because I have something planned. As it is proving above averagely difficult to find a specific Neutral Milk Hotel song to end this with on YouTube, here is an indie oldie. Sweet sentiment. But I dig talking over dancing at least 6.5 times out of 10.


We Were In Lov(e)ran

I own a multitude of black bras, but it's not like I don't own bras in any other colours and/or patterns. In fact, my all time favourite bra is pale blue, which is the rainy day to my constantly worn night.
Lately I keep reaching for black bras.
Maybe I am trying to construct a far reached metaphor about how humans usually pick the easier, comfortable, known options in life. But I'm probably just spewing words and making you imagine my bra drawer.

Anyway... Croatia was fantastic. I have an undying affinity to the sea. When we lived in England when I wasn't old enough to understand what the words like 'cider', 'snog' or 'synagog' meant, we used to spend what felt like almost every weekend there. Every time we moved back to Germany after having lived in England for a while again I put 'the sea' at the top of the list of things I missed most (closely followed by fish and chips and book shops and our garden).
That is one of the reasons why Croatia was fantastic. We were two minutes walk from the sea and it spread it's arms around us every morning, afternoon and night.
One of the other reasons why Croatia was fantastic was because I was with my best friend, and we spent many an hour chatting, many an hour cooking and many an hour just relaxing.

It was such a relief to be so completely taken away from the city, the constant hum and vibrations of social life and 'entertainment'; the constant feeling of having to do something or else risk feeling like you're losing something or missing something, something you can never understand or desire anyway.

By the end of my time there my legs (especially my left leg) were covered in bruises and scratches and cuts as a result of overenthusiastic rock climbing and diving, which is definitely a good thing.

I decided quite consciously that I would spend more time enjoying the scenery as opposed to constantly taking pictures of it. That proved a blessing and a shame.

I am going to end this by a) quoting Buddha, b) encouraging everyone to stick it out and c) a song which accompanied many a day on the beach in beautiful Lovran.


In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?

(On that note I am half-way through Siddharta by Herman Hesse- every time I put it down, it leaves a more than pleasant, sobering after taste.)


Even if you can't see it, it's there.