Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Botanical Garden // Bontanischer Garten Tübingen


It was my third and final Sunday in Tübingen. As I'd grown used to expect, all the shops were closed bar a few cafés which were lightly occupied by tourists and coffee-drinkers. The previous two weekends I'd had things to do and people to see, but this Sunday, I was alone. And I was honestly quite excited about it. For at home there is never "nothing to do", always countless people buzzing around. There isn't really anything that sets Sundays aside from other days of the week. But in Germany, that was different. I had had a crazy hectic day the day before- I got up early to catch a train to do a (shopping) day trip to Stuttgart. I only had limited time there before I had to catch another train back in the late afternoon, get my grocery shopping done so I'd have things to eat the next day, take the bus back to my accomodation, rest for about 40 minutes and then head out to a dance class from which I didn't return until well after 11pm. It was crazy, good crazy, but the thought of a lazy Sunday sounded like a wonderful contrast.


It had been a busy three weeks too. I had gone to class nearly every day and on trips and hikes, and I met up with family and it was all so so good. I enjoyed myself so much and did not want it to be over and to have to go back to my reality of college back at home, but with just under a week left I knew I had to prioritise certain things. I had been taking the bus (number 5) every day from anywhere between 2-6 times and always passed a stop called "Botanischer Garten", meaning Botanical Garden. I never really know whether I like going to gardens or not, but it seemed like the perfect lazy day activity. I wanted to say I'd seen it. It was on my list of things to do along with going to the cinema (which unfortunately I didn't) and go to Stuttgart. And boy, was I pleasantly surprised.


It was a really big space, surrounded by kind of ugly high-rise apartment blocks, which really spoke "Tübingen" to me in the best way possible. Even the unaesthetically pleasing buildings gave me a certain feeling of happiness. A sort of natural and unnatural vibe occupied the whole city in a way that I found so charming and unique. The gardens were luscious and green (and belonged to the university. so eduroam worked. win.) and filled with really interesting flowers and plants inside and out. The smells and sights were so intriguing and calming.


The greenhouse with the tropical plants was something else. The humidity transported me to a totally different space. There were even unusual sounds and warm scents that just made the experience so much more immersive (if that makes any sense at all). After I'd explored all the various sections, I went outside again and sat on a bench, taking in the freshness of it all and listening to the sound of people young and old speaking in German.


The day was getting warmer (I'd gone down in the morning to avoid the heat) and my legs were getting tired from all the walking and exploring, even after the break on the bench. I didn't want to leave, I didn't want to have to move on with my day but I had more that I wanted to do on my beautiful stay in Tübingen. Spending so long alone in Tübingen honestly made August 2018 my favourite month ever. It was the best thing I could have done for both my german and my mental health!

What's your favourite memory?

Anna x

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

2018 Reflection and 2019 Goals


Last year I wrote a post like this where I went through the past and present, and thought it would be fun to do it again, especially seeing as I rarely do blog series! I think that I went into that post last year feeling completely different to how I do now. 2017 was so different to 2018, in ways that I could never have predicted which is both comforting and mildly frightening for the year ahead as it has made me realise just how impossible it is to have certain expectations for oneself and life in general.

I honestly find it so difficult to begin to summarise my year. I don't know where to start or where to end. It was a year of such mixed feelings and different experiences -both good and bad- that to do it chronologically sounds like it would be way too messy and confusing. This year was maybe a year of extremes. I don't feel the need to go into much detail but I had some of the most dismal hours of loss and anxiety. Alongside all of that, I also had some of the best days and weeks of my life. This year is the year I solidified some really lovely friendships that I'd made last year, spent the summer doing so many things that both challenged me and helped me to grow as a person. I got to travel a lot which was really amazing and eye-opening. When I say I had the best month of my life in August, I am neither exaggerating nor gloating. I never knew how happy I could feel until mid-August where I found myself living a life where I felt so free to be myself and free to explore and just learn and enjoy myself. I am totally lining up blog posts about the month that I hope you'll enjoy over the coming weeks because just thinking about it all brings me a calm feeling that sometimes feels hard to find. Looking back at good and bad, I feel like in many ways I've never lived so intensely before in my life

The past few weeks have gone by weirdly quickly. I'm already half way through my second year at university and this academic year feels so different to the last. I feel way more secure in what I'm doing. I feel I at least semi know what's expected of me in a college essay or exam and I've met a lot of people that I like and that have been really nice to be around. Campus as well is by no means foreign to me anymore. I actually feel like a student, probably helped by the fact that I got more into college/society life this year and am honestly really proud of myself for trying and succeeding to stick at my commitments so far! Still, I'm glad of the Christmas holidays because it was the most exhausting semester yet and going back to college is not something I want to have to think about for at least another few days.

In 2018 I turned 20 and learned a lot about myself. Probably the most important thing I learned is that I still have so much to learn, something which is very intimidating. I wished that I could just fix everything and understand everything, and coming to terms with the fact that it takes time to grow was one of the bigger challenges I had to face, and am still trying to be chill with.

In terms of my goals from last year, which you can read in this post, I'm not really sure I can say I achieved them. I did almost nothing about starting to learn how to drive. I looked at a little bit of theory but nothing worth talking about. I definitely did not post a new blog post every week, though I am pleased with the 33 (I think!) that I did manage to get out, because that is a lot more than I'd been averaging beforehand. I ate both better and worse, definitely did not exercise twice a week, both gained and lost self-confidence... It's really hard to measure these things! I almost used up a body lotion. I guess the one thing I can say for sure is that I managed to save up my goal amount of money which really helped me on my trip to Germany!

Despite the overall lack of success with last year's goals, I still want to write a few for 2019:

1. Learn how to go with the flow more
2. Read more non-fiction books
3. Spend more time with friends
4. Work on overall health (physical + mental in particular)
5. Set more ambitions and strive towards them

That last one might sound a little weird, but it's easier for me to tell myself not to bother with things lest I fail, but I want to encourage and challenge myself to go for things! My month in Germany was literally a result of me putting my neck out there and being "lucky" enough that it worked out. I want to help myself have more experiences like that, but I know those will only come if I put myself out there more and work towards such goals.

So, here we go. Hello 2019.

Do you have any goals + reflections?

Anna xx

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Basel, Switzerland


Looking back at these pictures is quite funny for me. I went to visit my best friend in Basel at the start of August (well actually, the last day of July) and it was to be the start of a big continental adventure for me. The fact that I even got to visit her abroad was kind of surreal seeing as we met here in Ireland and the move was only recent. But then the fact that I got to go to as beautiful a country as Switzerland followed by one of my favourites, Germany, was just unfathomable, and still kind of is. The weather in Switzerland was kind of unbearable for my pale skin. The temperatures were between 30-36 degrees Celsius (86-97 Fahrenheit) which was such a difference to the highs we get at home: a good day is probably only 22 degrees (72F). Still, the beautiful sights and my friend and her family's hospitality made up for it. I really had a lovely time despite anxiety over my solo travels which had yet to truly begin.


The most striking thing to me about Basel was its multicultural nature. Interspersed with traditional Fachwerkhäuser (timbered houses) are signs with languages from all over the world, inviting people to essentially speak the language of their choosing. The range of restaurants also covered many many different cuisines whilst still maintaining prominent positions for Swiss food and beer! The language spoken there is a dialect of Swiss German which I found essentially impossible to understand, despite the fact that I can speak German (though not fluently!). It was hard then, to force myself to speak German because the people in shops and restaurants had to switch language anyway, whether it be to standard German or English! But I did it a couple of times and it was an interesting experience.


Switzerland in general is just so clean! The streets were clean swept, almost to the extent on Sundays (when pretty much everything is closed) that it looked like nobody at all lived there in Basel. I really did feel that there was a great sense of order, everything so well kept and so thoroughly planned, such as changed tram times on the day of the fireworks. Most of the buildings were old, made of various kinds of brick and stone. Thus the overall vibe was really put-together, a really interesting mix of old and new, as new shops and businesses occupied very class-looking buildings.


I couldn't possibly end this post without saying what I lovely time I had visiting my friend. To see your friends in new contexts is always interesting and fun, but to be able to look back at our week together and think of all the fun things we did and saw as well as all the foods she introduced to me and the crazy and deep conversations we had, is just incredible. When she left me off at the train station, I was a total bundle of nerves. I knew for sure that I'd miss her, as well as the safety and comfort her family had provided to me. The next part of my journey would involve 3 train journeys with no one meeting me on the other side to tell me where to go. The next leg of my trip taught me so much about who I am, and what I'm capable of, and I can't wait to share with you the rest of the best month of my year if not life!

Did you do any travelling this year?

Love,
Anna

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Luzern, Switzerland




This was travel,
This was beauty,
This was Switzerland.

When trying to describe Luzern/Lucerne in my travel journal, I was completely lost for words. What could I say? How could I describe all that I saw and how it made me feel? I was in the most beautiful Swiss city I'd ever seen with my best friend, miles and miles away from home. It was overwhelming in away, the sun was beating down, sweat gathered at my back, the beauty and the sun blinded me in equal measure. The boat trip cooled me, I could not believe the blue-green water before me. I missed my family, who I knew would all love the place as much as I did. The colours, the cleanliness, the mood, all so fantastic. I hope you all get to see it some day.

Anna x

Monday, 29 October 2018

the start of a journey


I think it's not uncommon for a member of the blogging community such as myself to want to be a writer. To have always had dreams of published books with my name on the front page. I've always been so scared of writer's block and have had months and months of my life without new poems or stories, or stuck slaving away on old work that I fear will never ever work.

Blogging is something I fall in and out of love with every month. I love that I have this platform to share my thoughts, words and photography. It's so cool that I can seriously post whatever I want, create a portfolio of me that in my real life I'm way too scared to show anyone. My real-life friends haven't read my poetry, don't know how much I like photography, don't know the side of me that you have come to know in some capacity. And that's where I fall out of love. I feel like I say too much, I'm too honest and I shouldn't let that happen. It's so easy to be vulnerable online, which is dangerous especially when people find it so easy to be mean back. And so when I fear what I might say next, I disappear for a bit, but I come back. I've never left for long.

And truly, I don't think it's appropriate to share all the highs and lows of my life with you. I enjoy so much hearing your responses and reading what you have to say on your blogs. It's a special thing we've got going. But all I want to say for now, is that I'm trying my best. I'm trying my best to overcome adversity and trying my best to be the person who will no longer be pushed back, and boy, is it hard. And the best way that I can deal with it, is to create something, I think.

About 3 years ago I started work on my first novel. It got to about 70,000 words and I was so proud of myself and I forced myself to tell a few friends and my family told their friends and I edited it and other people read parts of it and gave me advice. I worked so. hard. on it, and then when the pressure of it actually having to be good and to mean something hit me, I stopped. Like blogging, I come back to it periodically and it still means a lot to me, even if it bothers me and I'll presumably never be happy with it.

But I want to give my novel another shot. I've had feelings coursing through me, telling me to write, but all my new ideas are drawing up blanks. So my novel, code name: TTFE (if you can guess what that stands for you're probably a really cool wizard), will become my child again. And I'm saying this publicly because I don't want to give up on it. I want to work it into something I'm happy with, as best as I can be. And then I want to send it off to other people and see how they like it. Writing is scary, because it's so easy to be rejected. But I know I need to try.

Thank you all so much for listening to me and sticking by me. I'm sorry if this makes little sense! But I'm planning on posting updates about this blog and my novel and my life on instagram, so please follow me! I'd love to get even more connected with you all. It's: @annaszuhause

Anna x
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