I’ve done a lot of moving around and re-settling. Whether it’s taping the corners of packing boxes for reinforcement or rolling up my clothes to save space in the suitcase….. I’ve honed the art of “pack n’ go.
This is a pretty long post, and I’ve tried my best to keep it as ‘short and sweet’ as possibe. Here are my geographical movements of 2018 and my resolutions for 2019.
I was working 12-14 hour days, and living in my 11m² office. It actually wasn’t too bad, and made me dream of building a tiny home and driving around the USA.
(Side note: The reason was that my subletters in my Berliner flat got pregnant immediately after I left…. details below.)
Why was I living in my office in January last year?
I had left Berlin at the end of 2017 in a panic, having flown at my stepmother’s behest to help out with my father’s physical and mental health. I subletted my 2-room flat in Berlin to a young couple who later ended up not paying a deposit and ceasing rent payments. She, a young Tokyo-born Japanese, became pregnant shortly after I left for the states. He, having grown up sharing the London city streets with rats and vermin, probably ended up accessing German social services to pay for their unplanned, quick-way-to-get-a-visa baby. (I know that sounds harsh, but birth control in Germany can be obtained for free without health insurance, and the morning-after pill is only €20 or so over-the-counter. And…. oh gosh, this is awful, but…. even after the baby is born it can still be returned to the hospital in a “Babyklappe”, like a late-night book deposit for library returns.)
German law protects the vulnerable very much. In this case, I was considered a “landlord” and a pregnant woman “vulnerable”, even though I was simply renting the flat myself and only planned to be away for a few months. It was difficult to kick them out, despite them having stopped paying rent etc., because she was pregnant. It was horrible for me, both morally and financially. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for them, either.
The “subletters from hell” left end of January. My friends Leyla and Gürhan moved in.
I left my Berliner office at the end of January to meet with a client in Philadelphia. I had managed his Amazon business as well as that of others during Q4 2017. This client offered me a generous share in his company, but I turned down his proposal because, after working with him more closely, I found he lacked solid business acumen.
I visited dear friends in Philadelphia. They give me hope that couples can stay in love despite years of marriage and in spite of children. 🙂 Their two cuties below are kids I babysat ages ago in Germany. They are full of charisma and spiritual wisdom well beyond their years!
Later in the month of February 2018, I headed down to the Orlando area in northern Florida to visit family, relax, and continue working remotely. I rented a little lake home through Air BnB as a belated birthday present for my Mom. It was wonderful. We enjoyed good food, good live music, views of the water and time with our cousin J and his family.
After the lakehome retreat, I rented a different Air BnB that was a little more my style…. the Sunshine Ranch in Osteen, Florida.
In March, I invited my friend Micki down to the Ranch for a week and a half to celebrate her birthday, and as a way to show her some of the kindness she and her family showed me the previous year. (Or maybe that was in February? I can’t remember exactly…)
The Belgian boys were doing WOOFing, where they exchanged farmhand labour for room and board. They ventured off up north, and I continued to enjoy jam sessions by the camp fire and yoga-healing sessions with beautiful, spiritually-attuned Luba who runs the Ranch with her husband River.
I enjoyed more working and kayaking in Florida, and visited my Dad whenever I could make space in my schedule.
I drove from humid Central Florida to Western Florida to visit my cousin Dawnie. She and her husband had just moved into a new home.
I then visited my “little” cousin Jake in Pensacola. I was amazed at how he’s grown up… he has his own business, a nice girlfriend, a starter home in a pretty sketch neighbourhood (“sketch” equals two or three gunshots heard on a weekly basis) and now the first baby of our generation is expected end of January 2019!
(Note: Baby Jack, named after our now-passed grandfather, is a healthy and beautiful little boy of about 6 weeks as of publication.)
In the middle of March, my friend Micki decided to take her dog, take off her wedding band, and drive eleven hundred miles to Asheville, North Carolina to meet up with the Belgian Boys. (I know, it sounds like a country song.)
I drove up there to meet with them. We all rented a cabin for the weekend. (I know it sounds like the start of a scary story… and it was a bit gruesome in emotional ways, but I won’t delve into details. If you’re curious as to the details of how that fateful weekend really transpired, get in touch with me.)
I stopped by my cousin J’s house in Florida on March 31st. I called back my mother to learn that my Aunty Gina passed away unexpectedly in a car accident, well before her time. I was with family when I received the news, and was travelling to visit family in the UK. I then returned to Berlin to wrap up a few things and spend wonderful, quality time with dear friends.
My friends Leyla and Gürhan greeted me at home with loads of delicious, fresh, low-sodium food and stories to share. Leyla and I would have a delicious, luxurious sitting-too-long-but-it-doesn’t-really-matter breakfast on the balcony in the morning as a regular habit.
At the end of April, Leyla whipped up a masterpiece to help celebrate my birthday. We hauled a bunch of delicious vegan and vegetarian food from the fourth floor (without an elevator, of course) to the back courtyard. We hauled unneeded furniture up from the cellar and had an amazing garden party with my best people in Germany.
Toward the end of April, I packed up my Berliner office and moved to a new one with a shower, closer to my friend who made that delicious cake. On the day I picked up the keys — maybe it was my actual birthday, I can’t remember — my friend met me, brought me a candle in a sweet treat, and took me out to a delicious meal in our neighbourhood, my favourite neighbourhood, the “kiez” I spent many years in, right on the borderline between West and East Berlin, the place I met Leyla in her restaurant: Friedrichshain.
I think it was in May, perhaps in June, when I took a quick trip to Western Ukraine. I landed in Lviv then took a bus to Ivano-Frankivsk. The city used to be called “Stainslawo” but was changed recently, to be named after a Ukranian writer and historical figure, Mr. Frankivsk. (The next Western city to be renamed, I will petition it to be renamed after a female historical figure… it might be in Latvia or Sweden. Or Minnesota.)
I flew back to Berlin from Lviv and had a layover just long enough to grab my suitcase from my cellar, grab a beer from the local “Späti” (kiosk) and take a quick swim in the river.
I moved stuff from one office to another. From one basement to an attic. My Berliner-shower-office became comfortable, I packed up my bicycle and shipped it, along with a few boxes, to Bristol.
I moved to Bristol and stayed with my sister Kate and her family whilst searching for a flat.
I found a coworking space and a flat, signed the contract and somehow managed to get a bank account in the U.K. I took Nephew #2 to the high street and did some perusing around charity shops to furnish my empty new (rental) flat.
Then I set about arranging furniture and painting. My cousing Kristiana did an internship in London for the summer, and came over a couple times to visit and help paint. Thank God for family! (They’re free labour and free hugs!)
And the downstairs with street access door, guest room and bedroom and water closet
Toward the end of August, I went with my sister’s mother, Grandma Mary, to a big family wedding in Straßburg, France. It had been ages since I was there last!
France was lovely! The sunshine and fresh breeze and delicious wine and bread and cheese…. oh my!
I then went to Berlin for awhile. I stayed with friends, met with friends and had a lovely, enjoyable time.
It was actually end of September I believe, or maybe early September, when I went back to the states. My dad had fallen and received surgery to repair his leg.
I flew back to Berlin in October for a couple weeks, then back to Bristol.
In Bristol, I rolled up my sleeves and set to work:
- Amazon selling in Germany and France ceased and largely dissolved…. taxes still to be filed next year, of course.
- I held a ‘Launch Event’ to promote the opening of my holistic therapy clinic Gracenote Therapy, and to explain what Bioresonance is. (It’s very popular in Germany, but not yet in the UK.)
I enjoyed some socializing and time with my sister et. al.
Then I went to Italy on Dec 25 to meet up with a good childhood friend to travel together a week and a half. We spent the majority of our time in Sicily.
I miss the pastries and espresso still, after one month!
I’m now happy and healthy back in Bristol, with some solid new year’s resolutions for a calmer, more focused 2019….. a step into a new chapter of life.
Thank you for continuing this wonderous adventure with me!