On strong women

Dezember 18, 2015

After watching the new Star Wars Movie (No spoilers, don’t worry) my roommate confessed he didn’t like it I suspected the reason for that would have been the female lead character Rey. We have had countless debates over what women are capable off since he moved in and although I know most of the time he is mocking me, I can’t brush any of this off jokingly. Why? I have seen too many women struggle!

When in Ecuador and Indonesia I met numerous women committing their time, love and passion into both work and family without ever really being acknowledged to do twice the tasks as men. Without having as much decision-making power as men, although they contribute so much more to society. Brigham Young was quoted:

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

Because women care for and raise our children and they are our future. Often I get the argument: „But that is what you saw in the less developed countries!“ Well, yes. And no. I also observe it here, in Germany. The gap in payment for men and women is still not bridged and women in decision making positions are extremely rare. I know the women’s quota is a much debated thing and I can see the disadvantages, but I am still in favour!
There is a phenomenon I observed during sport. Particularly Floorball and Football. When I started playing Floorball I sure wasn’t what you would call a natural talent but I learned fast. Still, after one and a half years of playing I had to confront my fellow teammates (high percentage male) on why I wasn’t involved in the match as much. „But you are a girl, we ALWAYS pass the ball to you!“ But they didn’t. Passing it one time in their head equals always since they didn’t trust me with it. After that incident they paid more attention and actually realized that also we girls had some good moves and we were more involved. But even there we had to fight for it.

This is only a small example for the daily fights we face. Women tend to be categorized as the weaker sex but really there is no such thing. We all have different things we are passionate about and skilled in. There is as many women who can fix a car as men. As many who can program a software. There are as many men as women who can cook a delicious meal and take care of their children. With our world changing so rapidly there should not be one reason to work against each other but to unite our strength and knowledge to improve it.

So even mockingly trying to direct me to „my place“ in the kitchen will always get you a scolding look and furious answer! Maybe you can’t see the struggles here in the Western world, but if we can’t manage to straighten out the imbalance, how are we ever gonna tackle that issue in other places around the world? I dont want to overthrow religious believes and tribal traditions, I just want people to reconsider and start appreciating the individual contribution of men and women equally!

And this is why we need strong female leads in movies and books to act as role models! We need more women like Rey who show men (and women) that it is acceptable to cry from time to time. That also a girl can grow up to be a pilot and technical skilled engineer or whatever the hell she chooses to be.

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Die Minions – Der Film

August 6, 2015

Ihr wisst schon, diese kleinen gelben Wesen mit einem scheinbar unzerstörbarem Drang dem Bösen zu dienen! Kaum zu verstehen, außer sie schreien nach „Banana“. Seit einigen Wochen läuft ihr erster eigener Film auf den großen Leinwänden dieser Welt, nachdem sie mit „Ich, einfach unverbesserlich“ groß rauskamen.
Ein paar Worte zu dem Film, bevor ich mich wiederhole und ihn allen, aber auch wirklich allen ganz unbedingt ans Herz legen will. Neben den unglaublich witzigen Szenarien in die die kleinen Gelben immer wieder geraten und die mich so herzhaft haben lachen lassen wie lang nicht mehr, hat mich ein Aspekt besonders begeistert, ja verzaubert. Die Minions haben keine richtige eigene Sprache, stattdessen scheinen sie, wahrscheinlich um sich weltweit möglichst jedem „big Boss“-Bösewicht anbiedern zu können, aus alles Sprachen ein paar Wörter übernommen und verständigen sich inetwas, das man wahrscheinlich mit der Idee des Esperanto vergleichen könnte. Gerade, wenn man die lateinisch-verwurzelten Sprachen (oder zumindest eine davon) gut beherrscht versteht man doch überraschen viel von dem gesagten.

Ich bin mir sicher, spielte man den Film einem internationalen Publikum vor, man die verschiedenen Sprachgruppen an unterschiedlichen Stellen aufhorchen und verwundert über das vernehmen ihnen bekannter Worte aufschreien hören könnte. So ging es mir zumindest, da ich ja glücklicherweise sowohl lateinische Grundlagen als auch Spanisch gut beherrsche konnte ich mich an vielen Stellen freuen. Auch als es am Ende im Londoner Untergrund heißt „Entschuldigung“ konnte ich mir meine deutliche Freude nicht verkneifen. Höhepunkt war allerdings die Schlussszene in der Bob’s Teddy eine Krone bekommt und er „terima kasih“ sagt. Indonesisch (!) für Danke!

Eine Großartige Idee! Wenn das nicht zur Völkerverständigung beitragen kann weiß ich auch nicht 🙂 Ich hoffe auf einen Fortsetzung!

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Silver Lining

Juli 31, 2015

There are days like this when life seems hard,
unfairly cruel and without sun.
There are days like this when you feel weak,
incompetent, incapable to carry on.

There are days like this that feel like endless nights
without the sight of star filled skies.
There are days like this that make you question
all your decisions with a simple why?

There are days like this that catapult you
to the verge of crying.
There are days like this that make it impossible
to find a silver lining.

My heart is longing for a place far away
It won’t stop screaming, I hear it every day.
I wish I could just take it and leave this place
Forget what life is right now: this insolvable maze.

On not being in Bonn

Juli 1, 2015

The world of heritage is circling around Bonn at the moment, with the World Heritage Committee (WHC) honoring the city by meeting there this year. The World Heritage Committee is the main decision making body to UNESCOs 1972 Convention on Preserving and Safeguarding Natural and Cultural Heritage. Hence, whoever considers themselves to be a heritage professional or professional in spe is trying to either physically be in Bonn this week or at least watch the livestream provided by the WHC. For us it is THE event of the year and I would be lying if I would say I did not envy anyone who is either participating, volunteering or just observing. It is the perfect opportunity to get first hand insights on how the WHC works and functions, how they take their decisions and of course to network. Following the live stream you can see all these people “famous” in the world of heritage. And the inspiring opening speeches by the Director General and even Mutti Merkel’s video message (although the latter was more or less the disappointing rephrasal of the 1972 Convention’s objectives in German).

However, although I do never want to see ever again hate envy everyone making this amazing experience at the moment, it does have its upsides for those being left behind. We decided to make it the most memorable week of the year, so we could counter every professional and awesome memory they share, with one of our own, which so far works out perfectly.

A huge part of the meeting is highly political and can be very frustrating. Endless discussions on amendments that sometimes circle around one tiny phrase or even word until everyone can agree. (Not to mention that after it is agreed upon the whole discussions starts over for the french version…) Also, I must admit I am not very good at networking anyway, so why not leave it to some of the most amazing and committed people I know who really deserve this opportunity and worked so hard for it. It is hard for everyone to admit that other people excel at something you would also wish to shine, but to accept your flaws is the first step to improvement. I know this sounds cheesy. However, you need to reflect on your actions and realise wrong doings to observe the qualities you admire in others and try to pick up on some of those.

So all in all I guess it is a good thing that with the current heat wave I am not sitting in a climatised conference center, but on the sunny balcony, eating ice cream (those of you who know me well will realise this is an euphemism for working at the store and finishing papers, while juggling with Master Thesis literature) and watching the life stream for only the parts I can endure and actually want to follow. Starting on Friday the new nominations will be discussed so if you are interested to get an insight on the proceedings take your laptop to the lake and watch the session their 😉

The uncertainty of our times

Mai 27, 2015

Reading „The Opposite of Loneliness“ by Marina Keegan left me with the worst bookish hangover I have had in a while. Why is that? Because the collection of her short stories and essays is extremely profound and catches the spirit of our times as I perceive it so appropriately. It takes time to digest this unprecedented insight into an author. Writing a book means pouring out your thoughts and soul for an enormous amount of people to read that you will never know, but who will assume they got to know you through your writing. I admire that kind of courage and therefore keep being blown away by literature. However, I struggle to describe Keegans style with other words than pure, real, understanding, stunning, grabbing. It took me a while to understand it and prepare myself to fully emerge into it, but it was so worth it.

The uncertainty of our times is a big issue for so many of our younger generation. We try to appreciate all the opportunities provided by our parents and grandparents, yet being overwhelmed by all the options leaving us indecisive.We want to save the world being fed up with the economic restraints coming with our oh so ideological goals. And in the eyes of the older generations we can see confusion, a mild reminiscence of their own younger aims and the expectations towards us to grow up soon and find our place in society. And who says that we are not trying to do exactly that? Find our place. It just feels so much harder to choose what we want to do for our whole life. And who says our plans weren’t entirely different from what our parents expect? Who says I didn’t desire a stable job in the beginning of my 20’s that would allow me to have my first child by 24. Who says I didn’t dream of this rather boring life without adventures happening hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away? Who says that would not have made me happy? Yet, I get scolding looks and comments who only deepen my insecurity and doubts about choices I have made, about plans I abandoned, about the person I have become.

What I have lived through, who I have learned from, what I have chosen to accomplish made me the person I am today. Whether you like it or not, whether I like it or not, the goals I have are still my goals and I need to at least try to fulfill them. Not having tried seems to be the most devastating failure anyway. We all have to deal with the times and their uncertainties and surprises and I know it is challenging for everyone.

And in the end, what does it say about our world, that we all want to change it so badly? The question is whether it is humans inability to ever be at peace and satisfied with any status quo or if our world truly needs and deserves a makeover. I am looking forward to be part of and witness to the upcoming developments and will keep hoping and working for change to happen, goals to be achieved and, foremost, our dreams to come true.

Virunga National Park, Congo – Movie recommendation!

Januar 22, 2015

The Virunga National Park was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979 on behalf of the Democratic Republic of Congo, under criteria (vii), (viii) and (x).

„Virunga National Park is unique with its active chain of volcanoes and rich diversity of habitats that surpass those of any other African park. [ …]The property includes the spectacular massifs of Rwenzori and Virunga Mountains containing the two most active volcanoes of Africa. The wide diversity of habitats produces exceptional biodiversity, notably endemic species and rare and globally threatened species such as the mountain gorilla.“

It has been on the List for World Heritage in Danger for almost 20 years now due to the continuous political instabilities. Recently, another threat for Nature Conservation has started to invade the agenda. SOCO, an oil company, started test drills in a rather questionable, illegal way. A documentary covers these issues in a very sensitive but straight forward approach, telling the story of a few passionate people that take incredible risks for Nature Conservation and in the hope of a better future. It has just been nominated for this year’s Academy Awards and should be watched! (available on NetFlix)

TRAILER: http://virungamovie.com/#trailer

more info: http://virungamovie.com/

The movie tore my heart apart and put it right back together. How our world has started to put business above anything else, forgetting how nature is what keeps us breathing and makes life on earth worthwhile is a devastating realisation that we are confronted with- every day. However, gaining insights into the life and conviction of people so passionate they’d give their life for it is breathtakingly reassuring and supporting. It makes me feel I am not the only idealist left and there actually seem to be people able to make a living staying true to their principles, which mostly in our society seems to be a myth.
I truly hope this documentary will succeed in spreading the word of what is happening in Virunga National Park and encourage other Parks to present their cases and develop earnest and truthful solutions.

Conservation should not be war. It should be a joined cause that unites people in their desire to build a future and preserve earth for the coming generations.

Helsinki – Stadt der seltsamen Kirchen

Januar 22, 2015

Ich gebe zu, es ist nun schon zwei Monate her, dass ich aufgrund einer Exkursion nach Finnland geflogen bin, aber berichten muss ich nun doch noch!

Helsinki ist die Hauptstadt Finnlands und beheimated rund 622,000 Einwohner auf etwa 715km². Erste erwähnenswerte Berichte über die Stadt reichen bis 1550 zurück, als Schwedens König Gustav I die Stadt als Handelszentrum ausbauen wollte, welches dem hanseatischen Reval als Konkurrenz gegenüberstehen sollte, was leider nicht ganz aufging.

Erst als im 18.Jh die Festung Sveaborg auf den vorgelagerten Inselgruppen als Verteidigung gegen das russische Reich errichtet wurde, begann Helsinki als militärstrategischer Stützpunkt einen Namen zu erlangen. 1809 besiegte Russland Schweden und etablierte das Großherzogtum Finnland, was Helsinki endgültig zu einer ernstzunehmenden Stadt machte.

Wegen eben jener Festung hat es uns nach Helsinki geführt. Sie ist auf sechs Inseln erbaut und gehört aufgrund der verschiedenen architektonischen Einflüsse als Beispiel europäischer Militärbauweisen zu der Liste der UNESCO Weltkulturerbe. Ein Tagesausflug führt einen entlang des Befestigungswalls und ermöglicht einem eine neue Perspektive auf die Silhouette Helsinkis. Die wenigen Restriktionen geben außerdem den Weg frei auf ein idyllisches Picknick am Wasser auf weniger schroffen, ja eher einladenden Klippen. Das Museum bietet einen wundervollen Einblick in die Geschichte, so wie die Bedeutung des Ortes für Helsinki und Finnland. Die belassenen Kanonen und historischen Stellungen vermitteln einem gerade an Wintertagen, wenn die Inseln nicht von Touristen überlaufen sind, anschaulich worin jene Architektur besteht.

Für mehr Infos: http://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/

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Mit der Fähre ist man in Null-Komma-Nichts dort und wieder zurück, um die Stadt an sich zu erkunden. Herauszustellen sind vor allem Helsinkis verschiedene Kirchen. Die Weiße Kirche steht direkt auf dem zentralen Platz und ist eher klassisch. Die orthodoxe Basilika ist schon vom Hafen ein beeindruckender, wenn auch eher unerwarteter Anblick. Die Steinkirche weiter im Norden der Stadt hat mich am meisten fasziniert. Aufgrund des Krieges wurde sie nicht wie vorgesehen errichtet, sondern in den Stein gehauen und vor Luftangriffen versteckt, oder besser getarnt. Die Akustik ist unbeschreiblich. Wir hatten das Glück einem kostenlosen Konzert, dem Weihnachtsoratoium von Saint-Saens, zu lauschen und ich würde jedem empfehlen unbedingt den Kulturkalender Helsinkis zu checken, wenn er anreist.

Empfehlen möchte ich außerdem Rentier-Burger! Sehr schmackhaft und woh das finnischste was ich in den vier Tagen gegessen habe. Zusammenfassend ist Helsinki eine herrlich unaufgeregte Stadt. Klein, gemütlich, und im Winter voll von knuffigen Kindern in Schneeanzügen. 🙂

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Mannheim – Leben im Quadrat (+Karlsruhe)

Dezember 2, 2014

Mannheim hätte ich ja nie auf meine Reiseliste gesetzt, wenn ich nicht eine ganz bezaubernde Einladung erhalten hätte. Also habe ich meine sieben Sachen gepackt und mich in den Süden Deutschlands begeben.

Man sagt wahre Freundschaften erkennt man daran, dass egal wie lange die Freunde von einander getrennt waren, sie sofort wieder dort anknüpfen können, wo sie aufgehört haben. Nun, es ist sicher nicht ganz einfach, wenn man sich vom idyllischen Bali kennt einfach so abends im dunkeln Mannheimer Bahnhof zusammenzufinden, aber warum nicht versuchen die tropische Stimmung und Erinnerungen auf die geplante Stadt zu übertragen 🙂
Seit dem 8.Jh ist die Siedlung zwar urkundlich erwähnt, aber erst im 17.Jh wurde es wirklich spannend und wuchs, als der pfälzer Kurfürst Friedrich IV beschloss dort seine Residenzstadt und Festung zu planen. Vom Schloss aus, welches die heutige Universität beherbergt, bei deren Anblick zu Recht jeder Student einer dieser traditionslosen Unis, wie diese auf denen ich bisher ein studierte, ganz gelb vor Neid wird, gehen die Straße durchnummeriert und alphabesiert ab. Verlaufen ist in Mannheim nicht. Zum Glück. Man muss sich zwar daran gewöhnen Briefe mit „X1 23“ als Straße/Hausnummer zu adressieren, aber ansonsten seh ich nur Vorteile.
Neben dem Schloss gibt es noch weitere Highlights. Der Wasserturm der sich am Ende der Shoppingmeile befindet bietet ein herrlich ruhiges Fleckchen zum verweilen, lesen und Leute beobachten.

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Ans Herz legen möchte ich jedem Besucher das Mémoires d’Indochine einem überaus köstlichen Lokal, welches die asiatische Küche durchaus authentisch (und ich würde dieses Wort nie unüberlegt nutzen) serviert. Das Cafe Prag hat mir auch sehr gut gefallen, ebenso wie sämtliche Kirchen und alten Häuser die ich beim umherrstreifen durch die Quadarate entdeckte aber nicht zuordnen kann 🙂

Nicht weit entfernt, umgenau zu sein eine Stunde weg, befindet sich Karlsruhe, eine zur Zeit meines Besuchs von Baustellen überschüttete Stadt, die ich trotzdem froh war besucht zu haben, nicht zuletzt erneut wegen einer beim Essen zu pflegenden Freundschaft. Das Schloss wird großartig präsentiert und die Ausstellung ist, wenn auch wahnsinnig umfangreich sehr informativ und gut aufbereitet. Museumspädagogisch wertvoll würde ich sagen. Beim Blick vom Schlossturm kann man wunderbar die Fächer der Straßen erkennen, die sich im Gegensatz zu Mannheim elegant wie in Sonnenstrahlen vor einem ausbreitet. Der Marktplatz hatte einges an alten Monumenten zu bieten, war nur leider hinter Bauzäunen nicht sehr genießbar.

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Reisen zu Freunden sind die schönsten, denn vor Ort begegnet man nicht nur einer neuen Stadt, sondern diesen wundervollen Menschen, die einen aufnehmen, herumzeigen, in die lokale Kultur einführen und bei denen man dieser Mensch sein kann, den man sich schon lange zurücksehnt. Man findet beim Auflebenlassen alter Erinnerungen sich selbst aus einer anderen Zeit wieder und wundert sich, wie weit man sich mal wieder entwickelt, was man wieder erreicht und wer man inzwischen geworden ist. Je nach Zufriedenheit nimmt man sich das Versprechen ab eben dieser Jemand wieder mehr zu sein oder bricht in Jubel aus diesen zurückgelassen zu haben. Die Reise als Selbstreflektionstherapie. unbedingt zu empfehlen!

Why I love football

Juli 13, 2014

It is World Cup Final Day and the world goes crazy, I think it is only appropriate to add a short comment from my side.
I love football. Especially during international competitions I like that it finally makes Germany show their flag and show a little bit of pride.
I love it because it creates identity and makes us feel like belonging to a group.
I love it, because a goal makes random people hug each other though they have never met before.
I love it, because the suspense before penalties tears a hole into my stomach.
I love it, because everyone just sings those songs that are so easy to learn.

I know it is ridiculous how much they get paid and I know there is a huge gap between countries and women’s soccer is still not appreciated as much as it should be…

However, I love football, because for 90 minutes I can just forget the world around me. Leave stress and sorrows behind to cheer and have a beer and enjoy the time with friends and fellow supporters!

„It’ll all work out“

Juni 6, 2014

Tom Petty’s song deals with a broken relationship that he tries to overcome telling himself „It’ll all work out eventually“. I think this relates to all levels of life.
We all struggle. It does not matter whether we have troubles in our professional or private life, whether we are responsible for things that go wrong or we can blame it on others. Life goes wrong for all of us, all the time. Though I wish that my family and friends were better off with life than me, I am somewhat relieved, that I am not alone with the stones that keep rolling onto the road that seemed so perfectly paved in my mind.
It’ll all work out, anyway. Maybe not the way we envisioned, but how desirable is that, really?

I appreciate the hours that I spend under my desk, seeking the comfort of a dark, clearly confined and easily controlled space that belongs to me alone. It makes me consciously think through the situation before me and the steps that have to be taken to overcome it, being aware, that the actual results probably won’t even be close to this plan.
But do we really wish to always end up where we wanted? Isn’t that plain boring? Wouldn’t we miss the surprises life so generously gifts?

I know everyone is striving for some goals. But what happens if we really reach those goals, especially when we don’t have to put up a fight to actually get there? Wouldn’t it feel undeserved and stale?

It’ll all work out, eventually.

I know struggling and fighting is hard, but the things hardest to achieve are the sweetest ones. So even if you have to cry or admit your weakness at some point, keep up the fight!
It’ll all work out! It always does in one way or another. Don’t judge too soon, who knows, it’ll most probably be worth it!