Being a tourist in London

Discovering LDN with family

This weekend has been a family packed weekend. Both our parents have been/are here passing through our home from a roadtrip through the UK or about to head to one respectively.

Usually there isn’t enough time to do touristy stuff in the London, but this time around, my parents stay for 2 days and I became a tourist. We visited Kew Gardens, to which I have only been in winter time when there is a light show, and Camden Market, cause my parents have never been.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens recently opened the newly renovated Temperate House, which my parents were keen on seeing. And since the weather was wonderful, we also had a little picnic with some delicious but questionable looking crumble. I didn’t know that Kew Gardens was as big as it is, as I had only walked a small path in the darkness of winter. There is a treetop walk that is rather knee-melting, if you have issues with wobbly built pathways in 18m height, but the view is definitely worth it.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

The second day we ventured out to Camden Market. I think it has been 2 years since I last went, so I was curious to see what has become of it. It was a Saturday and brilliant weather, so as expected, there were a lot of people roaming the streets and market halls. It’s definitely become a lot more organised and cleaned up since I’ve last been with lots more shops and food. Talking about food, I’ve had a great vegan doughnut and some of the best falafel I’ve ever tasted.

Camden

It’s time to start dreaming again

dream big

It’s honest time today, so please bear with.

My husband and I had a conversation the other day about dreams. Rather, it was more a conversation about how I should (could) make use of my time currently before we start travelling in 2 and a half months time. I am currently not working, so I have time available to me with which I can do something or several things. I could explore something I’ve always wanted to do, could spin some ideas about starting my own business or something else entirely. I also currently drive things that need to get done around our trip and house renovation.

However, I don’t go and explore. I don’t currently take the opportunity of my available time, which I won’t have forever. I don’t do it to the fullest extent and I find myself going back and forth on whether I should or shouldn’t.

I feel guilty that I have this time available, so I do as much as I can for things that “matter”, such as the trip, house stuff and various other logistical things that need to get done in life. I am someone that puts other people and to-do’s first before I eventually (if ever) get to myself, though I have gotten so much better at it over the past year. I also feel that whatever I’d start to explore now, I’d have to stop anyways when we’re travelling and then put all the effort back in after 6 months. Also, there are way too many things I’d like to try out, so I am also struggling with the luxurious dilemma of where I’d even start. It’s all too overwhelming (and privileged) and it is easier, at the moment, to play the ostrich game.

Not only do I feel like I have to take on all this extra stuff because I am not working, I also feel guilty for not using this time to pursue my own interests. Something my husband said during our chat made a penny drop and whilst I still don’t quite know how to tackle what’s in my brain, I know not to dismiss it and tame it. I will also try not to feel guilty about having this time whilst others don’t, but instead learn to treasure it and be grateful that I am given this opportunity to explore and dream. I am certain I will fail at times, but I will try.

I know I haven’t done this kind of real talk since I wrote about my brain surgery journey, but I think it could be a valuable thought process/learning to share. I think a lot of us are struggling with shutting off thoughts about our dreams (however big or small), taking a step toward making it happen or even allowing ourselves to have any. Sometimes, we tend to put barriers in front of ourselves where there don’t have to be any. There are enough barriers in life already, no need to invent them.

And yes, that is the rational part of me talking. Clearly, I have had some very irrational thoughts about this whole process and no, I haven’t stopped thinking them or felt any less doubt, though recognising what is tearing me in different directions mentally and emotionally surely must be a good thing.

Thanks a bunch for reading. I hope this wasn’t too much of a downer and maybe even gave you a little nudge to be better at this whole “do more of what makes you happy and explore your dreams” thing, as cheesy as it sounds. But somebody once said it, so it must be true.

Family time from London via Berlin to Leipzig

Last weekend I had a bit of a whirlwind family tour. I thought, before venturing off to our six months travel, it would be nice to see some of my family, especially both sides of my grandparents.

I hadn’t seen my paternal grandparents for quite some time, so I was looking forward to seeing them, talking to them and finding out more about what has been going on in their lives now that they are both in their early 80s and are about to embark on a major life-changing journey, which is move to an assisted living home away from where they have been living for the vast majority of their lives. I was curious how this decision came about and how they felt about it because I know how set they are in their routines and their way of living. It wasn’t easy having this conversation with them, for one, because we hadn’t seen each other in a while and there was some catching up to do; also because they generally don’t talk in much detail about this kind of stuff.

The next day, I spent with my maternal grandfather. We talked about all kinds of things, present, past and future, almost all day long. His behaviour and our conversations showed me a different approach to life, also being in his 80s. I find it interesting experiencing time together with the two sets of grandparents in ways that are almost opposite to one another. I know people are unique, and cannot be compared like for like, but it got me thinking about change.

Some don’t want it, don’t embrace it and hold on to memories regardless of what is happening around them now or what is happening with them physically and mentally. Naturally, change can be tough and problematic. But change can also mean opportunities and new discoveries that open your world even more, regardless of your age and challenges.

When being with my paternal grandparents, there was a lot of story telling about the past, remembering the times when they were young working professionals in the former DDR, when my dad was in the army or when I was a child spending holidays and weekends with them. I know that we don’t see each other often and that these stories and experiences are important to them now. It is what they hold on to to get through life. At the same time, I feel that it is the past they hold on to and are missing out on the present.

Equally, there was some story telling with my maternal granddad. He gave me a report he found about this aunt’s family and what happened to them during World War II. He also remembered some instances including my grandmother when she was still around. With those stories, also came curiosity about current world events, new foods to try and the stubbornness to want to do it all still by himself.

Again, there are different reasons for why people are the way they are. There is also certainly a lot more to all the stories and lives of all of my grandparents than could ever be laid out in one blog post (let alone in one book), but I find it interesting how differently people view the past, how their learnings from certain past life experiences affect their current behaviour and approach to living, no matter how old they are, and also how it affect us, younger family members.

I think there is so much more that can be said about this and again, I am scratching the tiniest surface, but it is so fascinating as it defines how their children, children’s children etc. go about their lives, question decisions and behaviour and then adapt to how they, a.k.a we (a.k.a I) go about my live.

Diedersdorf

Berlin Tempelhof

Johannisbeersaft

Cow

Summer was here for 3 days a.k.a the grill marathon

Dick and Isa

I know this is the third post dedicated to the blooming sun, but you know, it’s just making people happier when she is around. And because it gets as hot as it did last week kinda once a year in the UK, we went all in, like grilling every day, lunch and dinner, kinda all in. To be fair, our grill is not the all around coal burning kind one can spend an entire day preparing. We opted for the easy peasy come on my plate to my belly right away experience with an electric grill as of last year. For anyone ruffling their nose right now, it’s easy to clean, it requires exactly 10 minutes until it’s hot enough and anyone in vicinity won’t be cursing over fences or worry about smoky laundry.

Have I mentioned how quick it is? We got a few more vegetables and threw anything that could be grilled on it. We were basically in veg, halloumi and pitta bread heaven for 3 days. It’s amazing how everything just tastes better if you add halloumi to it, char some vegetables and have the sun shine on your noggin.

Dick and sun
Strawberries
Isabell
Dick and Isabell
Earlsfield

A spring Saturday in April

Isabell

Well, doesn’t this feel a little silly to post photos of a spring Saturday on a day that actually feels like summer. 26 degrees Celsius, last I checked!

I was going to write about how lovely the weather was, first time in ages the sun was out, about how I felt like utter sh*t and being pumped full of Lemsip (today much better though, thanks) and still got up to go to a conference that, with husband in tow, we abandoned after one session cause the SUN WAS OUT.

So instead we decided to take a stroll back home along the Thames via some lunch. We have never been around the area between Fulham and Putney and it is rather nice, especially with the SUN out. We repeated “Oh the weather is so nice” about a bazillion times, like you do, in proper English fashion.
Talking about fashion, I was still rather wrapped up in cashmere jumper, coat and scarf and only started to get proper warm about half way home.

Well thanks weather and sun for this mini heat wave and a Saturday that was gorgeous leading up to today, I suppose.

The Gate

Isabell

Between Fulham and Putney

Turtle

Isabell

Putney Bridge

London bus ride