Category Archives: VILLAGER’S LIFE

The Times, They Aren’t a-Changin. Alas.

Sometimes I just do it: I assume all my troubles started in the Neolithic period.

You see, this was a time when people sat down and liked it. So they thought “Oh, I could get used to sitting here every day”, which is why they invented farming, domesticated animals and settled in permanent places. Jep, I blame it all on the Neolithic Revolution.

Life wasn’t a piece of cake back then, it is known. Apart from the troubles that simply went along and settled down, too, there were many new problems to deal with: diets with loads of unhealthy carbohydrates, increased body fat, rapid spreading of diseases … you know, the stuff our life is made of.

While your average scientist would probably hang me for simply stating this, as it is a highly controversial topic, I assume people in those Neolithic villages, towns and cities soon became very modern and started to have eyes only for their neighbors. And if those neighbors had a better hut, a sharper knife or a larger piss pot, they caused one to feel all kinds of strange and unpleasant feelings. In short, I am assuming here people soon concentrated on other people and nothing has been the same ever since. Nor better, if you ask me.

I could sit here writing for years to let you know what exactly makes me dislike the general fact that people tend to be only/mostly interested in their own status as compared to other people, but I just don’t care, do you?

Maybe a hint will do: when life on our planet requires us to concentrate on hard facts, we better do it, hard and fast and most of all, without checking our own status every second of it. This ability to deal with things other than Me and My Neighbors is something that one acquires during a process known as Growing up. Or should – this is what our planet is for.

The reason I am telling you about my Neolithic belief is this article about Brian Cox saying if Earth is lost, our galaxy would lose its meaning. Because my first reaction upon reading it was “Well, be better next time you coincidentally produce meaning, Galaxy. Make sure it does not litter you and spend its time navel-gazing.”


On time. In time. Timely.

Whatever the word, it is here again. Same procedure as every year.

My Jahresendmüdigkeit. That is: end-of-the-year-tiredness. It appears more or less in October and has run its course by January. Pity I cannot afford to leave it all and take a break right now.

I say this every year, too.

Of course I am old enough to resort to truthiness from time to time: “A house that needs renovation (aka a doer-upper) is actually perfect. In the end, we decide how it turns out and need not live only with other people’s decisions.” Yeah. True dat. It’s just … we both work a lot, have free time issues as a consequence and are not experienced “upper-doers”, only eager learners in general. So yes, it is a great feeling to put in a new floor by way of Youtube-schooling for the very first time, but there are many floors and many doors and many gates and rails and vital things here that need an overhaul and that great feeling of having done it soon gets replaced by the OK-next-dread. That and also: chemical burns on hands are actually bad for freelance translators.

(been here, done that and hurt myself with a stripping agent, because I can actually translate “use appropriate protective gloves” into a few languages but cannot actually do it when necessary)

So while I still really love the idea we get to create our own living space, I am also quite impatient to have it all done, sit down and read a book in a cozy, personal environment that does not need me that much anymore.

OK, so what’s next. The ugly stairs covered in Pukey I guess.


Zeugin zäher Zeiten

Da ich auf so ziemlich alles neugierig bin, schaue ich mir die Bilder an, eins nach dem anderen. Ich stelle fest, dass Angela Merkel in den 16 Jahren sowohl im Dienst als auch zu feierlichen Anlässen eigentlich immer dasselbe trug. Das kann ich verstehen: immer dieselbe äußere Form. Fast. Wirklich.

Bin zwar berühmt dafür, dass sich die lieben Umzugsmänner immer, aber wirklich jedes Mal über meine Klamotten- erm … -berge echauffieren, aber im Grunde genommen sehne ich mich nur nach ein paar wenigen Sachen: fließendes schwarzes Kleid, blaue Jeans, weißes Shirt und Karorock oder auch -kleid. Sneaker. Alle anderen Kleidungsstücke, die ich mein (und mein und mein und mein …) nennen darf, kann ich mir gar nicht erklären. Außer dass mir mein Verantwortungsbewusstsein verbietet, passable Kleidung wegzuwerfen. Und natürlich, weil es schon noch Spaß machen könnte, mal was anderes zu tragen.

Da also auch nach dem Umzug alle meine Schränke voll sind, muss ich auf ein paar Tricks zurückgreifen, um mir überhaupt noch neue Stofflieblinge anschaffen zu können, und zwar nachdem ich schon meinen größten Schatz überzeugt habe, dass er weniger Schrankvolumen als ich braucht (kennt ja jeder: Mann, Frau, Schrank).
Es hat sich inzwischen herausgestellt, dass gebrauchte Kleidung für gebrauchte Kleidung tauschen tatsächlich unglaublichen Spaß macht. So komme ich an einige wertvolle Stoffjuwele, bei denen ich früher die Ausgabe gescheut habe, weil ich ja “nur zu Hause arbeite und die teuren Sachen nur im Schrank hängen würden” (wobei man das kaum noch “hängen” nennen konnte – ein passenderer Ausdruck, den ich hiermit der Welt zur freien Verfügung anbieten kann, wäre “sardinieren”).
Heutzutage tun in meinen Schränken tatsächlich hochwertigere Sachen tatsächlich hängen und eine Ausrede für diese Pracht habe ich auch schon parat: Bald gibt es in Norddeutschland ein kulturelles Leben zu entdecken und zu feiern und da brauche ich dann hoffentlich auch all die wunderbaren Wollblazer, die mich in den letzten zwei Jahren gefunden haben und wohl zu meiner Lieblingsgrundausstattung gehören (werden). Erst jetzt bin ich so weit, eine Blazerfrau zu werden, ja.


Doing Denmark Despite

After a few steps I realize my legs are shaking. And of course I say hey, what’s going on?!?

After all, I’ve only been cycling for a short time and without a hill in sight, surely there is no need to act up like this, dear legs of mine? This is only the beginning of a cycling holiday, you know.

They know. After a short trip to a local supermarket in Ribe to buy food and drinks, my legs are all shook up and then return to normal, as I tell them to. Denmark feels great as ever. Time to discover some more.

That same evening, we enjoy a most wonderful sunset on a North Sea beach and life feels quite … unreal, what with our last vacation being in 2019 and our last trip to a foreign country even further away, back in 2018. To Denmark. While the Sun is majestically performing its last daily chore, I notice I am starting to decompress and breathe more freely. Seems promising.

ribe

The next day, our weather apps are basically telling us now would be the best time to visit Fanø, so we decide to just do it – surely an island with one of the most beautiful villages in Denmark is a good choice? It is. The village, Sønderho, really is wonderful, but so are the heather plains, the dunes and the coast all around Fanø.

Nothing can beat walking barefoot on the sand while a mild breeze rejuvenates ones good old home office skin, so when I decide to use my phone as a Ghettoblaster (thereby quoting a satirical German movie) and bring some good old Top Gun music into this world, life seems full of possibilities. Never mind young people looking at me like that. I start to feel this really is a vacation and not something coincidentally nice to be taken from me abruptly.

sonderho
fano
ringby

That evening’s consultation of weather apps tells us we should visit the Viking Museum near Ribe the next day. Okay. As always, we get a lot of new information, exciting views and some great Danish ice cream, but I also experience what feels like a beginning of a slight sunburn on my face. Yes, I am generally aware that 20 degrees can be as dangerous as 30 degrees, it’s just that I am busy watching and thinking.

viking museum ribe
viking museum ribe

Since we fell in love with Fanø the day before, we simply inform our weather apps we will be going cycling on the island the next day, which we do. We have taken our bikes for a ride at the back of our Prius to show them some world, but if we hadn’t, we could have rented bikes easily then and there. And not just that: there are bicycle pumps installed all along the cycle paths, there is water, repair services, the cycle paths are in perfect condition and lead just about everywhere. A cyclists’ paradise. Time to explore the beaches. The heath. The dunes. And then to do it all over again, in the other direction, the island being only 13 km long. I feel blessed and excited and full of energy. So when we get to watch the local seals on a harbor bar, I almost run out of words to name my feelings. Vacation. Means. Sitting. There. And enjoying oneself, right? Right.

fano
fano
nordby

While strolling around the old town of Ribe the next morning, I see a pair of denim shorts I’d like to wear over my cycling shorts bulges, so I go in, try them on and buy them. It is only after emerging with a blissful smile from the shop and having a good look at it from the outside that I realize I have just bought men’s shorts in a men’s clothing store. Which would explain the shop assistant’s range of facially active thoughts and prayers. And also my need to giggle the rest of the day, my husband joining in. They are a good pair of shorts, though, and I get to wear them a lot. They also have pockets for pebbles, which seems important now. After Ribe, we continue our journey to a village near Thisted to spent a few days in Thy National Park, cycling, strolling along the beaches and anything else life has to offer.

thy
thy
thy

It all starts with our Danish B&B host being a most communicative and nice person one can imagine, which is why we spend whole mornings listening to the many stories his life has written, before we venture out to show our by now sore muscles who the boss is.

I would never admit this out loud, but I am still silently waiting for life to turn its thumbs down on us careless frolickers, so I am sometimes a few moments late into the game when life offers nice surprises instead: while sitting at the lake Nors Sø with our binoculars at the ready one evening, I actually take some time before I say it, slowly, so as not to jinx it: “This must be a white-tailed eagle?” My husband is calm on the outside as well: “And there is the other one.” A bad birdwatchers’ wet dream x 2. The sea eagles fly around for some time and then gradually disappear into the landscape. I feel privileged once again that my mother tongue offers a word meaning TWO eagles instead of just eagles. I also wonder whether I will be able to sleep tonight … of course I am.

thy
thy

No consulting the weather apps the next day either, as we are simply driving to the third place we want to spend time at, Skagen. We do stop to visit the Viking graveyard in Lindholm Høje and learn a few things in the process. It never ceases to amaze me that people used tools in the 9th and 10th century I recognize as similar or identical to those my grandparents used on their farm.

lindeholm hoje

And then Skagen. Small, beautiful, with expensive but tasty food and a harbor I call real, what with so many ships and people looking busy. We cycle to the spot where the Northern and the Baltic Sea shake hands (called Skagerrak and Kattegat), which would be at Grenen, a sandbar very popular with tourists … To my sudden despair, my husband says: “Oh, look, a Northern gannet! Seen it?” Nope. Disappointed, I turn away and … freeze. “Errr … look to the right? Like, there is a whole bunch of Northern gannets frolicking around?” I adore Northern gannets – to me, they seem like these happy energy machines, always on the move, jumping into water, seemingly fooling around, no matter the weather … whew. When people start to notice we are the only ones looking in a different direction than them, I get asked to take photos of them. People. Okay … Gannets!

On our way back south we stop at Jelling, where Harald Bluetooth (after whom the wireless technology standard was named later) was king ages ago – he set up a stone for his parents in a local graveyard near a beautiful small church and that stone with important words still stands there, after more than 1000 years, next to the stone his father Gorm put up, calling himself king of Denmark. Harald was converted to Christianity and we crack a few jokes about the means the church must have used to change him. They are not very funny jokes but make the pleasant day somehow nicer and lighter. It is still our vacation, after all, or so I tell myself. The strawberry ice in the Jelling museum is superb.

jelling
jelling

Time to drive to Køge, where our next hotel is. While taking a quick evening walk around this lovely town I realize there is a U2 cover band playing at a party in a pub and they are drenching the whole town in U2 music, even the beach late at night. I like that (a few days later, I will also love the fact that the hotel sent a pair of jeans and a blouse I had forgotten somewhere in that tiny room so fast – they arrived on Wednesday).

We did not come here to stay, though, we just want to continue our journey southwards, to finally return to one of our favorite places in Denmark, the archaeological open-air museum Sagnlandet in Lejre, and, after having spent hours walking around this nice place and blissfully learning things about the past, to have a quick look at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde from the outside just before its closing time. We have been here a few times before, so it feels a bit like home. We also live nearer to Lejre and Roskilde now, so maybe, in the future, we could … We are obliged to drive home now.

Home. We reach that late at night and finally I can admit to myself: this really was a vacation, as in: replenishing my batteries and offering most beautiful memories. And nothing can take that from me now.


Lokacija je vse.

To so te iteracije enega in istega: hitre, podzavestne možganske celice strahtrpečega človeka pogruntajo, da sem se navzgor prištudirala in prigarala iz njegovi grozotrpeči dušici koristnih globin in da zagotovo ne obvladam geografije.

Res je ne. (Obvladam pa rodilnik, a to šteje?)

Vseeno me je vedno sram za sogovornika, ko ta začne vzneburjeno preverjati, ali je to res. V obliki vprašanj, trditev, namigovanj … na ljubljanskem faksu celo med izpitom.

Dragi moji, res je: v geografiji sem šibka, evropske celine še nisem zapustila (Predvidevam, da Gruzija ne šteje, imam prav?) in nič od tega me ne matra. Vas pa očitno že.

Modrosti je vseeno, po kateri poti jo iščemo.

Obstaja pa tudi dokaz, da geografijo mikroobvladam: živim namreč na evropskem severu, kar se je izkazalo za idealno kombinacijo. Naravnost obožujem svežino vremena, vonj po vetru na severu, neskončno ravnino, bližino severnega morja. Sanja se mi ne, zakaj, vem samo, da je to moja geografija.


Die Zeiten, die Räume …

Doch, man kann schon sagen, dass ich gewisse Zeit- und Raumprobleme habe.

Wie wenn ich auf Insta feststellen darf, dass die meisten Europäer, die ich instakenne, längst geimpft worden sind, obwohl ich rein theoretisch … ähm … paar Wochen eher geboren wurde. Die gute Nachricht? Ich befinde mich auf der Impfwarteliste, zuletzt war das zusammen mit 11T (Sch-?)Impfkandidaten. Knuddelig ist das.

Dafür waren im wunderschönen Weltvogelpark Walsrode am Samstag kaum andere Menschen zu sehen, was ziemlich angenehm war. Und obwohl der Park wirklich interessante Vögel beheimatet, war ich diesmal vor allem von Bäumen und Pflanzen angetan: Wau. Einfach nur Wau. Gleichzeitig kam ich mit meiner Rolle als Tagesausflüglerin trotz Pommes mit Majo und Eis mit Schokolade nicht ganz klar: Am Anfang hatte ich das Gefühl, dass ich mein Ernst (Hans, Robert, you name it) des Lebens verleugne, indem ich gemütlich herumlatsche und mich wohlfühle. Erst nach und nach vergaß ich, dass ich auch ein richtiges Leben habe, und verschmolz mit der Umgebung. Herrlich! Mehr davon! Häufiger! Überall!

Nicht klar kommen tue ich auch mit der Tatsache nicht ;-), dass wir jetzt Garteneltern sind. Einfach so. Und was für ein Garten das ist! Sicher, Außenstehende würden gleich sehen, dass der Rasen nur 3/4-herzig gemäht wird und die Ränder gar nicht getrimmt werden. Dass wir auf unsere Löwenzähne stolz sind. Dass wir es noch immer nicht geschafft haben, die knarrende Holzterasse zu ölen. Dass wir Beetumrandungen selber geflochten haben, aus den abgeschnittenen Harlekinweidenruten vom Januar. Und und und … schlechte Gärtner halt: #badgardener ist zur Zeit meine Lieblingsinstarautenbezeichnung.

Ich sage es für jeden Fall nochmals: Was für ein Garten!


That’s A Lot of Poison.

It would seem my plant stocktaking has been successful so far: I now happen to know most of the plants growing around our house and have even written them down, just in time (for cutting and fertilizing, of course).

What I also know now, since plants do not enjoy any data protection and can be wikipediaed, are their official names, their parents and their most important traits. While some of them could be admired as divas (can’t call plants pretentious, sorry), they are also all of them sturdy, self-sufficient, no-nonsense all-rounders, if a bit retro (can’t call plants outdated, either).

What many of them also are, is poisonous as heck. This happens to surprise me. There must have been a time when rhododendron, cherry laurel, lily of the valley or blue cypress were required in any respectable German garden, because they are still so ubiquitous – but had anyone ever told the happy gardeners they were purchasing pure poison?

While we would love to own only plants useful to birds and insects, we do not plan to throw away the plants we got, so I will take care to bring our rhododendra to bloom even though my appreciation for the white and pink flowers is terribly mellow. I do hope plants can’t read me and will simply do their thing.


Tough Thing, This

For a few seconds, I feel queasy. What have I done? I should have done my information work before deciding to come here, regardless of the relative emergency of it all!

The dentist seems to have no shame: “So your teeth is healthy and that’s a good thing, right?!?” He sounds angry. “But it’s not good for me!” He sprays water all over my shirt and I wonder whether he might damage one of my healthy teeth to earn more money with this damn alien. An Ex-Yugoslav with healthy teeth, don’t tell me this is a thing now!

I am actually too stunned to react to this, what with my mouth open and my shirt sprinkled all over with the contents of my mouth, but I do manage to listen carefully after the ordeal, when he suggests a larger treatment he himself has said the month before would be necessary only later, if certain conditions occurred. “But you said last time we should wait till it is necessary,” I stammer and he looks even angrier by the minute. Without explicitly saying so, I get thrown out: “Well. Then this is all!” He glares at me, burning hatred holes in my back while I am hastily leaving the room.

Afterwards, I need a few days to process this crazy shit.


Jetzt aber wirklich.

Das war ja nun wirklich nicht einfach: Da schneidet frau mit zittrigen Händen nach Gutdünken zum ersten Mal die Rosen und zwei Tage später schneit’s. Und weil das nicht dramatisch genug ist, graupelt’s paar Tage lang jeden Tag heftigst drauf.

Wie’s scheint, haben wir was gemeinsam, mein erster Rosenbusch und ich: Wir beide überleben einfach, weil warum nicht.

Die Harlekinweiden hatten auch nur schwarze Spitzen auf den zarten Blättchen, scheinen aber sonst überleben zu wollen: meine Schneidekunst und den Wintereinbruch. Chapeau!

Unsere Vögel haben allmählich begriffen, dass es bei uns Woche für Woche feines Fressi gibt. Dafür haben wir jeden Tag feinstes Vogelkino an zwei Ecken – nicht schlecht, für Hobby-Ornithologen. Das zweite Futterhäuschen habe ich in der Korkenzieherhasel versteckt, um noch mehr Spaß zu haben: Vögel, die um die Haselkorkenzieher rum rennen, um ihre Mahlzeiten einzunehmen.

Auf jeden Fall fange ich aber allmählich mit der richtigen Gartenarbeit an: Buchsbaumkugeln rund schneiden, Dekormulch streuen, Unkraut aus Plattenfugen entfernen, Stiefmütterchen dabei verschonen…

Sicher, bisschen retro sieht’s bei uns schon noch aus. Aber bevor wir Änderungen einführen, wollen wir erstmal schauen, was eigentlich da ist und wie es funktioniert. Und erst dann schneide ich mir eine Buchsbaumgitarre vor der Tür und male die Steine blau an weil Kunst.

Und da ich die heilige Kunst des Wartens praktizieren will: mal schauen, wann wir die beiden Kevine verpflanzen können, wann der Löwenzahn gesät werden kann, ebenso die Bienenweide. Erstmal brauche ich einwandfreie Nachweise des Frühlings, dass er sich in unseren Gefilden niedergelassen hat und nicht nur bisschen vorbei schaut, ob alles für die Tante Winter bereit ist.

Da kann ich ja gar nicht zugeben, dass ich schon fürchterlich ungeduldig bin und meinen Hipster-Rasenporsche ausprobieren möchte. Bericht folgt.


Geografie ist auch wichtig

Endlose Ebene und Strohdächer? Kenn ich. Bin damit aufgewachsen.

Trotzdem ist in Niedersachsen auch alles irgendwie anders: ich habe die ganze Zeit das Gefühl, in einem Wikingerdorf zu wohnen, so wie die Häuser hier aussehen. Unzählige Pferdekoppel, Gänse im Garten und Grünkohlfelder überall gab es in Ostslowenien zu meiner Zeit leider nicht.

Das mag ich sehr: eine neue Landschaft zu bewohnen gefällt mir an sich und bereitet mir viel Freude.

Ob sich unser frisch geschnittener Rosenbusch auch freut, von mir bewohnt zu werden, wird sich noch rausstellen. Zuerst muss der Winter weichen und der tut sich schwer damit.