I Need Your Help.

The last few weeks have been a little crazy.
In the midst of the typical end-of-year stress at school I’m working on the last edits of the book and putting together a whole lot of fun stuff for my readers.

This is my first time doing this and many times I am overwhelmed with everything I have to think of. Launching a book is definitely hard work!
Therefore, I’m beyond grateful for all the wonderful feedback I’ve already gotten for my book. So many unexpected messages, words of encouragements, questions… they are what keep me going! Thank you!

As we’re gearing up for the launch on September 1, I need your help.
This journey has taken me about two years and I am so close to the finish line. And YOU can be a part of it!

Here are three things you can do for this launch that will make this writer really happy.

Untitled2

1. Pre-order the book!
Why? Booksellers and publishers watch pre-orders as an indicator for how many books they will have to purchase to stock shelves in the future. The higher the number of pre-orders, the more successful a book often launches. And it means a great deal to the authors. You can order the book here.

Sale Block

2. Tell your friends about the book!
It’s as easy as clicking the “share” button next to my posts. The more people know, the better.

Untitled

3. Buy the book when it releases!
Give it to someone as a birthday/anniversary/Christmas gift.

Thank you for being on this journey with me!


HILFE! Ich bin mehr als dankbar für all das wunderbare Feeback, was ich bereits für mein Buch bekommen habe. Bald erscheint es und deshalb brauche ich deine Hilfe. Heute auf dem Blog erzähle ich dir drei Dinge, die du tun kannst, um mir eine riesen Freude zu machen.

1. Bestell das Buch vor!
Eine hohe Zahl an Vorstellungen ist ein guter Hinweis für den Erfolg eines Buches. Hier kannst du es bestellen.

2. Erzähl deinen Freunden von dem Buch!
Drück einfach auf den “teilen” Knopf neben/unter meinen Posts. Je mehr davon wissen, desto besser.

3. Kauf das Buch, wenn es erscheint!
Oder schenk es jemandem zum Geburtstag/ Jahrestag/ Weihnachten.

Danke, dass du mit auf dieser Reise bist!

A Break in Paradise [Philippines #3]

Episode 3. El Nido.

If you don’t have time to travel by shop from island to island (there are more than 7,000 in case you were wondering), it’s the easiest way to take a plane. So we fly to Puerto Princesa, the capital of the long and slim island Palawan, where we’ll spend the next part of our trip.

Luckily, we catch a bus right away, with AC and comfortable seats. Even the music is different – for a while we get to listen to Filipino hiphop before it goes back to the all-too-familiar soft pop. The guy behind me sings along loudly whenever he knows a song. And he knows a lot. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of a conversation, just break into song. If you don’t hit the tune – no problem, you just have to be loud.

The bus takes the only road available going North, through rice fields, palm trees and banana plantations. Everything is so green and so much more bearable than the noisy, busy city. It’s quite similar to the landscapes we used to roam in Uganda as kids. On and on we go and the longer we drive, the more it feels like a journey into a far away world, deep into the jungle.

Out of a sudden, the skies turn grey, then black and heavy raindrops hit the bus windows. The heavens open up to release a long awaited downpour and engulf everyone and everything outside. On the lonely road we see a group of school children, their uniforms soaking wet, their hair dripping with water. They sit down, two in one seat. They smile at me shyly when they realize that I’m a foreigner. Somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, we drop them off and I wonder how in the world they get to school everyday. It’s a long way and probably expensive to get an education. In fact, many parents choose to not send their kids to school because it’s far more lucrative to let them work on the streets. Whenever a car stops at the traffic lights, you can see them coming up to you, their mouths covered to protect themselves from smog and pollution, their tiny hands holding up bottles of water or snacks. They look at you for a while, their eyes desperate and pleading, but eventually they move on. While my students in Germany are so self-righteous that it makes me sick sometimes, children over here seem to be kept from having a perspective in life at all.

El Nido 7

El Nido 6

We get into El Nido at sunset and have to find a hotel. What used to be a small idyllic fishermen’s village a couple of years ago has now exploded into a flourishing tourist attraction. The hotel we find is right at the beach in Hama Street – the place to be where hotel is next to bar next to restaurant next to coffee shop. I’m blown away to see people from all across the globe in this little place.

El Nido 5
This town seems to attract a certain kind of people. If you’re a free spirit, interested in cheap parties, sex and drugs, El Nido is the place for you. The restaurants are full with elderly hippie couples with grey hair and blurred tattoos. In the coffee shops you’ll find the hipsters staring at their phones. In between are families and well-built divers.

The first day is very rainy and we spend it walking from coffee shop to restaurant to bar. It’s actually nice to bury my face in a good book for a change, but I’m also a little worried that the weather will not get better.

El Nido 12
The Art Café – a restaurant/bar/coffee shop run by a Swiss lady with delicious food and a great atmosphere. We spent all our mornings on its beautiful balcony with a gorgeous view of the Bay.

But when we wake up the next morning, I look out the window expectantly and – what a joy – there’s a blue sky, no clouds and the sun is shining brightly. After breakfast we meet our tour guide Lorenzo and he takes us on a tour through the Bacuit Archipelago – a group of islands in the South Chinese Sea.

El Nido 9

El Nido 8

As we stretch our legs on the boat, we pass by hidden beaches with little cottages under palm trees.
We marvel at rocks in the water. Over and over again, we have to grin at each other because this can.not.be real.
We go anchor in front of a wall of rocks, take the kayak and discover a secret lagoon through a little rift in the wall. All of a sudden it’s so calm. An oasis of quiet and peace.
We go snorkeling, which is quite something for someone who’s shy of water. The view below the surface is quite different – colorful corals, fish swarms, even turtles. Sometimes it’s worth to look deeper.


We have lunch at Entalula Island, a small beach with crystal clear water. The buffet looks like a feast with grilled fish, vegetables and fresh fruits. Afterwards we lie down on the boat and let the sun kiss our bodies. Yes, life is good.

El Nido 13
We kayak into Cathedral Cove, a large opening in a rock. Inside it’s dark and we can hear bats flying high above us.

El Nido 10

Our last stop on this perfect day is a small beach with palm trees and warm water where we take a few minutes to relax. When we get back to the boat, our friend steps into something. At first, he thinks it was a sharp coral, but by the time we get back to the harbor, his right foot has swollen to double its normal size and he can’t walk more than a few steps. The doctor says it’s nothing serious and that he should ake it slow for a few weeks, but on google we find a few horror stories about starfish and other dangerous creatures of the sea. “That’s some serious shit”, the diving instructor says when we tell him the story.

El Nido 11

This has truly been a once in a lifetime experience.
The next morning we leave El Nido with a swollen foot, but with extremly full and grateful hearts.


This is part 3 of the series. Here or here are more stories!

More, Please!

I did not expect this.
After keeping it a secret for a few weeks I finally spilled the beans on Wednesday: I signed a book contract! (Insane, right? Here’s the full story.)
The entire day my phone went crazy with feedback. Some long lost friends sent me messages, people liked and shared the news, others left the most thoughtful and touching comments. Continue reading “More, Please!”

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

On Tuesday I wrote about transitions and how important it is to translate rhythms from your old home into your new life. This requires some practice and effort. Sometimes it also requires pain, especially when it comes to friends you have to leave behind.

We are really blessed in comparison to what friendships looked like a few decades ago. Facebook, Skype, Email, Letters, Instagram – we have countless ways to stay connected with friends, even if we don’t live in the same place anymore. But are we really more connected?

Every time I moved (and this happened a couple of times) I saw friendships hitting a crossroad. We had to say goodbye, but we also had to figure out how our friendship would look like from now on. Most of the time this happened rather naturally and we never really talked about.
And many times, the first goodbye was also final and I somehow lost touch with some dear people.

This makes me sad very often; I wonder how many friendships even survive the constant moving. Making friends as an adult is incredibly hard and I don’t want to do it over and over again.

In times like these I am immensly grateful for the friendships that do survive. There are some great people in my life who make the effort to stay in touch. Despite the distance and the busy lifestlyes we manage to find ways to share thoughts and lives.

Like A who I used to meet up with in my old home for dinners and movies. She was an expert in finding great films and hidden treasures. We don’t see each other often now, but when you read an email from her, you feel like she’s talking with you.

Like S who I used to visit once a week to see my  precious little godson. Being away from them is definitely hard, but pictures help a little bit. Whenever I have a bad day, P’s smiling face makes it better instantly.

Like T who lives on a different continent and most of our friendship happens online. She still writes messages and hanging out on Skype is a real treat.

Of course, none of these ways beats meeting up in person, but translating the way we live friendships can help bridge the distance a little.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

 

What a Table Can Do for Community

In my short twenty-eight years of life I’ve traveled the world quite a bit and spent
some time in different cultures. The best thing about other countries are the people
who invite you into their homes and lives to show you a few of their traditions.
Traditions I can then take back to my own life and introduce others to them. Continue reading “What a Table Can Do for Community”

Where our Cravings Find a Home

Even though I’m not pregnant, I crave a lot of things.
I crave my warm bed when I’m on my way to work early in the morning.
I crave sparkling water after a workout.
I crave a hot meal at the end of a long day.
Yes, I sometimes crave bacon.

10c

If we take a closer look at our lives and our souls, we’ll discover cravings inside all of us. We all long for something.

Continue reading “Where our Cravings Find a Home”