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With my mum about to die, this year is ending on such an absurd, low note that it's easy to forget the good events, feelings, changes. And there were plenty. I looked through all the photos I've taken in 2022 and was positively surprised what an amazing time I had. There are so many good memories and improvements I could implement. In a way, it was a very stressful year. But I've discovered that I'm at my happiest when things are moving, flowing, changing, progressing. The quiet times are when I struggle. Stillness and stagnation often make me feel sad and devoid of any hope. The first part of the year was heavily affected by travel planning, organising, making decisions. Moving, packing, getting things done. I had to clean out all my possessions at school and coordinate the move of the whole art department. I invited people to come and get things they needed, packed lots of moving boxes (many of them for myself so I ended up with a lifetime worth of art supplies in my basement). There was a lot of stress, pressure, a heavy work load. Uncertainty. How much I hate that feeling. I also had to pack up half my apartment to make room for Danika, my subtenant. None of all this was as planned and structured as I would have wanted it. But that's normal for me so I've learned to accept that I usually get things done last minute, motivated by urgency rather than ahead of time. Even the decision to start my sabbatical in Mexico was made on a whim when Doris told me that she'd booked her summer vacation there and I just asked her if she wanted me to join her. I'm relying more and more on my intuition. Things just have to feel right. And since I often have a hard time actually feeling my feelings, not thinking or intellectualising them, it's no wonder I have to wait until the pressure is high, forcing me to actually feel something strongly. Telling me what to do. I've learned a lot about myself this year. Why I am who I am, act how I act. What the root of my issues could be. How my mind works and why. Therapy has certainly helped a lot. I feel very lucky to have finally found a therapist who I feel comfortable with. With whom I actually see some progress. But my four months travelling alone certainly taught me a lot about myself as well. I didn't have to function anymore after the pressure of my full-time job had fallen away. It took some time getting used to that - not having to do anything. Having all the options in the world. It's hard, let me tell you. Uncertainty... here we go again. But it was so interesting to see how time just kept chipping off layer after layer of my "stress persona". My creativity started coming back and I felt more in tune with my real me. Who am I? is what you repeatedly ask yourself in Hridaya meditation and it felt like the right question. The two seminars about self-love and peaceful living I attended were certainly a good learning opportunity as well. And I finally started a daily meditation practice in November. I hope it'll be beneficial in the long run. Let's wait and see.

These days I feel frustrated. Stuck. Depressed. I got a taste of what my life could look like and now I can't wait for things to change. It's my stupid all-or-nothing approach. The duality mindset. But doing too much at once, wanting too much... is overwhelming. And you end up with nothing. I need to challenge myself to accept slowness. Change, yes. But slow and steady. Work on my patience. I want to get into the habit of asking myself each morning: What is one thing I can do today to bring myself into deeper contact with what I truly want? Remember that taking it slow is still taking action. You'll still see results. You'll just be being kind to yourself in the process. And should that not be one of the goals in and of itself, by the way? After all, if we're not being kind to ourselves, what sort of lives are we leading? Life is not meant to be a hurried rush toward an ever-shapeshifting, illusory finish line. Life is meant to be a celebration, abundant in love and joy. (Mackenzie Belcastro)

RELEASE - What did you let go of this year? // In January, I wrote a long e-mail to/for/about Raphael after all the emotional drama he's brought upon me. Telling him my version of the story. I had the sinking feeling that I'd probably never hear from him again but I felt so much lighter! Apart from that I left so many things behind. My apartment and most of my possessions. My friends. My job. I don't really know how my life will go on once I'm back for good and there is this underlying fear of uncertainty. I'll never get rid of my anxieties and insecurities. But I keep doing, daring, deciding. It's HARD, it really is. But I'm hoping to get better at living slightly outside of my comfort zone so I can keep expanding.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS - What were you deeply proud of doing, making, being, etc. this year? What made you feel good? //

  • I travelled alone for a few months.
  • And I learned Spanish along the way. Que chido!
  • I climbed volcanoes! Of course I arrived at the top with my face as red as a tomato but I made it.
  • I got my freediving license and am now officially allowed to join any open training sessions and be a diving buddy for other freedivers.
  • I'm gay now! I'm not sure that's something to be proud of but I've always been someone who's hard to categorise, never satisfied with a label. Living at both ends of an extreme. So being bisexual is just... the natural thing for me I suppose.
  • I finally found a therapist who I'm pretty happy with. I can take her seriously and she actually manages to teach me a few new things about me once in a while which I love. I gained a few valuable insights this year and I'm excited about what's to come.
  • I established a daily meditation routine which makes me really proud because it's not easy for me to stick to a habit.
  • I learned about breathwork and have tried many different types so far. I took Wim Hof classes, tried trauma release and sound healing sessions, even felt some of the psychedelic effects and painted what I saw. I worked with Mahaya in a personal session, too. The power of breath fascinates me; I'm actually thinking of becoming a breathwork facilitator myself.
  • I joined a gospel choir and got voice training. We even sang at a wedding!
  • I got back into yoga at the beginning of the year and worked with Lucie on a weekly basis. I only kept it up occasionally during my travels but now I go to the studio every other day. / Physio with Hanna was also a lovely practice for me.
  • I survived my first MRT despite my claustrophobia.
  • I started getting (bi-)weekly massages. I feel like this is a better investment than buying another THING I'll only wear once/I'll quickly forget about.
  • I learned how to carve jícaras.
  • I worked as a VHS tutor for a few weeks.
  • I lost 10-15kg just because I was less stressed, felt better and didn't have binge / emotional eating attacks.
  • I started wearing bikinis for the first time in my life! (seems like a small thing but for me it's proof that I feel more comfortable in my skin and might actually love myself a little more)

BREAKTHROUGHS - What were your biggest breakthroughs? This can be in any area: emotional, spiritual, career, etc. //

  • I realised so many things this year. That there is so much I have to work on, so much healing still has to be done. I learned a lot about my childhood trauma - for example that my mum never really had loving parents herself and was emotionally immature and needy. Which I felt (HSP) and actively resisted so I kept my distance. As a result, my attachment style is disorganised and I have this feeling of omnipotence (lack of boundaries) and became hyperindependent.
  • I started to get in touch with my intuition more because I realised that feeling is my key. I'm an overthinker and I usually try to solve problems in my head. Which gets me nowhere and just spurs anxiety. So I have to feel my way out of there. I started daily meditation and it actually brings me some peace.
  • Also, the subject mortality imposed itself a few times on me.
    • At the beginning of the year, I had two cancer scares myself (thyroid and cervix), both within the same week! But everything seems to be fine for now.
    • Then someone drowned in the Pacific right next to me. In the same spot where I got caught in a current the day before so a lifeguard was already about to swim out to save me but I managed to swim back to the shore by myself. I was humbled. I realised that I need to respect the ocean more. Water is MY element. It's soft, it can't hurt me, I feel weightless. At least that's what I'd always been convinced of. But I've been dragged out by quite a few rip tides in the last years and while each time I managed to save myself I hope I've learned my lesson now.
    • And at the beginning of December, my mum wrote me an e-mail saying that she had pancreatic cancer. She told me not to worry. To enjoy my life, to keep travelling. But of course I couldn't because I was so scared and couldn't grasp what was going on, far away in Honduras. She kept reassuring me but I knew that I had to go home and see her. Which I did and upon my arrival she'd already been hospitalised. Seeing her like that, emaciated and in severe pain, with nothing of her personality left, was such a shock. I immediately knew that she was about to die. We had a few good days together when I was able to take her home and she was in less pain but pretty soon she got so weak that she could hardly stay awake. I could basically watch her disappear and not being able to make it better, do something, take away some of the pain... it was so hard. We didn't even have three weeks together.

I don't even know why I want to file these experiences under "breakthrough" but I guess what I took away from it is that you have no other chance but squeeze the living shit out of the limited time you have. The power of now. If something brings you joy, do it. Follow your bliss. Dare, take risks. Say I love you more. I know I sound like a picture calendar with inspirational quotes. But what else can you do? Carpe that diem. You don't know how much time you have left. The doctor who confirmed my mum's death told my brother and me that we should get genetic tests now that both our parents have died from pancreatic cancer. I'm not sure I even want to know but yeah, same consequence for me: live your life in the now and don't put things off. Don't waste time worrying, just do it.

HAPPINESS - What was the most fun you had this year? When were you really happy? // I found some recurring themes for when I'm usually especially happy.

  • water: diving, freediving, water slides / swimming my lanes fast as fuck in the pool / water slides / thermal baths, sauna, cold plunges / SUPing with my cutie, sailing / blissful summer days at Bavarian lakes / getting sunburnt at Maria Einsiedel / hopping over waves in the ocean.
  • play: pub quiz nights (I love being quizzed) / sudoku and mean crosswords / board games, BeatSaber and exit games with Margit, Dennis and Frank.
  • nature: breaktaking views / this year I remember Holbox, the cenotes, Ireland and Jeju most fondly / climbing volcanoes / gorgeous sunsets / watching the waves at the Pacific / forest walks / unexpected rainbows / passing a lush, green jungle in a valley; banana farms / walking along Isar Hochufer for the first time / the view from Hierve el Agua.
  • learning: new languages / intercultural proficiency / new self-care techniques / insights about myself / podcasts.
  • singing: voice layering / my choir, singing at a wedding / befriending the other choir members / singing chansons with Wolfgang / flirting with Peter / karaoke.
  • connecting: to friends, new people, students / playing together / writing heartfelt letters to students and friends and lovers / having a good talk about things that matter (like with Frank at Theresienwiese during sunset or the girls at school) / chasing the moon with Helga and Marlies / my amazing birthday picnic and party at the theatre (piano and string puppets!) / a gorgeous weekend with Do, visiting my mum, then CSD in Munich, swimming at the lake and dinner at my favourite old beergarden in the middle of nowhere / inviting people to get free art supplies at school / weirdly enough: saying goodbye to all my colleagues, students and friends because it wasn't just sad, it felt very liberating and was a moment of connection as well - you could really feel who you mattered to or who mattered to you.
  • creating: clay pots / mosaic / cooking and baking / marbling / drawing with a rainbow pencil / attending art workshops to learn new skills / attending a pottery seminar with my friends and spending the whole weekend together / painting the walls with the kids at school.
  • practicing self care: getting a massage / doing yoga / daily meditation / beauty routine, gua sha, moisturising / taking myself out on dates / my new "spoil yourself rotten" Sundays.
  • feeling inspired: in a museum / being surrounded by art / finding interesting books and research topics.
  • ...and supported: Doris helped me so much with my packing, finding a subletter and hiking shoes, my turbulent moods and emotions / Frank helped me move my boxes / my therapist actually keeps managing to teach me something new about me sometimes / Manu takes me seriously and offers emotional support / Kevin snuck into my classroom, subtly forcing me to take him on as my assistant so we could spend some more time together.
  • treasure hunt: finding items, looks, people that speak to me / curating my style and personality / picking flowers and strawberries, foraging mushrooms / flea markets and boxes or whole shelves with free books or things in the city.
  • pleasure: taste new foods, indulgence / vegan tacos / eating the rainbow / tropical porridge / Circle Bakery in Guatemala / discovering local cuisine.
  • reading: enjoying clever characterisations and dialogues / accumulating books / reading to people (I sometimes read bedtime stories or Pixi books to Do and some time this year I sat on the sofa with Frank and we would read to each other from a book about 60's song lyrics without any rythm or tune; trying to guess the songs).
  • animals: cats, always; cats on the subway, catsitting / my emotional support animal on Roatán (Walter) / marine life - snorkelling in Belize, scuba diving / visiting Bird Island / all the bees, butterflies, colibris and lizards I kept seeing everywhere - even the scorpio felt kinda special.
  • surprises: when Becky and Doris decorated my desk at school for my birthday - balloons, a cake with candles for me to blow out, flowers, temporary tattoos, a bottle of Fanta, smarties and actual presents!
  • overcoming fear: mastering challenges / battling inertia and anxiety / just booking, deciding, doing (I always feel better as soon as I just do the thing) / ignoring my emerging fear of heights at the high rope course / tackling to dos like finding a subletter / getting a piercing on a whim / making plans, anticipation, feeling like im making progress / travelling with risk and adventure - careful planning is not my style.

LOVE - Who did you fall in love with this year? // What can I say. With myself, more and more as time goes on - narcissistic me. But, more importantly: Doris. It all started when I sent her a photo of Tulum beach on the first day of the year. There was a topless lady in the background and she didn't know how to take it. Anyway. We started talking. Messaging. A lot! She started being suspiciously nice to me in the following months and I was so confused. I thought she didn't like me! But apparently the prospect of losing me as a colleague (with my sabbatical around the corner) opened up the possibility to accept me as a friend. I got snacks and sodas. Considerate gifts. She drove me home sometimes, we talked about our Spanish classes, created inside jokes. We became friends and depended on each other more and more. One afternoon, the last day of school before the holidays, we drove to the lake together. Travel planning, heavy flirting on the SUP. I drove us home during a thunderstorm. Made truffle spaghetti. And then we accidentally started kissing instead of watching movies! I'm so grateful for her. I rely on her for emotional support, I admit it. She was such a big help during my solo travels. Someone I could talk to every day. She actually has a partner so we're not a couple or anything but maybe what we have is even more special. Thank you, bebí. (Oh, before I forget - I had weird hetero crushes, too: Peter and Malik and Brian!)

LOSS - Who or what did you miss? // I wanna say I missed Raphael after breaking up with him but if anything it was probably just confusion. Because I couldn't read him, because he rarely talked to me and when he did I was non the wiser. No emotional connection whatsoever. I wanted closure! But it's okay. I admit that I always just loved his potential. I'm going to practise letting go.

I said goodbye to a great many things this year. I left my job, my colleagues and students (I actually cried when I realised that I wouldn't get to see Kevin anymore), my apartment (at least for one year). My friends and family. I packed a backpack and then it was just me. At first I spent three weeks with Do in Mexico and I cried so much when she got into that taxi to the airport. And I managed. I got to know a few people, I was okay on my own. But I also suffered. Suffered from the superficiality and shallowness of the connections I made. I missed my friends. People you don't have to get to know first. Who are just there and you don't even have to talk because it's okay. Just okay that you are both there together.

As I'm writing this, the first couple of weeks of the new year have already passed. And I realised that I have no one. Both my parents are dead now. My grandparents are long gone. I had a final falling-out with M. I have no noteworthy relationship with my brother. It's hard for me to be around him. I have no partner. Yeah, I love and appreciate my friends and they're doing what they can. But they have their own lives. Their own problems. I'm not a priority and that's probably how it should be.

I feel this crushing insecurity. Instability. All the time. I need someone to hold me. Contain me. My therapist keeps saying it has to be me who does the holding and supporting. But it's SO. HARD. For a very long time I've been working on my independence. My freedom. I never wanted to owe anything to anyone, only be responsible for myself. And now that I've pretty much achieved what I've always wanted I'm sitting here crying. Realising that I actually need all those people I'd been running away from for years. Who am I, who am I without anyone mirroring me, anyone I can even relate to. I'm a lonely person. I'm sad. How can I turn this around? How can I make up for all the lessons I haven't learned? Get rid of all the issues I have with attachment? I'm overwhelmed and I really don't know how to go on from here. I know that eventually I'll find something to do, somewhere to go. Rather sooner than later. I'll just force myself to decide on something and choose a direction. And it'll cover up part of the pain, give me a little meaning and enjoyment. But there will always be this big, gaping hole inside of me. How can I be so full and so empty at the same time?

PEOPLE - Did you meet anyone new? // As I spent almost half a year travelling, I made a lot of new connections.

  • In Mexico, I met Michal, Giovanna, Gloria, Max, Oscár and Meggy; when I came back at the end of the year I met Paulina in Oaxaca and spent a lot of time with my Spanish teachers and my roommate Tabi. Of course I also made some new connections at the seminars I took at Hridaya Yoga.
  • In Korea I loved spending time with Benjy, Eléa and Emma.
  • In Guatemala I connected to Moana and Yuki, Steve and Sam. The couple from Northern Ireland. My host family and teacher Patricia in Antigua. And at the lake, I met Brian and Lily! Chopper, Ariya, Kyle, Sara, Alicia, Mahaya, Marlene and Lukas, the other volunteers at Del Lago. Za and Petra.
  • In El Salvador and Honduras I relied on the kindness of strangers. On Roatán I was greatful for the freediving and scuba diving community. They're a bunch of lovely people. I fondly remember mornings on the boat, going out for dinner, drinks or a pub quiz. My long conversation with Marc over a frozen margarita.

Apart from that, I enjoyed spending time with my granny friends (we were chasing the blood moon on my birthday!), Lucie (my yoga teacher), Hanna (my physiotherapist). And as usual I also met a few people online:

    • Sebastian (M) - We met in Thalkirchen and walked along the Isar Hochufer. Easy to talk to. He brought tea and Spezi. We ended up at FLEX.
    • Damian (COL) - A spontaneous walk around Theresienwiese. He was so slow.
    • René (MEX) - Met at a bar, walked up to Punta Cometa, got dinner at a pizza place.
    • Ricardo (MEX) - We went to the weird church in Chamula together.
    • Iván (MEX) - Board game night in Mérida.
    • Yeshua (MEX) - Indian food, drinks and pool in Oaxaca.
    • Diego (MEX) - Book fair, bus ride, restaurant, drawing together, beers on the rooftop. I might have blue-balled him.
    • Nico (M) - A walk in the Nymphenburg castle grounds / botanical gardens. Hot chocolate and a long talk. Driving him home.

TRAVEL - Did you travel? Where did you go? //

  • For me, this year started in Mexico where I welcomed 2023 with my first Kundalini circle ever in a yoga shala right at the beach in Tulum. It was a fantastic trip. I connected with many gorgeous humans, went diving in cenotes again, made new experiences with breathwork, sound healing, reiki, ecstatic dance... in hindsight, everything just fell into place during that trip. I was very lucky. Going with the flow and doing whatever felt right at the time just worked for me.
  • In spring I went to South Korea where I spent some time with lovely people - Emma and Eléa from France, Benjy from Singapore, my Korean teacher GJ and Mi-Yeong, a museum curator who taught me how to play Gonggi. I loved learning about Korean culture and language. On Jeju Island I even went to a traditional Korean bathhouse and foot spa. And of course I enjoyed the nature and scenery... learning about the Hanyeo was super interesting as well! More fun: hostel cats, cat (and merkat) cafes, karaoke and photobooths.
  • Then I went to Ireland for the first time. Backpack-twinning with Margit, late birthday gifts at the airport. Book shopping in Galway. Visiting all kinds of (botanical) gardens and castle grounds. Nerding out over plants and garden design. We even found out where the fairies live... Driving along the Wild Atlantic Way was absolutely gorgeous. We had to pass sheep on the road, met cows and ponies, looked down steep cliffs and watched the puffins fly around like footballs. Ruins and village pubs, a postcard sunset. And I finally saw the Trinity College library in Dublin!
  • I spent so much time in Mexico this year... I ended up entering the country three times because I wanted to attend another seminar at Hridaya Yoga and I'd always wanted to celebrate Día de los Muertos in Mexico. Well, mission accomplished! So, what do I remember most fondly... Learning about breathwork in Tulum, finding a teacher for the Wim Hof method. Coconuts at the beach with Do. Buying her little ranitas, one for luck and one for love, in the little herbal store in Cancún. Vegan tacos, always. Our private beach in Holbox. The endless white sand and turquoise water, almost blending into the sky. All the (street) art and delicious food in Oaxaca. Spending time in the Sierra Madre, enjoying the view over the valley from our hammock. Pug visits. Breakfast service. Bathing together. Following the mushrooms. A private house and a semi-private beach at the Pacific. My favourite hotel room in Zipolite. Lata, the hanging plant cat. Moving in with Tabi in Mazunte. Playing in the waves, dragging each other through the current. The cat who hopped into bed with us and made us look like an old lesbian couple. Sunsets at Punta Cometa. Seminars at Hridaya Yoga. Feeling the love. Mystika. Vintage shopping and tamales in San Cris. Visiting the weird church in Chamula with Ricardo. A boozy canyon tour. Waterfalls and ruins. Pastel city Campeche. A game night in Mérida. Back to Bacalar. Sailing, snacking, resting. When I came back in October I enjoyed all the Día de los Muertos decorations and festivities. The immersive experiences at MicroEnormous and Reset were absolutely fascinating. I went swimming in bioluminescent waters for the first time. Visited Hierve el Agua. What a view. Back in Zipolite I started going topless. I took in Claud's teachings in his From Pain to Peace workshop and felt so much more at ease this time around. I wondered if I had changed. I still remember a very happy morning full of gratitude for a sandwich and this beautiful opportunity I have to enjoy life at its fullest. CDMX welcomed me with a special ceremony and I dared to take a leap. I learned about Yoga Nidra and played lotería with Marisol. There was so much art and culture surrounding me. I started sketching in museums and finally visited Casa Azul. I vowed to become a famous artist that day. And buy a house like Frida's, with enough room for all my friends, lovers and animals.
  • In Guatemala I saw coatis for the first time - almost more interesting than the ancient Maya ruins in Tikal. I bonded with Moana and Yuki on Isla de Flores and we went to Lanquin together. The candle-lit tour of the grutas, only wearing a bathing suit, was amazing. Swimming and diving in the river pools. Enjoying Zephyr Lodge. I lived with a host family in Antigua and went to Spanish class in a secret garden every day for a week. I climbed the Pacaya volcano and didn't need horse power. After that, I had a very calm and healing time in San Marcos la Laguna. I swam in Lago Atitlán in the mornings, drew a lot in my sketchbook and started journalling. I tried a new class almost every day and discovered so many new things and met amazing people. I learned a lot about myself and felt like my stress persona was slowly falling off. I gave a dead swallow a funeral at sea. Hiked the Indian Nose before sunrise. I wouldn't wanna miss all the experiences I made in Guatemala. What a diverse country.
  • I only spent a few days in Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. Hanging out on Caye Caulker was pure bliss after my shitty time in Chetumal. Going snorkelling in the marine park with a boat full of nice people was a true highlight. I saw so many sting rays that day, my first manatees ever, nurse sharks, turtles, a shipwreck, lots of pelicans and tarpons - even a bunch of dolphins. However, my thigh scratched over some coral when a guide distracted me and I had to deal with that nasty rash for months. Honduras was all about diving for me - I got my first freediving license and went scuba diving a lot because it seemed like the best way to distract me from worrying about my mum. It was truly weird to be there though. The beautiful Caribbean island was such a big contrast to my gloomy mood so it was hard for me to enjoy my time there.

FASHION - What was your most beloved/favorite outfit? How would you describe your style this year? How did the way you dress change? // I wore swirly shirts and chunky shoes, got used to wearing turtlenecks and beanies. I learned how to do Siren Eyes. I was obsessed with hot pink for a hot minute but there was another phase in which I loved combining pistachio green, lavender and yellow. And towards the end of the year I decided that my colour was a rusty cinnamon red. I probably looked very extra in my pink/yellow leo print coat. Wore my nails with tiny diamantes just above the nail bed. I bought black and white marble leggings. Did my own lash lift. After watching Euphoria I wore a lot of pink eye make up and glitter. I even got a YSL choker (inspired by a character in the series, too). It took quite a while to find a big, black scarf that didn't give me an itch. I got trekking sandals (black TEVAs) for the first time and it was basically all I ever wore in Latin America.

MUSIC - What were some of your favorite records and songs? What song will always remind you of this year? What song lyrics reverberated with you? //

  • I only went to a few concerts this year. I saw Bilderbuch at HP8 (first big show post-covid), saw an a-capella teacher band live as well as an Irish Folk music/dance show. I went to a Patti Smith concert in summer and saw Grossstadtgeflüster with Doris which was probably my favourite event because we had a lot of fun dancing and singing along.
  • I had a brief obsession with ABBA's Angeleyes in summer (especially the sped up version) which is why it's my #1 in this year's Spotify Wrapped. As It Was / Treat People With Kindness by Harry Styles and Run Away to Mars by TALK were far up there as well.
  • In South Korea I discovered a K-pop version of Shanice's I Love Your Smile - HRVY samples it in Runaway With It / and I actually kept listening to a few popular Korean bands while I was there.
  • The TV series Euphoria has an amazing soundtrack. I especially loved listening to the intro - Labrinth's Still Don't Know My Name, Gerry Rafferty's Right Down the Line and Drink Before the War by Sinéad O'Connor.
  • I had to ask Chrystee for her Hip Hop yoga playlist and saved quite a few other songs that instructors used in their classes, for example Born to Give (WILLOW), I Am (Beautiful Chorus; India.Arie), _Mantra (Sun Girl) by Hana Ni, Gajumaru (Yaima), Sit Around the Fire (Ram Dass, Jon Hopkins).
  • A few choir songs I had stuck in my mind for a while: Fix You and Viva la Vida (Coldplay), Soli Deo Gloria, Africa by Toto, Adiemus, Vois sur ton Chemin (Les Choristes).
  • I remember a short Whitney Houston moment after watching I Wanna Dance with Somebody.
  • I also discovered a few new podcasts and especially liked The North Star and A Radiant Life.
  • More:
    • Japanese Breakfast - Be Sweet (I read Michelle Zauner's memoir this year so I wanted to listen to her band, too)
    • Alessi Brothers - Seabird
    • Griff - Black Hole
    • Teddy Teclebrhan - Deutschland isch stabil (driving home from the lake with Do and I couldn't stop laughing)
    • Einstürzende Neubauten - Stella Maris (Do wanted to meet me in a dream when I was in Guatemala)
    • Concha Velasco - Calor (Killing Eve season 4 / Do's favourite)
    • Juju - Bling Bling (bad taste, I know)
    • Joe Godard - Taking Over (Ariya's breathwork session)
    • Cher - Love and Understanding
    • KARIL - Caballo Homosexual De Las Montañas (saved it during my woodcutting workshop in Oaxaca)

CULTURE - What were the most interesting exhibitions you saw? Any creative workshops or theatre visits? // I spent a lot of time outside so as far as I can remember, I only went to the theatre once (Like Lovers Do at Kammerspiele). I saw a movie at the open air cinema with Manu and on Halloween I watched Dante's Inferno at Teatro Macedonio de Alcalá in Oaxaca with Paulina. I guess celebrating Día de los Muertos in Mexico also counts as a cultural experience! Apart from that I actually took part in a few art workshops: I learned about woodcutting and jícara art in Oaxaca and booked a course on working with a potter's wheel with a few friends this summer. And of course I also visited some amazing museums in Korea (I especially loved the Folk Art Museum and the exhibition on the Hanyeo) and Ireland (Trinity College Library). In CDMX I went to a lot of modern museums and even brought my sketchbook! Not to forget: I finally visited Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul, one of my favourite places in CDMX. In Munich I saw Fujiko Nakaya's fog exhibition at Haus der Kunst with Anika - and Giorgia, the restaurant we had lunch at, felt like a gallery as well with their neon art, crazy decor and mirrored bathrooms.

BOOKS - Your favourite books/stories/poems/plays. // It's getting clearer and clearer. I love narratives close to my heart, even better if the setting is a bit supernatural (magic is real!). Ideally containing a lot of clever character design and psychology. Which is exactly why I immediately fell in love with Olivie Blake's writing. Alone With You in the Ether is all I ever wanted from a love story. And even the Atlas series shows how much she knows about psychology by creating these types, characterisations and witty dialogue.

The fiction books I read this year and loved were

    • Susanna Clarke - Piranesi
    • Olivie Blake - Atlas Six / The Atlas Paradox / Alone With You in the Ether / One For My Enemy
    • Naomi Novik - The Golden Enclaves
    • Robin Sloan - The Suitcase Clone and a few of his short stories
    • Michelle Zauner - Crying in H Mart (strictly speaking a memoir so I'm not sure how much of it counts as fiction)

Non-fiction mainly consisted of psychology books and these three were real eye-openers:

    • Bärbel Wardetzki - Weiblicher Narzissmus
    • Philippa Perry - The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read
    • Erika J. Chopich, Margaret Paul - Aussöhnung mit dem inneren Kind

MOVIES/TV - Your favourite films and TV shows of the year. // I watched too much comfort TV - whenever I felt lonely and sad travelling and in December when I was home to take care of my mum. Not much of it was good. But I guess it served its purpose and distracted me from my busy mind for a while.

Memorable movies:

    • Cruella (2021)
    • Ghost (1990) - my first time watching this classic; I found it very entertaining
    • Goldfische (2019)
    • Stutz (2022)
    • 28 Days (2000)
    • The Bucket List (2007)

Series I enjoyed:

    • Superstore
    • And Just Like That (sorry but it's true, I'm very gay for Sara Ramirez)
    • Euphoria (YAS how much I love creative teen series)
    • The Wilds (very sad it was cancelled this summer)
    • Feel Good
    • Wednesday
    • and I just wanna mention the amazing Footlose dance scene in the third season of The Umbrella Academy - I really don't know how many time I've watched it by now

MATERIALISM - Something you wished for and got (for yourself)? // I bought lots of earrings during my stay in Latin America. It was very hard not to buy all the beautiful handicrafts and clothes at the markets so I sometimes got jewellery as it didn't take up too much space in my backpack. Apart from that I got a few small jícaras, a hand-printed kimono shirt with manta rays and a tiny mug made from Oaxacan clay. What else did I get... hiking shoes and a rain jacket for the trip! In Seoul, I couldn't resist the amazing shopping opportunities, everything is so cute there. I came back with a suitcase full of stationery, pens, socks, K-beauty, hair accessories etc. And then there were the usual flea market finds, fresh flowers, interesting food from the Asian supermarket, a clothing item or some cosmetics here and there. Lots of books. But I mostly spent my money for the things that truly excited me: new experiences and learning. Which meant: flight and bus tickets, classes, adventures. Ho(s)tels, food, massages. Who needs a new TV when they can live the good life instead?

jan 1 2023 ∞
feb 15 2023 +