Truth be told …

Oh hi there! It feels like forever since the previous time this little blog here saw some action. Avout time to change that. eh? Thursdays always feel like the perfect opportunity for returns from [un]ntentional breaks. The day we’re wholeheartedly encouraged to just share some random thoughts, no further explanation needed. So here’s getting back into the game with a few current truths in my life.

Truth be told  …

This post was supposed to go online – and get written – yesterday already but then my sister and P. arrived  at my parents’ a day earlier than expected so … priorities ;).

Truth be told

I’m still heads over heels in love with P. Maybe even more so than before if that’s even possible. He’s starting to actually talk more and more now – he has been communicating with us for a long time but it’s now his vocabulary seems to broaden by the day. It’s the. cutest. thing. ever when he says his own name, pronouncing it in a somewhat Swedish way. Melts my heart. See: I’m already gushing again. Somebody stop me. Well, …

Truth also be told …

As much as I love – look at me making an exception and using this word – the little boo, I had to resort to my cheater ways when he wouldn’t stop crying for his Mama during babysitting time. Sometimes, a sleeping toddler is cuter than an awake one. Anybody agreeing?

Truth be told …

One of the main reasons I haven’t been posting a lot anymore these past weeks is that right now is a time in my life that wasn’t made for sharing. It’s not my intention to appear as a negative Nancy yet I also didn’t want to paint my days in brighter colours than they actually are right now. That’s still not to say I didn’t have my happy moments. Just that my heart overall has been feeling a little heavier.

Truth be told  …

We don’t need hundreds of friends if we do have a few really good ones. Meeting one of this amazing kind on Friday evening was a definite highlight of my week. She’s a friend from school days and has the ability to both make you laugh and pour your soul out to, building you up while sharing her own insecurities and struggles. I’m not a small talk person – well, most of us Germans aren’t – so these deep conversations are my favourites.

Truth be told …

Despite having done my fair share of healthier baking before, I was doubtful of the success when I sent my sister the link to this Peach Streusel Cake. You might remember my family being super picky and critical towards healthified baked goods. And my sister might want to eat a little healthier but she still won’t eat anything she doesn’t like [which I can honestly fully understand]. Verdict? It’s her new favourite cake.

Truth be told …

Fly swatters are worth their price times a million for me right now. I might be a vegetarian but mosquitoes are the one exception I make in killing other living beings. #sorrynotsorry

… and that’s it for me right now because – truth be told – it’s pretty late already around these parts and I need to make an effort at getting to bed earlier still. See you on Sunday for some good good links!

Happiness-inducing today:  Sunshine. Time with the family.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Tell me some truths from your life!


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Why competitive eating challenges are so wrong

It’s been a while since I joined Amanda’s Thinking out loud Thursdays with a big old rant, getting some thoughts on a sad phenomenon in today’s society off my chest.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Sometimes I think I should start an entire series on here called “Why [insert topic] is making me sad.” That’s not to say I felt sad 24/7 but I do think there are quite a few unfortunate trends, topics and happenings in the world. The one I’m addressing today being a very popular YouTube phenomenon. Let’s face it: we all like to eat, right? And as bloggers we also don’t hide our curiosity about what others eat. All fine and well because everybody has to eat and food can be fun. Until it’s not anymore. Which is the case with the phenomenon gaining popularity all over social media, especially Youtube: Massive cheat days. 10k calorie food challenges. If you’re unfamiliar with those: they’re people – usually muscular athletes or tiny ‘fit girls’ shoveling massive amounts of [junk] food into themselves within a 24h time span.

And yes, it’s totally normal and part of intuitive eating to occasionally eat past the point of fullness. Just because we want to or the food is too delicious. Nothing to criticize here. But: 10,000 calories. Let that sink in. That’s a lot of food. More than just having seconds and thirds at Thanksgiving. 10,000 calories: A lot of food that could – depending on their needs – feed many people. People who actually need it.

It’s disrespectful behavior towards food and those in need of it

Food is meant to be enjoyable. Quickly skipping through a few of those challenge videos I didn’t get that impression it was for the people doing it. So you say you’re stuffing yourself to the point of near-vomiting [who knows what happens after the camera is turned off] only to say …What, really? That you did it? That you’re one particularly awesome person? Or: “Look how much I can eat and not gain”? It is not an accomplishment. It’s not worthy of praise or admiration. In my opinion it’s disgusting. A disgusting disrespect towards the value of food as nourishment. And while, yes, I find this particularly horrible when meat and as such disrespect for living beings is involved, I do not approve of vegans doing these eating competitions, either.

It is different if somebody struggles with bulimia or is experiencing extreme hunger in recovery from any kind of eating disorder. In a way, these people do need the calories. Making up for months or even years of restriction. Explaining the background on this would take too long here so if you haven’t heard about this find a good explanation. I just want to differentiate between needed versus wasted food. Speaking of eating disorders:

It’s triggering for people with eating disorders

Now you might think that gee, everybody’s responsible for the content they consume. However, if you’ve ever spent time on YouTube, you know that videos like these, especially considering they gather lots of views, appear on the front page and high up in the suggested videos. Add curiosity to the mix and people will watch these videos.

While I personally have no experiences with binge eating, I can see how ashamed somebody struggling with it might find these videos. Extremely toned people shoveling thousands of calories’ worth of food into their mouths and not gaining an ounce from it yet talking about how they’re going to ‘clean up’ their diet afterwards. Perfectly in control while you’re continuing to struggle. Those on the opposite end of the spectrum, having to eat past fullness to gain weight might feel gross for the amounts their eating; wrong even.

[Note: I personally am not triggered by these kind of videos but everybody has different triggers and this might just be one for some people]

It glorifies food waste

What I find concerning about food challenges is that they show on a small scale what is true in the world as a whole: when something becomes too cheap, we devalue it. Food is too cheap these days. Fact. Yet: just because a loaf of bread is available for next to nothing [obviously exaggerating here] doesn’t make it any less nutritious. We as a society need to regain appreciation for food. 10,000 calorie challenges and ‘mega cheat days’ encourage the opposite.

If it was just one person doing these challenges: still sad but oh well, there are some idiots in the world and it could be worse. However, this is a major trend that doesn’t seem to stop. If not 10,000 calories, then “major cheat days” or eating contests. It’s a disrespect of food. Glorification of it even. And I really cannot see anything worth celebrating about these challenges.

We won’t get into what competitive eating does to people’s intestines though if you’re interested, here’s a quick explanation on that.

If you agree but think that oh well, It’s just what it is and there’s nothing we can do about it, I beg to differ. We have more influence than we give ourselves credit for. We can choose to not watch and as such support these kind of videos. Supply and demand, friends.

This has gotten lenghty but if you read all of it: Tell me your thoughts!

Happiness-inducing today: An amazing summer day before the massive downpour that’s predicted to last all throughout today set in.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

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My kitchen must-have and acknowledging food privileges

Bloggers, raise your hand if you’ve been in a writing rut lately. Well, that’s been me these days and I’m not enjoying it. Some weeks thoughts and ideas are flowing through my brain faster than I can grab a pen – or access my phone – to write them down and others nothing goes. Ironically, just when I had mentally decided to give in and simply do some random Thinking out loud, one of the points I initially noted got my mind churning again. So I’ll reserve that one for another day but share some other randomness today to avoid falling out of the blogging loop completely.  Let’s get going!

Tell me: how do you – especially those of you in the US – prepare your tea? Or more specifically: how do you heat the water needed for it? A little birdy told me electric kettles aren’t really popular which stumped me because I’d never used anything else. Until now because – cue the tragical music – my kettle just quit its services [read: it broke]. On Sunday of all possible times obviously = no chance to get a new one right then and there .  Thrifty as I am I wasn’t ready to invest in a new one yet so have been relying on cooking water on the stove. I won’t lie in saying it first felt – okay, still feels – like a huge inconvience. But at that it also made me appreciate the daily convience I’m blessed to have every single day; hardly ever acknowledging the whole of it. If it’s between me and you, though, I do feel so priviled every time I just have a glass of tap water without worrying about germs and simply looking at the fact it’s so readily available to me.

Another thing in my kitchen I couldn’t don’t want to live without? Hands down my dishwasher. While I do a few dishes by hand if I want to reuse them again that day, just putting everything into the dishwasher at the end of the day and waking up to clean and dried dishes is amazing. A privilege I’m thankful for every single day.

Speaking of privilege: I stumbled upon this article the other day. It’s about the British chef Ruby Tandoh pointing out that the healthy lifestyle many people – particularly those striving for high protein intake and low-carb – live these days simply isn’t affordable for some. Now I know there are many posts out there sharing great advice on how to eat healthy on a budget and it’s definitely not impossible [but might require more time, knowledge and careful planning than some people have or can bring up]. I encourage you to read the full post to see the points Tandoh makes, though. What I agree with and have noticed myself is – through my own experience as somebody eating lots of fruit and vegetables – that fresh produce can easily make up a good chunk of your grocery bills. For families with multiple children – like Tandoh’s and many of those living on the brink of or in poverty – getting adequate amounts of food in on a budget doesn’t allow for such luxuries. So shaming any foods (think potatoes, white rice, grains in general) is plain wrong and I wish society as a whole did less of it [if at all]. We’re all just trying our best in this world and don’t all have the same chances. Just some food for thought.

Just like the privilege to buy almond butter. Thanks to Jen for the advice of keeping the unopened jar upside down for a day – it makes stirring so much easier. No huge oil spillage like on past occasions here and just a few clumps to smoothen out. Easy.

Something more light-hearted on my currently very heavy/deeper thought-filled mind is seeing my sister and P. again on the weekend. It’s been a few [too many] weeks since the previous time and will be my first time babysitting P. all by myself. I won’t lie in saying I’m a little nervous [and hoping for no necessary diaper changes in those few hours ;)]. Coming up for you on the weekend: more good good links!

For once not turning this into an endlessly wordy post – you’ve had a lot of these coming from me lately – I’ll end this here. Happy Thursday! We’re –this- close to the weekend!

Happiness-inducing today:  My current book and an unexpected smile.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Share your thoughts on any or all of the above points with me!

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Of nudity, happy mums and small talk aversion

Hi!

Has it really been almost a week since we talked macros? It’s been somewhat of a rough time since. My family experienced a huge loss on the weekend and writing a Week in Review just didn’t happen. I do not want to talk about our loss any more but also couldn’t pretend nothing had happened. Rather than talk about myself, I decided to finally share another post in what I’d planned to be a little series on German life. There are a lot of differences between life here and in the US– we’re talking some juicy facts today ;).

A final note on my posting schedule for the week: As I’ll be traveling and attending the funeral on the other end of the country and won’t be back until – at the earliest – late on Saturday night I’ll try but might not be able to share the good good links on Sunday, either. In that case, be back on Monday for some of my latest favourites.

[As I have yet to figure out the whole technology issue – hoping to get to it soon, though – the pictures in this post aren’t entirely fitting but I had fun bringing back some  older favourites]

Thinking-Out-Loud

We don’t beat around the bush. Or: small talk wasn’t invented in Germany

Truth is: we like to cut right to the chase. Mailing somebody with business inquiries? There’s no need to ask how they are first. Just let them know what you need in a polite way and that’s it.

When you call somebody, don’t be surprised when they pick up the phone saying just their last name [say, “Maier”]. It’s unusual to say “hello?” upon picking up. If you read my previous post on differences between Germany and the US you might remember how “friendly” – cue the irony – cashiers often are. In that case you won’t be surprised to hear they’re not exactly going to chat you up for a short conversation. Because they want you to leave the store –fast–.  Okay, so we don’t all hate small talk. We’re just unlikely to be the ones initiating it.

Let’s get naked.

Or: Germans aren’t as afraid of nudity. Bare breasts on magazine covers at the supermarket? Check. Beaches that explicitly invite you to show off what you’ve got 😉 [German term: FKK-Strand]? Check. And if your doctor needs you to undress certain body parts for examination there’s neither a paravent nor will he usually leave the room as you strip off your clothes or hand you a paper gown. Ready for an even more ‘shocking’ fact?
 
Work and such

Prostitution is a legal business

Now this one I certainly don’t know from personal experience – I prefer keeping my clothes on at work ;). However, the fact is true. While you won’t exaxctly see prostitutes walking down the streets of your average small town neighbourhood there is in fact a certain ‘house’ – colloquially referred to as a “Puff” – smack dab in the middle of a neighbouring village. And if you’re in a larger city like Hamburg you absolutely can see the ladies strutting down Reeperbahn, waiting for business. Speaking of businesses and work …

Mum’s staying home – and dad might as well

This refers to one of the blessings new parents have over here. An expecting woman can legally – with very few exceptions – not be fired from the moment she gets pregnant until a minimum of two months postpartum. The mum-to-be is also legally granted “Mutterschutz” (pregnancy leave) from six weeks pre-birth until up to three years after birth if she decides to stay home with the baby. Her employer can’t fire her during this time, either, and parents receive “Elterngeld” [think – very simplified- the state paying a compensation for the usual income depending on the latter; at least 300 €/per month, max 1.800 €]. Additionally, the baby’s dad can apply for “Elternzeit”, too. My sister’s husband did this and was on parental leave from his main job [starting his second side business on the leave – with the approval of his boss] for some time, too.

 

Money, money, money

The one topic all Germans can agree on: GEZ

GEZ, short for “Gebühreneinzugszentrale” has to be one of every German’s most disliked institutions. They’re the friendly people who decided that every household has to pay a set monthly fee of €17.98 for TV, radio and New Media and – that’s the clue – regardless of whether you use those or not. Sounds great, right? Not.

Pay now, use later.

If you live in an apartment/house/whatever else and use electricity and the likes this is true for you. Yes, that’s right. You’re paying for the so-called “Nebenkosten” like electricity and gas in advance. If you end up using less than the providing companies assumed you’ll get money back at the end of the year.

Sunday, silent Sunday

Feel like your lawn is more than ready for a cut again? You’d better not plan on mowing it on a Sunday in Germany unless you want to get in contact with the authorites. Yes, mowing your lawn on Sunday is legally prohibited. As you might remember you can’t do your regular weekend shopping on this day, either.

That’s it for now though there are plenty more differences to share another time.

Happy Thursday!

Happiness-inducing today: The brightest sunshine in between all the rain we’ve been getting lately.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Share your random thoughts with me!

If you’ve ever been to Germany: What’s something else you’ve found odd or was different?

If you’ve never been to Germany but noticed differences between your country and another one you’ve visited: share those! It’s amazing how different cultures are.

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Letting my mind run wild and free [ToL]

… and then there was no Week in Review. Breaking from my usual blogging schedule felt both weird and very freeing. The decision was not entirely spontaneous but my heart just nudged me into the decision-making on Saturday. The sun was out, my mind telling me I’d better start drafting Monday’s post early and me ultimately neglecting my to-do list for the Moment and heading out for a longer walk instead. One of the sort that clears your head and heart, connects you to nature and makes you feel incredibly light and free. A twinge of guilt found its way into my brain again yesterday night but I reminded myself of my intuitive blogging premise. Instead deciding for less screen time on the weekend and returning with some ramdom thoughts today [a few days early as i might have another post coming later this week].. Ready, set, random!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Can we talk about changing taste buds? Because I’m not sure what happened to mine. If you’d asked me not too long ago I would have told you I had a major sweet tooth. Now? I can’t exactly say that anymore. The majority of my meals and snacks are savoury. Some days, I eat way less chocolate than I used to. Edited to add: the joke’s on me here. The very day I write about craving chocolate less what hits me big time? Yes, you guessed it. The intensity is almost crazy.

When I’m reading a really good book the word ‘read’ is actually inaccurate. Rather, I savour books. Which means I assign a certain time/setting to when I will read in every single one currently on my nightstand [i.e. morning/after work/weekends] and slow myself down a bit. Yes, I’m aware that will seem odd but my overworrying as well as money-saving tendencies are at play here. Worrying about not finding a follow-up book that’s just as amazing and saving-savvy in that we all know my struggle of treating myself to anything outside the necessary things by now, I guess. I’d call the fact I semi-decided on a small monthly book budget starting in March a first step of improvement, though. Because nourishing the mind with words and screen-free time is just as important as buying food, right?!

Absence truly makes the heart grow fonder in every area of life. Proof? You might not even remember me mentioning the first time I didn’t put my ear plugs in on a walk. Well, they hardly made an appearance anymore since. Quiet walks are my most creative time. The other day, though, I felt like listening to some music again and it felt so good. I still took in my environment, not letting the lyrics distract me. If anything, my heightened mood made me appreciate the beauty of nature even more.

flower_nature

Speaking of music I’m a classic ‘victim’ of the “mere exposure effect”. When I first heard Coldplay’s new song it didn’t feel up my alley. Being exposed to it during my daily commute, though, I’m suddenly a huge fan and added it to my Spotify. Well played, radio stations, well played. Literally.

Not so well [played] are the glitches my electronics have been going through lately. If you’ve been waiting for all the recipes I promised to share in recent posts I owe you an explanation and here’s why. I’ve been experiencing an unlucky juxtaposition of electric devices and platforms letting me down. My laptop has been on its last legs for well over a year already. Now it’s definitely time to say goodbye after about 7 (8?) years as it’s no longer working properly in regards to uploading pictures from my camera and constantly crashing when I’m online. Additionally, WordPress has been kindly reminding me that my data volume is close to used up meaning new pictures are scarce on here. I know that buying a new laptop is inevitable but any ideas on a quick and easy solution for the WordPress issue? I’m scared of [the cost and technological knowledge involved in] going self-hosted.

Something that never lets me down? Opening a fresh jar of white almond butter. Granted, I’m not a fan of the inavoidable oil spillage but the naturally sweet flavour – way different from the dark kind – and creaminess on top of my oat bran all but make up for it. Not that I’d be opposed to having one of these ingenious tools at hand but – you guessed it – they’re not available over here. So I keep getting those nut butter stirring arm workouts in.

Work’s been insane already again today so I’ll end this here and try not to hit the pillow too late. Fingers crossed and happy Tuesday to you!

Happiness-inducing today: My current [afternoon] book as well as – it never gets old – sunshine.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Share your random thoughts with me!

What’s a song you only got hooked on upo nhearing it multiple times?

Blogging advice?

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Cars, cooking, cash – differences between Germany and the US

First things first: Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US! I hope you’ll have a wonderful day with family, friends or whoever you choose to spend it with.

It’s been a hot minute since I previously joined Amanda on her venture of leisurely letting thoughts wander aka Thinking out loud. I’m not entirely sure how much of the blog world will really be around today so I opted for a non-heavy topic fitting whichever day you read it: Differences between the US and Germany. While I’ve yet to visit the US myself being part of the blog world for a long time – far longer than I’ve been blogging for myself – I did notice things here and there all the time.

Ready, set,: thoughts out loud!

Thinking-Out-Loud

 

 

Going places

Say hi to Deutsche Bahn!
A lot of Germans travel via train evidence of which can be found multiple times on my blog. It’s convenient, cheaper and more accessible than flying. And if you like surprises  [beware of upcoming sarcasm] Deutsche Bahn – the main trailway company – regularly has you in for those with delays, broken air conditioning in the summer heat and else. We make it sound more awful than it is, obviously. Well, unless we remember that time your connecting train on a long distance journey was cancelled, you spent an hour standing on a crowded platform in cold wind and seriously questioning if we were going to make it home that day still, all while being sick. Thanks for nothing, Deutsche Bahn.
But hey, we accept that for long distance travels because …

Berlin

Gas is way more expensive than in the US
Last time I checked the gas my dad’s car needs was 1,35 € [around $1,42] – and that’s per litre, not gallon. That’s why won’t see any trucks or similarly big cars on the streets often here. Big hooray for public transport.

Restaurants, supermarkets and home

Running to the store on Sunday? No way.
You guessed that right: stores are closed on Sundays. Exception to this rules can be found in some bigger cities, usually stores located in central stations. And if you run out of snacks at night you might be out of luck, too. Most supermarkets close at 8 PM. Again, cities can be the exception with certain ones not closing until 10 or at the very latest – and I’ve only seen this twice before – midnight.

Just like your car you’d better not be super thirsty.

Because there are no free refills in Germany. In fact, some restaurant owners make the majority of their profit through beverages,  not food. The only exception being IKEA – thank you for introducing me to this novelty as a child, Sweden – where you can drink to your heart’s content.

Got cash?

If you plan on visiting Germany: a) let me know [duh!] and b) bring some cash. Well, you might have to do that in anyway because of the different currency but really: we like to pay in cash. Sure, I keep my bank card in my wallet at all times but only really use it to pay if I’m making big purchases. Some stores even have a minimum amount of spendings you need to reach before they let you use your debit card. And once you’ve paid …

Hurry up!

Because cashiers want you out as soon as possible. This is one thing that seriously annoys me. At best, you’d have your purchases stashed away and be on your way out right after you finished paying. I’m not entirely sure of the situation in the US but a friend from the UK told me you could take a lot more time to pack over there. There’s also no employee to help you bag up your stuff because hey, that could make you feel entirely too welcome at the checkout.

Take your shoes off, please
… and grab a pair of slippers. We do not wear shoes other than the latter in the house. I was surprised to hear people apparently walk around in their outdoor shoes at home in the US. Is that true? Sexier than the Birkenstock-like sandals I’m wearing as I type this for sure ;).

Cooking and baking

Let’s do the math!
… or just break out the kitchen scales. You might have already known that we do not measure in cups over here. Honestly, cup measurements used to seriously confuse me when I started reading blogs and trying US recipes. How many potatoes are you supposed to buy when a dish calls for two cups, diced? By now, I’m way better at this yet still prefer using scales. So much more accurate. [Completely subjective opinon of course]

kabocha!

You’re putting what into your dessert pie?!

Seasonal fact:pumpkin is not eaten the sweet way in Germany. We go savoury. Actually, you won’t find canned pumpkin on the shelves of any store, either. It’s only through social media and also very very slowly that some people – usually inspired by Instagram – start making their own pumpkin puree to use in sweet dishes.

Wrapping it up here even though I could come up with way more examples. But over to you and your experiences in other countries  – let me know about them in the comments!

Happiness-inducing today: More of that glorious autumn sunshine I mentioned in my previous post.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Did you know about any of these differences between Germany and the US?

What are some differences between other countries you visited and your homecountry?

… and whichever random thoughts come to your mind here.

 

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