Boston — Goodbye

It had been five years. Five years with the American boy, with Thomas. We had grown apart, we knew but we were still tryin, hanging on, giving space, taking it easy talking when we felt like it. I was in the middle of a year of travelling. In Greece I came across a puppy that won over my heart — a decision I knew would tie me to Europe. Back in Germany, I started looking for a van to continue my travels in. I wanted to ask Thomas for a loan to help with the car and in July of 2017 I left the pup with my parents and flew to Boston for 8 days. We realized there that we had grown too far apart and instead of with a loan I left with a bit more freedom and the joy of not having to go on a plane again any time soon.

It had been an interesting journey. I learned a lot about myself. Actually this relationship — with another person, another country — had been the initiation of looking at myself in ways I didn’t before — asking who I was and starting to define myself. Part of that was throwing myself into another culture, another society and understanding the one I had been born into from another angle. I will forever be grateful for all of it – for the missery, the hardship, the suffering, for the deep love, the passion, the knowledge and a mind boggeling physical connection. With Tommy I discovered striving and being passionate about life and your goals. In many ways this relationship woke me up. Thank you.

In five years we met 20 times, 5 times in Germany, 1 time in Portugal, 2 times in the UK and 13 times in the USA.
In five years we spent 59 weeks together — 11 in Germany, 1 ½ in Portugal, 2 in the UK and 45 in the USA.

Goodbye Tommy, Goodbye USA,

Thank you for what you taught me. Thank you for the love you gave me.


In Between Worlds

In 2012 I met Thomas and a relationship started – one with another person, another culture, another country, another continent. The two following years brought a lot of movement, externally and internally. We visited each other, learned, loved, fought, met friends, explored cities, bars, cooking, tv shows. Many pictures were taken, many moments shared.

In the summer of 2013 — after 11 semesters — I finished my university education with the “ersten Staatsexamen” (first state exams, compares to a masters degree). A big hurdle that brought a lot of hard work and many moments of doubt and despair but I made it and what an accomplishment that was. Afterwards it was time for a break and I went to Florida for three months. I would have loved to make use of the time there and looked into interning at schools but unfortunately the USA are very cautious with what they allow foreigners to do and how much they have to pay for it (visa stuff, büäh). So instead I had a lot of freetime and tried to make it worth while with reading, drawing, watching shows, being a good house wife, walking around campus, talking to strangers, hanging out with flatmates, doing guest lectures. Thomas’ stepmom — Janet — taught German and French in a top notch school (the kids do an international baccalaureus) and seemed to have a radar for any European person that comes to live in Florida. That’s how I met Alice, a French woman, who was teaching French and German at the University of South Florida. Imagine US Americans speaking German with a French accent. Three times I visited her class and did presentations on Germany, talking about general facts, history (they asked), food and pop culture. I met curious and open minded people and had a great time.
Janet invited me again (first time 2012) to come to her school and do a guest lecture as well. And as well it was a very special experience. I met very smart and curious children and teenagers, eager to learn and pretty good at German. I spent the day at the school as Janet was my ride and so I spontaneously visited a class for European history. I thought I would sit in the back and get to experience the class but the teacher had other ideas. “You are more interesting than what they would ever hear from me. The stage is yours, you have the whole lesson.” — Um, ok — That’s a surprise, but sure, why not. I whipped out one of the presentations I did at the university and did another round with that. I didn’t mind one boy falling asleep as I knew some of those kids were coming from really far away and getting up really early. Maybe part of it was also my lack of entertainment qualities at the time ^^.

In between I dealt with applications for my upcoming “Referendariat” (a 1 1/2 year payed internship to become a fully qualified teacher) and preparing to move to a whole new city. I had the choice between three and chose Potsdam — a city next to Berlin — 2 hours south of my hometown.

On December 31st I boarded a plane back to Germany and spent New Years Eve in the air. Three days later I drove the two hours to Potsdam to look at a room in a shared appartment. Four weeks later I moved in. And started a whole new chapter.

New city, new place, new job, new everything. The Ref was a mix of being at a school — teaching a few hours and observing — and attending seminars where we got some theoretical and methodical input, also a save space to share, connect and support each other. For each of the two of our subjects we got a mentor at our school that was accompanying us in those first steps in the life of a teacher.
The ref is known to be hardcore, pushing you to your limits and beyond — with crazy workloads and being subjected to critizism at any given point, by different people, whose ability to do so are often questionable.

While many struggle with the amount of work, my struggles were slightly different. The school that I had gotten was a place of bleakness and non desire. No one wanted to be there — not the students, not the teachers. While there were certainly many that did an amazing job with a lot of heart, they couldn’t quite change the underlying atmosphere. And me . . . I didn’t like being there either. If my mind was still in denial — doing things because that’s what you do — my body was already screeming at me. I thought I had developed a food intolerance before I realized I had IBS. At times I couldn’t take deep breaths and I generally had just no energy. While others were doing night shifts, going on four hours of sleep, I had difficulties forcing myself to work until 6pm. With this, being in a new city, knowing few and the boyfriend on the other side of the ocean I hit rock bottom in the winter of 2014/2015. I don’t like being misserable so I pulled myself back out.
I stripped away all the guilt in my life — guilt for eating too much chocolate, smoking too much weed, taking too many baths. I started seeking nature, hiking for hours, lying in the grass, reading outside. I bought a new bike and went exploring. Spring came and with the warmth everything got easier. Also the ref was coming to an end. With a detailed schedule planning three weeks ahead, I managed the final hurdles — showing two meticulously planned lessons and a final 20 page paper.

Finally — after 20 years of education — I was done, I was free, no more being a subject to being graded, evaluated and measured.

After one and a half years, I finished the ref in the summer of 2015 with good grades and in good health. During this timen Thomas and me visited each other back and forth. It certainly was a busy time of my life. Before the school year ended, I had a lot of space to teach what I wanted, a lot of freetime and I finally felt like I arrived in this city, having made good friends.

In the summer of that year — 2015 — Thomas was doing an internship in California and it was time for me to explore the other side of the coast of the USA.


In between worlds




















































Roadtrip Part 2 — Driving South — Blue Ridge Mountains and Charleston

The original plan was to travel to New York City but after my visit with the capital I was longing for space and nature. I also didn’t feel like tackling the big city with my rental car. So instead I went west to the Skyline drive way, following it south through the Blue Ridge mountains. Ahead of me three days of hiking and camping.

I found snakes, waterfalls, water drippels, almost met a bear and her cub and awed upon many beautiful views. One of the nights I joined my campground neighbours on their fire. They told me about their life — the dad flying police helicopters and the mom homeschooling their three children. It was an interesting evening and a quiet night.

On my last day I wanted to go on a big day hike but fog obscured all views so I made my way down the mountains for a short walk and then a long drive to Charleston.




















Next and last stop on this road trip was Charleston in South Carolina.
Charleston was a charming city, nestled into a river delta with a beautiful, green college campus. Big mansions with shiny polished wooden verandas told long gone stories of slavery. Welcomed by warm hosts I stayed in a shared student apartment, lovingly called the hobbit hole.

From Charleston I made my way back to Tampa, back to Tommy to spend some more time before it would be time again to cross the big pond.













A Visit with the Capital

In 2012 I started working as a tour guide for cruise ship passengers. Some of them gave me their address, so when I came to the USA I contacted family Jancey and they welcomed me to their lovely home in the suburbs of Washington DC.
Ken — a former tourguide himself — and his Daughter gave me a tour through the capital. I found myself in between many white and grey and impressive buildings and statues — truely a proud and boasty city with a certain amount of patriotism. The military cemetary Judy and Ken took me to furthered that impression. I watched the ceremonial exchange of the guard at the toomb of the unknown soldier, together with a group of uniformly dressed veterans. I saw the grave of the Kennedy family, a ceremonial burial, accompanied by a horse carriage, marching band and seven shots fired. I saw rows and rows of identical tomb stones and multi story urn buildings.

Judy cooked wonderful meals and Ken and Jody took me to a former battle field of the civil war.

The Jancey’s were wonderful, welcoming, warm and friendly people even though we fundametally disagreed on certain things, especially concerning politics and religion. Sally Kohn has something interesting to say in her TED talk on emotional correctness.




























Roadtrip Part 1 — Miami to Washington D.C.

Time to go on a Roadtrip, yeah!
I got a rental car and made my way south to the iconic city of Miami. There I had a couchsurfing connection with a very friendly and welcoming host in a big glassy building with a great view. The city was certainly an experience. I enjoyed wandering the art district, meeting little Havana, with its zigar stores and domino players, seeing the well known Miami beach and its art deco architecture.
Still, the city couldn’t quite capture me — the underlying party vibes weren’t really my thing, as well as art deco, as I found out there.

Old Tampa Bay


Passing by the Everglades
Little Havana, Zigar Store



Art District





Miami Beach


Beach Gym
Police Tower

I dumped the idea to go to the Keys for time and distance reasons and headed west to visit the iconic Everglades. I didn’t feel like making an appointment for an air boat (who knows me, knows being somewhere at a specific time is pretty hard for me ^^), also they are soo loud. Instead I got a rental bike and went on a bike tour. Great Idea! At noon, in Florida, in the summer. It was pretty freaking hot and really cool. I saw many animals and met three sweet, old, white haired man that had come South for the weekend to watch a baseball game. From the watch tower we had a wonderful view into the distance and gazed at far away rainshowers and thunderstorms. One of them wasn’t thaat distant but we were sure it was moving away from us. The four of us split up — me and one of them taking the slightly longer route and the other two coming back the way we had all come in (seperately). Me and the man had a great chat about sport, specifically triathlon, which he had been practicing and I still was at the time. During our ride we realized that that storm was actually closing in on us and it looked really dark. We were a little bit worried but we made it in the last moment before a down pour of epic proportions started with rain drops as big as fingernails. Some long minutes later the other two guys came in, wet down to their underwear. We all had a good chuckle. At least it was warm.








Janet, Tommy’s stepmom had asked me if I could come to her school with her and do a little presentation in one or several of her German classes and so I found myself back in Tampa and Lakeland for a short stop over.

Being in the school was a great experience. But that shall be topic for another time.

Afterwards I continued my journey and followed the coastline north. I was prepared with borrowed camping gear, a gps and some couchsurfing contacts. Next stop: Savanna, Georgia.

Savanna was a beautiful, charming city. I immedietely liked it with the beautiful city houses that left wondering about hidden gardens. I stayed with Timothy and his flatmated in Timothy’s house. Timothy was a wonderful, welcoming host and an awesome human — open, honest, clever, thoughtful. At the time he was studying history at a very prestigious military academy. Military wasn’t his passion but it was his possibility to get a first class education for free, something important and something special in the USA. He was about to go to Afghanistan soon. He wasn’t looking forward to it.







After the beautiful time in Savanna I wanted to go camping. I had my usual “I’ll find something, maybe in someone’s back yard” attitude and it didn’t work so well (getting better all the time ^^). So a nice man made the effort to drive in front of me, bringing me to a beautiful nature campground. There I spent a quiet, peaceful night and enjoyed a morning walk through the wetlands.

Continuing north I visited the Outer banks — a small landstrip with stilt houses and white beaches. It was quite beautiful, nice houses, the kind that cost a lot of money.

And on I went to the Capital…





Welcome to the USA, Welcome to Florida

Thomas and me met in May of 2012. We had a blast together and it seemed too good to let it go besides living on two different continents. So I went to the USA in August of the same year — no pressure, visit and see how it goes and then travel some by myself. I arrived in Lakeland, Florida and we spent some days sitting house and playing home at the house of Tommy’s mom — a wonderful space right next to a little picturesque pond.
Afterwards we went on a trip to Tallahassee, Floridas capital, visiting Tommy’s uncle, aunt and cousins, all of whom have a very special place in my heart — beautiful people all around. On the way we enjoyed beaches, springs and meeting wildlife. Even though it is always special to encounter critters, meeting manatees up close was one of the more memorable ones.
When the Semester started, we enjoyed a bit of the student life together — including the opening football game. What a party that was — a fest of patriotism — skydivers with the American flag and all — Yeah America!

It was (finally) time to set out and go on a trip by myself. The plan was to explore the East coast — from Miami to New York — with a rental car. First destination: the iconic city of Miami.























New York, New York

October (December) 2016

(Deutsch am Ende)

Tommy was working in New York and of course I got to visit this city of cities. It were the October holidays and I enjoyed slowing down from work, lively Brooklyn and of course Manhatten.
I enjoyed the Brooklyn vibes – diverse crowd, cool little shops and a tranquil, yet busy giant park (prospect park). A beautiful and hot left-over of summer, just when I got there made it all the more charming but the slowly creeping in fall colours were pretty stunning as well.
Manhatten is all you think it is. I was surprised that not just the glass covered sky scrapers where super tall but every single building – even the “old” ones. The place is constantly buzzing with people of all sorts. It was a bit overwhelming but certainly an interesting and mesmerizing experience.

In December I took a short trip to New York on a long weekend. One of my most memorable travel experiences took place then and went as follows:

I had a 45 minute layover in – I believe it was Munich. Those of you who have flown and have enjoyed layovers, know that 45 minutes is a very sporty thing but I knew what I was expecting and was up for the challenge. So I was speedwalking through the terminals, following sings, all in good (but little) time and I get to the consortment of gates where my flight to New York should take of from. On the desk were three black ladies (seemingly US American). When you go to the USA you often have to answer questions before entering the flight. So this went down as follows:

Ladies: “Who packed your luggage?”
Me: “I did.”
Ladies: “was it ever unsupervised.”
Me: “no”
Ladies: “How long will you be staying in the USA?”
Me: “Just for the Weekend.”
Ladies: “WHAT??? Do you have a boyfriend there?”
Me: “Yes.”
Ladies: “Who payed for the flight?”
Me “he did.”
Ladies errupting in happy cheers and laughter: “You go girl!”, giving me a high five.

Also on this weekend I saw the legendary Coca Cola truck and took a shitty cellphone picture of it that I will spare you. The rest of the time was spent in Brooklyn, enjoying being together, enjoying quite time and Prospect Park.
If you consider a short trip like this, I would recommend having at least 4 days, as a considerable amount will be travelling. Still if airports and flights (and jetlag) aren’t so stressful for you, it is definitely doable.

there she is, in the distance…
Brooklyn Bridge


I can see why she gets more photographed from the other side
Manhattan Bridge
Central Park
Central Park
Central Park
Central Park
Central Park
Ground Cero


One World Trade center


sunny Prospect Park
more sun in Prospect Park
I found a steaming pile of organic waste
Prospect Park sunsets


Prospect Park Inhabitants
Grand Army Plaza


a woman with a cat back pack


Oktober (December) 2016

Tommy arbeitete in New York und so kam ich natürlich auch dazu dieser Stadt der Städte einen (zwei) Besuche abzustatten. Es waren die Oktoberferien und ich genoss es von der Arbeit runterzukommen, das lebhafte Brooklyn zu erkunden und natürlich Manhattan!
Ich genoss die Vibes in Brooklyn, diverse und vielfältige Menschen, niedliche, kleine Shops und einen friedvollen, trotzdem geschäftigen, riesigen Park (Prospect Park). Ein wunderschönes, heißes Überbleibsel des Sommers, gleich zu meiner Ankunft, machte das Ganze noch charmanter, aber auch die sich langsam anschleichenden Herbstfarben waren nicht weniger schön.

Manhattan ist alles, was man sich so vorstellt. Ich war überrascht, dass nicht nur die in Glas gehüllten Wolkenkratzer riesengroß sind, sondern tatsächlich jedes Haus – sogar die vermeintlich “alten”. Manhattan ist fortwärend am vibrieren mit Menschen aller Art. Es war schon manchmal etwas überfordernd aber auf jeden Fall eine faszinierende und spannende Erfahrnung.

Im Dezember machte ich mich ein zweites Mal auf in die große Stadt, diesmal für ein langes Wochenende.
Dabei ereignete sich eine meiner einprägsamsten Reisebegebenheiten:

Auf dem Weg nach New York, hatte ich einen 45 Minuten Zwischenstopp in – ich glaube es war – München. Für diejenigen, die schon das ein oder andere Mal mit dem Flugzeug gereist sind und in den Genuss einer Zwischenlandung kamen, wissen dass 45 Minuten eine sportliche Unternehmung ist. Aber ich wusste was mich erwartet und war bereit für die Herausforderung. So powerwalkte ich durch die Terminals – Schildern folgend – alles in guter (wenn auch knapper) Zeit und komme an der Ansammlung von Gates, von wo auch mein Flug gehen sollte, an. Am Schalter stehen drei schwarze Frauen, (scheinbar US Amerikanerinnen). Wenn man in die USA reist, wird man bevor man in den Flieger steigt oft befragt. So ereignete sich Folgendes:

Ladies: “Wer hat dein Gepäck gepackt?”
Me: “Ich.”
Ladies: “War es jemals unbeaufsichtigt?”
Me: “Nein”
Ladies: “Wie lange bleibst du in den USA?”
Me: “Nur über das Wochenende.”
Ladies: “WAS??? Hast du da einen Freund?”
Me: “Ja.”
Ladies: “Wer hat den Flug bezahlt?”
Me “Er.”
Die Ladies brechen in fröhliches Jubeln und Lachen aus: “You go girl!”, und geben mir eine High Five.

An diesem Wochenende sah ich auch den legendären Coca Cola truck und machte ein wenig reizendes Handybild von ihm, was ich euch erspare. Der Rest der Zeit wurde in Brooklyn verbracht, im Genuss des Zusammensein, der Ruhe und von Prospect Park.

Solltest du je einen kurzen Trip wie diesen in Erwägung ziehen, würde ich empfehlen, midestens vier Tage einzuplanen, da die Reise selbst einiges an Zeit in Anspruch nimmt. Nichtsdestotrotz, wem Flughäfen, fliegen (und Jetlag) nicht zu sehr zu schaffen macht, für den ist das auf jeden Fall machbar.

St. Petersburg (not Russia)

January 2016

In January Thomas and I went to St. Petersburg (on the other side of Tampa bay), where he was participating in a Programming Language Conference (Popl). The conference took place in the Hilton so that’s where we stayed as (a big) part of going to a conference is networking with the people.

I took the days to explore the city – going on long walks – and relaxing in our hotel room (we had a beautiful giant panoramic window facing south from which we could see sunrise and sunset).

St. Petersburg turned out to be a beautiful city with a very friendly vibe and a flourishing art culture. An astounding large amount of people were up for smiling at strangers (me) or even greet. The harbour and bay were great and had a lot to offer: jetties, beaches, super rich houses, even a bunch of dolphins showed up, seemingly hunting close to the kay.

I will keep St. Pete in fond memory. It was a wonderful finale for my time in the USA. After almost three months there I started my journey back home where my work in Wedding (at a primary school) and my shared appartment were waiting for me.


Im Januar verschlug es Tommy und mich nach St. Petersburg, auf der anderen Seite von Tampa bay. Tommy war dort zu einer Konferenz der Programmiersprachen eingeladen (popl). Die fand im Hilton, nicht weit vom Wasser, statt und da das Sozialisieren ein zentraler Teil einer Konferenz ist, übernachteten wir auch dort.

Ich nutzte die Zeit um auf langen Spaziergängen die Stadt zu erkunden und in unserem Hotelzimmer zu entspannen. Das riesengroße Südfenster half dabei sehr. Man konnte von dort den Sonnenauf- und Untergang sehen.

St. Petersburg war ein wundervoller Ort, mit jeder Menge freundlicher Menschen, einer florierenden Künstlergemeinde und viel Street art. Ich war erstaunt wie viele mich anlächelten oder sogar grüßten. Der Hafen und die Bucht hatten einiges zu bieten: Schiffe und Boote, Strände, sehr große Häuser und sogar eine Gruppe Delfine schien in der Nähe des Kays zu jagen.

St. Petersburg wird auf jeden Fall in guter Erinnerung bleiben und war ein wunderbarer Abschluss für meine Zeit in den Staaten. Nach knapp drei Monaten gind es dann von dort wieder nach Hause. Dort warteten schon meine Arbeit in Wedding und meine WG auf mich.

The Keys

January 2016

In the beginning of the new year Tommy and me took a short 3 day trip to the Keys. Known for amazing weather and beautiful scenery I had already wanted to visit the chain of islands in 2012 but couldn’t quite fit it in.

We booked an air bnb a 30 minute drive north of Key West, the southernmost point of the USA. On the way we were surprised by some lovely heavy rain that accompanied and slowed us down for a bit of the way. Despite the notion of our host – “the weather is never bad for two days in a row” – we were unlucky with a significant portion of more or less nasty weather.

For a day we went to Key West and explored the city. The often talked about unique charme becomes apparent very quickly – in between street roaming roosters, colorful buskers and alcohol out in the streets (yes, in the USA that is an exciting thing).
The next days we  spent checking out a few parks and walks. The landscape is sometimes bleak (the weather did it’s part to that) but the water is mesmerizing and never ceases to amaze me.

P.s. Key Lime Pie



Januar 2016

Am Anfang des neuen Jahres machten Tommy und ich uns auf den Weg zu einem 3-tägigen Kurzurlaub in die Florida Keys. Bekannt für wunderbares Wetter und atemberaubende Landschaft, wollte ich schon 2012 die Inselkette besuchen, konnte aber nicht die Zeit dafür finden.

Wir buchten ein air bnb 30 Autominuten nördlich von Key West, dem südlichsten Ort der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika. Unterwegs wurden wir von starkem Regen überrascht, der uns für eine Weile ein bisschen den Schwung nahm aber auch einige Eindrucksvolle Impressionen hinterließ. Trotz der Aussage unserer Gastgeberin – “Das Wetter ist niemals zwei Tage hintereinander schlecht.” – hatten wir eine gute Portion ziemlich bescheidenen Wetters.

Für einen Tag fuhren wir nach Key West und erkundeten die Stadt. Der oft berichtete, einzigartige Charme wird schnell spürbar, inmitten von spazierenden Hähnen, bunten Straßenkünstlern und Alkohol auf der Straße (ja in den USA, ruft das Aufregung hervor).
Die nächsten Tagen verbrachten wir damit ein paar Wege und Parks zu erkunden. Die Landschaft war manchmal kark und entwas trostlos (das Wetter hatte aber seinen Anteil daran) aber das Wasser war immer unglaublich und hat mich immer wieder verzaubert.

P.s. Key Lime Pie


Parks and rec

Nature is calling and even in Florida it can be found – nicely tamed, with trails and rules.

Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve (close to Tampa)



Circle B Bar Reserve

is an area of protected lands, south-east of Lakeland. It is a beautiful (well-known) place with a lot of trails, many species of wild-life and some picturesque scenery.















Lakeland lakes

As the name suggests, Lakeland has many lakes that provide beautiful scenery and water fowl of all sort.