Vegas! 

So many first times…

I presented my company for the first time at a trade show. That was pretty exciting, talking about IT data center management in front of lots of IT specialists…

We took a selfie with our audience afterwards, and – of course – tweeted that out into the world ;-).

Cisco_Live_Simplivity_tweet

That trade show happens to be in Las Vegas 🙂

Mandalay-Bay

 

There is something about visiting a place that you only know from TV, but Vegas is actually surprising me. It is restless, it is loud, but so unique, and pretty hot. This picture is from the roof of the Mandalay Bay hotel. When I was standing there it felt pretty amazing!

Mandalay-Bay_Roofdeck

What happens in Nashville, stays…ups

I am a bridesmaid! I am the only foreign bridesmaid in my friend Elizabeth’s wedding which makes me feel special :-). Aside from constantly raising my glass to the couple (which I literally do since last June), accompanying Eliza to shop for dresses (she ended up getting her dress alone, which might be due to my sporadic “holy shit”-exclamations when I peaked at price tags) and coming up with horror stories on how I will misbehave at the wedding (jumping in the pool with her Dad is my favorite, and I only do this as a expectation management technique “prepare for the worst”), it was my duty and pleasure to spend a weekend in Nashville with her and her closest friends. And I learned a lot! Here are my German observations from my first time in “the South”.

  • Nashville is bachelor and bachelorette weekend mekka. We saw at least one other bachelor/bachelorette group everywhere we went.
  • BBQ is big in Nashville. We left grumpy weathered Boston and arrived in springy Nashville, spending a wonderful afternoon with BBQ and beer in the sun. BBQ_South 12As a good German I have to admit that this is pretty much a paradise afternoon for me.

 

 

  • Smoked is a dominant flavor in Nashville. There is smokes Balsamic Vinaigrette, there is smoked Old Fashioned drinks, smoked beer, smoked whiskey.
  • Breaking news for me: You may drink outside in Nashville! And you can smoke inside! Wait, what? Yes, it is very European when it comes to these things. You can stroll through town with a beer (in case I have not told you yet, American friends, Germans have a name for a beer that you take with you on your way, “Wegbier”)
  • There is live music everywhere!

    And you might just end up seeing a country singer that will be the next big thing in the music scene. As a matter of fact, we spent saturday night in the Honky Tonk bar “Rippy’s Bar & Grill” with a wonderful band and the singer just had his first single published.

  • People are unbelievably nice and want to chat with you. The brutal truth is this: If I go to New York after a couple of weeks in Boston, I feel like all New Yorkers are terribly unfriendly (which is nothing compared to the resting bitch face of the average German, especially in Berlin…), but coming back to Boston after a weekend in Nashville I really felt treated poorly.
  • I cannot help but think that blond is a thing in the South. There are many many many fake blondes out there. I also have that feeling that Southern ladies do not leave the house unless their make-up is perfect and they are dressed like little dolls (admittedly, since I am doing Crossfit, I love walking around in my workout clothes all day long)
  • After a visit to the Johny Cash Museum, my Spotify playlist is a mixture of “The Million Dollar Quartett”, “Hurt” and the Folsom Bossom Blues.
  • Last, but not least, I am now the proud owner of my first pair of tailored jeans from Imogene and Willie, made in Nashville. Imogene_1They come with one caveat, though: The makers encourage you to not wash them for several months…I will not keep you updated on that.

 

 

After Nashville I realized that I really do not know that much about the United States. As much as I call out anyone who speaks about Europe as if it is one, I am calling out myself for thinking I know the US, just because I have lived in Boston and California for 4 years. There is so much more to explore…

 

O’zapft is der Ahornbaum

Tooi war letztes Wochenende in Vermont. Hier gibt es ganz offiziell eine fünfte Jahreszeit, die Schlammsaison. Wenn die Schneemassen schmilzen, bleibt der Matsch. Das alles macht aber gar nichts, weil tagsüber positive und nachts negative Temperaturen bedeuten: Es ist Zeit zum Anzapfen der Ahornbäume. Und genau das haben wir gemacht und ganz leckeres Ahornwasser geerntet.

Wie das Wasser aus dem Baum zum Syrup wird? Es gibt so genannte Zuckerhütten: Das Ahornwasser brodelt hier in riesigen Wannen, bis der Wasseranteil verdunstet ist und das leckere, klebrige Sirup bleibt.

In Vermont ist alles Ahorn: Es gibt Ahornpralinen, Ahornkaffee, Ahornsyrup wird generell anstatt Zucker zum Süßen verwendet, Ahornwasser in Smoothies, Ahornbier und Ahorn-Vinaigrette.

Ganz generell muss ich zugeben, dass ich mich ein bisschen in Vermont verliebt habe. Viel Natur, viele Seen, überall kleinere Skigebiete und im Sommer soll der Staat ein Fahrrad-Mekka sein. Im unteren Bild seht Ihr meinen Sonnenaufgang über Mount Burke, der nur noch wenige kunstbeschneite Schneepisten hat. Ich komme bestimmt nochmal wieder 😉

Mount Burke, Vermont

 

Germany, you can be both, organized and caring!

I have been in my home country for a week. Soaked in people, news, reactions. Here are some thought blurbs and a wish.

Greece and Immigration, two dominating themes…The public TV station makes an effort of finding the human story,a pensioned teacher developed a convenient German guide. It explains the meaning of a red traffic light, how to use the veggie scale in German grocery stores. Hourly news paint a different story, politicians fighting over budgets, state against federal government. Germany cannot handle the amount of refugees arriving every day. They are hungry, thirsty and exhausted. Scared and alone. And German politicians argue about budgets. All these white male, mid-fifties, usually obese, officials might as well piss in front of the immigrant tent cities. It sends the same message. Lack of solidarity.

In our neighborhood, there is a woman that lives alone in a four apartment house, she removes wild flowers from the perfect lawn. Rent the apartments? No, no, she wouldn’t want strangers in the house. “Strangers are friends we have not yet met”, said the Bed&Breakfast owner in Plymouth every day.

After a century of turmoil, Germany has become one of the greatest countries to live in. Its well-off, it is safe, it is organized. So is the majority of its inhabitants. But, guess what, Germany, I have news: You can be one without loosing the other. You will not loose these characteristics by displaying empathy, by letting go of some rules, by fucking the budget to help. You can be both, Germany, rigid and loving. Let’s not be fearful, let’s be curious.

Mindful

When was the last time you have…

  • switched off your phone for a whole day or a couple of hours?
  • sat down to journal about how you are feeling?
  • paused, anywhere, to simply look around and soak in your environment?
  • simply done what you felt like and not what you were supposed to do?
  • spend the whole day outside?

Mindfulness. A word that I have come across only recently. Yet, it is becoming a part of my daily life. My monday morning started with disturbing news: Two men that I have known from my political and Youth Press work in Germany have died on the weekend. They were both my age. I wish their families a lot of strength.

I am not exactly sure what feelings these news triggered. A mix of anxiety, gratitude and awareness. I do know what eventually got me going and I wanted to share it with you: I am extremely thankful for what I can do every day to follow my drive (to wherever it might lead me). And that, even after two years of living abroad, I have a supportive and encouraging network of family and friends at home. That makes all the difference! I complain about my home country a lot, but the source of this anger and disagreement is passion. It is my relentless drive to bring out the best in this country. And given the current state of Germany and Europe, it will take a lot of driven people in our generation to keep the European idea alive.

This summer makes me realize how much the ocean means to me; it is currently the source of my peace of mind, my replenishment, my encouragement. During the last two weeks, I have bathed in the Pacific and the Atlantic, in California and Massachusetts and spent many hours listening to the calming, yet powerful sound of the waves, letting my feet sink in the sand, taking walks with friends along the coast, being mindful.

Die Zukunft ist da: Ein Blogpost aus dem Flugzeug

First Plane Post Heute geht’s mal nicht so sehr um den Inhalt, sondern eher um die Entstehung dieses Posts. Ich sitze im Flieger von Boston nach Los Angeles, mit W-Lan. Ich konnte hier schneller meine Emails abrufen und Videos streamen als in Deutschland in der Provinz.

In den letzten Wochen habe ich mich sehr oft mit Freunden darüber unterhalten, was für faszinierende neue Technologien fast täglich auf den Markt kommen. Und deshalb mache ich einfach jetzt eine neue Blogreihe auf und nenne sie: Die Zukunft ist da.

Wenn Ihr also etwas Abgefahrenes seht oder irgendwo seid und nicht so richtig glauben könnt, dass das wirlich passiert, was man vor Jahren noch in Zukunftsfilmen gesehen habt, dann schreibt mir!

Summer in Boston – a guide

While I am still working on a post about graduation and how it feels to be a “Master”, here is a lighthearted post about the incredible pleasure of spending the summer in Boston. I feel very blessed that I had my Dad and High School friends spend their vacation with me here. If you are in Boston, or plan a trip, here are some of my favorite places/things to do.

  • rent a Kayak from Alston and paddle into the city to the Kendall Square. It is a five-mile-trip, but the current is light. On your way you pass Harvard, Boston University, MIT and finally you arrive at this view:

boston_esplanade_from_a_kayak

  • Go to one of Boston’s harbor islands. The Boston Bay Area has 34 islands and in the summer Boston Harbor Cruises offers service to four of these every day. The round trip is $17 and I can totally recommend it. Here are some impressions from my trip to Spectacle Island.
  • Enjoy a trip to the Cape. This time, I took the Fast Ferry to Provincetown, which is the very rainbowy town at the end of the Cape. There are tons of galleries and bars and it is fun for a 2-3-day-trip. You can wade and reach a very lonely beach, you can sip cocktails in the sun and watch people or go whale watching. I recommend the very inappropriate, dirty, but by locals attended bar “The Old Colony” ;-). I had been checking Groupon for a good Bed&Breakfast deal and we stayed at “The Anchor Inn” and had a beautiful room with a balcony overlooking the bay.

The sunny side of this winter’s snow

It happened this morning: -6 Celsius/21 Fahrenheit, no wind, beautiful sky. As I was walking across campus, I kept taking off accessoires that have become my standard attire: gloves, scarf around face, hat. Yes, at -6Celsius I start feeling warm nowadays. I am so glad our human bodies are as amenable as they are.

Boston has been creepy cold, we have gone more than 40days without a day above 0 degrees. Just with everything in live, it depends on the perspective, and mine changed after a marvellous skiing weekend in Quebec Canada, with windchill temperatures of -35 Celsius/-31 Fahrenheit.

Here are some impressions of the sunny side of this splendid winter wonderland that I am currently living in. (By the way, don’t be fooled by this happy note. As you might have noticed, my last post was a while ago. I had to hibernate for a while because this weather is making daily life considerably harder: my daily walk to the T station is more like an outdoor trek and my hands are constantly bleeding, even though I am moisturizing like crazy. ButI did not want to bother you with yet another bad mood-post, so I simply waited for the sun to cheer me up)

By the Sea

When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.  (Rilke)

 

The Neptunes, our maritime club at The Fletcher School, which I along with two friends lead, organized a boat trip along the coast of Salem, followed by a huge Lobster cooking. It was a beautiful day, 21 degrees (Celsius, of course :-)). And, once again, it is the ocean that calms and humbles me and makes me appreciate everything that I have.

Corporate finance, you cannot beat this!