Sunday, 28 August 2016

Missing Sweden

It's been two months now since I moved from Sweden back to Germany and although I didn't have much time to think about it too much, I still do realise every now and again that there are certain things I had in Malmö that I'm really missing here. So I thought I would create a little list for you.

Although we have good coffee here in Germany, you mostly don't find good filter coffee in coffee shops or cafés. It's so strange, because a drip coffee maker is probably part of every other German household. But as soon as you order a black coffee in a café you get this bad bitter thing in a cup that came straight from one of those stupid coffee machines. Adding to that, I also really miss all the nice café chains in Sweden. I loved going to Barista or Espresso House and get a big old latte macchiato with soy milk, in summer the iced version of course. Yeah, I know, there is always Starbucks to go here and as soon as I am in a bigger city, I have these options in other cafés too. But here in the small town I'm living in at the moment, there is no such thing as soy milk. Disgraceful.

The Sea
I didn't really go much to the seaside all year round, but especially in summer I loved sitting on the planks in Västra Hamnen and look out to the bridge and Copenhagen. When it was warm and sunny, there were so many people sitting or swimming there and there was also an Espresso House where I could get my soy milk iced latte macchiato (see previous point). Although I really like the nature we have here where I live in Germany, I do miss the sea. There is something so calming about looking out to the water and hearing the seagulls scream.

My Flat Share
Moving back in with your parents might be nice and alright at the beginning. After all, it's quite nice to have someone doing your laundry and cooking food most of the times. But it's so hard for me to fit back in with their rhythm after years living on my own. I really miss having my own little room in our lovely flat share. It wasn't a beautiful flat but I had the nicest flat mates and I really miss them too. I can't wait to start working and moving into my own place soon.

The Weather
Well, this is a bit of an odd one, really. A lot of my time in Malmö I spent complaining about the bloody wind and that it wasn't quite warm enough in summer. Now we have this horrible heat here in Germany and I'm already melting away when I sit still in the shades with basically no clothes on. So all I do now is longing for the fresh breeze and 25 degrees I had back in Malmö. Well, I guess you always want the things you do not have right now.

My Friends
This is an obvious one. Of course, I do miss my friends a lot. I already mentioned the girls from my flat share, but I also miss all the other people I have met in Malmö and that have become my friends. Some of them still live in Malmö, but most have left as well, just like me. They either have gone back to their home countries or have left to study or work somewhere else. It's so weird to imagine Malmö without them. It will definitely feel a lot different when I go back there.

This one is quite similar to my point about coffee. If I would live in a bigger city right now, I probably wouldn't feel this way, but here I am in my small town, dreaming about falafel. Being a vegan in Malmö is so easy and I never really thought much about how it would be when I move back to Germany. When I was in Berlin in June/July, I found so much amazing vegan food, but here in my home town there are not many option. Nearly none actually. I miss being able to get a yummy and cheap falafel or having the option between a multitude of vegan restaurants when eating out.

There are also other things that I'm missing. Like the diversity, all the different cultures and people you can find in Malmö. I also miss the general vibe of the city, with it's many second hand shops, green thinking and alternative people that care about the same kind of things that I care about.

I think it will still take some time for me to fully understand that Malmö is not my home anymore. A part of me still feels like I will move back there in a few days to start my new term at university. I definitely want to go back for a visit, but I don't know how soon I can go as my life is so unpredictable at the moment and I don't know where I'll be in a few months.

What about you? Do or did you live in another country for a while and what are the things that you miss?


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Book Haul | August 2016

I've bought quite a few books lately, so I thought I would share them with you. Most of them are German books but as they're all from English speaking authors, there are existing English translations. Most of the books I've bought at my local library, as they were having a clear out and sold old books for 50 cents or 1 Euro. So of course I had to go for it and I ended up leaving with six new books to add to my overflowing shelfs.

Carlos Eire "Warten auf Schnee in Havanna" (Waiting for Snow in Havana)
This is the true story of Carlos Eire. In 1962, at the age of eleven, he was one of 14,000 children that were airlifted out of Cuba. Leaving his parents behind, he believes he will arrive in paradise, as he only know the US from several tv shows, and he believes he will see his parents again soon. Only later he will realise that through his plane journey to the US he was not actually reaching but leaving paradise. Because he does not only lose the privileged life he had in Cuba, but his father also refuses to come to America with his mother. Although Carlos will meet his mother again a few years later he will never see his father again. The book tells Carlos' story in a new and foreign world and his struggles to forgive his father.

I wanted to read this book for a long time, so when I saw it in my library, on sale for 1 Euro, I couldn't not buy it. I am very excited to read it, although I've heard that it can be hard to get through at times.

Monica Ali "Brick Lane" (Brick Lane)
Nazneen grew up in poor conditions in Bangladesh and is married away at the age of 19 to a man she doesn't even know. Her new husband lives in London, so she has to move there and starts her new life in Brick Lane, the "little India" of London. There she struggles with the new life and simple questions as, how can she cross a road without being hit by a car? As a good Muslim girl, Nazneen struggles to not question why things happen and she submits, as she must, to Fate and devotes herself to her 20 years older husband and daughters. Slowly, with the help of her daughters and through the affair with a young radical, Nazneen starts to leave the predetermined way.

Yet another one I wanted to read for a long time. I remember when it was released and I read some good reviews about it, so I have high hopes for this one.

Helen Fielding "Bridget Jones - Schokolade zum Frühstück" (Bridget Jones's Diary)
This is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.

I think everyone know this book and the films, so there is nothing I can really say about it. I've seen the movies so often that I finally wanted to read the books as well. I actually wanted to read them in English but as I've found them for 1 Euro each at my library, I changed my mind. :)

Helen Fielding "Bridget Jones - Am Rande des Wahnsinns" (Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason)
The Wilderness Years are over! But not for long. At the end of Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget hiccuped off into the sunset with man-of-her-dreams Mark Darcy. Now, in The Edge of Reason, she discovers what it is like when you have the man of your dreams actually in your flat and he hasn't done the washing-up, not just the whole of this week, but ever.

This is the second Bridget Jones book and of course I have to read that one as well.

Henning Mankell "Chronicler of the Winds"
One night José hears gunfire from the deserted theatre next door to his bakery. He races to the theatre's uppermost gallery, and there beneath him on a spotlit stage lies the wounded body of Nelio, a street urchin renowned for living on his wits. Gasping, the wounded boy asks to be taken to the roof to breathe the beautiful air fresh of the Indian Ocean. On that theatre roof, his life ebbing away, Nelio begins to tell José his extraordinary story...

I've read a lot of Mankell's crime stories about Kurt Wallander over the years and they are still some of my favourite crime novels. However, I always wanted to read something else by him, also seeing as he was really engaged in projects in Africa. I really like the sound of this one and it's quite small so I can get through it quickly.

Elizabeth George "Auf Ehre und Gewissen" (Well-Schooled in Murder)
The quiet, confident atmosphere of Bredgar Chambers School is shattered by the discovery of the body of one of its pupils in a country churchyard. Who murdered the brilliant boy and why? How did his body get from the school to the distant churchyard? Why had he lied about his exeat destination? Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Barbara Havers, find their investigations hampered by the code of honour and loyalty that prevail in the old and distinguished public school. But they discover within the confines of that privileged community a culture of cruelty that stretches back across the generations.

A few years ago, I have already read an Inspector Lynley novel by Elizabeth George and I remember liking it a lot. This one sounds very good and I like the critical view of the elite system and the human abyss in society.

Anthony Doerr "All the Light We Cannot See"
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

I heard a lot of good things about this book and it's been on top of my "to read" list for a while now. I am very excited to read this, also because I love novels that are set in or between the wars.

M. L. Stedman "The Light Between Oceans"
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

This book has only been made into a film and it will be released soon. So I want to make sure to read the book first before I might go and see the movie in cinema.

Fredrik Backman "Oma lässt grüßen und sagt, es tut ihr Leid" (My Grandmother sends her Regards and Apologises)
Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.
When Elsa s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

I already enjoyed A Man Called Ove so much, so I had to buy Fredrik Backman's second novel as well. I already started reading it, but it's still too early to say much about it.

I will try and post reviews about all the books as soon as I've read them but it can take me a while I guess.

Have you ever read any of the books mentioned?


Saturday, 20 August 2016

A Man Called Ove

The first time I heard about "A Man Called Ove" was when I still lived in Malmö and I saw the film posters all around town. Then I came home and my mum was reading the book just a few weeks ago. She had borrowed it from a friend and as soon as she had finished it, I started reading it myself and I only stopped when I had to go to work. It quickly has become one of my favourite books and it even challenges Harry Potter. Yes, it is that good!

First of all, on the picture you see the German cover. Of course, I've read it in German and this review refers to the German translation. I can't say anything about the English one but I hope it is as good. I like the German cover better anyway. It looks nearly the same as the original Swedish one, so there you go.

The book is about Ove who has just been sent to early retirement and has to struggle with that change. Every morning at the same time, he goes around in his neighbourhood to check if everything is alright, if there has been a breakin somewhere, and notes down parking offenders in his notebook. Since his beloved wife Sonja died six months ago and he has been sent in retirement, he can't see the meaning of life anymore. Although, he might seem like the muttering old man, behind this attitude you find a big heart and a touching story. When a young family is moving into the house next door and first of all knocks down his letterbox, everything starts to change.

The story is written by Fredrik Backman, a Swedish author who has a brilliant writing style. It doesn't happen very often that I am sad that I can't read a book in its original language. But this time, I would really love to be able to read the book in Swedish. However, the German translation is very good and I enjoyed every single minute of this pageturner. It is written in a different style, but you instantly fall in love with Ove and you just want to know more and more about his life and why he has become the kind of man he is.

The book is never tacky or cheesy and even is funny in its own way. I was often sitting there, laughing because you find so much situational humour between the pages. I especially love that you see everything from Ove's point of view, which is somehow childlike and pure in its own way.

I don't want to tell too much about the story, but I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Now I also want to see the movie, although I don't think it can reach the high level of the book.

Have you ever read "A Man Called Ove"? And if so, what did you think of the book?


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Tangle Teezer Vs. Wet Brush

Well, here I am again, what a rare thing to see these days! I am very sorry for not uploading much recently. I am working full time over the summer, in shift work which is quite exhausting. And added to that, I also don't feel very inspired lately and I'm not even sure if I want to blog anymore. But that's maybe something to touch on in another post. Today, I want to talk about two cult hair brushes and what I think about them.

Around three years ago, I bought my first Tangle Teezer (the grubby one you can see in the picture) and I loved it ever since. I have a lot of hair, but the structure itself is not that thick, which means that my hair tangles very easily. The Tangle Teezer suddenly made it so easy to brush my hair without pulling to hard and hurting my scalp. Of course, I then also needed to purchase the travel version of this brush and I have to say that I don't like that as much. It doesn't feel comfortable and it doesn't glide through my hair as easily and smoothly. But the original one stayed my favourite for a long time. Actually until now, when I discovered something even better.

My Tangle Teezer really has seen its best days and it was time to get a new hair brush. Because I have heard so many things about the Wet Brush, I thought I'd give it a go. I actually found it on a German website for only 8,20 €, instead of the usual 14,95 €, so I was quite pleased about this bargain. Despite the name, I haven't used it on wet hair yet. I generally don't like brushing my hair when it's wet as I then get really awkward waves when it dries. But on dry hair it just works fine. It actually is brilliant. I've never had a hair brush that went through my knotty hair that easily and it leaves it all smooth and shiny. My hair hasn't felt that soft in a very long time.

I totally understand the hype around this hair brush now and I can only recommend to use the Wet Brush. While the Tangle Teezer is still a good hair brush, it is nowhere near as good as the Wet Brush. If you have knotty, tangly hair, then this brush is definitely for you and will make it a lot easier to manage the mop in the morning.

Have you tried both hair brushes and what do you think of them?