Life · Notestoself · Refugees · Woman

Josiane

Josiane is the name of the african girl l met at the train station the yesterday.

We had arrived in the same train it seems and had both got off to change to our next connection. The only difference being l knew my route, was on familiar territory and going about my usual business. she on the other hand was living another episode of her journey to Europe as a refugee.

I am still ashamed of the attitude l displayed in the first 10 minutes of our encounter. See i had not reckoned with the fact she might be a refugee in transit. To me she was just another young african lady going about her business. She had a decent hairstyle, decent dress and a heavy winter jacket, nothing out of the ordinary at a first glimpse.

I caught her eye as l was getting off the train and i gave her my don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, let me be- face, which l usually wear on my way back home from work.

A few seconds later l felt some eyes on me, you know like how your body automatically alerts you if somebody is staring at you. Looking up, i caught her stare and this time even more annoyed i gave her my just because am black doesn’t mean i know you or have to converse with you face. Sad l know, i wasn’t like this when i first moved to Germany. But somehow those ridiculously annoying encounters with my “so called” african brothers who always used that as an excuse to talk to me left their mark.

Anyway, my look did nothing to defer Josiane. To her at that moment l represented hope. She saw in me a similarity, our skin color and for her it was enough to seek my help out. And so even as i muttered underneath my breath, please don’t approach me- she walked hastily over.
Her first words, “French?” only added salt to the injury. I was through the ceiling with anger, “of course, just because am black means l can speak French” l thought.

With a blank stare l said “No, only Ndebele, Shona, English and German.” I thought this was enough for her to leave me to myself and me time. My train rides are reserved for this with priority level one. So yea i was almost exploding.
Just as l was backing away from her, she shoved a bunch of papers into my hands. With such irritation i looked at them, the first two where a connection to some Kamen village, which i had never even heard of before yesterday. She still had two changes ahead of her. I calmed down and explained to her, showed her the platforms and advised her to use time as her guide for her changes. Her last stop, an applied university brought back the friendly me to life. And l warmed up thinking she is here to study. Seconds later the thought made no sense because i asked myself but how will she study here if she speaks no German or English. And so i asked her where she was going. She responded but of course l understood nothing.

So l took out my phone, went to google translate and phrased my question. At this point i would like to give Google a bow, though your app sometimes translates out of the context things, yesterday it saved a life. Josiane and l communicated for the next 2 hours via this app, and am grateful to the mastermind behind.

A few translations later and a shuffle through the pile of papers on my hands. I established that Josiane is from Gabon. She flew to Turkey and from there proceeded to France with a boat and was transferred to Germany from there. She just completed one of these journeys l have been seeing on TV.

One of the papers she had said she has applied for Asylum in Germany and must report at the given address before 20 September. The police had printed this connection for her, bought her a train ticket and put her in the train. Quite a difficult challenge if you ask me, when in her position. No phone, no watch, no language, just some papers in a language you don’t understand and a trip with 3 changes plus a walk to your final address. I couldn’t believe it.

My mind raced to my time as an aupair, where l myself struggled for months. I was going to take here there. It meant another 4 hours for me before i get home but how else was i supposed to let somebody go off just like that. Long story short we made it and l left her there and it was but just another reminder for me that my Life is good. I have nothing to complain about.

Later as l lay in bed, l despised myself for my anti social behaviors, i could have really messed up today.

I pray for the strength to stay humble and be a little more kind, you can never tell a book by its cover and by that l mean i must not judge people at first sight because just like Josiane they maybe in need.

She sent me a french text today and l caught myself rolling my eyes…
I do wish to be kind but so help me God.

Looks like l still have a long way to go.

Life · Notes to self · society · Young adult life

Its not a sprint, but rather a marathon

“it’s not a sprint , but rather a marathon.”

Said a friend to me this morning, and the minute he said it, l knew l had to record these words, repeat them over and  over again, until they were embedded in my very soul.

It was a much needed reminder for each and every one of us as we go along this life. How cool would life be for all of us, if we kept this in mind. Many at times we are kept awake at night, troubled about our lagging progress, worried about how our counterparts seem to be progressing steadily in this race called life, but alas, remember it’s a marathon.

We all have different strengths, different abilities, different lanes and more often different start times. Hence it is important to keep our eyes on the finish line and neither look left nor right, for life is an individual race.

Comparison is a thief of joy! Never make the mistake of comparing yourself, for we are all not the same. We are all destined for different things and the sooner you realize that the better life will be for you.

As for me, l will continue to strive to be

  • patient, gentle and kind to myself
  • not compare myself
  • & be the best person l can be
blogger-de · Blogging · Germanblogger · Notes to self

Blogversary

Exactly a year ago from today l started my Blog and it has been quite a journey.

Why blog?
1. Paper listens. Paper is patient. Paper is dynamic. Paper offers an escape. Hence l always pen my heart out on here.

2. As the very opinionated petty individual that l am, who is always lost in thought, l figured l should let the world into a figment of my mind.

3. Talking to paper is quite therapeutic for me, and if you know me then you know how eventful my life always is. Hence time and again l need to detox.

4. If you have grumpy for a nickname, sharing your opinions will mostly be painted with that brush. Paper on the other hand doesn't stick labels on you.

5. There is just something about words.

How has it been?
When l started l imagined l would write a blog every week. Fast forward to a year later, this will be entry number twenty. I have so much l want to talk about but believe me you l have deleted so many drafts. It is not easy putting yourself and your emotions out there like that. l am not as brave as l thought l am. Maybe l should have gone with ghost mode, but yet again maybe this keeps me human.

How will it be?
We pen on.
There is such power in words and
am proud to be actively part of a generation involved in a dynamic art of writing.

Above all else it is all about the other blogs l come across on a daily basis. My eyes have been opened to a whole new world and day by day l discover just how vast and magnificent this world is through the eyes of other bloggers.

…we pen on!

Friendship · Life · Notes to self

She is!

                      “Just making sure you know when u go back im coming with, 

                                       but I will be kicking and screaming.”

Said her to l

She is one of the persons l am blessed with

But today l want to talk about how she sees me

Where all others are too scared to step up and say something

She will

She will be the one to say, l see you

She will be the one to say, l feel you

Though they may all see me drowning

Though they may all see the light die in my eyes

She will be the one to say, fine then am drowning with

She will be the one to turn her own bright light off and say, fine lets sit in the dark till you can face day. Let me not torment you with my own flame

& sit she will

Be it days or weeks

Never failing

Never tiring

Never nagging

Never complaining

& sit we will till my shadow has passed

& sit we will till l can face daylight again

On those dark days where l have been failed by own strength

When l have reached my limit

When l tell them l have not left the house in 3 days

When they will continue with the conversation like l said nothing

Either not hearing my cry for help or simply overwhelmed by the weight am putting on their already burdened plates

She, hears me

No matter how faint the whisper

She picks it up

She may not make a sound

But in that silence

She moves and holds me

l see you, she says

I feel your pain, she laments

Hold on, she says

For we are in this together

& she stays

& she holds my hand

Till the morning has broken
When its now so deep you begin to question lf you are gay

Just because she is consistent

Every Single Time

Roller coaster after roller coaster she cruises, if l were to tell you of the things we have lived through

When the going gets tough she will let me take life decisions for her and she for l.

Did l tell you at some point l am going to mother her child

Yea, its that deep



Flashbacks

That day when we sat in a room amock with clutter everywhere and she only could take back 30kg of her her German life with her. When after 5 Rounds of packing, sorting and throwing away stuff. She walked out, blinded by tears, and left me to do it

That moment was life defining for me. She found the cases closed and took them like that. Thats how much she entrusted me with her life

You have to be a woman first to understand how deep this is, to let someone pack your suitcase for you for a one way journey, with no return.

Flashback
Oh we have done it all. We have had the most. Partied like Kings. With no cent to our names. Karioked like pope stars with our frog voices. Oh yes and all that too… Trotted around the globe with our non existent budget

You have not known life lf you have not cried simultaneously over miles

Only because the other is bereaved

You have not known life lf you haven’t woken up with a lump in your throat and a giddy feeling in your stomach, only to find out the other person is in distress

You have not known life lf you haven’t discovered telepathy
Surely we live among angels

How can one person always see you

How can one person always be there

Consistently

How can one person always look over your flaws

& love you irregardless of them

How can one person be bold enough to say that which shakes the hinges of friendship and never doubt the power of the pillars that hold them

How can one person never get tired

How can one person never give up on you

How can one person hold the strength of a thousand man

They may all be amazing, but surely there is a Usain Bolt in your turf

I am convinced that God sent us all down with our guardian angels, each and every one of us

No words can ever describe how l feel
…when u go back im coming with...”

blogger-de · Germanblogger · Germany · Racism

Schwarz sein in Deutschland (Being Black in Germany: German Version)

Rasse ist ein sehr sensibles Thema, welches die Menschen oft  vorsichtig und verunsichert reagieren lässt. Aber dennoch müssen wir unbedingt darüber reden!

Ganz oft habe ich versucht, meine Gefühle zu diesem Thema zu äußern, aber die Angst vor kontroversen Reaktionen der Menschen hat mich meist zurückgehalten.

Aber heute, nachdem ich mich im Zug auf einen freien Sitzplatz schräg gegenüber einer älteren Dame hinsetzte, und Sie unmittelbar aufstand, um sich für den Rest der 40min Fahrt lieber zu den Fahrrädern hockte, wurde wieder mal etwas in mir berührt.

Einen Moment dachte ich, einfach weg zugehen. Dann überlegte ich Sie anzusprechen.

Hab ich Sie erschreckt?

Hab ich üblen Körpergeruch vom einen langenTag?

Mag Sie Ausländer nicht?

Oder vielleicht wollte Sie nur alleine Sitzen, warum auch immer.

Genau in diesem Moment, wusste ich, dass dieser Blog ist überfällig.

Schauen wir zurück in die Zeit wo ich mich entschieden habe nach Deutschland zu gehen. In meiner Heimat, verbindet man Deutschland unweigerlich mit der Nazi Geschichte. Umso erstaunter waren meine Mitmenschen über meinen Plan in dieses Land zu gehen.

Ganz ehrlich, mich hat diese Tatsache nicht davon abgehalten in Deutschland zu leben und tut es immer noch nicht. Von außen werden die Deutschen nach ihren ernsten Gesichtern und ihrer korrekten Arbeitsweise beurteilt. Sobald man Sie kennengelernt hat, sind Sie eigentlich auch ohne viel lächeln warmherzige Menschen.

Überall auf der Welt wird es immer  Rassismus, Vorurteile und Diskriminierung von Minderheiten geben, da es immer Fremdheit und Unverständnis geben wird.

Aber ich sehe auch, dass Rassismus gegenüber Farbigen hier in Deutschland anders ist als der Rassismus in Amerika, wo die Polizei uns mit Aufnahmen von Körper-Kameras oder Dashboard-Kameras ständig erschreckt und präsent ist. Hier in Deutschland  kommt mir Rassismus schleichend und unauffällig leiser entgegen.

Viele meiner deutschen Freunde sind ausdrücklich schockiert wenn ich so Etwas sage. Aber ich sag euch, egal ob Sie es glauben oder nicht, Rassismus ist überall.  Man muss erst diskriminiert werden, um es zu spüren und es zu verstehen:

Fahre im Bus oder  Zug und du wirst immer als Erste von der Polizei kontrolliert werden, egal wo du sitzt.

Erlebe eine Fahrkartenkontrolle und du wirst immer im Gesicht des Kontrolleurs die Erwartung sehen: Sie hat keine Fahrkarte.

Setz dich irgendwohin zu anderen Menschen und du wirst erleben wie Sie plötzlich aufstehen, dumme Äußerungen machen und durch ihre Körpersprache wie Beine kreuzen oder Rücken zuwenden deutlich machen, das du nicht willkommen bist.

Besuche ein angesehenes Geschäft und du kannst sicher sein plötzlich und ungefragt einen ständigen Begleiter aus dem Sicherheitsbereich neben dir zu haben.

Checke nach einer Reservierung in einem besseren Hotel ein, und du wirst mit ziemlicher Sicherheit wiederholt nach deiner tatsächlichen Identität gefragt werden.

Try it, try…. Try …..try….

Wir alle behandeln andere Menschen rassistisch- oft ohne es zu bemerken. Ich auch.

Mit dem was mir begegnet, habe ich meinen persönlichen Weg gefunden damit umzugehen. Ich versuche so unauffällig wie möglich aufzutreten und keine Aufmerksamkeit zu erregen. Trete ich aus dem Haus, nehme ich die Rolle einer Schauspielerin ein. Ich mache es Harry Potter nach, ziehe eine Decke über den Kopf und wandle unsichtbar wie ein Geist durch den Tag.

Deshalb ganz wichtig: mein Motto, wenn in Rom, tue wie die Römer.

Manchmal frage ich mich, ob der lautstarke Rassismus im Vergleich zu dieser subtilen stillen Art leichter zu ertragen ist. Aber das ist eine Frage für einen anderen Tag,  und einen anderen Blog,

Für Heute, soviel zu meinem Leben als Schwarze in Deutschland.

blogger-de · Germany · happiness · Life · Notes to self

Being Grateful

My last week has been one of those filled with moments that allowed me to slow down, ponder for a bit and put things into perspective.

Gosh we have to be grateful!

So it all started as l was taking a walk down by the Dublin canal. Being the hopeless romantic that l am, l am a sucker for such tranquil moments. And it was during such a moment as l basked on a bench, coffee in one hand, watching the people go about their busines, that l had a serious flashback.

Suddenly l was in my room, in our four roomed house in Nkulumane, a location in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Perched on my bed with my diary in one hand and a book l had just finished reading next to me on the bed. l cant remember which one as such because l read anything and everything l could get my hands on back then, lf only my diary had survived l would have checked my read list. But thats a story for another day.

Anyway l suddenly remembered how at that point, studying abroad, going for adventures in different countries, having the luxury to sit on a bench and watch people or read a book, cycling through a forest, going for jogs, participating in color runs or marathons, indulging in healthy diets, having my own unshared space, etc. The list is endless. All these things used to be but just a dream at some point in my life. They used to be things l desired and which l wished to grow into.
Fast forward to ten fifteen years later, and here l am. l have all of that and more. But why then am l so miserable. Complaining about the weather, no sleep, the food, being overworked, etc. Like really though. 

I think at times, we as humans are responsible for our misery with our unending hunger. It is wonderful to aim higher, It is important to tap into ones potential until we have exhausted our limits, but let us not let that keep us from being grateful. 

Because each time we achieve a step, our eyes automatically look higher and we begin yet again to ascend to that which we have seen beyond. But let it not keep us from being grateful for what we have achieved. 

l choose to be grateful, yes l am only human l will always complain, but looking down the road l have come. l should take several seats, stop making much ado about nothing, let go and let God.

Life · Notes to self · Young adult life

Time will set you free.

 

Time will always eventually run out!

When you have been patient enough, but waited in vain.

When you had hoped, but unfortunately in vain.

When you have tried, but to no avail.

All the sleepless nights.

All the shattered dreams.

The troubled mind.

The misery of it all.

At last the time is up.

I can be content knowing, l tried, l fought, l waited, l was patient.

Time can finally set me free.

Notes to self

Silence

 I have a renewed affection for this word. Silence. 

As the year broke, the older me did not reach for journals for the usual resolutions. As much as l love writing, planning and dreaming, this year l just let go.

However here we are eleven days into the year and l have caught myself acting differently. It’s like l have this new attitude to life and l am finally presenting myself in a way l have always desired. 

Silence at last. 

Last year was such a noisy,busy and hectic year. So much was happening simultaneously. I revisited old paths, hoping to take that satisfactory walk they once offered. It didn’t work, those similar curves and views only drained me more. 

I ventured onto new ones, and was thrilled from the taste of something new, something different, something alien. But just like anything new the unknown corners trip me and keep me guessing.

When l was young, l was always so fascinated by those quiet girls. Those capable of going through the day with only nods and grimaces. To this day l always play a game with myself when l meet new people. I always try and act the queit girl who has not much to say to see how long l can keep up the act, but alas l always catch myself being my talkative bubbly self, interrogating the people with unending questions and going on and on about the world. Gosh how annoying l must be.

Anyway finally this year l find myself in the much desired silence. I guess it was not the queit character l yearned for, but inner peace, tranquil and silence.

Nowadays l enjoy nothing more like my company. Am at piece with me myself and l. I am learning to improve myself and work on my dreams behind those closed doors. I am learning to separate myself from the unnecessary noise and drama. Am learning to appreciate those few good friends l have. I am learning to separate myself from toxic environments, because at the end of the day it’s unnecessary 

blogger-de · Düsseldorf · Germany · lifestyle blogger · society

#Thosehands

l do not know how to talk about this without coming off as arrogant and highly opinionated. But then again this is me and l cannot hold silence anymore.

The issue at hand is of the hands of my fellow Africans, specifically those from this one particular country in the West. *Big sigh

I need answers guys. Those hands speak volumes. What are they subjected to that hardens their hands to that extent? Maybe let me put a little disclaimer upfront for my sensitive folk, ´not all of them okay, just a few individuals here and there´.

Its as if they are made to grow up digging graves with their bare hands l swear.

Growing up in Zimbabwe, l did a lot of manual work too, and l definitely knew the contrast between my hands and those of a higher class child who did not do much work. I also knew my place in comparison to that village child who had to labor from sunrise to sunset. But alas, these hands are on another level.

Most at times l will be in the train minding my own business when my fellow brother or sister from another mother takes a sit across me, and believe me not, those hands are always the first thing l notice. Sometimes, they are so dry l almost want to reach for my hand-cream and offer it to them, but then again the thought of being embarrassed or put in my place as a miss too goody two shoes restrains me. On one particular day it happened when l was with my friend, and astonishingly enough when we left the tram,the first words we exchanged were, “did you see those hands?”

Gosh l need answers, somebody, anybody, please!!!

What is the story behind?

l need answers.

blogger-de · Germanblogger · Germany · happiness · Libra · Life

Life as a Coffeeholic

Hello, my name is Cleo and l am a coffeeholic.

Caffeine completes me l swear.

Today l experienced that Aha moment, not that l did not know this already, but today was just special.

Being a lover of my own company l spent half of the day in bed with my kindle. I only stood up once for a cup of tea and a sandwich. Around five however, l suddenly remembered the shops were about to close and l still needed extensions fr my hair. So in the shower l hopped, slipped on my comfy leggings a blouse and my all-weather sweater.

PS* you need one believe me if you live under the German weather. Mine is an olive-green, neutral all-rounder color, suitable for all seasons. Light enough fr me to cope when its warm and warm enough for when the going gets cold.

Anyway, back to my coffee moment.

l made it to the city in thirty minutes max, got the extensions and fell victim as always to the Zara and H&M sale signs. Having spent a few bucks on some skinny jeans, one can never have enough of those now can they, l was ready to hit home.

It was at this moment that l spotted Backwerk across the street and remembered l had not had my coffee cut for the day. The minutes which then followed were bliss l swear.

Coffee in one hand, wind blowing through my hair, sun on my face. Gosh life has never been so perfect as that moment. Suddenly l swapped my resting bitch face with a big bright smile.  A spring came to my step and l was so happy.

This is the exact feeling l get when l sit at Starbucks, and take a sip on my coffee. Occasionally my eyes will close and l just linger on that high. l don’t mind the price, l am willing to fork out all my hard-earned cash for that Starbucks moment, and indeed l do.

Same feeling l get from that first cup at the train station while waiting for my connection. The world immediately goes still l swear, and for those few minutes l am at my happiest.

I don’t care if it is insane, l dont care if it is an addiction that has me licking out of the palms of its hands. I just know that l love my coffee.

attacks · blogger-de · Düsseldorf · Germany · Life · Notestoself

When it hits close to home

It is now way after midday, but l am still in bed trying to find the strength to get up and face the day. It has been a rough night. Between my insomnia, upcoming exams and horrendous events of yesterday, l am totally drained.

  1. Yesterday night, a man randomly attacked people with an axe at Düsseldorf central station. Am always there, always. It is by the grace of God that my friends and l were not there yesterday.
  2. The 19-year-old who killed a 9 yr old on Monday evening, by stabbing him 40 times, finally apprehended himself to the police yesterday after having killed another 2 victims. The audio tape he released on the Darknet after killing the boy was on Facebook yesterday, and my gut went cold listening to it.

When it hits close to home, you cant help but ponder. It is different when you watch it on the news, when it happens on your turf, on the streets you know so well, on the platforms you walk on day in day out, it suddenly becomes real.

It is a crazy world we live in, it scares the s*** out of me when l think of the people you rub shoulders with on a daily basis out there. They could be anything. They could be the next victim me included.

Nonetheless the sun will always rise.

So, when it hits close to home, take cover, recoup, re- strategize and go after life twice as hard. For you cannot let them win.

Good will always triumph over evil.