New beginnings

Today, we helped a close friend move out of the home she had shared with her boyfriend of 12 years. It was sad, very sad. Love can end so quickly and cause so much pain … but then, on the way back home, I found this, lying there right on the street, as if waiting for me to pick it up:

There is always love.

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List No. 5: Places I have been

(I’m taking this cue from Katie at Cakes, Tea and Dreams!)

1. Warwick, United Kingdom. I spent a year studying at Warwick University during my undergraduate studies. It was one of the best years of my life, and I still cherish the friendships that developed back then. We lived with six girls in one apartment on Campus, Hurst 35F, three Brits with roots in Jamaica, Kashmir and China, one French girl, one Italian, and me. It was awesome. (This is somewhat of a stand-inĀ  for all those other places in the UK Itravelled to and loved, like London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Bath etc. – there is something about the English that makes me go back again and again.)

2. Republic of Ireland. I always thought I’d live there at some point; it was my dream place for a long time. I’ve lived and worked in Dublin for a while, which was fantastic, and I’ve travelled all along the coast. It is one of the most hospitable, picturesque, *true* places I have ever been.

3. Derry and Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is where my interest in Peace and Conflict Studies started. I was there for the parades, I saw burned down stores, the soldiers and police, stone-throwing, the lot.

4. Israel. Where do I begin? Tel Aviv, that city on the Mediterranean which makes you forget all about the conflict and just enjoy your life? Jerusalem, with its rich history, spirituality, conflict and diversity? Masada with its ancient ruins? Lake Kinneret with its oasis-like beauty? Galilee with its lush forests and green hills? The Negev with its heat and desert, riding camels in absolute stillness? The West Bank with its immensely hospitable people despite their obvious poverty and signs of the conflict everyhwere? The checkpoints, the weapons, the settlers, the wall? I really don’t know.

5. France. My parents took me and my sister all over France. I am almost certain that I have seen every French castle there is. My favourite places are Normandy, Brittany and Paris, where we spent our honeymoon, .

6. Milano, Turino and Bologna, Italy. I have never understood the Germans obsession with Italy, until I went there myself. It is positively gorgeous.

7. Tunis, Tunisia. This is where I fell in love with the southern border of the Mediterranean. I was only 12 years old or so, but I was immensely impressed with its white houses, colourful flora, and oriental way of living.

8. Vis, Croatia. Meant to be a quick summer get-away, it became one of our best and most relaxed holidays. They have water as clear as you’ll ever see; you could watch the fish swim a couple of meters down. Beautiful.

9. New York City. I went there for the first time to spend New Year’s Eve with a friend who is now my husband. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

10. Toronto, Canada. One of the most relaxed and welcoming cities I know.

This is in no way comprehensive, but those come to my mind first, when I think about travelling…

Coming next: List No. 5: Places I want to go.

In the last 8 days

I spent much quality time with far-away family,

I saw my boy celebrate carnival (in a full-body crocodile costume) for the first time,

I helped my girl through her first major cold,

I saw Dave Matthews Band live with my love,

I reconnected with five long-time friends,

I visited my oldest friend’s new home (they just moved their two people-two horses-two cats-one dog-household to an old farm),

I ate delicious home-cooked meals,

I stopped eating sweets (for lent),

I received two job offers,

and I did not sleep enough.

How about you?

List No. 4 – Songs that I cannot bear listening to. ever. again.

I have been travelling a little bit – which is always a bit of an adventure with two little ones. Hence the lateness. We are safely back home though, and I’m planning to get back in my photographing, writing and blogging routine now.

1. The Final Countdown by Europe. You will see me jump over furniture to turn off any device blaring this one out. Brrr.

2. I Can’t Dance by Genesis. Sorry guys, but OMG! You suck!!!

3. Macarena by Los del Rio. Do I even need to explain that?

4. Hold the Line by Toto. My hubs likes it, my toenails curl when I hear it. Talk about opposites attracting.

5. It’s My Life by Dr. Alban. Teen trespassing, over now. Same goes for

6. Pump up the Jam by Technotronic.

7. Two Princes by the Spin Doctors. Most annoying song ever.

There are many more, but I am trying so hard to eliminate them from my memory that I can’t come up with their names right now. Lucky you! I bet I have given you numerous ear worms already …