Mittwoch, 27. August 2014

White Torture.



Have you heard of the White Room Torture? It is a type of psychological torture that includes extreme sensory deprivation and isolation and as a result, the detainee loses his/her personal identity.
 "We didn't see any color, all of the cell was white, the floor was white, our clothes were white and also the light, 24 hours, was white. Our food, also, was white rice [...] We couldn't see any color and we couldn't hear any voices [...] after those months I couldn't remember my father and my mother's face"  (read more about it here.)
Isolation is the worst torture of all. And as a girl whose brain is working over time, I can honestly say: being alone with your thoughts can sometimes be motherbleeping scary.

But white torture isn't a thing only prisoners have to deal with. In our everyday life there are forms of white torture. Of course there not as extreme, but I'm sure they still leave a lot of damage.

The best example is bullying. And I'm not talking about bullies who hit kids in the stomach to get the lunch money (the kind of broad shouldered giants which hollywood films advertise). I'm talking about a form of "white bullying" that back in my school days was very commun among everyone in class:
Absolute Indifference.
In school, the victims were basically ignored every day. The other kids didn't talk to them, they didn't invite them to birthday parties, they "forgot" to vote them in their team, etc. They simply didn't care at all. Being badmouthed and physically abused is one thing, but being absolutely not cared about is a whole new level of torture. I'm pretty damn sure it left a deeper wound than a hit, kick or cut. Psychological damage can't be repared easily with a bandaid... And it can be the trigger for insecurities and social anxiety.

I have to admit that I never considered myself a bully nor a victim until realising that not engaging is just as bad as being a bully and worse for future victims, because no one stands their ground for the next person.

But if you think it stops at school, you are really naive. Looking around in my everyday life it became more and more clear that we don't engage when people are in need of our help. We need to prevent injustice. And as much as we like to think that of course, we'll help in case of an emergency, there's a great chance that we'll look away, eventhough we know what's right and wrong.

 
Helping out a beat-up woman after the aftermath of domestic violence?


I've been watching an tv series lately called "What would you do?" where actors perform a certain situation where someone gets treated with injustice and with hidden cameras they try to find out who of the people around, gets up and helps the victim.
The situations vary from racial, social, gender or religious inequality to re-enacted news scandals such as drunken doctors off to surgery or domestic violence.

In some episodes my heart gets warmed up when people speak up or diffuse the situation, when they take all their courage and offer comfort or protect the victim.
But in other cases it is shocking to see when no one cares or doesn't want to get involved.

Girl gets abducted in broad daylight. Will people help her?

They explain that they don't know how to react, what to say or do instead they rather leave the scene.
Or what is even scarier when they side with the bad guy...

For example when faced with racism or homosexuality, older folks tend to agree with the bad guy who's openly discriminating his co-actor, because they still believe in their worn-out morals and social standards. (Just to clarify: this is not the norm, there are very lovely older people.)

And the absolute low point is reached when the producers change a tiny detail of the scene and the outcome is absolutely different:

In one episode the actors played a couple on their first date. When she leaves for the bathroom, he puts something in her drink. At first, you are happy to see that pretty much everyone reacts to this and help the girl out. But when they change her appearance, making her seem a little more slutty, their guardian angels disappear also. They stay silent when she takes a sip, they pretend to not hear something when she complains to feel funny. They let her walk out of the door with the potential rapist.

The same phenomenon can be found in different acted out scenes: When two actors played a couple where the boyfriend is obviously violent, the people stepped in as long as she was dressed "appropriately". After changing her dress, they even badmouthed her calling her a whore and him her pimp or saying she probably deserved this kind of treatment.



It was ridiculous how easy the bad guy got away with it and so scary to watch that no one cared. It made me cry.

I cannot say for myself that I'd do every single one of these situations right maybe I've already failed some of them without even noticing because we walk very ignorant through this world. But it would mean the world to me if this post could reach at least a few people waking them up out of their slumber and walk around a little more aware of the others, of danger and how to handle both of it.

Think of your loved ones, you wouldn't want them to be hurt.

I don't care if all you can do, is call the police, just do it.

Make your Mama proud, show moral courage.

 



Freitag, 15. August 2014

College Humour


Whenever I return home (from study town to home town), I realise how blessed I was and am right now.
 Semestre break is like a vacation. I get pampered and loved and cared about. Hugged and kissed.
It's like in a five-star hotel, but I'm the only guest and it feels luxurious in more heartfelt way. There might not be modern furniture, room service and a maid who's cleaning up after you, but as a student you'll come to realise a whole new kind of luxury:


Starting with the absolute basic stuff:
The toilet paper. is. never. empty. NEVER!
You don't know how special this is. I mean, I don't have to carry the fucking toilet paper around town to be awkwardly stared at by people who suddenly seem like they never took a poop in their life before. (Maybe that's why they walk around so stiff...) Well, newsflash people: everybody poops. Get over it.

But it's getting more ridiculous:

Doing the laundry: When I still lived at home, it always was a pain in the arse to wash my clothes because it was "too much work". Boy, was I a fool... I didn't even know how much work it can get.
Living on my own opened my eyes how annoying it is when you have to pay every time to get some laundry done and when you have to hang up every stupid piece of clothing you own. Or when you share the stupid washing machine with 12 others. And these guys know exactly when you want to wash and block the machine with their stuff (especially when you have only one clean shirt left... They just know. When that time comes, they feel it tingling in their bellybuttons.).
Now that I'm currently back at my parents I get exhilarated only by the thought of a free washing mashine and a freaking laundry dryer. The push of two buttons and all clean. Bada-Boom! Done.


Next to cleaning your clothes, comes cleaning your body and that's where the spa-effect kicks in:
Waiting for you at home is the bath tub. Nothing against a good shower, but a bath tub has what it takes to finally relax all your muscles and clean the dirty basterd you are at the same time. I sure did miss these lovely curves. But we are reunited again and I'm filling this badboy up right now by the way.



Loyal bed. There never has been a truer friend than that simple mattress which is for more than 10 years now perfectly matched to your back. And in my case two little fur balls lie all curled up in it. Don't underestimate the massaging effect of a purring cushion.

 

Oh and the food! Never forget the food! Nothing beats a home cooked meal. Huge plates like roast or a fish course or [Insert food you wouldn't normally make for yourself] magically appear!
And speaking of food, I'm hungry right now, so I just go down, open the fridge and it's filled with all kinds of goodies! So I just take out whatever I like and it refills like magic! (If there was someday a Zombie apocalypse we could survive a long time without leaving the house.)
Remember that poor student-single life where you look in the fridge and you're more likely to find your shoes in there than literally anything edible? Well, at home there is no such thing. I'm serious, our fridge is never empty. But not only the fridge. Looking around in the kitchen makes you really want to cook something and I'm definitely not the type of girl who likes to cook. But when there are garlic and onions and herbs like basil and parsley around, it creates this unbelievably amazing aromatic smell! It just makes you wanna be a chief cook! And the whole week when my parents were at work I cooked.Yes, you could say I'm a regular Martha Stewart now.
I'm surprised at myself. It's like I have all these ingredients and I just want to put them together like:
Puff! Voilà and now eat up! I can't really explain it to myself, but it seems my one true love(= food) and I have reached a new level of intimacy.


  This is my meal of the day:
1) Main course:
Noodles with broccoli and minced meat with a Yogurt sauce.
  1. Boil your favourite kind of noodles in a pot with salted water.
  2. Rinse the broccoli shortly and cut it in little pieces. In the last 5 minutes before the noodles are done, add the broccoli florets into the pot to shortly boil them.
  3. Fry the minced meat in a frying pan and season the meat with salt and pepper(+ paprika powder if you like it.)
  4. Mix Yogurt with any seasoning you like: I did make a mixture of garlic, salt, pepper, paprika powder and a herb mix of oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, basil.
  5. Strain the noodles with the broccoli and put them on a plate. Place the meat over the noodles and broccoli and finally pour the Yogurt sauce over it all.

2) Dessert:
One huge+thick Banana-Pancake with blackberry/brambleberry marmelade and chocolate sauce.
  • For the marmelade: 
    1. You take about 250g of any kind of fruit you like, in my case blackberries, wash them properly and put half of them in a mixer to really squeeze them into a smoothie-like consistency (if it's not fluid enough, add a little bit of water).The other half you slice into little pieces.
    2. Mix the "smoothie" with gelling sugar (3:1) and stir for a few minutes and let it sink in for about 30 Minutes.
    3.  Put the mixture in a pot, together with the rest of the sliced fruit and heat it up under constant stiring. 
    4. Let it boil on its own for about 5 minutes and then fill it up in a heat resistant container to cool down.
  • For the Banana-Pancakes:
    1. Take two Bananas and slice them up. 
    2. Add two eggs and mix the mixture together until it's really smooth (I put it all in a mixer, it's faster.)
    3. Fry your Pancakes in a frying pan.
      (I didn't have luck with turning the pancakes and I burned every single one of them..., so I decided to fill the rest of the mixture in a microwave-proof bowl and put it in the microwave for about 3 Minutes to really heat through the whole thing. I ended up with a funny-looking-one-piece-huge-pancake. It tastes great though.)
    • Garnish the Pancakes with your marmelade. (I heated up some Nutella and poured it over the pancakes, but that's not really necessary, I just have a sweet tooth for chocolate!)

Fancy meal for such a non-fancy occasion. And when you think about it: pretty healthy, too. (Btw: Exchange the Pancakes for Panacotta and you got yourself some really depression-food.)
I don't really know what's wrong with me. Maybe Martha Stewart really took possession of my body...?
Whatever I felt like commemorating this meal, because I never cook. Have fun and hopefully everyone enjoys their semestre break as I do!

Looking back at the start, I really feel spoiled. Sorry?


Dienstag, 12. August 2014

Zeitgeist: Tribute to Robin Williams


Robin Williams died on the 11th of August 2014. He was an all over extraordinary and improvisational talent and it's really sad that he died. I feel like a lot of comedians are so funny on the outside that their dark side is not far behind.Williams suffered from depression and was an alcoholic and apparently committed suicide.

But there is so much better things to remember him for than this death [click here]:

This is a tribute to a man who made me laugh as Mrs. Doubtfire
and made me think with the Dead Poet Society.


We could learn a lot from him: 

Starting every day bright and early with a "Good morning, Vietnaaaam!". Life is the longest game of Jumanji you'll ever be playing. So don't take life too seriously and stay a child like Peter Pan. Carpe Diem, Carpe Dentus (seize the day and the teeth)and do something extraordinary with your life before saying goodbye to all your loved ones with "Oh Capt'n, my Captain!".

You'll have bad times, but it'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to.
- Good Will Hunting, 1997

We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
- Dead Poets Society, 1989

To live would be an awfully big adventure.
- Hook, 1991

I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.
- World's Greatest Dad, 2009


May he rest in peace.


Samstag, 9. August 2014

Zeitgeist 2


© Aaron Favila/AP/dpa
1) Ramadan: From the 28th of June until the 28th of July Muslims all around the world started fasting. While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations. For one whole month Muslims all around the globe follow these rules.
For me, this is self-inflicted torture, but I guess I'm just a spoiled Christian girl.
But there is more to Ramadan: In some interpretations Muslims also refrain from other behavior which could be perceived as sinful such as swearing, engaging in disagreements, backbiting and procrastination.
One month without swearing, fighting or badmouthing that would be a Ramadan Challenge I'd be willing to take. Another useful Ramadan idea would be to stop complaining for a whole month. Or instead of stopping something from happening, why don't we start something instead? Why not saying Yes to everything for a whole month (Just like in the movie the Yes-Man with Jim Carrey: Watch the Trailer to know what I'm talking about)?


Eating at sundown © Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images

 2) Gay Pride! There are so many Gay Pride Parades all around the world and I can only say how supportive I feel for these people. I'm not gay, but if I'd get the chance, I'd march with them! 
Unite for Love! Unite for Equality! Happy Gay Pride, everyone!  
Backstage at the performance of the travesty group The Cockettes (1971, New York)© Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos/Agentur Focus

3) The Ebola virus still rages in West Africa and claims more and more victims every day. Now the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the spread of the virus an international health emergency because according to the WHO's director-general Margaret Chan "the outbreak is moving faster than we can control it". People all around the world fear the spreading of the virus, especially an outbreak in India seems possible since three cases of the Ebola virus have been detected there.
Ebola has no proven cures and there is no vaccine to prevent infection, so the only treatment focuses on isolation and alleviating symptoms such as fever, vomiting and diarrhoea (all of which can contribute to severe dehydration). But the West African countries mostly lack in financial and material resources to provide enough clean water and medical treatment. But the problem with the virus runs deeper: Locals mistrust the doctors because they wear full gear of protective clothing when treating a patient and some locals believe that the doctors brought the disease over the people. Furthermore, the medical centers are already filled to full capacity and can hardly take any more patients in. If a patient dies, it is costumary in West Africa to kiss and hug the deceased and bury him inside the village. This tradition results in a high risk of spreading the virus by polluting the soil and groundwater. As a precaution the relatives get the dead bodies of their loved ones only welded shut in plastic bags back in order to prevent further infections. However, this measure contradicts with the burial rituals leading to more mistrust and discontent. (Image:  © Thomas Strecker)





4) The Gaza conflict has been going on for too long. And to me it seems like no one really knows anymore what it was all about. I'm trying to do my best to explain and help your memory a little.
But there are two sides to every story. 
 

Palestine:                                                              Israel:
Israelis illegal settlements (3:03):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sib5HbdEV4
 
America„helping“ by giving arms to Israel (3:14):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLcWaty9osg

Full History of Israel offering peace and Arabs and Palestine not accepting it (11:36):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZY8m0cm1oY


The 10 misconceptions about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict(5:45):                                                                                                     


To sum this up (I hope I understood this right): 
Palestine and Israel fight over a piece of land (of about the size of El Savador) which was actually divided equally into two states (the Jewish State and the Palestine State) for them to live in. But Palestine did not accept this solution believing that the Israeli steal parts of their Palestine State away and attacked with the help of other Arab states. Israel on the other hand offered Palestine several times more land in exchange for peace, but negotiations failed. The Hamas, a Palestinian Terror Organisation, fights against Israel by firing rockets against Israeli civilians. Israel, now supported by the USA, fights back by causing collateral damage on the Palestinian side and builds illegal settlements in order to annex the Palestine territory.
The hate runs deep between the two countries and it is very questionable if a peaceful co-existing is possible between these two. On the one hand Palestine should accept the Jewish state and be happy with what they get. On the other hand Israel is not as innocent as American media likes to portray them. They have arms and supplies. They aren't refugees like the Palestines.

So after reading and listening, don't forget to form your own opinion. But please do me a final favor and watch the following video to remind you that there is not one bad guy. The lives of so many innocent people are on the line here:

 

At the end of the day, all the people really want is peace.


5) On a little lighter note: When I watched The Nanny the other day, I realised that even though it is supposed to be a kids show, there are a hell of a lot sexual innuendos. As I kid I never realised it, I put it off as a joke I simply did not get. But now... wow. okay. That my parents even let me watch this!
I mean it is not surprising that when you grow up, certain things finally make sense. But sometimes you like the bubble you lived in as a child and the internet just ruins you. On the other hand it makes you realise how much you took in as child, how innocent you thought of certain things... And how harshly reality was reflected and you understood at least the basic morals of the story and life lessons they tried to teach you. (For example the movie the Lion King. Every kid understood the intrigue behind the murder of Mufasa, but did anyone at the age of 5 to 8 actually realise how traumatic this experience was for Simba? Or let's take the kids show Hey, Arnold for example. You obviously did get that Helga's mother was always neglecting her child but did you get that she was an alcoholic?(More Totally Messed Up Cartoons)

And while I was ruining my childhood anyway, I started looking a little further into this topic and it opened up really freaky stories: 
Things I loved like mood rings can actually kill you, because one of its color changing ingredients is liquid crystal, a substance that contains toxic mercury and arsen... Great toy for little kids...
Other than that did you know that the ten year old Judith Barsi, the cartoon voice of the little "ducky" in the movie Land before Time was murdered by her own father? 
And to finish you and your childhood off, read up here on the original stories behind our favourite disney movies. You only get how people entertained themselves before there was the internet and TV, when you know what bad time stories were like back then.

6) To end this post, I'll recommend watching this video:

It will open your eyes.



So, what's new with you?

Freitag, 8. August 2014

Stray Cat in VENICE



When I wrote my blogpost about Venice (Interrail), I got a little sentimental because I had already been to Venice, Italy, on my school trip with our art class in October of 2011.

We entered the city via motorboat and it was amazing. You felt like a king or queen making an entrance at the ball. But at the same time, it was windy and water-hopping is really fun! Back then we were forced to go to a lot of Art museums and exhibitions which was a little tiring, on Interrail we pretty much just did what we wanted to do. Either way you get pretty much around.


Trivia about Venice:
  • Around the Rialto Bridge and Piazza de San Marco, everything is very expensive and touristic. Especially Ice Cream is extremely pricey in Venice.
  • Local supermarkets have a normal price range: "Billa"
  • Biennale de Venezia : every two years there's a major contemporary art exhibition
  • Gondola ride costs a lot (80+ €): share a gondola with more people to split the bill or just take the vaporettos (water buses that zig-zag over the Grand Canal; 1h for 7€ per person) or traghetti (a gondola-like ferry that brings you to the other side. As a tourist, you'll be expected to pay €2 (resident rate: 70 cents). But it's still cheaper than a gondola ride.
  • When taking the traghetto, please remember: only tourists sit down, try to stand up during the crossing (Only if you feel brave enough!)
 __________________________________________________________

When I was in Venice a second time I realised:
You grow with every travel, but not only you, the world around you changes as well.
So don't expect to find the same excitement when you visit the same place twice.
You won't recognize it the way you did back then. But that's okay.
 Open your eyes and heart to the new things and keep the old memories in your heart:

When you're there, you can breathe in the smell of salt water and feel the wind on my skin blowing through your hair.



Venice by night (Foto by K. Skutta)

The only animal you'll see in Venice (Foto by K. Skutta)


 

The water is the master here.


There's no other city like Venice where the time seems to stand still and all worries seems to float away. 
Art is captured forever in the eternal beauty of the city itself.


The people are missing the plants and flowers. That's why they plant them on their houses.

On Burano, an island in the Venetian lagoon, they impress with their colourful painted houses.
Murano, another Venetian island, is famous for its glass making.
 



Venice is beautiful, there's no doubt about that. But after a while of walking around, seeing everything, you realise:

1) I wouldn't want to live there because to me it will always be an artificial paradise. A Labyrinth of Water and Stone. It's like a self-built cage so to speak. I'd miss the nature. The flowers, plants and trees. The animals. And also everything has to be imported to the island which makes shopping pretty expensive...

2) But even more important is that you should be visiting Venice at least once in your lifetime. One of the main reasons behind the charm of Venice, is the fact that is seems to be floating upon the waters of the lagoon. However the dark truth is that the city is actually sinking and has been for a long time now. That's why it's the kind of beauty that could be gone tomorrow and you wouldn't even notice it. I'm serious. Venice will vanish someday and you'd never seen such beauty!

Samstag, 2. August 2014

Foodpath 3: Mojito Royale

As Tyler Oakley would put it quite eloquent:

My one and only Queen!

"Girl, Mama needs a Drink!"


Hell yeah and I deserve a drink! I've finished my exams for this semester, I'm burned out and ready for a summer vacation! And what could be better than a Mojito Royale to beat the summer heat? 


Well, actually I'm not much of an alcohol expert and to be honest I was anti-alcohol for a good part of my life, so there might be better drinks and maybe better recipes, but I quite like Mojitos and I like this variation of a Mojito!
....
So, deal!

Mojito Royale

Ingredients:
  • 2 shots of Rum
  • 22 ml Lime juice
  • Sugar or
    Sugar Syrup (water-sugar-ratio: 2:1)
  • Mint leaves
  • Crushed Ice
  • Champagne/sparkling wine (Sekt/Prosecco)
    • optional: Lemonade/Sprite
  1. Put the mint leaves in the glass and pour in the rum and the sugar(syrup) and the lime juice. (The quantity of the lime juice and sugar depend a little on your taste).
  2. Put in crushed ice to half of the glass and stir it a little. Then put more crushed ice in and stir some more.
  3. Top it of champagne, stir a last time et voilà! ( I usually add a little lemonade to it as well, just so you know: Yes, I'm guilty of being a sugary person.)
As you might have already guessed: It's the Princess under the Mojitos. Pretty luxury if you pour Champagne into it, pretty soft if you, like me, pour in the Lemonade to cover up the taste of alcohol.

Like good students we sat down on campus and just got drunk.
There's no other way of putting it. That's it.
Sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do. It's that simple (haha).

But it was the summer time kind of drunk: Sun is shining, drinks are flowing, you're talking trash, but everyone's laughing and rolling around in the grass, taking clothes off because of the heat...oh erm...nevermind.
No puking, no regretful make-out sessions, no embarassing morning-after-sneak-out.

Except for a hurt foot, nothing major happened.


To the ones who know me, it might seem very unlike me, but I guess, I like to surprise the people around me.
People think I'm boring because I don't drink. But it's the other way around! I don't drink, because I don't want to be boring! For other people there comes the time of less insecurities when they drink, for me, it's different. I tend to get sleepy and moody and that's just a site of me that I'd like to keep down as often as possible when I'm sober, so it comes up when I drink.
And I don't despise drinking itself or people for doing it, not even people for overdoing it. But I still believe if you drink, drink because you want to be happy, not because of sadness (that only leads to bad decisions). Drink on occasions, you can do nothing wrong with that:
It's your Birthday: Have a Drink!
You got your driving license: Have a drink, but don't you dare drive after that!
You got married: Have a Drink!
Exams over: Have a Drink!
Sun is shining: have a Drink! (haha)
Whatever it is you're drinking to, make sure it is a happy occasion and you have your friends around to have a great time!

Make drinking fun, not an excuse for you to stop thinking. Thinking is the only thing that sets you apart from animals, so don't lose that!

And know your limit...believe me, there is no better advice I can give you!

"So, all right, my friends, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we will all be in a great deal of pain!"

Have a lovely ☼ Summer!


btw: I'm vomit free since ninety-three. Let's try and keep it that way (haha)!