Gray day II

Today was so much like yesterday that I felt a bit like an extra in Groundhog Day. I read “Gone Girl” until 3am or so and then slept in late until past noon. The roommate, meanwhile, has been running to the bathroom at least once an hour for the past two days. Last night, she started throwing up. She’s not eating, only staying hydrated. I tried my best. Ran to the pharmacy, got her soup, kept the noise down, stayed out of her way. Stayed in bed myself. Went to the park again. Baked apples for supper which you should all try because baked apples are delicious.

NaBloPoMo is almost over and, surprisingly, I did blog every single day but I feel like I cheated. I didn’t always post on time, for one thing. And then half the posts are just like this one: short sentences, random moments, daily non-sense. By contrast, many of you out there have been doing a fantastic job blogging your hearts out this month. Congrats on that to you!

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A whole lotta love

So much love on Facebook today. Reconnecting with old friends from high school. Which- isn’t that what they built Facebook for in the first place? We do this every time around Christmas. We ask around: Will you be back home for Christmas? I’ll get there the 22nd. Alright. Let’s figure out where to meet, what to do, who else will be there. It’s nice. I like friends who are good with only actually physically meeting up once or twice a year and still don’t feel like strangers.

Have also been planning when to send Christmas cards and who to send them to. I’m not a very social, out-going person. I like being by myself, I’m more comfortable that way, but sometimes it can feel lonely. Making my list of people I’ll be sending cards to, I realized I could never really be lonely at all and that there would always be someone there with a kind word or a helping hand if I needed it.

Got an email from an old friend from high school who lives in Brussels now so I don’t get to see her enough. It’s the invitation to her wedding (in court, the big blow-out will be next year) and at the bottom – seriously, tucked away at the very bottom, in small letters – it says: Pssst, we are expecting a tiny German-Moroccan! I read that about five times to understand that, yes, they’re having a baby. Emailed back. OVERJOYED. They are the best people, you guys, and they will make the best parents. I don’t say this lightly or often – I have very strict, broken, unreasonable views on who should get married or start a family that I mostly keep to myself – but these two are made to raise a family. The little one is due in May, right on time for the big church wedding.

And more roommate love today as well. Went for a long walk to the nearest city park and talked and laughed. Mostly planned her moving out early next year; what we need to think of, what stuff she will take with her, when I need to start looking for a new roommate. It was lovely. Just- Nike sweatpants, infinity scarfs, ponytails, windbreakers. Cold air, dry leaves, setting sun. So much beauty in these little details, little moments, it’s almost too much.

A Monday

I slept in late today. I Skyped with my parents. I called my grandma. I Googled for job ads. I had soup. I listened to Christmas music. I had another appointment with the job counselor (attendance is one of the conditions for my getting welfare). I went to the mall and bought “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn because people on Twitter have been raving about it. I also bought a Cologne-themed Advent calendar for the roommate and I because it was on sale and it makes our kitchen festive.

We have been watching the Harry Potter movies together – at a pace of about one a week – and are now down to the final two. Planned on watching part one of The Deathly Hallows last night. Realize it’s on BluRay, and neither of us can play BluRay on our ancient TVs and regular DVD players. Ask guys upstairs for tech support. They say they’re not home but roommate #3 will let us in, just take the giant flatscreen TV and Playstation. Okay. March upstairs, explain situation to their confused girl roommate. Navigate through used boxers and socks and empty Coke bottles and Pringles cans and past the laptop on the bed with the toilet paper and the lube next to it (not gonna judge) (still not the prettiest sight, though). Carry giant expensive TV down two stories to our place. Hook up Playstation. Test run. It works! Put in disc. Cuddle into bed. Watch. BluRay is awesome, man, holy crap. So is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We’re never giving back the TV or the Playstation, we decide. If only to avoid going back into the man cave upstairs.

Stream of consciousness II

I run into Santa at a stop light. An actual (crazy) person dressed as Santa casually meandering about the neighborhood. I decide I like that dude. I also decide this is a sign that it’s finally okay to start playing Coldplay’s “Christmas Lights”.

***

I go see yesterday’s hipster girl for my hair cut and I tell her what I want, and she says that cut would look awful with my body size. She says size and not type, and I notice. I look at our bodies in the mirror, her much slimmer one next to mine, and I feel a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach. She says the cut I want is so out of style and that I don’t strike her as the kind of girl who visits the hair dresser often. I hate that her comments get to me. When she asks me what I do and how old I am, I lie. I hate that, too.

The cut is 36 euros and I walk away with almost the exact same hair and an awful feeling. Thanks for nothing, hipster girl.

***

The roommate and I go to the mall. She needs new bras, I need a reason to leave the house. Some Christmas decorations are already up but they’re not lit yet and just look sad. There are seven different shoe stores and we go to them all. I remember why I hate shopping with others. I’m too impatient. We browse Christmas stuff and buy lights for our hallway and a reindeer for our kitchen window. It feels nice: to invest in the coziness of our home. We stop to sit down for some coffee and look out at Köln-Kalk in the dark. Head lights in one direction, break lights in the other. People in between; pushing strollers, riding bikes, dragging suitcases. And the moonlit clouds above it all. The roommate orders a Belgian waffle which turns out to be huge so I have a few bites. I don’t enjoy it.

I don’t enjoy much of anything these days, and it worries me. I’m not myself. Everything is sad and lonely and complicated and serious.

***

I buy a train ticket home for next Tuesday. They have a special offer for a high speed train on my connection; I can’t pass that up. Home in an hour and forty-seven minutes. 215 kilometers in less than an album’s worth of music. My mom is hosting a fancy seafood dinner and I want to be there for that. “You’re always welcome”, she emphasizes. “Come home.”

Yes. I think I need to.

After an unproductive weekend, a stressful Monday at work, my allergies acting up, the shin splints situation getting worse and having to take a break from running because of it, a particularly unnerving subway ride home and a Serious Talk with the parents via Skype about my job situation- after all that, my room mate made me chicken nuggets. Unsolicited. She does this all the time, cooks yummy things and shares them with me. But today it meant more than ever.

It’s days like today that I’m extra grateful not to live all by myself; better yet, to live with someone thoughtful and easy-going that – somehow, in spite of being away during the weekends – makes this place more of a real home.

Running for beginners

Caught the exact 75 minutes of sunlight we had today. Went power walking and running. I’m doing the Couch to 5k podcasts (as recommended by Viv) and adding extra bits of fast paced walking before and after. There’s a gorgeous, gigantic recreation area just a 10-minute walk from my house. There’s runners, walkers, football players, dogs – and it’s a big open space, so you can always see others but you never feel crowded!

I’ve been talking to my room mate about running regularly, and our plan is to go at least every two days. It’s not so much about the running itself (every day would be too much for a beginner like myself, anyway) but the act of leaving the house and being on the move for an hour; running or not. I had to motivate myself every day when I lost 26 kilos in 2010/2011, and I just can’t anymore. So having someone else there who will push me to be active regularly is a blessing.


Look what the cat dragged in! Look what the room mate brought home! We now have a pretty decent looking plastic plant and a super adorable, old-timey & comfy bench on our formerly empty and barren balcony. Once the weather settles into a reliably sunny and warm pattern, I think I’ll even attempt to add a couple flower pots and some lanterns or something.