Category Archives: Random thoughts

My connection to animals

One thing people usually learn about me quite early is that they should never underestimate my love for animals (especially birds). Though I have learned to keep my enthusiasm in check most of the time, and usually only show my true love for animals when I am around people I feel comfortable with. I’m the kind of person you’ll find in the kids’ zone in a zoo, petting a goat, and being happy like a child (note: I usually prefer other settings than zoos though – and some zoos deserve to be shut down, but that’s a topic for a different blog). I’m the kind of person who goes out of her way to help animals in need, and also the kind of person who often prefers the company of animals to the company of people. Let me explain why that is so.

My lovely rooster Frodo, who died a few weeks ago in New Zealand. And I am in England. I wish I could have been there for him during his last days.

My lovely rooster Frodo, who died a few weeks ago in New Zealand. And I am in England. I wish I could have been there for him during his last days.

Animals make good friends and good companions. I know there are people out there who believe animals have no souls, no feelings, no intelligence – but I definitely do believe that animals are intelligent, and do have feelings. Though I have my doubts about cats sometimes….

Of course, communicating with animals is not as easy as talking to people who speak the same language. But when you look at human communications, you need to ask yourself: Is it really that easy, and that straight forward? To me, it is not. I often leave words unspoken, avoid certain topics, and often wish that people would be easier to deal with. When it comes to people, I often worry that my words will be misunderstood, too much or too little read into them. And when you are friendly to someone, they often suspect that you are being friendly because you have a hidden agenda, or would like to get something from them. But to me, when I thank someone, when I tell someone something positive, I usually just do so because I honestly mean it. There are people out there to whom I would like to say so much more, but I don’t – because these days it is so easy to be misunderstood. And once you have to start explaining, even defending, why you say something nice, the words lose their value a little, don’t they? I have made horrible experiences with people after saying something honest and nice (and no, not talking about declarations of love here!), but I’ve never had such an experience after saying something nice to an animal.

You can be nice to animals, you can tell them you care – and they will not take it the wrong way. You can show your love to them, and they will not hate you for it. Of course, animals can be quite “rude”, and not care much about what you feel or say – but at least you know that a rooster, for example, might be a snob one day, but the loveliest darling the other day. This was the case with my dear Frodo. Most of the time, I could just pick him up, or sit next to him, and he would hang around. He was a good chap. But he also had some days where he just gave me a dirty look and walked away. He died a few weeks ago, and I’m quite sad about it, he was a good friend, a very fine rooster.

Other animals (dogs, cats, even goats!) also have that one great advantage that you can hang out with them without having to be someone you’re not. You don’t need to impress them. They either like you or they don’t. Simple as that. Fortunately, animals usually tend to like me (especially goats for some reason, they are such cuddly, lovely animals!). I like the company of animals. You can sit down on a couch, or next to a tree, and the animals will either join you or they won’t. If they join you, they simply are with you, no hidden motivations (well, unless it’s a cat).

That look says it all....

That look says it all….

I know there are plenty of people out there who get along with other people well enough – and maybe I’m just not a very likeable person, who knows. To me it is simply a truth that I usually get along better with animals than with people. They don’t care about where you were born, what colour your skin is, what kind of accent you speak, what your qualifications are, how much money you earn, what you wear, or what your religion is. Don’t get me wrong: animals can be quite judgemental, but at least they are not judgemental in the same way as people.

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Online dating from my point of view

When it comes to online dating, I’ve had not as many experiences as others, but enough to doubt that this kind of “dating” would be the right option for me in the future. The first problem would be what I put as my location – would I have to update my location every time I move, or would I simply put a central place in Scotland and hope that the right person would find me (but what if I was hundreds of miles away when that person turned up?).

But then, it is not very likely that I will try online dating again. When I still lived in New Zealand, I gave it a try at various times. Once I even got to meet a very nice guy, and was quite hopeful. Just to later find out that he was dating a multitude of women at the same time – not being honest to a single one of them. Other times, it never came to a meeting simply because the messages I received were hardly ever appealing enough.

The big problem I have with online dating is the superficiality of it. Most men don’t put any effort in their first message. They send you a wink, a smile, or the equivalent you get on the various sites. Then there are messages like “Hi, u r cute.” That’s it. No question, no introduction, nothing. I always wonder about whether and/or how to reply to such messages. The sender obviously didn’t even feel the need to use correct spelling. A real turn off for me – I don’t mind typos, and I don’t expect people to be perfect, but a few basic things matter to me. A lot.

Other times, people ask for a meeting after only a few very brief messages. Often this comes from people who don’t have a very detailed profile and I’m intelligent enough not to put myself at risk of meeting some weird creep.

A while back, I saw that the “New Scientist” had a dating service, and I thought “Okay, you should be able to meet some intelligent, nice people there.” I was wrong. It wasn’t any better than other dating sites.

From my point of view, online dating is not a very good way to find the right match. It is indeed like looking for a needle in a haystack. Somewhere amongst all those profiles, there might be a guy or girl who would be a good match – or maybe he or she has also given up on online dating.

Have you made any experiences with online dating? What is your approach? Do you fill out your profile and write thoughtful messages when you see a profile that interests you? Or do you just use it to find a quick date?

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A focussed mind

For you to reply to (I would love some of your opinions):

When it comes to achieving goals (and goals are dreams with a deadline), then it is very important that you are able to keep your mind on track, i.e. you need to stay focussed. You don’t necessarily have to get to your goal in a straight line, but you always need to keep your eyes on it.

Motivational speakers, personal development authors and other people who already are quite successful always tell you that there is nothing that you cannot achieve, nothing that is out of reach, once you put your mind and your heart on it. What do you think: Is this really true?

And if it is, how do you keep focussed? 

 

My personal attitude, and a problem:

Call it coincidence, call it synchronicity: For one of my writing jobs I had to read a book called “The Slight Edge”. It is a book about how you can achieve your goals, i.e. make your dreams come true by simply doing little steps at a time – steps that might be so little that they might seem insignificant to you. I worked my way through the book, and found it raised some very interesting points.

And this was also the time during which a very interesting person came into my life. I met him a couple of weeks ago, and hoped that he would come back here for another stay. Fortunately, he did indeed return for a few days (for a project). Even though I did not want to be interested in people at my current stage in life (because I move around so much that nobody could seriously be interested in building any sort of friendship with me), I could not help but be completely enthralled by the person’s whole being. One part of myself says “Stay focussed, don’t even dare to think about things like friendship,” while the other little voice inside me wishes for nothing more but staying in touch with that one person – for what reason in particular, I do honestly not know. He is the kind of person that simply makes my soul expand with gladness. The mere fact that someone like him does indeed exist on the planet is astonishing.

So I get a bit distracted – but as the situation is, it is not very easy to actually talk to him without appearing like an idiot. I can also hardly walk up to him, and ask him whether there would be a chance that we could stay in touch. It might come across the wrong way, or the right way, I don’t know. I’m horrible when it comes to dealing with people.

And this is one of the topics that is also covered in “The Slight Edge”, to take little steps towards what your heart really desires – but what little step is there to take?

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How people treat you is how you allow them to treat you

In the last few weeks, I made a few disappointing “discoveries” about the true nature of people.  It is not the first time that I am disappointed, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. But this time, I felt that I need to put a stop to always being the nice, reliable person EVERYBODY can rely on. I feel that I need to choose more wisely – after all, if there are people who only remember that I exist when they need something, then they are not really worth my time. If they can’t be bothered “wasting” their time on me, then why I should I spend time with them, or for them?

I need to learn that people only treat me the way they do because I allow them to. I need to make wiser decisions when it comes to people, and I have to value my own time a lot more. And value myself more.

I will still be a good, nice, reliable, trustworthy person – but I won’t let people take advantage of me any more, and I won’t let them hurt me. The people who are worth crying for will do their best not to make me cry ever. And the ones who make me cry, and don’t care, should not have a place in my life. I deserve better. It took me a long time to see this, but I do indeed deserve better. I am worth something, too.

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Job qualifications and accommodation options

Sometimes you wonder whether you are on the right path, or whether you have strayed from your path so far that you are lost for good, or at least for a very long time.

When I think about what my plans looked like when I was younger, I certainly have not gone the path I planned to take – which was a path that would have taken me to a secure job and a reasonably good income as a teacher.

I know that some people think teachers earn a pitiful amount of money, but for me it would have been plenty.

When I was younger, I thought that I would never be one of those people who don’t have a proper job by the time they were 25 years old. I wanted to have my degree, do my trainee teacher years, and then try to find a job overseas, maybe teaching in China or Japan.

Preferably Japan. I was always sure that I would find my true friends in Japan. That they would be the people who would understand me, and respect my values.

Now I am 31 years old. I did not finish my studies (neither in Germany nor in New Zealand – for different reasons), and I don’t have any professional job training behind me. I can’t say I’m a teacher, a manager, a leader, a human resource manager, a barista, a chicken carer, or anything else. I don’t even have any paper work to prove that I’m a translator and writer. I have become one of those people. I collected experiences in many jobs – some I truly loved and wanted to pursue, wanted to gain a proper qualification, but it never happened.

Sometimes it was because I was too young, sometimes because women weren’t respected in the particular profession (a female captain, you can forget about that in certain parts of the world), other times it was because I simply was not the person they wanted, and other times it was because I did not have enough money to pay for the qualification. And other times they wanted qualifications before you could get qualified (great logic behind that, right?).

Yes, I get many jobs as a writer and sometimes also as a translator – but when people ask me what my qualifications are, I can only tell them the truth. I don’t have any formal qualifications. I’m a nobody when it comes to job titles.

I receive 5 star ratings on Elance, and my rating on Fiverr is 100% positive. Not one single negative review. Yet I am not happy, because I just write what other people want me to write, there’s not much creativity involved, and sometimes I just write rubbish for SEO purposes. I feel like I don’t have my writing energy left – or energy in general. I haven’t written anything on my novel for over two weeks. Since I left the other place, my motivation levels have dropped close to zero in many aspects of life.

I had a look at a variety of accommodation options in the UK – like becoming a property guardian (you pay a cheap rent in a property that is on the market, and you have to move out within 2 weeks’ notice), or living with an elderly person, helping them out 10 hours a week in exchange for a cheap room. It all comes with the disadvantage of probably being short-term solutions. So it would not be very different from helpx.net or wwoof.co.uk.

But when I look at the cost of renting a room or a single bedroom flat, then I simply know that I cannot afford it (plus bills and the cost of food) with the little money I earn as a writer.

Do you know of any other options that would be quite affordable in the long run? I would love to live somewhere for a longer time, make friends. It would be so important for me to have friends. Just one or two would be so much better than nobody.

 

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The Facebook experiment

I have been in a new place for a few days. I’m currently on the North Coast of Scotland, where they still have fires during June because it’s usually cold. I will be here for a total of five and a half weeks, and then – who knows… I have plans for September and October, but nothing for August. But never mind that.

When I left the organic farm I was working on as a volunteer for almost three months, many people made quite a big deal out of me leaving, acting as if they were sad, saying that they would stay in touch and so on, and so on. I say “acting” because after one week of not being there, not one of them got in touch with me, and only one responded to a message I left her on Facebook. Someone else even received a written letter, and a longer email from me (as I wanted to come back to the place as an apprentice). But even to that I have not received a reply, not even a short “sorry, but no, thank you”.

So, for a while, I will try an experiment on Facebook. I often post photos, share interesting articles etc. Someone said that it would be unusual not to see me on Facebook, and that they’d be “worried” if my posts were missing. I will put that to the test in the next couple of weeks. I will not post a single thing on Facebook, not “like” anything, not comment on things. I wonder whether anyone will truly notice that I’m not active on FB, whether even just one single person would truly notice. I’m afraid nobody will.

Real friends would be in touch on other channels, too, anyway. I guess I just don’t have any real friends. I’m not the kind of person people “like”. I’m someone you only get to know after quite a bit of time – for most people that’s just too much effort. Or maybe I’m just a hopeless case – something like the manure you put in your garden. It’s needed to grow really good vegetables, but nobody wants to spend too much time with it. And once it’s where it’s needed, it’s out of your mind.

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Tired

These days, I always feel tired – it partially has to do with the fact that I always have to get up at 6am or even a bit earlier because I’m the only person willing to look after the chickens. I haven’t slept in (even if it would only be 8am!) for at least a year. Not once. But the main reason for me feeling so tired is a lack of happiness in my life. I know that I need to move on, which means moving away from there – but this is hard because I know that the poor animals on the farm will have a worse life once I’m gone. Many of the chickens will simply be eaten and this the main reason I stay.

I am also still waiting for news from immigration. A month ago they sent me a letter telling me that they would finally (after one YEAR) get someone to look at my appeal against my deportation. It took them one year to even tell me that someone will soon look at it. But what do they mean by soon? Every day I fear and hope that there will be a letter in the mail box. On one hand I hope that they will tell me there’s no chance for me and I have to leave the country within a month – but I also fear this because I am so sick of having to look for new homes all the time. I would so much just settle down and have my own home, a place to live in, a place to which I can retreat, a safe place.

I also wish I had someone to talk to – just someone who actually cares and who’d understand where I’m coming from and what I’m going through. Someone who also shares some interests with me and isn’t a shallow person. But at the moment I am simply not able to find someone like that because I live in the middle of nowhere. Maybe I should look for an email friendship – but then I would feel bad if I couldn’t reply every day – you saw how well it worked for me to write a blog every morning 😦 Hopeless!

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