Category Archives: Friendship

Reflections

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2018 was a tough one. I even thought of giving up a few times. Life still isn’t easy… when is it ever… but, throughout the more recent challenges, I surprised myself with a whole new level of grit and appreciation for this wonder we call life. 

I’ve been forced to reevaluate many things this past year. What is right? What is wrong? To what extend are my thoughts and values my own, or rather societal conditioning? How open-minded am I? How far can I stretch my limits? Are they even limits or rather an imaginary boundary, an illusionary safety zone, behind which may lay pain but also a whole new level of understanding, love, and adventure? Most likely, definite answers will forever elude me, but I appreciate the challenge. For challenges trigger growth.

Thinking further, 2018 wasn’t all bad.

It began with an unforgettable, last (for now) spring in Zurich, surrounded by the best circle of friends and colleagues anyone could hope for.

During these last few months in Europe, I had the privilege to be invited to give presentations as an inspirational speaker in Paris, Zurich, and Berlin. My dad attended one of those presentations. In an impulsive moment of passion I’ll never regret, I thanked him for all he has done for me in front of the entire audience, and let him know how much I love and appreciate him.

In June 2018, I moved back to Macau, rediscovering this tiny Southeast Asian alcove with fresh, loving eyes.

Throughout the year, I experienced extraordinary kindnesses, thoughtfulness, and loving support from my precious circle of friends around the world.

I am hopeful concerning the days ahead. There are so many places still to be seen, adventures to be experienced, creative projects to be realized. So bring it on 2019. I’ll tackle you with as much lightness of being and positive energy as I can muster.

Lost in Space

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I love good storytelling – be it poetry, fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, movies, TV series, visual arts, or any other type of creative expression. For the most part, stories engage me when they are about being human, about compassion and about overcoming our shortcomings and challenges.

The other month, I watched the (rather kitschy) new ‘Lost in Space’ series. All of a sudden, in the midst of space oddities and other adventures, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson found themselves alone in an emergency where it seemed only one of them could survive. They had quarrelled for years because she had been disappointed with him and he had made the mistake of not being there for his family as much as he should have. Now, they had to make a quick decision so at least one of them could get out of their current predicament. She was going to use the only space suit they had to get out of some toxic goo their vehicle had sunk into… and he would remain behind and either suffocate or get swallowed up by said nasty goo. Mr. Robinson helped Mrs. Robinson suit up, ready to sacrifice himself, when all of a sudden Mrs. Robinson held him close, looked him straight in the eye, and said, “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time being angry at you.” It was just another, slightly over-dramatic TV moment. Yet, at the same time, it was so much more. It was a moment of profound wisdom.

We don’t always do the right thing when we are in a relationship. Especially in intimate relationships that last a long time… Without ever intending to, we make mistakes, we hurt each other, we are clumsy, we don’t listen well enough, we don’t spend enough time with each other, and we betray one another. So much can happen, because there is no recipe for life, we often find ourselves lost (in space), and emotions are not always predictable or controllable.

So, when the goo hits the proverbial fan, let’s think of the Robinson’s space slime and of what really matters. Family does. Friendship. Love. And forgiveness. No one will ever be perfect… And when two souls connect on a deeper level of understanding, it is something immensely precious, not to be taken lightly or given up easily.

(Photo by J W on Unsplash)

Thin Mattress With a View

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Time has been racing like a bullet train this month. Dissolving the rest of our household… cancelling all kinds of things like cable, phone, etc. etc. etc. … and multiple breakfasts, brunches, lunches, and dinners with friends and colleagues to catch up one more time before the big move.
Now, I am sitting in front of our large windows, enjoying the view over Zurich, the lake, and the Alps just one more time.
This also marks the end of three weeks sleeping on this rather thin and uncomfortable foam mattress. My bones and joints are looking forward to spending the next four nights on a friend’s couch. Just one more week of organization and goodbyes… then I’ll be off to join my family in Macao (and I’ll probably collapse on the bed and sleep for a month).

Blast from the Past

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Ahhh, this was 2007. I just received this picture a few days ago from my good friend Valerie, whose birthday we were celebrating that day. What a wonderful blast from the past. We all lived together on Kuredu Island in the Maldives, spending most of our time in the Indian Ocean either guiding or teaching scuba divers. I learned a lot then. About living closely together with a whole bunch of other people and accepting them just as they are… about life… about staying calm in emergencies… about enjoying the moment… about being there for each other no matter what… and about every little critter underneath those turquoise waves. These are friends and life lessons I will cherish forever.

Into The Unknown

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Change is life. And, for me, the thought of heading into the unknown is invigorating. I am ready to dive in once more, leave this safe harbor, to simply trust and see where life will lead me.
While selling and giving away our belongings, I am amazed yet again by how little I truly need when it comes to material possessions.
As the apartment becomes gradually more empty, the cats enjoy chasing each other through the now vast, open spaces and I treasure the freedom of a light load. I feel like I can breathe again, as well as focus more easily on what really matters.
I miss my wife and am looking forward to joining her soon on the other side of the planet. Until that day – in seven weeks – the cats and I will be glamping in front of our large windows overlooking the city of Zurich. I’ll gaze out over the rooftops and give a toast to this beautiful place where I have found home and friendship twice already.

Friendship

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Today I am thinking of my close friends, my family. This was Christmas 2006 with my best buddy (I’ve changed his name in my memoir to protect his privacy) and an entire team of unforgettable people on Kuredu Island in the Maldives.
Every day, I am fully aware how lucky I was – and still am – to have this wonderful friend in my life, even though now we rarely get to see each other anymore. Most Christmases on the island we cooked cheese fondue together and ate it in front of one of our rooms, with a good bottle of wine, or two, or three 😉
I miss those long, enchanted moments, miss planning adventurous trips, or just listening to each others’ thoughts until the early morning hours.
Merry Christmas everyone! To true friendship, family, love, and compassion! xoxoxo

“My best friend on the island, Milo, had arrived one year after me. He was German and an amazing soul. Milo had a beautiful body and long blond hair, making him very popular with the single ladies vacationing on Kuredu. What made him one of a kind, though, was his keen people sense and his positive spirit, which was second to none. His good humor and naiveté often had us all in tears with laughter. Milo’s English was very basic upon his arrival. When he started guiding snorkel boats, he would greet his snorkelers every morning with a heartfelt, “It’s such a pity to see you today!” then misinterpret the roaring laughter of his snorkelers as pure delight. We enjoyed the show too much to inform him of his error.
Milo and I were soul mates. We spent many evenings outside on the front step of our rooms, drinking gin and cokes and gorging ourselves on ready-made cheese fondue brought all the way from Europe for us by returning guests. We traveled together several times in our breaks between contracts. We dreamed of exploring the world together, planning daring adventures for the years to come. I hadn’t been blessed with such a deep friendship since my childhood. Milo was like the younger brother I never had. His friendship and unwavering loyalty meant the world to me.”
(Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 26, “Philippine Sea”)