What do you crave when you are far away from home? For me (don’t laugh) it’s Aromat. It’s a Swiss-ism. A quite unhealthy, artificial salt thingy. Most Swiss can’t live without it. Neither can I. And I’m not even Swiss. I’ve only lived there, off and on, for 17 years. Wherever else I went during the last 30 years, an Aromat was always with me. Making hard-boiled eggs and not having Aromat to go with it is a major emergency. Very sad.
So, even though I need to keep my backpack weight as low as possible, this Aromat shaker WILL have to come with me 😂☀️
Beginning of this year, ‘Writers Resist’ events were held all over the world. These readings were to remind ourselves of the importance of human rights, freedom of speech, and mutual respect.
Here in Zurich, on a mid-January evening, we spoke up as well, reading from many different works of literature (including our own) in front of a sincere, spell-bound audience. I’m glad I was able to do my part. Because, as I pointed out in this article by JJ Marsh in ‘The Woolf’: “Kindness, compassion, and freedom of mind are key to our existence.”
The road is the destination and every milestone serves a purpose.
In my case, to name just a few, being orphaned and then adopted; living with my gay, often helpless father; surviving my paranoid, neurotic mother; having the greatest grandma of all; spasticity in my legs as a child which kept me from being able to play like other children; diving deep into the turquoise blue of the Indian Ocean; growing up in a girl’s body; being a social outcast in high school; cuddling with my animal companions; finding my biological mother and sister; being trans; coming steadily home to my true self; meeting and engaging with people from a multitude of different cultures; living in a show family; savoring friendship and love; waking up to the smiling eyes of my soul mate gazing into mine; traveling the world; listening to water; rejoicing, despairing, longing…
And moving forward. Always moving forward towards opening doors and new life experiences…
The unforgettable day I met my birth mom for the first time… and, at the same time, a rare photographic moment, captured just months before I had gender reassignment surgery…
“My biological mom lived on the top floor of the four-story apartment building. There was no elevator. With every step up, my heart soared and fluttered a bit more. My legs were made of feathers and lead at the same time. Finally, I reached her floor.
In the doorway of what looked like a modest little apartment stood the same short, forty-something, elegant lady I had observed the weekend before. Her eyes were careful and guarded yet also filled with wonder. Her expression was vivid. She looked me up and down and said, “Oh my god, you are so tall and pretty!” I was instantly amused, since I am only five foot six and stood in front of her in my usual, rather boyish attire: tennis shoes, faded jeans, and an old red tank top. My hair was cut short and, as always, I wore no make-up. My biological mom took a hold of my hand and pulled me into her little rooftop domain.
I had not arrived with any expectations – of the situation, of her, of anything. I savored the moment and treasured the opportunity to find out more about her and, maybe more about myself at the same time. Sandra hadn’t started talking yet, but I already recognized impulsiveness and an emotional intensity in this woman that seemed all too familiar.” (excerpt from Paralian, chapter 2)
“I often hovered motionless and watched the coral reef for a while, contemplating reef fish behavior. Each organism was busy defending its way of life. Tiny fish would attack divers the moment we ventured too far into their territory. There were all kinds of characters: the camouflaged, the timid, the curious, the bullies, the cowards. Some were defensive, others aggressive. As I watched the busy shuffling and posturing on the reef, I saw an intricate microcosmos, a perfect metaphor of human social life and daily struggles.” (excerpt from Paralian, chapter 24 “Indian Ocean”)
A multitude of life experiences have helped me grow into the man I am today. The world is my country. The bodies of water spread all over its surface are my true home – the one place where I feel complete in body and soul, not at odds with anything, serene, elegant, and handsome.
Looking out at the snowy and, admittedly, romantic winter scenery in Zurich, I find myself thinking of far away places. All my life I’ve dreamt of living abroad. I’ve dreamt of wide open spaces, of being closer to wild nature. Thankfully, I’ve been there in the past and hopefully will find chances to venture out again in the future.
I still remember staying in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and feeling vibrantly alive.
The air was crystal clear. Walking to work through the crunching snow in the morning, a hot latte in my gloved hands to keep them from freezing, a quick sip here and there, sweet waves of momentary heat, my steaming breath… I loved walking up that mountain, seeing deer on the way, literally tasting the wilderness all around me. So exciting. True quality of life.
Or that day when we kept the fire going, wrapped up snuggly in five layers of clothing, sipping cold beers with the surrounding, icy forest crackling, the nearby river gurgling away, Inuksuks along its banks, sparks igniting within and around us…
Then there was life in the Maldives. Daily immersion in the Indian Ocean. The seafloor invisible, a thousand meters below. Feeling unchartered territory at my fingertips. Removing my mask and taking my regulator out on purpose at thirty meters depth to taste and feel the amazing living entity that we call ocean and absorb a little bit more of its strength…
On May 28th this year, a dream came true: I published my memoir ‘Paralian’. It hasn’t been an easy journey. Far from it really.
But, I appreciate the intensity of the experience.
I haven’t sold thousands like I naively hoped to, either. Instead, I was reminded of why I began writing my story in the first place – for the love of writing and to share something important.
I’m cherishing the enthusiastic sparkle in my reader’s eyes. Even the youngest couldn’t put Paralian down once he began taking the book firmly into his tiny hands.
For me, 2017 will be another year of working hard, writing, and dreaming… I’ll take baby steps. So many dreams…
Thanks so much for your support during the last few years. Thanks for continuously being there and believing in me!
I wish us all a less dramatic 2017 – a year filled with good experiences, happiness, good health, hugs, abundant kindness, bright smiles, kisses, starry skies, and daring dreams. Much love xx