Category Archives: True Stories

Seeing More Clearly

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From 2005 to 2009, I divided my time between serving customers at the dive center and guiding them in the Big Blue. Being back in central Europe at the moment, I know more than ever that life is infinitely better the more ocean I have around me. Things shift back into perspective. And I am reminded of what is truly important. Apart from being a universe of boundless beauty and tranquility, underwater is also where I began to see more clearly…

Watching coral reef life became the perfect metaphor of human daily life. For example, tiny fish who defended their territory taught me how important it is to stand up for yourself no matter how giant the opposition may seem. The myriad of reef fish and other critters in all colors of the rainbow mirrored the infinite diversity of life on land… of human life… Nothing was perfect. Life was even cruel, unpredictable.. Yet to a neutral observer like me, hovering motionless only a few feet away, observing quietly, this was the most delicate and beautiful web of individuals I had ever seen.
Then, there was the interaction amongst divers. Developing a stronger sense of self first was crucial to being able to take care of others.
When I became an instructor, teaching underwater taught me even more about life. The SCUBA instructors’ mantra “stop, think, act” turned out to be great advice no matter the situation or environment. Because, when something goes wrong during a dive or in life, it’s never just one thing but a multitude of smaller and bigger difficulties and challenges that need to be addressed and navigated. Prioritizing is key. Step by little step, we remove one obstacle after another and what seemed insurmountable at first all of a sudden becomes manageable.

Add Oil

5 Senses goup

My latest contribution on TheatreArtLife. Remembering when I immersed myself in a Hong Kong Chinese theatre production. I worked backstage, with barely a clue what was going on. It was an unforgettable experience. Because, as I mention in the short story as well, there is nothing more valuable than opening your mind, letting go of everything you think you know, and thoroughly exposing yourself to living and working in a foreign culture.

My 2nd Book

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My 2nd book will be a fun, deep, and inspiring read all at the same time… A collection of stories about the animal companions I had throughout my life.
The very first was Gulliver, a little mouse who taught me a lot. So currently, the working title is “Word of Mouse”. Because that’s how it all began…
Each chapter will tell a special story about each of the animals and the impact they had on my life. The lessons I learned.
I’ll be the narrator, but in a sense it is as much or even more about the animals than it is about me.
Readers will be able to enjoy the true stories either as a collection of unusual animal tales…
Or, if they want to think deeper, they will quickly realize that the book is about life, about being human, and about the life lessons we can learn if we open our minds and hearts to the world around us.

It’ll still take up to a year to finish writing and editing, and get the book published.
Watch this space. I’ll share anecdotes, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress and the adventures of trying to find a publisher and/or literary agent!

Writing Continues…

IMG_9013

So, here is the plan for the coming months:
After a short summer time writing sabbatical, I’ll re-double my efforts. From now on, I’ll hole up in this cozy space for most of my spare time, to continue writing my 2nd book “Word of Mouse”.
A friend of mine (who happens to be a phenomenally talented artist) has agreed to work on drawings for the book cover as well as for the title pages of each chapter. I have no idea how he will interpret what I have written. And I must admit, it’s exciting not knowing at this point. Can’t wait to be surprised by his designs…
As for the first draft, I am aiming to have it finished by December 2017 at the latest. Then, beginning of next year, I’ll start editing…
In the next few months, I’ll also start contacting publishers and agents. I am very curious if I’ll manage to find someone this time who will be interested in representing me. If not, I’ll just publish independently again. I certainly won’t give up. This is what I am meant to be doing. So watch this space my friends. I’ll share more about content and process as time goes by…

Fear is Temporary

Fear is Temporary

New article of mine on TheatreArtLife.
People often assume nomads like me aren’t afraid of moving from one country and opportunity to the next. Well, I can’t speak for all the other nomads and expats out there, but I am certainly always dealing with a mix of excitement and fear when I head out into the unknown. It’s an emotional cocktail I’ve come to recognize as a precursor to turbulence and exponential growth. As the saying goes “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

Read the full article here. Enjoy!

My Thoughts Are With Macau

typhoon hato 35

Since last week, my thoughts are with Macau and with my dear friends who live there. Typhoon Hato went through my former home with wind speeds of up to 250 km/hour.

My work buddies and I used to get excited each time a typhoon would come our way. Because if it made it up to T8 strength, it would mean we would have a day off, to chill at home together with a cold beer, gazing out at the storm. The storms rarely went above a T3. But sometimes, when they did, we would even venture into the tempest. To feel its raw power and brave the salty gusts, feeling as if sea monsters had wrapped their muscular tentacles around us. I cringe now, thinking of how often I wished for the storm to strike, barely noticing how much it affected the lives of the people in its destructive path on its way to Macau.

Now, Typhoon Hato has topped the scale. It was a T10 and squarely fits the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” The entire city was flooded, eerily reminiscent of movie scenes from “The Day after Tomorrow”. Some people lost their homes. Others even lost their lives. This was, quite frankly, shit-scary. Even from afar.

Amazingly, this natural disaster also made me realize just how much of a home Macau has become for me over the years. Living in Switzerland at the moment, too far away, unable to lend a hand in the post-Hato clean-up and rebuilding, I feel more connected to this unique, East-Asian town than since I left it.

I see now, more than ever, how much Macau has given me. There was hardship, too. Even trauma. But overall there was learning on a scale like never before. There was abundant adventure, happiness, despair, soulfulness, friendship, and camaraderie. There was even family… and a special one at that. I still miss my House of Dancing Water show family. Nothing is quite the same after living and working with such a diverse and spirited group of people.

Their theatre has been closed for a week now. Cast and crew are heading out into the city every day, actively helping with the relief efforts, even taking care of the four-legged victims at Macau’s pet shelters. I’m thinking of you guys. I’m with you. And I’m proud of you. Be safe.

Moments of Connecting

sam and me

When traveling with my dad through Europe, he used to point out all the historical buildings and sites. He was fascinated with the styles and epochs and would lecture mom and me for hours, pointing at the houses we passed, explaining the structure and peculiarities of each and how we could tell in which century or decade it was built. While buildings came alive for Dad, they were just dead, meaningless structures to me. I remember tuning him out and gazing at trees, bushes, birds, clouds, and butterflies instead.

When I began traveling by myself, I stayed the same. Predominantly focused on nature, on characters. I still am. Whenever there are encounters with human beings, flora, and fauna, I am fascinated. Even more so, I feel happy and glad to be alive. Years later, what I remember most, what sustains me, are these moments of connecting.

Like here, I can’t even remember where exactly this was. Just that it was somewhere in Illinois, in 2004. I was there for a friend’s wedding, but I can’t remember the names of the towns the Greyhound bus took us through. Even the actual wedding with its glitter and room full of strangers is but a faint, misty image in my mind. What I remember most from this trip is meeting this little guy. His name was Sam. He was the bride’s nephew and he was fascinated with horses. However, he hadn’t had much chance of getting close to them in the town where he lived. I ended up staying a couple of hours at this paddock with Sam, teaching him how to gently wait for the horses to come closer. How to not spook them with fast movements, and how to soothingly talk with them, letting them get used to his presence. Then we stole some apples and fed them to the delighted animals. Sam’s sparkling eyes made my weekend. I can still hear the pounding of hooves, feel the dust on my tongue as the small team of five horses thundered past us, and smell their strong scent as they slowly approached us in the end. Alert. Majestic. Powerful.