Thoughts about Bravery

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Me, as a 20 year old girl ready to take on Japan without fear. 

I’ve been having problems with my confidence recently. People who know me will see me as outgoing and someone who is everywhere at once, doing all the meetups and friends with everyone. But I used to be so much more. I think there’s a better word for it, but I used to be brave when I was younger. I used to do a lot of drama, I loved to be on stage and when I went to Japan to study I didn’t care if my Japanese was good or not, I just used it.

But I have found that I’m not that person anymore, I seem to have lost that side of me. My German friends constantly ask me to speak in German with them… I guess I could and it would be ok but there’s an element of “losing face” involved that’s just too risky… or scary for me. Every German I know speaks amazing English. It would just be embarrassing to let them see just how little German I speak. And also when we speak in English we can have amazing conversations but if we spoke in German we’d be reduced to boring, simple stuff. But I can’t ever remember feeling this way with Japanese. Maybe it’s because I was a cocky little shit, but this time round I just can’t get the German out, even though I know my friends won’t judge me and I know it’ll only make my German better.

I finished the advanced improv course a few weeks ago and I noticed in that area too I’d become a lot more withdrawn. I love improv – I love being on stage. When I was younger I used to do SO much theatre; regular stuff, improv contests, I was a dame in the village panto (meaning I was 16 year old girl pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman…) and I even entered a solo theatre contest in a division 2 years older than my age (and still won). I was this girl, but now I am not, and I think it’s holding me back.

When you’re an expat or just a regular language learner, I think you need to be super outgoing to be able to get the most out of your life in your adoptive country. Langauge-wise it’s pretty straight forward – you need to be brave enough to just go for it and you’ll get the hang of the language. As an expat it’s best if you just throw yourself into various situations and go to random meetups because you never know what will happen. Of course, it’s also ok to not be outgoing and an expat, but you won’t have as many crazy stories to tell your grandchildren 😉

I guess this lack of bravery has been bugging me for a while. I guess various things happened and I lost the drive I used to have to be like this, but I’m taking steps to get it back. Improv helps me a lot, but I’m thinking of maybe dabbling in stand-up comedy. A comedian friend of mine who I admire very much came over the other week so I could road test my routine on him but I just clammed up. I’d like to work myself to the stage where I’m able to do this – even if I’m not funny I think the experience will be good for me.

During the first week of April I’m going to do a German homestay. It’ll be in Frankfurt so I’m not going far at all, but I’m actually really nervous about it. I have no idea where the 16 year old who went off to Japan to do homestays is, but she’s not here right now. I feel nervous about speaking German to someone other than the few people I share my terrible skills with and I feel nervous that it’ll be a whole week of me and the teacher – her teaching me in intensive lessons during the day and cooking and hanging out together in the evenings. This all seems very daunting to me.

But I think once I’ve taken these steps I’ll feel a lot better about myself, so I need to take them. Do you take steps to put yourself in different and daunting situations?

Recent Photos

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Oranges at Jade Chinese restaurant / One of the flatcats being gorgeous / My friends made me some delicious dinner! / Snowy Frankfurt…again!

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My Pikachu outfit / Another gorgeous flatcat / YUMMY burger…

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Peanut butter jelly donut / Homemade jams from the farmers’ market / Potato pancakes from the same farmers’ market / I went to Kiehl’s to buy the Midnight Recovery and got ALL these samples free!

Yummy Things

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I try really hard to lead a fit and healthy life. After spending my teens eating any and every food put in front of me, I am now trying hard to make it up to myself by going to the gym and exercising as much as I can, and making sure I fill up on fruit and veg. As you can see from my blog, I do still eat a lot – what can I say? I love food! But every little helps.

I found a few recipes for curly kale chips on the health blogs I follow, but it took me a while to get round to trying it out since Germany is (quite rightly) a country which supplies mainly things that are in season and nothing else. I think this can be hard for Brits like myself who are used to Tescos selling every kind of fruit and veg regardless of the season. Kale is still rare in supermarkets so I usually get mine on a Saturday when I go to the farmers’ market at Konstablewache.

I feel I should issue a warning with these, since they are highly addictive! I was over my friends’ house the other day and I even got them addicted to them!

How to make kale chips

Rip the washed kale into small pieces – you want to keep them small because when they are crispy the crispy bits go everywhere so it’s best if they are bite sized.

Rub them with a tiiiiiny bit of olive oil (I use this “healthy” oil and it still works great).

Put them in a really hot oven for about 5 minutes or so, then flip them over and keep them in for another few minutes. Depending on your cooker, the times will vary. The chips will need flipping when they get pretty scent-ful and you know they’re done when they are a nice dark brown colour.

Once cooled, pop them in tupperware and they keep for about 2 days – though you’ll be reaching for them so often they probably won’t make it that long!!

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On a separate note, a colleague of mine let me try this lime and chilli hot chocolate! It’s from the British company Whittard, who make amazing drinks. Tubs of hot chocolate powder like this are pretty pricey and I remember as a student I would save up and treat myself to some every once in a while.

The lime and chilli version was… interesting. The lime hits you as an aftertaste and then towards the end of the drink the chilli kicked in. It certainly made a change from regular hot chocolate!

If you get round to making the kale chips, do let me know!

My New Home

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Last week I moved into a gorgeous apartment, and now have 4 German flatmates and 2 cat flatcats. I’ve only been here a week but I absolutely love living here – the location is great, the people are so awesome and also, cats.

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When you spot it…

My room resembles a thrift store right now but I kind of like it.

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My flatmates have an awesome sense of humour…

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And maybe these magnets can help me with my German a bit?!

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