As an exception in German: Königin

Am Morgen einfach weiterschlafen, die Augen gar nicht erst öffnen, auch dann nicht wenn die Nichten an meinen Augenlidern ziehen. Die Schritte meiner Schwester, die im Bad anfängt Gymnastik zu machen, auch wenn es so klingt als würden gewaltige Riesen, Felsbrocken in ein Tal schleudern. Die Kirchturmuhren läuten und auf der Straße bellt ein Hund. Dann doch aufstehen, der heiße Tee in der weißen, zerbrechlichen Kanne, heiße Milch für die Kinder und für jeden ein Weckmännchen dazu. Eingewickelt in einen, warmen Bademantel, der schon so zerschlissen ist, das man seine Farbe nur mehr erahnen kann, für zehn Minuten allein auf dem Balkon. Zum ersten Mal seit Tagen die Kälte in den Zehen spüren und die milchige Sonne auf den Schultern. Langsam fließen die Gedanken dahin. Die heißen Fingerspitzen von der Teetasse nehmen und den Gedanken hinterherfahren. Hart war das Jahr und kälter als wärmer in jedem Fall. Sich fragen, was man macht mit all seinen Jahren und ob sich auch dieses wegstellen lässt in einer schweren Truhe, hoch oben auf dem Speicher, unter dem Dach. Dort wo es still ist und nur die Schatten mit der Dämmerung wechseln, unbeachtet vom allzu grellen Licht. Schließlich wird es doch zu kalt,also zurück in die Küche, zwei Äpfel für die Kinder in Kronenform schneiden, den Teller mit Goldrand aus dem Regal für die Nichte, die mit wichtiger Miene erklärt, dass sie und nur sie allein Königin sei. Schwesterchen jammert über die hinterhältige List der Waage und trinkt aus Trotz nur zwei Gläser lauwarmes Wasser. Das wird nicht helfen, denke ich, aber was hilft denn schon? Die Königin durchschreitet ihr Reich und fordert mit Nachdruck, die Räumung des Sofas, dort residiert sie mit dem Bären als ihrem Kanzler und lächelt über uns alte, schon etwas erschöpfte Diener. Und ein wenig neidisch sehen wir zu ihr herüber, denn wir weder Schwesterchen noch ich, leben mehr in dem festen und ganz und gar unumstößlichen Glauben, dass die Welt nur auf uns warte mit offenen Armen und klopfenden Herzen, nur darauf wartend wir riefen ihr zu, dass sie uns tragen möge, höher und höher bis in die Wolken und darüber hinaus.

Have a very merry…

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23.12.2015, There is a tree and the tree stands upright. Deep breaths.

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24.12.2015, 11 AM, F. and I are trying to convince the tree to gently accept the candleholders. Sigh.

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24.12.2015, 2:30 PM: That’s how we roll ( my sister of course thinks its too sober, but I refuse to take any further action.) Uff.

To all of you, who do and to all of you who don’t and to all of you, who have to like me, have a very, merry couple of days. Be kind to yourselves, eat and dance and sing along even louder than the weird grandmother or the boring uncle.

Merry Christmas! Chag Sameach!

As an exception in German: Berliner Geschichten III

Hier leben keine hippen Mitteschnitten und die Männer sind alle eher graumeliert als dreifach gepierct. Es sind die zweiten Versuche und dritten  Ehen, die sich hier im Südwesten Berlins im Bioladen treffen. Ihre Autos sind nicht mehr schnell, sondern gediegen. Die Männer sind Anwälte oder Verwaltungsbeamtete, die ersten Ehefrauen nur noch eine Kontonummer, die neuen Frauen, haben Ansprüche und morgens um halb Zehn, Yoga. Sie sind alle blond und sagen ganz unironisch fragt man sie nach ihrem Beruf: Supermommy.                                                                                                                Ihre Kinder heißen: FriedrichWilhelmLuisKarlHeleneWilhelmine, so als sei es in Preußen doch eigentlich am Schönsten gewesen. FriedrichWilhelmLuisKarlHeleneWilhelmine dürfen keine Gelbwurst von der netten Frau an der Fleischtheke haben, denn die Mütter erziehen die Kinder selbstbestimmt und natürlich vegan. FriedrichWilhelmLuisKarlHeleneWilhelmine finden das eher nicht so gut und werfen sich vor dem Joghurtregal auf die Erde. Das ist nicht so gut für die teuren Wollwalkjacken, die sie alle tragen und auch nicht gut für die Nerven der alternden Väter, die es doch besser machen wollten, jetzt beim zweiten oder dritten Versuch. In den Einkaufswagen liegt Sojageschnetzeltes und Sojajoghurt, aber mehr und mehr sieht man auch Reismilch. Ich kaufe Camembert und fetten Gouda natürlich, Vollmilch  und Brot. Ich kaufe Kartoffeln und Kakis für den Feldsalat und halte nicht viel von Quinoa und Chia-Samen, vor allem weil ich die Kilopreise in den Herkunftsländern kenne.  Aber FriedrichWilhelmLuisKarlHeleneWilhelmine sollen doch dem Papa nicht mit dem Wagen über die Zehen fahren und auch nicht die Dominosteine von den Regalen reißen, sondern selbstbestimmt einsehen, dass Mami das nicht schön findet. FriedrichWilhelmLuisKarlHeleneWilhelmine,kümmert das wenig. Die Väter indes zahlen die Dritte-Welt-Produkte, die die Erste Welt fancy findet und sagen: Ja, Liebling, wie du möchtest und dann rufen sie nach FriedrichWilhelmLuisKarlHeleneWilhelmine, die doch bitte warten möchten, doch FriedrichWilhelmLuisKarlHeleneWilhelmine stürmen davon und die Väter wissen auch nicht so recht, warum das nichts wird mit dem schönen und neuen Leben, obwohl ihre Ehefrauen doch alle die gleichen Nikeleggins tragen, die halb traurig, halb komisch behaupten: YOU CAN DO IT. Ich aber fahre nach Haus und im warmen Sonnenschein sitzend, esse ich erst einen Schokoladennikolaus und dann ein Käsebrot.

Headless

For the last time this year: Dublin-Berlin. Outside it is already too dark to catch a glimpse down to the village of mine. Queen Cat stays with the vet. The grocer’s wife hands over an enormous package of mince pies. The grocer cuts Christmas trees and is disappointed that I don’t intend to take one with me. The priest is running up and down the village because the  church will be soon in the hands of the grocer’s wife and her circle of trustees, who will decorate St Sylvester, the tiny church of ours. Last year they wanted to bring in a sheep, which made quite sense to me, because there are more sheep the men in the village anyway. But the priest strictly refused. K. will look of after the house. J. drives me to the airport and we giggle about all the people wearing reindeer antlers. We will miss you, he says and I say: I will miss you too, and I mean it.

The plane is full to its last seat. They are playing Driving home for Christmas and I doubt it has an ironic meaning. Next to me sits an businessman, and even before all the people have crammed their outrageous amount of hand luggage into the overhead bins, he has opened his notebook and starts to watch a movie. He is not even the slightest bit irritated when JoannaCaitlinMarcandMáirín explain to us how to save or lives and souls but puts on enormous headphones that make him look like an alien and proceeds with his movie. The story seems to be quite simple: many women, to me all looking excatly the same enter a room, where they sit down on a chair, then a killer squad arrives and beheads them. Well, what to say?  But truly irritating it seems at least to me that the businessman first starts to giggle shyly, but the longer he watches the movie, the louder he laughs and so explicitly enjoys the scenes of women losing their heads that he claps with his hands before he bursts out in even louder laughter. He can hardly take his eyes away even when JoannaCaitlinMarcandMáirín announce that we have arrived at our destination. Later, I see him again waiting for his luggage, with a most serious face, as he reads the Wall Street Journal.

On the train drunken men are kicking a Tequila bottle through the wagon. The air smells outworn and I yawn . At home I open all the windows to let in fresh air and forget that I can’t smell the sea as I can do in a small village, somewhere in Ireland, where late at night the grocer’s wife makes mince-pie and the priest thinks about the sermon and the sheep laugh about us all.

Jyoti

I drink coffee and then I put the kettle on to make herbal tea. Then I go for a walk and talk to the grocer’s wife. I run some errands and have lunch with the priest. I dust the bookshelves and text with T. I sort out the books I want to take back to Berlin tomorrow and I look out of the window. I pat Queen Cat’s back and put a record on. I try to sleep for twenty minutes and  begin to knit a Yoda hat for my niece. I wash my hair and water the plants. I sit on the stairs and throw out newspapers. Then I wait for the vet, who wants to come by later. An ordinary sunday. But again and again, I get back to my notebook and look at the scenes unfolding in in New-Delhi. I think of all the women I know and all the children I care for and I remember how I walked down an empty road not late at night.

My heart is heavy.

In search for a highland cow or my nephew makes a wish.

My sister has four children. Three nieces and one nephew I do have. I love  them all. They are witty children and as loud as funny. They are wild and especially when they are asleep: utterly adorable. I love all the four of them deeply.But my oldest nephew I love most. My nephew and I write letters to each other since forever, we share our triple chocolate cookies and our secrets with each other and of course with no one else. I became his partner in crime and his patience with my inability to differentiate between Gandalf , Yoda and Superman has literally no ends. So when my nephew called me to tell me that he wanted to make a wish for Christmas, I listened most carefully. Read On, he said, promise you won’t laugh. I promise, said I and searched for pen and paper because I am unable to get the names of the heroes I was expecting right. I really do want to have a Highland cow, he said, it could sit next to my pillow and would watch over me. Listen, Read On, he said, they are strong and trustful animals and not at all dull or stupid. That’s for sure said I and put the pen aside. Then we talked about 16th century silver mines, a girl from his class, he fancies and Queen Cat. The next day I went to a big Toy Store in Dublin. Hiya, I said and smiled my brightest smile before I asked the desperate looking sales assistant for a  Highland cow. The sales assistant asked twice to get me right. Then he pointed to a violet cow with bulky eyes, sitting next to an ugly lion and said: this is the closest to a highland cow we have. This is an abomination I said and left. In the following days and weeks I visited many, many toy stores and was shown many, too many ugly animals, none of them resembling a highland cattle, not even from afar. I started to write desperate emails to friends asking for help. I searched at least half of the known Internet for a highland cattle made of fur. I found nothing. Yesterday I sat in a meeting, my feet were cold, I was hungry and worst of all I had to catch back a flight to Dublin later this evening and the meeting lasted  longer and longer. When my phone beeped I saw a message from C. „Found Highland Cow“ said the message and the next hour turned out be the longest hour since the invention of time. I saw people over people wandering along the shelves, thinking of little Jean-Luc, who so sweetly moohs that a highland cow is the exactly right present for him. Finally I stormed out of the door and driven by higher forces I reached the KADEWE quicker as ever and did not stop till I reached the shelves where all the plush animals are waiting patiently. And there it sat: A perfectly fur made Highland cow with dark brown eyes and silly little curls between its horns. A strong and trustful animal exactly as my nephew had said, a perfect bedside companion, who patiently munches hay and listens calmly.“ Hey, highland cattle“ I said, „hurry up, we have a plane to catch.“

As an exception in German:Schwesterchen beklagt sich sehr.

Schwesterchen sagt: „Du weißt, dass wir kommen, ja?“ Aber Schwesterchen sage ich, ihr kommt doch jedes Jahr. Schwesterchen seufzt. „Dir ist immer alles egal.“ Aber nein sage ich, Schwesterchen, nein. Natürlich ist mir euer Kommen nicht egal. Hör doch zu, sagt Schwesterchen, natürlich sind wir dir nicht egal, aber Weihnachten ist dir egal. Schwesterchen schnauft. Es ist ein wütendes Schnauben, das Schnauben eines jungen Drachen, kurz vor der Feuerspeiabnahmeprüfung. Nein, nein sage ich, denn nun gilt es den Drachen zu versöhnen. Aber Schwesterchen kommt erst so richtig in Fahrt. Letztes Jahr hast Du Dich geweigert den ausgesuchten Baum mitzunehmen, klagt es durch das Telefon, so als hätte ich die Nichten und Neffen an der Haltestelle vergessen. Nein, nein sage ich Schwesterchen, bitte erinnere dich: Du wolltest eine 3 Meter hohe Silbertanne erwerben, die 198 Euro kosten sollte und niemals nie auch nur ansatzweise in den vorhandenen Weihnachtsbaumfuss gepasst hätte. Schwesterchen knurrt beleidigt und fühlt sich bestätigt: „Dir ist das eben alles egal. Sich einer solch herrlichen Tanne zu verweigern, sagt doch schon alles, was es über dich zu sagen gibt. Dann spricht Schwesterchen von Weihnachtsfesten mit meterhohen Tannenbäumen und glitzernden Kugeln, von schneeverwehten Hügeln und Bienenwachskerzen ( ich versuche möglichst lautlos zu gähnen.) Schwesterchen ist nun bei Stutenkerlen und  böhmischen Glaskugeln angekommen und ich schließe die Augen bis meine Schwester: „Lametta“ sagt. Unter gar keinen Umständen sage ich, kommt Lametta an den Baum. Lametta ist der Albtraum selbst. Wer Lametta an den Baum hängt, liest Paul Coelho Bücher und findet Gel-Nägel schön. Lametta ist indiskutabel. Schwesterchen knurrt: wenn es nach Dir ginge, wäre der Baum kahl und grün und alles wäre kalt und öde. Kein Lametta sage ich und Schwesterchen schweigt. Du bist gemein sagt sie, wirklich hundsgemein und unfestlich noch dazu. Kein Lametta sage ich und überlege, wo genau eigentlich der Karton mit den roten Kugeln sein könnte. Schwesterchen klagt und jammert, aber ich muss los. Schwesterchen sage ich, lass uns morgen weitersprechen, ja? Aber Schwesterchen sagt: Immer ist Dir alles egal und ich sage besser nichts mehr und hoffe mir fällt ein, wo der Karton mit den Weihnachtssachen sein könnte? Auf dem Speicher? Oder doch im Keller? Ich werde ihn doch wohl nicht aussortiert haben?

Surviving in Ireland as non-pork eater ( III )

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Yesterday was a day out of a manual for nightmares. I was neither at the University nor in Dublin at all. When I brushed my teeth late at night I remembered that I had not eaten all day. So with delay but not forgotten, another attempt of mine to not eat pork in an all-pork eating environment. Today: Roasted Vegetables with mashed potatoes (instead of rice.) Well, you might say, Read On, you don’t think us you can trick us like that, don’t you? Roasted Vegetables? But I can only shrug my shoulders and repeat: Roasted Vegetables. Sometimes I wonder if in the morning the cook and his underlings gather and the cook asks:

Cook: What’s our main dish today?

Underling 1: Cook, you said either cold ham with mustard or roasted turkey.

Cook: Turkey it is, time to get a bit christmassy, isn’it? Hohooohooo.

Underlings 1 to 10: Oh no please don’t make us wear these silly hats again.  Please cook, show some mercy.

Cook ( sighs ): These stupid underlings! I am talking about the turkey! As in christmas turkey not as in empty heads underneath a hat.

Underlings 1-10: smiling in relief.

Cook: You will all wear reindeer antlers this year. No discussions. How many of you are there?

Underling 4 ( in despair ): Cook, there are eight reindeers but ten of us underlings.

Cook: Eight reindeers? I’ll be damned! Count again!!

Underling 1: Vixen

Underling 2: Blixen

Underling 3: Dasher

Underling 4: Dancer

Underling 5: Prancer

Underling 6: Donner

Underling 7: Blitzen

Underling 8: Cupid

Underling 9: Rudolph

Underling 10 stands in silence

Cook, Ha, I knew it. There were more than eight. Who said eight? Eight. Yeah. Yeah. See underlings this is the difference between me and you. I fuckin‘ know things. Eight reindeers. We think of somethin‘ for you.             ( points to Underling 10 )

( It knocks against the door )

Cook: Jesus fuckin Christ, haven’t even finished my first cuppa. What do you want?

Sweet canteen lady: Cook, we need the list with today’s dishes! 10 Minutes!

Cook: Workin‘ on it, sweet canteen lady!

( The underlings 1-10 nod in silence )

Cook: Alright then. What do we have so far?

Underling 5: Roast Turkey, cook.

Cook: That’s a good one.

Underling 8: We need to come up with something for the vegetarians.

Cook: Fuckin‘ grasseaters.

Underling 1: What vegetables do we have left over from yesterday?

Underling 3: Some mushrooms. Some 40 packages or so.

Underling 4: Green peppers from Tuesday!

Underling 7: Celery. Plenty of it.

Underling 9: The sweet canteen lady says in the pantry are plenty of tins with green peas. They have to be finished before the end of the year.

Cook ( grunts ): Good. Let’s throw them altogether.

Underling 10: But we need some sauce, cook.

Cook: What’s wrong with my turkey gravy, eh?

Underling 10: Nothing cook, I just thought…

Cook: Now he starts to think! Jesus, workin‘ with these lads. Should charge them some extra money for it.

Underling 4: Cook, how do you want to call the dish?

Cook: What’s our main dish?

Underlings 1-10: Roasted Turkey, cook.

Cook: Jesus, why are you shoutin‘ like this? I am not deaf.

Cook: Roasted vegetables. Roasted vegetables that’s fancy enough, eh?

Underling 5: But Cook, don’t you…

Cook: What are you lingering around here anyway? See the potatoes over there? All yours.

Sweet canteen lady: Cook, do you have the list with today’s dishes?

Anyway it was rather a vegetable goulash than anything else. You see as a non-pork eater in Ireland you sometimes eat a vegetable goulash while thinking its roasted vegetable or the other way around. The mashed potatoes ( with herbs! with herbs! ) were pretty tasty. The rest, well…

What? Roasted Vegetables with mashed potatoes ( instead of rice )

Where? The Buttery, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

How much? 4 Euro

Survived? Yap.

 

The orderliness of form within the chaos of things ( I )

The fabulous Madame Wiesenraute who to my great regret stopped blogging and hopefully will be back sometime, founded the wonderful and insightful  genre of EinkaufslyrikI hope she doesn’t mind me picking up the thread or better, the shopping lists left behind by strangers to discover  the poetic in all our lives. Yesterday I found this one:

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After the baking, a stiff drink? Before the family arrives another one? What would Sigmund Freud made out of ‚Drownsugar‘? Drowning the almond cookies in Whiskey or drown the Christmas madness once and for all? But after all it sums up life quite well: cleaning, baking, drinking. Cheers!

 

A night like this

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The village is sound asleep when I came home late at night. 2 AM. It is the third stormy night in a row. But the village breathes in and out as if nothing could ever disturb its long established rhythm. Even the grocer’s wife is asleep. You must know she is the night owl of the village and if awake it is impossible to escape her at whatever time of the day or night. If she were, she would have scold me. The grocer’s wife agrees with me that someone has to what I do on many, many nights during the year. But she thinks it shouldn’t be me. I think otherwise. So I walk as quiet as I can not to wake anyone up. Queen Cat sleeps merrily on the sofa. The wind rattles against the window frames  and from afar I can hear the sea rolling over the rocks. While it is so late anyway I have a tea and lean against the cold windowless looking out into the raging, stormy night. The storms in its winterly consistency changes the village more than any men-made change will ever be able to do. Just yesterday, the old neighbor from across the street walked with me down to the beach and while stopping for a moment in the middle of the village, he told me of the old oak tree brought down by a storm a good twenty years ago. His father, who merely ever left the village at all, once told him of a storm so vast and wild that a ship wrack from England landed at the village’s beach. His father by then a little boy stood in awe and fascination. Weeks after that the old neighbor says, drowned bodies washed up on the shore. He shakes his head and sighs before we walk on. The sheep are all standing side by side and the wind pushes us to the side of the road. The old neighbor will spending all afternoon down at the sea watching out for boats struggling with the waves. Day after day he comes down and collects the trash, thrown carelessly into the waves somewhere else till it arrives at a remote place as ours. The grocer’s wife speaks of nothing else than the storm, even if this storm is nothing compared to the wind and gusts that blew away half of her wedding guests nearly four decades ago. „But a wedding, it was“ she says still beaming at the memories. But soon enough she continues her prophecies that the apocalypse is close and I definitely should take another scone, because nothing could be as worse as dying hungry. Even the priest when confirming our Sunday lunch date looked scornful up in the sky and told me of a storm that blew away half of the church’s roof. By then the church was able to fund half a roof, today it probably would not be able to pay for plastic foil. He sighs and I chuckle a bit. You don’t think I say, g*d will look out for your roof? But the priest, shakes his head, smiling himself: „you don’t get me so easy Read On, no way.“ Now the church and the churchyard is all black and I am finally in bed. But before I fall asleep I listen for five more minutes to the howling wind and the shattering rain, and think of the breaking timbers of a ship, the unheard cries for help and the black, cold sea, swallowing all of them in a night such as this.