Merry Christmas, y’all!

Those of you that celebrate, of course. To the others a lovely day spent in whatever way you want to…

Me, I’ll be heading over to M&F’s with my mom for brunch and then a nice day spent together. Making some new traditions this year – it’d have been weird to try and cling to our old family ways. But I’m sure Papi will be there in spirit!

Anyways, I have a little something for all of you: my annual mix!

Cover image and playlist
Click for full-size. The cover is a photo I took in the Hard forest in autumn, overlaid with a Rilke quote (see below).

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Farewell, Papi…

Last week, my father died after a long struggle with cancer. In the end, it all happened quickly, and we were all with him when he passed, which is what he had wished for.

He is now at peace, of that I am certain, and it helps me deal with the loss. Also, so many people have been with us in their thoughts and prayers, as well as at the funeral last Friday.

Family photo

One of the cards we received had this beautiful quote on it, which I tried to translate:

Wenn etwas von uns fortgenommen wird,
womit wir tief und wunderbar zusammenhängen,
so ist viel von uns selbst mit fortgenommen.

Gott aber will, dass wir uns wieder finden,
reicher um alles Verlorene und
vermehrt um jenen unendlichen Schmerz.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, Brief 1908


When something was taken from us which we were deeply and wonderfully connected with, we lose much of ourselves. However, God wants us to find ourselves again, richer for all that we lost and increased by this infinite pain.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, letter 1908

Self-made patchwork lampshade

Despite a lot of looking around I couldn’t find a lampshade I really liked for my living room, so I ended up buying a simple, cheap one. And then I saw this beauty in the background of the Sarah Millican Television Show:

Patchwork lampshade from The Baobab Tree

I might buy that one at some point, but the colors don’t quite fit into my living room, and I figured I could do a simple version myself. My mom had some leftover fabrics in yellow, cream and red tones, so I bought spray-on glue, double-sided tape, one of those zig zag scissors (to cut the fabric so it won’t fray) and 2.5m of ribbon, and went to town on my existing lampshade:

The materials:
Patchwork lampshade, step 1

Trying out with double-sided tape:
Patchwork lampshade, step 2

Going to town with the spray-on glue:
Patchwork lampshade, step 3

Prettying it up with the ribbon (which I had to affix with tape, as the glue didn’t seem to take):
Patchwork lampshade, step 4

It’s obviously not perfect (I’m not good at precision work), but I like how it’s turned out – and it cost me next to nothing! (Okay, so the scissors would have cost a bit, but I was able to use points from one of those supermarket cards and got them for free.)

Not doing so good

I’ve been fighting a bad turn of depression for a couple of months now, and it’s gotten to the point that this week my shrink (the same I went to during uni – it’s so good that I don’t have to start from scratch with a new doctor!) convinced me to go on sick leave from work for ten days. I do hope that’ll help!

In any case, my plan for this week is to do lots of stuff that’s good for my soul, and I started by visiting my school friend Sandra with her two little boys yesterday. The weather was glorious, so we took a nice little walk, caught up with each other’s lives a little, and I got to hold her brand new baby (4 weeks!) a whole lot… Best therapy ever! 🙂

Baby Therapy . Baby Therapy

Goodbye, 2011; hello, 2012!

It’s been an interesting year, and I’m looking forward to the next one – the first one where I consider myself “settled”, in a job, a flat, with no massive change looming in my immediate future. On one hand this is a bit dull not to have big plans, but on the other one it’s just really nice to be able to relax and just live.

Like every year I’ve put together a mix of music I’ve been listening to this year – 25 songs I added to my iTunes Library in the past 12 months and that stand out to me, not more than one song per artist.

I actually listened to much less music this year, because my love for audiobooks took off massively, but I did go to several great concerts and saw, among others, My Chemical Romance (twice), CAKE, Panic! at the Disco (3 times!), The Cat Empire, and two days at Leeds Festival. Also, I listened to a lot of covers, even liked some of them, and a few long-time favorites released new stuff – most notably of course one of my favorite guys ever, the talented Patrick Stump! In any case, I hope you enjoy… 🙂

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My birthday wish

I’ve really enjoyed being back in Basel, having a proper home (small but lovely) and a good job with a bunch of very nice people. I think 2012 is shaping up to be a good year for me!

The only not-good thing is my dad’s health situation, which is still precarious. But we’re keeping the hope alive, praying and staying close as a family. You saw the tattoo I got – it’s healed nicely and I love it. I’ll get to show it to my family tomorrow when they’re coming to Basel for tea at my brother’s.

With the holiday season it’s also almost time for my birthday on January 5 – and this time I’ve decided to go the charity way: Instead of presents I want to try and raise enough money to sponsor a kid through Eduhaitian, which was founded by two of my fellow volunteers from Haiti.

If you want to help me reach my birthday goal, you can do so with Paypal:

You can also email me and I’ll give you my bank information here in Switzerland.

Want to see my flat?

After getting the key on Friday I made a little movie of the empty flat that will be my home soon. Moving people and Ikea furniture are scheduled for tomorrow – I’m so excited, seriously!

It’s not huge, but it’s a nicely laid-out, light space, and my furniture will fit in nicely. A world of difference from my tiny shoebox one-room flat in Zurich! *twirls*