Learning anew – a new Language

Alfred Eisenstaedt - Left Bank, Paris, 1964.

Last week I decided to intensely study a new language for the next months … to get a good start with it this summer. And since I’ve made this conscious decision, my life seems different. I’ve been there before. It always seems and feels different when I set out to learn a new tongue. Languages are my passion (well, and my profession). As most other people, I think in language (who would have thought? lol). And I think best when I read, write and talk. Mere thinking without expression is half thinking at best. At least for me.

Intentionally diving into a new language is a bit like Continue reading

“Liber liber?” – On the Freedom of Books

book nook


Today, April 23, 2014, is the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day. Occasion enough to write a little piece about an obviousness that we, that I, sometimes forget: Books are not free.

Liber liber non est. (The book is not free. Isn’t Latin beautiful?!) A play of words – and a play of double meaning. No, books are not free. Ultimately they can’t. Too many people are involved in the process of their making. Too many people’s water bills, school tuition, and grocery expenses depend on getting something back for the time they – the writers, editors, publishers, printers, and deliverers – put into producing books. No, books cannot Continue reading

Books of my Life… Some. So far.


Tomorrow is the UNESCO Book and Copyright Day 2014. Here is a small list of selected books that have influenced me a lot. Enjoy!


1) The Bible. (Initiated and informs my worldview. Is essentially different than any other book I ever read in my life. Calls me to thank, obey, and worship my Creator; gives energy beyond measure; encourages me to live intentionally and to love unconditionally. Not there yet, but I started my journey…)

2) My Passport. (Only 32 pages. One protagonist. Several supporting/signing characters. Boring plot. Yet the first document I would save if my house catches fire. – Reminds me that I am, after all, not a cosmopolite, but a German. By nationality. Sometimes also by heart; not sure yet.)

3) Steps to Christ by Ellen G. White (The best book – besides the Bible – to get to know Jesus Christ. It’s short, concise, and practical as well as deep. Great for everyone who wants to know for him-/herself what Bible-believing Christians believe about their God.)



- Ellen G. White (The most translated American author of either gender, and most translated female writer in history. Excellent insights on spirituality, Bible, education, health, critical thinking, Christian history, personal devotion, etc. Timeless, yet very timely.)

- Stefan Zweig (Sternstunden der Menschheit/Decisive Moments in History. Schachnovelle/The Royal Game and many more. Excellent. For me the Johann Sebastian Bach of German-speaking literature.) Continue reading

Wanderlust, or: The Luggage of Words

Milano, Stazione Centrale

It is a human characteristic that we often want to be where we currently are not. Exploring new places, meeting new people, eating unknown food, learning new words (or even whole languages). It has to do with beginnings. And there is something amazing about beginnings: this mixture of curiosity, adventure, learning, sensing, and broadening of one’s own horizon. Traveling holds many beginnings. So, no wonder that – at least for many people – it is a very exciting endeavor.

The English language has several expressions for this longing to travel: itchy feet, Continue reading

Pareto and Me: How to Trick My Writer’s Block


It dawned on me. Late. But not too late. And for sure it’s not the least of things I need to know for now and my future: “Cooperate with the Pareto Principle!”

You never heard of it? Nevermind. Here it is. The Pareto Principle is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) who observed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden yielded 80% of the peas. Well, more excitingly – and more economy-related - he also observed that 80% of the land in Italy belonged to 20% of the population. Needless to say that this principle holds true in many other areas of science and life and has since been widely confirmed, adopted, and applied to various areas of life. One of them is time management. Or have you never experienced that most of the furniture refurbishing, Pizza-making, scrapbook-assembling, etc. is done in a comparatively small amount of time, whereas the final amount of work seems to eat up most of the time? Here we go. Welcome to Pareto-World! :) Continue reading

Listen. To. Me.

Listening ear

“Listen to me.”

What is about this appeal that gets me every time?

It must come from someone who has a voice. Someone who knows how to speak, to communicate. But even more, someone who has something to say.

“Listen to me.”

A verb in the imperative, a preposition, and the object form of the personal pronoun I. Three words. Not much. But so much.

Someone else’s desire for Continue reading

“I do!”

to-do list

To-do lists are not my favourite literature. I prefer Zweig or Leopardi, Goethe or Dante, but To-do lists? No, thank you. They smell of bureaucracy, management, and office pressure. Not too much the kind of company my libertine, chaotic, and spontaneous spirit would choose. The problem with a libertine, chaotic, and spontaneous spirit: at the end of the day, there is often a lot of artistic air, but not much of an outcome, to put it boringly plainly. So once every 133.5 days I make a to-do list. Full of enthusiasm, new courage, and a lot of hope. Just in order to realize that, at the end of the day, I accomplished not even a third of what I planned to. Not the best prerequisite to repeat it the following day.

What I realize: to-do lists have the wrong name. They shouldn’t be called To-do lists, but I-will-do lists. You think there is not much of a difference? Then take a look at all these inspiring people who say that they wrote down, for example, 50 crazy things they wanted to do until they reach 50 years of age. And they actually did them. The reason for their success? They wrote down what they will have done by the time they hit that age. Not what they have to do. Subtle difference in wording, huge difference in our mind. And in the results.

So I wrote Continue reading