Let the merry threes begin

Done with the terrible twos and now to the next. No, this isn’t about a toddler. Not yet anyway.

Today, I celebrate two whole, adventure-filled years of moving to a new country -Hamburg, Germany. Perhaps this is what happens on the other side of 30, but I find myself increasingly taking stock of my life on days like today. It helps put my ever erratic thoughts in perspective.

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Hamburg’s beautiful Alster

To sum up the last 8 seasons of “Indian Hamburg-er”, here’s a recap:

  • Love-
    • my inconvenient marriage gets better everyday 😉
    • I’ve made and lost friends and grown at every step
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    An Indian and an American discovering Germany
    • my relationship with food has reached a dizzying new level; (my pants are not yet complaining though)
    • Yoga and West Coast Swing make up my favourite shake-a-leg moments of the day
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West Coast Swing-ing
  • Life-
    • my dearest father took his last breath in my arms. It still hurts like mad, but I’m coping.
    • I’m six months done with waiting. Three to go before my son is here.
    • I speak German fluently now and even lectured a whole day last week in my field of expertise- Homoeopathy. At the end of the day, I couldn’t talk in English anymore! My German husband found it hilarious.
    • Working with Homoeopaths Without Borders is both fulfilling and challenging
  • Travel-
    • I wrote a booklet on traveling tips in Hamburg.book cover
    • New year in Mirissa, Sri Lanka; with my parents
    • A weekend of camping and kayaking in the east German country side, with my in-laws.
    • Travelling home to Goa, India is always a pleasure. I added Bangalore on one of my three trips home.
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I would move to Italy just for the food
  • Travel contd..
    • Romancing Rome in fantastic Italy.
    • Kite-surfing in the Netherlands.
    • Backpacking through China– a crazy experience of culture, gastronomy, terrain and people.
    • Exploring Brussels, Belgium over a long weekend.
    • Discovering the many by-lanes and tantalizing surprises Hamburg hides at various corners.
Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Breath-taking Mirissa, Sri Lanka

I love my life with all its trials and tribulations. Although I would never trade my pani-puri and chai for a bratwurst and beer (well, for a Glühwein maybe); I love what living abroad has done for me.

  • it’s broadened my horizons like nothing else before.
  • I have learnt to accept that I’m different and to celebrate it. No more trying to fit in. That’s plain boring.
  • the cold is my bitter-sweet enemy-friend and I have new respect for the sun.
  • there’s always a way, you just have to find it. Of course it helps to have a friendly face or at least a chocolate croissant accompany you.

Will I live in Hamburg for the rest of my life? Maybe. Maybe not. It will however, always be the place that taught me life is so much more than everyday worries. There’s magic everywhere. Follow your nose and you’ll find it!

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Glühwein at a Christmas Market

Oh no, I just let out a mighty sneeze and from two years of experience, I know exactly what’s coming- a giant change of season cold. Well I’m off to follow my nose and celebrate in the comfort of my warm bed.

Tschüss! (sounds like a sneeze I know, but it actually means bye in German)

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Turning 30

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I woke up this morning, the 30th of June, with an unprecedented resolve to take stock of my life.

Doesn’t sound like me. At first I thought it must be the excess of beans I ate yesterday, bloating my brain with strange notions. But then I checked the date and realized that half of 2016 is over and out. Also, in 4 days I will waltz into my thirties. Hmmmm, maybe there’s some sense to this morning novelty after all.

Now, contrary to all I’ve heard about turning the dreaded 30, saying goodbye to the 20s and witnessing friends go berserk with the big third decade looming large, dark and too close for comfort; I must say I feel no panic. Is that unusual? I don’t seem to want to mourn the passing of my twenties. Some might say I’m in denial and that the shock will hit me later. Well, I will report again once I’m over the 30 fence and check if the pro-denial lot are worth their salt.

For now, I’m on the brink, the threshold, the horizon or whatever fancy word one may use to describe the state of being in-between. I decided to take stock the gratitude way. That which I didn’t feel grateful for, I filed under the “room for improvement” category. At the risk of sounding clichéd, here are random points in each section:

Gratitude:

  • To all those that have celebrated, cherished and loved me. Loved me enough to let me go because my sprouting wings were restless to fly. You know who you are.
  • For giving my once-in-a-lifetime love a chance and striking gold against odds of language, distance, culture, religion and countries.
  • For putting on my dancing shoes, flexing my writing muscle and striking my yoga asanas even when life threatened to rain on my parade.
  • To my basketball coaches and mates who believed in me even when my dribble withered and my shots fell three feet short.
  • For travelling through seven countries and exchanging treasures of experience with fellow seekers on the road.
  • To my fur babies that I’ve learnt so much from- Togo, Pluto, Patchy and Casper. See you soon someday.

Room for improvement:

  • You lose if you try too hard, especially with friends. The ones who want to stay will never go away even if you tell them to.
  • Life is crippling when other people’s opinions color your decisions and self-worth. In the end, the only one that matters is your own. Be true to yourself.
  • There’s always another point of view, if not ten. Yes, despite the fact that YOU do not see it.
  • You can’t tell someone how much they mean to you after they’re gone. Do it now, do it often.
  • There’s always something to be grateful for, no matter how low you think you’ve sunk.
  • Somebody is constantly cheering you on. A friend, a sibling, a colleague, a neighbor, the universe and the face in the mirror.

Maybe it was my coffee break by the lake (I confess, there was chocolate too) or my haircut (haircuts bring me inexplicable joy, should I be worried?) or even this introspection (which I pfffted at earlier today); but I feel pumped and eager to take on the 4th of July.

I decided to do it in a combination of ways that helps me truly grow- travel, love, trusting the goodness of people and recharging my inner child. My husband and I are driving off tomorrow to Amsterdam with a Mohammed and a Andrezej (through the BlaBla car service I find enthralling) who will share our ride and hopefully stories of their lives. We will stay at an Airbnb place, hosted by Lisa and her cat.

If I do cross your mind on the 4th, spare me a moment and send me a whispered wish. I will most certainly pick it up as I swirl in and out of Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops, if you know what I mean…..

I wait with bated breath, for my 30s are going to be wild, free and simply me.