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Work contract: Signed!

Oct. 17th, 2016 | 03:25 pm

Just signed and submitted the work contract for the new job, so now it's completely official. This is mind blowingly fantastic. It means I may be able to make permanent residency here this year after all.

I feel like I have accomplished the fuck out of this year.

• UX Designer certification
• B1 German language test passed with flying colours
• New job at awesome agency
• Sent in my absentee ballet for the U.S. presidential election
• Completed German taxes on time
• Completed U.S. taxes on time
• Fell into what is turning out to be a great relationship after 7 years single

If I can get permanent residency here that would be the cherry on top. Going to email my lawyer now!

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Endings and beginnings

Oct. 7th, 2016 | 09:25 pm

I got a job offer, and I accepted it! My first day will be November 1.

Almost equally as fantastic, tomorrow my UX Designer course is complete – I just need to have one last call with my mentor.

These two goals have been my unwavering focus over the past few months, and while I am immensely happy at having reached this point, I am also left wondering in which direction I should go next. I need a new goal, a new focus. I signed up for another German class, I need to continue forging ahead with that no matter what. But what else?

I logged into Elder Scrolls Online and tried to game for a bit. But it felt pointless and my wood elf kept getting killed by ice trolls. I gave up and logged off.

I think I've forgotten how to relax and just BE. The prospect of having time on my hands feels daunting.

I feel like I should check into a sanitarium or take the waters or something like that.

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My school project

Oct. 5th, 2016 | 08:51 pm

So exciting to have this course coming to an end. I have spent the last 6 months creating a project management tool design from scratch, and if this was a 'real' project it would be 100% ready to be developed. So proud of this.

Just for fun, here are some beauty shots of the interface:

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A thumbs up

Oct. 5th, 2016 | 01:05 pm

I met with the advisor to the CEO of the company that I like/likes me and we had a really nice talk. At the end of our hour together she told me she thinks I would be a great fit for the company and that she is going to recommend to the CEO that he hire me. This is fantastic news.

On November 3 I have an appointment to renew my visa – hopefully with a signed work contract I can actually attain permanent residency this time around. Fingers crossed, it would be the end to a lot of insecurity I currently have over my ability to remain here (which I deeply want to do).

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Oct. 4th, 2016 | 08:57 pm

Today I spent a day in the office with the company that is interested in taking me on. It went wonderfully. The team was great, and they seemed to like me as well. My fingers are so tightly crossed for this one. It's a small boutique UI/UX design firm, but I feel there's a lot of potential for me to learn and grow there, while at the same time providing them with the experience I have gained over the years. The CEO is especially excited and tells me they hope to give me an offer on Thursday. I'm looking forward to this immensely!

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Not a born leader

Sep. 28th, 2016 | 10:58 pm

Received an email from the good job interview CEO, he is very excited to move forward with me and is now going to talk to his team members, advisors, etc. and try to put together an offer. Fingers so tightly crossed.

I held my second Meetup for Berlin students of CareerFoundry and it was great. I'm always so nervous before these things, sitting alone at the Betahaus Cafe, feeling like a big dork with my hand drawn sign, thinking no one will show up. But of course people did :)

It was so nice to meet and discuss projects, ideas and experiences with others who are doing this course. We had some beers and went over our projects, it was great. I am proud of myself that I actually DID this, without any prompting or support, and that I didn't just sit back and wish that someone else would do it. And it's very heartening to see so many people joining my Meetup and looking forward to attending and participating. I'm starting to feel like maybe I have some actual leadership and organizational skills after all, lol.

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Interviews: the good and the bad (no ugly)

Sep. 27th, 2016 | 10:02 pm

I had a great job interview today, and I really hope something comes of it. I think they feel the same way. They loved my portfolio and we had a wonderful chat. The whole thing felt very positive, and at the end the CEO kept saying, "I have a good feeling about this." Even when I gave my salary requirement (normally a weird moment in these situations) he was like, "that sounds entirely reasonable" and looked happy.

Yesterday, early in the morning, I had an interview as well. The CEO sat with me and turned it into a working session where I had to give him solutions on the spot on how to improve his online tools. A whole hour of discussing the techniques and methodologies I would use, paired with whiteboard sketches to visualise it all. Basically, working for free, giving him a consultation.

At the end of our working session he said, "Great! Thanks for all that. The next step will be for me to send you a project to complete so I can share it with X, Y and Z." And I was like, "My time is very important to me. I think I have displayed to you now how I think and what I would do to improve your online tools. I am happy to come in for a few hours to work with your team on site, or to put in an hour of thought towards a theoretical problem that you can share with your colleagues, but I am not able to do several days worth of work for which I am not compensated." I said this very diplomatically, but the message was clear: I do not work for free. I haven't heard back from him.

To be honest I wouldn't want to work at a company that takes advantage of people in such a way – or doubts their skills so much – so I'm a little relieved. I'm even a little angry that I have given so much of my expertise to them for free already. Doing more feels out of the question. I feel like my portfolio and work experience should speak for themselves, and that I shouldn't have to give additional days of free work to prove myself. After 17 years of doing what I do – and doing it for clients like Microsoft, eBay and McDonalds – it feels like an insult, treating me like I am a junior who might not be able to do what I say I can. Ultimately I think it reveals their insecurity and unprofessionality.

So anyway. Today's interview went great. Fingers crossed that something comes of it.

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Aug. 17th, 2016 | 06:54 pm

Didn't get the job. I already was beginning to fear the worst because it took them so long to get back to me.

I sent out some more job applications and then decided that I really needed a treat to make myself feel better, so I went and got a Thai massage from a little shop near me.

A little old Thai woman named Porn worked wonders on me, kneading and pressing out all the stress and despair of not getting the job I wanted out of my muscles. Talked to my friend Rose on the phone and she consoled me by saying she felt I could do better than that company, they would have been a bad fit for me anyway. Maybe she's right. Maybe there's something better out there.

Going to a UX Book Club Meetup tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to it, maybe I'll get to do a little networking, too. Gotta stay active and connected.

Last night I texted the guy and told him in final – albeit gentle – terms that we are over. He conceded. This is good, it gives us both closure. And I feel it was the right thing to do, rather than to try to gently untangle myself from him (which there would have been no end to). He was still texting and calling every day, not able to give me the space I deeply need. There was never going to be a gentle untangling, he's too emotionally attached. When given an inch he immediately grabs up 100 miles. So I opted for a clean break. I cried for a while after I sent the text, it wasn't an easy thing to do. But it was the right thing to do.

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Das Ergebnis

Aug. 15th, 2016 | 10:07 pm

I got the results from my German B1 language test – I scored 88%

Woo hoo!

It's not the 90% or higher I had hoped for... but hell, I'll take it :)

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I need my own personal shaman

Aug. 14th, 2016 | 10:08 pm

I spent the day de-cluttering my home, mainly my studio where I really need to weed through things and decide what to keep and what to give away. I haven't painted anything in 9 months and I don't have plans to paint in the future. Dreams have shifted, my life has evolved, and fine art has slid off the map – or at least for now it has. I have nothing left in me I want to express in oil paint at this point. I need to accumulate more insights and ideas, not to mention motivation, before I can get back into it.

The job interview on Friday went well. The people were great. I got thrown a couple academic, high level questions that kind of threw me for a loop. The interview was two hours long though, so I think I did well in the grand scheme of things. So who knows. I'll hear back this week what their decision is. Fingers crossed.

After this two fucking hour job interview I was pretty jacked up, so I went to a shamanic drum circle where a half native American guy from Texas beat a drum and sent everyone in the room into trance. It was wonderful to disassociate from my body and leave all of my ego driven fears, limiting beliefs, etc. behind. This will now be my preferred method to unwind from stressful events, I need my own personal shaman.

After the shamanic drumming I went out dancing at the gothic/industrial club near where I live and danced until I could dance no more. Always a good way to end a Friday.

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Pigeon populations in decline

Aug. 13th, 2016 | 02:55 pm

My God, I was not aware that pigeon populations are in decline. What the hell are we NOT killing off?

"Human interaction and improper feeding of domestic and wild pigeons is believed to be one of the reasons for the birds' decline. While many urban areas claim that pigeon populations are out of control, the truth is that around 59 species are currently threatened by extinction, which is over 20 percent of the pigeon population. Since the 1600s, 10 species of pigeon have become extinct. While habitat loss and over-hunting are partly to blame, bird specialists believe that domestication and improper feeding has weakened the entire species."

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Seeing with the 3rd eye

Aug. 12th, 2016 | 12:22 pm

Kids reading books and playing games while blindfolded – I love this kind of thing.
The video production is cheesy, but what it's showcasing is pretty amazing:

There's a similar school in Austria and they offer seminars for adults. Apparently it's harder for adults to learn to do this kind of thing because we're so analytical. But something I've been able to do for years is, when I'm having a bout of insomnia and am laying awake in total darkness, I'll practice 'seeing' my hands in front of my face. So this is something I know I can already do, and I've even gone so far as to still be able to do it while wearing a sleep mask. I can't read a book or ride a bike blindfolded, but I don't know. Maybe it's possible to work up to that point.

The mind is such an interesting thing.

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Aug. 6th, 2016 | 08:35 pm

Earlier this year I did a lot of experimenting with lucid dreaming, and yesterday as I was preparing to go to sleep I decided I would give it another try. So I set my alarm for 5am.

When the alarm went off I thought holy fuck why is my alarm going off. But then I remembered why I had set it, so I dragged myself out of bed and sat on the couch and meditated for 15 minutes before getting back into bed and drifting off to sleep once more.

And it worked wonderfully – I immediately fell into a dream state in which I was powerfully aware of my surroundings and the fact that I was in a dream. I floated up to the ceiling and clawed through the plaster like it was wet sand, and I could feel it palpably in my hands as I worked through it. I kept waking up and then falling back into sleep, but throughout the duration I was in full awareness that I was dreaming and could feel and sense everything around myself as though it was real.

I suppose I'll give it another shot tonight.

The guy I've been seeing seems to like me quite a bit, more than I like him, in fact. He keeps trying to invent reasons to have to come by. I finally agreed to have coffee with him tomorrow. I can do that. I haven't been feeling well (due to bad case of tonsillitis which then required a course of antibiotics which has resulted in intense fatigue due to gut bacteria genocide). Anyway, I almost told him to just leave me alone, I'm not his girlfriend we're not in a relationship, I don't owe him anything, but I didn't. I'm glad I didn't – it's not his fault I'm such an introvert and just want to be left alone. And I don't know, maybe he's good for me. I don't know.

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Aug. 2nd, 2016 | 11:33 pm

Made a batch of cold-process soap this evening, at the height of a geomagnetic storm, Kp=6. Now the soap needs to 'cure', which will take 4 – 6 weeks. The sigil stamp is on its way! It should be here in a day or two and then I can cut and start stamping the bars.

I have a Skype interview for a job tomorrow morning at 11am. Wish me luck!

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// No Subject //

Jul. 30th, 2016 | 07:43 pm

I found a therapist and emailed her. Jane. She's an expat from New York, so I get to continue my tradition of having New York therapists. This is not something I seek out, it's just how the cards always seem to fall. Anyway, she seems great on paper and in her profile, so hopefully we'll click.

I'm not depressed or falling into a black hole of anxiety, but I DO have a feeling of being lost, overwhelmed by life and needing someone to talk to. I need someone to help me determine my priorities and form a plan and remind me that I AM ENOUGH. Because I forget that all the time. And to remind me that it's OK to stop and smell the roses sometimes. I don't always have to be such an overachiever.

And because I know what it's like to fall into a blackhole of depression and anxiety. So this time around I will take care of myself BEFORE things spiral out of control. Yes.

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Jul. 28th, 2016 | 02:50 pm

Throat was STILL sore/burning, even after ten days, so I went to the doctor. He tells me it's now a 'classic infection' for which I must take a course of antibiotics. No wonder I've been feeing so enervated as of late. But no fever, for which I am thankful.

Antibiotics. I haven't had to take antibiotics in YEARS. And afterwards I'll need to eat loads of yogurt and sauerkraut so I can rePOOPulate my gut with good bacteria.

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// No Subject //

Jul. 28th, 2016 | 12:09 am

I have now completed German language level B2.1 and will begin B2.2 in August. This is a pretty big accomplishment.

On Friday I take the official B1 test. I am 'beyond' this now, but have enormous test insecurities. My teacher tells me I wll pass it with flying colours. Fingers crossed, I hope she's right. It's an important step in my attaining permanent residency here, which I deeply want. Pray for me. My heart tells me that I will pass it, but my head tells me I do not know everything awesomely enough. Insecurity rules.

In other news, I have taken action towards a dream. It is an artistic dream, but also a business dream, putting magic in motion. Today I took the first baby steps to something bigger.

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Everything's going wrong today

Jul. 21st, 2016 | 07:00 pm

Found out the job I really really wanted went with another candidate. Fuck.

Feeling really down, uncenterd, unsure about everything.

Wish I had a better support system in my life, like a family or a boyfriend or just someone who is "there". But there is no one there. 

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Foot placed firmly in door

Jul. 15th, 2016 | 05:57 pm

My favorite job prospect just emailed to let me know that their team liked me and that they would like me to do a little 3-4 hour test project (which is, by the way, a totally normal thing here in Germany) so they can see how I do. Woo hoo! This is so so so very cool.

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Cutting my hair with a nail scissors

Jul. 14th, 2016 | 12:00 pm

This is what I found myself doing this morning as I readied myself for the day. I can't bring myself to go to an actual hair salon after having received a haircut that virtually neutered me a couple years ago.

And now the nail scissors. I hope this wasn't a big mistake, I'll know in a day or two if I love/hate it. I think I like it.

It is the French independance day today. I didn't even know they had one.

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