The other half

Summer in Belgrade. An African heat wave struck the country last week, 30 degrees by night and up to 40 per day. A season for adventure? Sure, why not. Love, maybe? So they say.

I was thinking today, we are born alone, we die alone, yet all of our lives we are searching for that “other half” of ours, that one(?) person to spend our life with. Why? Because humans are social beings and are not meant to always be alone? Maybe. Because we are bored alone? I don’t think so. Because we are insecure on our own? Could be, it happens, not a major case I’d say. So why then when it is always the same?

If you are lucky enough to have a decent family, your parents take care of you from the moment you are born, you always feel loved and cherished but, sadly, you realize that only when you grow up. The first fall from a tree, a crash from a bike, a finger cut, someone stole your toy, a dog barked at you, you were tricked for change in a supermarket, whatever, you run to your mama and she makes it all go away. Then you hit the puberty and start thinking you are the smartest person on Earth. You fall under the norms and standards of society, you get complexes, totally stupid and irrelevant things become a priority to you. You lose your innocence. But at least you have your friends. You pass an exam; you call a dear person to share your happiness. You get a job; you celebrate with your friends. You are bored and want to get out of the house; you call your friends to go out with you. You want to party; there is always someone who can join you. And you keep growing up.

But, “with great power, comes great responsibility”. As you go through life, you see that people change, and their priorities change, too. Whether they realize it or not, everyone is trying to find their place under the Sun, to fit in somewhere. Alone or not, it is their choice, but it becomes their priority. And, when you turn around, all of your friends are gone somewhere, doing something, spending their time on their priorities, not really having the time for you. You want to go out, meet people, talk privately to someone; suddenly all of your friends are busy, working, married, nursing, etc, solving problems of their own. “Hey, today I did a really good thing [somewhere]”, you think. The thought remains unspoken. “Hey, this amazing thing happened to me today”, you think. The thought remains unspoken. “Hey, I have this or that problem, I could ask for some advice”, you think. The question remains unasked.

The cold truth strikes you. Friends or no friends, one or many of them, close or not, you are always the only one to care the most about yourself. Your wishes, your achievements, your sadness and your joys, your thoughts and your desires, they are only yours. Unless you post them on Facebook, but that’s another story… So, why do you keep looking for a man to spend your life with? With someone who also wants to make his dreams become reality? How can you be sure that you’d find a person to understand you perfectly, to always be there for you, to have a high dose of affection for you, to share his moments with you, and yet you both don’t lose yourself in that community? You need a friend, a companion, a lover. One to give you strength and support when you need it, one who can enjoy life together with you in all its ups and downs. You need symbiosis, a friend said. I totally agree. And what if you want to look for your happiness at a place where your man doesn’t, assuming you were lucky enough to find him? In another part of the world maybe. Will you sacrifice your wishes and beliefs so that you can be a housewife in Africa? Will you stay with a drug user only because he is a good lover? Would you move to an always rainy and depressive city to have security? Some would. And you? Who are you? What do you want? Do you know it? Let’s assume you do. So, why would you drop your dreams to accompany someone in pursuit of their own? Because you don’t want to be alone. Why not? Now we are back at the beginning.

Whatever you decide, to be alone or to keep looking for your “other half”, Wolfsheim said it nicely:

“Es geht kein Weg zurück.
Was jetzt ist, wird nie mehr ungeschehen.
[There is no way back.
What now is, will never be undone]”.

We have only one life. Wrong choices can be expensive but, as a friend said, there is never security. So, should we try to be with someone? Should we risk it? Or should we always be ourselves instead?

“Du willst noch leben, irgendwann.
Doch wenn nicht heute, wann denn dann?
Denn irgendwann ist auch ein Traum zu lange her.“
[You want to live, some day.
But if not today, when will you?
‘cause anytime also a dream is too long ago.]”

I have been living in Germany for over a year now and although in general I like it here, there are some things, however, that are totally absurd. For example the prices and the criteria for prices of hair treatments is salons in Germany (Kiel). I am not saying Serbia is the best country in the world but some things are definitely better home (Belgrade) than here. And here is why:

If you go to a salon in Belgrade, a standard treatment includes: WASHING (2x with a shampoo and 1x with a conditioner, WITH A HEAD MASSAGE) + CUTTING + (non stylized) DRYING, and for all of that you pay around 4-9 euros (for the long hair). If you want a stylized drying to it, you have to pay another 5-8 euros. If you want only stylized drying, the price is the same and WASHING IS ALWAYS INCLUDED in the price!! Also, if you ask, you can get tips for maintaining your hair FOR FREE!!

In Kiel, WASHING (only 1x shampoo!) has one price, CUTTING has another, and DRYING another, you pay for all of that SEPARATELY (!!!) and all of that costs you around 25-30 euros for the long hair! So yeah, cutting can go without washing (WTF?). Drying can be stylized or not, the importance is – if a hair dresser drys your hair, you have to pay for it. If you want a conditioner to your washing you have to pay another 2 euros,  a head massage another 5 euros, tips for your hair another 2-3 euros, etc etc etc. Washing + stylized drying is around 15 euros. If you only want a haircut (with that “washing” you can choose to dry your hair self (wth?) and save money.

About hair-dye and all that coloring stuff, am not even gonna talk about. And you know that you need to cut your hair (maximum) every 60 days! Who has the money for all of that???

Just so that you can get a more clear picture, here are comparisons of some salons so conclude yourself:

Belgrade:  http://fijatovicfrizer.com/blog.html/cenovnikhttp://2cats.webstarts.com/uploads/Cenovnik_22-mart-2011.gif, http://www.tutto.rs/frizer/cenovnik.

Kiel: http://www.hairdesign-diez.de/preisliste.php, http://www.friseur-coco.de/preisliste, http://www.cuttinghouse.de/index_preis.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=38.

Alright, I know that standard in Germany is definitely higher in Serbia but these prices are expensive even for this region… So, I waited and was searching for a place where I can do the standard treatment for less that 25 euros and today I accidentally caught a discount so “washing” + cutting + self drying cost me 11 euros. Phew!

No, I mean, really, what the f**k just happened? I had the worst nightmare in my life. It started out as me wanting to go and meet some (in reality nonexistent) guy and wanting to spend the night with him, so I traveled from my place to, I suppose, Cologne (probably because I was talking to my ex-flatmate today about the correct name of the city, who knows). Anyhow, it was a long and a bit complicated travel as I didn’t have my own car, which adds to the fact that I had to put an effort to get to the guy. But then somehow I messed things up, if I recall I said something I shouldn’t have said and he got mad at me, was trying to kick me out of his flat. So I begged him not to do that, to let me stay over, that it is late evening and I don’t have the option to go back (to Kiel?), that I don’t want to sleep at the street, so he agreed on me to stay but to sleep with him with our clothes on. I agreed. (This kinda reminds of the constant fights I was having with my ex boyfriend, same pattern and killing-in-the-brain disputes that often made me sick).

Then in the process of him making the bed for us and me wanting to go and take a shower, he somehow disappeared from the dream scene and got replaced with five other people – my mom, my brother, and three (again, in reality nonexistent) unknown persons: an older woman and a younger man and a woman. So, I see a scene where me, mom and bro are sitting on the bed, talking about something, and I keep hearing some weird noises, like someone is braking something. I mention that to my mom and bro and they were like “relax, it is only your imagination, nothing is going on”. Well, fine, I let it go. But it happened again. I ain’t deaf, so I go to check it out, and there I see that younger man, in a really really drunken state, trying to break the window. Not through the window, but just the window itself. It was shaped like the one I have here in Kiel, PVC with two position slots, so it was open “feather style”, and the apartment was on the ground floor, so if he wanted, he could have easily gotten inside. Anyhow, after the window was fighting back and he obviously heard me moving around the room, three unknown persons left. So I told my mom and bro that the window is a bit displaced and that it should be fixed if we wanted to go to sleep. In the meantime, the whatever guy that I traveled to visit reappears and asks me why the hell am I taking so long to get to bed. I answer him that there are some maniacs outside trying to get in and he looks at me like I am some sort of a weirdo and goes away again, thinking I am not even worth an answer. That is the last time I saw him.

So, I am trying to fix the bloody window so we could all be safe, and my mom starts to yell at me “leave that thing, can’t you see your brother is studying!? You know he needs to pass this!” and I was like “WTF, how can you sit there all still when we might be in danger???” (Though in reality, he really has one mean exam to pass). So, I try to fix the window in silence, but I need gear and tools, so I have to move around that apartment to try to collect them to put the window back. And because I was noisy, and probably clumsy when I was trying to establish how big the damage thy guy made was, the window got out of its layer and stayed in my arms, so I just put it a bit aside, trying to figure out what to do.

After some time, I was back in the room, and I heard some strange noises again, this time coming from another room, so the scene becomes like living room and a kitchen from my flat in Serbia, where there are doors between those two rooms with a slight white cotton/lace curtain, so it is possible to see shapes of people in the kitchen but not really their faces. Turns out those three people were back again, sitting and eating in the kitchen (!?). I tell my mom about it, she goes like “yeah, whatever, now you’re starting to piss me off, I am trying to help your brother to solve this task and you’re disturbing us. Forget about them and go do something else”. Jeez, what kind of an answer was that?? So, I figured out that if I wanna get rid of these three interlopers, I’d have to do it on my own.

So, as I am trying to kick them out, all of a sudden they come in the living room and start to yell something at me, I don’t remember what but it was not quite pleasant. I tried to talk them into leaving but they were persistent in staying so we started to push around. The situation ended that they felt out of that window, straight down on the street, and ended up dead (the room was obviously no longer at the ground floor, but also not on the 5th floor that is in Serbia, but rather something in between, still pretty high, and it had beams leaned on the building, like it was a construction site outside, maybe painting the facade or something like that. I assume I know why the outer looked exactly like this but I better leave it for myself). A friend once told me that we can’t dream our own death, so maybe that is the reason I never saw these two people “landing” on that street. Anyhow, it was a rather “safe” sight, I got back inside the room, told my mom what just happened, and she was like “you’re so stupid, now you’re gonna go to jail” and I thought “no way, it was an accident, they were not careful so they just felt out of the window on their own” and I shaked the thought away and got back to fixing the damn window.

But yeah, after some time, and my unsuccessful attempts to get rid of the older woman who was eating whatever she could find in the kitchen, she came to the room, grabbed me for my arms and started to yell at me how I am a mean, selfish, ungrateful, bitch that wants to get rid of her. I started to argue with her in attempt to defend myself, telling her that she is trespassing, that she has to go away, that this is not her flat. She argued back that she can stay there as much as she likes and eat all that food because she is hungry. I’ve got to mention, she looked older but not old, was wearing white trousers and a pink strapped shirt, her hair was straightened blond, a bit unhealthy down the ends, and she had some make-up on. OK, sounds normal, but on her it all kinda looked a bit “trashy”. Plus, she was also drunk. So in all of her state, our “hug” where she was holding my arms pretty tightly, she was leaning to my face when she was talking, and I was arguing back, trying to put some sense into her and make her leave. So, during our “nice conversation” we were not standing still, but moving slowly towards the window, and the hole was still there.

Now comes the scary part. In all that “walking towards the window” time, all of her attention was placed to me so she didn’t realize she was going backwards toward the window. Me on the other hand, just wanted to get rid of her, so I, with a perfectly still and cold face, saw an opportunity to make her disappear. I didn’t even blink or make any other move that could suggest what my intention was, I just eyeballed the distance between her and the window, calculating in my head how much more steps should I make for it to be all over. As we moved, she was spitting venom in my face, I was returning it, and our hands somehow moved as well, as I was trying to get free of her hold, so in the end we held each other’s fingers. Finally, there was that moment. She was still talking, and in one moment, she just fell over the edge. I heard her scream and half a second later, I SAW that awful and scary sight of her hitting the street with her back, bouncing off two meters, turning in the air and falling back to the ground with her face down, in some very awkward and disgusting position.

I turned momentarily back to the living room, but it was too late, I already saw that sight. My mom told me “idiot, look what you have done!” but I was too scared and too overwhelmed to respond her. I had only two thoughts: “omg, I am so screwed, I am so gonna end up in jail” and “why is she acting like this towards me, I just wanted to protect them and myself from those three dangerous people”. Somehow during that thinking time, I woke up all sweaty and with the hardest heart pound I ever had. In reality, I went to bed around 3:30 am and was trying to fall asleep for a long time but then I started dreaming this. At 6 am I was fully awake, shaking, drinking water in the living room and trying not to spill it all over me. I noticed that my flatmates were still up, one studying, the other playing games on his PC. What a “night”. And now I am writing this, thinking if I should go back to sleep. One can understand why I don’t have a desire for it…

Endless ride

Ponedeljak je, kasno popodne. Autobus Nis Expresa se brundajuceg motora monotono kotrlja ka Beogradu, vozeci ~30 dusa. Razmisljam kako mi je bio lep vikend, i uzivam u pogledu na zelenu Srbiju. Potkrade mi se tu i profesionalna deformacija pa ustnovim da je potrebno jos dosta zelenih koridora duz saobracajnica. Odlucim da snimim video, da ovaj lep prizor ostane trajno zabelezen.

Sunce je nisko na nebu. Iako je bio pakleno vruc dan, odlucim da razgrnem zavesu i pustim da me obuhvate topli zraci. Zavalila sam se u sedistu, podigla nogu na otvor za klimu, romanticni ljubavni roman mi je u krilu, Blutengel u usima. Autobus ide, neprekidno. Gde ja to uopste idem? Da li se vracam kuci? Ili od nje odlazim? A Nemacka? Da li je to moj drugi, treci dom? Utociste? Sloboda? Okov? „Tri u jedan“? „10 upola s‘ lukom“? Toliko puta sam o tome razmisljala. Toliko puta nisam dosla do odgovora. Tekstovi me rastuzuju. Gde je kraj, da li se nazire; da li uopste postoji? Ili cu uvek samo da se kotrljam, kao i ovaj autobus, uvek da idem samo u jednom pravcu, pravom monotonom putanjom, bez skretanja, bez malih zivotnih radosti? Sama… Da prolazim pored svega, ne ostavljajuci nikakvu mogucnost susreta, bliskosti, poduzeg vremena na jednom mestu. Uvek u pokretu. Lutajuci…

Gde je moje svetlo na kraju tunela? Gde je moje odrediste? Hoce li ovoj voznji ikad doci kraj? Kad bih samo mogla nesto da ucinim, ali konci nisu u mojim rukama, kao da nisam vozac svog putovanja. Vreme kao da stoji, cini se beskonacno. A sa svakim novim okretom tocka samo se pitam – gde je moja stanica… da li ce me iko cekati kad stignem…

Lazy Sunday in Kiel

Sleepless night. Almost no sleep. I wake up, more tired than I was last night, I feel sick. Met (honey wine) was so nice to drink but apparently not on an empty stomach. Now what? t is a beautiful sunny Sunday in Kiel, yes, I will go running my tour of five kilometers, street, park, lake, street back. Am getting ready to go. It is so hot outside, +13 and north wind is blowing from the Kieler Förde (The Fjord of Kiel). Am starting right outside the entrance, Kriminal Minds in my ears, and I already feel the mistake of taking a sweater. Oh, my stomach is killing me… Ah well, I don’t care, am going on. Running relaxes me so much.

Schrevenpark is as beautiful as always, so many people are sitting/laying on the grass, enjoying the lazy Sunday. Couples, children, parents, old people, relaxation and rest. Am running around the lake, coming to the platform. Am sitting down on the stone to relax but children are making a lot of noise behind me. Am running to the other side, and sitting down on Beech roots. Silence. Finally. Even the ducks that live there have moved to the middle of the water. Am looking to the left, lakes surface is pulsating, creating little waves, barely visible, but quite sufficient to make the reflection of Willow branches blurred and indistinct. One branch is somewhat striking, the bottom one, nearest the water. As the waves are moving one after the other, so the image of the branch changes as well, resembling the pulsing heart, a cardiogram. Pulse, then fitting with the previous, pulse and fitting again, pulse, pulse, pulse, and a bit further an image of the branch is created. For some reason this picture reminds me of life, how fragile and how easy it is to break, and yet again, pulse after a pulse, continues to go on.

Am running back, already feeling much better. Returning to the apartment, taking a long shower. Am sitting down, staying there for a while, letting the warm, almost hot water fall all over me, relaxing my muscles, removing the tension. Time seems to stand still, only the murmur of water and crash of drops on my skin and ceramic pads to be heard. My gaze falls on the “stream” running down from a lock of my hair, seeming to cut through my thigh. It is completely straight, undistorted as others, as if immersing in my leg, cutting the skin and muscles and staying there, not “getting out” on the other side. Seems to me like an illusion, after a while, not very pleasant to watch.

Am getting up, it’s time to get out of there. I have a long day of work on the thesis and packing for home ahead of me. My former flat-mate Nina is coming to see me. We need to talk about something important, and I so don’t want to hear what I know in advance she will confirm me.

I spent the last weekend in Hamburg (HH). From Kiel it takes me around an hour and a half to the Hamburg Airport by bus (which I prefer to use, for personal enjoyment, and because trains in Germany are just so damn expensive) and then extra 25 min to get to the central rail station (Hauptbahnhopf / Hbf) by Metro (S-Bahn), and some more minutes to get to Harburg where my friends live. Every 1st Friday in a month there is a Große schwarze Nacht (Big black night) in Große Freiheit (Kaiserkeller), a club down in St. Pauli – the biggest clubbing area in HH, right where Reeperbahn is, and we were planning to go and have some fun there with his friends.

I was feeling pretty bad the whole week, for the exam I had to take again and a fear of getting embarrassed in front of my thesis advisor, for some disputes I had with my flat-mates, not being able to organize my trip home how I wanted, having to spend extra money now when I am short in it, my social life that I have in Kiel which is rich but not as much to my liking, and not be able to see a person who is so close to my heart before I go home… When I got in the bus, it was almost 8 pm, not a lot of cars were on the road, the sun was in a set, the bus didn’t stop in Neumünster, it was just rolling on its wheals straight to HH Airport, passing through the flat, agricultural, hedgerowed landscape of Schleswig-Holstein, full of windmills on the west side of the road, which are just standing there, bathed in the dusk, so high, turning slowly and steadily, just following one same rhythm over and over again, like a metronome, completely seeming as they don’t belong there, just like me, reflecting me, and leaving me with my thoughts and a troubled mind.

Once I got to my friend’s place, my mood started to grow back up quickly. Since I first met him in October last year through Couch Surfing, we are always having a great time together, which I extremely enjoy. After a glass of White Russian and a chit-chat with his flat-mate, we headed to town. And, oh my God, Reeperbahn is like a jungle, except that trees are buildings and insects are people!! So many drunk, weird, rude, smelling, sick people (single adjectives but more often a combination of them) were walking, shouting, peeing, singing (again, single actions or a combination) in those streets, it felt like I am in some scenes from “The Gene Generation” or “The Crow”, just not in that dark atmosphere, but more like a mix of Las Vegas’s lights and Paris’s La Pigalle sex district. Not to mention that Hamburg harbor is just a few streets away.😀

We finally made it to the club, got in, and – boom, a beautiful sight to my eyes right there at the entrance – EBM, Industrial and gothic looking people, all in one place, and me a part of them. Back home in Belgrade, I actually have friends that I go out with to those places, I know the DJs, I talk to people,Keiserkeller dance, have fun, and I feel great as I know I belong there. Here in Kiel, EBM nights are held only once a month, every third Saturday, and I don’t know anybody. I always go there alone, drink my drink alone, dance alone, try to enjoy my time alone, and people do not approach me. Later I found out that it is in the mentality of Northern Germans to think in that situation that §1 – I am waiting for someone, or §2 – something is wrong with me; and that all interactions between people are getting through the system “I know you, you know him, so he can be introduced to her”. I was thinking to stop going to EBM nights but then I knew I would feel even worse as I would miss my monthly dose of energy boost-up and stress release so I always forced myself to go. And, although I feel great afterwards, my mood gets back down again as I actually realize that a foreigner is always a foreigner, no matter where he/she is. And that is exactly what I am in Kiel, a simple foreigner, an international student whose main social activities are house parties and Tuesdays in Oblomow (a restaurant close to University and my dorm), with an additional disco nights somewhere in town, off course, all with other internationals and Germans that like to hang out with us. We are like a small circle of 50 people, everybody knows everybody…

Anyhow, the gothic night goes on, I saw again some of my friend’s friends, it was such a long time since I was in a big company with people I like, at a place with the music I like, having a wonderful time. The atmosphere was great, Met (honey wine) as well, I danced like crazy, trying to compensate for all those moments I felt like taken away from me by this Master programme I am in. I even got to “eyeball” and exchange smiles with a guy, he gave me his phone number, asked to see me again when I am in Hamburg by other chance. Yeah, like that would ever work. I never sent the SMS to him. I just danced and danced, even when my friends were browsing around, I just danced, me and my thoughts again, on the dance floor full of people, swaying to the rhythm, and in one point just thinking – where is the point in all this? What am I doing here? Why am I even here? Like a verse from Deine Lakaien that was playing in the moment “Dead and frozen my Heart – over and done, My Life falling apart – over and done” I felt simply… empty. Empty and lost in all those thoughts, all those actions and feelings I could not have control over. Like my whole world felt apart, I just started to cry. Silent tears were going down my face, my head leaned back, body moving with the rhythm, while “over and done” kept repeating and repeating, grabbing me in its vortex of sadness and not letting go… Being all miserable, I just went over to my friends and sat there, drinking my Met with ice, and stared at the dancing crowd. Soon afterwards, we headed back to the house and I just tried to think about something and someone else.

We slept over at his girlfriend’s place. Funny thing, I never had a pet and she has two cats. One is quite nice but the other one is a little mean and not so calm. I never liked cats a lot, and like a “cream” on the cake, the mean one kept jumping on me, bugging me and not letting me sleep. In one point he came close to my face. Like I was expecting god-knows-what, I asked the cat what he wants from me and started to scratch his head. The whole weird situation ended up by him lying on my chest, his front legs on my forearm, purring from my touch, lying there and enjoying, and me hugging him and completely exhausted I felt asleep in less than a minute. As one song says “misery loves company”…

The next day was quite nice. We spent the whole time in town, sightseeing, climbing to the top of St Petri (St. Peter) Hamburgchurch’s tower bell of 544 stairs (he, I discovered I have a fear of transparent stairs, so, no bloody way I am ever gonna do that again😀, not even for that perfect bird’s perspective view of HH), having a coffee down by the Elbe, doing some shopping, just browsing around until it got dark and I had to return to Kiel.This time I didn’t see those windmills. But I know they are there. Still standing strong and firm, resisting all the impacts from the outer world, fighting, fighting and fighting, just like me, reflecting me…

My You

Some, someone told me to let it all go,
Forget about you and move on.
Put behind the feelings that keep me going up,
Because I… I don’t need anybody else like you.

But this, this is a faceless world,
Enchanted with sorrow and emptiness.
You, you’re the one who brings me light,
And I… I don’t feel anybody else but you.

Stand, am standing broken and alone,
Roaming with silence that passes by.
Times are collapsing, taking all my hope,
And I… I don’t need anybody else but you.

For who, who am I without you?
An empty creature wandering through life.
Please, please just open your heart for me,
Because I… I don‘t want anybody else but you.

Ameran 07.02.2011.