Tag Archives: love

Why I love music festivals (and Rock im Park in particular)

Standard

DSC03072

Hey there, I’m sorry it’s been a little quiet on here lately, but summer has finally arrived, so I’ve been trying to spend as much time out in the sun as possible. When I’m not working that is. I’ve also just returned from a week-long holiday that took us to Nuremberg for a music festival and to Lake Constance for a few days of much needed relaxation after rocking out for 4 days. The weather was just amazing every single day, even though it was almost a little too hot for my taste, but hey, I’m not complaining about that. Of course I want to tell you all about our recent adventures and I’ll start with the music-side of our trip which took us back to Rock im Park, one of Germany’s biggest and personally my favourite music festival. We’d already been there last year and since we had a great time it was clear we needed to be back.

It seems there are basically 2 different types of music lovers – the ones who love festivals and the ones who hate them. I’d always wanted to visit one, but I have to say that a lot of things I’d heard and seen about festivals made me doubt if it would actually be enjoyable for me. First of all, I don’t really like camping. It’s not the hygiene or lack thereof that I’m worried about. But I need a decent night’s sleep. I don’t function well without it and something that’s supposed to be fun can easily turn into a nightmare if I’m sleep-deprived. So the prospect of sleeping in a tent on uncomfy ground being kept awake by drunken party people didn’t seem very appealing to me. Then I’m not the biggest fan of huge crowds. I love going to concerts, but being stuck in the middle of thousands of people makes me feel utterly uncomfortable. So the thought of 70.000 people piling up in front or constantly moving between stages kinda scared me. And while I like drinking and having fun, I’m definitely not a person who enjoys being pissed 3 or 4 days straight or to the extent of not being able to walk, talk or stand properly. Neither do I like being  harassed by people who act this way while trying to enjoy the music. These were the thoughts I had before I went to Rock im Park for the first time. And you know what? None of them were actually true in the way I had imagined them. Except for the camping part of which I had my fair share at Southside festival where I basically didn’t sleep for 3 days because it was a) freezing cold and b) the only place we could find for our tent was on a hillside. But: there’s a solution to this which you’ll find, among others, in my reasons for loving music festivals.

1. Music, music, music – all day long

Of course, for me the main reason to visit a music festival is the music itself. I always have a few bands I definitely want to see. This year for example these were Portugal. The Man (who I’d seen as a support band in March), Maximo Park (who always make for a great show), Metallica (because I’d never seen them before and well, it’s Metallica) and Linkin Park. But I also love to explore new bands who I have or haven’t heard about before. We often just wandered from stage to stage and stopped when we liked the sound of the band playing. This year I really enjoyed Kasabian, Fall Out Boy and New Politics and I’ll definitely buy a few albums of theirs. I know a lot of oldschool festival-goers have been complaining that the lineups, especially of Rock im Park and Rock am Ring, have become very mainstream over the past years and the “Rock” in the title has been neglected more and more. I do agree with that at least to some extent, but I’ve always been able to find plenty of bands I like.

2. It’s not like they show you on TV

As I said before, my opinion of festivals was highly influenced by the way it was depicted by media. Drunk, half-naked, screaming people, garbage, dirt, pee, puke everywhere. Of course you get that, too, at least to some extent. But it’s not like you won’t enjoy yourself if you’re not the 24/7 party animal. I actually found the festival crowd to be a very pleasant bunch of people. The atmosphere was always very relaxed and everybody was just trying to have the greatest time they could have, whatever that means for the individual person. Of course, you will get hit on by a drunk person from time to time if you’re a girl. But as long as it doesn’t get annoying, that’s ok. And the boyfriend always made sure they left quickly. Of course, several 10.000 people will leave their traces, so garbage definitely is an issue. But it’s not like you can’t sit down on the ground anymore or something like that. Just make sure you don’t wear your newest clothes and especially shoes (you most likely won’t want to wear them anymore judging by all the undefinable things you’ll find on their soles). Using portable toilets definitely isn’t for the squeamish, but it’s bearable if you know how to breathe through your mouth and make sure not to look around too closely. And be cautious if a toilet is free despite there being a huge queue. You don’t wanna have a look into that one. As always there’s also a luxury option if you really can’t bring yourself to use a portable toilet. The normal version usually costs you a little fee (at RiP it was 0,50€) and you’ll probably have to bear with quite some waiting time.

3. Moshpit or chilling in the back? You can have it all!

One reason I like Rock im Park so much is how the festival area is laid out. There’s lots of space in front of the stages, so if you don’t like being in the middle of the crowd you can just sit down on the grass in the back and still see something thanks to the huge screens on the side of the stages. There are also a few trees around, so we were even able to stay in the shade when the heat was too unbearable during the day. This actually saved me because I don’t really cope well with heat. We had temperatures of around 35 degrees for almost all 4 days, so it was really, really hot. On the last day, I dared to step into the sun in front of the stage to see Maximo Park at 2 pm. I jumped and danced around, but after their set was over I was in desperate need of some shade and water. The barriers in the crowd are also set out pretty nicely, so it never gets overcrowded (at least from what I’ve seen) in the area in front of the stage. We went to the front of the main stage to see Linkin Park playing and there was still plenty of space in the back. The only time when it can get a little tight and pushy is when entering the front area, especially right after a band has finished playing. But it’s never been too bad when I went.

4. You don’t have to sleep in a tent

The great thing about Rock im Park, especially for me as a camping-hater, is its close proximity to the city center of Nuremberg. The train will take you from the main station to a stop nearby the festival area in a few minutes and then it’s only a short walk and you’re in the middle of it all. It’s so convenient! We stayed in a hotel near the main station, had a nice lie-in, then went for breakfast and showed up at the festival well rested and showered. I know a lot of people think that camping is part of the real festival experience. But for me it’s just the perfect way.

I’m currently looking into other festivals to attend this summer. Probably only for a day trip since I’ve already planned most of my holiday. I really, really recommend to visit a music festival if you’re into music. It’s so much fun! I’m really dying to go to one again soon.

Is it ok to be proud?

Standard

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately. Especially when I was in London for work a few weeks ago. Almost exactly one year after I’d been there for a little holiday over Easter. It had just been a week or 2 after I’d been at home for a week because of all the stress at work and the pressure I’d put on myself. I was having a hard time enjoying my time in London back then. What had happened was still affecting me. I couldn’t believe something like that had happened to me, I didn’t understand it all in its enirety yet. And I still had to fight with the aftereffects. Months and months after that.

One year later I was back in London and the work situation was pretty similar to the one of the previous year. Lots of work, lots of responsibility and so little time. There were and are times where I feel under pressure. And it’s not the easiest thing to calm myself down when this happens. There’s always the fear that the panic attacks might come back. They have been flaring up here and there in extremely stressfuls situations. But I’ve learned how to breathe them away and it usually works. The difference this year is that I’m aware of all this. I know the triggers and I know how to handle them. And I do talk about it with the boyfriend and even my boss when I need to. After I came back from London, having worked almost 70 hours that week and only half a day off before the new work week started, I asked to work from home for a day. I knew I needed that rest. The old me would’ve dragged herself to work. So yeah, even though it might just be little things I’m very proud of the way I’m dealing with it.

I know this is a phase and less stressful times will come sooner or later. This situation at work right now is a challenge and one I want to take on. I know this will move me a lot further in my career, it’s a chance to learn and show what I’m capable of. I’m not a real career person, but when a challenge like this comes along I take it. And that’s another difference I’ve noticed compared to last year. Back then I didn’t want to be in that job anymore. Much later I realized this was basically just due to a superior and the way she was treating me. Ever since I stopped working with her, things have changed for the better. So attitude towards your jobs plays a huge role. I wasn’t really aware of that back then. At least not that much. But things have suddenly become so much easier since I’ve decided I wanted to be there. I wanted to identify myself with that job again. I don’t see myself doing this job for the rest of my life. And of course I wish it would leave me a little more time for my real dreams and passions right now. I’ve been neglecting music big time over the past few months and we’re just starting to get back into it. But in a way this job makes it possible for me to pursue these things. It gives me financial freedom. We’ve recently moved into our dream apartment which wouldn’t have been possible if we both didn’t have well paying jobs. We’re going on holiday in Japan this fall. And we’re able to finance a rehearsing room and music equipment (and every musician knows that you can spend a fortune on stuff like that). And we’re making plans for a future together.

A year ago I only saw my job as a burden and a hindrance to pursueing my dreams. When it actually does help me to get closer to them in a way. And it feels good to be aware of that. Especially during tough times like these.

An evening at Dippemess

Standard

Yay, the Easter weekend is finally here! I have been looking forward to having 4 days off so much after the busy weeks before. Last weekend I basically had only half a day off on Sunday because I came back from London around noon. I was absolutely knackered when I finally arrived back in Frankfurt. On Monday, I felt like having a jetlag, just from having to get up around 6 in the morning and working until late at night while I was in London. It was crazy! And this week wasn’t any less busy. I don’t really know how I made it through, I literally had to drag myself to work yesterday. But I made it and while we’re busy in a different way this weekend (with the apartment and family things), there’ll also be time to relax. I definitely deserve it!

To start off the long weekend, we had one of our surprise dates yesterday. Being the bad girlfriend I am I guessed what the boyfriend had planned before he had a chance to surprise me. To be fair, I only did because I’d planned the exact same thing for the next week. But it wasn’t any less fun! We went to Dippemess, a fair which is held every spring in Frankfurt. We’d already been there last year and liked it so much we wanted to come back. To be honest, I don’t really know why I like it that much. There isn’t any difference to other fairs in Germany, really. There’s a ferris wheel, a rollercoaster, a ghost train, a water ride and many more rides. Of course, there’s a wide choice of food and drinks as well.

After walking through the whole place, we decided we didn’t really feel like going on any rides. I was too tired for a thrill. Instead, we got some fries, Currywurst and a beer and sat down watching the people passing by. And then we discovered something: UFO catchers (you know those claw machines you can win stuffed animals and other toys with). Playing UFO catcher was a real hobby for me when I lived in Japan. It could’ve  easily turned into an addiction. Maybe it already was. I have no idea how much money I spent and how many stupid toys I won. It wasn’t about the prizes, it was about winning, about perfecting that skill to get the thing you want into that damn hole. Unfortunately, German UFO catchers are a real pain in the ass. Their claws work a lot different from Japanese ones, so I never really bothered to play. But yesterday we did. I’d spotted a little minion which looked like it was possible to capture. And I was right. It took us 3 tries to get it. Yay! To celebrate our win, we bought some cocktails and sat down in a deck chair. Aaaaah, almost like holidays! It started to get pretty cold, so we went for one last look around and then headed home. I think I haven’t slept this well in a long time.

Happy Easter everyone!

 

 

March Photo Challenge: Week 4

Standard

I did it! I finished my first photo challenge! I’m aware that I’m awfully late with this since we’re already way into April. I’ve just returned from a business trip to London which was exciting, but also very exhausting since it required loads of work beforehand and I worked from early in the morning until late in the evening and only had half a day of the weekend. I have lots of ideas for posts I want to share and I really hope I’ll get the time to write them down soon when things have hopefully calmed down a bit. But before that, I finally wanted to share my pics of the final March week with you.

I have to admit that I had some trouble with the theme of that week which was “night”. I don’t stay up very late during the week, so I probably went to bed when it was still “evening” for most of people. And of course, I didn’t do very exciting things before I went to bed. Nevertheless, I tried to cover the topic as best as I could.

Day 22

DSC_0720As I mentioned before, Saturday is usually the only day of the week we cook proper dinner. And what would dinner be without a nice glass of red wine? I’m not the greatest fan of wine to be honest. As a German, I prefer beer of course. But from time to time it’s quite nice. And since I’m not used to drinking that much wine it goes straight to my head. We had a very fun night with that bottle of red! 😉

Day 23

IMG_0061 Here’s a pic I took of a little fellow that lives with us. His name is Emil, he’s a broccoli and he accompanies us on all of our travels. (Yes, we are a little crazy, but who cares really.) At least he did until last weekend. When I forgot him in the hotel in London. That’s what happens when you have to get up at 5:30 in the morning. I’m currently trying to get the hotel to send him to me. I know it’s only a toy, but I’d still be very sad if he didn’t return. Poor littly guy!

Day 24

IMG-20140216-WA0003I didn’t do much on Monday night except lying on the couch. I realize the photo is not taken during the night, but still I thought I’d share a picture of our beautiful living room because that’s where I spent that night. Nice, isn’t it?

Day 25

IMG_0064Here’s a pic the boyfriend took from our balcony. He recently bought a DSLR and likes to take photos all around the house. This is the skyline of Frankfurt. I’m not sure until how long we’re gonna be able to enjoy this view since there are currently buildings being built around us. I really hope they won’t block our view because I really love it!

Day 26

DSC_0725Wednesday marked the day we finally went back to the rehearsal room. After a break of almost 3 months. Horrible, I know! But the move and our jobs didn’t leave much time for anything else. The result was pretty horrible as well. I’d originally planned to take a pic while we were still “at work” and didn’t remember until I found that guitar pick in my pocket. Oh well.

Day 27

DSC_0727On Thursday, we started something new together. As part of our resolution to go out more often again, we’ve decided to take each other on surprise dates. Every week one of us gets to choose what we do that evening. On our first date, the boyfriend took me to this awesome bar which is located in an old slaughterhouse. It was a pretty interesting location and I really loved to spend time with the boyfriend outside of our home.

Day 28

IMG_0124

We stayed in on Friday because we were pretty tired from the busy week. So here’s yet another picture of our new neighbourhood. Are you bored yet?

Day 29

DSC_0730That day’s challenge was to take a picture of our favourite time of day. On the weekends I basically like all times of the day. But since the boyfriend had to work that day, my favourite time was when he came home in the evening. It had been a warm, sunny day, so we grabbed a beer and sat down by the basin looking on the river. Simply perfect!

Day 30

DSC_0731That day’s topic: Favourite moment of the day. Since the weather was absolutely amazing again, we decided to go on a little trip with my sister and her boyfriend. We drove to this nice beergarden in the countryside and decided to go on a little hike. It was supposed to take about an hour, but because we suck at reading maps and followed the wrong sign, we ended up walking around for 2+ hours (and I was already hungry before we left). I was never looking forward to a cold beer and some nice food as much as when we finally got back to the beergarden.

For the last day of March I have a special post coming up. So stay tuned!

On the move

Standard

Wow, it really is time! Time to pack up all our stuff and move to the new place. Since late summer we’ve been waiting for the day to finally get the keys to our new home and last week that day was finally here. First up was an hour long tour through and around the house (German thoroughness, y’know). We’d learned where to put plastic and paper waste (in a box outside which can only be opened with the house key), where to put other waste (inside a room, also only accessible with the house key) and that there’s going to be a bin for organic waste soon, too (yes, we Germans love our recycling). We’d been shown the the underground parking, the cellar and the storage room for bicycles and strollers. And we’d made sure we know everything about the passive house technology which will heat our apartment with the help of our own body warmth. All we cared about really was to finally hold the keys in our hands and when we finally did and were left alone we jumped with joy. I would’ve loved to stay right there and to start turning that place into our home. But instead I had to go back to the office, wearing a huge smile on my face for the rest of the day.

Now the busy part has started. We’re packing boxes, moving furniture and taking it all to the new place during the week, then put wallpaper and paint on the walls during the weekend. We’re planning to have finished most of the move by next Sunday, even though I’m sure we’re gonna live in chaos for the next couple of weeks. And you know what, I’m ok with that. It’s all part of the process and it’s gonna take as long as it takes. I’m really curious to see what life in the new place is gonna be like though. What kind of people our neighbours are. And how the area we’re living in is going to develop in the next months. So far we’re among the first inhabitants on our little peninsula in the river. There’s going to be lots of new houses, offices, a hotel, a supermarket and other things being built. It’s going to be a whole new residential area and I find it pretty exciting to witness this all with my own eyes. I can’t wait for summer to come, so we can enjoy a cold beer on our huge balcony or have a barbecue with friends down by the little harbor in front of the house. I certainly will miss living right in the centre of Frankfurt where I can basically get anywhere I want shortly either by public transport or foot. But I’m pretty used to changes in my living situation. I’ve never lived in the same place for more than 3 years since I moved out from home.  So I’m sure I’ll get acquainted to this place quickly. And I’m more than looking forward to this new chapter in our lives. It’s gonna be our first home together. How amazing is that!

I hope I’ll still be able to post here regularly during the move. But if not, you know I’ll be trying to organise the chaos that is my life right now. 😉

Endings and new beginnings

Standard

DSC02863HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY! I hope y’all arrived well in 2014 and had a great night of celebrations. The boyfriend and I ended the year with a little symbolic act: We locked the above “love lock” to a bridge nearby. It might be a little cheesy, but I think there’s nothing wrong about that.  And honestly, there couldn’t have been a better day than New Year’s Eve for this – the last day of a year in which our relationship has grown so much. A year full of happiness and adventures together as well as some lows we managed to get through. As it says on the back of our love lock: “Together we’re invincible”, a lyric from a Muse song I chose as my theme song for 2013. When I picked it I had no idea it would be that true for us this year, but such is life I guess.

Usually, here in Frankfurt couples attach their locks to the Eiserne Steg, a bridge close to the city center which is already overflowing with locks. But when I gave our love lock to the boyfriend for our anniversary, we both instantly knew we wanted ours to be put in a different place. There’s a bridge very close to my apartment with a beautiful view of the skyline. We crossed said bridge on the way home from our first date. It was night and we both stopped to admire the beautiful view and to take a pic – and later found out that we both wanted to kiss each other at that very moment, but were to shy to pull through with it. It was pretty clear that this had to be the place for our lock. So we took a little walk to the bridge yesterday afternoon to fulfill our mission. We weren’t sure if there would be a place to which the lock would fit, but we were lucky and found a place that both fit and was still unoccupied. This is the view from the place on the bridge we attached the lock to. Beautiful, isn’t it?

DSC02864We then spent a very relaxed rest of New Year’s Eve. We had dinner at a Chinese buffet restaurant, went back home to enjoy some homemade cocktails (yum, Zombies!) and then went to the rehearsal room to spend the last hour of the year working on a new song. As I said in my annual review post, I want music to be my first priority in 2014, so it was pretty awesome to dive right into it again. Around midnight we went outside to join dozens of other people who were ready to welcome the new year by the river. We watched the fireworks from yet another bridge and were just happy to enjoy these moments with each other. It was an awesome start to the new year and I for one can’t wait for all the adventures we’re going to embark on in 2014. We’ve already made some plans for the new year and I promise I’ll make sure to keep you updated.

DSC02866I’m wishing you the very best for 2014! Dare to dream, dare to live and don’t let anyone stop you from doing so!

Looking back, looking ahead

Standard

As the year is slowly coming to an end, I’ve been finding myself thinking about the past months a lot. 2013 definitely wasn’t an ordinary year for me. It was a challenge, a year full of ups and downs, but in the end I came out stronger than ever. Here’s a little review of what went well this year and what didn’t as well as some goals I want to reach in 2014.

What went well

  • The one thing that made me happiest this year was my relationship with the boyfriend. At the beginning of 2013, our relationship was in its baby-stages. We were madly in love and these feelings for each other grew endlessly throughout the past year. I can’t even describe how great it is that I’ve found him. This year we’ve definitely grown into a strong team that is able to face whatever challenges life throws at us together. He is my rock and I know whatever happens he is there to catch me when I fall. And that is the greatest thing in the world. We also made a big decision by moving in together. We’ve been living together at my place since September and we were lucky to find our dream apartment to which we will move this January.
  • Music-wise my goal for this year was to play our songs in front of an audience. We did so 3 times this year which was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. We started off with a little street gig at the music festival Rock im Park, then played 3 songs at an open stage event and took part in a private charity concert. We also managed to find a drummer who, despite being a lot younger than us, has been sticking around for a while now which gave us the opportunity to make some progress again after multiple letdowns.
  • I saw a lot of great bands live this year. 30 Seconds to Mars went on tour to support their new album. I’d been waiting for 1,5 years to see them again and being as obsessed as I am I saw them 5 times this year. Another highlight was to see Muse which was a dream come true for both the boyfriend and I. Biffy Clyro was another memorable show. I also went to a big music festival for the first time, something I’d wanted to do for ages and I loved every minute of it. So much so that I went to a few more. In total, I went to 3 festivals and 6 concerts.
  • 2013 was also a good year in travel with 2 bigger and lots of smaller trips. See my travel review here.
  • It was an average year in blogging, but I gained a lot of new followers and also introduced a new category called “Musings on Music” in which I’m sharing more about my biggest passion. I’m going to do a more detailed review on this topic once the year is over.

What didn’t go well

  • In 2o13, I probably hit the lowest point in my entire life when I had some kind of breakdown (I don’t know how else to call it) resulting from a long period of stress at work. Looking back now, it feels like it took me almost half the year to crawl out of that dark hole I’d fallen in. It was incredibly hard and more often than not I felt like even normal things were taking up all my energy. Slowly, I was feeling better and better, I felt my strength coming back,  but still something wasn’t right. I’d thought about running away from the work that had brought me to that place more than once. In the end, I stayed, but I opened my mouth. I talked about what had to be changed in my work situation in order for me to feel good again. I was very lucky to have a boss who was eager to help me and I can now say that I like going to work again. It’s not my passion, it’s what gives me the freedom money-wise to pursue my dreams, but I enjoy work and that’s something valuable.
  • Creatively, it wasn’t a very good year for me. I think this is partly due to me being busy dealing with the breakdown and it’s aftermath. But I was also being a bit lazy and the boyfriend and I suddenly had to deal with the situation that we’re now not just band mates anymore, but more than that. And many times we spent our free time being lovey-dovey instead of making music. I only wrote 1,5 songs this year which is a total disappointment. We also had to deal with the fact that we were being abandoned by fellow musicians again and I think along the way we lost our motivation to find replacements. So despite of some highlights like the gigs we played things were moving pretty slow this year.
  • I also didn’t take care of my blog as much as I wanted this year. There were long breaks between posts sometimes because I was too busy with other things. I feel like I could’ve done so much more because I certainly wasn’t short of ideas. I just didn’t make enough time for it.

My goals for 2014

  • In 2014, I want to make music my number one priority again. I want to write songs on a regular basis and I also want to learn more about music theory. I’ve started to work through a book on that topic, so I want to finish that. I’ve also picked up playing keyboard again to help me understand things better and I also want to try to play it in the band. We’ve also started a recording project with the songs we already have, so we’ll hopefully have 6 finished songs recorded in a couple of months. Another goal is to finally have a full band with which we can go on stage. I definitely want to have a gig with a full band at least once this year. That’s my biggest dream and I will do anything to accomplish it.
  • I also want to get into a better blogging routine again. I have lots of ideas for things to post and I want this place to become more lively again. My goal is to write 100 posts this year which makes an average of about 2 posts a week. I think that’s completely doable. I also want to share more about my life and the things I do on here. I will continue to share my thoughts on life and all it entails because that’s simply something I can’t stop doing, but I think that sharing some posts about actually living would be a good addition.
  • As I said in my travel review, there probably won’t be any big trips in store for me next year. But I still want to travel as much as I can, just on a smaller budget. Now that we’re having a car, we can basically go anywhere we want around here and there’s loads of things to discover even close-by. Of course, I’ll share all these adventures here.
  • Of course, I’ll also continue to go to concerts and festivals and I hope there’ll be some great shows to see in 2014. So far, I’m already going to 3 concerts (including one in France which means I’ll get to travel, yay!) until March and to Rock im Park again in June which I think is a pretty good schedule already. I can’t wait to add more!
  • Last but not least, I want to focus on making a nice home for me and the boyfriend in our new apartment. I’m sure there’s going to be discussions about the future as well because somewhere along the road we both want to have a family together. But that’s future talk for now.

In summary, I can say that 2013 was a year of recovery and reflection for me. And also a year in which I had to overcome some pretty big obstacles in my way. I learned a lot about myself which gave me a better sense of who I am and I now feel ready to conquer life again. So I want 2014 to be the year of living and doing! I want it to be filled with adventures, dedicated to the people and things I love. I can’t wait to get started.

How was your 2013? And what are your plans for the new year?