Having no more dreams, but trash fires, bagels, and questions about dogs and morals: January 2017


  • The BEST dog:


  • “I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that I recognised this place just from the furniture.”
  • “I know this dog.”

Watched (or saw)

  • Two performances I’ll never forget (and both for their very own reasons)
  • A tiny mountain range in ice on a table
  • Rogue One, twice
  • Someone with a smiley balloon
  • Beer forming small streams on the subway floor
  • The sunrise above the sea
  • A skyline at night


  • “Happy New Goat!”
  • “Are we a classic case of customer loyalty gone a little bit too far?”
  • “I’m carving out my own self-confidence like it was a pumpkin and I was making a Halloween lantern.”
  • “I had a safety pin and vodka. What else should I have done?”
  • “He needs someone for the long run and I need… curtains!”
  • “It’s with nitro, it’s awesome!”
  • “It had philosophy, vampires, Buffy references, stuff about smashing the patriarchy, and a feminist agenda. That’s all I need!”
  • “You should really lower your expectations towards me.”

  • “Make sure I can finally forget.”
  • “I would like to assure you that, yes, I do have the look and feel of a giant pixel.”
  • “I have a pizza reflux.”
  • “Unfortunately, as we already know, calendars.”
  • “I rarely say that these days, but this gives me a tiny bit of hope.”
  • “I kind of want to get married now just to test how ‘quick and easy’ a divorce here actually is.”
  • “I think my brain has given up on trying to understand where I am.”


  • In the theatre
  • By the fireplace
  • In Portugal
  • In the cinema
  • Desperate
  • Asked to pick the music in the café
  • In full-on panic mode
  • In the US
  • Jetlagged, maybe
  • Overcaffeinated, likely


  • Have the last Pastéis de Nata
  • Buy more books (in case you want to send me a present someday: I really like books)
  • Return home to find flowers on the floor and get scared af
  • Make birthday plans (already)
  • Wear six plus one shades of eyeshadow for reasons. And mean it.
  • Show up when it mattered
  • Pet many great dogs
  • Find the best place in New York (seriously)
  • Wear a party hat

Did…, although it was a bad idea

  • Count.
  • Not recharge my camera battery in time.


  • Persimmon
  • Pizza
  • Bagels
  • Donuts
  • Pizza on my coat
  • Coffee on my nose
  • Coffee all over my face (only because of the rain)

Read the internet

Read Books

E se um dia hei-de serpó, cinza e nada,
Que seja a minha noite uma alvorada,
Que me saiba perder… pra me encontrar…

And if one day I’ll be dust, ash, and nothingness,
then may my nighttime be a dawn,
may I learn to be lost… so I can find myself…

– Florbela Espanca, excerpt from Amar!


  • “Soooo… what’s the latest Lena-gossip?”
  • “What are you doing?” – “Having coffee, sitting around, not thinking about the end of the world. The usual.”
  • “I am just a creature of cheap snacks and air conditioning.” – “Add some gaffer tape to hold it together, and you get me.”
  • “Today is the day of nothing.”
  • “Vampire times time equals long-term decision making strategy.”
  • “This drink tastes like pizza.”
  • “You should wear a beard.” (We’ve been to this point before. This time though, it was repeated by several people independently (one of them weighing in from 10 time zones east); so it looks like this is getting serious.)

  • “‘You should be cast as Ryan Gosling’, thats what I keep telling myself.”
  • “Do you like Ryan Gosling?” – “No.” — “But what if he were pizza?!”
  • “This is the first time I’ve seen you in jeans. Usually, you’re much more presentable.”
  • “Are there Drop Bears in Spreewald?”
  • “You’re likely not expecting that, but what if the date goes well?”
  • “We have a problem.” — “No, we have a challenge!”
  • “Blankets, coffee, pizza. Your place. Now.”
  • “I look like I have serious problems.” — “You do, but I still hope they’re not as big as they look right now.”
  • “The future has a dog sitting in a window.”
  • “The best advice I can give you is: don’t follow your dreams.”

Listened to

Thought about

  • Versioning.
  • Change.
  • Conference speaking.
  • Trash fires, the world and activism in the year 2017.
  • Finality and how you can never be fully prepared for how sad it’s going to be when it’s actually over.
  • All the things that still must end.
  • On a scale from 1 to LOL, how likely is it to get someone’s consent for starting a relationship with them, only because one wants to hang out with their dog on a regular basis?
  • And if it’s really the cutest, fluffiest, and overall best dog ever (and the person inquiring is at least trying to be a half-decent human being)?

Patches of Light: Helsinki in December

Observations, music, thoughts, musings, written down over the course of eight days in December 2016 while meandering through Helsinki, Finnland.


Still the rush of an intense day and a stressful trip to the airport inside of me (one of those times when you don’t know if you’ll make it in time), I sit back on the plane. A few minutes after takeoff, I look at a sky so full of stars.

Let me come over, I can waste your time, I’m bored.

You are exactly where you need to be

At the airport, I see a plane that will be leaving for Lapland in one hour. I briefly consider changing my plans; but returning to Lapland will have to wait for another time. All snow is gone, what’s left are only piles of dirt-covered ice that must’ve been snow a while ago; an outdoor ice rig, a self storage called Pelikan (genius!), and giant neon signs with very long words on store fronts.

The wind today feels like it could blow me away any second, if only it wanted to. Everyone I meet in the streets is wearing a woolen hat. The soles of your shoes are all worn down, the time for sleep is now. I walk past a sign that says herkku (delicacy), but at first think it says heroku (Cloud Application Platform); I may have been working in tech for too long. I decide to get coffee.

I thought I’d moved on from being a person who takes picture of boats. Turns out, I was wrong.

Botanical gardens in December in the Northern Hemisphere are basically 50 shades of brown (with very few exceptions).

Santa Claus has a booth at the local Christmas market. Last time I saw Santa, I saw (“)the original one(“) in Lapland and refused to sit on his lap. A strong smoked salmon smell is in the air.

I follow the smell of fat and sugar and find a booth that sells fresh Munkki, a type of Finnish donuts. I get two, and this is how I find out what love is.

Munkki are my first love, and they will be my last.

Someone is selling Christmas trees. I don’t do Christmas, but think that it might be fun to get a tiny tree for my hotel room. Trees are cool.

I walk up the steps to the Cathedral and sit down on one of the benches inside to defrost and listen to an organ recital.

Here, the ground floor is no. 1 (not 0, like where I live right now). I also accidentally find out (as in: I literally run into a sign with an announcement) that the Swedish Theatre in town will soon be showing Ingvar! – en musikalisk möbelsaga (literally translates to: Ingvar! – A musical furniture saga) – a musical about capitalism and IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad (at least that’s as much as I understand).

And I learn that Skönlitteratur (literally beautiful literature) means Fiction in Swedish.

I’m longing to read poetry.

When I walk through streets, I have a habit of reading out signs, even more so when I’m in a country where I don’t speak the language. I mutter them quietly, in an attempt to get a better sense for how words work, how they’re pronounced, what the language may sound like.

On the balcony of the Historical Museum, there are two giraffes sitting and looking down onto the rest of the world.

I enter another book store (one that has a piano in it), where the owner diagnoses that I was “looking adventurous”, and takes that as a reason to recommend I take a look at the basement – and the chapel at the end of it.

I go downstairs, past a pool table, along the white walls that are covered in shelves filled with books. I go to the chapel that’s home to bibles and encyclopaedias, sit down in a huge green armchair, hear a machine quietly humming.

I hear someone sing with a very deep voice, accompanied by a guitar. I get a few books, and listen to them, while skimming through the pages. An hour later, I leave the store with five books.

For someone who is on vacation and wanted to get a break from the calendar that usually determines most of their time, I have a damn lot of appointments over the next days.

I realise I still feel like I have to do everything immediately; feel like I’m running out of chances to see, chances to do things before the Public Holidays, to do before my vacation is over; feel like I’m running out of time, out of daylight, out of chances to explore before the great darkness sets in again at 3pm. (Maybe it takes a bit of time to ease out of this habit?)

As I walk down another street, they’re playing All I want for Christmas is you in stores. My inner “All I want for Christmas is you”-Counter is up at 8 for this season. For now.

Darkness is setting in. I go out to see a Ballet, am amazed about pretend ice skaters on stage, and get very angry about gender stereotypes in the production.

There’s a busker with an accordion and a voice like Tom Waits, singing very sad Finnish songs.

There’s no visible transition between day and night and day anymore. All is blurry, just one soup of different shades of grey to black to grey. Won’t you take me to a world after the rain.

On the way back home, all I hear is someone with a Zither playing Für Elise, a train in the distance, and my heels on the cobblestone. All else is quiet. I think about how, as soon as there’s a certain distance, there’s less room for bullshit.

I walk past a sign saying You are exactly where you need to be.

And now, it’s time to leave and turn to dust.

Light like from another world, bathrobes like hugs, patterns like angry dogs

For the first time since I got here, I see the sun, and decide to follow it. Suddenly, I see a taxidermied seagull sitting in a window, and Santa Claus jaywalking.


The moss covering the ground in the park by the sea is so soft.

There’s a playground built onto a rock.I sit down on another rock to observe the light. There’s a big hole in the clouds and in this day.

It starts raining, I don’t have an umbrella and forgot the lens cap for my camera at home; the camera is getting wet, and it’s raining too much to keep hiding under a tree.

And suddenly, the dark grey shifts –

to the most beautiful, glowing, almost magical light I’ve ever seen. I stay right where I am for a while, hiding my camera under my coat.

It keeps raining, I keep walking and end up on a small island.

Rocks like stranded whales.

It’s one of these times when sky and sea and rocks become one.

There’s no one at the beach (which is not extremely surprising since it’s close to 0°C and end of December – on the other hand, people are always tougher than we think). But then, beams of light.

We got what it takes, we can put up a fight.

I walk past red brick buildings and take pictures of Christmas stars in windows. At a street corner, there’s a “no entry” sign that’s got the same round shape as the street corner, and I wonder if that was by design or by (literal) accident.

As I enter one of the brick buildings, I see another Santa run across the backyard. Or is it the same Santa I keep meeting here? The smell of trees. Another walking teddy bear / dog.

Patches of light, a failed attempt to cover up the holes in our days.

I walk past a sticker saying No estas sola – tienes el feminismo. Two kids singing in a small square; they have to compete against the music blasting from the café nearby. In the bookstore, I get very angry looking at the numerous books written by white men that are filling up the shelves – compared to very few books by authors that are not white men. In another book store, I find a book called Only sofas, that actually only contains photos of sofas. At checkout, I learn that there’s a buy 7, get 1 free deal. Oops.

I find this quote from the Director of the Finnish National Theatre:

Today we live in a world of grim realities, of conflict and uncertainty. In a divisive world, it is important to create a unifying force. Art provides a common language, and we must have the courage to use it. — (Mika Myllyaho)

I read an email and I literally laugh out loud (that basically never happens). Because it’s exactly the right email with exactly the right content, but it could not be a more wrong (wronger? wrongsier? wrongster? wrongstershire?) time.

This timing problem seems to manifest itself these days, like it was a tiny, very angry dog, bit me in the leg some time ago, and now just won’t let go.

After a relaxing evening spent in the bathtub with pizza and some of my newly acquired books, I hide in this giant bath robe which feels like a wearable hug. I go to bed early. The flickering lights from the TV and the smoke detectors in my room make me feel like I’m at an airport and the desk is the runway.

I can’t fall asleep. At 1:30am, I’m wide awake and pondering anxious work-related thoughts. I’m not good at this vacation thing.

The Days of the Ravens

The rain is back. In the morning, rain drops hit the lid of my coffee mug like a little drum. Almost all shops and cafés are closed, and those that aren’t will be shutting down over the next few hours. I stay in one café as long as I can, trying to write and, for a brief moment, admiring a person with very good hair from afar. The seagulls that were here over the last days are gone. These are the days of the ravens.

As I walk down the streets, I catch myself whistling a Christmas carol. I don’t even know many Christmas carols; the few I know, I learned from TV shows and commercials. I stand by the lake and wait for a duck to resurface; after 3 minutes, I give up. I’m impressed by how long it can hold its breath. Superduck.

Reflections in water, on water, about water. When there’s so little light, all shapes blur out; contours wash out, there are no more clear lines. Really too late to call, so we wait for morning.

And then there’s still the question which thoughts are even worth thinking; which ones are worth writing down; which thoughts are worth being shared. — A system of filters where the result is not necessarily a good example for survival of the fittest.

I still have a tendency to pull up my shoulders, like I still haven’t gotten used to my height. I run into another giant nesting doll. Public bins here have an extension for removing dirt from shoes. Don’t be a person who’s only around to make someone else’s dream come true.

When people ask why I’m here, I tell them because I have nowhere else to be. That’s not true, but as close to the truth as I want to get. The truth would be: I am exactly where I need to be. But I also have somewhere I want to be, somewhere I’d like to be, somewhere I’d love to be; and somewhere I can’t be.

By the lake, someone wrapped a red woolen scarf wrapped around a lantern, as if it were there to protect the lantern’s very long neck.

The cracks in the ice are gentle, cold cracks in the few things that remain.

Any kind of magic always has a bittersweet reality to it.

I meet Santa no. 4 for the week, this time knocking at someone’s door.

The rain and wind intensified; I try to determine which angle they’re coming from, and estimate we reached about 60° by now. I have less than a rough idea of where I am. The departure time displays at the terminals are empty. Everyone who is still out here now is not going anywhere anymore tonight. I have nowhere I’ll have time.

All places are reminders of other places. All surfaces are opportunities for reflections of other surfaces, including ourselves.

I sit down for the first time after 9,786 steps and pour out the stones in my shoes. I only notice now that my feet are wet. It’s Christmas eve, the time of the biggest Christmas celebrations in Finnland.

Kiitos means thank you

At the indoor market, I see giant hams, tiny apples; gingerbread, pastry, Vietnamese food, giant piles of fish, meat, huge bowls of caviar (I’ve never seen such big bowls of caviar), kebab, nuts, wine.

I don’t have a sweet tooth, but for some reason, pastry in Scandinavia always gets me (I blame it on the Cardamom and Cinnamon). I get Kardemummapulla (when I was in Malmø, I got similar pastry; it’s basically dough with cardamom (or with a cardamom filling), sprinkled with sugar).

The wind blows over the ice, and ruffles the water in the bay. In the coffee place, there’s a giant dog that looks like a huge, long-haired sheep with big black dots.

I hold the door for a woman with a stroller. She says Kiitos, I say you’re welcome. She sits down next to me on the pillow-covered bench outside and talks to her baby. In German. She starts writing Christmas cards, but as the baby seems to be very dissatisfied with the situation, at some point she says: “If nothing is good today, let’s just go home and make this a quiet day”, and strolls away with the kid. I feel like I should’ve told her that I could understand her.

There’s a lantern with a candle that the wind has blown out. I re-light it and watch the wind play with the flame.

Only hold till your coffee warms.

My body is tired and aching today. I hide under my coat as if it was a blanket. I’m afraid of birds, and yesterday, I accidentally bought a book that’s exclusively poetry about birds; not my proudest purchase. At the Christmas market, you can also buy signage for saunas. And hourglasses. There’s also a blacksmith making candle holders. It’s very quiet, as if people were only whispering.

I get a haircut at a place that’s bar and hair salon combined. I ask the hairdresser if they went for that setup so people can at least get drunk when the haircuts are bad. He doesn’t find it funny.

I see Finnish Tom Waits again, meet more very fluffy dogs, almost buy huge golden crown earrings, and a reindeer fridge magnet. Pikku Prinsi means Little Prince in Finnish.

There’s something very beautiful about the language around living through something. It makes it sound like something you go through, a tunnel or a jungle, maybe a lake or the sea. I like when language feels so close to the truth.

I’m at a choir concert, where I see 5-year-old kids who have haircuts that are hipper than mine (I’m jealous) and almost disappear entirely behind their textbooks. And, unexpectedly, the first song turns out to be a reminder of what was, what is, and what will never be. All lights turn into dots.

As I get back out, they’re disassembling the Christmas market. The All I want for Christmas is you-Counter goes up to 10.

I sit in a bar. I came here to write. Instead, I stare at a pile of zested oranges and lemons. The last time I saw a zested lemon, it was at a crossroads somewhere much further south-east. Some drinks here come with pre-folded paper planes. For a writer who needs to decipher the stuff they write at some point, I have horrible handwriting.

The great thing about sitting at the bar, all by yourself, is that there’s really no one who cares about you. I got myself a space coat. I keep the future as bright as gold. I’m drifting far away. You can stay.

For years, I’ve been wishing for things to quiet down, for my life to be calmer, less stressful, more chill. This is the year I understood why that doesn’t happen; and that not all stress is the same.

The bartender has the same dark blue shirt that I have with me, and I smell burnt rosemary leaves. One of the biggest (and most fun) challenges in writing is making sure that your facts and fiction are indistinguishable.

The night turns out much different from I thought it would. In the bathroom of the bar, I find over a dozen different feminist, anti-fascist stickers on the mirror, which look like they were put up there over the course of many, many years. Whoever put them up: I salute you.

The stickers remind me of something I need to take care of. I get out and walk home. Drink up, baby, look at the stars.

Flames, cobblestone, and something about happiness

These are the days when every bit of sunlight is an event. And today, I was just in time for it.

I walk down to the park that turns out to be a different kind of park than I thought it was, and, as I stand at a crossroads, I realise I’ve forgotten the meaning of some English words in German.

The ice in the bay makes for a perfect mirror (much less of the trees behind it). I sit down by the water and look at how clear it is.

It reminds me that it may be time to dip my into the water again.

The backlit moss on top of the graveyard walls looks like tiny, bright orange flames.

As I sit by the harbour and watch the sunlight on cobblestone and water, see the ferries come and go, I finally freeze to the core. I guess I can finally let go of all my uncertainty.

This is a place that can change in all that it is so quickly, just through a little bit of light. As I’m off to the train station, I see a purple sky and my first actual sunset here. By the way: Should anyone count, they may find out that some bigger stones at the beach are missing – I took them with me in my shoes.

Travelling by oneself is, per definition, a lonely experience — and whenever I want things to be different, I have to make an effort to change that (and, as a woman travelling by herself, I feel like I also always have to be extra cautious; which is frustrating, but that’s still the state of things).

Today is one of these days when traveling by myself is difficult. Today, it feels lonely. Today, I feel very alone. And I have zero interest or energy left inside of me to make any effort to change that. I miss the people I love, familiar faces.

Happiness comes from within, yeah yeah; but all that comes from within here at the moment is exhaustion, frustration, tiredness. (Also, screw “happiness”). No matter what I try to combat that, nothing helps. And as then, to top it all off, the handle of my travel bag tears off, I just want to curl up in fetal position on the floor between the commuters and cry.

But that’s not what happens. What actually happens is that I pull up the bag by its remaining handles and myself together, and walk on.

There are days in traveling by myself when I can’t do anything but embrace the deep, dark, soul-sucking loneliness. And hope for other, sunnier days. If all goes as I hope, they will come again very soon. And if really everything goes as I hope, I won’t have to listen to All I want for Christmas is you in a very long time.

To be continued.
[*turns up the volume*]

All photos are also on Flickr.

12 Days of Summer – Melbourne in November 2016

Observations, music, thoughts, notes, written down under over the course of 12 days in November & December 2016 while meandering through Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Jetlag, maybe, and something about cloves

When abroad, my general rule is: everything that’s within a distance I can walk, I will walk. So I walk to the place I want to work from today.


I love the sound that the pedestrian traffic lights here make when they switch to green; it sounds like it was directly adopted from BB-8’s sound register.



I keep bumping into people because I walk on the wrong side of the road. I walk past a road called Club Lane; it looks like less of a party than the name suggests. I google signs of jetlag because I’m not sure if I have it. Friend C. says: “If you had it, you would know.” I have very bad tooth ache.


There’s someone on a delivery bike with super adorable neon green/yellow hair. The trees are so green here. Coming from grey, dark European winter, this is just so beautiful.


I’m torn between freaking out about the tooth situation, and telling myself that it will be fine. I decide to act like any reasonable grown-up would do and suppress the topic.


I walk past a playground with three giant nested dolls lined up. I want to take photos of them, but they’re too far away. First, I’m too afraid to cross the road. Then I do it anyway:


They do have great trees here. It starts raining. There’s the answer to my earlier question whether to take an umbrella with me (of course I didn’t bring one). We go to the most pretentious place I’ll probably ever go to — a pastry store.


And suddenly, the yawning sets in. It’s the kind of yawning that comes from very deep within, and that comes with a tiredness that crawls up your spine. I go outside and stand in the sun for a few minutes. They say that exposure to sunlight is supposed to help. But I’m afraid of getting sunburnt.



One of the things I always find strangest abroad are locks. Just the basics of how locks work are often so different from anything I’m used to.

Do you wanna dance?



As I walk home, I wonder if the light here is special or if my glasses are dirty. Irgendwas in mir will leuchten / Something inside of me wants to shine. I think my body is still trying to figure out whether or not to punish me for this weird situation I put her into. And suddenly, a very strong smell of weed. I suddenly start tripping without apparent reason.



I have officially reached full on zombie mode. I’m trying to find a grocery store and accidentally end up in a mall. It’s rush hour, there are too many people, it takes me 5 minutes to find the exit again. I keep frantically checking all my bags for my camera, my laptop, my wallet, my keys. Every 3 minutes. Because by the time I’ve gotten to my keys, I’ve already forgotten if my camera is actually there.



I still can’t find a grocery store. What I find instead are places with the following names:

  • Pop Culture Specialists
  • Lüneburger – German Bakery
  • Lord of the Fries
  • Moo! Moo! Pho
  • Naked in the Sky
  • Naked for Satan

They really got something going here with naming things. (Of course I will lose some of my notes with more great names before I manage to write this post; it just means I’ll have to go back and restart my research.)


I find a grocery store. I wander through the aisles trying to find cloves (for the tooth). Suddenly, they’re playing All I want for Christmas is you (the version from Love, Actually), and if things were less sweaty, less tired, less jetlagged, less unromantic, less sad, and generally just very different, this whole scene could be decent content for Love, Actually – 2. But that’s not what’s happening. What’s happening is that I can’t find cloves and I’m about to just lie down between the nuts and bananas and hug the box of cornflakes I got and fall asleep.



I pay for my groceries and ask the person at the checkout if they know a shop where I can buy cloves. She tells me the name five times because I keep forgetting it. The sunset is so pretty tonight.



I hug my fake sheep fur neck pillow while I try to fall asleep.

One item I always buy when I’m abroad is cloudy apple juice. I never have it at home.

Golden days and less golden years (for sure)

At 6:30am, I wake up to a beautiful morning. The sun is shining directly into my room. I open my laptop, say hi to my coworkers who are still up, work for 2 hours, make breakfast, put on sunscreen. I talk to someone on the phone who’s 16 hours away. These are the moments when I look at this modern life and it amazes me.

I head out to the coffee place around the corner again and get my usual. I completely broke my shoes tripping in zombie mode yesterday. They’re my golden sneakers that I love very much. I get to a major crossroads and immediately know where I am and where I need to go. I love these moments. 90% of life are about being there when you’re needed.


I finish my second coffee. It’s 10:11am and I have blisters on my feet. It’s Friday and when I think about what I’ll do tonight, I remember the advice that S. gave me which was to avoid bars on Fridays because of guys like him. It’s incredibly windy. Suddenly, the smell of flowers. At 4:30pm, I walk home, and I need to buy pizza and a basecap. There’s a peeled lemon lying on the street.



I run into three women as I try to get on an elevator on the wrong side. I apologize. One of them smiles at me saying “Oh, it’s one of these days, huh?” I nod and think to myself, “one of these years.”


I’m getting ready for the weekend while most of my friends and coworkers haven’t even woken up (or gotten to bed the day before) yet. Being in the future is very strange.

The Night


At a party. I have sparkling water with lemon juice and as I walk home, I write a letter and send it via SMS.

I love cities at night. That’s the reason why I’m walking home. The light is so different, but still fantastic. It bothers me that I didn’t bring my camera tonight.


I’ve only been here for a few days, but I know where I’m going without a map; that makes me happy.


I walk past a guy who kicks a streetlight. Two of the three pairs of shoes I brought here broke during the trip.


It’s 16°C and the streets feel warm, it smells like flowers in some places, like BBQ in others, then there’s trash, bar smell and car smell. The prospect of summer is in the air. Summer’s not fully here yet, but very, very close.

I say “home” and home is now a hotel, and it was a place with a view only 36 hours ago; the concept of home, what can it be.

And I see a very bright star that’s not a star.

Nothing really means nothing
Is the saddest thing I know
So deliver me from sin
And give me rock and roll.

Daisies, Dragonflies, and a Choir, maybe

I didn’t have a good night, and when I wake up at 5:45am, I feel very detached from the people I care about the most. At 8am, I shower, and try new eyeshadow (three shades of red and rose). At least the eyeshadow is good.

I head out for breakfast and work.

I find people particularly annoying today; especially the people sitting at the table next to mine, who keep complaining about their eggs, the service staff, this hipster place. I pay and head back home, hoping for some peace and quiet.


Back home, I try to take a good selfie. I need that today. Selfies can help us make sense of the world, see ourselves in a different light, or connect with ourselves. All of that is what I need today.

12pm. During sync, my note-taking app erases all notes I’ve taken today so far, and I don’t even know why. I just want to cry. I get back to my work.

A few hours later, for a few moments, I can hear the sound of a choir singing from afar, louder than all the roadworks and street noises. Then it fades. I open the balcony door and step outside to listen. It comes back, fades again, comes back. I lean against the balcony door and listen carefully. It’s just so beautiful.

This is exactly what I needed today.



The sun comes out, I decide to go for a walk and resist the urge to only take pictures of trees (or to hug a palm tree).


The smell of daisies. Dragonflies. And then there’s this thing that I still can’t grasp that I’m even here. From the corner of my eye, I notice a weird, bright yellow statue. Turns out it’s a runner, leaning agains a tree and stretching.

I sit down on some rocks that the sunlight has warmed up, and listen.


Wake me up when this summer comes.


Nature (even the park version of it) sounds just so different here than at home.



On the ground in front of the symphony building, there are quotes about music and art. One says: The gift of art is one that lasts a lifetime. Across the street, big signs say Merry Christmas.



I look through some pictures I’ve taken over the past months. Funny thing is that, after doing photography for more than half of my life, I can tell exactly just by the way I look at things when I photographed them how I was doing at the time.


The light. For my last birthday, someone wished me Always great light. And that’s probably one of the most beautiful things someone wished me so far.



You’ll always be the brightness in my dark.

Coffee, coats; no goats

In the morning, I get my coffee at my usual place. The barista has the most beautiful, most sparkling eyes I’ve ever seen.

I sit in the same small street I always sit in. A woman leaves a building and waves at me, smiling as if she knew me. I wave back. I don’t know her, but we’re wearing the same coat.

At midday, I stand outside in the sun a bit. Someone sings Mad World, and it’s so beautiful. A barista apologises to me because she doesn’t remember my name. I’ve been to this place once. 4 days ago.


A few hours later, as I’m standing on the balcony at home, I hear one of the neighbours playing a song I started listening to again a few weeks ago.



Cause there’s nothing else to do
Every me and every you



One of the greatest perks about traveling alone is not having to share pillows with anyone. La Trobe would make for a great rapper name. For the first time since I got here, someone asks me for directions.

The sunset is incredibly beautiful.

I was hugged by two people today, and I needed these hugs. I realise I only have 3 nights and days left and it makes me very sad. I walked 11,000 steps in heels today.

Then something went wrong for Faye Wray and King Kong
They got caught in a celluloid jam
Then at a deadly pace it came from outer space
And this is how the message ran

It’s a bat town

I meet Doc, the dog:


At the zoo.



Major disappointment when it turns out that I won’t be able to participate in the Wombat meet & greet. On the other hand, this is just another item on my Reasons for coming back list.

“The female bird will have 4-5 male birds that bring her food.” #lifegoals


And then we leave the birds behind and I laugh when suddenly, they turn on some music, and this is the first time in 6 years that I hear I like birds, and I still haven’t forgotten about last time (and very sure never will).

Watching a Wombat sleep is likely the cutest things I’ll get to do this year.


There’s this thing about travelling that, very often, by the time I’d finally grasped where I was, I had to leave again. This is happening here as well. And it is what it is.


And then there’s this thing about knowing that you’re very likely not going to see any of the people you meet again in a very, very long time. That makes me incredibly sad. And it is what it is.


As I walk back home, it’s 30°C warm, and someone is playing Jingle Bells.


I love cities at night.



At night, bats are flying above our heads. For the first time since I got here, I can see the stars.



On the way home, I would just like to stay out here forever.



Maybe then we will see all those things
That I have truly lost along the way.

Walking in a winter wonderland

I chat to a barista about work (their work, my work) for a while. I get my coffee and go around the corner and sit on a bench and wait for the sun to dry my hair.


I still have time left, so I get up and get another coffee. As I sit at an ugly street corner somewhere in the city center, I think about what happened. This was the year of constant change. I think about how much things must have changed to make them look the way they look right now.


I write a list of my favourite moments on this trip. And then, I get ice cream.



And then this is it. This is everything.


I walk over to where my taxi is waiting. Someone is blasting the same Backstreet Boys song through the streets. This is how it all began, and this is how it ends. ‘Cause I want it that way.


There’s a love and a sense of direction
in the matter that keeps us apart
there’s a light coming out of the woodworks
from a crack in the door to my heart.

All photos are also on Flickr.

Spreadsheets are Love: October 2016

I found

  • 50 old photos I’d deemed lost (and almost cry over it).
  • What I was looking for.
  • Yet another website I own (and host) and had completely forgotten about.
  • A new way to make time go by faster.

I wrote

  • …some things in an interview with the lovely people of JSConf Australia (including fun facts about the best jobs I’ve ever had!)
  • “If all else is broken, at least we still got Bey.”
  • “lolnope.” (seriously, though)
  • “See you in November.”
  • About pumpkin soup
  • “Romance is dead.”


I watched (or saw)


I said

  • “This time without Balsamic, please.”
  • “The furniture sounds great.”
  • “Winter is coming.”
  • “This is the first time we’re talking on the phone!” – “And haven’t we done well?!”
  • “At this point, I’m very happy I’m still able to speak English.”
  • “I’m not one to recklessly hate music.”

seal does not approve #builderbonanza2016

A post shared by L. (@_miel) on

I was

  • Watching the pouring rain, waiting for someone in a woolen jacket.
  • Sick
  • Super annoyed about cancelling things I’d been looking forward to.
  • More spontaneous than I thought I could be.
  • Calm
  • On a bus
  • On a horse
  • By the sea
  • Sick
  • By a fireplace
  • Waiting for a boat
  • Waiting for Tuesday


I did

  • Make Pizza at midnight
  • Spend one night listening to one Beyoncé song over and over.
  • Take a taxi
  • Cancel everything
  • Not wait for a train
  • Start something new
  • Set up a new phone
  • Realise I bought a new lipstick that smells like gingerbread

???? #builderbonanza2016

A post shared by L. (@_miel) on

I did…, although it was a bad idea

  • not have coffee for 7 days
  • not sleep (not on purpose, though)
  • Explain German railway system to someone and help them find their train home while being super tired.

I had

  • Black tea infused Gin
  • Samosas
  • Soup
  • A good, long cry
  • Hot lemon juice with honey
  • The most awkward night
  • A voice that was 5 levels deeper than usually
  • An extraordinary number of conversations about furniture
  • A great conversation about being in tech


I read

I heard

  • “We need a spreadsheet.” – “It makes me so happy that you say that.”
  • “Meet me by the Döner Place.”
  • “I’d make coffee for you right now.” – “It’s midnight.” – “So what?!”
  • “I’m very happy you speak German.”
  • A song that a Bar Pianist chose to play for me
  • “I love this move of always just showing up.”


I listened to

I thought

  • About how, in the end, everything always comes down to this one song by The National
  • About something with great potential
  • About Venn Diagrams
  • And music


It was about time // Copenhagen and Malmö, 2016

Observations, notes, thoughts, music from a short trip to Copenhagen and Malmö in summer 2016. Ramblings written down while hanging out in hotel beds, strolling around, or riding boats and trains; because everything needs to go somewhere.

Day 1

It was about time that I left. I almost didn’t go.

It was about time and distance. I know that I need to get out of the city every once in a while. The last time’s been too long.

I throw some clothes into a bag, check twice if I have all cables and batteries, I take a plane, and on my way out of the airport, I pay too much money for the coffee I’ve been waiting for all day.

For the first time in a year, I see the sea (and I’d almost missed it, had I not looked up from my phone). At the hotel, I look into the mirror, nod, and tell myself, “well done.”

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I walk through a park. Before now, I had no idea that there’s such thing like Apple Cinnamon Juice. Apple Cinnamon Juice is love turned beverage. [Things we lost in the fire.] By a pond, a sign says Problem med döda ander. It’s sad, because it’s about dead ducks, but I have to laugh anyway.

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There’s a beagle that walks as if it was dancing. There’s coffee. And then there’s the Barista who takes his shirt off. I sit in front of the café and I have nowhere to be. This is one of my favourite feelings.


[Sunburnt Days.] Feelings I haven’t had in a while:

  • The urge to read a book
  • The urge to write something into a notebook.
    In the station, there’s a sign that says “No Balloons”. As with every sign, I wonder what must’ve happened that made someone put it up there.

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On a crossroads, there’s a white dove on the ground, and a plush tiger sits under a tree. I’m walking it all off.


No matter how often I go to Scandinavia: every time I come back, I’m fascinated by the light again. I love this light. I’ve known this light for a very long time (this light got me into photography). It’s always the light.


I run into a very blonde Swedish guy with a very blonde beard. I get burgers with cheese & garlic fries, walk to the marina, and sit there eating, watching the sunset.


I leave before the sunset is over.

Day 2

The machine must keep on processing. The machine must never stop.

Many of the moments I’ve enjoyed most happened at times that were about the very basics: sleep, food, moving, water. I should go camping again. For the first time in months, I manage to sleep for 8 hours straight.

I get coffee and take a train to Copenhagen. Over the past weeks, I’ve been half-kidding (maybe rather 10-percent-kidding) about my goal to develop a decent caffeine addiction again. And, what can I say — overachiever.


I feel very light today; I don’t know where this comes from, but I like it. Is that what having had some decent sleep is like? [5 mins later] Or maybe it’s just the coffee kicking in again?

The sea. A field full of sunflowers. It’s been ages since I’ve seen one of these.

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Leaving a power socket adapter at home is saving luggage weight at the wrong place. [25 mins later] I think that light feeling was only more tiredness.

I wonder how much of my energy is consumed by language processing – or why else it’s so relaxing for me to be at places where I generally don’t understand the language, and only get certain bits if I really pay attention.

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Mest for rigtige maend – Cars for real men. No place to hide from gendered advertising.


The grass here is so green and so soft. No matter where you go, there’ll always be a guy who felt the urge to take his shirt off.

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I sit down in the garden and have focaccia for breakfast/lunch. I never have focaccia at home (although I once made a very good one myself, but that was a very long time ago). Focaccia is a regular when I’m travelling. When i look up from where i sit, eating my focaccia, (statue observation, no. 1 –), I see an old dude’s ass.

As I keep walking, I find the second single sock today. They don’t match. The fact that I encounter enormous numbers of couples must be a classic case of confirmation bias. I walk up to the castle.

Sometimes life’s about trying out if a door opens. And finding out it doesn’t.

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There’s an incredibly cute, young puppy sitting in his owner’s shadow; this is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

Brass bands sound the same everywhere. (Statue observation, no. 2 —) It’s always the dudes that sit on the horses. I’m the person who raises her hand when they ask who wants to go on the boat tour alone; this is even cooler since everyone else will have to wait in the damn sun for 20 more minutes.

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I want to move here and rent a small boat with my friends on the weekend and cruise around the canals. Questions:

  • Why are all the people here so extremely tanned?
  • Why didn’t I make a reservation for noma?
  • Why am I so tired?
  • Why do I still not live here?

Sometimes life is about having to take the right bridge, else having to walk a much longer path. More coffee, and elderflower lemonade. Elderflower lemonade is love turned beverage.


In the middle of the shopping street (that I visit to get to the hot dog stand), a guy plays Imagine on a Keyboard. Why. 95% of the men here look like they came directly from shooting a Hugo Boss commercial. 



There’s a girl with an excavator balloon; when I grow up, I want to be her. At least (in contrast to having stayed in Berlin) I got my sunburn here with less heat on the side. I sit in a café and enjoy the view (and this time it might mean what you think it means; or not).

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I meet a super soft super cute corgi. And a group of 10 people who all seem to be related and who are all wearing something blue. I don’t feel completely broken anymore, and that’s a very good thing. I enjoy the squishing sound of the burger and fries boxes in my backpack.


It’s a gentle light. Gentle is good. Chokladmjölk is love turned beverage.

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Day 3

Day 3 is usually the toughest day. And I didn’t expect the sun to come out today. I didn’t expect to learn the Swedish word for lubricant today (it’s intimgélé, and learning that happens when you stroll around and pass a sex shop).


I meet the barista who took his shirt off again. I meet the artist who asks for relationship advice and ends up telling me I should’ve become a philosopher. “What do you do when one of them breaks your heart?”

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I think if you can make someone feel better about themselves, that’s already a lot. “If I ever need a manager, I’ll let you know.” So many women with flowers on their bikes. [This one love song that keeps playing everywhere I go.]

Pastry with cardamom is love turned pastry. No matter where you go, there’ll always be an old man fishing. Everywhere I go, I leave a hairpin behind. Sometimes I try to observe the ways in which I’m changing.

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I meet the Barista with the incredibly blue eyes again. And then the rain sets in.

I like being in a cozy hotel bed (or, well, basically any bed), looking at the rain outside. I ponder going abroad for a while. I start watching a movie and hate it. I really wish there were more good movies without the foreseeable romantic heteronormative monogamous love story, ffs.

I’ve become such a cynic. It’s funny how my interest in all things sweet has turned into an interest that’s purely about the aesthetics. Sometimes I’d love to be a person who gets picked up at an airport. The few times it happened though were rather disappointing. That’s the blockbuster-reality-gap I fell for.


I keep thinking about what the artist said about “this.” I read my note from yesterday about “if I ever need a manager” again, and question all my life choices. That’s probably why I was always writing so much when I was single. — all this stuff needs to go places.

I think this hotel “room” is bigger than my place at home. When I’m moving abroad for all eternity, I need to move to a country with a broad pastry selection according to my taste.


When travelling, my life moves at a different pace. That’s why it feels like I’ve been gone for ages, while it was only for 69 hours. Throughout all my travels so far, I only lost two things, both of them on a plane. One I got back, one is forever gone.

It was about time. Again.