It’s not the end, it’s just a beginning – Samhain

I don’t know exactly when it started. Looking back at the past, though, has revealed something about me that I have been ignoring for some time now:
I’m impatient to get to the end of my life.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean this in a suicidal way.
It seems I have subconsciously mapped out a plan for my life, and I just want to get to the end of that plan, so I can say “So there. I’ve done something with my life.” The plan isn’t even terribly creative: finish high school,  obtain a degree in Law, get a “good” job, love & live with my soul mate forever after if I find him / her.

It’s funny. Some years ago, I found myself living in the past, running away from my presence. Now I’m doing the exact same thing, just in another direction: I’m barely enduring my presence and fleeing towards the future.

It’s like I’m tightly coiled to a small ball, ready to strike out to anyone and anything. I need to force myself to relax my iron grip on all those controls I have surrounded myself with. I need to slow down and try to see the beauty in the life that I am currently breathing in. But it’s so hard – so hard to let myself go, to let myself feel .

Add to that the fact that I am now in a completely new environment with no friends to count on. I’m a shy person, so it’s hard for me to chat up strangers. And I’m reminded – involuntarily – of all those disastrous times whenever I started a new school, in the 5th grade when I have just moved to Germany, and in the 7th grade, starting high school. My brain still remembers all those embarrassing moments when I said hi to people I have met the day before and they looked at me distractedly and then ignored me the whole time. The times I have walked among a big group of girls, saying nothing and not being noticed whether I was there or not, just so I wouldn’t have to be alone. That time when I thought I had made two good friends and we would be friends forever, and then finding out that they just let me tag along as a third wheel because really, those two were BFF with each other and there was no place for me to join in. I still remember how the conversation would die out whenever I wanted to join in – was I too serious, too intense? Did I look bored? Did I smell funny?
All those attempts to fit in, and all those little scars that have accumulated over the years as I looked despairingly at myself, trying to figure out the flaw so I could erase it from my system. I wanted to be funny, talkative, outgoing, cheerful – the kind of person that attracts other people like a magnet.
And finally I gave up all that. I had by then a group of people I was comfortable with, and even though it’s loyalty to each other that still holds us together, I settled for my group of friends, more than content. The last two years of high school were great, because by then I knew everyone and I had many inspiring and deep conversation with my teachers (for which I was looked at funnily).

And now? Now I’m exactly at the same place as six years ago. I don’t know anyone, the teachers are more professional and less personal, and there is little opportunity to mix with different groups of students (the first-year Law students at my school are around 460 in number). I think I have been trying to protect myself from being hurt again while navigating through the turbulent waters that I call socializing. So far, I have been keeping to myself, not trying to attach myself to an unknown group of people, not reaching out, just curling up to a small ball. It’s not like anyone notices anyway, except for maybe one person, and I only know her because she’s a friend of my sister’s. I just don’t know how to start a conversation, and more importantly, how to keep it going. And truth be told, I’m tired and wary of all those small talks.

It’s Samhain. The Witches’ New Year. A time for me to make resolutions.
I want…
To be more honest and careful with myself.
To try to be more open and friendly.
To be more positive towards myself and my life.
To do more things that make me happy.
To write more, because it seems to have a healing effect on me.
To be able to relax in stressful situations.

Happy Samhain.

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October Book Haul

It’s time for a book haul! See also my Agatha Christie Book Haul here.

I hadn’t planned on buying this many books, but it kinda happened… as always.

October Book Haul - 1October Book Haul - 2

 

The first two books The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World by Sophia Dembling (so far not ground-breaking) and Leise Menschen – starke Wirkung by Sylvia Löhken (ditto, but better) are both about introversion. I bought this book before I changed my topic for a presentation from introversion / extraversion to Selbstjustiz.

The next batch contains following books –

  • Just One Year by Gayle Forman, the sequel / companion to Just One Day
  • In the Woods by Tana French, a mystery / crime novel by an Irish author, recommended to me by a friend of mine
  • The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (the ebook – one can hardly see it), after reading this rather awesome Alice 101 post.
  • Little Women (containing Good Wives) by Louisa May Alcott, finally – a physical copy!
  • Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, so I can finish the last quarter of the book by turning actual pages
  • Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott, already looking forward to it!

Jura studieren in Deutschland: Erstes Semester, zweite Woche

Als ich den Entschluss gefasst habe, Jura zu studieren – und zwar hier in Deutschland -, war meine Familie hoch erfreut darüber. Vor allem von Seiten meiner Großeltern, die das Wort “법학” mit Prestige und viel Geld verbinden, habe ich Glückwünsche zum Bekommen eines Studienplatzes gehört. Sie waren stolz auf mich, nehme ich an, und sagten mir, ich solle fleißig lernen, wie es einer Studentin gehört. Meine Mutter, eine Halbjuristin, war auch zufrieden mit meiner Wahl, da sie ein Potenzial in mir sieht (wohl begründet? Who knows?). Die Reaktion meines Vaters war so ähnlich wie die von meiner Mom. Die von meiner Schwester? “Your funeral.” Ehrlich gesagt sehr passend, ihre Anmerkung.

Nun sind die ersten zwei Wochen meines offiziellen “Jura-Lebens” vorbei, und alle fragen mich “Und wie ist es so??”

Rechtsbücher
Gesetze, v.l.n.r. StGB, Basistexte Öffentliches Recht, BGB
Lehrbücher – ein paar alte Auflagen von meiner Mutter und dann noch Ipsen, Leipold und Schwab / Löhning von mir

Ich gebe euch eine Antwort, die ihr nicht mögen werdet: “Anstrengend.”

Jaja, alle Studiengänge sind anstrengend, vor allem die Jurastudenten leiden unter Elitarismus, yadda yadda yadda. Aber ich sage nicht all dies, damit Leute mich besorgt angucken und fragen “Was ist denn? Ist es so schlimm? Macht´s dir zumindest Spaß?” oder schlimmer noch mir sagen, dass ich (sozusagen) die Klappe halten soll, schließlich sind deren Studiengänge sooooo viel schwieriger, weil sie dieses und jenes machen müssen.

Ich hab noch das Gefühl, dass mein Gehirn noch gar nicht so richtig registriert hat, was wirklich los ist. Ich sitze in den Vorlesungen, ich lese in den Lehrbüchern, ich gehe zur Bibliothek, um mir passende Bücher auszusuchen, aber es fühlt sich so, als lasse ich alles über mich gleiten. Ich hab noch nichts wirklich absorbiert – zu viele neuen Informationen auf einmal, wahrscheinlich.

Meine Mutter sagt mir immer, “Bei Büchern solltest du nicht auf das Geld achten” und ich kann ihr nur zustimmen – ansonsten hätte ich ja auch nicht die Sammlung, die ich jetzt habe (und über die ich total glücklich bin. Nein, ich rede nicht von juristischen Büchern.)  Ich  markiere in Büchern, kritzele Notizen am Rand und so mache sie nach und nach mir eigen.

Mein Ziel für die nächsten zwei Semester ist bescheiden: zu den Vorlesungen und AGen zu gehen, von dort was mitzunehmen, und zu Hause den Stoff nachzuarbeiten. Ich will weder over- noch underachiever sein. Erstmal werde ich mich testen, ob ich mich da mithalten kann – ob ich die Disziplin und Lust dazu habe.

An Overview: (Book) Series I’d Like to Finish

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend of mine who loves to watch TV shows. He follows about 50 series and waits for the next seasons. Umm, the only series I’m semi-waiting for is Sherlock (season 3). But that got me thinking, hey, I probably have as many book series I want to finish. I’m not even getting into those I’d like to start. They will be added here once I start them.

(Okay, they are not fifty, but thirty-one seems plenty to me.)

-A-
Agency, The – 2/4
Alice – 2/25
A-List – 5/10
Alpha & Omega – 3/4

-B-
Bass Ackwards and Belly Up – 1/2
Beautiful Americans – 2/3

-C-
Curse Workers – 1/3

-D-
Dark Swan – 1/4

-G-
Gallagher Girls – 4/6
Georgina Kincaid – 1/6
Gone – 2/6
Guardians of Time, The – 3/3

-H-
Heist Society – 2/?

-I-
In Death – 18/39 (ongoing)

-J-
Just One Day – 1/2

-K-
Kara Gillian – 2/9

-M-
MacGregors, The – 9/9
Mercy Thompson – 7/9
Midnight Twins, The – 3/3
Morganville Vampires, The – 12/15

-O-
O’Hurleys, The – 4/4
Otherworld / Women of the Otherworld – 13/13

-P-
Princess (J. D. George) – 3/3

-R-
Royals of Cordina – 4/4

-S-
Scarlett (M. Johnson) – 2/3
Soul Screamers – 2/7
Strange Angels – 1/5
Study – 3/3

-V-
Violet (M. Walker) – 2/3

-Y-
Young Royals – 4/7

Agatha Christie Haul!

Today my sister gave me a bunch of Agatha Christie books she had already read and was sure she didn’t want to re-read them.

Here they are! Thanks, sis!!

Agatha Christie Haul (1)Agatha Christie Haul (2)

 

  • A Murder is Announced
  • Endless Night
  • The Pale Horse
  • Murder Is Easy
  • The Body in the Library
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  • Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
  • Sleeping Murder
  • Cards on the Table

I’m also replacing Hallowe’en Party with The Pale Horse for my Halloween / Samhain read because TPH sounds plenty creepy to me. :)

Book Review: Secrets of My Hollywood Life

Secrets of My Hollywood Life Title: Secrets of My Hollywood Life
Series: Secrets of My Hollywood Life #1
Author: Jen Calonita
Publisher: Poppy (Hachette Book Group USA)
Publication year: 2007
Date finished: October 3rd, 2013
Rating: 4 STARS

Kaitlin Burke is a famous teenage actress and idol. Although she doesn’t mind the glitz and the comfort of being a part of Top 25 Famous People Under 25 and although she manages to not reveal the fact that her co-star Sky from the soap opera Family Affairs is in fact her nemesis, Kaitlin is determined to have “normal” high school experience. So she goes undercover (a new name and disguise and all) to her best friend Liz’ high school. But soon it gets more and more difficult for Kaitlin to keep up her cover…

I enjoyed Secrets of My Hollywood Life a lot more than I thought I would. First off we have Kaitlin, the teenage star who is honest enough to admit that she wants to keep the fame, and her work as actress. It’s not my-life-is-miserable-I-want-to-be-normal kind of story. Although Kaitlin definitely longs to have “normal” high school experience, she lets everyone know it’s only during her annual hiatus. And she still appears to do press work.

I also loved Kait’s friendship with Liz, the daughter of her lawyer, who is definitely in the Hollywood society yet not part of it. Liz understand what Kaitlin goes through, and she supports Kait fully in her wish to go to high school – albeit a bit doubtfully.

There are, of course, some cliché aspects: the Mean Girl and Her Sidekick, the Good, Popular Boy who’s dating Mean Girl, and a Dramatic Spring Fling. To give the author credit, it’s not one of those messy love triangles – oh no. Austin ends things with Lori before even remotely beginning anything with Rachel (Kaitlin’s alter ego).
But the whole point was for Kait to learn that high school isn’t much different than Hollywood: There is always backstabbing and people who catch you when you fall.

Speaking of which, I love Kaitlin’s mismatched, odd entourage: her manager / mom, her producer / dad, her wannabe actor / brother, her publicist Laney (scary yet competent), her only sane personal Nadia the organizer and Rodney the driver. Kaitlin family appears shallow and rather comical (they are not mean) but they are there for Kait whenever she falls. Partly, I suppose because their “careers” and entry to the Hollywood depends on Kaitlin remaining a famous actress. But deep in their hearts, they want Kaitlin to be happy.

So, after 250-something pages of drama, Hollywood gossip (albeit purely fictional) and lots of fun, will I read On Location? I don’t know yet – the first book ended on a perfect note, so it can only go downhill, right? Do I really want to read about it? Who knows.

September Wrap-Up & October TBR

I’m actually quite ashamed of how I have been neglecting my blog. Thousands of excuses fly up to my mind: from I haven’t been in the mood of reading / writing to it takes five minutes for my old lap top to fire up and I just couldn’t face that.

In the meantime, I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos, university is starting tomorrow (at least for me and other first-year students), I’m putting finishing touches to my second cross-stiched tablecloth project, and I’ve gotten hooked by Agatha Christie books. Oh, and I’m dreading all the meeting-new-people and getting-aquainted-with-new-buildings-and-systems. And I haven’t even started on my 10-minute presentation my scholarship is depending on. Oh November, how I wish you wouldn’t come.

Wait, this was supposed to be a bookish post, wasn’t it?

* = e-book

WHAT I READ IN SEPTEMBER:

  • The Midnight Twins by Jacquelyn Mitchard (re-read): I really really enjoyed this novel the second time around. I love the twin bond between Mally and Merry (both paranormal and normal) and their family – parents, lil bro, grandma. It’s slow-going so people could find this boring, I suppose, but I love the prose and the characters. 4 STARS
  • I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter (re-read): OMG, has Gallagher Girls series always been this fun?? I somehow completely missed it when I read the books the first time! Cammie, Bex, Liz and Macey – not to mention a school for spies and other awesome, fun, spy-ish stuff – with them and the rest of the CoveOp girls I get to pretend to be a spy for a while. ;) 4 1/2 STARS
  • Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter (re-read): Book #2, and possibly my favorite so far. We are introduced to Project Blackthorne, and also to the smirky, smart-ass-y and yet gentlemanly Zachary Goode. And there are more awesome CoveOp lessons. 5 STARS
  • Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter (re-read): Book #3, and while there are a bit too much of hush-hush among the known, I got to know Macey better. 4 STARS
  • Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter: Book #4. So much tension! And the final revelation! (Not all – just one of the mysteries we’ve been dying to know the answer to.) HEARTACHE, oh my goodness. 4 STARS
  • Double Crossed* by Ally Carter: Hale and Macey are in this novella! And also Aunt Abby and later Kat! It was hilarious to watch how Hale and Macey struggled to keep each other’s hidden identity (Hale – thief; Macey – spy) secret. 4 STARS
  • Look Both Ways by Jacquelyn Mitchard: OMG definitely the best book of the month. I best not tell you anything because it’s better that way, but OMG I love this book. Book #2 in The Midnight Twins trilogy and the focus is a bit more on Mallory. Love. This. Book. 5 STARS, or as many as I can give
  • Naked in Death by J. D. Robb (re-read): Book #1 in In Death series. One rainy day I was in the mood for bloody murders and futuristic gadgets. I need to re-read the first seventeen books in this series anyway, so I started. I still think Roarke is a bully. 4 1/2 STARS
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter (re-read): Book #1 in Heist Society series. Double Crossed got me started and I thought the heist was brilliant. I also loved the side characters – Simon, Gabrielle, the Bagshaw brothers (for some reason I thought they were really young but I guess it’s because they display child-like playful behavior) and of course Hale.  5 STARS
  • Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter: Book #2. This one wasn’t as good as the first book, mostly because Kat was heist-drunk, like Gabrielle puts it. Really liked Nick in this one, though. Overall, it was good, but a bit… less. 3 1/2 STARS
  • Tall Cool One by Zoey Dean: Book #4 in A-List series. This one was absolutely perfect: the plot, the characters, the outcome, my mood, everything fell into the right place, and I had a great time reading this book. 5 STARS
  • Doomed Queen Anne by Carolyn Meyer: Book #3 in Young Royals series, although it’s mostly about Anne Boleyn’s adult years. Because a lot of actual story had been covered in Book #1 (Mary Tudor’s story), I found the plot itself a bit repetitive. Anne’s POV was in a way insightful, but I did not grow warm to her character as I did to Mary’s (surprising myself). 3 1/2 STARS
  • Back in Black by Zoey Dean: Book #5 in A-List series. This one was a bit more tough and touching than Tall Cool One, although not as entertaining perhaps. I did love Cyn and Anna’s friendship, and the way Sam, Cammie and Dee’s friendship is not completely broken. 4 STARS
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien: I listened to this book as my sister read aloud chapter by chapter. Details are hazy but I remember fondly of this book. 4 STARS
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: Contrary to the popular opinion, I didn’t loooooooove this book. I still really liked it because the writing style was beautiful and Eleanor’s home situation really got to me, but small details bugged me. First off, why Park? Who names his / her kid Park, and that’s not even short for Parker? Especially if you consider his mom is Korean and Park is a Korean surname. Speaking of names, his mom’s first name is, shall we say, unusual for a female Korean name. I’ve never heard of the name Min-Dae and it doesn’t “sound” female (weird Korean name stuff). I had personally looked forward to see more Korean stuff in the book, but other than some minor details, Park being half-Korean was not as much of a big issue as I had imagined it. And it’s not true that he’s a misfit. Park has a sort of respected status. He may not be popular, but he’s not to be messed with. (Sort of like I was in high school, I realize.) Oh, and his mom’s English is not perfect, which is understandable, but her pronunciation is the wrong “wrong kind”. Her English in the book is not the real Konglish. Koreans who are not fluent in English often confuse l/r, p/f and does not pay attention to softening some syllable. Park’s mom seemed to have another kind of difficulties, though.
    But these details were obviously glaring to me because I’m a Korean. I reckon many others wouldn’t notice much. And as I said: beautiful prose, wonderful characters. 4 STARS
  • Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs: Book #2 in Alpha & Omega series. Action! Character development! So much tension! Sigh. I love this book, even more than Cry Wolf. And the killer? Not anticipated. Oh, my gosh. Charles and Anna… one of my favorite couples ever. 5 STARS
  • Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs: Book #5 in Mercy Thompson series. Story-wise not as good as Bone Crossed or Iron Kissed, but Mercy kicks butt. Lots of werewolf pack protocol stuff, much to my surprise. 4 1/2 STARS
  • Mirror Crack’d by Agatha Christie: My first Agatha Christie book, and it was so… cozy. The writing style, the characters, the setting. Yet a murder has happened. I confess: I have cheated and informed myself as to who was the killer. Not entirely unexpected but the motives were hard to read. Also read aloud by my sister. 4 STARS
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare: One word: Fun. It was so funny sometimes. I had to work my way through this one because of the language and the long monologues. I haven’t even bothered about the meter (something the editor of my copy seemed to be obsessed with) but I’m not studying English Literature (much to my chagrin), so deal with it. 3 1/2 STARS
  • Das Geheimnis der Goldmine by Agatha Christie: The English title is A Pocketful of Rye. My sister lent me her German edition, so I read it and wow. Mind. Blown. The translation was really good – real smooth. It’s another Miss Marple story although her role is more periphery. I did not expect the killer. At all. I was crushed, really. Anyway, 5 STARS

WHAT I’D LIKE TO READ IN OCTOBER:

  • Because it’s Halloween month (or Samhain), I’d like to read Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie. This time it’s a Poirot novel. I have to get it first, though.
  • I’d like to finish River Marked by Patricia Briggs that I have already started.
  • I’ll try to finish 16 Uhr 50 ab Paddington by Agatha Christie as well – because it’s not my book and I have to give it back.
  • I hope to read one historical fiction, possibly Castile for Isabella by Jean Plaidy.
  • Going along with the Halloween theme, maybe I will re-read The Hollow by Jessica Verday, or scrap it and re-read Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen. A contemporary, yay!
  • I wish to get started with East of Eden by John Steinbeck but 1) I don’t have the book yet and 2) it probably won’t be an easy read.

That’s it! What are you reading for October / what have you read in September?

Happy birthday, N.

Sometimes it feels like as if there isn’t enough of “me” to go around.

We affect every person we meet and interact with. We give the person something of ours and receive something of the person’s in return.
Is it just a small impression, a thought-provoking remark, a gesture of kindness? Is it anger and bitterness that douse our moods? Is it something that will change our life in a huge way?
Does it matter? I don’t know. It’s just that every time I interact… I seem to “lose” something of me (but considering I have been influenced by many many people in my life, maybe it’s just a accumulation of other people).
So that’s why I am finding myself alone lately, because I’m afraid I will slowly fade away among the sea of humans, fade into one of them or all of them until all I am is a faint whisper of memory.

I’m sorry. I’m not sorry that I had to be so irrational all the time because that’s my problem. But I am sorry that we all couldn’t spend the time we had together. I’m sorry I always backed out and even when I did come along, it was out of a sense of obligation. I think I haven’t valued you guys enough. Now it’s late, now we are scattered around. I still have the impression I don’t go along with everyone from our group. Sometimes I feel invisible among you guys. We often talk about insignificant things and I don’t feel like I know you guys in depth. Because we all of us have depth.

Will I find new friends at the uni? Goodness, I hope so. Will you all fade away over the decades? That I don’t know. Just know this: you guys have meant a lot to me at a certain point of my life. We have come apart, but once we were tightly together. You have partially the claim (and responsibility?) that you have made me who I am today.

I think I will miss you from time to time. I know most of us – if not all – will be okay after this separation. We will meet again around Christmas. Until then, good luck and enjoy all that life has to offer. The quiet and the loud. The joy and the sorrow. The good and the bad, and become a different person than you are today. Don’t stay the same, because that means your life is in stagnation.

Happy birthday, N. And thank you.