Published 5/28/2014 by

Last month in Switzerland ~

Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses towards growth. 
~Celestine Chua

My last month in Switzerland has started. I nearly can't believe it since I still have so much to get done before leaving. Exams, Papers, Work, Packing, Selling stuff, seems like there is no time for mental preparation. Also, many important things aren't even certain yet. I still have to write my finals and no idea if I'll be able to graduate. Although I just applied to Yonsei GSIS I don't know if I'm accepted yet. Because of that, I haven't organized any place to stay in Korea. Not even mentioning the money issues... but I'm going with the flow. Whatever happens, I have a one-way ticket to Korea. 
Uncertainty is ruling my life now. Renovations are being done in our apartment. That means no kitchen and bathroom and no privacy. Well, at least I can still crash on my sofa (bed) at night, surrounded by by clutter that I will have to sort into 1) packing and taking to Korea 2) packing and putting aside to be sent later 3) giving/selling away 4) maybe...leaving at my mom's house without knowing if I'll ever see it again.
I'm totally stressed out and excited at the same time. Just one more month.

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Published 4/17/2014 by

Spring is in town ~

The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. ~Harriet Ann Jacobs
Recently I have been working on mindfulness and gratefulness.
These weeks I am experiencing a new life lesson: Giving thanks for what is (and being able to take part in it, even if it's not "yours") helps relieve a grieving heart. In other words: A heart full of veneration and gratefulness has no space for anxiety and sorrow.  I would love to write a longer article about this topic but I'm gonna keep it short for now. While listening to 김동률's song 감사 (Thanks) I practiced both my watercolor and "hand" drawing skills. These are my 3 newest artworks:

Anyway, although I'm struggling with some sentimental "problems" I thoroughly enjoy this early and warm spring. Last year we had grey weather and snow up to April, this year spring started as early as February... what a bliss! Here's a compilation of some wonderful flowers I snapped in Zurich:

On another note, this Easter I'll go to Amsterdam with my family! Really looking forward to discovering a new country/city and take loads of pretty photos!

Today we had our first *free* absolute newbie Illustrator class. I was so happy because it was booked out and there was a waiting list but in the end I managed to grab a place! We did super, super basic stuff, like learning how to use the pen tool (we didn't learn coloring yet) and I really had a lot of fun and am looking forward to the next lesson. After class I went home and tried some more, so here I not-so-proudly present my first "finished" picture in Adobe Illustrator. (yeah I allow you to laugh)

Have a lovely Easter holiday ~
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Published 3/26/2014 by

Woodenfish China 2014 ~

So...what have I been up to until now? Nothing much, really. I am busy with university courses (Japanese and Psychology), teacher training and teaching (free) German classes. I'm also putting together all documents for my application at Yonsei university in Korea. Plus I've started reading many books about Zen Buddhism, mainly Thich Nhat Hanh and D.T. Suzuki's works. These days I try to live in a more mindful way, which means that I try to enjoy the present and not overshadow certain moments with worries about the future or memories from the past. 

Today I received the confirmation so I can finally announce other cool news:
This summer I will spend 1 month in a Chinese Buddhist Temple.

The Woodenfish Project or Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program as it is called, offers the opportunity to live in a buddhist temple, attend lectures about Buddhism and experience various cultural aspects of traditional Chinese arts. It also includes seven-day silent meditation retreat and a cultural tour to Wutai Shan, one of the 4 Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism.

I'm super looking forward to this unique experience and hope it will feed me both intellectually and spiritually. It also seems to be at a great timing, right after graduation and before my fresh new start in Korea.

The application is still open until the end of April so if you're interested, check their site for more information: http://www.woodenfish.org/
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Published 2/13/2014 by

Honmei chocolate, Books and Starbucks creativity ~

Homemade chocolate
Do you know that in Asia it's a popular custom on Valentine's Day for women to gift chocolate to their beloved ones? In Japan there are two kinds of Valentine Day's chocolate, the Honmei Choco (本命チョコ) and Giri choco (義理チョコ). One is the "true feelings" (and often homemade or expensive) chocolate for a significant other/crush and the other one is the "obligation" (cheaper) chocolate which is given to co-worker etc as a courtesy.
February has been a sweet month until now. Nekochan and I tried making our own pre-Valentine Day chocolate. I have a long tradition of making Valentine Day's chocolate for (one-sided) crushes or my whole (uni) class or beloved ones. I know it might seem like an idealistic thing to do, but I believe we change our surrounding with our actions. So spreading a bit of joy and romanticism around Valentine's Day instead of only expecting gifts (as a woman)  seems like a nice thing to do for me. Unfortunately, Nekochan and I were not as diligent as in our last Gyoza cooking session. So 1/3 of the chocolate was made by her bf while we were chit-chatting. Still, isn't our homemade chocolate lovely?

Brocki safari
My mother and I visited a local Brockenhaus (secondhand shop) and I spent hours browsing the book shelves and uncovering lots of gems... Do you understand or even share the joy of being surrounded by books? I sat down and flipped through books who already have a history or even a dedication on their first page... it's an amazing feeling. I sat down and flipped through books who already have a history or even s and ended up buying lots. 
Can you see all the books next to lazy Levi? Most of them are my new gets from the secondhand shop. It's true... "show me your books and I'll know your hobbies". Most of my books were psychology, self-help, Zen philosophy and some Asia-related books. I thought about my introduction as a "Swiss girl with a special interest in East Asia and Psychology" - spot on! haha

Starbucks event
Yesterday Nekochan and I were invited to a lovely Starbucks event. They introduced the Starbucks Reusable Cups and invited us to add a unique touch to our own. So together with an amazing Starbucks artist called Karolina we got creative and decorated a few cups while chit-chatting with other bloggers and trying a new delicious new coffee blend called Verona, which is pretty dark and amazing if enjoyed with chocolate (brownies). <3

Nekochan tried a Matcha Latte and I got my favorite Caramel Macchiato and then we started drawing on our cups. I drew some Manga babes and then went onto making some special requests (A bearded man for Glenn and a Manga-self for Tabea). Drawing on the cups is harder than it looks! 
Thanks Starbucks for the nice evening and Tabea & HedrikeGlennMi-Ji, Valeria, Nicole and Shirley for the nice chats, hope to see you all again next time! ^_^

. . .
Actually today I inaugurated my unique Starbucks Reusable Cup and the staff at Starbucks was super amazed and it got lots of compliments. Well, it's not only environment friendly but also an eye-catcher for sure! ~
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