I’m not always high rollin…

November 1, 2008

Yesterday I had soup for lunch.  Today could be the same.  It’s a holiday here in Germany and the super market was closed.  I’ve only got soup and tuna in the house and no cash to order some take-out. The restaurants don’t take plastic, I don’t think.  I guess I could check now but I’m in the hammock and don’t want to get out.  I’m youtubin some news and also real time with bill maher from last night which was pretty funny.

I don’t eat out as much as I used to, probably because I wanted to save a bit of money and eat healthier.  I could afford to keep eating out so much but I do it enough still so it’s not much of a sacrifice.  Also, if Franziska is gonna make her spaghetti bolognese once a week, who needs to eat out?

My point is, that I’m very clear in telling people that my great life ain’t very high rollin.  I get to travel a lot, but it’s in a way that many 34-year olds wouldn’t do.  I’m not necessarily proud of myself for being able to survive the little hardships but somehow it makes me stronger and easier to satisfy.  Travelling through poor parts of the world has made me easier to please.  I have a simple room in a rundown apartment that is loud but it’s got some very nice energy here so I’m happy with it.  I’m not gonna be rich doing what I do but with just a little effort I’ll always have enough.  I like that I’ve kept my life simple, namely:

  • no debt, credit card or otherwise
  • low monthly costs – I need about 1000 euros/month to pay for everything. I make that in a week sometimes, so the income:monthly costs ratio is pretty good.
  • not too many possessions, and having less, occasionally even giving clothes and things away feels good, reminds me that I have more than enough.
  • no car – that’s huge because it’s no car payment and no insurance and gas, that would be hundreds of euros/month added to the monthly budget.
  • My clothes aren’t new. I have some new jeans and t-shirts but the clothes that are in my closet, most of it I’ve had for a few years now but I like them. My fashion is a bit more timeless and it shifts a little bit over time. I don’t buy expensive clothes or shoes either.

I know, many people live like that but they have to.  And that’s what I’m saying.  Some people can’t understand why I would “live this way” if I don’t have to.  And I guess my answer to them is, well, I’m satisfied with this. I could have more later when it was more important to me but for now this is fine. I love not having to keep up with the Joneses.

All right, i’m gonna check the Chinese menu.

ps Please feel how momentous this time is in our lives, the weekend before the election, there is magic in the air…

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Starting slowly

October 13, 2008

I gotta tell ya, it’s been great starting work slowly after 9 weeks off. I only work 2 days this week and 3 days next week and that’s working me into soft and easy. Many people wonder how I afford to live without working so much and while I can understand their questions, the answer is pretty boring. It’s somehow cheaper to live here. I’m able to earn a larger percentage of my rent in a day than I could earn in the States. I don’t work as much but I can earn my rent in a day sometimes. That type of rent percentage is just not possible in America for most people.

I also live pretty cheaply. True, I do waste money here and there and I travel a lot and I spend a lot on photographs and eating and drinking out but still, it’s cheaper here. Not having a car or having to pay for gas or insurance is a big thing.

All I know is that I have enough money in my account to not earn a penny for the next 6 months and still be able to pay all of my bills. That is a good feeling. It allows me to feel relaxed. I am grateful for my life here.

Today, by the way, I earned nothing. 🙂


Why I’m a homebody (at times)

June 22, 2008

It’s a beautiful Sunday lunchtime, first sunday of summer, there are probably millions of people in all directions of me planning on taking serious advantage of the weather. I’m happy for them, I really am. But it’s too hot. I don’t mean, it’s too hot number-wise. I meant it’s too hot not to have some air-conditioning and chilled and darkened rooms at times. People are here don’t get that, that I don’t need the sun everytime it’s there. There’s like some irrational belief that Germans don’t know if the sun will come out again for sure so they take advantage. After growing up in southern California, it’s clear to me that the sun will most definitely be there tomorrow. Like death and taxes, baby, ya know what I’m saying?

But that’s not why I’m a homebody. This is why…

In a little less than 5 weeks, I’m going to be leaving Freiburg for 9 weeks. True, I will have about 2 of those weeks at my parents’ place in southern California and that is awesome and it’s home. But, 6 of those weeks will be spent in Central America, constantly away from home, in motion, with nothing but what I carry on my back and my lady will be with me. We’ll be taking buses with chickens, defecating in the occasional uber-disgusting bathroom and being on edge often in a pre-emptive sense of being extra aware of our surroundings because of where we are. I don’t expect it to be too dangerous for us but they are 3rd world countries. For that whole time, we’ll be lowering our standards, having moments of doubt after having made a decision, in a language that I speak ok and she doesn’t really speak but she understands some. This is not going to be a vacation, friends.

I do this for experience, to take photographs, to mix with other cultures and languages, eat strange foods and try to have a good time no matter where I am in the world. There will be very little relaxing as a vacation would be. This is straight up adventure and intensity. I can’t stress that enough. I’m not telling you to feel sorry for me, I just don’t want you to think that I’m particularly relaxed when I first come back from a 6-week “adventure”. It’s harder than staying at home. Staying at home and working is way easier than my vacations. Maybe that’s why I go away so often, from Freiburg because at times it feels like vacation here.

The point is, I’m not gonna have my bed, my desk and shower and afternoon breeze and views and lifestyle for over 2 months. I’m going to have language school students stay in my room the two months I’m gone. I’m sure I will miss this.

Do you get it? I’m somewhere now that I know I will miss in 5 weeks. It’s a nice day. Big deal, I’ll have this in the 3 weeks in california. But my apartment, which is too hot and without air conditioning or a dishwasher, a small leak in the roof of the kitchen, a super loud street on one side and it’s on the 4th floor with no elevator and it’s not completely level somehow, I love this place. It’s my home, no matter how cheap it is. It’s great. So here I am, at my desk at 12:42pm on a beautiful Sunday, thinking about darkening the room, putting the fan almost directly on me and watching a movie of no consequence. Can ya dig?