On Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz

You plan for one thing, something else happens instead…
I watched this talk of Kathryn Schulz more than once. It moves me as much each time. She says we are all so obsessed by being right and getting things right because doing so makes us feel good, valuable and safe. Yet, being wrong is a most natural state of being human. Moreover, we keep thinking we are right, even if we have been wrong all along. We don’t realize we are wrong, because we are so busy with being right.
Being wrong is ok, being wrong is good, being wrong is human. Being wrong is how the life is. It just happens that you are wrong. You plan for one thing, and something else happens instead.
Things just don’t turn out that way.  She tells the audience to think back on their high-school times. You were all going to marry your high-school sweetheart, buy a house at your home place and raise your children together. Something else happened instead.
How was it with you? I was wrong.
Something else happened instead.

On Being Myself

This last week has been one of those whenI needed to think about my identity or identities a little more intensively, again. I read things, had conversations or met new people, who made me think or react in certain ways that I had to reflect upon.

I read an essay from an expat girl from the US, who moved to Australia because of her relationship. She was describing her experiences and feelings in her new home country, and about how she was torn in between the old and the new homes. She felt she no longer belonged to none. Home was neither US nor Australia, while home was both of those places at the same time. She felt she was the ‘other’ one in both places.

I recalled that I had similar thoughts and feelings once. Am I now Turkish or German? Is my home Germany or Turkey? On top, people kept asking me: where do you feel more at home? Here or there?  I basically had to choose between this or that. What a pressure. And honestly I was a bit confused, why do I have to choose? Can I just not be both this AND that?

During the course of the years I also lived in other places: USA, Italy and Sweden. So things were getting a little complicated. Now, do I have to decide on one from all these five? Which one is my home?  This is when I gave up on it. I decided to belong to all those places and to none. The easiest is just to be myself. In all those places I feel equally at home and not at home. In all those places there are things that I embrace and those. That I simply do not understand or can simply live without. And I know that this will be the case wherever I go. Put me to Timbuktu, certain things I will love, certain ones I will learn to love and some will never make it there.  This is just the way the world is and the way we are.

Last week I also met someone, a German lady, who returned ‘home’ after 14 years abroad. She told  me she sometimes feels like an UFO.  To begin with, she is no longer that fluent in her mother tounge. I couldn’t identify myself with her more….Turkey is home when I smell its smell, when I eat the bread, when I see my family and friends, when I watch the Bosphorus. Turkey is no longer home when I have to think much longer than I used to, to express myself correctly in certain occasions. Or when I have to back up my sentences with English or German words (and they sound sadly pretentious). It stops being home when people behave more rudely than I have experienced in other places. Yet, the same feelings I have for Italy, Sweden and USA also for that matter. I will always be the ‘other’ at some times and ‘one of us’ at some other times. In fact, the easiest is just be ‘myself’ at all times

Weekend @ El Corte

I came back from a city called Nijmegen in Holland this evening.

I never knew it existed before I moved to Cologne.
My ignorance.
Now I know  that this little Dutch city is famous for two things: its university and the tango.
There is a tango salon called El Corte there.
I never knew it existed before I moved to Cologne.
My ignorance.
Tango dancers from as far as New Zealand, South Korea, Urugay.. all knew about this place.
They come there to dance.
I had been lucky to go there with some friends for the very first time, as otherwise I have had never found the place.
It is just a door, on some backstreet, close to the main train station.
I would have never thought it is a place where you would go to dance.
With tango I  always expect some ‘salon’ as they call it.
Some elegant place with wooden floor, chandeliers, bistro tables…
Nothing like that.
You open the door, walk in, and all what you see is big a table, some sofa, a kitchen – bar on the left hand side, and somewhere back there is the dance floor. It is just a room. Could have been your living room.
When I first saw it, I thought, hmm so this is the salon that is what they say is world famous…
After 3 years, I know why it is so famous, and it so much deserves it.
It is about the the place and it is about the people.
All these people, from all over the world come there for their passion. Yes, they are passionate about tango.
And it is so international and this ‘salon’…the way it is makes you feel so much like you are at home.
Yes, as if you were at home, you had invited your friends from the rest of the world for coffee, you speak all sorts of different languages, and a common one: tango.
No entrance fees, just caring hosts who make sure you feel well. They serve you coffee, food, they clean and tidy up all the time, they play wonderful music and they smile. If you went there a few times, they know you by name..They want to know where you come from, they pay attention to the detail.
I remember the first Friday evening I had gone there, after a long work day. I arrived there finally and asked about the entrance fee. They told me: “there is no entrance fee, you came a long way, it is late and you are tired. now just come in and relax…”
Once there, it is amazing how the time passes..I realize how late it is only when I get hungry 🙂 That is usually around 8 pm. So from 1 pm to 8 pm I have been dancing to the wonderful music, or at least listening to it if my feet could no longer carry me dancing, I have been chatting with old and new tango friends from wherever in whatever language.
This time I had wonderful dances with tangueros from France, Latvia, Britain, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Scotland, Slovenia, …I am back home but I still have the music in my ears, and and the things we told each other without having used the words.

‘A Better You’ on TED

I recently discovered a series of talks on TED (Ideas Worth Spreading) named ‘A Better You.’ The talks are about you and your life, it is about the things that may or should matter to you. They make you reflect upon yourself.

They are of varying length, from 3 minutes to half an hour, so that you can perfectly watch one while you are waiting for the bus, or on the train, or just before you go to sleep.

So, how does this ‘Better You’ look like.

In one talk called “Success is a continuous journey” Richard St. John tells, very briefly, what success did to his life. Success made his life an unhappy one. 
He heartily explains that all the things that mattered to him about his work, like passion, focus, creativity, dedication…brought him the success, success being money. And precisely that made him fail, because he no longer could dedicate himself to the things that mattered to him: to his passion, to his real work, to his creativity. Because the money needed to be managed. He couldn’t care for his people, because he had no time to do that. 
So he decided to compensate what he lost through material acquisitions; fast cars, expensive holidays…He bought everything, but one: happiness.
He started to fail, because he was unhappy…The more he failed, the less money he had. And guess what? The more freedom! 
His freedom and his state of having hit the bottom transformed him back to the person he was in the beginning: passionate, creative, dedicated,  hard working, and happy…
It is a heartfelt story of about only 4 minutes. Watch it while you are waiting for your hard-boiled egg to cook.

on TED: Richard St. John “Success is a continuous journey”